Lessons Learned from Brooke Castillo

"You didn't create yourself. You can't take credit for it. You were created by something that is way more advanced than you will ever be, and so kind of playing with your own powers, and playing with what you're capable of, does not mean that you're being too big for your britches. It means that you're actually valuing the opportunity, and the empowerment that you have been given. What a blast, to kind of explore the potentiality of that without necessarily taking credit for it."  Brooke Castillo


(All related links available below)

Listening to The Life Coach School podcast by Brooke Castillo has been an epic experience for me. When I realised how much I valued her wisdom and teachings, I committed to listen to all of the episodes. I know that I am not the only one, many of her listeners have done the same. As of 2017 I have listened to more than 300 podcasts, more than 150 hours.

Throughout her podcast she dedicates episodes to lessons she's learned from her greatest teachers. By way of her podcast, Brooke has been, and still is a great teacher of mine. I have much love and respect for the way she shows up in the world for herself and her listeners. Here I celebrate this experience by sharing the great lessons I have learned from the brilliant Brooke Castillo.


Master coach instructor and founder of The Life Coach School (TLCS). Her focus is on weight loss, over eating, over drinking, understanding emotions, thoughts and the brain, and human potential. She studied psychology and engaged in therapy. She worked in the corporate world where she met her husband and business partner. Her father left the family when she was young. Her mother dealt with depression. She eventually lost her father and her brother to addiction. She struggled with over eating and over drinking. She was determined to find a way to help herself amidst all the emotional struggle, and to help others with her discoveries. She heard about Life Coaching on The Oprah Show and then set out to pursue it. She established and owns The Life Coach School (TLCS). Brooke is driven by the idea of potential, 'to be an example of what is possible' by setting herself extreme goals. In 2019 TLCS accomplished one of her extreme goals, to earn $25 million, as a Life Coach, working from home, 3 days a week.


The podcast is free and available to all, no ads promotions or affiliates, just her will to make self coaching tools available to everyone for free. Her mission is to help people develop awareness and live better lives by learning self coaching tools. TLCS offers Self Coaching Scholars, a group coaching program hosted by Brooke personally. Coach Training for people who want to become coaches, master coaches. Business level coaching for those who are building at an entrepreneurial level. She also runs Coach Tank, where coaches can pitch business ideas for investment.

On the podcast I have listened to interviews or excerpts of coaches who have trained with TLCS. What I observed was how they have nailed their niche and their message. There's something really clean about the way they hone in to their area of specificity and offer clear steps towards solution. And this is a key point because TLCS aims to help more people become coaches, and for those coaches to help others get unstuck. Increase access to life coaching and improve the quality of life one person at a time. This is the motive, the math, the multiplication, the contribution.


Brooke is a truly brilliant teacher. Her content is rich and refreshing with humour and depth. Her wisdom is enveloped in experience and the content is well thought out, clear, and consistent. She thinks very deeply. Her superpower is to take complicated ideas, really understand them, and simplify them so they can be taught. Thought exercises and actionable steps included. In my opinion Brooke is exceptionally good at making a point. If she wants to get a point across, she will find a way to explain it precisely and eloquently.


I feel like I am revealing something that is an accumulation of realisations that I can no longer contain just within myself. Perhaps, this might be something like what Brooke feels when she shares what she has loved learning from her teachers.

I didn't ever feel that she was trying to sell to me, or convince me to buy into her programme. She talks about them all the time, but in a giving way. It's an invitation if someone wants more. I was left with this feeling: 'I just want to make sure I leave you with enough so you're not on your own'.

In her words: "If you don’t want to do it with me do it somewhere but invest in your mental health".

The truth for me is that I got hooked. I got hooked to her podcast not only because she is a life coach, or the quality of the content, or for her ingenuity. It's more than that. It is her voice. The vibration of her voice. The rhythm and cadence of her voice. What I feel from her voice is that I can trust her sincerity, I can rely on it. I know she wants me to have a better life, a better way of thinking, a better way of being with myself. I know that she means it from the deepest part of her being. I can feel her heart.

It is her voice. The vibration of her voice.

The rhythm and cadence of her voice.

Why is that important to me? I came across the podcast because I had been learning about coaching and developing myself as a coach. This was the origin entry point, and then it grew on me until there was no turning back. The whole self-development mindset arena was also opening me up to want to learn more, discover more, not just of coaching but even of myself. At times I found myself in situations where the emotional complexity alone challenged my life to seek better ways, richer ways, of being with life, decisions, choices. I was hungry with this curiosity and her voice and wisdom nourished me. I felt drawn to the power of perspective that she delivers.

She became a welcomed voice of loving empowerment for me. What a trip. The Compound Effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Consistently learning about: the art of thinking, understanding the brain, emotions, our human nature, human tendencies in day to day life. Concept after concept, ideas galore. Her style: clear, intelligent, wise, compassionate, fun, and definitely funny. You know you're with the right teacher when you're continuously fascinated.

Just when I completed all the podcasts the moment turns full circle. The very next episode was Brooke talking about her own teachers. Brooke speaks of Geneen Roth, "there were many days where I did not feel enough love for myself but I borrowed her love of her students and utilised that to feel love for me, for myself." I notice the synchronistic timing of that message and absorb the beauty of it all as I feel an echo land in me. On the days when I have felt outnumbered and disconnected, I've borrowed on Brooke's love for her students to feel love and possibility for me, for myself.

I think that great teachers and change makers and mind shifters fight gracefully and love fiercely. And it is okay to lean on the bigness of their energy while you nurture your own.

"There were many days where I did not feel enough love for myself but I borrowed her love of her students and utilised that to feel love for me, for myself. What Geneen did as a teacher to me more than anything is I felt so much love from her. I felt as if she loved me. Now, that sounds crazy when I never met her. But I felt loved by her. I felt understood by her. I felt like she cared how I treated myself. She cared about us as women collectively healing ourselves."

Brooke Castillo

I notice the synchronistic timing of that message and absorb the beauty of it all as I feel an echo land in me.


I am not teaching her work, nor am I licensed to. Nor am I a member of her paid programmes. None of this means that I have figured everything out. It's not that I am attempting to accomplish everything she says or all that is shared below. It means that I have choices by being available for my internal life.

Brooke says "when people over exaggerate how amazing or beautiful or astounding I am. I know that that has nothing to do really with me. It has to do with people's thoughts about me. What really matters to me is not what they say about me but the work that they do in their life and the work we do together."

This is my personalised share of selected lessons and concepts from her podcast that have given me superb insight and direction, with complete appreciation and credit to the source. Everything below only touches on the surface of the podcast. And the podcast is only a piece of what she does. This is just a touch, a sniff, a taste, a mere drop in the ocean.

And why, why would I do this. Why would I not? It's so satisfying to share it, to make it more available.


This work is about being deliberate. Deliberation is a permeating theme in all of Brooke's teachings.

Her foundational teachings are about how the brain works in evolutionary terms. The survival brain and the creative brain. Using cognitive tools to develop self awareness and expand potential. Based on the principles of cognitive psychology (thinking - feeling - behaviour / action - result), she has formulated 'The Model' as a go to tool to manage our thinking.

Feel your feelings, we avoid our 'feelings' by buffering. Some examples of buffering include: food, sugar, binging, alcohol, indecision, gossip, negative behaviours, staying passive, social media, netflix / TV etc.

She is not suggesting or insisting that everyone should stop drinking or eating sugar and flour if you don't want to. Rather, it is about the truth. Know your feelings and emotions intimately. Know at a deeper level what you are doing and why. This way, not only are you choice conscious, but you also know that if and when you want to change something you have the ability to do so. Choose what you want and what is best for you, but at least tell yourself the truth about it.


For ease I have categorised each concept lesson alphabetically. The direct quotes are intentional so readers may experience the way she conveys, the language, the phrasing, the beauty of it. These are concepts, take what you like, leave what you don't like.


"That is really where I find the most powerful use of this skill of accepting. It's not arguing with anything that's ever happened, and not arguing with the possibility and the potential of what's in our future."


"My why is to be an example of what is possible. When you use thought work, when you have self-awareness, you can bring so much more compassion and so much less suffering into your life. That is my why. But why is that my why? When was my why born? And I think that is a really powerful question for you guys to ask yourselves. Because some of you don’t have a born why yet. Some of you still need to conceive it and birth it. That’s okay. You don’t have to have a why going in. But you have to conceive it and birth it before you can use it as your propeller to get you through the hard times. So for me, I was so aware when I was suffering and I was so hungry for help and a solution that for me, when I was in the middle of my suffering, I had a thought. If I figure this out, I’m going to share it with as many people as I can. That was my thought. It was almost like a prayer. It was so convicted and so deep that that moment, my why was born. And that is a really hard why. So when I feel doubt and frustration and I’m upset, I think about that one person that I haven’t helped yet. I think about that one person…binging….drinking too much…suffering unnecessarily, and it’s intolerable for me to think about."


"Most people are not naturally interesting. Most people are really, really boring and the thing that is frustrating for me is that they’re not even aware of it. They’re not aware that they’re boring. And so as a teacher, it’s hard for me to be like, hey dude, you’re boring, although I do say that if someone’s boring. But I also say, “And here’s how to make it more interesting and here’s how to be a better teacher.”


"A lot of people say, "Well, I did this, and I did this, and I did this." I don't want to hear what you did. I want to know what that created. Did it create the result you want? If it's not, you need to take different massive action. If it created the result you want, then you keep taking that action and you keep creating that result. Focus on the results you're creating from your massive action, not on the activity that you're doing. Activity takes up time. Taking massive action creates results and makes time. I won't feel like it. I'll want to procrastinate. I'll want to put it later in the day. I'll want to change it. But I never, ever, ever do that to myself, ever, anymore. It is precise. It is precision. It is not negotiable. 10:00am podcast. Sit down. Record it. Do it."

"If you make plans and you follow through on those plans, you get better at overcoming that survival brain. The survival brain never goes away. It's always telling you to run in the cave and hide. Always. It's always telling you you're probably going to die, but you get better at managing it when you step out, make a plan, and follow through on that plan. That is the most important thing I can teach any of you and it's the most simple, so it sounds easy, but it's the most difficult. If you say you're going to eat something tomorrow, eat only that. Don't eat anything else but what you said you were going to eat. If you plan your day for tomorrow, make sure you plan some free time. Make sure you plan some enjoyment time. Follow through on that exact list of things that you told yourself you would do. Wake up at the time you said you were going to wake up and do the work that you promised yourself you would do no matter what, especially if you don't feel like it."


We use buffering habits to avoid the truth of what we are feeling. It's not always obvious unless you decide to look at this and spend time with it. We get so good at it that we don't know it's happening. Until we reach a point of dissatisfaction, crisis, or it is getting in the way of a desire to create something better.

"Ultimately, what you will feel is whatever that emotion is you're trying so desperately trying to escape and that emotion has some important information for you. It's telling you what you're thinking. It's telling you what you're believing. It's telling you how you're going to act and show up in the world. If you're constantly trying to avoid yourself, you're missing the authenticity of your life."

"No matter what we're experiencing in our life, it's part of the process of being alive and our ability to process that pain is as natural is our ability to digest food. We have been designed to experience pain half of the time. We were not designed to escape it. We were not designed to run away from it. We were designed to process it, to experience it, to use it in our lives as contrast to that positive emotion."

"Your success in your life is directly related to your ability to feel any emotion without fear, without resistance."

"When you are willing to feel a negative emotion, isn't that a positive experience?” Dan Sullivan


"Busyness is a mental construct revealing how much you are thinking about, not how much you are doing. All it means is that your brain is noisy."

"When people say to me, "Hey, I know you're really busy, can I get some time with you," I'll say, "I'm not busy. I have plenty of time." Now it doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to make time with you because people use busyness as an excuse. "Oh, I can't meet with you. I'm way too busy." I've for sure done that myself. But when you tell the truth, "I have plenty of time, but I can't or don't want to meet with you, or I can't meet with you because it's not on my schedule the way that I've planned it and I'm not going to put it on there," then you get to live with the truth of that. It's very interesting."


"When you have confusion and you stop, you perpetuate confusion. When you have confusion and you take action, you learn what does and doesn't work. The answer to confusion is action, letting yourself know you always know."


"You plan not only what you're going to do. You plan to succeed and you plan to conserve your energy by making quick decisions and then believing in your own decision and not second-guessing it, so that is one skill that I have developed that I would love to pass on to you, is when I make a decision…, then there's no other option. I don't keep revisiting it and I don't second-guess it. I just go for it. I'm just going to do it, and this will be the right decision because I'm going to make it the right decision. That's what planning can do."


"I think that our desires are our maps to our destiny. I don't think we're given desires or wants without the ingredients to fulfil them."

"I believe that our desires are our roadmap to the life that we’re meant to live. I believe that just like pain is a part of being human, desire is a part of being human. And when we clean out all the false desires and we tap into our true desires, we have a map for where our life is supposed to go."


We get caught up in the 'romance' of having a drink and a cocktail. Beautiful restaurants and glasses and ambiance.

"I think a lot of people don't want to quit alcohol because they think alcohol makes an experience better. I want to talk about that for a minute because one of the things that I've recognised since I cut back and stopped drinking is that alcohol doesn't make experiences better. It makes them tolerable and it makes them appear better. What alcohol does is it dulls your senses and so it makes the experience seem better than it is. I want you to think about it. It doesn't actually make the experience better. It makes it seem better."

"If you think about this, if drinking helps you deal with a life you don't like, then you are going to get really good at dealing with a life you don't like, instead of changing that life into something that you do like."

"Wouldn’t it be nice if you just didn’t want it? Verses willpower which takes energy? Wouldn't it be nice to delete the desire?"

Wouldn't it be nice for a drink or a cupcake to be in front of you and you don't think twice, you just feel completely neutral towards it, like the person that doesn't like coffee or olives or aubergines? They are not having an internal fight they just don't have any desire towards it.

"Reduce or completely eliminate your desire for alcohol, it really is behind you. You don’t define yourself by it. You aren’t defining yourself by someone who doesn’t drink, just like I don’t define myself as someone who doesn’t do heroin or doesn’t smoke cigarettes. ... You just genuinely release it and never think about it again. That is true freedom and that’s what we’re talking about...It’s making it so it’s no longer relevant. It’s just not a part of your life and you’re totally excited that it isn’t. Period. That’s it."


"This isn’t something that you learn overnight. This isn’t something that you learn from a podcast. This is something you learn from practicing. We have our awareness, we have our thought choice, and we have our processing emotions. Those are three of the most important skills that we teach in Scholars, that I teach at The Life Coach School, that I covet in my own life. Those are the skills that I think are the most important skills that I have, way more important than understanding marketing or finance or how to drive a car. Those emotional skills, those emotional talents are the ones that make my life so much better."


"Most of you put more energy into cleaning your car and your house than your mind. We are not taught to make our emotional health a priority, and yet our emotional health is what drives every single other thing in our life."


"My main focus and my main priority is on people who have all their basic needs met, and in fact, more than all their basic needs met, and their emotional suffering is equal to, or sometimes worse, than those who don't have all their physical needs met. I think there's something to be said for people who are physically suffering because they have no food and shelter, or have no family. I think in some ways, that suffering makes more sense to someone who's having it than to someone who has all their basic needs met and it still truly, emotionally suffering. If you look at someone who is starving to death because they literally don't have access to food, or someone who is starving to death because they are anorexic, I don't think you can compare the suffering as one being worse than the other. I think that they're different, and I think the woman that is suffering from anorexia, it's much more complicated suffering because there is food available. The solution is available, it's right there, and she's not taking it. It feels like a more complex problem to solve, and that may be why that's my focus and my interest."


"We are here to evolve, the one consistent thing that we have done as humans on the planet is to evolve. To achieve your goal and then just coast, is the kiss of death, we are supposed to evolve."


"We are in a very important part of our evolution where we are transitioning from survival to creation to contribution in the most significant way. And the reason that I know that is not because I studied it in school but because I can feel it within me. I feel that nudge to create, contribute, and become more of who I am."


"The opposite of failure isn't succeeding. The opposite of failure is doing nothing. Be willing to fail."


"When you are friends with yourself you treat fear differently, you don't try to avoid it so much. You allow yourself to be afraid. You acknowledge that it's part of the deal. You acknowledge that you're a human and that you were designed to feel fear on purpose. Does not, does not, does not mean there is something wrong with you."


"My goal is for my clients to eat for their physical health and be able to make decisions for their physical health and to live and eat only when they need it for fuel instead of for the emotional health and use their skills of self coaching for their emotional health instead of trying to use food to compensate for their lack of emotional health."

When we eat sugar and flower is it interferes with our body's natural insulin levels. Insulin governs our hormones and our hormones are related to our hunger patterns. So when we are sugar happy we also confuse with our hunger sensations. This is why we sometimes have eaten and still feel empty, or sometimes haven't eaten and feel full. ''Hunger originates because of our hormones, and we get the sensation of hunger from ghrelin, one of our hormones, and we get the sensation of fullness from leptin, one of our hormones, and both of those are regulated and affected by insulin."

Brooke's knowledge on hormones, weight-loss and emotional eating is vast. Her mindset around food is to eat for fuel, not for fun, by keeping food boring. She has devised the reference of a 'hunger scale' from 0-10. 0 being very hungry and 10 being very full. The best places to be are -2 or +2. Eat before you get overly hungry, and eat until you feel 'just right' instead of stuffed.

We tend to fear hunger and we end up eating more than we need just to make sure we avoid getting hungry. But we are designed to survive hunger and when you are hungry your body reaches into it's fat stores which she calls 'dining in'. Seriously, that's a clever thought!


"Are you willing to consider living a life where there's never a need to forgive? Remember all it means is you're not willing to feel angry or resentful. It doesn't mean you don't say to someone, "That's not okay. Don't do that." It doesn't mean that you don't put up boundaries. It doesn't mean that you don't ask someone not to be in your life. All it means is you give up being angry and resentful. That's the gift you give yourself. It is not your job to punish people."

"There's never anything to forgive because nobody ever does anything wrong."Byron Katie


"I found that on 'The Googles'. I was like, What!"


"When you understand that relationships are really just your thoughts about those people and you can feel as close as you want to them. So I don’t need to go get a selfie with them or anything like that. That’s the opposite of what I need. I already feel completely complete in those teacher relationships. That’s the relationship that’s so sacred to me."

"I think I’ve learned how to be a good teacher by having great teachers. And I think paying attention to what makes them great has been what I’ve incorporated into my own teaching career in order to make my ability to teach so much better."


"You don't have to deserve anything that you have and you don't have to feel guilty about anything that you have. Feeling guilty about the privilege of clean drinking water or anything else does not serve the world. And people will say, "Well, if you feel guilty, then you will go give other people clean drinking water." No, my friends. You will just give yourself less of it."


"Feel the difference between, "I'm committed to making something better," and, "I hope something gets better."


"Peace doesn't exist outside of you. Peace is an emotion that you create and that you feel based on what you see in the world. We attack the world as it is and then speak of peace as something we can hope for. In the very act of attacking, we are costing ourselves our peace. Can you guys see that? We don't attack the world and then hope for peace. We bring peace to the world. It's a very big difference."

"Hope separates us from the emotion we want to feel from the emotion of creation. When you hope for peace, you prevent yourself from feeling peace now. When you attack yourself for what you currently weigh and hope for a different body in the future, you are hoping for peace and creating the opposite of it. This is the work, you guys. This is it. This is like the nitty-gritty work of it."


"Our ability, as a human being, to think about what we think about is one of the privileges of being a human."

"The fact that we can be heartbroken is part of our deep humanity, not a weakness in our character." Marianne Williamson.


"Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life. How you treat yourself, how you talk to yourself, how you think about yourself, the most important relationship in your life. People will tell you that paying attention to yourself and working on yourself is self-indulgent. They are wrong. Period. When I hear people talking about life coaching like it's a self-indulgent thing to do, I want to laugh really loud in their face like, are you kidding me? It is the most important thing we can do in order to contribute to the world. It is the least indulgent thing we can do because if we're focused externally, we have nothing to offer. We have to start with ourselves."

"There’s a population that thinks self help is self indulgent, are you crazy? Focusing on your own brain determines everything that you put out there into the world."

"I'm a life coach. It's what I do. It's who I am. I never try and hide what I do. I never try to think of another way of saying it. I couldn't be more proud. I'm a life coach."