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Create the Results You Want: It All Starts Here

There are many supports for managing your thinking. Meditation is one – just sitting and drawing your thought back to one neutral thing (for example, your breathing) helps refocus your

thoughts. Byron Katie’s “The Work” is another simple tool that I often use with clients to manage their thinking. Most thought work fits well with legal issues because it all questions the truth of our thinking and what our evidence is.

The tool I use most often, though, is Brooke Castillo’s self-coaching thought model, as seen below.

When we are coaching, I write out my clients’ thought models like this:






One of the most common thought models I encounter with my clients, and one I work on myself as well, is this:

C: A man said words.

T: There is something wrong with me and I deserve disrespect.

F: Shame.

A: Hide.

R: He gets what he wants and I don’t stand up for myself.

When you look at the model as I’ve written it, it seems clear that the neutral fact, “A man said words” is not creating the thought, “There is something wrong with me and I deserve disrespect.”

But, what if the man was old and gross and said, “You must not have been listening,” or “You’re so cute,” or “That’s not what I asked for, you need to pay attention,” or “I bet your boyfriend is happy at night,” or any of the other sleazeball things men sometimes say? Would that cause the feeling of shame?

Most clients say at this point, “No no no, you don’t understand what he said to me.” I do understand. I get that he is gross without even hearing what he said because I trust you. Now it’s time to take your power back.

No sleazeball man can cause your feeling of shame. It is always your thought that creates your feeling. For example, if a sleazeball man said to you, “I hate that you have two heads,” you would probably not feel shame because you would not agree that you have two heads. You would probably not choose the thought “There’s something wrong with me and I deserve disrespect.” You might think something more like, “That’s weird, and he may need a mental health consultation,” which would create a feeling like wariness or curiosity.

The key to changing our thinking patterns is in what we make our harasser’s behavior mean about us. Remember, there is nothing you are doing to cause your harasser’s behavior. He is responsible for his behavior. You are responsible for yourself and your feelings. His behavior is basically none of your business, except for how you want to take care of yourself and protect yourself around it.

That is great news because you can feel good and create the exact life you want without it being tied to his behavior. If he is harassing you, he is the last person you want to have control over how you feel or what you do.

The change we make in changing our story and what we make harassment mean about us is not to go from fear and shame directly to sunshine and rainbows. None of this is about convincing yourself of lies or being fake. This is about recognizing the ways that you are siding with your harasser and giving him the power that is inherently yours.

Sometimes we want to give away our power because it feels easier for other people to take care of us and manage our feelings than doing it ourselves. But, it is actually way, way harder. If you want your harasser to be managing your thoughts and feelings, you have to manage his behavior or feel terrible all the time. His behavior is really difficult to manage, especially if you are trying to avoid it.

In order to take back your power and manage your own thoughts and feelings, one step is to try on a neutral thought. (This is similar to how, with meditation, we come back, over and over again, when our minds wander, to something neutral like breath.) A neutral thought is something everyone can agree on. For example, if you have practiced the thought, “There is something wrong with me,” it probably won’t be believable to force the thought “I’m perfect just the way I am,” and that’s okay. Trying to force or fake a positive thought just reinforces the negative thought because your brain knows when you’re being fake. Instead, try on the thought, “I am a human.” That thought should be believable and give you some relief from the shame of “There’s something wrong with me.” Then, be curious about moving towards a belief like, “I am human and it’s possible that humans deserve respect.” If that feels false to you, practice the thought “I am human.”

I call this process mapping a new belief. When we first start recognizing that our thinking is creating our results, it is easy to become very judgmental about our negative thoughts. They are not creating the results we want, they feel terrible, and yet we keep choosing them. That kind of judgment just brings us back to a struggle with ourselves instead of letting us move forward to create the change we want. There is nothing wrong with your negative beliefs, but they are a choice. If you wanted to actively continue to believe a painful thought, I might disagree with you about it, but it would still be your choice.

A negative belief is “negative” because it moves us backwards or keeps us motionless, not because it is “evil” or “stupid.” A “positive” belief is “positive” because it moves us forward. Negative beliefs also tend to be painful, but sometimes we want to feel painful feelings. Again, I don’t want to feel chipper about harassment. But, I do want to feel the power of knowing that my anger over harassment is my choice.

The purpose of this is not to eliminate the thought “There is something wrong with me,” or to start judging yourself about having chosen a thought like that. The purpose is to recognize it is a choice to think that thought, and there are tons of other thoughts that are believable options. They are neither right nor wrong, and many of them, positive or negative, are reasonable. But, each creates a feeling, which creates an action, and when we are not deliberate about our thoughts, but let our unconscious take over, we often create patterns of helplessness.

When we are stuck in a pattern of helplessness, we are not going to change our results. You can yell at yourself all you want, but you are unlikely to beat yourself into defending your career from harassment. When you are harassing yourself with your own thinking, it is almost impossible to take a stance against a harasser who is not in your head. The easiest, most efficient way to change our results starts with our thinking.

The next question is what you want to create in the world and in your experience of harassment. Do you want to let your brain align with your harasser’s views or think thoughts that are probably even crueler than his? I’m guessing you don’t. So, the next step is to reverse engineer the thought model in a way that starts with what you want. For example:

C: A man said words.




R: Stop the harassment.

What do you need to do in order to get that result? (put that in the A line) How do you need to feel in order to take that action? (put that in the F line) What thought creates that feeling? (put that in the T line)

That thought is going to be the key to getting the result you want. But, if it does not seem believable to you or you can’t come up with a thought that creates the feeling you want, you are completely normal. This is very high-level thought management work, so don’t give up if you are confused. I have a coach, my coach has a coach, her coach has a coach, and so forth. We are not meant to do this work on our own, and if you would like more help, it is here for you. Simply book a free consultation or send me a message at

Often the feeling we want to create that will drive the actions we want is “confidence.” But, we believe we can’t feel confident until we find proof we are capable. That creates a whole trap where we can’t ever move forward because we can find so much evidence that undermines our confidence.

Instead, here is the thought model I would suggest to get you started if this thought feels believable...

C: A man said words.

T: I am committed to taking care of myself – no matter what.

F: Committed.

A: Take care of myself no matter what.

R: Stop the harassment.

Or, this...

C: A man said words.

T: I am brave enough to take care of myself, even if it is uncomfortable and I make mistakes.

F: Courage.

A: Take care of myself.

R: Stop the harassment.

If those do not feel believable, you can always go back to “I am human and it’s possible humans deserve respect.”

Email me at to get your copy of the Personal Career Defense Toolkit. Or, find your own notebook or blank sheet of paper to complete the following exercise.

Make sure that wherever you write this, it includes a notice that what you write is in anticipation of talking with an attorney and pursuing a legal claim. That means it should be attorney-client or work-product privileged. Talk with an attorney in your state to get the details of what that means.

  1. Write down all of the thoughts you have about your harasser. Don’t edit, just write them as they come.

  2. What do you make that mean about yourself?

  3. Pick one thought you’ve written down and fill in a thought model.

C: The neutral fact that everyone, including your harasser, could agree on.

T: The sentence in your mind about the neutral circumstance.

F: The one-word vibration in your body created by the thought.

A: What the feeling motivates you to do or not do.

R: The direct consequence of the action.

  1. Write a conscious model, using the reverse-engineering method above. This is what you want to create.

  2. Use the mapping tool above to create a path from your negative belief to a positive belief. Include a neutral belief and a possible belief that you can practice in order to transition from the negative to the positive.

This is hard work. So, give yourself grace and take breaks when needed. But, this is also the way in which it all changes and you begin to take your power back. You can do this! And, it is worth it.


This is a selection from Career Defense 101: How to Stop Sexual Harassment Without Quitting Your Job. For a free copy of the book, visit Or you can purchase online via Amazon or Barnes & Noble (paperback $16.95, hardcover $24.95).

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