Ten Trust Habits: The Poster

March 7, 2013

Picture 4

Ten Trust Habits (symbolically imaged above)

  1. Stop running. Repeatedly. (running shoes removed)
  2. Practice softening (open hand)
  3. Listen: to emotions, sensations, questions, inner wisdom (attention to bird song)
  4. Be doggedly self kind (“what would self kindness do” necklace)
  5. Own that you are a chemist and practice this role consciously (beaker held in hand)
  6. Move into choice (framed art on wall)
  7. Practice a Growth Mindset (planter with thriving plant)
  8. Keep your eyes on your OWN prize (ribbon on desk)
  9. Move (gently, kindly) toward your places of discomfort (adult school brochure)
  10. Connect (phone with number to call on desk)


Earlier this week I posted a list of 10 trust habits aimed at supporting our next scary steps. I’m in awe of the power of these habits to take us where we want to go.

The image above is an at-a-glance reminder of all ten habits. My deep wish is that this image makes its way into your home – printed and placed or hung somewhere where you’ll see it. And that each time you see it, your eye will catch just the symbol of the habit you need in that moment to practice.

All Trust Note subscribers now receive high resolution downloadable files of this image FREE – 8×10 or 5×7 (download your choice). Trust Note sign-ups are in the side-bar to the right

If you’re already signed up for Trust Notes and didn’t already receive the links (they were sent yesterday), please let me know.

If you don’t have access to a color printer and would like to purchase a beautiful, archival quality 8×10 print of this image, ready for framing on its own or matting with an 11×14 frame, you can purchase it for $15.

If you’d like to purchase a 5×7 greeting card format, with the ten habits printed inside for reference, you can purchase this for $4.

**If the address you’d like me to send these to differs from the address associated with your Paypal account, please let me know in the notes section at check-out.

Later today I’ll choose a random winner from comments placed on Monday’s post. Winner can choose either of the above options (8×10 print or 5×7 card with the ten habits printed inside) for their free gift.

So pop on over to Monday’s post and comment before noon Pacific Time today if you’d like to be entered!

With love and heartfelt wishes that your trust grows and grows,

Kristin Noelle

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Ten Trust Habits To Support Your Next Scary Step

March 4, 2013

Are you facing a new step in your personal or professional life? As I listen to and support people who are ready to live beyond fear’s grip, I’ve noticed two things:

  1. All the classes and retreats and how-to manuals in the world can’t heal the root causes of our feet-dragging. Or our shame spirals. Or the unnamed blocks that keep us feeling like we’re living our best lives knee-deep in molasses.
  2. Daily habits that nourish trust DO heal these root causes. They clear pathways through our fears, lift us repeatedly from the molasses, and support us, again and again, in taking our next steps.

So if and when and even before you recognize a scary next step is calling you, practice these habits. The trust they grow makes the difference between knowing in your mind what you want or feel called to do, and having the mojo to actually follow through with it.

1. Stop Running. Repeatedly.

We’re all running from something (or many things) – whether from age, grief, shame, intimacy, conflict…or something else entirely. And while running from things we don’t like is normal, it’s also a daily message to ourselves that there’s something we can’t face…that there’s something to be feared. When you unquestioningly imbibe this message, day in and day out, you invariably come to believe it. So as often as you recognize yourself running, take time with a journal or a trusted therapist, coach, or friend to actually stop, to name the fears that have you running, and to plan steps to face and soften into them. This instantly and increasingly boosts your trust that you can face what you fear…including your next step.

2. Practice Softening

Literally, practice softening your body – forehead, shoulders, neck, back, gut, legs, feet. Contrary to what our instincts say, our next scary step will almost NEVER necessitate readiness to run or fight. Instead, we’ll need things like curiosity, flexibility, creative problem solving, and positive modes of approach. All of these increase as our bodies cue our minds for lack of threat. So now. And now. And now again: practice softening. Your physical body shapes the chemistry of your mind, so if your body can regularly communicate to your mind, Nothing to fear here, or Danger is passed, your mind will follow suit.

3. Listen

Listen to your emotions, giving them space to surface, speak, and pass through. Listen to your physical sensations – those that arise in response to external stimuli, and those that arise to meet thoughts from within. Listen to your questions and your deep inner wisdom – or to what you imagine that wisdom might be. Whether it’s planning for time alone at the start or end of your day, choosing to leave the phone or radio off as you drive, or something else entirely, intentionally create the space you need to listen.

Two important things happen when we listen: 1) across the board, we grow more conscious, and therefore increasingly able to make clear-headed, conscious choices in response to what arises internally or externally as we face our next step, and 2) we communicate to our own selves, again and again, that we aren’t running (from our emotions, our bodies, our questions, our “knowings”); that there isn’t anything to fear. Again, this new, trust-infused message starts to sink in.

4. Be doggedly self-kind

The safer you feel in your skin, the safer you’ll feel to take that next scary step. So as often as you’re able, and even, sometimes, in the presence of critical voices (outside yourself or within), ask what self-kindness would mean here (and here, and here…and here). Maybe this is taking an evening alone, rather than saying yes to something social. Maybe it’s walking around the block rather than eating that next cookie. Maybe it’s calling a friend when you’re feeling low, or looking into your own eyes in the mirror with love when you feel like you’ve failed at something, or turning off the computer early so you have time, finally, to read.

Treat yourself as only you can – you, with your insider knowledge of all that you’ve faced and been through, all the tender dreams that you carry, and your growing awareness of what makes you come alive. Do this doggedly. Do this as a mission. Do this as your gift to you and us all. We all benefit when you take your next step.

5. Own that you are a chemist and practice this role consciously.

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you are a chemist. With food, drinks, drugs, and actions (including sleep!), you are constantly creating and altering the chemicals in your body. The sooner you own your role in creating your chemical state – a state which determines the frequency, quality, and depth of your experience of things like love, connection, power, patience, optimism, and non-defensiveness – the sooner you can make conscious choices about what foods/drinks/drugs and actions you use or don’t use to support your trust right up to and through this next scary step. You are a chemist. Own it.

6. Move into choice

Research shows that your ability to frame whatever situation you’re in – whether related to your scary next step or or not – as one where you have choice dramatically alters your mental and emotional states. When you feel as though life is happening to you, you tend to spend much more energy on reactive, rather than proactive, behaviors, and much more energy blaming, resenting, feeling jealous, and giving up. The opposite is true, too; believing you play a significant role in shaping your life lends to you owning your choices, taking action toward goals, and making helpful changes. So as often as you can, and most especially in situations that have historically left you feeling powerless and defeated, try to frame your experience as one where you have choice. I can do something about this and I don’t have to be a victim here are stories that, when told repeatedly, grow trust that you can, with time and effort, succeed at taking your next steps.

(Hint: These stories make a wonderful mantra. I can do something about this. I don’t have to be a victim here.)

7. Practice a Growth Mindset

Stanford researcher Carol Dweck has pioneered some wonderfully fear-reducing research on mindsets. People with a fixed mindset believe intelligence and talent are fixed. They spend their time trying to prove their talent and intelligence and avoid and/or give up more quickly on tasks where they can’t readily prove such things (i.e. “I’m just not good at ____; why even keep trying?). People with a growth mindset believe intelligence and talent are malleable, and can always be developed through dedication and hard work. They tend to be much more resilient in the face of setbacks and challenges and, without the fear of proving their unchangeable stupidity or lack of talent, find joy in the process of learning. And here’s the most important finding: you can consciously shift your mindset.

So: make a practice of checking in with yourself. Are you acting and feeling as though you have something to prove? If so, see if you can imagine your feelings and actions flowing differently, from a growth mindset – that mindset that says everything can change. That says you can always learn more, always develop your smarts and your talent. There is nothing fixed you need to (dis)prove.

8. Keep your eyes on your own prize

Other people play crucial roles in us walking our own path well – from skills and information they teach us, to inspiring stories they offer us, to laughter and hugs they give to keep us sane. We need other people. What we DON’T need, however, are people as measuring sticks to determine how close or far we are from where we need to be. Your experiences and gifts and challenges are unique to you, and so is the definition of what it means for you to thrive. Or to flounder, for that matter! So as often as you recognize your eyes wandering for the “right” answers to your life, quite literally imagine yourself pulling your eyes back to your own prize (your own path, your own heart and mind and what these are inviting you to do). Honor your unique life, and the lives of these others who you tend to compare yourself unfavorably to, that much.

(Hint: anytime you open Facebook or Twitter is a great time to practice this habit. This may magically result in large quantities of time freed up for other things. ;)

9. Move (gently, kindly) toward your places of discomfort.

This habit is a step beyond not running (#1 above), and can actually be a back-door entrance to much greater ease around your next scary step. While our instincts say avoid discomfort, and avoid intense discomfort more intensely, we can actively unlearn fear habits by consciously moving toward our places of discomfort. Your places of greatest discomfort may relate to your next scary step, but they may have nothing overtly to do with it. Maybe you hate moving your body. Maybe you’ve been wanting to meditate or do yoga forever but remain too intimidated to try. Maybe you can’t stand crowds or you’re terrified of rainbows. Whatever it is that so fills you with dis-ease, try taking a kind and gentle step toward it. And then another. Things like journaling and talking about your discomfort absolutely count as steps!

This is not a suggestion to be masochistic. And it isn’t a suggestion that you barrel into your deepest darkest traumas heedlessly (e.g. without necessary supports in place). It’s a suggestion that you make a habit of kind and gentle movement toward your discomforts as a means to unlearn fear – as a means to communicate to yourself that you can, indeed, face discomfort, and can, indeed, play a role in shifting it. The magic of this practice is that the learning (and unlearning) you do in one arena spills into other areas of your life. Like, for instance, your discomfort around taking that next step.

10. Connect

Don’t try to do this – life, trust habits, scary steps – alone. Even extreme introverts need and benefit from positive connections, and you are no exception. So make a habit of forming positive human connections. Maybe this is inviting someone you’ve recently met to tea. Maybe it’s taking cookies to your new neighbor or a thank-you note to that checker whose smile brightens your day. There are blogs written by people with similar goals and interests to yours; comment on these and find, among other commenters, kindred souls. There are books that relate to your interests that you can form reading groups around. There are courses you can take where you’ll rub shoulders with classmates and instructors. Maybe you could take the radical step to deepen a friendship you already have! Particularly if you feel isolated and alone, take this habit on. Tailor it to your needs and limitations and mix it with habits 6 and 7 above (moving into choice; practicing a growth mindset). Your mojo for taking that next scary step will wondrously expand.

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I’m creating a detailed pen and ink drawing to accompany these ten habits – a symbolic, at-a-glance reminder of this list. Comment on today’s post by Thursday, March 7 at noon Pacific Time to be entered to win a free print of it. I’ll post the image on the blog that day.

So tell me: What trust habits do you use to support yourself through scary steps? What scary next steps are you facing – with or without trust habits? What would make all the difference in the world for you to know deep in your bones as you face them?

Update: Comment #8 is this week’s winner (generated thanks to random.org). Congratulations, Stephanie! Shoot me your mailing address and your choice of 8×10 or 5×7 and I’ll drop your gift in the mail.

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Trust HabitsWant more support for your scary next step? Registration opens soon for my signature course, Trust Habits, which focuses this session on Courage, Resilience, and Flow. Sign up for Trust Notes in the sidebar to be notified when registration doors open. Class begins April 15.

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Deep in our chests

October 9, 2012

Here’s what I’ve come to believe:

Buried deep in each of our chests is a question that our whole lives get lived around. We ask it in the way that we live, in the things that we notice (or don’t), in the feelings that get triggered in countless situations, countless times each day.

And there’s an answer we’re looking for. An answer we want desperately much to be true.

There’s also an answer we’re afraid will be true – the reverse of the answer we hope for – whose arrival we vigilantly watch for.

Not lovable, we watch for it to say.
Love doesn’t win.
There’s nothing bigger holding us.
You’re way too [silly, tender, serious, much].
You, specifically, are frustratingly flawed.

And here’s the most important thing, the thing that shoots right to the heart of trust and to the barriers that keep us constantly distanced from it:

We’re waiting to get the right answer to our question before we’ll open, deeply, to trust.

We’re waiting for the answer that will say, in effect, “Yes, Dear One. Life is worth trusting.”

I want to suggest something in response to this that’s more radical than you’ll likely hear all day. A spin-your-world-a-whole-new-direction (or at least it has mine) idea.

Which is this:

Your biggest, most fundamental, life-orienting question? You don’t have to answer it before deciding, whole-heartedly, that trust is your Way.

You don’t have to know if you’re loved or loveable.
You don’t have to know if God exists.
You don’t have to know if you’ll ever heal from that stuff that happened to you.
Or if you’ll find your true love.
Or if true love exists.
Or if you’ll ever be a parent.
Or if your dearest ones will die too soon.
Or whether you’ll have a chance to mend that core relationship.

You don’t have to know.

You don’t have to know.

Because here is how I see it.

Your alternatives are these:

1. You can live as though, in some fundamental way, all is truly well, and your task is to learn to lean into that truth ever more fully. To soften and open into the possibility that even the most awful things you’ve known, and the most awful fears you can imagine coming true, can be woven into a story of hope and healing and waking up to something GOOD.

You can watch for this process happening around you and participate, consciously, in the strength and the speed of its unfurling.


2. You can live as though you expect life in general, or your experience of it in particular, to be tragic, and orient your whole life around protecting your heart and your body and your mind from having to feel the full brunt of that.

You can work to protect others from the brunt of that, too.

You can keep walls and guards up around your heart.

You can watch for people to intentionally hurt you and each other. And for ways you’ll hurt others, too.

You can reign joy and hope and anticipation constantly in so that you won’t be so disappointed when the inevitable awfulness strikes. And try to reign in the hope and joy and anticipation of others to protect them from disappointment, too.

You can resent and be defensive around and condescending toward (and secretly jealous of) folks who are leaning into trust.

You can constrict your life tighter and tighter around your driving question and your fear that the answer you’ll ultimately get will bad. Just really, awfully bad.

But either way – regardless of what the answer to your driving question turns out to be – option one strikes me as the far more desirable alternative. The life that actually feels worth living.

And the choice to choose it not dependent on your biggest, deepest question getting answered.

So at the risk of being wrong about life’s goodness, and before any of us is sure one way or another, I say why NOT cultivate trust?

# # # # # #

We’re exploring this and MANY questions in Trust Habits this month. Doors remain open and you are warmly welcomed to join us.

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Trust at your screen

October 1, 2012

You know that feeling you get sometimes when something annoying is in your space (a gnat, the neighbor’s music, the sound of a chainsaw nearby), but you’re only barely conscious of it?

You start to get fidgety with unconscious frustration, and then consciousness rises like the sun: slowly at first, light barely streaking the sky, until POP! The orb lifts from the horizon and soon it’s all brightness and ferocity. Impossible to ignore.

I sense this happening for many of us in relation to the Internet.

Or more specifically, in relation to the effects the Internet has on our thoughts and feelings and ways we spend time.

We’re getting fidgety at how regularly our screen time leaves us feeling gross: ashamed inside the comparisons we’ve made, strung out by the hours we’ve lost compulsively working or checking or surfing, overwhelmed by our world, with its crowds of voices, its troubling news, and the apparent break-neck speed of it all.

And the sales pages! There’s just so many of them! So many promises speaking to so many of our wants and needs. We want to be joyous and trusting and courageous and wealthy and creative and prolific and fit and cooking well. Yes. We really do!

But as a whole, this crowd of shiny products and the pages that sell them leave us feeling the impossibility of our lives incorporating all the good, all the growth, all the learning and fantastic-ness we wish we could have yesterday. It leaves us not seeing the wonder and the miracle of the lives we actually know, and instead a hollow, dingy backdrop to the lives we wish we had.

So I love reading pieces like this. And like this. I love voices that name this experience and help us both understand it better (hello, consciousness rising!) and begin to forge an alternative path to the one many of us, myself included, take unthinkingly. A path marked less and less by yuck and shame and deflation, and more and more by trust. By the possibility of sinking into our physical lives – warts and all – with gratitude, welcome, attentiveness, and a pace that truly sustains us.

More and more, I’m coming to see the forging of this alternative path as a core competency all of us must develop as we face the years ahead. And all the more so those who lead us.

After these years of Internet’s infancy, and the crazy adolescence many of us have experienced with it (tossed about by our emotions; finding impulse control a challenge; feeling often like we’re back in junior high with yawning needs to be loved, to be cool, to fit in), it’s time to consciously move to greater maturity with it.

If you’re interested in reading a free little book I wrote and drew about this process, click here to grab a copy.

(Subscribers, you should have received yours last week; let me know if you didn’t and I’ll fix you right up!)

Here’s to us! With all my heart I hope we collectively grow into a new, and more nourishing, relationship with time spent online.


P.S. Trust Habits has begun. If you’d like to dive deeper into what trust means with a gorgeous group of kind souls, come join us! The course is self-paced, and there are links in every lesson to the lessons already sent.

And if the thought of this makes you feel gross, go spend some time outdoors and forget you saw it! :) Right now, without any other class or thing, you and your life are enough.

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Marketing Depth

September 23, 2012

Life has this way of sweeping you off your feet in a certain way, taking you with its currents into eddies or side streams or even way out to sea. You get clarity in moments or seasons about who you are and where you want to be (artist, poet, centered, enough), and then slowly – or even in a blink sometimes – you find yourself drifting away from that place.

In my observation, life also has a way of reminding us what’s happening – of waking us up to that drift and to where it is we want to consciously get back to.

So it was with a nod of recognition that I read my friend Jen’s words this week about why she resists so much about online culture, and her words earlier in the month about how to be soulful online (both totally worth reading).

She’s a voice in my life that beautifully and persistently reminds me how sacred and necessary – even salvific – it is to name the currents that swirl around and pull at us, to talk about our discomforts with them, and to do what it takes to shift back, again and again (and again), to where we want to be.

I’m feeling the swirl of life’s currents as I approach and market Trust Habits (a 30-day course on trust fundamentals). At heart I am a mystic. I’m a poet. A seer. I live mostly deep beneath life’s surfaces and experience wonder at the discoveries I make there.

And my natural bent in response to what I see is to want to be quiet with it. Reverently so.

So there is awkwardness, for me, in the task of then peddling these discoveries to YOU. As though to fit them into the same formulas that are used to sell widgets, or used to sell products and services that aren’t mined from such depths dishonors their true value. Dishonors some important, hidden thing that was a gift for me to see at all.

Like peddling glimpses of unicorns.

There is a robustness to trust, a robustness to these things I want to share, that isn’t a unicorn glimpse at all. But the feeling is present that to sell them like widgets, or like “10 easy steps to a happy life” isn’t what they’re made for.

…isn’t what many of your treasures are made for, either. I feel this to my bones.

In the swoosh and swirl of the online world, I want to align and re-align myself with people whose lives and words and even stumblings are a call to come home (and come home…and come home again) to a holy, private wonder, and to the challenge of discerning in each instance how a product or service can be offered not according to how the currents of our world or the Internet are pulling at us, but according to how each of these treasures can most truly, effectively, be shared.

The difference might not always be clear, but the work of this discernment will surely birth words and images and types of media that better honor our from-the-depths offerings than those that life’s vaster currents bring. Birth words and images and media that – maybe most importantly – keep waking us up to who and where we deeply want to be.

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Do you wrestle with dissonance between what you want to share (art, ideas, courses, books, etc.) and HOW you feel obligated to share it? Have you found voices or examples that help you find your clearest, truest way? I’d so love to hear in comments below.

Are you new here? If so, welcome! This post is a great distillation of what I believe about trust. And if you’re wanting a deeper dive, Trust Habits is wonderful 30-day journey into what trust is, how it is and isn’t grown, and what it means to practice tending it. Class begins October 1st. I’d love to welcome you!

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Seize the day

September 19, 2012

I’m delighted by the group that’s forming around Trust Habits! In the lives of so many I speak with (and in my life, too!), there’s this pulse to seize the day when it comes to getting our inner lives in order. We want to walk toward the inner things that scare us (the shame, the self-defeating patterns, the heart-felt doubts and questions) and stay with them until they bless us: with greater strength, with more resilience, with a deep-down knowing that no matter what our fears say, we can, and are absolutely worthy of leading our very best lives.

In today’s short video, I talk about one of the (ironic) responses we often have as we look toward the very things we want, and the alternative that trust tending offers us.

In this alternative, in this seize-the-day move to not freeze up or flee in response to our fears, Trust Habits is a hand-hold. It’s a calming, steadying hand at your back, naming what you need to hear to stay a trust-fueled course.

I hope with all my heart you’ll join us!

Are you new here? If so, welcome! This post is a great distillation of what I believe about trust. For a free book that exemplifies what trust tending means, click here. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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Trust Habits: A New Course

September 17, 2012

I’m delighted to announce a new course at Trust Tending: Trust Habits. If you resonate with what you read here and want to take your trust – however big or small – to a new level, I hope you’ll come see!


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