Below is a transcript of the first episode of the Inner Effort Podcast — Introducing Inner Effort.
Note: Please excuse any grammatical problems, punctuation mistakes or spelling errors. Most filler words (ahs, ums, etc) have been removed. Sentences have been grouped into logical paragraphs.
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Welcome and thank you for listening to this introduction to the Inner Effort podcast. This is the podcast that shares the unseen inner efforts that real people use to manage the different struggles and challenges in their lives. My name is Alen Standish from InnerEffort.com. I hope you’re doing well.
To kick off this new podcast I thought I’d take 20 minutes or so to tell you a little bit about me, to explain why I started Inner Effort and to tell you what Inner Effort is all about. I want to be totally upfront and say that you don’t have to listen to this episode before you begin listening to any other episode of Inner Effort. Please feel free to jump ahead and start episode one if you want. You don’t need to know the backstory of Inner Effort to enjoy the podcast. But if you’re curious about the “who” behind Inner Effort and you want to also learn the “what” and the “why” then this is the episode you want to hear.
Okay, first, a little about me. Again, my name is Alen Standish. I’m just a regular guy in my 40s. I live and work smack dab right here in the middle of the United States. I live with my amazing wife of 20 years. Together we have three great boys who are wonderful but who also keep us on our toes, especially now as we’re going into their teenage years.
I love reading, writing and podcasting, both listening to podcasts and putting them out there. I love the game of baseball and I love working with computers. I’ve always made computers the core of my professions and that includes programming, networking and publishing. I worked in corporate IT for a long time but not too long ago I started my own small IT and consulting business. And that business has really morphed over the last two years and I love it!
I first started podcasting back in 2012 as a way to talk about my long struggle with binge eating and how I finally stumbled my way into recovery. There’s a whole lot more behind that story I’m sure you can imagine. Basically, after I got my eating under control for the better part of a year I wanted to share what I learned. But more than anything else I didn’t want to slip back or relapse into my old ways because that was always my pattern. I loved and still love listening to podcasts. I loved how raw and authentic many of them were. I thought that maybe talking about my own struggle and sharing what I used to help myself and talking to others about their eating struggles would make for a good podcast. I finally worked up the courage to record that very first episode and I put it out there on iTunes. It scared me to death but I did it and continued to update it with new episodes or a semi regular basis. I originally named that podcast the Quit Binge Eating podcast.
And that podcast changed my life. Putting myself out there, it helped me to learn HOW to better understand me. A huge part of that podcast was me talking with others who struggled with the same challenges and also talking to counselors and coaches who themselves had struggled it. Those one on one conversations and connecting with my guests on such a personal level, it really affected me. I’d never let myself be so real and vulnerable in my entire life. I began to finally understand and appreciate what true authenticity was for the first time ever. I never felt so real before. I felt so alive.
And probably the most incredible thing that happened that I didn’t expect was all the amazing support I got from my podcast listeners. I’ll be blunt, I really didn’t think anyone would find or listen to the show when I started it. But it grew and grew and the folks who listened shared their stories with me and I developed so many different friendships and relationships because of it. I’d never felt such a sense of community before and such openness. Again, it was amazing.
And as the podcast grew so did the topics we talked about. We started to talk less and less about eating and more and more about what goes on between our ears. We talked about perfectionism, being people pleasers, self-judgment, hiding from our problems and emotions, procrastination, shame and discovering the power of vulnerability, authenticity and loving ourselves for who we were. The problem wasn’t the food. Sure, food can be addicting, especially all the processed and fast food out there and sodas and what-not. But the problems most of us had went far beyond the food. Our eating problems were just a symptom. Again, I’m not saying it’s that way for everyone, but for most folks I talked with, including myself, that was the case.
So, about 18 months into the podcast I renamed the show the Progress Not Perfection podcast. Progress Not Perfection. Yeah, it was a perfect name and the interviews and episodes continued. I continued to have the most amazing and authentic conversations with incredible people and I truly loved it. If you want to hear that podcast you can find it in all the podcast directories including iTunes. Just search for Progress Not Perfection and pick the show with the little stickman on the cover.
It’s funny. I thought my life had truly changed when I learned how to finally manage my eating patterns back in 2012. They ran my life for the better part of 20 years. But as I worked through my perfectionism and people pleasing and learned how to deal with the constant feeling of shame that I carried, that’s when my inner life really changed for the better. For the first time ever I learned how to keep myself consistently happy. Sure, I’d been happy before but only for short moments and only for specific reasons. I also finally learned what contentment and being authentic with myself felt like. I was able to stop being the constant perfectionist and worrying over things that no one cared about and worrying what others might be thinking.
I guess to sum me up right now, it’s that podcasting, connecting with others and sharing what I’ve learned has become my passion in my life. I’m finally becoming the person I suspected I always was deep down inside but my habits and my fears and all those struggles, they him buried for more than 30 years. It takes a lot of work, I’ll be completely honest. I have to constantly work on it because those negative thoughts and emotions want to sneak back in all the time. But I’m now I’m finally happy just being me and I’m OK with me.
So all that basically brings me to today and to Inner Effort. It’s been a long time in the making and it’s had a few realignment delays but it’s finally launching. And it’s starting with this podcast.
So what is it? What is Inner Effort? At it’s core, Inner Effort is about discovering and sharing the unseen inner tools and techniques that real people use to manage the different struggles and challenges in their lives.
What that means for the podcast is this. I want to have the same type of intimate discussions with guests just like I did with Progress Not Perfection. But in this new podcast I’m trying to focus like a laser on the mental hurdles of my guests’ own personal struggles. Of course I want to hear their stories but I want to understand what they felt when they struggled and what emotions and thoughts went through their mind. And as we talk, more than anything, I want my guests to describe and walk me through the actual self-coaching techniques, coping tactics, and resources or tools they used to motivate and help themselves during a typical day and during difficult moments.
So okay, I probably should step back a little bit and talk more generally about the concept of Inner Effort. To me, Inner Effort is a fundamental approach to managing a struggle, to making a change in our lives or for meeting a goal. Inner Effort is knowing that it takes work to get what we want. There’s no easy button. Just thinking about a struggle or worrying about a tough situation or a goal won’t resolve the issue or meet that goal. Reading or studying up on the issue won’t bring us any closer to what we want either. Hiding from the struggle, procrastinating or trying to numb out only makes it a hundred times worse. The only way to manage a struggle or to meet a goal is to take small mental steps or small mindful mental actions or to physically do something that helps to spark the mental actions we need to take.
Change is the result of an action. A physical change or a mental change, change can’t happen without some action taking place. In all the conversations I’ve had over the years, both privately and on the podcast, it was only when a person began to take small mindful actions did changes actually start to occur for them. It didn’t matter what philosophy they followed or what strategy they used or what problem they were dealing with. It didn’t matter what type of problem or issue. From action comes change. Inner Effort is what drives us to take those small actions to make the changes we need to make in ourselves.
And what I discovered for myself and from all these other folks I’ve spoken with and in all the feedback I’ve gotten on my apps is that the actions, the Inner Efforts, they need to be super simple. A simple phrase to inspire or to break the trance or a one or two step action to take when first noticing certain triggering thoughts or behaviors. It might mean testing and trying 10 or 15 different action plans but when they finally found the one that worked and they consistently stuck with it, that’s when change started to occur.
And let’s be honest, long term change can be hard. It’s hard because we’re human and we’re wired to be habit forming beings that are struggling to survive in the world.
Our brains are incredibly complex and they’re made up of different layers. Our tiny little consciousness in our head, the place where we think we think and where we think we exist, it sits at the very top of all those layers. Tiny! Then below that tiny consciousness sits our reptilian and limbic brains. At the lowest layers they make us breathe, beat our hearts and control our body functions. But higher up they’re also responsible for our fight or flight response, fear, and pain and fear of pain. And buried near there is the shame response and the need to belong and connect. There’s also the pleasure systems which drive us to crave food and other pleasures. And in that whole mix there’s also our our own biases and emotions like sadness and and jealousy. There’s also emotions like love and contentment and joy. All this sits below our conscious minds. They build and drive our habits. It’s amazing how much happens below our conscious minds where language barely exists. It’s all mostly feelings, emotions, urges, twinges and moods.
For me, I like to imagine that those lower parts of my mind are a little kid who doesn’t much of a vocabulary. A 2 or 3 year old version of myself is how I like to image this part of my brain. All it does it say I’m hungry, I’m tired, I hate this, I hate him, I don’t care, I just want to quit, I’m a loser, I’ll do it tomorrow, let’s go play, this hurts, I want to leave. That’s what this 2 year old version of me says or pings through my mind. It’s all about the immediate needs and when it does think it seems to only thinks about all the bad stuff that’s happened in the past or all the bad things that could happen in the future.
On a normal day my regular 40 year old mind runs most of my life. But when I’m feeling tired or I’m hungry or I’m scared or stressed or I’m upset or I’m angry or I’m confused or hurt or I’m feeling self conscious or I want to numb out, that’s when the two year old version starts to pop up and wants to take control.
The key is knowing how to work with this inner two year old. It’s about not fighting my nature but working within it.
That’s an important element of Inner Effort. We have to learn to take care of that inner 2 year old part of our minds. When we try to change something about ourselves we need to aware that it’s going to resist. We have to work with it and make the changes gradually. We can only force it so many times before it’ll fight back. We might win a few of those battles but long term we’ll get tired and the two year old will win. And getting angry at the two year old will only build up resentments that’ll take a long time to heal. And sometimes, sometimes we just want to ignore it and pretend it’s not there but that causes it own set of problems.
In my case it takes Inner Effort to feel happy each day. I’m not a naturally happy person. My two year old mind takes me to dark places very quickly. But I’ve come up with my own ways of picking up that two year old when it first starts to pop into my mind. I have to deal with it before it gets me going too far down the negative path. I also have my own routines that I go through each morning to try to help build up the positives so my two year old self actually feels better about itself and doesn’t get agitated so easily when negative things do happen. It’s the same thing for those old eating patterns and thoughts. It still takes Inner Effort there as well. It takes constant mindfulness but the results are so worth the effort.
I think the final thing I want to say about Inner Effort in general is to remember that our Inner Efforts aren’t something we can save up for the end of the day and then doing them all at once when we’re home alone. We have to use them in the exact moment when we need them. That two year old doesn’t understand how to wait for the payoff or can be ignored when he or she starts getting anxious. We have to deal with them quickly and efficiently when they first start talking.
Because of that, our inner efforts need to be simple. I try to always remember the word KISS when I’m dealing with myself or a problem. KISS is an acronym. Keep It Super Simple. KISS. When we’re in a two year old state of mind complex things become meaningless to us. Strategies and frameworks lose their power. Strategies and frameworks help us determine and plan out our Inner Efforts ahead of time but it’s the Inner Efforts that actually make the change.
When that two year old is screaming inside you can’t go quoting glib statements to it. You can’t be pedantic or long winded. That confuses us and our mental energy will immediately drain away. Inner Efforts need to be simple and direct to help us through those moments when the two year year old mind is trying to get it’s way. I think we as humans have a tendency to want solutions complex because we feel complex solutions are needed for complex problems. We have to keep our actions simple and easy to remember because otherwise we end up doing nothing.
So to start wrapping this up, that’s what Inner Effort and this podcast is about. Discovering the Inner Efforts that real people have used in their own lives and sharing them with the world. Sure, the struggles and problems may be different but the types of Inner Efforts we all use are universal. What someone uses to help themselves when they feel a triggering emotion come on could be used by someone else who’s also dealing with triggering emotions for a totally different problem. What someone uses to help calm themselves when they’re caught up in the moment can be used by someone else for a totally different situation. The inner efforts someone uses as a routine each morning to start their day off right can be used by any of us for our days. I think you get the idea.
What’s different are the stories and the people. And I’ve talked to some amazing people. In this podcast I’m reaching out to all different types of people to have them share their different of struggles with me and to share the Inner Efforts they use to manage them.
I’m talking with guests who can talk to me about managing their different emotional states and thoughts. For instance, people who have struggled with anxiety or negative body images or anger issues or who have overcome an irrational fear or phobia. What were their inner efforts like?
I’m also talking with guests as they’ve dealt with and managed to get through a difficult life situation. Examples are folks who are coping with a mental or physical struggle or a major illness and how they cope with day to day living and look forward to the next day.
I’ll also be talking with guests specifically about overcoming bad habits and addictions and what inner efforts they used to help themselves through those tough moments as they tried to change their lives.
Another series of topics near and dear to my heart is the inner efforts used when starting a new career or doing something totally new and unexpected in life and feeling overwhelmed. How to handle the stress of putting ourselves out there, handling failure and even making ourselves be decisive when we’re afraid to make a choice.
Finally, I’ll be talking with folks about performing and competing and the inner efforts they used to overcome stage fright, public speaking, and dealing with hecklers and haters. Also what inner efforts did they use when facing clutch situations or they just felt like quiting on themselves or they were tired or worn out and no one else would know they quit but themselves. I think you get the idea.
I think you’ll begin to quickly notice that I’m only talking with guests about struggles they themselves have been challenged with in their own lives. If I’m talking with a licensed professional like a therapist or a doctor it’s only because they themselves struggled with the issue and are willing to be vulnerable and talk openly about it with us. If I’m talking to another podcaster, even if that podcaster has a podcast in a field totally unrelated to Inner Effort it’s because we’re talking about a personal struggle they have worked through for themselves. All my guests are incredibly brave people who are willing to be fully open and talk about their own struggles and their own inner efforts. They are not lecturers or experts who haven’t dealt with the struggle directly themselves. They are talking exclusively about their own life experiences.
I think Inner Effort’s going to be quite a ride. I’ve already talked with a number of new guests and there are some amazing tales you’re going to hear soon. Some are very personal and deal with internal struggles and challenges. Others have a huge physical component. Some struggles may seem bigger than others but to the person in the middle of any struggle, their struggle can feel like the most overwhelming struggle on the planet. Me, I don’t judge and I have incredible respect all my guests and what they went through. It takes real courage to come on the Inner Effort podcast and to share their struggles like these folks have done. It’s been an honor to talk with each of them. And the new Inner Efforts I’ve been learning about have really opening my eyes to all sorts of different ways to deal with a struggle.
Like I said in one of my last Progress Not Perfection episodes, Inner Effort is my dream project. I’m so happy to have you here experiencing this with me. And if you’re one of my previous podcast followers who subscribed to this new show, thank you for having the faith in me to check this new podcast out. Time is our most valuable commodity. You sharing your time with me means the world to me.
I’m making my home over at InnerEffort.com nowadays. Feel free to come on by anytime and say high or to share your story or inner effort ideas. Or maybe you think you’d like to come on the show and talk with me. Or maybe you can introduce me to someone you think would be an awesome guest. You can find all my contact into at InnerEffort.com.
And if you want to stay in the loop with all things Inner Effort and want free gifts and want access to the aftershow of each interview then make sure you sign up to my free mailing list.
I do want to say one last thing about the aftershow before I wrap up. For the main podcast what I’m trying to do keeping each episode about 45 minutes to an hour in length. I’m trying to keep the podcast conversations very focused so I didn’t waste any of my guest’s time. We of course dig into their stories during the podcast but I try to do my best to stay focused on the primary topic, their struggles and Inner Efforts. So once we’re done covering those items what I do is I keep the recorder running and we then talk about anything and everything. We go totally free form, no agenda, and talk for as long as my guest wants to talk. I usually have a lot of followup questions and those often lead to some fascinating sidebar conversations. Sometimes my guest almost ends up interviewing me.
So if you want to hear the aftershows, and some of them have been absolutely amazing, then make sure you subscribe to my free mailing list at InnerEffort.com. I’ll also be sharing all sorts of free audio audio gifts and pocket playbooks that I think you’re going to find useful as well. Also, in another week or two I’ll have another way you can listen to the aftershows and get even more audio content. I’m calling that Inner Effort Extra since there’s so much extra that comes with it. Again, more on that in a week or two.
All right then. I think we’ve covered all the angles of Inner Effort and more. The very last thing I want to say it I’m excited about this new journey and I’m really look forward to connecting with you. Wishing you all my best. Take care and talk soon!
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