The Breakdown Before the Breakthrough - Christine Kane

Sometimes when we have these “breakdowns” in our Soul-Sourced™ business, it’s because something much bigger is happening, and you never know how it’s going to play out or what it will bring. Often, what’s going on is a deep calling to shift focus and direction toward a breakthrough, perhaps one you don’t even see yet. 

In this episode, I reframe what a “breakdown” is and explain why I think they’re highly underrated. You’ll also hear several stories about mindset, including how I learned to stop forcing an outcome when I was an aspiring songwriter, and how I taught a client to stop aiming to make $1M and instead aspire to become a 7-figure business owner.

Learn the 3 worst things you can do to make your breakdown harder than it already is. And, get 3 action steps to help you receive your experiences — good and bad — as they come, and open yourself to the insights they bring with them.

I know things are tough for a lot of us right now. Let’s figure out how to stop fighting the “breakdown”, and lean into the lessons it’s meant to teach. Plus, as a bonus, I’ll give you a sneak peek at what’s coming in future episodes of the Soul-Sourced™ Podcast. Hope you enjoy!

Episode Transcript

Everyone thinks that a breakdown means the end of their world as they know it. But on this episode, let’s reframe what a breakdown is. I happen to think that breakdowns are underrated. Like I said, it’s the breakdown before the break through.

Welcome to the Soul-SourcedTM Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Welcome everyone to episode number 14 of the Soul- SourcedTM Business Podcast. And I’m going to just start by describing a situation. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re experiencing something like this right now. Maybe you’ve dug yourself out of it before, or maybe you’re trying to dig yourself out of it right now. And it looks like this.

Nothing feels like it’s working. Nothing feels quite right anymore. No matter how many kudos you’ve gotten or how many things you’ve achieved or how much money, you know, you can make how productive, you know, you can be. Exactly none of it does anything for you right now. And you don’t know if it’s cause you’re tired or if it’s because of the state of the world and how noisy and crazy everything is. You don’t know if it’s hormonal because you’re pregnant or maybe you’re going through some kind of pre-menopause or cause you gave up carbs. But the rest of the world seems to be functioning and driving forward as usual. And you, no matter what you try, can’t seem to lose this gnawing sense of emptiness and unimportance in any of it. You try all your old tricks, the ones that used to work so well, like big, long lists, or going to the gym for a few back squats or going Keto or Wim Hof method or Kundalini yoga or Bulletproof coffee. And you just keep careening back into this sense that something is not working for you.

Now, I don’t want to underestimate the power of physiological issues. Hormones are a real thing. Nutrition is a real thing. Physical movement is a real thing. Breath work is a real thing and these have a profound impact on our well being, but sometimes deep callings to shift our focus and direction are the actual real thing that’s going on for us, not for everyone, but you know who you are. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

The real challenge for us is even allowing that this may be possible. If you are a high achiever, if you’re a business owner, if you are a self motivated batteries included type, if you truly know that when you’re on, you can in fact kick ass and take names, then finding yourself in this place. It’s that place where you just don’t know can be 100% unacceptable to you or more accurately to your ego, which doesnt like change or uncertainty of any kind.

As a coach, when one of my clients is in this place, I approach it with them very gently. I see it as a breakdown, but it’s not just a breakdown, as in something is very wrong here. I call it a breakdown because something bigger is happening. Something wants and needs to change. And when you’re in the breakdown phase, you don’t know, and you can’t know how that change is going to play out or what it will bring into your business or your life. And I get it. This is not the typical messaging of a business coach. Most business as coaches get very agitated if you don’t know what you want, or if you feel sort of lost. And if you share this kind of circumstance or feeling with them, you’re likely to get a heap load of productivity, cures, because live in a world where uncertainty and certainly unproductivity is terrifying, especially to business minded types.

But in my coaching here at Uplevel, I know that this can be a very real shift that happens for entrepreneurs. Some part of your soul is wanting to shed some old pattern, some construct that’s no longer working and the ego, the mind, the achiever within, wants nothing to do with what it views as some lofty ideal or of transformation or soul. And that achiever within wants to keep on proving itself valid. And it wants nothing more than to keep status quo and keep achieving, keep getting the goodies that, that feed it’s very reason for being, but those goodie grabbing parts of ourselves are not the drivers of our lives. They just aren’t much as the internet marketers tell us otherwise. And you know, when you’re playing games, when something deeper is trying to emerge and you just want to revert back to the, make it all look good stuff. Instead of taking a deep look inside and truly just giving yourself over to this force field that is trying to communicate with you.

And all that game playing just makes it worse. All the little game playing things that we can do to prop up this false sense of self just starts to wear us down. I don’t, I don’t know if anyone loves old Looney Tunes, cartoons, or even knows the animator, Chuck Jones, but he was the amazing artist and director behind all the classic cartoons, like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and too many others to count. But my favorite cartoon of his is called Feed the Kitty. And the main character is this big giant bulldog named Mark Anthony who finds this tiny little kitten as he’s marching, the perimeter of his yard, being the watchdog and after barking at the kitten and trying to scare the kitten, he falls over the moon in love with the kitten.

And then this big, giant hysterical dog tries to sneak this kitty into the house. And whenever he’s about to get caught with the kitten, he turns the kitten into various things like a windup toy or a powder puff. But then at the end of the cartoon, he’s totally busted. And the woman of the household, you only see her legs, but she standing there tapping her toe as he’s holding this kitten. And he tries to go through all of his games, pretending that the kitten isn’t really a kitten and the housewife just keeps tapping her big high heel. And the dog finally just breaks down and reveals the truth. And he falls into this puddle of tears because he’s so completely in love with the kitten. And of course, moisties like me just sit and cry because it’s just ridiculous and so cute.

But this is what the ego’s game-playing feels like to me, it’s this big burly watchdog that keeps trying to pretend that something else isn’t going on. It’s the ultimate game of the ego, pretending, you know, see, I can try this and it doesn’t work. Oh, don’t like that. Great. I can try this, but eventually, and it can take years depending on how long you want to play games, but eventually the truth, the soul, whatever you want to call, it always wins. So for our purposes on this episode, we’re going to call this “The Breakdown Before The Breakthrough”. And here’s why I’m choosing this moment to talk about this.

For some people, breakdowns are amplified right now. And my theory, whether or not anyone agrees is that we had an unprecedented opportunity this year, which is this. During quarantine and all of the emptiness and uncertainty that surrounded us. Some people could no longer default to perpetually driving themselves forward. Like they couldn’t turn that kitten into a powder puff anymore. And when they got some space away from the machinery, the business and the knee jerk travel and the meetings and a constantly full day, they had no choice, but to pay attention to their insides.

And when we do this, sometimes the truth reveals itself and that can get uncomfortable. So now that all the usual activities are resuming and people are expecting you to be right back on it. You may find that it’s harder to step back into that drivenness without acknowledging that something now once or needs to change. Speaking of kitties, Finnegan is now in the background screaming, and all of this can feel daunting, especially if at this point you don’t freaking know what might evolve into. All you can see is this inevitable end point where you quit. You give it up. And of course you end up on the streets, pushing a shopping cart around as you shout obscenities at no one in particular. Then everyone thinks that a breakdown means the end of their world as they know it. But on this episode, let’s reframe what a breakdown is.

I happen to think the breakdowns are underrated. Like I said, it’s “The Breakdown Before The Breakthrough”. I was texting last week with one of my alone time clients. And Brian has worked with me on and off since about 2012. And this year Brian began a new venture that is a total 180 from the business that he had started and built during his first years of working with me. He had achieved a pretty high level of success in that first business of his, and in one of his texts, he shared that this whole thing, this whole new thing started about two years ago when he realized his heart wasn’t really in his company anymore. In spite of the seductive fact that it had reached dreamy levels of passive income. And he described living through the feeling of not knowing what was next, but remaining open to opportunities while simplifying his business as much as possible. All of which scared him a lot.

And what he wrote to me last week was this. He said, and I’m quoting him now. I’ve spent two years feeling adrift. And now I am easing into this massive, scary, magic, exciting reboot that feels like the thing my whole life was leading up to this whole silly time. Drifting was scary, sad, lonely, wonderful, and necessary. And I regret nothing about it. The good news is that there is a breakthrough and your whole business doesn’t have to fall apart in the meantime. The bad news is that no one can remove what he calls the scary, sad, wonderful, and necessary activity of feeling a bit adrift.

So let’s talk about the three worst things that we all do that make a breakdown even harder than it already is. The first is that we insist on knowing the outcome and the whole point of a breakdown is that you can’t know you’re not ready yet. In fact, the very reason breakdowns can be so messy is because you aren’t meant to know right now, the breakdown is actually the distraction that lets the new thing arise while you’re being distracted. That’s just part of the deal. The problem is that the three words, entrepreneurs hate the very most are I, don’t and no, but you have to begin to embrace the uncertainty. Like I said, in my “Turbulent Times Guide to Resilience”. That’s an ebook that I released earlier this year and I’ll leave a link in the show in case you missed it. But I, I said that it’s a call to be curious instead of certain, and I understand how challenging that can be.

The second worst thing you can do is to spend your time trying to fix it all. And that happens because we’ve reached a certain level of success or outward normalcy, and when we’ve done that, It’s natural for us in this achievement above all else culture, to want to defend our position, just to keep the ego happy. Uncertainty means that we don’t know if anyone will still admire us or if success is guaranteed or whatever. In the case of Brian, he had already achieved a great deal of success. And now he’s starting a new venture, another unknown. And this means kind of starting at ground zero again, and our ego doesn’t like ground zero. And I’ll confess that my ego doesn’t like releasing a book this year. It’s just a total unknown, you know, for all I know, 18 people could purchase it and that’s it. And we just don’t know. We never know when we start something new or go in a new direction what’s going to happen. And that brings me to the third worst thing that we can do when we’re faced with a breakdown is that we rush, we want that transformation. We want that breakthrough. And we want all of the discomfort to get itself the hell over with fast, like by next week. But I will remind you that this is the Soul-SourcedTM Podcast, not the make millions while you’re eating caviar and having sex podcast.

So let’s just start here by giving you permission to be in this place, like just check in with yourself and see what would it feel like to stop fighting and battling and resisting that this just might be happening just simple permission. No one’s telling you that you have to throw yourself off a cliff. No one is saying that it all has to fall apart. Just let go of the fight. And the next thing I want you to do is to as best as you can, stop trying to figure this out. Everything may in fact, be figure outable as Marie Forleo’s book goes.

But in my experience, I don’t think that the big deep stuff is figure outable. We give so much power to our thoughts and our minds and with all due respect and deserved respect to Marie, that’s not where these deeper insights or wisdom come from. In fact, whenever a client uses the words figure and out with this kind of shift, I cringe. That’s because I know my client is hoping that the left brain will come to the rescue and the left brain in all of its strategizing and controlling and fixing and figuring, wants to get it’s clammy little paws into everything that we do. And I will tell you that I first learned the limits of the left brain in songwriting because when I first started writing songs, I’d think them up, I’d have a thought like, Oh, I want to write a song about the Chesapeake Bay bridge. I love the Chesapeake Bay bridge. And then I’d start figuring out how I could write it. And invariably, I’d end up with a really boring song that made anyone I played it for kind of smile painfully and say things like, Oh, that’s nice.

But then there was this one night and it was very late. And I, I sat down with my guitar on the floor and I just leaned against the wall and I played little finger picking patterns. And before I knew it, a melody showed up and I was tempted to mentally grab it and try to figure out where to take that melody. But I didn’t, I stayed curious, I didn’t push. It was like this little lyric showed up here. A little melody idea showed up there and I just took notes and I worked very hard not to try to figure it out.

Mostly it felt like my job was simply getting out of the way. And that song ended up on my first CD and it was called “Pocket Full of Pennies”. And no, it did not break out my career. I remember I got a really cool review on that song. Like when someone reviewed that CD that’s along with something they pointed to as being this very sweet little kind of gem. And I remember being kind of happy because that person, the reviewer couldn’t obviously know the story of it, but like I said, it didn’t do anything major. Didn’t want it Grammy. In fact, there was really nothing spectacular about it, except that it really was spectacular because the experience of something emerging showed me that this is how anything evolves. We just like to look back. And we like to think that it was our minds doing the work, but it’s so was not.

So the trick here is to cultivate that kind of allowing in our lives because our lives and our businesses are our art. So now that I’ve irritated you, by not giving you a list of things to do, let’s give you a list of things to do. Let’s give that funny little mind of yours, a few things that you can actually try, you know, and I can hear you. It’s like, Oh, thank God task lists to do something linear. So we’re just going to start with a simple question here. And that question is to ask yourself, what have you been intending? You know, as Carolyn Mace likes to say, when she works with her patients in her medical intuitive practice, I don’t know if she’s still doing that, but she says that what she used to say was “what have you been praying for?” And it’s kind of a key question.

I, um, I have a coaching program for people who have been clients of mine in the past. They’re kind of graduates of Uplevel and it’s called CK On Call. It’s an all access to me sort of program. And these clients already know my trainings. They’ve been in my programs and now we’re really tweaking things for them. There’s like a monthly fee to work with me. And one of my clients in that program already reached the $300,000 mark in revenue, in her coaching business. And she started off her work with me a few months ago by saying that she wanted me to help her reach the million dollar mark. That was her intention.

But what I did was the first thing I asked her to do was to see if we could just set aside that goal. I wanted to push that to the side and that’s because she was also at the same time complaining of exhaustion and overthinking. And I didn’t set aside that intention because I wanted her to give it up. I wanted to not be driving forward to that intention because what I know about intention is once we set one, everything that starts to happen after that is us becoming that intention. And what’s been interesting with this client is to see that we’re doing this very cool work together, which is really diving into how she approaches everything in her business from hiring her first full time employee to thinking through how she voices her automation. And what I’m witnessing is that some of it is really changing how she would normally do things and she’s super uncomfortable, but what’s evolving from that discomfort is that she’s ultimately becoming a million dollar business owner in the process, which is different from the goal of making a million bucks. She herself is evolving, but it’s required a bit of a breakdown it’s required that she let go and see what unfolds and that she trusts me and her process enough to let that unfold. And that is not easy.

So our intentions aren’t just about getting stuff like getting all the goodies and the money they’re about becoming. So you always have to consider that your intentions are in fact generating the very thing that you are now experiencing. And then of course, that key word, trust. You have to trust your intention is indeed so powerful that the mess you’re experiencing is part of that intention coming to life, not the death of your entire world.

The second handy dandy little task here is simple, basic body work and breath work. And now I’m not a bodyworker, I’m a coach and I’m not tuned into the energetics of your situation, but I can simply say that in my experience, when I’m in a transformational place in my life. And when I guide clients through those transformational places, it is very easy to get caught up in patterns and loops.

And we often think that these patterns are all about mindset and yes, your mindset is important, but that doesn’t mean that it’s about demanding, that you suddenly think positive. It’s about seeing yourself as a whole. So your energy and how you are resonating and where you might be blocked up or, or locked up. All of these things impact your ability to move and to trust and to tune into your next steps, or even to alter your mindset, which is why breath work, or yoga and motion and activity and exercise can help to move you through difficult times. And the reason I know this is because through every level and layer of my businesses, I’ve gotten acupuncture. I’ve gone in and out of various yoga practices and weight training and breath work. And none of these are magic bullets, mind you, but they simply serve to keep the energy moving so that if you are caught in an old mental or emotional pattern, you have a better chance of moving through it without so much effort.

What we tend to do is we think that it’s all about processing our fucked up stuff, but often it’s not. We know our stuff inside and out and what can happen if we don’t do some kind of body and release work is that we end up just kind of fondling the same old pattern. We fall in love with our loops and our patterns and ways we’re not quite right. And all of it is just on the same old loop. And most of it is kind of just BS. My friend, Angela Ditch, who is an extraordinary body worker and yoga teacher and energy healer. She says that body, she calls it. She says, body is crystallized mind, meaning that the body is holding onto your crystallized mindsets. And she said that when we get into those loops, oftentimes it’s the body replaying what it knows. And when you discover that your mind is just running the same programs, that’s when you’re in a pattern where you recognize that mind is running the breath, because the breath has caught into a pattern of the mind and the breath is then running the body. And so when you’re running a loop, that loop itself contains a mindset, a breathing pattern of physiological pattern. So one of the easiest places that you can go to, to shift a mindset is your breath like really begin working with breathing patterns. And my clients know we do a lot of different breath work. Whenever we start a retreat. Whenever we start a session together, I really make people understand that your breath is so important to you being able to take in new strategy, new marketing, new selling techniques, because otherwise you will stay caught in your doubts.

The last thing I’m going to tell you to do is to pay attention to delight. And this is another way to let curiosity guide you, as opposed to demanding that you find your way out of this breakdown part and you find your way out fast. All I want you to do is pay attention to what delights you.

In one of the next episodes of the Soul-Sourced PodcastTM. I’m going to share what happened when I changed my music career over into what became a multimillion dollar coaching company and how I went through kind of my own breakdown when I was a touring musician and I was doing very well. And yes, it’s exactly what I’m describing here. I’ve been there. I have done that. I have the t-shirt et cetera, et cetera. And during that time period, which lasted a few years, one thing I did was I paid attention to little signs and delights and curious moments, and I let them guide me. And this is how your entire being teaches you, what lights you up. And it kind of lays out breadcrumbs along the path. I’m going to share that story with you soon, but for now as much as possible, be open to seeing what lights you up. And I’m going to leave you now with this mass of ideas that I have just dumped in your lap and you can sort through it all, but don’t sort through it with your mind, let it just rest and let it land wherever. Honor, where you are. If you sense that this might be the breakdown phase of things, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of people going through this. And if you are wondering if the, if this is a “Breakdown Before the Breakthrough”, or if in fact you are just a crazy loon on the verge of insanity, I’m going to ask you to consider a final question and that is this.

Would it look like if you actually just trusted your life, your business, your body, and the messages you’re tuning into and consider that it’s not you, that’s insane. It’s actually the world that’s sort of insane. And that may be, you are choosing to not be insane anymore because you are now starting to trust yourself. So I’ll leave you with that.

Thanks for listening everyone. If you know anyone who would benefit from this fairly unconventional message here, then by all means share it with them. We will meet again next week. In the meantime, subscribe, give a five star rating and check out my book. It’s called The Soul-SourcedTM Entrepreneur, and it’s probably every bit as transparent and unconventional and raw as this episode was. You can find it on Amazon. Now for preorder. It comes out in November, 2020, and I am so grateful that you guys have written me to tell me you got it. I so, so appreciate all of this and I appreciate you listening. And I will talk with you guys next week.