Explorations and Reflections

on awakening the true self  in education

  • Mick Scott

In the car with one of my sons this weekend, we had a conversation about freedom and limitations.

He said that freedom means no limitations. I told him that my freedom is only possible with limitations.

He called BS, and here's my response...

One of those all-important life lessons that we never learn anywhere:

💥 Every YES is defined by the NOs that come with it.

💥 Every NO is in service of a more important YES.

Saying YES

When we say YES, we’re exercising our freedom to choose. We are committing to something. Being free to say YES is an expression of our liberty.

It’s important to recognize that when we say YES, though, that we’re also saying NO. In fact, every YES is defined by its NOs.

YES to a committed relationship usually means NO to sleeping around.

YES to this job usually means NO to working on other things during work hours.

YES to a big project means NO to the default avoidance strategies that get in the way.

Try it out - everything we say yes to is inevitably supported by a handful of NOs.

This is powerful! It's the access to honoring our YES, to allowing our YES to produce results. Every YES is defined by the myriad NOs that come with it.

If I say YES to my boss that I’ll handle a task on the weekend, I’m maybe saying NO to being 100% present with my family. I might also be saying NO to my health and well-being. I’m likely saying NO to my own integrity that’s telling me not to agree to this task.

If I say YES, even tacitly, to participating in negative and complaining gossip at work, then I’m saying NO to living powerfully.

So many times we’ll say YES to something, then complain about it. Or complain about someone. Or play the victim.

When we say YES, let’s mean it. Let’s be responsible about the NOs that come with it. Let’s say YES wholeheartedly, or let’s say NO instead.

And if we one day see that we're no longer willing to be a YES, then let's say NO. Because that NO will likely mean that we're in touch with a more important YES.

Saying NO

When I say NO to something, it's because I'm committed to something bigger behind it. When I say NO, I'm actually saying YES to that other thing.

Every time we say NO to something, we’re actually honoring something else we’ve said YES to. NOs are in service of the YESes in life.

NO to unhealthy foods is a YES to health.

NO to another episode is a YES to sleeping better.

NO to this relationship is a YES to creating the next one.

NO to my boss might be a YES to my family.

One of my clients is a self-professed YES-Mom. She always says YES to her kids. She can't help it! When she got that NOs are always in service of something else, it blew her freaking mind. All of a sudden, NO became an access to her saying YES to something more important and valuable.

NO to shopping means YES to appreciating what we've got.

NO to sweets means YES to health and well-being.

Here are a couple ways we can practice making each YES a HELL YES and empowering each NO to be in service of a bigger YES:

  • YES practice: before saying YES, get clear for yourself what NOs may be coming along with that YES. Are you willing to say NO in all those ways in service of the YES on the table?

  • NO practice: when you feel like saying NO, get clear what your YES is behind it. So many of us are trapped by wanting to please others that we often say YES when we don’t authentically want to. Knowing what our NOs are in service of empowers us to say NO.

And as is true with many distinctions, there are pitfalls to this YES/NO distinction: using YES and using NO in service of our insecure, ego self.

Our authentic desires and yearnings are often clouded behind the fog of societal conditioning in our minds. Pleasing is an obvious one - so many of us sell out on our own integrity to please another, to be liked, to avoid hurting someone's feelings. There are others too.

A way around this is to bring another mind into the equation, one as committed to you as you are. A friend, a coach, a teacher, etc. Intentional conversations with people who listen to our best self help us regain clarity and take empowered action forward.

Thanks so much for reading. ❤️

P.S. Big shout out to Michael Bungay Steiner and his book The Coaching Habit for teaching me this powerful YES/NO distinction a while back.

  • Mick Scott

Creating (external) conditions to get what we really want

A Zen master was giving a talk at the monastery. The master said to the monks: "Enlightenment is a Happy Accident."

After the talk, a monk came up and said to the master: "If enlightenment is a Happy Accident, then why do we meditate for hours a day, practice mindful gardening, and take occasional vows of silence?"

The master replied: "To become Accident-Prone."

Getting what we want - I mean what we really want - requires us to create external conditions to support us in getting it.

Love, enjoyment, ease, passion, fulfillment, satisfaction, connection, excitement, courage, power, insight, compassion.

Getting these things, experiencing these things, takes intentional external conditions. Conditions like:

  • Healthier lifestyles - eating better, sleeping better, moving better

  • Support structures - coach, support group, mastermind, community, and actions put into the calendar

  • Relationships - with ourselves, with others, with life, with reality (what's happening vs. our stories about what's happening)

  • Reflection - to decipher the things we truly desire beneath the surface-level material desires.

To become accident-prone and live our lives fully, it takes creating external conditions that encourage, support, and guide living life fully. External conditions make us accident-prone in the best way.

Being (internally) un-f💥ck⚡️ng-conditional

We humans are naturally quite conditional: we're internally conditional.

We assess ourselves, our situations, and others, and then we judge ourselves, our situations, and others. Our judgments become our internal conditions.

These internal conditions are reasons, and we use these conditions to play it safe, to play it small, and to justify our lack of courage.

  • Reasons to hold back.

  • Reasons to be guarded.

  • Reasons to be fearful.

  • Reasons to be doubtful.

  • Reasons to be stagnant.

  • Reasons to sit on our asses.

When we live our lives internally conditionally, we’re waiting on the right judgments to show up at the right times in order for us to take the right actions that inspire us.

There’s nothing wrong with living our lives conditionally! It’s more safe, it’s more protected, it’s more stable.

Living conditionally in this way, however, doesn’t have integrity.

We’re playing it safe against our inner wisdom. We’re withholding love that we’re dying to give. We’re stagnating in inaction when there are things we want to do.

Another thing about conditional living: it’s not nearly as fulfilling, invigorating, inspired, or creative as unconditional living is.

Check out this list. It's just the start.

  • Unconditionally forgiving

  • Unconditionally connected

  • Unconditionally joyful

  • Unconditionally present

  • Unconditionally engaged

  • Unconditionally generous

  • Unconditionally compassionate

  • Unconditionally grateful

  • Unconditionally at ease

  • Unconditionally inspired

  • Unconditionally courageous

  • Unconditionally in action

  • Unconditionally in service

  • Unconditionally passionate

  • Unconditionally loving

  • Unconditionally alive

So here’s what you’ve been waiting for, the trick to living an inspired, unconditional life.

Act based on your desired result, not based on your internal conditions, your judgments.

If your desired result is from inspiration, this way of life can't fail. There's only growing, being, acting, and living full out.

You want more love? Act lovingly, unconditionally. Cultivate loving feelings in your body, find loving perspectives to think, and speak with compassion and affection unconditionally.

You want more effective and fulfilling action? Express yourself and take action based on what inspires you, based on what has integrity for you, based on the future you'd love to create. And do this un-fucking-conditionally.

Look, it really is that simple. And the ONLY ingredient we ever need to live an inspired, unconditional life is this: Courage. When we are courageous, our actions, words, and feelings take care of themselves. We become invincible.

Thanks so much for reading. ❤️

P.S. One of my superpowers is that people who coach with me experience a profound shift in their lives - they consistently get in touch with what matters most to them, they take inspired and effective action, and they feel really good about it all. If you're interested in exploring what working with me would be like for you, schedule an exploration conversation with me. I promise - it'll be worth it.

  • Mick Scott

My fundamental insecurity in life is that "I'm not enough."

Not man enough, father enough, husband enough, teacher, friend, sibling, son enough. I'm not good enough, smart enough, attractive, funny, fun, or nice enough. I'm not wise, insightful, present, compassionate, or engaged enough.

Left up to my default thinking and behaviors, I'm just not good enough - and so I'm kinda doomed to failure. Why even try...

But 17 years ago in a weekend workshop, I saw that core insecurity, that core fear, for what it was - a story that 4-year-old me made up and believed. And I got free.

Free to live full-out, love full-out, create full-out, and enjoy life as much as I did when I was a kid. Free to allow ease, peace, and passion into my experience no matter what.

It’s magical. It’s powerful. And it’s so freaking enlivening.

Here are three powerful exercises, and I promise you they're worth trying out:

1. Find out how people you trust see you, and trust them. Our insecurities really seem real to real. So ask someone else to describe you. Start building a new perspective of yourself, one that more closely matches reality than the story you’ve been telling yourself for years. Ask your friends, ask your family, ask yourself even:

  • What am I great at?

  • What do you love about me?

  • What is special about me?

  • What should I be proud of?

2. Start expressing those insecurities for what they are - thoughts. Write them out, and for each one you write down, really get that it’s just a judgment about yourself. Our insecurities are just self-judgments. Yes there’s sometimes a lot of emotion (usually fear) tied to our insecurities, but our insecurities are just thoughts - literally nothing else. There’s a world of a story wrapped around our insecurities - YEARS of justifications and proof. Yet they remain just judgments in the present, thoughts we aim and fire at ourselves.

3. Act anyway. I know, this sounds so cliché. But our insecurities are phantoms from our past, decisions from former versions of ourselves, judgments made by children and adolescent me and you. Acting in the face of our insecurities helps us build evidence and confidence that the insecurities are indeed bull crap.

I still trip, stumble, and wobble sometimes, and that's exactly why I have support systems in life to help me live my best life - I've got a coach and I’ve got daily practices and routines to help me continue to thrive in life.

Thriving and being unconditionally in love with life: that's what living full out means to me.

And the access to it? Getting that my insecurities are just some persistent thoughts I use to play life safe.

What becomes possible for you when your insecurities fizzle away?

Thanks so much for reading. ❤️

P.S. If you'd like support along your journey - to love, feel, give, act, create, and experience life more freely and powerfully - schedule a free exploration Zoom call with me. Through transforming my fundamental insecurity, I've become a phenomenal coach - let me support you.