Episode 39 – Ladder Thoughts

Your current thinking about your capabilities may not help you achieve your goals. But, maybe there are some interim thoughts you can have that will make a difference in making progress toward the results you seek.

It’s amazing to watch a change of thought in action. Listen in to hear how quickly thought changes can translate into actual performance shifts.

Episode 39 – Show Notes

  • Check out this two minute school assignment I had about ladder thoughts. It had to be two minutes or less and so it might feel a bit choppy. But, it works!

Episode 39 Transcript

This is Rebecca Clark. Episode 39, Ladder Thoughts.

This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work, but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk?

This past fall, I made it a point to go to parks a lot for my child to practice with the plastic baseball bat, kick around soccer balls, play on the jungle gyms and just run outside. And one particular day we got out a soccer field and we’re going to practice football and soccer. So we brought a football and a soccer ball on the football was very small like for a little child, and both balls were flat, by the way. So it was going to be interesting. He decided he did not want to play soccer, that he would rather throw this flat little football over a industry sides Soccernet. There’s no net there, but you know, they’re the frame was there somehow. This caught his eye across the field and he wanted to try throwing this little ball over it. So I said, OK, let’s go over in practice, a professional soccer net is about eight feet high, and he was just not getting it over the net. And I’m not great with football. In fact, I was an excellent special events worker at the football games at college because I loved being around the noise and excitement, but I didn’t care less about the game. I tried to coach him on how to best throw a football based upon trying to remember what I’ve seen from my brothers and from sports teams, and it kind of got about four feet high in the air, his throwing and it just wasn’t going anywhere. But he kept trying and practicing and trying to get it over this net. And after quite a while, you know, felt like half an hour but is probably 10 minutes. We, um he decided that he needed a break. I knew there was water in the cars and, like, Let’s go back to the car, we’ll have a drink of water and then we can come back out and practice. So we walked back to the car, have some water and as we turn around from the car, it was like both of us at the same time, noticed that there was a lower Soccernet. It was about my heights was like around six feet high, so I could easily, you know, throw over it. And I thought, Oh, this is kind of cool. He can practice and at least feel like he’s getting closer to the mark And he took the ball and he threw it over on the first time. He had never thrown it around the six foot mark at the other net, but he threw it over this net and I thought, Well, this might be a fluke, you know, Beginner’s luck, like let’s try it again And he threw it again and it went over and I don’t know how many times you did it, but it a couple times, and I thought, This is great. He’s getting confidence so we can stay at this net and keep getting confidence. And he’s like, No, no, no. He wanted to go back toothy other net. So we went across the field to the other net and I kid you not. He threw it over the eight feet and he did it a couple of times before, you know, he was getting tired and it went lower and I couldn’t believe it. And then after we practiced it a few more times, he said, I want a goal to throw it over those lights, and these lights are like stadium lights. They’re super high. They’re higher than the normal telephone pole. And he decided that was his next goal is to be able to throw that flat football over those lights. This was a powerful experience for me at the moment. And then, of course, I was learning about changing our thoughts and how it impacts our feelings and our actions over these past couple of months. And to see this happen within less than 15 minutes or maybe is 20 minutes. I don’t know this whole act of practicing, not being able to get it over eight feet, going back to the car, taking a drink, turning around, seeing a lower obstacle, making it over that lower obstacle and then saying, Hey, I’m gonna go try the original eight foot net and making it over was just a powerful experience for me because the same arm that could not get the ball over the eight feet just a few minutes before suddenly was fully capable of getting it over the eight feet and it was even a more tired arm by the time the second attempts were made. And to realize this all had to do with his thinking and he just needed a chance to see that he wasn’t all bad at it. He just might have chosen a goal that was slightly too high at first and having a wonderful experience at a slightly lower goal gave him confidence to go. O is in me. I can do this and then going over to that net and throwing it over. And then how quickly after that success he desired the next goal and he exhibited that twice or maybe three times right, the first desire to go try it and then after conquering the six feet obstacle, saying Oh, I want to go try the eight feet and then after the eight feet, saying Oh, I want to go for the stadium lights. That’s a lot of change in a very small period of time and all it waas was a change of thoughts. He had exactly the same body he was dealing with a few minutes before. Now I’ve been learning that these are called ladder thoughts that can help us incrementally work through a change we want to make in life. So, for example, if you’re saying I am a horrible human being, it might not work to immediately flip to say I am amazing, but in between horrible and amazing, there’s a few other things we could choose to think like I’m a human being. I’m a human being that desires to learn. I’m a human being that wants to find out how to be amazing. I’m a human being that’s willing to try a new thing, a new experience. Sometimes when we hear these affirmations, some of them are steps too far for us right now. But we can entertain these latter thoughts that can slowly help us build up to whatever thought we desire to have for our best Selves, but to allow ourselves those interim kind of ladder thoughts that take us another step. And then when we take that next step, we see oh, I can take the next step and then the next and the next and build upon it and before we know it, we have grown or accomplished or become far more than we ever thought in a shorter period of time, often than we think we can. And to see this happen with such a young person so quickly was truly amazing to me because it reminded me that we all have this potential in us. And sometimes it’s a simple manner of employing a slightly different thought, a slightly different habit, which creates a slightly different feeling that helps us make the changes we desire. I know I share a lot of stories about Children on this, but it’s been fascinating to me as an older adult to be witnessing the very drastic changes that take place in these very young Children because they are new to the world and are introduced to things that are new to them every minute things that are habitual for us and are deeply in our subconscious. At this point in life and our routines, they may be experiencing for the first time and to see what amazing learners they are, but also to see how they already start to self sabotage and say they can’t do something and start having these limiting kinds of thoughts early on and how it’s an opportunity for us to help them see. No, no, you can make baby steps. Oh, you can think about this differently. Look, here’s a small wind to show you it’s already in you. And while doing that, striving to apply those same principles to ourselves because we’re still evolving and growing as well. And no matter what our age, we can still change and make improvements to how we think, how we feel, how we act and still get results that we may have given up on earlier in life. So this is worth taking a look at if you have a big gap, a cognitive dissonance between where you are and where you want to be in a particular part of life, to think about, what what’s Ah thought you could think that would help you create a goal that isn’t in term goal, an interim step toward making progress on that, and you don’t have to be perfect to do it. And that’s why I was pointing out the flat football. This was not a fully operational football, and this was not a fully operational football coach either. But somehow, with all the imperfections involved in the process, the mind decided it could do it. And once it did, it decided it could take the next step. That could keep leveling upward toward throwing that flat little football over an ultra high stadium. Like some thoughts to think about today.

Thanks for listening. Have a great day. Thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, sign up for a weekly nudge at. Move your desk dot com. See you next Monday.

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