Aaron Graham joins me to explore the meaning we give our experiences and how it affects us. We also discuss different ways to interact with our experiences and how to restart when we’ve lost our way.

Conversation Highlights

  • John & Aaron met as coaches to Capital One’s Money Coaching program
  • Aaron’s path to coaching and previous background in acting
  • Coaching helps people examine the meaning and stories they create about their lives and opens the possibility of choosing new ones
    • Discovering the unconscious rules you are living by
    • Choosing to change them and select new ones
  • The amount of time we waste arguing with what is present (and often not)
  • Sometimes we set the trajectory of our lives based on assumptions and gaps we’ve filled in that aren’t even true
  • In the absence of concrete data our inner critic often fills in the gaps in unhelpful ways
  • As an actor Aaron learned through many years of “rejection” that not being selected for a part often had nothing to do with him personally
    • Taking things personally would have resulted in lasting about a week in that industry
  • What do we have control of and what do we want to let go of?
  • Consciously choosing how we want to use a particular situation and what we want to get from it
  • When things don’t go the way we hoped it’s natural…
    • To be judgemental and negative towards ourselves
    • For our heart to take longer to catch up to our head
    • To globalize one situation to whole of our lives
  • Aaron’s favorite re-grounding mindfulness questions
    • What am I experiencing and feeling right now?
    • What does that tell me that I need in this moment?
  • Resistance, frustration disappointment naturally keep us in a place of judgement and negativity
  • Responding to difficult situations
    • Not giving them meaning vs. creating a different story
    • Choosing from a place of power and strength
    • Taking action
  • Creating a really negative story about a particular situation might be an indicator that you are having a stress response
    • It can be used as a tool or an indicator of what’s going on for you instead of a story to be embraced and lived into
  • The value of letting yourself be exactly where you are at and feel it all as deeply as you can
    • Let that energy out
    • Explore what it’s telling you
    • Consider what you need
  • We miss out and keep ourselves stuck when we tell ourselves that we are having the wrong feelings, emotions or reaction to a situation
    • By judging the experience
    • Not allowing our system to experience what it needs to experience so it can move on
  • If you tell yourself that you aren’t supposed to have the experience that you are having you are judging and fighting the experience you are having and not letting your system experience what it needs to experience so it can move on
  • “I’m noticing that I believe that…. is going to ruin my life.
    • How true is that?
    • What is this telling me that I need right now?
  • Raising the consciousness around what you are experiencing
    • Pay attention to what you are noticing
    • When do you get triggered and go into a stress response?
    • What are the stories you are living in?
    • What are the rules that you live your life by?
    • Are these things serving you or not serving you (not good vs. bad)?
  • Judgement of self gets in the way of being able to objectively evaluate what’s genuinely serving us or not
  • Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
    • Being kind to ourselves and giving ourselves as much time and space as we need to go through the process

The Subjectivity of Meaning

Get More Aaron Graham


All songs licensed under Creative Commons