Show Notes:

Welcome to Hello Rebecca Ray, our collective home for courage, growth, and human to human connection. I’m your host, Dr. Rebecca Ray, human, clinical psychologist, author, and educator. I know only too well how fear, comparison, and self-doubt can stifle your potential. This podcast is all about brave and meaningful living, and how you can make your authentic contribution to the world today and everyday.

Rebecca Ray
. Lovely ones, I’m excited to welcome performance and executive coach Kate McKenna to the show for today’s conversation on self discipline, and how we can use it to live into our potential. Kate is a mother, partner, daughter, sister, friend, coach, facilitator, speaker, and human. But she’ll tell you that she’s not your average executive coach. After 20 years working in corporate, she decided to break the mould and start her own business elite performance strategies to help humans be better humans. Kate helps people identify their optimum state, and work towards making it a sustainable everyday thing, not just a fleeting dream, by increasing their energy, productivity and overall balance in life. With the extensive training and relationship experience and advice background in financial planning, project management and a keen interest in health, wellness and peak performance, Kate has a wealth of knowledge to offer. And today, she’s here to do just that with us on the topic of self discipline. Welcome, Kate.

Kate McKenna
Thank you. Your voice is just so lovely. You made me even believe all that stuff about myself. It’s so great.

Rebecca Ray
If you walk away from this conversation believing in your own bio, I’m pretty happy with that.

Kate McKenna
Thank you, I am so humbled to be here to be talking to you after I’ve been reading your book. And I think this is just a great opportunity for us to mull over all of that.

Rebecca Ray
Absolutely. I wanted to dive into this having been the person that wrote a book on self sabotage and habits, I still don’t ever feel like I know enough. I’m always interested in how people from other disciplines approach things like self discipline, especially because I feel like since having a baby and life transitioning into parenthood, for me, that was the point at which my old self discipline went out the window. And this new life kind of occurred where I don’t even know that I have a way to describe it effectively, but I just don’t have the space to be as disciplined as what I used to, you know, I like I think back to my discipline in my 20s. And honestly, I look back and go, you are unwell. Like you poor thing just have a rest. Like, honestly, just go to bed. You don’t need to get up at 4:45am, like you don’t. And I did. I did all the things and then relationship, long term relationship first, so that was probably the first change for me. And then the second change was having a baby. And so I mean, I know a bit and I I know how it kind of applies, of course I know the neuroscience behind it and all that kind of stuff. But then I still sit there and go, can we just talk about this? Because it’s almost like a something that like you’re a performance coach, right. And the first thing I think about my own performance right now, is I don’t feel like I’m performing at my potential. And I’m not, I don’t know where we go from that. So can we first dive into, how did you get here? Like, how on earth did you go from all the things that you’ve done, to jump out of corporate and then into performance coaching? And then can we talk about self discipline, please?

Kate McKenna
Absolutely. So I’m glad that you sent me a target there of what question I was answering because you said so many knowledge was so great.

Rebecca Ray
Discipline stresses me out. Can you tell?

Kate McKenna
Well, first and foremost, before I jump into me, what I want to say to you is absolutely you will never know enough because we will never know everything. And that’s okay. And I think that is a huge big thing to overcome. But it also we go down a rabbit hole with that. That’s that whole thing of mastery. Yeah, that whole 10,000 hours. All of that. I think and I’m gonna butcher this now. I think it was was it Dunning Kruger where the theory is the more that you know, the less competent you get in the knowledge that you have, because you’re broadening your mind and you’re taking on more and more. So I’d say, you know, a lot more than a little bit. Absolutely. And I’m really excited to speak to you today because you’re right, like I am, I’m a performance coach. I’m very, very direct on letting people know, I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a neuroscientist, you know I leave that to the wonderful minds like yourself, and you do you fascinate me in terms of what you know, and how you have consumed all of that information. I’ve done a little bit of study on neuroscience and psychology. And wow, like, that was hard. So for you guys to immerse yourself in that, it amazes me, as I said, It fascinates me. I focus on getting people to perform. And I believe there is there’s a spectrum of what we call mental health, I call it mental fitness. There’s a spectrum, I focus on the end where we prevent things from happening. So rather than trying to cure an issue that we might have, what can we do to help you prevent that happening at all, and get you to perform in the way that you want to perform? So I guess in to answer your first question, how did I end up here, I don’t know. Like, that’s amazing. I didn’t, when I was in school think that this was ever a thing. I didn’t know this was a thing. And I can remember very, very vividly standing in front of my parents at the age of 15, saying, I’m going to be a financial advisor. And quite rightly, their response was, what is that? Because that wasn’t a thing back then. And that’s what I did, I became a financial adviser. But very early on, I realised that it wasn’t actually finance that I was interested in, I was interested in the journey that I took people on, and watching that grow for them. And so it evolved, I I’ve been out of finance, specifically for about eight to 10 years now. But as I went through that finance journey, it just started to evolve that it was the journey that I was helping take people on, that I was really, really passionate about. And the more that I learned about getting to people to perform, the more that I wanted to know, kind of what we were talking about before, it just never felt like I knew enough, it was like how could we continue to improve this and make this better. And I guess a little bit of that probably came from my sporting background. So I was a representative netballer when I was a teenager, and then more recently, I became a competitive CrossFit athlete. And so the more that I’d learned or understood about sports psychology as well, and just intertwining that into my life as a whole. It’s, I just always found myself in this role with different people throughout my life where I was trying to support them or pump them up, get them shift their mindset is probably the good explanation for that, you know, you had to be influential or persuasive to get them to think a certain way and get them to move. And it just became something that I was really, really interested in. And really, and I know so many people say this and I don’t mean it to be blase, but I’m passionate about it. Like I really do love what I do. And it just fuels my want to learn more every single day and learn more about people. Because like you said, we’ve got all the science in psychology in the world that you’ve got more now than we’ve ever had, but what does that actually mean? That’s why I use the word human because we are, we’re human. You know, it’s not just a simple recipe, you know, humans divert and do things you don’t expect and you know, it’s always uncertainty around that.

Rebecca Ray
Sounds to me like you’ve always been a place where you’re a facilitator of transformation, both in your own life and also with other people like the people that you’re working with. It sounds like what you do and what you have done perhaps in corporate as well is you facilitate transformation.

Kate McKenna
Yeah, exactly. I’ve never verbalised it that way but I love it I think I’ll steal that so that’ll be going up on website too.

Like to facilitate that like and I even I love I actually have always loved being behind the scenes and so people who know me well, people who probably don’t know me as well as what they think they do will say that I always want to be in the limelight and that’s not it at all. I actually really enjoy being behind the scenes and making something come to life and watching people have an experience. And that yes, you nailed it in being the person that can facilitate that. That’s what brings me joy.

Rebecca Ray
What role does self discipline play in all of that, then? As someone who was an elite, CrossFit athlete, which is a bit intimidating, like, come on. I guess, let’s go helicopter and then come down to street level. Can you tell me what self discipline is to you from a performance perspective? And then I’d love to know, what does it mean to you in your own daily life?

Kate McKenna
I think discipline to me is just another habit. And I say just and I don’t mean to diminish that. It’s a habit. To me performance, is habits, putting in place strong habits that allow you to succeed at whatever it is that you’re looking to succeed. But as well as that is having habits that support you for when something might like when you might fall off the waggon. So how do you get back on, how quickly do you get back on and then what you do after that, to me says more than what you may have felt felt that you failed at and again, failure to me isn’t a bad thing. And it all comes down to me in a mindset, it’s how are we doing this? What’s our perspective on what’s going on, and probably from the years of sport that I’ve done, I no longer look at failure as a bad thing. Because most especially in CrossFit, you’d have to fail to know where your limit is like, so we’ll do a heavy lift, and I have to go to failure to know that I can’t do that lift. So then my goal is to beat that lift type of thing. So if I don’t fail, then I never know where that limit is. So it’s a good thing in that respect. What I have to create is good habits around that, to allow me not to mentally fall apart when I don’t achieve something that I wanted to achieve, but also to create a sustainable way of living, I guess. And that’s what discipline is, to me is it needs to be something that’s sustainable, but it also needs to be deep into having clarity around what you’re trying to do. And I think that to me is the the basis of this, the more clarity that you have, the easier it is to create these habits, which then creates discipline, and that whole motivation thing, like motivation just doesn’t come you have to act first to be motivated. In order to act, you have to have these strong habits in place to do that. But the habits come from having clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve. And I guess over the years, my vision and my goals have changed. And as you mentioned right at the beginning, you know, once you started a family that changed things for you, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just would say it’s a great thing because you started a family, yes, but you don’t regret having a baby. But I think there is an element that morns what we had. And I know, at the time that I had my daughter, I was driven, being time by the fact that I was told by many people around me that I wouldn’t be able to continue my life the way that I was. And because at that stage, just before I fell pregnant with her, I decided I wanted to compete at CrossFit. And I’d started to look at doing that seriously. And I had my career, I was in corporate, all of that stuff. And a number of people just kept saying to me oh, now that you’ll be a mum, you can’t do that, or you can’t do this and it just erked to me. I was like who are you to tell me I can’t do something. Just because I’m bringing another little human into the world.

Rebecca Ray
That creates such a mental prison doesn’t it? Like, what a horrible thing to think you’re living into when it’s such a beautiful transition? You know? Unless you’re looking at it like that. Like that’s not so beautiful.

Kate McKenna
Exactly. And like, you know, don’t get me wrong, this is where I talked about like the mindset and having clarity and all of those things come into play, I honestly believe there’s no right or wrong with all of this stuff. It’s more like what are you trying to do and what’s your purpose and your values and your goals and those types of things and then that creates that clarity for what you’re trying to achieve. And so you know, there are many people out there, these people that were saying to me, you can’t do these things, for one reason or another, they had the values and the beliefs that I should now just be a mother, I should be grateful that I was having this child and focus on the child. And my view was, why can’t I do that, and everything else too. Now, one of my favourite sayings is always I believe, you can do anything you want. You just can’t do it all at once. And so I gave it crack to see if I could do everything all at once. And I proved you can’t. But what I did prove was that I didn’t have to be pigeonholed. Like, I wasn’t just a mother, I was a career woman, I at that stage, I was a wife, I was, you know, an athlete, and a mother and I was juggling all of this, but what went out of that, when I say you can’t do everything, I didn’t have a social life, you know, I was my diet was macro controlled to the enth degree. And, you know, like it, I did let go of a lot of things to achieve the goal that I had. And back to what you were saying before, you know, I did feel like I mourned the life that I had prior to becoming a mother, um, I wouldn’t ever change it. I love her to death now. But what it taught me was I had to, in each different phase of my life has had a different vision or a different clarity piece, and that that particular part was all about, I suppose proving people wrong. And I have I’ve even looked back over, like, the last five years, how do I get back to that mindset, you know, I want to prove certain things that are happening in my life now. And it’s just, that’s when when it feels challenging in that way, I just couldn’t get back to that feeling I had before because it just, it wasn’t right for the life that I’ve got now. And I had to find my new vision, my new purpose, and clarity, etc. And that’s when all of a sudden, you find that the, in my view, the discipline comes in, because once I found the clarity and the purpose of what was driving me, the habits kicking in, and the discipline, comments type of thing, the action of moving, because you’ve got that clear vision, it things just, you know, the white noise falls away, then because you’re not worrying about things that aren’t going to contribute to that goal.

Rebecca Ray
One of the things that I find really freeing whenever I hear you say this is that you can do whatever you want, but you can’t do it all at the same time. And what I’m hearing you say is that, that’s also actually part of your disciplines, and part of the discipline is understanding that if you have this goal, then you’re also choosing not to have that goal. And you’re accepting that some things have to fall away in order for you to be able to achieve those particular things. So if discipline once looked like macros, Korea, all that kind of stuff, to get you to where you wanted to go, and then it changed when you have had a baby. Obviously, she’s not so little anymore. How old is your daughter now?

Kate McKenna
She’s now eight.

Rebecca Ray
Okay, so and you’ve left corporate and you’ve started during business. So what does discipline look like for you today on a daily basis? Where do you use it? How do you actually apply, like, when you look at the different facets of your life, what would you say, oh, I do this, because I’m disciplined enough to do it?

Kate McKenna
Yeah. So it’s very much and I know, it probably sounds like I’m harping on this. It’s this clarity piece. So the more clarity I have on what I’m trying to achieve, the more discipline I have. And so I actually, my coach, I’ve got a coach myself, and I meet with her every single week. She’s like, I think she’d like it if she hears me say this, she’s like my little Jiminy Cricket. She’s very playful and fun. But she does. She’s like my conscience. She’s my guide, she sits on my shoulder, and she reminds me constantly of what you’re trying to achieve. And I think what I’ve really felt that she’s helped me build over the last couple of years, is that broader mindset of understanding this can be quite hard for people who want may be struggling and to who aren’t ready to hear it yet. But everything’s a choice. You know, I have a choice as to how I show up and talk to you today. You know, we’re having, well I hope, we’re having a great conversation. We could be very monotone and take this right down and it would be a horrible experience for everyone involved. You know, I could choose to do that if I really wanted to. I choose how I turn up how I interact with people. And I’m very conscious that whilst I 100% believe we cannot control other people, I am very powerful in terms of I can influence those around me simply by my personal behaviours and the things that I say and the way I interact with people. And so the more conscious that I’ve become of that, I feel it’s made me I’ve very disciplined now in the way that I think. And clarity is the start of that in terms of I live by words, I’ve got three specific words that I live by, and my coach, she reminds me of them every single time that I come and present with an issue. And she’s there to remind me of them. But I’ve got them stuck here in front of my monitor right now. And my three words are authentic, courageous and accountable. And every single thing I do, most, especially when I’m challenged, so when something doesn’t go the way that I want it to, the first thing I asked myself is, am I being authentic? Am I being courageous? Am I being accountable? And I loved what you said before about, it’s what we do do. But it’s also what we don’t do, like things that we do choose to focus on, and we don’t choose to focus on and that, to me is accountability. But a lot of people don’t understand accountability isn’t just what you say and what you do. It’s what you also don’t do. You need to be conscious of that. And so the more I’ve got routines that I follow, I’ve got a daily planner that I complete every single morning and then late at night. I journal, I wouldn’t say I journal every single day. But I’m a huge big fan of journaling and getting it out. I have routines in the way that I approach my my calendar, and I manage my day. I’ve set boundaries in terms of which again, comes back to the clarity. I know what’s important to me what my values are. Only the other day I had someone say to me, I’m like, let’s just throw in some time in the calendar for like, 7pm at night. No, that’s my family time, you know?

Rebecca Ray
Even if it wasn’t scheduled family time, no.

Kate McKenna
Sorry. But you’re right, like, you know, and I’m not saying most especially, there’s nothing that I’ve just said that I would expect anyone else to do. This is what I’ve created what I’ve decided is best for me and works best for me and aligns with my values and those types of things. Don’t get me wrong. I like you mentioned earlier, way back early on in my career. Yes, I was I’d get to work at 6am and still be there at nine o’clock at night. I’d work seven days a week like it absolutely, it happens. The question is, are you choosing it? Or you’re are you allowing it to happen to you? And the difference for me now is I choose every single thing I choose. And what I mean by that is yes, life is uncertain. But I choose how I respond. And I choose what comes next. And that to me, that is kind of discipline. It’s not the physical act of making myself do something I don’t want to do. It’s being disciplined enough to stay aligned with what I’m trying to achieve. And like we said before you fall off, like, you know, I’ve just come off the back of a two-three week period of just constant full on days of coaching and facilitating and, you know, being on basically I wouldn’t got my hair cut yesterday, I got my nails done. It was like you know what, I’m having a day make to me. You know, do people still call me and email me? Yeah, they did. But I you know, I set up the expectation that I’m not, I’m not a brain surgeon. I’m not that smart. That they don’t need me urgent. You know, like that’s, that’s part of, to me, I’m not going to draw I did my time dropping everything for everyone else. Because you know, that piece of work had to be done by 12 o’clock tonight. Like who in their right mind is going to read it at midnight? But anyway, that’s it. I’m more I feel I am more successful now than what I have ever been. Because I’ve got that clarity and that’s that has created the discipline for me.

Rebecca Ray
I really love the foundation of choice and how choices are just as important when you’re responding to life as when you’re creating life. And I think these three least speaks to something I talk about in every single piece of work that I create, whether it’s a book or whatever. I talk about how we can’t control what we think or what we feel because there is so much out there that speaks to just think positively. And, oh, no, that’s not what we’re doing. And it’s just so trite and reductive and it sets people up for failure. But what you can control is how you respond to those thoughts. So you could kind of show up and think I can’t be bothered to do these podcasts conversation today, or I’m not feeling great, or I’m not feeling as shiny as what I normally would. But you can still control how you actually respond to that thought, and how you act, what you what comes out of your mouth, how what energy you bring to it the same when you respond to your feelings. And I think it’s the power there for me is, especially when you say that you feel like you’re more successful today than perhaps you’ve ever been. Because when you’re coming from a place of choice, you’re then so much clearer about what it is that you’re creating, even on the days when life is out of your control. And you simply left to just respond as well as you possibly can.

Kate McKenna
Absolutely. And you’re right, like, look, I’d be interested in your thoughts from the psychology perspective on this. I agree with you like it’s, I mentioned before positive psychology and all of those types of things. I believe I will always be, you know, now going forward at an eternal optimist. I love optimism. Speaking of discipline, and habits, I’ve probably gotten to a point that it’s really annoying that I constantly go to the optimistic view, like someone will tell me an issue and I’m like, oh, wow, that’s a really good opportunity for us to do this. You know, all they want to do is vent and get it out. And I’m over here creating new opportunities type of thing. But I love that and I love that thought I it’s taken me a long time to build that mindset. I never used to be like that. In saying all of that, though. I agree like 100% what you said before, the answer isn’t just think positively. It’ll be fine. Like no, the feeling is there for a reason. We need to, from what I understand, is the more that we get in and we can understand, like what’s driving that feeling that you’re having now, like, if you you do have that off day where it’s I just don’t want to do this right now. Why ask the question why? Like, what am I actually feeling? Is it? You know, am I angry? Am I frustrated? Am I scared? Like is it fear type of thing? What’s sitting there, because just saying I just be positive about it, that to me is just kind of sweeping it under the rug and not dealing with what’s there. When you get the opportunity to say, you know what, I’m really frustrated that they didn’t reply to my email, and they haven’t given me the information that I needed. Okay, now we know what we’re dealing with. We’re not dealing with I just can’t be bothered doing this project. We’re dealing with war, I’ve got a frustration and like, I feel like I’m undervalued, I feel disrespected, like the words all start to come out then. And you can deal with what’s going on, rather than just pretending everything is alright. And plastering on a smile like that. I agree with you. To me, positive and negative is not a good and a bad thing. We have to have the negative that’s just science, we know that it’s the way that you use it, and you move forward with it. And when me personally, I’ve taken the view that I need it to kind of sense check me, you know, what’s going on what’s driving those thoughts and the feelings that I’ve got? And where we talked about control before, exactly, I now can control the way I respond to that and because I understand what’s going on internally for me.

Rebecca Ray
And that’s the difference from a psychological perspective, what you’re describing about the frustration with the email, that’s a present moment experience that we can’t necessarily control. You can raise your awareness to be able to go I’m frustrated that’s how I would identify the feeling. And the thoughts I’m having is how dare this person waste my time by not giving me the information I need? But then what you can control is optimism is an attitude. So that is within your control. It is something that we can cultivate. My frustration, disturbance, constant horror, at the misuse to think positive is that there’s usually no nuance that goes with that to say, look, in the moment when you’re having an uncomfortable feeling you can’t necessarily just turn that around. But you can cultivate an attitude of optimism to approach that, to approach whatever comes along in your life that, you know, is challenging.

Kate McKenna
Absolutely agree.

Rebecca Ray
In your life right now, if you don’t mind sharing, where is discipline working for you? And where is it lacking?

Kate McKenna
Oh, good question. I think it is working really well, where by constantly bring myself back to what am I trying to achieve? That’s a question that I ask constantly of everything that I’m doing. And that to make, like, I’ve created that discipline to ask that question. And you can do that in multiple different ways. You know, how’s it serving me? What am I trying to achieve? What’s the purpose of what I’m doing? They all kind of mean the same thing to me. So that discipline piece that works really well for me, because it helps me process what’s going on. And like I said, you know, yesterday, I had kind of a me day to get some energy back, because I’m huge on energy as well. And even in those instances, I suppose on face value, you could say that I wasn’t disciplined, because, you know, I went ahead and got my nails done, I might have sat down on the lounge and, you know, watched Netflix while I was eating lunch, like, that’s not a being very disciplined. But actually, what’s my definition of that? My definition of my discipline, is that I need to recharge at certain points. And recharging means that I take a day where I’m not worried about everything that’s going on, I’m not checking my phone, or my emails every five seconds. That is part of my discipline to because how do I help people perform at their best if I don’t practice it, either? Part of performance is rejuvenation, you know, refreshing, reflecting all of those types of things, I have to do that, too. So that’s where that shifting mindset around what my discipline is. So it’s constantly coming back to that clarity piece and checking in what am I trying to achieve? What’s the purpose of what I’m doing? That works really well. Where is discipline not working?

Rebecca Ray
Or where are you finding it harder to be disciplined?

Kate McKenna
Yeah. And I think it’s funny how I’m going to answer this. And please, from your perspective, challenge me on it too. I would say, where I find it harder is when I try to be stripped. And like, I guess that comes from my, I suppose limited belief, or, you know, the wiring that I’ve got from years and years and years of what discipline actually means. And like you think about it back when you’re at school, it was different. You were disciplined if you were naughty and those types of things. And so discipline traditionally is a bad connotation. And so when I think of when I switch, and I think of discipline, as limiting what I can do, the best example I’ve got here is like food nutrition. Like I mentioned before, you know, for years and years and years, I was on a macro controlled diet. And I will admit, after coming off being really, really strict, I’ve really struggled to become, for lack of better words, a normal person, like, you know, I went from critiquing every single thing I put in my mouth and, you know, performing at a certain level two, there was no reason to be that strict anymore. Other than if I really wanted to aesthetically, look a certain way, but even then, you know, you didn’t need to be doing what I was doing to look a certain way. And so I find, most, especially with my nutrition, it doesn’t work when I’m too strict. When I take discipline too far, and I think that’s why, you know, I use the word human all the time, like we are human, you’re meant to have fun, you’re meant to be playful, like yes, I want you to perform and, you know, achieve but you know, you look at all of the great athletes, I constantly come back to athletes because that’s what we think of when we think of performing most of the time. But you know, you look at people like Usain Bolt, and I’ve just gone totally blank the American gymnast.

Rebecca Ray  
Simone Biles?

Kate McKenna
Yes. Simone Biles, you know, like many, many of the great tennis players and golfers and like all these beautiful athletes in the world, a lot of them you’ll find they’re still fun, like they’re still human. Anyone that says you can only you know, high performance isn’t or shouldn’t be fun, then that’s not high performance to me. But it take the good and the bad together.

Rebecca Ray
And the science is definitely I think shown that come coming from a place of self compassion will get you far further in terms of reaching goals associated with your potential than coming from a place of criticism, condemnation and being incredibly strict and punishing on yourself.

Kate McKenna
Absolutely, like, so right. As soon as you said that I just had this picture in my head, my daughter does gymnastics and over the last kind of six to eight weeks, they’ve been learning this routine. She’s in a team, and they’re going to have a team competition next month. And the very first day there was a new coach introduced to choreographed routine. And her approach, as she stated to us, she’s been doing this for 40 years was to just yell and scream at them, and in over the top of the music, and in the middle of the whole gymnasium, screech, you know, “Nina, you’re doing it wrong again”. And like she would just point them out. And I told you my daughter’s age. Like they’re not like they’re elite. This is not the Olympic Games, you know, around the corner, we’ve got to get this right. This is eight year olds trying to learn a routine. And I have to admit, I spent that two hours on the edge of my seat wondering whether I should march down there and wreath my daughter out and say do not speak to my daughter that way.

Rebecca Ray
This was the visual that I had. I was like, yeah, Bennett, it would have been out of there. I just I can’t believe you even stayed two hours, I think I would have reacted immediately.

Kate McKenna
I will admit I did a lot of deep breathing. I do live by the word calm. And so I literally sat and just repeated the word calm for a long time. And my daughter did, she came back up from that session. She said I don’t want to do it anymore. It was her choice. And you know, like, we had long conversations around it, my partner and I would like do we make her go? I think it would be really good for her. She learned a lot from, not from being yelled at, but from the whole situation of being in a competition and having to be part of a team and all of those types of things. And now, long story short, she’s still there, we’re doing the competition towards the end. I still don’t agree with the approach that the coach takes, because from what I know, and again, correct me from your perspective, if I’m wrong, my understanding is the brain just doesn’t work that way. Negative reinforcement just doesn’t work. In my opinion. I spent many years my CrossFit career, I had a coach that reinforced with negativity, he swore, he demeaned you in front of everyone else. And I just, I believe that a lot of the mental fitness a lot of mental resilience that I have built, came from trying to defy him, because I just wasn’t driven by that. And I had to block him out a lot of the time. Because I knew that it was going to be detrimental to me performing and I could see people around me who wouldn’t perform. And I just would continuously think to myself, like you can’t speak to them that way. So, yes, like, as I said, that just triggered that thought in me when you were talking through that because you’re right, like it’s that negativity is there. And it’s not just be positive, but like you imagine the difference between screaming at a child and telling them how stupid they are to okay, let’s go over this again, and walking them through something I did, you will get better performance out of people, the more as you said, compassion, and I love the word empathy that you have.

Rebecca Ray
Yeah. So for me, it triggers what’s called external motivation. So motivation to avoid some kind of negative consequence. And it’s used because it does work. But it only works to a point. And generally it works because what happens for the brain is the fear system is activated, and the person is literally acting out of a fight flight response. So they’re trying to usually appease the source, the fear that’s making them scared, and the results that they’re getting is literally in response to their fear system being activated, rather than coming from a place of how far can I go with this? What is my potential? Can I try this again? And I think one of the things that shows up for me, because I often think more in a macro way around the generation that we’re raising, and the difference between providing them with a sense of empathy and understanding of emotions, while also building resilience because life is not easy. I think that’s really important to acknowledge because we can’t let our kids go out into the world without some resilience muscles to be able to cope with the shittiness of life. And so, when I think about that, though, for me, that’s not resilience building that’s literally providing a situation in a child where you are creating an environment that’s psychologically unsafe.

Kate McKenna
Absolutely driven by beat like that, as you said, people that will only perform because they’re fearful of what will happen if they don’t.

Rebecca Ray
Exactly, exactly. So yes, you’ll get results from that. But at what cost? Because you start to see it happens with adults, too, not just kids, perhaps even more with adults, because adults that have wounds that are not healed, especially if they come from critical parents, or critical mentors from their upbringing, they get triggered, and then we’ll see usually a shutdown response. So you have what is probably the most helpful response in a situation like that, which is rebellion, right? I’m gonna prove to you how I can make this happen. But for someone that perhaps doesn’t have the level of awareness that you have, or psychological mindedness, that can end up extremely anxious, and then essentially shutting down in upon themselves? Which is not a place of high performance at all.

Kate McKenna
You wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Rebecca Ray
Especially not a little one. But what I love is that you’re actually able to talk to her about it, and you’re able to talk to her through the process and understand that that’s not a helpful way of coaching, but she can go and do the competition, as long as she actually understands that, you know, this is not the way it should be done.

Kate McKenna
Absolutely. And look, it was this lady wasn’t horrific. She, I still wouldn’t have coached in the way that she did. But that’s how she has gotten results over the years, she was only there for half a dozen sessions. And that formed part of our understanding with my daughter as well, like we talked her through, you know, she’s there just to teach us the dance. But on top of that, as we mentioned before, you know, she was driven by fear. And that was stopping her from actually learning the routine. And which then in turn, made her feel like she wasn’t good enough, because she couldn’t do the routine. And so, you know, small things, like I just did the routine with her, I’d video it, and I’d come home and I learned god. That was that was quite amusing. But it was, you know, like her, and I would just do this routine over and over and over. And you could see, you know, like, my belief is confidence comes from competence. So when someone says that I’m not confident in this, okay, then that means that there’s a lack of competence around something not that you’re stupid. It’s just we need more information. And that proved exactly right with her in this case, the more competent that she got, with the routine, the more confident she wants to go to the session and the sessions. And then now, you know, that coach is gone now. And they know the dance, and she’s absolutely loving and which is great. But you’re right, like it’s that fine line between giving enough empathy or compassion, and building that resilience as well. And I think, like, again, that’s a hard one, it’s personal choice as well for parents if we’re talking about children, but yes, as an adult. Again, like it to me, it all comes down to understanding the feelings that are coming up and having clarity around what you’re trying to achieve. Because if that feeling isn’t serving that, yeah, how do we change that? Again, it’s not just be positive, it’s like, okay, well, if I’m feeling frustrated, what do I want to feel? Well, I want to feel happy and relaxed. How do I create happy and relaxed? And yeah, that’s the clarity, which then, again, brings us back to, you’re going to be more disciplined if you’re clear on what you’re trying to achieve.

Rebecca Ray
A final question for you. If someone’s listening, and they have an area in their life, where they’re feeling undisciplined, and that area is causing them extra discomfort, because often what happens you and I’ve had this conversation before, when somebody is out of integrity with their values. So you’ve talked and talked so much about clarity, around purpose, what I would call values, when you’re aligned with your values, it’s just easy. If you don’t have to think about hold on a second, I should be doing this because that takes a lot of mental energy, listening and going, but I should be doing this, like I’m, I’m out of integrity with this particular value in my life and I really want to get back into integrity and back into alignment with that value. I want to bring discipline back into that area of my life, where would you get them to start?

Kate McKenna
I would first of all start with an explanation of what is it that you’re so you want to get back into that and you want to feel like that. Well what do you want to feel like? What does that look like over there? And let’s envision what we’re looking to achieve, or we’re looking to feel, etc out of this situation, and then start to look at well, what are the things that we’re doing? Or what are the things that we feel like are limiting us from getting them? And now quite often, well, in my view, you’ll either have things that you can’t control that we’re focusing on, like we’re focusing on someone else’s behaviour towards me, or we can’t control that. Or we’re focusing on all the stuff we don’t want to do. Again, if my coach ever listens to this, she’ll chuckle hearing me say this, because she challenges me on this all the time. You know,  we’ll be talking about something. And I’ll constantly say, but I don’t want this to happen. And I don’t want that to happen. I want to make sure that this doesn’t make me feel this way. And she just say that’s great. That’s what you don’t want. What do you want? And so the unfortunate thing about life is that life’s not fair. And I think the moment that you grasp that, and then let it go, that creates a lot of, you know, the pressure comes off, and you open up kind of your view that regardless of what we do, life isn’t going to be there because it’s life. But then if we focus on well, what do you want? So if we want to be back aligned with this value, what does that value look like for me? And what does it require of me to get there? And you know, is that value still valid and true for me? Or do I think I have to be there, because that’s what I’ve always done, or that what’s expected of me, you know, challenge all of that, and get to a point where you can feel comfortable with what it is that your you know, that you’re focusing on the value that you have, can you really truly live that value? Is it something that means a lot?

Rebecca Ray
Do you own it? Is it authentic?

Kate McKenna
I Value Trust. Well, what does trust mean? What does it mean to you, like, I, when we talked about words, before, I love words, I write so many words all the time, and I constantly look at, I’ve got dictionary.com on my phone. I’ve even got, I shouldn’t send you a picture of the wall that I look at, in my office, especially when I’m presenting it is just plastered with words and definitions up there of different things. And I create my own definitions. You know, as I said to you, one of my words is courageous. And if you looked in a dictionary, I don’t think this is exactly what courageous means. But to me, courageous is doing something, despite the fear I have of the outcome. And it’s different to brave brave to me is I’ve overcome that fear. And now I’m gonna go and do something courageous is I’m so fearful but I’m actually still going to do this, because I know this is gonna take me in the direction that I need to go. And so like that, to me is you know, what the value that you’re trying to step into, what does it actually really mean to you. And don’t be afraid to create that definition. Because you got to align with it, no one else is going to do that for you. It’s going to mean something to you. And then like you said, once you’ve got those values, things just do become easier. Because you know, you you’re living towards those, you you’re aligning yourself with them. And it doesn’t matter what they’re doing over there, because you’re over here, and that’s what you’re doing. And that even that thought alone is a lot easier to consume.

Rebecca Ray
And often takes a lot more energy to not do the thing you should do.

Kate McKenna
Yes, absolutely. I will admit, I used to years and years ago, when I first started controlling my diet, I set myself a habit that if I wanted chocolate, I actually had to walk to the shop to get it. And so like it wasn’t really that far, but it wouldn’t take me about a round trip of 30 minutes. And so that’s how I started it was like fine I won’t have chocolate because now it’s 10 o’clock at night and I’m not welcoming half an hour in at night or something like that.

Rebecca Ray
You hacked your own laziness. Sounds like strategy that will work for me. I just want to add one last thing for this episode because there’s been so valuable and something’s just popped up for me. I listened to, I’m not finished yet but I listened to, an audio book called discipline equals freedom by a Navy SEAL called Jocko something. And trust me this guy’s Jocko, like no one has ever been more of a Jocko than this guy. He said in one of the chapters of the book, that discipline will look after you like no one else and nothing else can and will. And that keeps replaying in my head as you talk, because essentially, everything that you’ve spoken about today is about creating a foundation to step upon to get you to where you’re going. These small places of alignment in life, where you get to make a choice about how you’re going to be, what you’re creating, and how you will respond when it doesn’t work or meet your expectations. is how we look after ourselves. Super important. You have been remarkable. I have loved this conversation. Can you please let listeners know where they can find more of you?

Kate McKenna
Ah, absolutely. First of all, thank you so much for having me. I have enjoyed this week, I think we could continue to talk all afternoon. They can jump online. So they can jump into my website, which is eliteps.com.au. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook. So yeah, feel free to reach out. I’m always loving talking to people and learning more like we mentioned. The more that they can learn, I just think it provides so much more information. We can be so much more compassionate and empathetic, the more that we have. So reach out at any time.

Rebecca Ray
And you’re available for coaching if people want to follow up with you?

Kate McKenna
Absolutely, most definitely. I’d love to meet everyone and help everyone and part of my business motto is be better. And I truly am aligned with that. And what I mean by that is not that you aren’t good enough, because you are absolutely fabulous as you are Beck. But be better to me is I suppose that’s part of their habit that discipline is how do we improve? Like, why can’t we do better? If you want to feel good why can’t we feel great? So how do we do that? How do we find that for you? And yes, I would love to help all your listeners do that.

Rebecca Ray
I love you. I just think you are remarkable. Thank you so much for sharing so generously of yourself today. This has been a wonderful chat and I can’t wait for listeners to get their ears around it.

Kate McKenna
Thank you Beck. Thank you listeners, loved it.

Rebecca Ray
Lovely ones, thank you so much for listening to Hello, Rebecca Ray. If you got something meaningful from this episode, and the most meaningful thing you can do is jump on over to wherever you listen to your podcast episodes and leave a review. Because it’s those reviews that help this podcast stay here. Make sure to subscribe, and if you’re generous enough to share this episode, thank you so much. I love seeing your shares on social media. So please tag me, catch you next time.