Climbing The Ladder

The “Self-Coaching Model” That Helps Me Get Out Of Any Professional Funk

By | Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Exactly one year ago, I was going through it. Really going through it. I had just gone through what seemed like the worst thing that could possibly happen in my life: the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with left. I remember thinking “I don’t know how I’m going to ever get better, but I’m going to. I’m not going to let him take more from me than he already has. I’m not going to let this ruin me. I’m not going to be like his best friend, who was still moping around crying at bars an entire year later after his girlfriend had left him.” I vowed to come out of it better than I went into it. In the midst of feeling awful, I decided to try everything. Looking back this was the key to getting out of it. I took action. I didn’t wait for time to pass. It’s like the Andy Warhol quote, “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” I really understood this and knew it was up to me to feel better. I relied on close friends and family. I went to therapy. I read books. I listened to podcasts. I even watched YouTube videos. One day I landed on The Life Coach School podcast. I listened to one episode, which led to two, which led to 10, which led to listening to every single episode (over 200) in a matter of a couple weeks. (Like everything else in my life, I didn’t dabble. I went all in.

In a matter of a couple weeks, my life completely did a 180 (if you’ve read my story, you already know this). I learned how to manage my mind completely. I am feel so much better and happier than I ever was even when I was with that guy. They call this post-traumatic growth, where you come out better than before the event happened. I remember my therapist telling me I didn’t need to come back and asking me, “how does it feel to be healthy?” I remember laughing and saying “pretty damn good.”Brooke Castillo teaches a lot of different topics on The Life Coach School, but most notably she teaches the tool called the Self Coaching Model that I am going to teach to you here that is at the root of all the personal growth I had in the last year.

The Self-Coaching Model

I learned the Self-Coaching Model from Brooke at the Life Coach School, but it’s worth mentioning that although she created the tool, she didn’t invent the theory. These are facts of the universe. They’re how the world works. There are many other thought leaders who refer to components of the model without calling it this. The Self Coaching Model is just the most practical tool I’ve seen for applying these theories.

The Self-Coaching Model has 5 parts:

1. Circumstances

Circumstances are all the facts of the world (think provable in a court of law). Circumstances are completely neutral. They’re neither good nor bad. Circumstances include other people, your past, and all the other facts of the world (like my hair is blonde).

2. Thoughts

Thoughts are sentences in your head. Thoughts that are repeated enough become beliefs. Thoughts are triggered by circumstances but are completely optional. Thoughts cause feelings.

3. Feelings

Feelings are vibrations in your body caused by your thinking (contrast this with sensations, which are caused from outside your body, like hot or cold). Your feelings cause all your actions.

4. Actions

Actions (or inactions or reactions) are what you do (or don’t do).

5. Results

Results are the effect of your actions.

The Self Coaching Model shows you that your thoughts cause your feelings, your feelings cause your actions, and your actions cause your results. Circumstances are neutral.

Truths About The Model 

  • You can’t control other people or your past;
  • When you argue with the past you lose (100% of the time);
  • Nothing outside of you has the power to make you feel a certain way;
  • It is not your circumstances but your thoughts about your circumstances that create your experience
  • You attract what you think about;
  • Feelings are vibrations in your body that lead to action, inaction, or reaction;
  • You can’t permanently change your results without changing your beliefs;
  • You can feel better now without anything in your life changing;
  • Choosing your thoughts is the most important component of feeling better.

Solving Any Problem With The Model 

You can use the Self Coaching Model to solve any problem you’re having right now as well as to create the exact future you want. Here’s an example of solving a problem using the model.

Circumstance: My husband didn’t plan anything for my birthday
Thought: My husband isn’t thoughtful and doesn’t care about me
Feeling: Sad
Action: Avoid husband, withdraw, give him the cold shoulder
Result: Less time spent with husband; less connection

In this example, the circumstance of your husband not planning anything for your birthday is completely neutral. It’s a fact that’s neither good nor bad. It doesn’t have meaning until you give it meaning. Now, you might get 1,000 people to agree with you that your thought is justified, but that doesn’t mean it’s true. Your thought is just a thought that is completely a choice. And your choice is causing you to feel sad. Despite your intentions, feeling sad only affects you. When you feel sad, your feeling of sadness doesn’t jump out of your body into your husbands. You suffer by choosing to think this thought. The beauty is that this is a choice. Here’s the same circumstance with an entirely different result.

Circumstance: My husband didn’t plan anything for my birthday
Thought: I know my husband loves me and wants to celebrate with me, so I will remind me about my birthday
Feeling: Love
Action: Plan birthday with husband
Result: Enjoy birthday with husband

Notice that the thoughts in these two models are optional. The outcomes of each thought are very different results. Your thoughts and feelings aren’t happening to you. You’re choosing them. You’ve probably just never learned how to do this intentionally. You have the power to change your thinking and feeling without any of your circumstances changing. This is magic.

Design Your Dream Life With The Model 

You can also use the model by filling it in backward (starting with the result line) to determine what you need to do, feel, and think in order to get the result you want. Here’s an example of designing your dream life with the model.

Circumstance: Online business
Thought: I know I am going to create a seven-figure business
Feeling: Committed
Action: Implement everything I learn in the course I just took, get business coach training, launch coaching program, launch podcast, run Facebook ads, grow my email list, learn direct response marketing
Result: Seven-figure business

The key to filling out an intentional model is to make sure the thought your create is one you believe. If you choose a thought you don’t believe, using that thought won’t lead to the result you want. Your thoughts only create the results in your life when you believe them. This is why I think affirmations don’t always work. When you repeat sentences you don’t believe, nothing changes.

Examples Of Thoughts And Circumstances 

Because it’s so easy to mix up thoughts and circumstances, here is a breakdown of some examples for you.

Examples of thoughts

  • I don’t make enough money;
  • I am fat;
  • My boss is rude;
  • I hate my job;
  • I can’t afford my life;
  • My mom doesn’t respect my time;
  • The airline shouldn’t have lost my luggage.

Examples of circumstances

  • I make $75,300 per year
  • I weigh 165 lbs.
  • My boss said, “You’re not very good at this, are you?”
  • I have a job
  • I pay my bills
  • My mom did not show up on time
  • The airline lost my luggage

If you get nothing else from this post, know this: it is never the circumstance causing your feelings. It is always your thought about the circumstance causing your thinking.

You Can Believe Anything 

The thoughts you think are entirely up to you. You can decide what to think. You can think anything you want. For example, you may believe you’re going to live until you’re old. But really, you might die tomorrow. The truth is you have no idea when you’re going to die. But you believe you’ll live a long life because it’s useful. How often do we spin out into believing things that don’t serve us? I used to be so guilty of this! It’s self-sabotaging. When you take responsibility for your thoughts, you take responsibility for your feelings, actions, and results. This is how you can design your dream life. It’s up to you and that is great news. I’m doing it and it’s working. Not only did I use this for recovering from my breakup, but I also used a similar tool to get into an $18,000 coaching program and run my business full time.

This Isn’t All Woo Woo Beliefs

The Self Coaching Model isn’t all idealism and manifestation. You don’t just repeat thoughts (affirmations) and expect a completely different future. That’s not how it works. What you believe (truly believe) will create feelings in your life. Those feelings create the actions you take, and those actions lead to the results. Your actions always lead to the results, but if you only focus on changing your actions without changing your thoughts, you’ll fail because you’ll self-sabotage or come up with excuses as to why you don’t want to do what it is you want most. Just look at your past for evidence of this.


Realizing that every feeling, action, and result you have in your life is because of a thought is life-changing. The good news is that you’ve created all the results you have in your life. If you want new results, you have to believe new things. It’s the new beliefs that will lead you to take the right action.

Natalie Bacon is an online entrepreneur. Prior to this, Natalie practiced as a certified financial planner, at a firm that managed over $1B in assets under management. Before her financial planning career, Natalie practiced as a business attorney. Natalie has been featured in CNBC, Forbes, and other publications. Natalie is most passionate about helping young, professional women design their dream lives. Read Natalie‘s full story here

Image via Unsplash 

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