The world tells us to work out our bodies. Goodness knows we seem to work out our brains, maybe too much.
But work out our spirit, that inner part of us that keeps us moving forward? How exactly do we go about doing that?
Meet my friend Kate Eckman, whose new book gives us the insights to jumpstart our spirit so we can soar through our careers and lives. Her book, “The Full Spirit Workout: A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life,” is available now.
Watch my interview with performance coach Kate Eckman here
Here’s a transcript of my chat with Kate Eckman
It’s slightly edited for readability, but since we humans speak differently than we write, I’ll ask you to forgive errors of grammar or repetition. Amazon links are affiliate links.
Darcy Eikenberg of Red Cape Revolution:
I’m here today with Kate Eckman who is the author of a great new book called “The Full Spirit Workout.” And I’m going to read this subtitle because I think it’s so cool, “A Ten-Step System to Shed Your Self-Doubt, Strengthen Your Spiritual Core, and Create a Fun and Fulfilling Life.” So welcome, Kate, thanks for being here at Red Cape Revolution.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s my joy to be here with you and your beautiful self and your beautiful flowers.
Thank you, we have to have a little bit of nature, and actually, it matches your book cover I think right?
It does, it does, I love it.
We’ll say that we planned that right? It’s a beautiful book, by the way, too. But congratulations on the book.
Thank you so much.
Darcy: It’s was really intriguing when we were introduced by a mutual friend. The idea of a workout, we all talk about we have to work out, I don’t work out as much as I should, but working out our spirit, that inner part of us no matter what our religious or beliefs are. So your book goes into a lot of things that I think are really resonant right now, especially as we move into a new world of work and, and into kind of all the changes that have gone on. So I’d love to hear a little bit about how the book came about. And the work that you’re doing to help people get to their full spirit?
Right. So first of all, the spirit is not religious, the Full Spirit Workout is a play on the full-body workout that you often hear advertised at a gym. But your full spirit is your authentic truth and power. It’s your passion, it’s your presence, it’s showing up like you mean it and you’ve got something to say and you’re excited and enthusiastic about life or a project that you’re working on. So when you think of spirit, think of your essence, it’s the part of us that can’t be overlooked or rejected or criticized, it really is the truth of who we are, that we don’t tap into.
Because in our culture, so much emphasis is placed on the physical in terms of what we look like, we all know, we need to exercise our physical muscles. But much, much, much less attention is paid to our attitudinal muscles, our mental, emotional, spiritual muscles, and really getting fit on the inside. And this applies to everyone because everyone wants to feel more confident in some area of their life.
I work with a lot of clients who don’t need my help doing their job, they’re quite skilled at their day to day tasks, whether it’s a CEO of a Fortune 500 Company, which I just got back from an off-site with that group, and he’s going to doing his job, people need help with the less tangible roadblocks, like stress and anxiety of fear, overwhelm exhaustion, and they’re not really quite sure where to go or where to start. And so that’s why I’ve done the research and really have come up with a life resource tool and really the keys for a better way of living that applies to everyone, whether you’re the stay at home mom, the CEO of your household, or you’re running a multibillion-dollar company, or you’re somewhere in between, we all could use a brush up on these inner musculature skills.
Darcy: I love what you said around that we’re often probably really good at our jobs. But one of the things that you talk about in the book also is that people like the CEO you work with and you’ve been a broadcast journalist and a model, and people will look at your life, people look at others, the CEO’s life and say, “Wow, they’ve got it made.” I call that looking good on paper.
But one of the things you talk about in the book with building some of these attitudes, some muscles, are the doubts that that creep in. I’d love for you to tell us a little bit about how someone can overcome some of what I call the “battle of the brain” but you’ve got some tools and strategies to be able to give those muscles a workout to help believe in yourself again.
Kate: I think the self-doubt creeps in when we have those moments where we forget who we are. We fall asleep to our truth. And we forget just that we’re powerful and we can do whatever we decide is important enough, whatever work we’re willing to put in.
Even when I was watching the Olympics and the swim coach who has the athlete who says, I want to win a gold medal, and he says everyone wants that result. Everyone wants a gold medal, whatever your gold medal is but then I say the same thing. Just like when people tell me, I want to write a book and I say great, why do you want to write a book and a lot of people don’t have a strong why. It’s maybe more of a vanity project and you can certainly do it but you probably won’t enjoy it, you might not have as good of a result.
And the same with anything that we want to train for, it really is, it’s our willingness to show up and put in the work. Because when you show up and put in the work, your doubts start to go away. The imposter that says, well, who are you to do this? It’s like, I’m the person sitting here doing this, you can go take several seats. And so people think it’s this big, magical thing. How do I get rid of the anxiety and the insecurities? So much of it is our willingness to show up and not be great first, or ever. That’s me and dance class! I get so much confidence going to dance class, though, because I’m like, wow, I’m really terrible at this practice and discipline, but I’m willing to show up. It’s not about impressing anyone, it’s about having fun. I
think a lot of people really need to redefine success for themselves because you can make all the money and have all the shiny objects, but research says that doesn’t move the needle on your well-being. So what moves the needle is sleep and exercise, acts of kindness and service, time affluence. Having the time to do what you actually want to do, social connection, like what we’re doing here, even over zoom, and my favorite is a gratitude visit that I write about in the book.
A lot of times when we’re feeling stuck, overwhelmed, anxious, we’re all caught up in our little world and ourselves. And I think when we can broaden our perspective, and really look at things from a fresh new way, and be other-focused, all that crap just kind of melts away and fades away. Does that make sense?
Darcy: Yeah, definitely! One of the stories in the book is about going into a dance class, you were a competitive swimmer, you were on the team at Penn State, you got your masters at Northwestern for journalism, lots of big accomplishments. But going to something like a dance class the way you described, you didn’t want to fail, you didn’t want to look stupid, and I think that so many times, people that I interact with when they’re at a decision point in their career, or they have an opportunity to potentially raise their hand for something. It’s the pulling back because we don’t want to look stupid, we don’t want to fail. But you give some strategies in “The Full Spirit Workout” about how there’s never really a failure. That really, it’s the action that comes before feeling confident, as opposed to the other way around that. You think you have to be confident before you take the action.
One of the cornerstones of confidence is failing. And as my dance coach said to me, let’s start with failure, which made me laugh, I’m like, well, fail, fail in dance class, I can do! Even, leadership development classes that I teach with organizations and workshops that we do, one of the major lessons is failing fast and so again, our good intentions are not enough. Our willingness is everything. One of my favorite spiritual principles and just your willingness and being willing to try something out. Okay, this doesn’t work. What did you learn about yourself in the process and then moving on to the next thing, but really getting in there, getting your hands dirty trying stuff out?
That’s why step one of this book is to stretch your comfort zone. And I think, you know, a lot of people are comfortable in their stress or their misery or their “Ain’t it awful.” And if you are willing to invest in a coach or invest in any personal or professional development, not because you have problems, not because you’re the worst, but because you’re the best. I was an athlete for so long and so I speak in athletic terms a lot but you think of a Tom Brady who’s still winning Super Bowls in his 40’s. He trains harder than anyone. He has more coaches than anyone. Not because he’s the worst, but because he’s the best. Think about when you watch the Olympics, the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl, there are like 1000’s and hundreds of coaches up in the mix. Nobody, no matter how great you are, is out there without a coach. Think about it! You’re talking to the coach throughout the game, and in between every play. So I want people to start realizing that this investment in yourself is so valuable and will really take you to the next level but first we have to acknowledge that we don’t know it all and that we’re willing to try some different avenues or be open to new and fresh perspectives.
And that investment in yourself, again, back to the point I think you made, about less about being “teach me the stuff you know.” Tom Brady, probably when he was 12, had a coach that helped him learn how to throw a football but now he knows how to throw a football. It’s how do you stay in tune with who you are and what you want and how to, for him I imagine, it’s managing through change and new teams and staying ahead of himself.
You had some great scripts for mindset shifts, which is something I talked about too in my upcoming book. How do you talk back to that little voice in your head? How do you make sure that you’re not dampening your spirits? I hadn’t really talked about it like spirit. But I think that’s a great word for it. And bringing out your superpowers in a way that that feels really unique and authentic to you.
I think a lot of times, we’re stuck in our anxious brain. And I talked about the research in the book where we can, first, we have to recognize that we’re there, whether it’s, oh, wow, I’m experiencing a lot of self-doubt, or anxiety, or insecurity at this moment. We first have to have the self-awareness to know, okay, I’m feeling, feeling some kind of funky way right now. And then, you know, shift out of that. So identify it, and then move into something else, invite something else in.
A good way to do that quickly; two things, one is to move from the anxious brain into the curious brain. Start asking yourself different questions. Even I had a moment where I was crying getting my training at Columbia in coaching, before the last session, I was experiencing a lot of emotion, and instead of judging myself, like, oh, my gosh, you can’t cry in front of people. I moved from anxiety into curiosity and thought. I got curious about my emotion and thought, what is this about? What it was about is that these people meant so much to me, this opportunity, this training was so life-changing. That was a completely normal response.
I think so many times we judge ourselves for whatever we’re experiencing. I invite you to get a little bit more curious about your emotions, these thought patterns that you’re constantly having. It’s like, oh, it’s you again! Even me, I talked about calling out my inner critic. Okay, I see you, you can go sit back down. But it’s like, what does she want me to know here or what is she trying to do? And so whatever you do in the past, like, oh, I’m anxious, I’m freaking out, oh, it’s okay, this time, I’m going to try something new, I’m not going to freak out at all, I’m going to get up there and trust that whatever I need to say to this group, or organization or audiences, is what they need to hear. And trust in my training.
I think we all have worked so hard at this point, trust in that hard work. And then when you show up, whether it’s the job interview, or the presentation, or whatever it is, really focus on being present, being all there and again, showing up as you mean it because presence is my first piece of the five P’s of competence. And when I’m present, that’s all I’m thinking about. And then you’re in the flow, you get in the zone, and you’re not worried if someone likes you, or how good do I sound because you’re just present with what you’re doing and who you’re talking to. And so and trust in that!
Right. And the idea of being able to be present to me also goes back to that feeling of, I’m not going to fail! Like showing up is the battle and so many times, that really is it. I think we forget that everybody else is making it up too and that there is no perfect presentation, there is no perfect meeting, there’s no perfect job interview, or there’s no such thing as perfect. But we can make progress, we can try different things, we can experiment with different techniques here.
One of the things that I thought was fun that you did is, really to equate it to things that we talked about when we’re talking about building our physical bodies, core strength, and being able to just build those different muscles. So, for anybody where the idea of kind of getting in touch with your spirit feels a little woo-woo, you wouldn’t feel that way about going to the gym or building your muscles. So these are important muscles that I think we get overlooked quite a bit.
I think even just getting caught up in the spirit because again, your spirit is just the truth of who you are, which a lot of people are out of touch with. This is about building your attitude, no muscles, that’s your mental and emotional muscles. These are the muscles you’re using all the time that quite frankly, are a little flabby, are a little out of shape, because you’re just going to the default setting. You’re doing what’s comfortable, you haven’t trained and work them out in a meaningful way for whatever reason, whether it’s fear, or I don’t even know how to do it.
We needed to start having these conversations a little bit more openly and be willing to go within. That’s really what I mean to it’s taking a moment to go within because of all the stuff you want. That’s going to help you get from point A to point B. I hate to tell you but it’s not out there, it’s in here. It’s taking the moment. Why do you think meditation is so popular? A lot of people don’t take advantage of this proven practice for whatever reason. In the spirit of, I don’t have time, for instance. And so that I say, I don’t have time to be angry, I don’t have time to be stressed out. I don’t have time to be overwhelmed, I don’t have time to raise my voice with the people I care about. I don’t have time to not actualize my full potential because I’m spending all my time stuck in the “ain’t it awful,” “I can’t do this,” “only those people can do it,” whatever! Everyone I think knows what I’m talking about. And we’ve all been there.
By the way, that’s why I recognize it because I’ve certainly been there. But I think this is just opening ourselves up to so many opportunities and a practice that has really saved me during the past year and a half. Gosh, yeah, a year and a half of COVID. The era of COVID is what I call my sit and stare time where I take a minimum of five minutes a day, and stare out the window and, process and reflect and check in with myself. Like I’m a little kid and just say, how are you doing? What can I do for you? What do you need right now, and also acknowledging myself, hey, good job, you handled that really upsetting email with so much grace and compassion. You didn’t lose your cool or great job closing that deal. Because we get so upset when others don’t acknowledge us. But if we’re really honest, I think we spend such a small fraction of time acknowledging and seeing and hearing ourselves.
That’s so true. That’s great advice. I think the book is fun and gives us really some insights and some scripts. Where can people find out more about you?
Just go to Kate.Eckman.tv or thefullspiritworkout.com has all the information about the book there. It’s everywhere books are sold online and in stores and we’d love to connect with you over there. We have a really great community and it really is about uplifting and energizing not just ourselves and our lives, but really all of the people around us.
It’s great and we could all use the uplifting and remembering to uplift ourselves. So I’m going to go do some sit and stare time pretty soon. Thank you, Kate Eckman, author of “The Full Spirit Workout.” Go pick up a copy. Thank you so much for being here for our community at Red Cape Revolution.com Appreciate it.
Thank you so much, and congratulations on your book as well.
Thank you–more to come!
Get the behind-the-scenes scoop on Darcy’s next book, “Red Cape Rescue: Save Your Career Without Leaving Your Job,” when you sign up here. It comes out October 2021 but you can get the stories behind the stories right now!