It was June, 1998.
I’d just finished another long course with my mentor, John. He could see that I was “drifting”. I kept accumulating diplomas and certifications…but not taking any meaningful action to apply them.
Instead, I kept thinking I’d be ready, soon, after one.more.course. Even he was starting to wonder when I’d get busy doing something with what I’d been learning. I was his best student, but Come ON…how about putting this stuff into action?
I was sure I couldn’t do anything, yet. I was almost ready, though.
What I didn’t realize was that I was dragging my feet.
My coach told me to lean into the fact that I’d proven to myself that I actually could do things…things I probably hadn’t been completely ready for at the time.
I had to admit, I did have some good accomplishments under my belt:
I’d finished my military service.
That included Basic Training! Climbing up walls. Throwing grenades. Doing a gazillion pushups. Running ten miles with a pot on my head in the blazing heat of one of Missouri’s hottest summers. Keeping my chin up after getting it beaten up. Becoming a medic. A nurse. And more.
I’d finished college.
That included working to pay for it. Getting a double major and three minors. Finding time to ski the Rockies. Traveling to North Africa. Spending the summer in Hawaii. Getting home to see Mom. And more.
I’d finished a second degree.
That included taking extra classes when I didn’t have a peep of time and almost as little money. Becoming an acupuncturist. Making my way to Europe to backpack. Living in France for six months; sticking to my plan to not speak a word of English the whole time. And more.
I’d finished graduate studies.
That included fulfilling all of those requirements (patient visits and procedures) in record time. Getting mentored by a neurosurgeon I’d pursued for months. Starting my own massage therapy business. And more.
I’d gotten my doctor license.
That included passing all of the National Board and State Exams. Choosing where I wanted to live. Moving to Chicago and living in the city alone. Finding new transportation after my car was stolen. And more.
I’d launched my clinic.
That included borrowing more money than I’d ever earned in my life. Engaging a business coach. Learning what a spreadsheet was. Stepping onto the stage to speak publicly. Asking for referrals. Hiring. Firing. And more.
See? He said.
Yes. I’d done stuff. Lots of stuff that seemed scary – and even impossible – at the time. Stuff that had been hard. That pushed my buttons. Stuff that I’d never done before. Yes. I could see what he was saying.
Yes. I could see I’d done it well enough. I’d been honorably discharged from the military. I’d been an honor student. Even on the Dean’s List. My business had survived. In fact, it was thriving.
I was sure of one thing: I was going to keep doing things well.
What Was I Getting Ready For? …Or the question was WHO?
After opening my clinic, I’d enthusiastically continued studying. Feeding my growing interest in human behavior and the brain just made me hungry for more. Show me the brain! Give me the research on stress! Sign me up for courses on emotions! Mood! Language! The Amygdala! The Right Brain! The Left Brain!
I wanted to know how to stop panic attacks. How to stop feeling stressed. How to be happy. How to make the brain work better. How to be really efficient and effective. How to read faster. Think better. Feel energized. Meditate. Sleep deeper. Age beautifully. The brain seemed to be the new frontier, and I was a great explorer.
My self-directed myriad of classes and courses had kept me excited about what was to come! My head was full of dreams about how I would share what I was learning. How I would help my patients. How I’d teach the world about the miracle of the brain. Oh! The things I’d do!
It had been EIGHT YEARS since my first course on human behavior… I had dutifully added lots of advanced certifications to my growing stack of proof that I was verrrrry seriously preparing myself. I was dedicated to getting myself ready…
The truth was I wasn’t totally sure what to do. I was flip-flopping between ideas (none of them being quuuuiiiite right…) One day my idea was fabulous…for a minute…but then it appeared to confirm that I was ready…at which time I promptly deemed it was the wrong idea.
Sound familiar? Have you ever sabotaged your own plans? Gotten in your own way? Held yourself back even when you didn’t want to?
Now that I think about it, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with what I’d learned; I just didn’t know “who” would really want it…
To be more precise, I thought no one would take me seriously…
…well, until I was more ready. Then they’d respect me.
Or maybe nobody would want what I was planning to offer.
Oooh. That sneaky skeptical side of me just had to speak up.
When I thought about who I wanted to help – who I knew I could help – instead of feeling a burst of excitement and confidence, I wilted. I didn’t admit that to anyone. Nope. I didn’t tell anyone that I was plagued by self-doubt. Conjuring up the ghostly faces of the people who wouldn’t want my offer? I kept that a secret. All the reasons why no one would take me up on it? My personal nightmare.
Somehow, my doubts led me to the handy conclusion that people would hire me only when I was ready. And, clearly, I wasn’t!
If I was ready, I’d already have clients. Right!? It made complete sense! That settled that! Of course, eventually, someone would hire me…when I was ready…at which time, they’d be ready.
Phew. I was relieved to have my answer. If I wasn’t ready, it was because I wanted to be better for them. I’d do what I needed to do to be better…to be the best. Then, I’d really be ready. And, then (and only then), they’d be ready!
Clearly, I still had some “getting ready” to do. If people asked me about it, I’d just tell them about my current course of study, and how that was part of my plan to [insert current idea].
Who knew getting ready could be so honorable…so respectable?!?
If your head is not spinning from that jumble and junk of avoidance you just read, I’d be surprised. But you get it, right? I mean, haven’t you ever been swept away by such a riptide of excuses? Haunted by the I’ll-be-rejected-what-if-I-look-like-an-idiot-what-if-I-fail boogieman?
All Hail the Living Incarnation of Procrastination!
Ahhhh. Taking classes and courses is such a relaxing and easy way to tread water in the getting ready pool of life.
Have you ever been stuck in the same place…? …just kind of floating there in the ripples of uncertainty?
…Even though you wanted to take action.
…Even though you knew you had a lot to offer?
…Even though you were sure of yourself in so many ways?!
…Even though you knew someone out there would benefit from your expertise?
Of course you have…the Getting Ready Gene runs throughout much of humanity.
Wait! I had Proof! I had GOALS!
My classes and courses were EVIDENCE that I was on course. I was verrrry committed to “getting ready”.
I had plenty of proof that I was moving towards my aim… I put in the time. Studied. Read. Discussed. Planned.
Did I mention the dedicated time I spent daydreaming and envisioning? …two very necessary parts of manifestation!! I was doing that, too.
Clearly, I was getting ready.
I was getting ready to get ready to get ready to get ready…
Maybe you know the feeling. When there’s something big and important that you want to do to change your life. To change the world…. You just feel it calling to you from your future. It has meaning and purpose. It makes sense to you. You prepare yourself. You feel the optimism. Interest and commitment swell up inside you. You’re answering the call. You gather what you need…you get ready…you are one step away from claiming your future…establishing your new identity…showing the world what you’ve got to offer…
And then you hesitate. Stop. You ask yourself “Am I really ready?”
Instead of advancing, you withdraw. Retreat. Overtaken by the powers of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-denial.
Yeah. You know.
In my case, I knew I wanted to help people get control over their minds.
- To be the bosses of their brains.
- To stop anxiety.
- To rediscover an inner power they’d never been aware of.
- To feel light. Free!
- To have nothing holding them back from success or happiness.
This interest had become a huge focus since opening my clinic. For more than 8 years, I had listened to so many patients either reveal a mental health diagnosis or confess to having perpetual challenges with stress, anxiety, sorrow, anger, confusion…and more. They struggled with their identity, their feelings, their emotions, their moods, their behavior, their inner dialogues… Though it wasn’t why they came to the clinic…it was something that was foremost on their minds.
They had taken the drugs. Done psychotherapy. Tried meditation. Breathed. Even jumped into ice cold water for the Polar Bear Plunge. You name it; they’d given it a go. But they were stuck.
I didn’t see their problems as mental health diagnoses, exactly. They were more like Mind Messes. There was no DSM-5 Code for that. I wanted to help them tidy up these messes in their minds.
This topic – the mind – had always been near and dear to my heart.
It had captured – and held – my unwavering attention for almost 100 months in my professional life. But the truth is, it had been a topic of exploration that began when I was 13 years old, when I was trying to understand (and to stop myself from having) stage fright and panic attacks during the church choir tryouts.
I had to admit to having an abundance of life experience of, well, being what-they-were (cue me pointing at all those who had mental messes and stress disorders).
As surprised as I was to find out how many high performing, accomplished, successful, professional people were struggling with stress and anxiety, I felt a kinship with their challenges. After all, I’d been there.
My compulsion to study the mind, the brain, stress, anxiety…
…the mental, psychological, and spiritual aspects of being human…were, after all, selfish.
I had wanted to help myself.
And, it had worked.
What I’d discovered had already changed my life. It had also solidified the fact that no one had to live with anxiety. The mess in the mind could be tidied up. No one had to suffer with that mysterious haunting feeling of stress. If I could feel light and free and easy…well, anyone could.
How deeply I wanted to help someone – anyone who was struggling. I wanted to share the discoveries that had given me relief, respite, and were able to restore me when I thought I was lost…when no one else had been able to help me.
Who is an expert, anyway?
But, was I qualified?
Was my expertise something anyone else would really want?
Would someone entrust me to help with such a big and important topic? I wasn’t a psychologist. I didn’t have a PhD. Or PsyD. I didn’t have enough letters…did I?
I thought about being a coach…and I wondered what letters a coach needs behind her name to be a coach? I’d have to find out…
Maybe if I got one more certificate…maybe the right course on COACHING! That would do the trick. I’d have to look into that…
Oh GOD, I really wasn’t ready.
What if no one wanted to work with me even if I was ready?
This question was HARD to face.
Rejection? Or not even being noticed, or counted, or taken seriously? Zero recognition? Complete failure?
All that time, money, effort I’d spent studying…all of those creative and enthusiastic juices that flowed…that made me feel excited, hopeful, and purposeful…dried up when I thought about no one wanting to work with me.What if I was kidding myself? What if I was the only person out there interested in this? What if I’d made a mountain out of a molehill, and this wasn’t really as big of a problem as I thought it was?
My throat went dry when I thought about “putting myself out there” and telling people that I could help them.
I definitely was NOT ready.
Then, there’s the dreaded moment your coach stares you down
When my coach asked me WHEN I was going to get started, I was stunned.
Why was he talking about “when”, when I was wondering about the “who” the “what” and the “how”??
I needed more time. I was “almost ready”. Not yet.
My coach reminded me that people were bound to seek help if they wanted to stop stress, get rid of anxiety, or improve their minds. Even more to the point, he knew that a few people had already expressed interest.
So what’s the hold-up? he asked.
Then, without giving me a moment to answer, he continued. And what he said…well…let’s just say he went “too far”.
He said, “Just START.”
He used that five letter word that strikes terror into the heart of mankind since the dawn of time and for all eternity: START.
- “Focus on helping people with the model you’re already using. It’s helped you, right?”
- “You’ve been naturally using it to help others who’ve come to you for help, right?”
- “Didn’t you tell me you’ve already had your first client? What’s the problem?”
He said that since I had helped thousands of people in my clinic…in an “on demand” kind of way… giving them feedback and guidance when they were in need, I’d had enough practice and feedback to bolster my confidence.
He reminded me that I had already had my first client. A paying one. That was proof I could do it again.
(Wait. She was a doctor who was a friend of a friend. True, she had hired me. But…that didn’t really count, did it?)
Essentially, he asked me to keep doing what I’d been doing…for the past eight years. As far as he was concerned, there were plenty of examples – evidence I could lean into – that I was ready. All I had to do was admit it.
Of course I pushed back. I made excuses…
- Those people already knew me!
- They didn’t even know I could help them…
- They didn’t really ask for help…
- (They were just sharing.)
- They didn’t come to me…”for that”…
Even that friend-of-a-friend doctor didn’t know exactly why she reached out to me. She was just…so desperate. At that point, maybe anyone could have helped her. (Right?)
“Hmmm…” he said “Can’t you get to know other people? And, can’t you tell them you’re available to help them when they need it? …and, come to think of it, if the doctor didn’t know why she came to you in the first place, doesn’t she know now? …and why’d she stick around, and keep paying you if you weren’t helping her? Didn’t you tell me she had a great experience?”
“And what about the other people you told me about? Don’t you think it’s significant that they made appointments with you, just for this? They paid you, too, right?”
“Aren’t you approaching the 10,000 hour rule of greatness? Maybe you’ve already passed it. Let’s figure that out.”
Why was he being so pushy? I thought.
And, what did he mean, “TELL THEM I’M AVAILABLE”? As in…promote myself? Like…sell myself as a professional?
Let’s talk about the little trap that’s called the Ol’ Comfort Zone
Did he mean I’d have to do something uncomfortable…really uncomfortable…like claim to be able to help people? Like, give myself a title or something?
WITHOUT ENOUGH COURSES OR CLASSES OR CERTIFICATES OR LICENSES TO PROVE IT?
Did he mean to tell me that I was supposed to say it outloud to someone?
Say, “I’m an expert. I can help you.” Just like that???
Good Grief. That would mean I was ready…as in “READY”.
I could see he wanted me to START…but…was I ready? My lips pursed and my nose twisted up in denial. I shrugged my shoulders, the universal sign of “What to do?”
His eyes said it all. I am looking at you. You are stuck in a comfort zone. You may claim to want something different, but …
He jutted his chin at me.
- He told me to go back to the drawing board; to use my methods on myself, first, to wake myself up.
- He emphasized “Commit to helping others. It is, afterall, about THEM.”
- He laughed “It’s not like you’ll ever give up learning or improving. There’s more to come. You’ll continue to evolve and refine your work.”
Then, he said that frightful word again: START.
- He said that I had to let go of the notion of being ready for some future event; to accept that I was ready enough for right now’s reality.
- He reminded me, “getting ready” is just another way of trying to be perfect.
- He said, “Look back at who you have already helped, and look forward to helping others. Let the results speak for themselves. Trust the feedback you’ve gotten. Take it from there. You can be your best and still get better. It’s called evolution.”
He was right about one thing: The model I’d been working on was one I’d been using to help myself. And, yes, incidentally, it was helping others.
In hindsight, it seems obvious. I was ready.
But without my coach there to challenge me, I hadn’t been able to admit it.
When he affirmed that there were people who were looking for what I was offering – essentially they were looking for me – I hid behind the smokescreen of disbelief. Instead of saying “I KNOW! I’M READY!”, I demurred. “You really think people will want this? You think they will want to work with me?”
He took a breath in, and, then a moment after his exhale, said, “How much proof do you need?”
There was nothing else to say.
His impatience became mine.
My state of “getting ready” had blocked me. I guess there never would be enough proof, but I had to admit…
- Friends were already referring their friends.
- Patients were referring people they cared about…just to talk…just to get clear…just to feel better….
- Then, in turn, those new friends and patients were walking away and telling others how good they felt.
My coach was right: There was enough proof that my little seed of an idea had sprouted!
Be the Boss of Your OWN Brain Amelia Case
My personal goals seemed common enough:
- I wanted to sleep well.
- I wanted to be free from the shackles of anxiety.
- I wanted the calm confidence and vibrant energy I associated with personal success.
- I wanted to be fearless everyday, living in the world.
- I wanted to have fun, feel good, and be free to pursue meaningful things.
- I wanted to love my life.
I had already demonstrated I could help people achieve each one of my own goals! Why couldn’t I do it again…and again…with other, new, people?!
- I wanted to be READY… ready for this new thing in my LIFE!
- I wanted to be confident enough to claim my expertise. To announce it!
- I wanted to invite new clients and students to work with me.
The guilt and shame of still getting ready felt like it would suffocate me.
At that moment, with my coach staring at me, half-smiling, arms crossed, tapping his foot, I only wanted one thing. I wanted to be ready…enough.
There was no more time to waste “getting ready”.
No more excuses.
It was the ultimate test:
- To use what I had been using to help others, but to use it to help myself…to get over this hump of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-denial.
- To STOP getting ready. To be READY.
The only way I could solve the problem – to “BE ready” – was to be the boss. Of my own brain.
I’d done it before. When the sh*t hit the fan…when I felt stressed…or worse, I’d reminded myself who was boss. Me.
It was time to be bigger than my feelings of doubt, criticism, and denial, and to tell my brain that I was READY.
I had to get out of my own way, and to stop myself from living in the illusion that I wasn’t “ready”!
When S-T-A-R-T becomes a word to love
I used my process on myself. I reaffirmed that I was the boss of my brain, and stopped “getting ready”.
I rediscovered what I already knew:
I wasn’t holding myself back. My brain was holding me back.
In that weird and wonderful way our brains protect us, mine had gotten a little too controlling. And I’d forgotten who was the boss.
I took the leap, and hit the START button. Called myself a coach. And that’s when I started finding out just how much people really did want what I’d discovered. They wanted MY system. It was helping people, just like it had helped me.
One week after I printed my business cards claiming my work as a coach, I got my first official client. She hired me to work with her for six months, during one of the most challenging periods of her life, when her marriage was falling apart, her family was being reconstructed, and her career was skyrocketing to success. Upon her “graduation”, she wrote me this note:
Dear Dr. Case, You are a treasure. You were there when I needed you. Tough when I needed tough. Tender when I needed that, too. You’ve helped me keep my sanity and stay focused on what’s important to me in a way that protected my dignity. Your wisdom helped me decode my brain, and decipher the language of my feelings when I felt lost. You showed me how to become a better parent and leader. You taught me how to love myself no matter what. Your lessons will go with me for life, and I’ll teach them to my children. You are the lens through which I first saw my own power. I cannot thank you enough for your wise counsel. ~ Sharon
The crazy part is, in the years since then, I’ve been able to help lots of people. The system works. It’s been time-tested and refined so that now I can say more than 4,000 students and clients from all over the world have asked me to help them become the bosses of their own brains.
They are using what I discovered. What I created. And it’s working.
So, now you know. That’s how it all began.
The system is called The Boss of Your Brain system.
It turns out I wasn’t the only one who needed help with this.
Even though I still get whiffs of self-consciousness, I quickly reconfirm that I’m ready enough for today.
When the insecurity happens, I remind myself that I know how to use the old signs of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-denial to my advantage.
The more people I teach, and coach, and mentor, the more I feel like it will always be a new experience…so I have decided that I can only be ready for what I’m ready for. That’s all I can ask of myself – or anyone else.
All that time, not-being-ready was all in my head. Like everything, really.
What about you? Are you “getting ready” again…or still?
Being the Boss of Your Brain is a big deal. Well, it’s the BIGGEST deal. The Only Deal.
Me being the Boss of My Brain is a big deal.
You being the Boss of YOUR Brain is a big deal.
When I call my system the Boss of Your Brain system, I mean it. I show people how to take charge of that very extraordinary thing upstairs in their heads – the human brain. There is nothing more important to be the boss of.
Either you are the boss of your brain,
Or someone else is.
And if someone else is,
You’re going to feel like something is wrong;
For good reason.
Being the boss of your brain is the one thing you can never delegate.
And, it’s the one thing that always delivers amazing results when you take charge of it.
That’s why – after I found out I was ready – it’s been a simple and exciting journey. It’s been easy to tell people I can help them. It’s been simple for people to get success – to be the Boss. Because it’s not based on my opinion. It’s not a gimmick. It’s human truth as we know it, in science, and more…
When you are the boss of your brain, anxiety might be something you occasionally observe, but it’s never something that takes you over.
When you are the boss of your brain, your brain’s automations can’t get in the way of your creative, fearless, joyful, expansive mind.
When you are the boss of your brain, your brain cannot block your loving heart or dim your bright light.
And, now, after all these years of giving in-person classes, one-on-one coaching sessions, and teaching thousands upon thousands of lessons to my students, clients, and patients, my programs have expanded to help people in groups, virtually, and online, with the push of a few buttons. I never thought I’d be ready for THAT.
It still boggles my mind.
Because imagine if my coach had not stared me down? If he hadn’t busted me? What if he hadn’t spoken up, and dared me to declare what I was doing, and, officially to START.
What if I had continued “getting ready”? What if I was still getting ready?
Those things coaches and mentors point out can make you feel really uncomfortable. And, the accountability piece? Oh, don’t even get me going. There are more than a few times I swore I hated my coach.
But, the truth is, I’m so thankful. If it weren’t for him, not only would my life be dramatically different, but the lives of all of the people I’ve been able to help would have been effected, too.
Here’s What I Learned About Getting Ready
Within every idea you ponder, your ability to be, do, or have what you want already exists. It is already there. You have the opportunity for fulfillment and satisfaction, right then and there. At every level.
The strange thing is this: Any level is the right place for you to START. And, it will naturally lead to the next iteration. That means, you ARE ready, right now. You are good enough for who you want to be, what you want to do, and the things you want to have. There is a way for you to START. Right now.
All of those years ago, I could have just closed my eyes and continued to say, “I can’t do it. I am still getting ready.”
And, I could STILL BE THERE…back there, back then, back when “getting ready” was my default state.
I’m lucky I had someone to encourage me to do what was necessary: to START.
If you have a hunch you want to be done “getting ready”, and you know it’s time to break free of the self-doubts or troubles or anxieties that hold you back…
All you have to do is make up your mind to be the boss of your brain. Then the rest is easy. “Starting” just comes naturally.
If that sounds too overwhelming, I get it. That’s why I’m here telling you this story. You may never have asked yourself if you’re the boss of your own brain. You may not have thought about getting a coach who would stare you down like mine did to me.
I hope you consider it now:
- When you have a great system to follow, everything is simpler.
- When you have a great coach, you can freely ask that tough question “Can you help me?” And, you can get the comfort of the answer “YES.”
If you’ve read this far, I believe it’s proof that you ARE READY, even if you need a little help believing it.
I can’t resist to say this:
If you ask me to help you, I’ll be thrilled.
Because, now, I can say YES.
Because that’s what I do.
I’m a teacher. A mentor. A coach.
I’m a healer.
I help people. I help them become the bosses of their brains.
I help people completely transform their lives using the power of their own brains and minds. No drugs. No therapy. No time lost to unhealthy or time-consuming coping strategies No wasted money. No Polar Bear Plunges or other gimmicks, tricks, or tactics.
I help them move their brains out of their way, so they can live just the way they want.
That’s what I am here for.
To help you be the boss of your brain.
I AM READY.
~ Dr. Case
P.S. Don’t underestimate what’s possible when you have a great coach or mentor or teacher. It can change your life. And that changes everything.
Are you ready? Join my programs:
The Boss of Your Brain system is fantastic. Because your human brain is fantastic; your human MIND is fantastic. Your human heart is fantastic. YOU – Heck, you are fantastic.
Done With Anxiety is only one part of the curriculum I’ve created. It’s one great place to start if you want to be the Boss of Your Brain.