7 Positive Steps to Take If You Get Hooked - Christine Kane

Yesterday’s post is required reading before you read this. Otherwise you may be wondering if this blog has been written for a flounder. Or a cod. So, please read yesterday’s post first!

Here’s a situation from my own life: I had just finished performing a show. It was the last show on a 2-week tour, and I was tired. It wasn’t my best performance, but I’ve been doing this for 12 years, so it didn’t suck.

An old friend of mine – a former actor – was at the show. He was helping me get my equipment from back stage to my rental car. After he slammed the trunk, he said, “You know, your performance wasn’t as good tonight as it usually is. I’m sensing you’re getting less connected to the audience as you get bigger, and I have some critiques to offer you”

Now, my little inner hook-able self was shouting, “This is TERRIBLE! Let’s LISTEN!! PULL UP A CHAIR!” And, in an instant, I ignored that voice and simply said, “No. I’m not willing to hear this now. But thanks.”

That ended the conversation. Nothing got dramatic. I hugged him good-bye and went back to the hotel.

Here’s why I didn’t get hooked: I already knew I was tired when I stepped onto the stage. I already knew I didn’t perform as well as other nights. I know how sensitive I am to criticism on nights like that. I also know that it’s bad timing to tell someone what she did wrong right after she performs. That my friend had been a stage actor and still chose that time to offer his criticism made me instantly not trust his opinion. Had he waited a week and called me, I would have been willing to talk.

However, I didn’t get dramatic. I didn’t get offended. I didn’t call anyone up from my hotel room and say, “How dare he??” I let it drop. And in the space that followed, I breathed and said to myself, “Hey, look at me. I’m growing up. I know that I’m a good performer having an off night. And it’s okay!”

This is what it looks like and feels like to not get hooked. And it feels good. Really good. Especially if you typically open yourself up to stuff like this.

This story illustrates a mini-victory for me after having done lots of work on this particular issue. However, most of us still find ourselves falling in to those mucky hooky waters, and we don’t know how to quit.

Yes, the over-all goal is to be 100% un-hookable. And I’m going to write about that next, but keep in mind that it’s a life-long process. Some of us may never achieve total un-hookability. (My spell-check hates me.) But we can begin to move towards living self-directed, self-validating lives where our centeredness dictates our choices. In the meantime, here are seven steps for getting yourself un-hooked when you get hooked.

1 – Set aside the actual situation first.

Just for now, set the situation aside. Tell your voices and your ego that you’ll get to them in a second but that you first need to repair some of the inner damage before you can think clearly.

2 – Get out of victim-mode.

When you make yourself a victim, you get small and tight. It’s a convenient place to be because you don’t ever have to grow or change. You get to be Poor Little Sad Me. Recognize that energy and stop feeling sorry for yourself. Take a few deep breaths and ask yourself if you really want to live your life as a victim.

You’re not a victim of the media. You’re not a victim of the bitch who keeps gossiping about you. You’re not a victim of your boyfriend who drinks too much. You’re not a victim of your employee who never seems to be happy.

Get out of victim-identity. Even if it feels like physical work to shift these old patterns, this is a necessary step. You have a choice.

3 – As fast as you can, get back to your original intent or to a TRUTH you know.

Pettiness and drama are small and shallow. Truth is big and deep. Try to get out of your small self and find a way to hold the truth. Even if you don’t believe it at first, say an affirmation. Remind yourself where you want to be. Focus on that. Even if all you can muster is, “I’m working on this issue and making great progress,” then you’re raising your energy level substantially from reaction mode.

One of my friends was still battling with an ex. She was in a rage. She had been hooked by yet another drama this person was instigating. I didn’t think it would be helpful if I agreed with her and got pulled into the drama. So, instead of saying that yes, her ex was a complete asshole, I reminded her of the truth: “Nothing can be taken from you.” I told her to say that over and over again. “Nothing can be taken from me.” And she reported that this one affirmation shifted everything for her. (She still had to deal with the situation at hand, but she wasn’t dealing with it from a place of reactivity.)

4 – Determine what role you played in this.

Once you’re feeling a little more centered, call the situation to mind and see what role you had. How did you play a part? Did you say yes when everything in you wanted to say no? Yesterday’s post encouraged an honest inner-appraisal of where you’re hook-able. Look honestly and kindly at yourself. How did you invite this in?

Also, look at your beliefs. How do your beliefs contribute to this situation? (Especially if the situation is recurrent.) When I was first getting started in the music business, I met a songwriter who said, “I feel like I’m always wearing a t-shirt that says ‘Tell me how you think I can improve.’ ” She was being funny. But I thought a lot about her mindset. It was a turn-around moment for me. This was her belief. And when it comes to human interaction, you don’t need to have a t-shirt like that. Your energy speaks way louder than a slogan on a t-shirt.

Assess your beliefs. Do you believe you can be had? Do you believe people can take things from you, that they can get you, that they can ruin your career? Do you believe that gas prices can make you or break you? Do you operate from those beliefs?

5 – Figure out what you can learn from this.

Even a small hook-y situation can teach you about yourself and how you lose your power. Were you tired? Were you hungry? Often those are good places to begin questioning. When we’re tired or hungry (if you travel, you know those two energies well), we can lose our center more easily. Does this person constantly trigger you? What about you is allowing that? Do you need to be more assertive? Do you need help standing up for yourself? Do you need to remember not to reveal so much to un-supportive people? What can you learn about your behavior?

6 – If there’s anything you can do to shift the situation and clear the energy, do it.

In my post on collusion, I wrote about an instant where I colluded and felt awful. I quickly made amends by admitting my own role in the situation to the other person involved. I forgave myself in front of him, and told him I never wanted to do that again. It was hard, but it shifted everything for me.

If you don’t have the option of communicating with anyone about the situation, then clear it for yourself. Do affirmations, write in your journal, or pray. Even a small simple act like this will shift the energy and raise your awareness so that any future occurrences will be more obvious to you.

7 – Make a plan for future situations that might occur.

If this was a one-time incident that threw you off, then this step may not be necessary. But most of us get hooked by the same things and people over and over again.

Once you recognize your hook-able places and you uncover your old beliefs that attract these situations, you can head off any potential hooks by thinking about them in advance.

This step is especially important if you are making a transition in your life or in your thinking. Recognize that this is a vulnerable time and see what triggers might hook you. Plans don’t always work perfectly, but they can provide you with a better awareness. You might be surprised at how you catch yourself and choose a different thought or a different response just because you took some time in advance.


Some of this might seem tedious or too intense. All I can say is that in my own personal experience, these steps work. Of course, I’m not THERE yet. (There is no THERE!) But I’m miles away from where I used to be!

When you live from a conscious place 100% of the time, then you won’t have to think in terms of all of these steps. Until then, however, you’re in process. And these steps will help you move towards that “100% consciousness” level.

  • Palmtreechick

    ah yes, Norwalk. On the shoreline. I worked in Norwalk for a little bit.

  • christine

    PTC, It was in Norwalk. It was a private function for a bunch of people from the Met…

  • Palmtreechick

    Geez, I missed ya! Do you remember where in CT you played?

  • christine

    Hi Susie! I’m glad you like Brenda Ueland. And what you said here reminds me of Stephen Covey’s words: “How you handle the situation IS the situation.” It’s so true.

    PTC, I was in CT a year ago. And I was in New York just outside the city this past spring. I’m sure to return at some point!

  • Palmtreechick

    I am joining your mailing list now! I would love if you made it up here. I’m in CT.

  • Susie

    Hi Christine,
    So often I get hooked on things that I can’t control. I can’t control getting a flat tire, getting coffee spilled on a business suit, etc. So often when we lose control we then go into a panic and become a victim of a situation like you said in #2. And then we spend the rest of the day in “What if…?” mode. Although we can’t control everyone wearing lids on their coffee or magically removing all nails from the road, we can control how we react to the situation and how we allow it to affect us. So, Thanks for all of the steps, they’re great!

    P.S. Thanks for suggesting “If You Want to Write” but Brenda Ueland. I picked it up the other day and I’m really enjoying the read.

  • christine

    Thanks Delmar! It’s interesting. I did a six-week tour with a ballet company (they choreographed a ballet to some of my songs). We went up and down the East Coast this past spring in a tour bus. I noticed that they all discussed their performances after each show, and mine too. I didn’t mind it at all. But mostly it’s because there was a group energy, a group dynamic. We were all working towards a whole. JKJ mentioned that s/he was an actor, which typically is another group setting. My shows are solo, my travel is solo. I think that it creates a whole different space and attitude about critique, especially when the critique is coming from someone outside of the show setting! So, I still believe I chose to do the right thing!

  • Delmar

    CK, I liked the subtle insight that JKJ had about your reaction, and I equally liked your response to her observation. You didn’t get ‘hooked’ by her suggestion!

  • christine

    PTC, Well, I’ll probably be performing SOME time in your area at some point! If you’re on my mailing list, you’ll get updates. My tour schedule is purposefully light this year. Thanks though! You’ll have to say hi after the show too…

    JKJ, Thanks for the note! I’m glad you like the blog. You’re right. It was a bit of a defensive stance on my part. Typically, people mean well in situations like that. It just wasn’t the right time for me, as you said. I’ll keep that in mind!

  • J Kendel Johnson

    Hi, Christine. My friend Kerri Arista in Dallas turned me on to your blog, and I enjoyed reading this entry.

    I’m both a former actor and a musician, and I would offer that feedback right after a performance might not work best for you, but it might work great for others.

    I applaud your awareness that you were unwilling to hear his critique in the moment. I get that it did not meet your needs for meaningful contribution and support.

    I felt sad about this line, though: “That my friend had been a stage actor and still chose that time to offer his criticism made me instantly not trust his opinion.”

    I loved hearing that you were able to “check in” in the moment and be aware of what you were available to receive from your friend. From what you’ve shared, Im guessing he was engaging in a strategy to help you that did not meet your needs for understanding and friendship. That awareness is so beautiful and powerful, as youve described.

    And I think it would be beautiful, too, if you might not need to find such an offering from your friend as wrong or bad or “distrustful”. It was an offer to help. It didn’t fit. That’s enough. That he should have known better, given his experience as a stage actor, is an unnecessary defense of your own self-awareness and a thought that alienates you from your friend.

  • Palmtreechick

    I would just love to see you perform!! ( I do, however enjoy reading your blog too.) 😉

  • christine

    Thanks NapaJoeMac! (I appreciate the clarification on your name. In one of the former comment areas, I had asked about it.) Wow. This is lots to respond to. I got about three-fourths of the way through Zen & The ARt… but I never quite got into it the way I was supposed to! I Love Thich Nhat Hahn, too. (As I breathe in, i know i’m breathing in…) Bobble Head is high praise. Thanks!

  • NapaJoeMac

    You are good. Very good. I find myself nodding my head time and time again as I read your last two posts (and most of the ones I’ve seen since discovering your blog!) The “hook” concept reminds me quite a bit of something called a “gumption trap” from Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. I just searched my bookshelf for it to find the pages, but alas I believe I gave my most recent copy away. It can be a tedious read (Zen..Motorcycle..) so I was hoping to point interested folks toward the section of the book regarding gumption traps. My memory of gumption traps are things that happen to you that make you lose your state of mindfulness. I don’t think Robert Pirsig uses the term mindfulness, though. Mindfulness is a favorite term of mine I first became aware of from Thich Nhat Hanh. It’s a favorite practice for me, and I find myself thinking of that word often as I read your posts. It is a very important place to be to recognize hooks and gumption traps.

    Thanks once again Christine for a great “bobble-head” experience for me! Bobble Head Napa Joe Mac (Joe Macpherson from Napa California. Not much of a napper -sleep is practicing death. I do enjoy the guilty pleasure of Mac and Cheese from time to time, but I prefer gourmet eats – you are what you eat is a simple truth. Napa is a funny little town in the Napa Valley. It’s a working class town, blue collar, much like a middle America type place. It’s not full of the hippie Califonia idealism that brought me to California from the East Coast, but that stuff is close by. I’m one of a few folks in the town who has that sort of liberal energy and I work with the adolescent crowd, so I feel of much service to this community. The scenery is gorgeous as you might imagine – vineyards, hills, mild weather, blue skies. Wow, this has been a longer parenthetical insertion. I best close now. Thanks again Christine!)