Pocket of Joy. The 3 S Strategy: State, Story, Strategy

Almost nothing gives me more joy than a new self-development tool — and yes, I am a dork and proud of it!! I particularly love quick “go to” self-talk nuggets — easy to remember lines I can use when I fall into an inevitable low moment. The question is not “Will I have moments of low motivation?” (you will, unless you are a robot); the question is “How will I navigate them?” Those low moments are simply part of the process of being human, even for us trainers. I navigate my “moments” by having an arsenal of self-talk ready and waiting AND establishing systems to save myself from my future less-than-motivated self (I set up workout dates with friends, don’t bring unhealthy food into house, etc.).

I find self-talk that reminds me “not to believe everything I feel and think” particularly helpful. I might say “Kathleen, how you feel in this moment is not how you will always feel. Emotions come and go like the weather. Just because you think something does not mean you have to act on that thought. Blah, blah, blah … find a way to make choices your future self will be proud of.”

When I found the “3 S Strategy” (thank you, Tony Robbins via a Tim Ferriss podcast) I was ecstatic because I love a good shorthand. Now all I have to say is “Kathleen, state, story, strategy” and I am reminded of all of the above information. BAM!!

How do these three words say all that needs to be said?? Go with me …

When one is in a negative physiological state (tired, hungry, angry, depressed, etc.), it is easier to create a negative emotionally reactive story. You might create a disproportionate story like “my day sucked” vs “I had a few bad moments,” or “my partner is an asshole” vs “my partner loves me and he/she was probably having a bad day and I should ask if he/she was okay.” When we create a negative story, it becomes easier to justify an unhelpful strategy — it becomes easier to think things akin to “I should deal with my bad day by eating” or “I ‘deserve’ to skip my workout and go drinking because my partner is an asshole.” These less-than-ideal strategies don’t actually fix the root issue AND they leave you feeling like a stuffed, unfit, and/or hungover piece of crap. Just because you think you should binge or skip a workout doesn’t make that thought correct!! Thoughts are just thoughts — not truth!

When I feel myself wanting to spin a destructive story I say “HALT” and instead make myself do something to change my physiological state — I work out, listen to a podcast, have a shower, meditate, or put on music and dance around. It is amazing how I ALWAYS feel better once I have changed my state. The awesome part is, as soon as I feel better, I concoct a more appropriate and objective story, which causes my strategy to be more productive (I don’t send the nasty e-mail, I don’t binge eat, I don’t yell at James, etc.). Changing my state changes my thoughts!!!

Try it!

A note about “state change” and Tony Robbins. I watched him speak in October 2018. I don’t remember him stating the full “state, story, strategy” mantra, BUT he absolutely discussed the importance of “state.” (I didn’t hear the full kit and caboodle until Tim Ferriss). My main take-away from Tony’s talk was that no one wakes up automatically ready to bring their “A game” — even Tony Robbins has to actively create the environment that will allow him to become the self he wants to be. Tony illustrated this point by opening with a question, something like “Do you think I wake up every morning with this energy? Do you think I wake up being the ‘Tony’ you need me to be? No, BUT I am determined to bring my A game — to bring the Tony you paid to see — so I consciously get myself into the physiological state I need to be in to present the Tony I want to be. I create the person I want to show up as.”

I was like hells YES. I want to “show up” as the Kathleen I want to be. From that day forward I have tried to purposely put myself in the state that allows me to think and then act as the Kathleen I want to be.

Try the “3 S Strategy” — or any version of self-talk and state change — then message me your thoughts and experiences!!