March 21, 2023

As I was saying a few episodes ago, change is constant, and is going to happen to us ALL the time. We have no freaking idea what life is going to throw at us from one moment to the next, and we swim in a pool of almost complete uncertainty almost all of the time.

So how to we manage that? How do we consistently show up for ourselves and the people we care about in life? How do we learn to be better at our emotions, moods, energy, and handle the varied and challenging circumstances we get handed each new day by good ol’ life?

We learn to Have Our Own Back.

That’s what I get into today. What I mean by that statement, why it’s so important, and crucially HOW to get started having your own back.

Have a listen, learn what it means to have your own back, and let me know how this helped you.

With love and gratitude,
Israel. xo


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Welcome to the Illuminating Lives podcast. I’m Israel Smith mindset and performance coach for successful high achievers. Just like you, we want more meaning and purpose in your life without the stress, burnout and overwork. I’ll share how you can make simple changes to your mindset, habits and choices to stop those racing thoughts or angry outbursts and create more time, more energy, more balance, and a lighter, calmer head and heart.

This podcast is for you. If you’re ready to learn how to thrive in our uncertain world. Prioritize your own well-being and mental health. Improve your relationships with your partner and kids. Rediscover some fun, and just get back on track to living your best life every day. I’m stoked that you’re here.

Hi there listeners. Welcome to another episode. It’s Israel and I am excited, as per usual, to talk to you about this week’s topic. Why you need to Have your own Back. Before I get into that, I want to talk about what the hell do I mean by having your own back? You know, in films or in popular culture that is saying, Hey, I’ve got you back, man.

It’s about being supported. It’s about being somebody that can be relied upon. It’s about being trusted. It’s all that kind of stuff. And so what I’m talking about in this situation is being that for ourselves, by having our own back, is being able to give ourselves the support, the care, the encouragement, the pep talks that we need, being resilient, being resourceful in the face of difficulty, challenge and other, you know, life, doing its life’s thing, trusting ourselves vitally, vitally important.

And actually, in my experience of my clients, more rare than we might think. And it’s about being steady and being adaptable, being able to cope right now, all of these things are, I suppose, a way of cultivating a sense in ourselves that we can stand firm, we can be okay no matter what life and our circumstances or the economy or the weather or whatever throws at us.

All right. So having our own back is all of those things. And why is that so important? Well, it’s important because life constantly throws change at us. Life constantly shocks us. Curveballs we have no idea what’s coming. I spoke about this in an episode, a couple back about how to handle change like a legend. We went deep, dived into change about the fact that it’s constant, it’s never ending and we need to be able to handle it.

And I think in a way this is also that it’s also about, you know, being able to handle change powerfully, but being able to handle anything powerfully because lots of other stuff happens in life besides just change. You know, we have uncertainty. We literally swim in an ocean of uncertainty. We think we don’t. We labor under an illusion that everything is going to continue tomorrow, much the same as it was today.

But, you know, the events of the last couple of years, specifically pandemic crazy natural disasters, all that kind of stuff has shown us that we literally don’t really know what’s coming. We don’t know how many hours, days, months, years we have left on the planet, let alone what’s going to happen, you know, socially, geologically, geopolitically, whatever. Life can also be hard.

Life can be hard, right? We can have difficulties in relationships. We can have difficulties with our health. We can have difficulties with our job, our income, our sense of peace and security, all that sort of stuff. Right. And, you know, without and in a sense of resilience, without cultivating this belief in this practice of having our own back will be like a tiny, thin little sapling that gets blown over and snapped in the first bite of bad weather.

All right. We will be, I suppose, flapping about in the breeze without a sense of being grounded or rooted with something strong. We want to have a strong foundation. And I suppose being able to support ourselves well, being able to have our own back, it’s an act of radical self-love. So all of these factors are at play here.

When I say, you know, having our own back is vitally important because we never know what’s coming. We never know what circumstance is going to turn up. From the minute we open our eyes in the morning, we can kind of predict with a degree of accuracy and like it honestly, realistically, I know things don’t necessarily move as fast as regularly as what we’ve seen in the last couple of years, you know, but I think it’s important for us to recognize that the world is shifting.

Economic uncertainty seems to be kind of the flavor of the day, and geopolitical uncertainty seems to be escalating a bit. You know, the media is certainly doing its best impression of a hype and fear mongering machine. And in light of all of that, we need to be able to manage and regulate ourselves. I mean, this actually the other really good point, which I didn’t write down in my notes originally, but having our own back is to me correlated with being able to regulate our own nervous system, being able to manage our emotions, our thoughts better so that we can show up as the version of ourselves that we want to show up as.

So if you imagine life throws you a curve ball like you know you’re in traffic on the way to work and you get rear ended by another car and then suddenly you’re on the side of the road and you’re late to three meetings and you know, you’ve got a whole bunch of insurance expense that you weren’t anticipating and you may have picked up an injury because of the whiplash and all of the other staff in that situation, being able to really double down on the things that help you stay regulated like good wellbeing practices, they stop you from turning into some psycho rage monster or, you know, or alternatively spiraling into a chronic amount of like a victim helplessness kind of behavior as well.

Having your own back in that situation means you can accept that what happened sucked because it probably did. And then you can go, right? I still need to meditate. I need to look after myself. I still need to take care of this vessel as best as I can. And I need to show up in my family and I need to show up at work and I just need to do my best to regulate myself, to manage myself, and to not go into an extreme of emotional or ego or small self based kind of response.

So all of those sorts of things, all of those examples are reasons why it’s really crucial, why we need to be able to have our own back. Now, I don’t advocate this as a you have to have your own back because friggin no one else will and you’re on your own man. And you know, if you don’t have your own back, you’re going to be out in the dust and Blur.

I think that’s a load of shit, right? I think we are intrinsically a social and connected species. In fact, science tells us that. But I also think that we want to be connected to other people when we are showing up as our best self. We want to be in community and in connection, in relationship with others. But it’s our ultimate responsibility to manage ourselves, to take the actions that are going to help us be our best and to, in a way, kind of like go to the gym emotionally, mentally, spiritually, so that we can be resilient in the face of unusual and extenuating circumstances because they’re going to happen.

It’s inevitable, right? Life is going to life. It’s as my my coach, Lisa, says, life life’s us whether we like it or not. Right? So we throw it, get thrown curveballs, we get to get a front. We’re got to do our best to show up and front up and, you know, be alright with whatever we get. So that’s where having our own back is like it’s actually, I think, not just radical self-love, it’s radical self responsibility.

It’s actually taking the approach. This is my life. I am the one who is in charge of how I turn up and show up and how I respond rather than react. And by having my own back, I can be I can have a core of, you know, strength, power, discipline, rigor, whatever. I can be confident and centered and grounded in myself to take actions to support myself no matter what external circumstances I am currently facing.

How good does that sound? So if we take it as read now that what I mean when I say having our own back and then the reasons why, like I think they’re fairly self-explanatory, the ones I’ve gone through, it’s kind of a no brainer if we take all that is given. Now the next question is, well, okay, great.

Israel, you just told me it’s important to have my own back and you’ve told me why and you tell me what it means, how the frig do I do that? And that’s a valid and wonderful question and one that I hope to go some way to answering today as well in this episode. So to me, our ability to be the person that has our own back, you know, I spoke at the start about what that sort of means, relying on ourselves, trusting ourselves, showing up for ourselves, looking after ourselves all of those things.

They start small, they start really small. In essence, what we are doing when we are cultivating this, this sensation of having our own back with this knowledge of where we’ve got our own back. We’re laying the foundations for a powerful, strong, conscious, intentional life. And the way to get there, in my experience and in, you know, I would like to think there are other people I know who have done this.

So I don’t think it’s just my experience. I’m pretty sure that, in fact, now you know what? I can guarantee you that this is not just maybe because I’ve seen clients do it. We start small with little steps to prove to ourselves that we can trust and rely on ourselves. Now, there’s an amazing book I’ve referred to a large number of times on this podcast called Atomic Habits by a man called James Clear.

Go to any bookshop. It’ll probably be in like one of the, you know, top ten or 20 positions of like nonfiction books. It’s radical. It’s such a great book. It’s so simple, it’s so powerful. Here’s why. Atomic means the smallest component part and habits are repetitive behaviors. We do day after day after day. Now, these tiny component parts, I’ll give you an example.

This year I’ve been very focused on my health, and one of my atomic habits is to weigh myself on a set of scales every single day. It’s a 32nd or less pace of what, in fact, I think about it. It’s probably like a ten second job. Drag the scales out from where they are under the bed, stand on them, wait a second or two for it to calculate and register and then get off and walk away or out.

It’s, you know, ten, 15 seconds tops. That 15 second activity focuses my mind on the actions I need to take for my health and wellbeing. And that also starts a bit of a cascade in my head of meditating and doing some exercise and then fasting until lunch time. So all of those things stem from this one tiny little habit.

And what I have found in my life and in my clients lives, when we commit to a single small action for ourselves, for our own good, and then do it repetitive early, we start to change our self-image. We start to know ourselves as somebody who commits to and follows through on actions for themselves. There’s no one going to reward me with, you know, thousands or millions of dollars because I weigh myself every morning.

And the person that I’m doing it for isn’t even really me. It’s my future self. It’s Israel. Three months from now, six months from now, ten years from now. So I don’t get an immediate payoff from jumping on the scales. But what I’ve learned is that by taking this small action every single day, it sets up a cascade of positive behaviors in me.
I know myself as somebody who follows through on what he commits to. I trust myself. I rely on myself. And that is one of a host of activities that I do to look after myself and my wellbeing. Looking after myself and my wellbeing is literally one of the core foundations of having our own back, right? We are only as good.

So there’s this this statement I want to sort of share. I’m just going to set it up in my head. Hang on. Right. If the actions we take are only as good as the version of us taking those actions or saving like, you know, coach slash transformational speak, what that is, is like our doing is only as good as the being doing the doing.

If we are feeling like crap, if we are flapping around loose in the breeze because we’re not grounded and centered in ourselves, if we don’t rely on ourselves or know ourselves as someone that can commit and trust what we say to ourselves, we break our individual commitments to us personally all the time. Then that it’s like a disease, it’s like a fungus or a mold or a cancer that starts to chip away at our sense of self esteem, our sense of self-worth, our sense of self value.

And ultimately, over time, we start to know ourselves as someone who always breaks their commitments, who can’t follow through on anything, and who never finishes what they start. Now from that place. How do you think those actions that you take are going to show up in the world? If that’s the foundational energy that you are bringing to them as opposed to I take actions to support my health every day, I know that I can be relied on and trusted by myself to do the things for me that I commit to The version of me that shows up and does things from that energy.

And I’ve been both, believe me, the version of me with the energy of I can trust and rely on myself. I have my own back way more powerful way more effective, way more successful, way more helpful and of service. And on top of all of that, I show up better in every area of my life, not just work, not just money in my relationships, in my community, out in the surf, in my like my relationship, my kids, like all of that stuff.

It all gets impacted. So choosing one small step that you can do every single day and then committing to that and then following through on that and then just doing the bloody thing every single day. And I really do encourage this to be super small, super granular and something that is just for you, just your own sense of peace, wellbeing or health brought something that doesn’t have a financial payoff, something that is just for you as like an intrinsic good.

You know, maybe it’s you spend 2 minutes meditating every day or maybe it’s you just do like, I don’t know, 20 squats, just bodyweight squats. That’s all. Just 20 of them a day, that’s all. But you just commit to doing it every single day or like me, get on the scales and just begin noticing and building awareness of health.

But the action of getting on the scales every day, like whatever that that step is, do that. That’s the starting point. That’s how you begin. You begin by taking the first small next right step. From there you can begin to train yourself that you are valuable, that you are worthy, that you can be trusted and relied upon. Now, I want to add, there’s a whole bunch of tools that I did a massive series on called the Thrive List or Thrive steps or Thrive framework or thrive Fundamentally, it’s all the same thing.

I’ve called it different things in different parts of the podcast and different episodes, but the Thrive list or the THRIVE tools, these tools are all designed to help you function at your optimum as a human right. It encompasses asleep and nutrition, looking after our head with mindfulness, looking after our sense of gratitude in the world, moving our body physically, connecting with others, and getting out of denial and self-deception, and having the brave conversations with ourselves and with others that we have to have those seven things and out as a go through them really fast.

I went into massive amounts of detail at the beginning of last year in a series I will link in the show notes. My thrives tools. There’s a PDF that I’ll you can actually tell you what there’s a page on my website Israel Smith dot com slash thrive go there punch your email address in and instantly you’ll get taken to a PDF that has links to every single podcast episode in the Thrive series as well as a template about how to put together your Thrive list.

Now that is another powerful tool to help you begin to have your own back. What it what it’s doing is or what it does when you when you implement each of these thrive steps one by one, over time you’re really cultivating an unshakable core, a sense of steadfastness and a sense of resilience in yourself that you can adapt and roll with anything that comes your way.

Because at the core of yourself, you know that you’ll be just damn fine. You will be 110% fine no matter what the external world has to throw at you. If you practice and deeply embody these seven steps. Now, I’ve been chipping away at them for years now. They are literally like the foundational pieces of my overall wellbeing, how I have managed and thrived despite my tendencies toward mental illness with depression, anxiety, despite my dad’s suicide in 2019, despite pandemic, despite massive business and personal changes over the last couple of years, you know all that stuff I have been able to handle because I have had this really strong foundation in place.

I have had my own back. That’s what’s possible. When you embody this work, that’s what’s available for you. When you do the thing right now. Finally, there’s two more things I want to talk to you about, about the how. Right? So we’ve gone through the what does it mean to have your own back? We’ve gone through why it’s so vitally important.

I’ve even gone through, you know, the one small thing daily and then the Thrivers those two parts, there’s two more parts in the how. One of them is to explore your beliefs or your thought patterns about yourself, about your self, talk about your capabilities, about how you manage and handle in difficult situations. The way you can explore this is by doing some journaling and starting with when I think about myself, I think and whatever comes out next, right?

Write it down. When I think about myself, I think this to be true, or Here’s what I know to be true about myself, and then just write a stream of consciousness. And when you check in like that and when you don’t overthink it, you just write whatever flows off your pen, you will notice that some of it is good and positive and some of it may well be negative.

And if you’re at a particularly low ebb in your headspace or in your mood or your sort of cycle of emotional regulation, you may find that a fair chunk of that of what comes out of your brain, through your pen, onto paper is negative or self-defeating or self deprecating or, you know, all those sorts of things. That’s okay.

The first step here is awareness. The first step is recognizing where you are at and from that place of where you are, then you can go forward to improve that with those things I spoke about. But like doing some journaling, doing some writing, just exploring what are my beliefs about this? What do I believe to be true about myself or one of my regular most common thoughts about myself and my capacity to, you know, have my own back, to be resourceful, to be resilient?

That’s that’s the third bit, right? Just going through all that. The fourth bit is to begin to collect evidence. Now, here’s a piece of truth. You have survived every challenge life has thrown at you. You have a 100% survival rate of everything life has thrown at you. You may have had difficulties, you may have had trauma, you may have had some very challenging paths to your life.

And I certainly in no way diminish the impact that those events can have and the scars, you know, that each of us may have carried from various phases in our lives. But if we’re still here, as my old man would say, the cross is still pointing to the ground. If we had to upright and breathing, then we’ve survived it.

We’ve survived it. We can come away from that experience with lessons, with insights, with an understanding of what we don’t want to happen in future, even. But because you have survived it, you have evidence that you can do hard things. You can withstand or endure difficulties. And that’s the piece I want you to focus on the evidence of the hard things, the evidence of the times that you’ve had your own back, the evidence of this, the situations in which you’ve been able to deploy some resilience from your inner reserves, some resourcefulness to help you find solutions.

When it looked like everything was lost, your ability to bounce back after death, trauma, heartbreak, being fired, whatever. All of those things are evidence to support this notion that you can have your own back, you can look after yourself, you can manage and handle, no matter what life throws at you. So that’s the whole picture I wanted to paint for you today.

I really wanted you to understand that having your own back is that radical act of self-love and an act of radical self-responsibility. It is about knowing that you can rely on yourself and that you can trust yourself and that you have the tools, the resources, the resilience to manage no matter what life throws at you. Right? Upswing, downswing, great weather, catastrophe, relationship success, relationship breakdown, you know, business, thriving business, bankruptcy.

I’m throwing out a bunch of extremes. What would it be like for you to know that no matter what happened in life, you had your own back, you were able to be powerful in the face of circumstances. That’s what’s available. That’s what it means. And I’ve gone through a bunch of different things. You can do that, so make sure you check those details in the show notes for the Thrive List tools.

Do some of those exercises of writing that I mentioned and really just start to think about what might it look like if I had my own back. Now, here’s the final part for today’s episode. It’s entirely possible that you’re at a point in your life where having your own back feels like completely out of reach. It feels really impossibly hard or so utterly unfamiliar that you just wouldn’t be able to do it.

That’s okay. That’s where I can help you. A second set of eyes, an external insight and perspective. Perhaps I can see some opportunities for you. Awesome. Some skill and strength in you that you can’t see in your self. Reach out and let’s get on the calendar together to have a conversation. All right. Jump on my website. Israel Smith dot com slash coach me and booking a clarity session where we can start to talk about what’s going on in your life.

How I can help give you the tools and the skills and the insights and the awareness to start to have your own back and how I can bring a little accountability to the mix for you so that as you develop these skills and these tools and as you start to know yourself as someone who has your own back, you’ve got a guide, you’ve got a backstop in me, you’ve got someone who’s going to help kind of nudge you along the path when your nervous system or your beliefs or your patterns of behavior are all sending you sideways and telling you to run like crazy for the hills.
On the other side of this difficulty is an extraordinary loss, I promise you, because I’ve experienced it myself firsthand and it is worth it. I look forward to hearing from you. Jump on my website. Let’s grab a spot on the calendar. Israel Smith dot com slash coach me. That’s it for this episode. Have an amazing evening wherever you are I look forward to speaking to you again next week.

And if you don’t already, please jump on my email list and and or and follow me on the various social networks. I am being really, really talkative and chatty and posting an awful lot at the moment, which has given people a lot to think about and talk about and chat with me about, which is rad. So I want to see you on there too.
All right. Take care. I’ll speak to you next time on the next episode. Bye.

Thank you so much for joining me on this episode. Since you’re still listening, you’re probably the kind of person who loves to get the most out of everything in life. So let’s have a conversation about that. I want to invite you to book in a 30 minute clarity session with me where we can talk about what you want, what’s in the way, and what the next steps look like.

Plus, we can also have a chat about how I work and if we’re the right fit to work together. So take a minute now jump over to my website at Israel Smith dot com slash coach me and grab a spot on my calendar. Let me help you get the most out of your life, your work and your relationships in the first place to start is with a clarity session.

That’s Israel Smith dot com slash coach me I look forward to hearing from you soon.

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