Episode 13: Letting Go And Living Life Your Own Way with Moira Hutchison
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Episode 13: Letting Go And Living Life Your Own Way with Moira Hutchison
Are you someone who is feeling stuck in your personal or professional life? Do you have an inkling there’s got to be a better way to go through life or that you’re meant to do something different? In this episode of Guiding You Through The Maze, I have the pleasure of speaking with Moira Hutchison, a Certified Life Coach who has developed the process for living life more aligned with your true purpose.
I have the pleasure of speaking with Moira Hutchison, Certified Life Coach and creator of the Letting Go Process. She’s also the author of the book Letting Go So You Can Thrive!!. She’s going to share with us the five steps of her letting go process. Welcome, Moira. It’s my pleasure to be speaking with you.
Thank you so much, Lisa. I am grateful to be here.
I thought we would start out by talking a little bit about your background and if you can help us understand how it is you came into your journey into coaching.
I have quite a long backstory but the main story about coming into coaching was that I come from a corporate background. I used to run other people’s businesses and do financial control work, bookkeeping and management. I burnt out a number of times. Starting back in 1998 I believe was the first illness that I had. I’m a bit of an A-type personality that’s very driven and hardworking. I pushed myself way too far. It was either the second or third burnout where my doctor was saying I could not continue the way I was going. It was very confusing to me because doctors were just giving me pills and saying, “This is where you’re at. You’ve got to treat yourself in life, you’re never going to change.” It’s never going to change. You’re always going to be this tired, this achy and this sore and not be able to perform like I used to.
There was no way out.
No way out and it was like, “Take these pills and sit.” I remember being sent to a support group of people that had similar types of burnout or illnesses like I was experiencing and it was just this sense of, “Woe is me, my life is over.” I used to be able to do all these things. I used to be able to hike, do these dancing, do all this stuff and I can’t anymore and that’s it. All the people that were around me were accepting this is it. It almost lit a fire under me because I thought, “There’s no way. I’m not doing this.”
That this is not going to work.
This doesn’t work for me. I’ve always been the go-to girl for problem-solving. If you think about the coaching, problem-solving part, it’s always been with me all my adult life. I was the person that people came to talk to about their problems or bounce ideas. I was watching it from this perspective of all these people with different types of illnesses that made them incapable of doing the things they used to and that didn’t really serve me either because it was like I’m perpetually swirling. People all around me seemed to be very stuck. I went and made it my mission to figure out how come people got this burnout because I still had a sense that there’s some way through this. I’m going to find it.
There’s a better way to do things here.
To this day, I talk about this and I wished I’d kept it. I found an article that said that these types of illnesses: complete burnout, adrenal burnout, were brought about by people not following their life purpose. What I’m talking about are things like chronic fatigue, ME, fibromyalgia, even MS to some degree, that family of illnesses. All of a sudden, the room got very bright. From there, that fascinated me and it really resonated because whose life purpose is it to sit and do bookkeeping and run other people’s businesses? It made me dive deeper into this whole concept of, “I’m a teacher. I love to help people. I am a counselor, a therapist,” the go-to girl for problem-solving. From there, I made it my mission. A lot of the certifications and training that I’ve done since then have been on different types of modalities that helped heal me, that helped me deepen that awareness and get in touch with my purpose, find my voice, deal with my energy and help others along the way.
You’ve gone through your own journey. When you talk about living life more in terms of your life purpose, I think of the word alignment. In my own work, I use the analogy of an acorn. An acorn contains the full potential of an oak tree. It’s never going to be a maple or pine. When I’m working with clients, and I talk about this with my children, I’m trying to help you discover what’s in your acorn. That’s right along with what you’re talking about, living life according to your life purpose. That alignment, it’s interesting. I wonder if you find this too, is if you’re doing something aligned with your life purpose, you can be doing a lot. You can be working hard but it doesn’t feel like work.
I love what you just said about the analogy of the acorn because when the acorn is really blossoming into what it is, there is no exhaustion because it’s not draining its resource. It’s putting all of its resources into growing into what it is. That’s what happens to us. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like it’s our energy because we’ve become so aligned that it flows through us, instead of having forced and pushed to figure things out.
I think when you were talking about the burnout, when you’re trying to live life according to either maybe what your family has dictated, society has dictated that this program of what we should do, what we should be, and what it means to be successful. We’re trying to jam ourselves into that mold. I see how you could be very vulnerable to the burnout like you described.
Absolutely, because at that point you only have a limited amount of resource because it’s not really yours. You’re trying to live life as somebody else’s definition and there’s no fulfillment in that.
You don’t get energized. You just get depleted.
We all run around on empty which is what happened. I probably even worked harder now than I did back then.
When you’re in that teacher mode, that helping people mode, that problem-solving mode, you’re almost connected to larger energy that you just keep tapping into.
That fuels you. That’s not to say you don’t get tired because you do but you know, you recognize and receive your own inner guidance because then you actually do get the guidance within you.
You’re able to hear that inner voice more, which is great. Thank you for sharing a little bit of your own journey here. In your work, I know you’ve come up with a letting go process and that there are five different steps involved in that. I was hoping you could share with our audience a little bit more about that process and how they may start applying it to their own lives.
I’ve gone through different languaging around what it is I’m helping people with. Originally, I used to say, and I still do to some degree is I help people get unstuck because that sense of burnout and being tired makes us feel we’re stuck and there is no way out. I was doing that for many years and just using the coaching processes and protocols that I do. I’m also a hypnotherapist, so I blend that in there too. After a couple of years of doing this work of art, this formula came about by really watching all of these people that I was helping get unstuck. As I was witnessing them get unstuck, I realized what we were doing was helping them let go of all the things that don’t serve them.
That led to this whole body of work that I’ve done around the letting go process. I actually wrote a book about this too, Letting Go So You Can Thrive!!. The more we let go of these, it’s like peeling layers of an onion. This formula is not a one, two or three. What I’ll do is I’m going to tell you what all the steps are and then I’m going to weave it together to show you how this works. I’ll give you your readers some aspects on each point. Once I’ve done that, then I’m going to tell you how a client went through the whole thing because it helps you solidify how this all works together.
The five steps are, the first one is awareness, then acceptance, action, adapting and aspiring. How do this is at awareness, we need to become aware of where we are. Are we tired? Are we following those shoulds? What are our skills? What makes us light up? What gives us joy in our heart? What did we want to be when we grew up as children? These are all aspects that need to come up. Also, what conversations are you having in your head? Are you having conversations in your mind like, “I’m not good enough. I’ll never get there. People in my family never succeed with this?” This is the first step. It’s an inventory time.
Is that a similar process of mindfulness?There’s no fulfillment in trying to live life as somebody else's definition. Click To Tweet
Yes. I have my mindfulness meditation teacher. There are definitely mindfulness components throughout this whole process.
Is it just becoming a better observer of your own self?
Exactly. In my coaching process, each of these steps, there is no set time because each person takes their own time through it. There are a whole bunch of different assessments that people can go through. There are online personality tests that people can do and do this on their own also. In doing this inventory piece, we always find things that we do not like about ourselves. We might be a workaholic, or we might overcompensate in some area or we might take on too much.
There are always pieces that we don’t like, and we don’t really want to face which is why the next step is acceptance. Acceptance can simply be, “I accept that’s what it is. I accept that I have the propensity to do that.” Every time I say it to a client, they have this horrified look in their eyes like, “You’re going to tell me that I have to be okay with me having this addiction, this bad habit or this personality piece that I don’t like.” There are two things that I believe about acceptance. I don’t believe we can change anything about us or around us until we accept what is right now.
The acceptance actually makes change possible.
It creates that stable foundation to then say, “This is what’s going on right now. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong or I’m keeping it or I’m going to be okay with it. I’m just saying, this is what it is right now.” That leads to step number three, which is action. You’ve done the awareness, you’ve probably got a sense of what you would like to have. The acceptance piece, you’re accepting, “I haven’t got it but because I’m aware that I would like it, I can accept I don’t have it and then what are the action steps that I can take?” If you’re a procrastinator, what are the steps that you could do to make sure you do one step on a project or is there organization tips that you need? Oftentimes, there’s emotional clearing that needs to be done at this step. I use a technique called EFT tapping, Emotion Freedom Technique tapping. Have you heard of that before, Lisa?
I’ve heard of it. Can you just give a little brief description for our audience?
There’s a number of different tapping techniques out there. EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique is a recipe, like tapping on different acupressure points which have been found to help release on a cellular level fears, phobias and anxieties. I use this in my work. I sometimes work with people with cancer. This is a wonderful tool to help them release their fears and their anxieties about their treatment or the surgeries they’re going through. It’s a great tool too with you because if I am upset with myself, because I have a pattern or a habit that I don’t like, until I accept this is what it is, then I can’t change it. I can’t let it go. Tapping allows you to feel into it and to just say, “This is what it is,” and release it on a cellular level.
It releases that emotion. It lets the emotion run through your body more.
It’s not running away from it because sometimes when we have those emotions, we tend to stuff them down and don’t want to go there. It’s tapping on different acupressure points while you’re saying certain things about that anxiety, that habit, that upset or that emotion that you don’t really want to. “Even though I have this, I still love and accept myself.” Those are the kinds of things that you’re saying as you’re tapping.
Between the acceptance and then the EFT tapping, you’re letting go of any resistance.
Precisely, which then beautifully opens the door to resilience and the, “What’s can I do now?” Sometimes that first step of the doing is writing out your intentions and your goals or visualizing the outcome or calling a friend or making an appointment. Oftentimes, when we first go through this, they’re fairly small because we’re going to keep going through these five steps. Once we’ve done some of those action steps, we’re still aware and we still accept anything that comes up, then the fourth step is to adapt. As we take action towards what we would like to create, we become somebody different. Maybe we now have a new habit or a new way of talking about ourselves or talking within or setting our intentions. We become a different new version of us. We have to adapt to that new energy, that new level of being.
The fifth step is to aspire because now we’ve come through that, we’ve broken apart what’s not serving us. We’ve let some stuff go. We get to say, “Who do I want to be now? What next best version can I create for myself?” With adapting, sometimes people are doing things like setting a mission statement. In the next six months, this is what I want to have created but the fifth step, aspire, we’re creating a vision statement of what I want my life to expand and express into what do you want in the next five years? It’s much more of a vision statement for your life. We go through the whole thing again because now we’re at a higher elevation. We’re at a new space. We have to become aware, who am I now? Accept, have action and adapt. We keep cycling it through.
Through that growth process. You were talking about adapting, but I would also imagine those people closest to you would be doing some adapting as well.
It’s like, “What do you mean you’re not going to do that anymore? You’ve always done it this way.”
I don’t know if our readers are familiar with the path of self-actualization but that’s what I’m seeing. Your process is to help people get to a higher and higher level of self-actualization. The way I describe it is you’re growing the acorn into more and more of the full oak tree there.We can’t change anything about us or around us until we accept what is right now. Click To Tweet
These steps came about by me watching and coaching one-on-one and thinking, “I see the same things over.” Sometimes there are differences. Not everybody likes a specific type of assessment tool. Not everybody likes tapping for instance but there was always a common theme in those five steps. Those five steps work for anybody regardless of what they’re going through. The client that I want to share about this, this one was a quick and easy way to help you see how this worked. This client, he was self-employed subcontractor who is very stuck in his career and his home life. To be honest with you, the awareness steps were a very long time with him because he had really closed his mind. He got into this mentality that, “This is how my life is going to be. I just have to put my head down, soldier on, provide for my family and not even listen.” He wouldn’t even listen to any of his inner callings or what he wanted to have in his life yet he was feeling drawn to come to me, which told me there was something missing in his own awareness.
Was he sensing that inkling?
There was a calling for him for sure. We would sit and have conversations and bit by bit, we were getting more and more of a sense of that acorn. When he became aware of how much he had created and how much he had given up on himself about his goals and aspirations, he became very depressed. He was very upset with himself. He still got a lot of life in him but as far as he was concerned, he’d wasted his life. He was very upset. At the acceptance, we were doing a lot of EFT tapping and forgiveness techniques. Forgiveness techniques were huge for him too. There was a hypnosis process that I take people through sometimes and this one was very important with him. This is helping him accept. I’m not saying what he did was right or wrong. It’s just this is what he had created. To be honest with you, what he had created at home was an abusive situation. At work, he was losing a client and he used to come into my office and swear a lot too.
Is it a negative energy space?
Very much so. You can imagine then waking up to saying, “I did this.” That was big for him. That was big and it was quite hard for him to face. Very gently, we had to keep working with this acceptance piece. In the acceptance piece, I kept saying to him I wanted him to journal and he was like, “Men don’t journal.” This is me leading him into the action step. Finally, he agreed he would buy a journal. One day he came in and he sat in his car outside my office and written, “I’m writing in my journal because Moira is going to ask me.”
He’s got to do his homework.
For the next few appointments, that’s what he was doing. He was writing a paragraph or so in his car until he realized how comfortable he felt with himself with this action step because we kept having these conversations back to the awareness, “What do you want to be? How do you want your life to look like?” When you do some acceptance, he got back into his angry mode. I’ll never forget the day he came into my office and he was just beaming from ear to ear. He had written eleven pages in his journal and he wanted to share them with me. We watched him automatically step into the adapt because he now was waking up. He had his alarm set an hour earlier than he used to so he could sit with his journal. That was adapting. Isn’t that beautiful? Watching him do this was so magical to me too. This is over quite a long period of time.
He was coming in and sharing epiphanies that were coming through and he left the company that he was working for and got a new job which almost doubled his income. He left his abusive relationship and was happily living on his own. He just started saying, “This is what I aspire to. This is what I’m going to create,” and he started sharing with me. It’s actually because of this client that I realized that the fifth step was the aspire. Once you come through those first four steps, it’s almost like it allows you to raise your head up enough to get this big picture view of, “Where’s my life heading and what do I want? Now, I’m the driver of this bus.”
You’re driving it now more from your true life purpose. I love the use of the journaling and one image that came to mind was I imagine this brick wall. He’s in the car doing his homework before seeing you. It’s almost like that was a chip at the wall, then the wall finally came down and we get the eleven pages.
That was just the beginning because I swear each time it was more, but it was so beautiful to witness that. It’s so simple. Now that you look at the whole thing, that’s so simple but it took so much to get him there.
That’s the other thing too, I emphasize with our readers, the power of having a coach is not only the encouragement and everything that you provide but the accountability. If you weren’t saying, “No, you can journal and let’s do this each time,” even if he tried it once, that would have been maybe a one and done.
To your point, a number of my clients over the years have called me a secret sounding board simply because I think that’s a big piece of being a coach too. I expect people to be completely vulnerable and tell me everything about them because I’m not going to judge them. That’s a big piece of coaching, isn’t it?
You’re modeling that nonjudgmental acceptance. As they’re doing the acceptance of their selves, they’re acknowledging those old patterns, habits or mistakes they made. You’re just acknowledging it to put it on the table but doing it in a nonjudgmental way. You’re not taking yourself down, you’re saying, “I can learn from this. I may want to do things differently in the future,” but you’re not going into that negative self-talk.
In essence, what we’re doing is breaking apart those shoes that we’ve bought into because sometimes they’re running us without us knowing at all.
Most of them are in the subconscious level, which is why your awareness step here is so important. Most people in the world are living life largely unconsciously. They may be unconscious but they hear that inkling, “There’s got to be more to life than this. There’s got to be a better way of doing this. I’m meant to do something different.”
That’s what coaching helps people start to really visit with and step into.Break apart from what's not serving you. You’ve got to let some stuff go. Click To Tweet
Thank you so much for sharing your process with us. You’ve mentioned that you had one book. I think you have some other products too. Would you like to mention any of those for our readers?
There’s information about this on my website. That’s my book, Letting Go So You Can Thrive!!. My first book is called Get Your Life on Track: Without Jumping off the Train!. I said to you that I had quite a long story into my coaching. That first book is about my story before the corporate life that I worked in and that is I was in a cult for two years in my early twenties. That’s part of why I burnt out because being in a cult and coming out into the real world at age 21, I was living in Scotland and I couldn’t say, “There’s this two-year gap on my resume. It’s because I was in a cult.” Being the proper Scottish girl that I was, I just hustled. I hustled and worked as a temp. You name a job and I’ve probably done it in order to gain the skill set in the real world. By the age of 24, I was an office manager.
How might our readers get both of your books?
They’re available on Amazon and I believe also there are links on my website to take them to my Amazon page.
Do you have any final words of wisdom or advice for our readers?
I mentioned I’m a meditation teacher too. I think that meditation is something that’s very misunderstood but it’s to just allow yourself some time you with you every day, even if it’s only two or three minutes focusing on deep breathing and staying in the moment. It’s such a great way to calm down the chatter in your mind and to open yourself up to what may be inside your acorn.
In terms of meditation, probably one of the most important skills we can learn to help free us. I call it the database of our mind but that programming, that meditation to get yourself in your body in the present moment. It’s as simple as focusing on your breathing. Being still focusing on your breathing just even for a few moments can help you bring yourself more into the present moment.
This is the other part. By focusing on your breath and staying in the present moment, I read a quote somewhere that says, “If we’re stuck in the past, that’s where depression is and if we go too far in the future, that’s where anxiety is.”
In our mind, that database of our mind, it does not like living in the present moment.
No, it does not. This is where we realize everything is okay.
It dwells on the past or it tries to anticipate the future that makes you more vulnerable to anxiety. Coming into your body and your breathing but also all your senses, I find that helpful in terms of bringing people into the present moment and getting them into a little bit more of that meditative state out of the thinking mind and into just the being mind.
Just into being. We are human beings.
We’re not that good at that.
We are sure not. That’s what we need to bring more of.
When you’re in that place, then you can approach life much more consciously than you ever could, trapped in the database of your mind. This has been wonderful. What would be the best way for our audience to get in contact with you?
Moira also has a profile on The Coaching Connector. You can contact her directly via her profile there as well. Thank you so much. This has been wonderful. I appreciate you walking us through not only the five steps of your process but of the example and what a wonderful example of the power of your technique.
Thank you so much, Lisa.
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- Moira Hutchison
- Letting Go So You Can Thrive!!
- Get Your Life on Track: Without Jumping off the Train!
- Amazon – Moira Hutchison
- Wellness With Moira – Facebook
- The Coaching Connector – Moira’s profile
About Moira Hutchison
- Certified Life Coach (CTACC)
- Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist (CCHt)
- Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher
- Lentino, L.M. (2014). Constructive thinking how to grow beyond your mind. Sudbury, MA: Grow Beyond Your Mind.