This Changes Everything: The Model

image of hand writing on paper | the model how to change our thoughts about money | money coaching for creative solopreneurs

“You have an athlete’s body” said the physical therapist as I rolled my eyes at her obvious ignorance and tried not to blush as she moved my hip around while dangerously close to my crotch.

I was in college, trying to sort out the pain in my left knee that cropped up when I went on my first ever 3 week running spree with my roommate. I’d wanted to be the kind of lithe willowy type that runs with ease and boys fawn over since age 14 or so. But it really wasn’t meant to be. And I’d never learned the steps necessary to actually just run in my strong sturdy fat body just as it was.

Why do I bring this up on a money-related blog for creatives?

It took decades until I found the missing key, but I did eventually become a runner. A slow, fat, happy 40+ year old runner and proud to be so.

What changed is my attitude and where I focused my energy. I always thought it was about my failing will power and ability to ‘take myself seriously’ that got in the way of my athletic brilliance.

When I started listening to the Not Your Average Runner podcast with Jill Angie, everything changed. No, really, it did.

Not only did she get me started with being an actual consistent runner (keys: 1. change how I thought about things, and 2. start really really really small).

She introduced me to something called The Model, formulated by Brooke Castillo, and that work in turn is based on that of many wise people, science, and frankly, common sense. 

And since finding it through Jill and Brooke, working with The Model, and Thought Work in general has become my jam and my secret sauce, and all the other foody metaphors.

The Model is a framework to use to understand and work with any life situation or experience when you are seeking to feel differently, or are seeking different results than you’ve been getting to date.  

And this is where we come back to money and business ownership. So much of our financial reality and business success comes down to what we do and do not do in a given day.

Having a super power that helps you change your behavior literally changes your life. The Model is that super power.

Having a super power that helps you change your behavior literally changes your life. The Model is that super power.

I want to lay out a basic introduction to The Model for you here, since it’s the foundation to how I teach, and help the folks I work with.    

There are five elements or areas of the The Model, each with its own importance and purpose.


Circumstances include ANYTHING outside your locus of control, and external to you.  And circumstances are neutral. 

Circumstances include the weather, the fact that you lost that amazing client, political events, and – which I think is pretty radical to absorb – circumstances include the words and actions of other people.   

Think about that: what if you started to approach the words and behavior of others as outside your control and neutral. It’s revolutionary!

If you take this truth seriously, you will experience a freedom you never thought possible. Sound like hyperbole? I dare you to try it out for yourself 🙂


The definition of a Thought according to the Model is “a sentence in our minds,” whether conscious or unconscious.  

One of the reasons it’s helpful to define a thought in this way, is that we often misidentify our thoughts as feelings.

We say things like: “I feel restricted by her poor behavior in our relationship.” This is a thought dressed up as a feeling. The thought is “her behavior is poor and causes me to feel restricted.” The feeling is restriction.

Since I got us started, let’s talk the next area of The Model: feelings.


Whether associated with a positive or negative emotion, a feeling is simply a sensation in the body available for us to experience, or to push away. 

A sensation in the body is an experience of tightness, heaviness, itchiness, tightness, lightness, hardness, warmth, tingling, and so on. When you’re tapped into your feelings, and grounded in your body, every single emotion will reveal a physical experience to you, found in your body.

And to recognize feelings as just that, sensation, is another revolutionary step. We can spend our whole lives pursuing certain feelings and running away from others without realizing that they only hold power over us when we don’t sit with them, notice them, and let them be.

Feelings – specific sensations in our bodies – are created by our thoughts, the sentences in our minds. This point is tricky though, because the thought causing the feeling might be unconscious. There is so much rich exciting work here, learning to notice and spell out the thoughts that cause our feelings in a given moment. And the feelings – the physical sensations – as well as the thoughts that cause them are unique to our individual bodies, histories, and lives.


The next area is Actions.  And actions are just that, pretty self-explanatory.  These are the things you do or do not do, the things you do or do not say, the creating that happens or doesn’t happen.

The addition from The Model though is that actions are always prompted and preceded by feelings.  

When we feel motivated, excited, determined, enthusiastic, hopeful, interested, and more, we do new things, we do things differently, we take out what’s harmful to our vision for ourselves and the world, and we add things in that lead to new results.

When we feel shame, defeat, cynicism, scarcity, hopeless, and more, our actions and life look really really different.

What’s exciting is that by changing our thoughts, we can change our feelings, and therefore our actions.

What’s exciting is that by changing our thoughts, we can change our feelings, and therefore our actions.


The final area is Results.  Results are circumstances that are created by our actions.  

Your results are the peaceful relationship with your mother-in-law, a fully funded emergency fund, a body of creative work you’re excited about, and paying off student loans years ahead of schedule. If that’s what you want.

Your results may look completely different, but the point is that you have decided what you want them to be, and moved intentionally in that direction.

The Model is available for use any time you want to change either a feeling, or an action, usually to get a new result.  

The Model is available for use any time you want to change either a feeling, or an action, usually to get a new result.

By identifying the thoughts that are creating a given feeling, you can work to change those with the right techniques, and by changing your thoughts, your new feelings will prompt different actions, and therefore results.  

Why is this relevant to Money Work? 

Let’s say you have $353 in your emergency savings account and income has been pretty patchy, although you are managing to pay your basic level of business and living expenses.  You’re feeling pretty despondent and unmotivated to start trying to save more, and largely ignore that area of money. 

The thoughts that are causing your feelings might be “I’ve always been pretty bad with money” and “I don’t make enough to bother trying to save regularly.” 

And the resulting action is to continue ignoring savings, and not trying anything new.  And the result?  The savings needle doesn’t move.  

So, IF, you want to feel better about saving, and IF you want to get different results, you would use the The Model to help move yourself in that direction. 

You’d take those thoughts and change them.  You change them by finding more motivating thoughts about the same topic, and then practicing those new thoughts.  

In this case, the new thoughts might be “It’s possible I can get better at managing my money.”  or “I am becoming someone who is improving their relationship with money.” 

And for the second negative thought, the new one might be “I might be wrong, and am going to try saving $5 a week for the next two months.”

You know that the new more motivating thought is actually helpful by checking with your feelings and with your body.

Do you feel more openness and readiness to take a new small different action?

If yes, if this is a direction of possibility, then practice that thought repeatedly until it feels like truth and fact and you move on to another more positive, more motivate thought.

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