Copywriter and book strategist, Bryna Haynes is our guest for the 122nd episode of The Copywriter Club Podcast. Bryna helps “change makers” make their change with books that start movements. And she would know. She’s the author of The Art of Inspiration, a best-selling book about writing inspirational books. Here’s a look at we talk about in this interview:
• how she went from hair stylist to freelance copywriter
• how she found out that being a good writer isn’t enough to keep a business afloat
• her writing process and how she finished her book
• how to connect to influencers who can help boost your business
• how to know what ideas to pursue (and how guiding values help)
• what you need before you make a pivot
• all the different kinds of copy she worked on and how finding clarity helped her find a new niche
• what pivoting has looked like in her business and where she’s headed
• how we make quantum leaps in our businesses (and what that really means)
• using your “reticular activating system” to change your behavior
• the importance of “big” dreams and how to achieve them
Ready to get this episode in your earbuds? Click the play button below or download it to your favorite podcast app. And, as always, you can scroll down for a full transcript.
The people and stuff we mentioned on the show:Linda Joy
The Copywriter Club Facebook Group
The Copywriter Underground
Intro: Content (for now)
Rob: This podcast is sponsored by The Copywriter Club Underground.
Kira: It’s our new membership designed for you, to help you attract more clients and hit 10K a month consistently.
Rob: For more information or to sign up go to thecopywriterunderground.com.
Kira: What if you could hang out with seriously talented copywriters and other experts, ask them about their successes and failures, their work processes, and their habits, then steal an idea or two to inspire your own work? That’s what Rob and I do every week at The Copywriter Club Podcast.
Rob: You’re invited to join the club for episode 122 as we chat with author and book strategist Bryna Haynes about writing books that start movements, making a big pivot in your career, what quantum physics has to do with goal achievement, and putting yourself out there.
Kira: Bryna, welcome.
Rob: Hey Bryna.
Bryna: So happy to be here. Hi Kira. Hi Rob.
Kira: Bryna and I are working together currently, and as we’ve sat down and talked through Bryna’s past and what she’s working on and events she’s planning this spring, I was just like, ‘We have to get you on the show.’ Because everything that you’re teaching and talking about and thinking would really help the copywriter community. I’m really excited to dive deeper into what you teach today. Let’s start with your story. How did you end up where you’re sitting today, and what are you focused on today?
Bryna: Well I’ll give you the short version. When I was about 26 I was working as a hairdresser, master stylist, color expert in Providence. I loved that career because it taught me how to talk to people. Prior to that I was really, really shy, and not a very good communicator. I really learned a lot about relationships in that job. But I was also very bored. I felt like it was time to return to my dream of writing as a career.
With no prior experience, I don’t have an English degree, I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, I quit my lucrative salon job and dove into the world of freelance writing. I quickly found that just being a good writer is not enough to keep a writing business afloat. I had to really do a lot of learning in a very short period of time. It was really the best move I could have made, because it was totally sink or swim. I didn’t have any way to go back. I didn’t have any way to make excuses for not doing the work and learning what I needed to learn. I also happened to make some really fortuitous connections.
One of them with the boutique publisher I still work with today, and one of them with a book coach who immediately put me on her referral list for editing clients. Between the two of them I really fell into, without planning it or even thinking that I would go in that direction, I really fell into the world of personal development, self-help, inspirational books. That’s where I’ve been working for over 10 years.
That’s kind of the short version of the story. But it’s been a really incredible journey in that I got to meld two of my biggest passions, writing and personal development, and really work with some amazing influencers in the industry. Work on an individual level with women who are out to change the world, and doing a damn good job of it.
Rob: Bryna, there’s a ton of stuff there that we can talk about. Before we get into all of the inspiration and the cool change that you’re making, can we maybe talk about just process for a minute or two? Specifically the process of writing a book. I know there are a lot of people who are copywriters who want to write books. But they get started, or it’s hard. Tell us about your writing process and how you actually got it done.
Bryna: Absolutely. I developed a process that I have applied to my own work, to my clients’ work over the years. It’s really just a process of clarity. In order to tackle something as big as a book, you really have to know not only what it’s about, but why you’re doing it. Not only why you’re doing it personally. Like, ‘Oh, I want to write a book to share my ideas’. But why you’re doing it in terms of serving your audience. What is your reader actually going to get out of this? What is the point you want people to take away? You have to get so clear on that that you can come back to it over and over and over through the process.
It’s really like writing shorter form copy, and also different. Because with a book you have so many opportunities to explore your concept in depth. I think that’s where people get really tripped up. They follow these tangents down various rabbit holes, and they lose sight of the core purpose of their book. I find when I’m editing, when I’m coaching people around their books, it’s really about bringing people back to that core why. What are we teaching people and why are we teaching it? How do we bring this whole crazy discussion back around so that we get back to the point? If you can do that in every part of a book, if you can do that in every chapter, your book will make sense. It will have a trajectory. It will have a solid outcome. As opposed to just being a giant mishmash of information that people may or may not get something out of.
Kira: Gotcha. Okay, so before we talk about what’s happening now, I do want to dive into your past. Your time as a hair stylist. What surprised you the most about people and human nature from that time, and working so intimately with humans?
Bryna: I think I really learned that we’re really, we’re more the same than we are different. I know we hear that a lot. People say that a lot. But it really is true. We really do want the same things. I kind of in my career there put a short, a little bit of a spin of personal development on it. I wasn’t just making art on people’s heads, although that was fun. It was really about helping people to show up as their best selves.
I think that when I was ready to make a transition, it was because I felt like I wasn’t able to go deep enough with people in the capacity that I was in. I was able to give them a surface level experience of showing up as their best selves. But really, deep down I’ve always wanted more there. I’ve wanted more for myself. I’ve wanted more for the people I care about. But really, we’re just all after the same things. We really want to feel valued and valuable. We really want to have connections with other people. We really want to feel good about the way we’re walking through the world and what we’re creating. Sometimes that gets distorted and we lose sight of it, or we’re doing it in a way that’s not in full integrity. Or we’re not really connected to those aspects of ourselves. But in the end we all really do want those same things.
Kira: You mentioned during your writing career that you connected to a coach who referred you to a bunch of clients. You connected to these influencers, it sounds like early on. That really catches my attention because that’s a struggle for so many of us. It’s, how do we connect to those influencers who are going to send us great leads? Do you have any advice to copywriters who might be struggling with that?
Bryna: Absolutely. The first is, always follow your instincts. Because even though someone appears to be exactly what you want, until you really meet them and connect with them you don’t really know if it’s an energetic fit. Be willing to go and do things that are a little bit out of the ordinary.
I met both of those amazing women, their names are, Linda Joy, is the publisher and Lisa Tenor is the name of the book coach I used to work with. I met both of them through a meeting of the Holistic Chamber of Commerce in a little town in Rhode Island. Lisa happened to be there I believe because she was presenting. It’s so long ago, I’m having trouble remembering the exact details. But that’s where I connected with them. I went because I was a guest of a friend who was a member of that chamber. Not because I necessarily had any interest at that point in being involved in that world. Because it was a lot of healers and massage therapists and coaches. I had no idea at that point in my life what a coach even was, let alone what they did.
I just went as Dave’s guest, and I ended up connecting with these amazing people. If you have an intuitive hit to go somewhere or do something, even if it doesn’t make sense at first, follow that. Because you just never know who you’re going to run into.
The other is, don’t be afraid to ask. I could have just told Lisa when I talked to her, ‘You know, I’m building this freelance writing business and I’m doing this thing’. I could have just left it at that and waited for her to be interested in me. But instead I actually came out and asked, ‘Is there some way I could help your clients?’. The answer was a resounding yes. Now it’s not always going to be a yes. But you don’t … Unless you ask the answer is always no.
Don’t be afraid to put out there what you need. You’re not somehow admitting failure in your business because you’re looking for leads. That’s not it at all. If you have any of that, that little self-esteem piece come in like, ‘Oh. I’m going to look like I’m begging’, or something like that. If that feels really uncomfortable to you, do some more exploration of that. Because chances are you’ll uncover some good stuff if you go into that with yourself. ‘Why is this hard for me? To ask people to send me clients that I’m going to do amazing work for?’.
Those couple of things I think would be my core advice. Just trust that you’ll be shown the right way to go. That dimension of trust is always hard for us. But when we relax into it, it always delivers the best results.
Rob: You mentioned that intuitive idea hitting you. That you had this niggling thing that maybe you want to do something different. Or you’ve got a potential new path that we should always try out. I wonder if we can talk a little bit more about that. How do we decide if the idea is worth pursuing or not? Or if it’s just going to take us down a rabbit trail and nowhere. Are there ways that we can sort of project ourselves into the future to see which ideas are worth pursuing, and which of the maybe 30 different ideas that we have this week are going to end in failure?
Bryna: Well I mean, I really don’t think that there is such a thing as failure. I think that there’s such a thing as a learning curve, and we can choose a short learning curve, which is often the harder one, or we can choose a longer learning curve with lots of twists and turns. But either way, we’re still going to get where we’re going. It’s just a question of, how direct are we willing to be and how far are we willing to take our trajectory? I don’t want to frame anything in terms of failure. I think we have a fear of it, but I don’t really think that it’s a thing. I think that we frame it that way.
That said, I really do think that when you know what you want, and this’ll tie into our discussion of the quantum physics piece. But when you know what you want, it’s a lot easier to hold up your choices to that sort of candle that you’ve lit with, ‘This is what I want’. It’s a lot easier to see, ‘Is this a match or is it not?’.
You know, for me, I like to do a million gazillion things. I love to learn, and I often get distracted. Like I distracted myself for three years diverting my business into web design because I found it fun. I let go of some of my writing. This is about maybe 10 years ago. I let go of some of my writing stuff in order to do web design. But I’m not by nature an artist, and it felt like pushing a stone up hill. But it was fun for the moment so I sort of took that path. Then I was like, ‘Okay. I need to come back to what I’m really good at’.
But I didn’t have at that point a sort of guiding set of values and beliefs that I could follow. I was just chasing down whatever felt fun in the moment. I think a lot of us do that. We don’t take the time to sit down and say, ‘What do I really want?’. Not in terms of material results, but how do I want to feel? What am I really after? What do these things that I’m pursuing all have in common?
When we get quiet and still enough to kind of feel into that, and really start writing down and journaling and making lists about what the heck we actually want, it’s a lot easier to make those decisions.
The question I always ask at that point is, ‘Why?’. When I was doing a lot of book coaching people would come to me like, ‘I want to have a best seller’. I’m like, ‘Why?’. ‘Well because I want a best seller’. ‘Well why?’. ‘Because I want to be seen as an authority’. ‘Well why?’. It all comes down to a few sort of key things, and again this comes back to those things that we all want. We want to be successful because we want to be seen as valuable. Or we want the freedom that we think financial success will bring. Or we want to, or we just feel so passionately about an idea that it has its own impetus to move us forward.
But if we don’t know, ‘What is the thing that’s actually driving us?’, we’re going to be chasing these lofty goals, but we’re not going to really be happy when we get them. Because the thing that we wanted will not appear until we actually choose it, and we decide that that’s what we’re really after.
It’s like, if we don’t know the real need that we want to fill, all the stuff in the world, all the accomplishments in the world, are not going to fill that. It’s like if you’re at this gorgeous Italian restaurant but what you really want is a hot dog. Nothing that they serve you, no matter how gorgeous it is, is going to fill you up like that hot dog, right?
This work of getting really familiar with what it is that you actually want and why I think is key to all of your decision making. It just simplifies everything, because everything just sort of becomes an automatic no or an automatic yes. Or sometimes just, ‘Let me follow this, but I’ll be able to tell really soon if this is in alignment for me’.
Kira: What about for copywriters who struggle to figure out what they want? You mentioned journaling, creating a list. But what works really well if this is an area you struggle in?
Bryna: Oh, that’s so familiar. I did that for so long. A lot of times what we think we want is not what we actually want. For me, and we can talk about this more when we talk about what I’m actually currently doing. But for me the lesson came in achieving success and figuring out that the success itself was not really what I wanted. I met my monetary goals and I felt no different. Like zero difference. I was like, ‘What is going on? Why is this a thing? I met my goal. I should feel really happy. I should feel very proud of myself’. All I felt was overwhelmed.
It was because I didn’t really want money. I wanted to feel valuable. There’s a huge difference there. In the pursuit of money I was making myself and my time less valuable. I think there’s that, there’s the external expression of what we think we want. We can start there when we start looking at what we actually want. We just keep asking ourselves why. Why do I want to make X amount of dollars? Well because I’ll be able to buy lots of fun stuff. Okay, but why do I want to buy lots of fun stuff? Because it’ll say something about me to the people around me. Well what’s it going to say? I have value.
When we kind of follow that track and we’re not afraid to ask those hard questions, because how vulnerable does it feel to say, ‘I don’t feel valuable’? That’s a yucky place to be. But when we get that clarity we can finally start asking the right questions. How do I start feeling valuable? What action can I take today to give myself that feeling? How can I choose differently? Because my choices right now are maybe not reflecting that value that I want to create.
Maybe my choices are making me feel like I’m not valuable. Maybe I’m a martyr to my business. Maybe I’m sacrificing my time in service of other people. Or maybe I’m just not prioritizing my health. Or whatever it is. But until we get to those real core needs that we’re trying to fill, everything else is just kind of noise. We’re just flitting from one thing to another, unconsciously seeking this thing that we want, and never really finding it.
Again, it’s just that deep work of being still. It’s so hard to be still and just ask myself, ‘What do I really want?’, and then be okay with whatever the answer is and start from that point.
Rob: You’ve made some pivots in your business over the last few years, and I think you’re going through another pivot right now. Is that all that it takes? Or are there other things that we need to consider as we start to move in new directions?
Bryna: Well the clarity is key, because otherwise, again, you’re just jumping from place to place. A lot of times, I’m sure that you’ve met people who have said very similar things. It’s like, ‘Oh, I got this new job and I’m happy for a little while. Then I end up in the same situation with the same complaints over and over and over again’. When we do that it’s because we’re not clear about what we’re really after. It’s not the external circumstance that’s going to make the change for us.
For me, and I don’t think that I could have framed it in so many words when I made the jump into my writing career. That’s, oh my gosh, 12 years ago now? When I made that jump I couldn’t have framed it in these terms. I was just starting to study personal development and yoga. I’d been studying things like Wicca and magic and earth religions for a while. But there weren’t a lot of tools there for me to do this deep inner work. I hadn’t found them yet.
I was just kind of like, ‘I want more than what I have, and so I’m going to make this huge leap. Do a complete 180. Change my whole life and see what happens’. That’s not comfortable for anybody. It wasn’t comfortable for me. I honestly would not encourage people to do it that way, because then you’re scrambling and you’re just trying to get your shit together. Pardon my language. But you’re just trying to get it together, and you just take anything that comes your way because you feel like you’re drowning. Because there’s so much change that you’ve created that you just don’t even know which way is up.
I feel like that’s why it took me a little while to get grounded in what I really wanted to do in my writing career. I mean I started off doing everything from SEO copy to magazine articles to some marketing copy here and there. Then all of a sudden I got catapulted into books. It was very crazy.
But I think that when we have the clarity and we have the tools to ask ourselves, ‘What do I actually want and what’s going to align with that?’, then we can start to look at, ‘What actually makes me happy?’. When we tune into that, and again, that takes some time. It takes some being quiet and really going in and being honest with ourselves. ‘What actually makes me happy? Do I want to pursue this path or that path? Do I want to create a situation where I’m working in a particular way? Or does that not feel good to me?’.
Clarity just informs everything else, I think. Obviously, you want to have a strategy in place. That’s another thing that I didn’t do when I made that jump, is I didn’t have any kind of financial strategy in place. I mean I was avoiding money like the plague because it was such a hot button issue for me. I was like, ‘I don’t need to look at the money. Everything is just going to work out’. Yeah, okay. There was some of that.
I wish that I had had an exit plan in place and not just a burn your bridges and run plan in place. I also wish that I had had a little bit more clarity about why I wanted to start this business. Why I wanted to be a writer, and what it meant to me. What I was actually chasing. I think that people who are writers are naturally maybe a little bit more introspective. We’re sort of channels for clarity. If you can take what you do for your clients, the way that you get clarity for your clients, and turn that lens on yourself, it’s going to be super helpful in any change you make.
But it’s also I think important to know that when you’re making a change, you’re making a change because you’re seeking this deep core value. When you know what that is, you can start to give that to yourself now without throwing out your whole life and starting over. Even if you’re not maybe in the field, within your genre that you really want to be. Or you’re not working with the clients that you really want to be working with. Look for those deep core values and say, ‘How can I start embodying this now?’. When you do that, a new set of possibilities will open for you, and you might make different decisions when you get that clarity.
Kira: What does this current pivot look like? Now that you’ve been 10 years into writing, what are you moving towards? Then how are you moving towards it? What do you have to do? What does your process look like?
Bryna: I have to walk my talk, which is the hardest thing I think I’ve ever done. I have decided this year, I was doing all of this work for myself. About a year ago in January of 2018, I went on a trip with my family and I was like, ‘I am going to reconnect to my purpose. I’m going to really feel this deep sense of why I’m doing what I’m doing’. Three weeks in I got nothing. Like nothing. I had to go into that place of getting really quiet and asking myself, ‘What the heck do I actually want?’. Because trying to find my purpose, according to all of the self-development stuff that we all learn, I was looking for it outside myself and it wasn’t working. I was looking for purpose in who I was serving and how I was serving them. Am I working on a New York Times best seller or whatever? It didn’t feel purposeful. It just felt draining.
I really had to do this work of sitting down and saying, ‘Okay. I’m going to stop doing everything except the necessities right now. I’m not going to take on new projects that I haven’t already booked. I’m just going to give myself a couple of weeks, and just be really quiet and ask myself, ‘What do I actually want?’‘.
It was at that point that I got really clear about why I was chasing my financial goals, and that I really just wanted to feel valuable. Then I started asking myself, ‘What makes me feel valuable?’. That gave me information about, ‘Wow. I find a lot of value in helping people make big leaps in their lives. Make big leaps in their understanding. Make big changes on the inside’. I’d been doing that peripherally working with my authors for years. But it wasn’t quite the same to do it through someone else’s vehicle as it was to do it myself.
When I look back and I look at the conversations I’ve been having with my family and my friends for years, this is what it’s all about. Let’s go deep. Let’s get to the heart of things, and let’s help you shift whatever it is that’s holding you back. I didn’t frame it in that language until recently. But all my life I’ve been coaching people.
When I started looking at what makes me happy, it’s these conversations where light bulbs go off, on both sides. It’s this deep connection to the core of the matter. Then I started asking, just again getting really really quiet, ‘How do I use this? How do I make this my purpose?’. That’s when I was literally given the work that I’m doing now. It sort of downloaded into my head in a giant chunk, and I’m still all these months later disseminating it.
What I’m doing now is, I’m taking all of this experience and knowledge that I have from a decade of working in the personal development industry as an editor ghost writer and book coach, and I’m putting my own spin on it. I’m combining science and quantum physics, neuroscience, neuro hacking techniques, with a lot of this personal growth work that I’ve learned. It’s really fun for me because I get to use all the knowledge that’s been hanging out in my brain, and I get to do what really lights me up, which is creating breakthroughs for people.
I’m doing this through speaking, through coaching, through all kinds of vehicles. But I feel purposeful pretty much for the first time in my life. Like I’ve never experienced a drive like this. To connect to that has been so incredible. But I had to unravel everything else in order to get here. I just, I love to say to anyone who’s seeing that sense of, ‘How do I get to that place where I’m on a mission in my life and I’m excited to do my work in the morning? I’m excited to bring forth this thing that I’m creating?’, you have to get rid of all the crap first. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it. Because if you’re stuck in a house filled with old boxes, there is no room for redecoration.
Rob: Too true.
Kira: Hey, we’re just jumping into the show today to tell you a little bit more about The Copywriter Club Underground. Rob, what do you like best about this membership?
Rob: This membership community is full of copywriters that are investing in their businesses and taking what they do seriously. Everything is focused around three ideas. Copywriting and getting better at the craft that we all do, marketing and getting in front of the right customers so that you can charge more and earn more, and also mindset so that you can get out of your head and focus on the things that will help you be successful at what we do.
There’s a private Facebook group for the members of the community, and we also send out a monthly newsletter that’s full of advice. Again, on those three areas. Copywriting, marketing, and mindset. Things that you can mark up and tear out, put them in your file, save them for whatever. It’s not going to get lost in your email inbox. Kira, what do you like about The Copywriter Club Underground?
Kira: I love the monthly hot seat calls where our members have a chance to sit in the hot seat and ask a big question or get ideas, or talk through a challenge in their business. Because we all learn from those situations. Then I also feel like the templates we include in the membership are valuable, because who wants to reinvent the wheel? Rob and I end up sharing a lot of the templates and resources we use in our own businesses. I would definitely want to grab those.
Rob: If you were interested in joining a community of copywriters that are investing in their business and in themselves, and trying to do more, get more clients, earn more money consistently, go to thecopywriterunderground.com to learn more. Now back to the program.
I’ve got like 10 questions that I want to ask now based on all of that stuff. But you mentioned big leaps. Making big leaps. There’s a lot of tie ins here in quantum physics and that as well. How do we make big leaps in our life and in our business?
Bryna: I think that the key to that is actually understanding what a quantum leap actually is. We hear that term bandied around so much. I mean it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere in the coaching world. It’s becoming part of the popular vernacular. ‘Make a quantum leap. Quantum this. Quantum that’. I don’t feel like most people actually understand what a quantum leap is, so I’ll explain that briefly and then I’ll explain how I think it relates to personal growth.
Everybody’s kind of seen in school in your textbooks this picture of what an atom looks like. We can get into wave theory and how it’s not actually an orbit, it’s a wave, and there’s the electron field and all of that. But for simplicity’s sake, visualize it the way you learned it in middle school. Where you have the nucleus of the atom, which is your protons and neutrons. Then you have your electrons sort of orbiting around that.
What a quantum leap actually is is when an electron gets hit by energy, a photon, a particle of light. Somehow it moves to a different orbit or wavelength. The electron doesn’t hesitate. It doesn’t wobble in its current orbit. It simply appears on this new wavelength in this new space in relationship to the nucleus of the atom. It’s instantaneous. There is no time lapse. When that happens, when the electrons of an atom leap into this new wavelength, it changes the way that the atom behaves in its environment.
Rob: Yeah, very cool.
Bryna: Really cool stuff, right? That electrons can just jump around like that. Then you know, I mean there’s so much more to it. This is like the uber simplified version. But we are at the core of ourselves like the nucleus of the atom. We are containers for the possibilities of the universe. Our electrons, if you will, the things that are in orbit around our true nature, are everything from our habits to our thoughts to our emotions to our personalities, to all of the things that we think make us but aren’t really us.
When we make a quantum leap, we’re changing something fundamental about our self identity. We’re doing it through the vehicle of choice. Just like that photon pings at the electron and catapults it into a new vibrational orbit, when we make a choice to do something different in our lives and we make it irrevocable, we make it so that there’s no going back. We’re not wobbling. We’re not questioning. ‘I am doing this differently’. We create a quantum leap in that part of our lives.
What happens is, because reality is subjective and is based on a projection of the points of data that we see every day, we can talk about that a little bit in a little while. But because our reality is subjective, when we make a quantum leap and this part of us is vibrating at this new energy, our reality appears different. When we talk about changing our reality, that’s what we mean. It’s all about focus and perception.
A quantum leap is just a choice. The energy that pushes us into this new vibration is not some external force. It’s not like the crap that happens in your life that forces you to change. It’s not like that. It’s an instantaneous irrevocable choice. When we do that, a new set of possibilities open up for us.
We can harness this power of change at will. That’s the really cool thing. We don’t have to wait for it. We don’t have to wait for permission. We don’t have to wait for circumstances to align. We don’t have to wait for any of that. All we have to do is say, ‘I am no longer going to do this this way. I am no longer going to think X set of thoughts. I am no longer going to say these words about this thing. I am going to change this now’.
When we change it at a deep level that reflects our self identity, when we go from being, ‘I am a smoker’, to, ‘I am not a smoker’. Right? Our entire experience of our reality changes accordingly. In practice a quantum leap is about choice, like I said. Then it’s about reinforcement. Because our habits and the habitual ways we think about ourselves in our reality are pretty stubborn. We actually have to convince our brains that we are this new version of us. There’s a really simple way to do that, and this is where the sort of neuro hacking piece comes in when you’re talking about creating change.
For example, I shared with you that I really wanted to be a person who felt valued and valuable. That was really important to me. I made the choice that I was going to do what it took to provide that for myself. I was going to stop waiting for other people to give it to me. I was going to stop waiting for the world to show me that I was valuable, because it wasn’t going to happen. I had to do this for myself. This was my choice.
When I made the choice I started making different decisions. I started holding up my decisions to this lens of self value. When I had a choice between going straight to work, right to my desk at 5:00 AM, or going to a yoga class, I would step back and I would get quiet. I would ask myself, ‘What would a person who values herself do right now?’. I would act on that answer. Because that answer was coming from a place of this new perspective. I had to literally pretend to be someone else for a little while. I had to pretend to be this person who values herself, because I’d made that choice and I wasn’t going back, but it still felt really unfamiliar. I would ask, ‘What does the version of me who values herself do right now?’. Regardless of what the answer was, I did that.
Then as I was doing the action, and this is really key to retraining your brain around your goals. As I was doing the action I would say to myself, ‘I am doing this because I am a person who values myself’. When I would leave the giant to do pile at my desk to go to a yoga class I would say to myself as I was driving, ‘I am doing this because I’m a person who values myself’. My brain would be like, ‘Oh, okay. I get it’, and it would start to feel more comfortable. Even though I knew I had the giant to do list waiting at my desk.
All of my decisions were influenced that way. Then after about a week, any time I would be ready to make a decision that involved my self value, my brain would actually start to speak up and be like, ‘Hey Bryna, you’re a person who values yourself. Why are you going to do it that way? You should be taking this other choice’. I didn’t learn until later that I had actually been harnessing the power of what is called our reticular activating system. There’s actually a part of our brain that’s responsible for filtering out basically all the stuff that doesn’t align with our current world view. The ways we think about ourselves, our self identities, all the things that we hold dear inside ourselves, those act like filtration devices for the information that comes at us everyday.
You can notice this in a number of ways. Like when I was going to buy a new car a couple of years ago. For a hot minute I wanted a Range Rover. I don’t really know why. I didn’t need a Range Rover, but I really wanted one for a few days. It was really present in my mind, and everywhere I went I saw fricking Range Rovers. Everywhere. I had no idea that these cars existed in Rhode Island before I had this thought that I wanted a Range Rover, and all of a sudden they were everywhere. I would see like 10 of them a day. It’s because my brain had just been told, ‘Range Rover’s on the radar. Look for Range Rovers’. It responded accordingly. My brain was being helpful.
You can also notice this in a more subtle way in your relationships. If I have an idea about someone, maybe someone that I’ve just met a couple of times and I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t like that guy. He’s kind of a jerk’, then all of the information that comes to me from that person is going to reflect that fact that he is a jerk. Because that’s what I believe. The fact is, people are complicated and people are very rarely one thing or the other. But because I have this belief about him, I am only going to notice the actions, the words, all of the things that he does that align with him being a jerk. That’s because my reticular activating system has placed a filter there so that I’m only receiving the information that aligns with my world view.
When we make a quantum leap, when we make a choice to be different, we remove one of those filters and we allow a different set of possibilities to come in. That’s really uncomfortable, because these possibilities have been there all along, but we’ve never seen them. How have we not seen them? We have to tell our brain that it’s safe and that this is what we want. I’m removing this filter that I’m not valuable. I’m taking action to prove to myself that I am a valuable person. That I do value myself. Then I’m going to sort of just stroke my brain’s hair just gently. ‘It’s okay, sweetheart. I’m doing this because I’m a person who values myself’, and my brain will go, ‘Okay’. That over time becomes the new normal. I’ve put a new filter in place so that I won’t actually see the things in my reality that don’t align with that.
When we train our reticular activating system this way, we can do it through action as I just described. We can do it through repetitive mantra. That’s why positive affirmations actually work when we use them consistently and we do it with the intention to change our worldview. It takes about 72 hours to reset your brain in this way.
When you’re looking at making a change, you don’t just have to think about making the change and then take action from where you are right now. You actually have to step out as a different version of you and then reinforce that you’re making the change because you are this new version of you. You have to embrace change at all levels. You have to make the quantum leap in order to really get different results. I hope that answers your question, Kira. I’m sorry. I feel like I’m really rambling here. But I really want to convey this because I think it’s so important.
Kira: That definitely answers the question. I have more questions about it, but I’ll let Rob ask a question.
Rob: I just want to add to that, and then maybe Kira can ask another question. Because when we first started talking, before we hit record I mentioned to you that I was working on a message for our newsletter that goes out to our Underground, and it’s on the same idea of quantum physics. The thing that really strikes me. According to the math of quantum physics, the electron that jumps from one level to the other, when you’re not actually looking at it, the scientists tell us that the electron actually is in both places at once. Which means that when we look at making quantum physics, we’re already living at that level but we just haven’t observed our self at that level.
A lot of times we think, ‘Oh, it’s going to be really hard to make that jump’. The fact of the matter is, we’re probably already there and we just need to be able to see ourselves there before we start acting like we’re on that level. Does that make sense?
Bryna: We’re only a choice away. It makes perfect sense. Yes, and that is part of the beauty I think of wave theory. I’ve been studying this myself. The reason that an electron doesn’t actually appear in its vibrational space until we look at it is because the universe is holographic. What that means is that the universe as we perceive it, the three-dimensional universe as we perceive it, is a projection of a bunch of data points.
When you create a real hologram you’re using a laser and you’re gathering data about an object, and then you’re translating that data into a two dimensional film. The information about the object is encoded in this two-dimensional film. Then when you hit that film with a laser at the right angle, the object appears in three dimensions.
The universe being holographic is like an infinitely enormous piece of holographic film. There’s so much data on there. The other cool thing about a hologram is that you can overlay multiple images, and depending on which angle you hit the film with the laser, a different image will appear. It’s perspective. The universe is infinitely diverse. It has infinite possibilities available, and we ourselves, each of us is one of those points of data on that universal hologram sheet. Right?
Not only are we part of the universe and we contribute to the projection that is the universe. Without us, the universe would be different. But the other cool thing about a hologram is that if you take a piece of holographic film that’s been encoded with holographic data and you chop it up into tiny tiny tiny tiny tiny pieces and you point a laser at even the tiniest little piece, you still see the whole image projected. What that tells us is that we are not only part of the projection of the universe. We are containers for all of the possibilities in the universe. It comes back to that point of, where will we put our focus and where are our filters?
When we are looking at our lives, we’re looking at it from one angle with one laser focus. But that angle that we’re seeing, that projection that we’re seeing of ourselves in our reality, is not the only one that’s possible. We can change the angle of our focus, and something new will appear. Just as an electron doesn’t appear in its field until we observe it, these different aspects of our reality that we haven’t currently been looking at are still there. They’re totally doing their thing. It’s just we’re not looking at them.
This is why something like a gratitude practice works. Because we shift our focus and we turn that laser on our life from a different angle. Instead of being in lack we’re in gratitude. A simple shift, right? Yet our entire reality appears different as a result.
Any time you don’t like something in your life, look at what you’re focusing on. Because your entire reality is being created by the projection of your attention. Instead of being a laser it’s your attention, it’s your focus that’s being directed at your reality and creating a projection based on that angle of focus.
Kira: I’d love to break down the steps here, because I feel like, big concepts. It sounds like the first step you shared is being very clear about what you’re looking for, what you want. Which for you was to feel valuable. I imagine it’s probably like that for most people. But maybe I’m wrong there. Then after that, once you figure out that piece, it’s those habit changes daily to be very aware of the decisions you’re making so that they align with what you ultimately want, and to say it as you’re experiencing it and making those decisions. What happens after that? It sounds like you just do that for weeks and weeks. What happens at that stage?
Bryna: Well your reticular activating system actually will reset if you’re consistent. If you’re consistent and you do this practice consistently, you can reset those filters in 72 hours. I would try, if I was new to this, I would try a small experiment. Like, ‘For the next 72 hours I’m going to say something like, ‘Wow. Mini Coopers are super cool’‘. I mean, you probably can’t tell, I’m kind of a car person. Right? ‘Mini Coopers are super cool. Oh, I just, I want to focus on Mini Coopers’, and watch how many Mini Coopers appear on the road in front of you. You probably have never noticed before that there are so many Mini Coopers in the world, right?
You can play with it. But if you focus on something that’s really huge and not very definite, you’re going to have a much harder time with it. For me it was asking specific questions about, ‘How does this relate to … Does this choice support what I want?’. It’s also a case of maybe, if you’re not entirely sure about the deep core level of what you want, then start looking at, who has what you want? Right?
If you’re a freelancer, maybe you want to be, I don’t know, a six-figure freelancer or something. Right? That’s a common term. I know there’s a book by that title, The Six Figure Freelancer. How does a six-figure freelancer run her day? What does she do? How does she prioritize her time? How does she look for clients? How does she accept clients? How does she screen clients? Right? All the things. What kind of person has what I want?
Then you can sort of break down the qualities of that person. ‘Oh. That person is probably pretty organized. Oh. That person probably has good boundaries with her clients. She probably has some systems set up’. Kira, I have to say, I admire the way that you’ve systemized your business. It’s like magical for me. I’m like, ‘How do I do this? It’s so cool’.
Kira: Oh wow. Thank-you. It was not like that a year ago, so it’s good to hear that.
Bryna: It’s wonderful. What I can do, I can say, ‘Oh my god. What’s Kira doing? How is she doing this? Because she has what I want’. Right? You know, every time I come to just a small menial task, like I’ve got to sit down and my desk is a mess, what would an organized person do right now? Would she try to work around this pile of clutter? Or would she just take five freaking minutes and put it away?
It might not be a choice that we would habitually make. It might not be a choice that we’re comfortable with. But when we start making little choices that reflect who we want to become, we are training our brains to be that and see that and have that. You can start with those tiny little things, right? Like the habits that you know are not serving you. If I want to be a thought leader, do I read a book or do I watch Netflix? Well, sometimes I watch Netflix because everyone needs to chill out. But am I doing it every night? No. I’m reading a damn book. Right? If I want to be this version of myself who has this thing that I want, I’ve got to change my habits.
When we start acting differently and then reinforcing to our brain that this is, ‘We’re doing this because this is the person we want to be. This is the person that we are becoming’, our brain actually gets onboard.
Where people I think really fall short here is that they say they want something, and they even try to take action toward it. But they’re not convincing themselves that they are the person who can have it. It’s the difference between a non-smoker and an ex-smoker. I didn’t realize that I actually used this technique when I quit smoking when I was 26. I had been smoking since I was 13. I was like a pack and a half a day smoker. It was gross. I was so addicted. I just chain smoked all the time. I came to this point where I knew I had to quit. I was starting to feel it in my lungs for the first time. I was really starting to see the effects on my skin and my teeth. It was just ugh.
I tried to quit a couple of times, and I had this identity as a smoker. I was a smoker who was quitting, and so my behavior that I was pushing was antithetical to my self-image. It was creating this dissonance. I think that’s where most people fall short, is that their behavior, they’re trying to change their actions without changing how they see themselves. You can’t wait for permission to see yourself differently. You can’t wait for evidence that you are different to see yourself differently. You have to just change the angle of your focus, and that’s the choice that will change everything.
I remember one day I woke up and I’m like, ‘I am not a smoker anymore. I’m so sick of this crap. I’m so sick of feeling like a failure because I can’t quit. I am not a smoker anymore’. I told myself that for several days. ‘I am not a smoker. I’m not a smoker. I’m a non-smoker’. Guess what? In three days my cravings were gone, and I never had another cigarette again.
Kira: Wow. Okay, so I want to hear more about changes you’ve experienced. You shared specific examples of what you’re doing daily, and you have been doing, to feel valuable in the moment, and all those decisions that you’ve made. What are some of the examples of changes you’ve experienced and witnessed in your own life based off all those micro decisions that you’ve made so far?
Bryna: Oh sure. Absolutely. Well the first is that I’ve created space for me to actually stay connected to this new sense of purpose. Because when I default, and I’m still catching myself doing this. It’s not like a permanent fix. I haven’t just changed forever. But I have changed enough that when I start going back to my old habits of overworking, of being a martyr to my business, I see it immediately. I can stop and I can say, ‘This is not what a person who values herself does’.
When we’re going into those deep core beliefs about ourselves, if we have this deep core belief that we’re not valuable and we’re working on changing that, there’s going to be layers to it. It’s not just going to be a one and done like the smoking thing was. There’s going to be places that we have to revisit it, and where it comes up unexpectedly.
I notice myself making unaligned decisions, and I stop and I’m like, ‘No. I’m going to course correct here’. The result has been that I have more energy than ever for what I’m doing, and I have more clarity than ever about where I want to go. I’m not poo-pooing my big dreams anymore. I spent almost all of my life just minimizing my big dreams because I didn’t feel that they were possible for me. I always sort of, even though I wanted to be in a leading space, I wanted to be teaching people, I wanted to be a thought leader, I wanted to be someone who was really delivering value from herself, I pushed that down for so many years and I did it in the background. I did it as an editor. I helped other people achieve what I wanted.
I never admitted this to anybody. I barely admitted it to myself. But one of the big things that stepping into my value has done is, it’s given me permission to say, ‘I have a huge dream and I’m going for it’. Because instead of, ‘Why me?’, it’s, ‘Why not me?’. Why not me? I can do this just as well as anybody else. I can be in this space and hold my own. I’m learning to trust myself there. That’s a huge turnaround, even from nine months ago, never mind nine years ago.
I think it’s incremental, and it’s only when we pause and we reflect at who we were even just a few months back that we really see the scope of these changes. It really is about these tiny daily decisions. It’s not about burning all your bridges and doing the big thing and making the big leap. It’s just, it’s about the little habits and the little choices and the little things we say to ourselves every day. That’s why I teach this as an evolutionary process. We are becoming the best versions of ourselves. We can make a quantum leap in a thought process. In a way of being. In a self-identity. But going to the best of ourselves is a process.
Rob: Yeah, there’s so much ground that we’ve covered here, Bryna, and so much good things to implement into our own lives. But tell us what’s next for you. You’ve got an event coming up, and some other things going on?
Bryna: Absolutely. Kira and I are actually working together on the copy for my event page. That will be finalized soon. I have a placeholder up there right now though, so if you want to check that out it’s evolution2019.com is the event. It basically, it’s three days of everything that we’ve been talking about here. It’s going to be, people are going to come with a dream and leave with a plan. It’s really all about identifying where we need to make these quantum leaps in our lives in order to have everything that we want and be able to live into our dreams.
I have some amazing women who are also going to be speaking an contributing their wisdom. That’s really occupying a lot of my head space right now. I’m so grateful, Kira, to be working with you on this. I can’t even say this enough. Because when it’s our vision, the clarity that we had even working for other people, I had so much less clarity about how to present my own vision than I ever did helping other people with their visions. Being able to step into this, and you’re so magnificent at what you do. To be able to really trust you with this, even though writing is my background, has just been magical. I’m super excited to see what we create together and how we can bring this forth into the world. Because you’re a part of this now too.
Kira: I know, and I will be there too.
Bryna: Yay, I’m excited.
Kira: Did you say where it’s located?
Bryna: It’s in Providence, Rhode Island on May 8th through 10th, 2019. It’s a Wednesday through Friday, three full days. Plus there is an evening event on the Thursday, and if you sign up as a VIP there’s a VIP dinner on the Wednesday, which Kira will be at. Which is so exciting. It’s going to be so much fun, and I really want to keep this fun and lighthearted, as well as, ‘Oh my gosh. Super deep dive. Your mind is going to be blown’. I think it’s going to be an amazing group of people, and it’s going to be just transformative.
Kira: Let’s all go and hang out with Bryna.
Bryna: Yes please.
Kira: If you are listening and you want to go, just send me a message so we can coordinate and hang out. All right, so thank-you so much, Bryna. Where can everyone find you, beyond the event site? Where can they find you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Bryna: Well my website is chooseyourevolution.blog. I have some short very off the cuff videos on there on my video blog talking about various subjects. There’s some information on there about how to get in touch with me and what’s coming up. It’s just sort of a catch all site for this work. Chooseyourevolution.blog.
Rob: Thanks, Bryna.
Kira: Thank-you, Bryna. I feel like every time I talk to you, you blow my mind and make me feel like anything is possible, so thank-you so much.
Bryna: Anything is possible, because you are a container for the universe. I just can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to be here today. Thank-you as well, Rob, for the discussion. This has been wonderful.
You’ve been listening to The Copywriter Club Podcast with Kira Hug and Rob Marsh. Music for the show is a clip from Gravity by Whitest Boy Alive, available in iTunes. If you like what you’ve heard, you can help us spread the word by subscribing in iTunes, and by leaving a review. For show notes, a full transcript, and links to our free Facebook community, visit thecopywriterclub.com. We’ll see you next episode.