What Is Inner Work?

Today's episode of Inner Workout is all about inner work! Taylor defines inner work as : the effort and the intention you put into becoming more of who you already are. Tune in to hear Taylor break down the four elements that make up the foundation for inner work : self-care, unlearning, learning and growth.

And something to ponder : which of those four elements or aspects of inner work needs your focus right now?

Mentioned In The Episode

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Learn about Taylor's coaching container, Begin Within that will run again in Summer 2023!

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. My name is Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator of Inner Workout. And you as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here today. And thanks especially to our Inner Circle members for supporting this work.

Let's get into today's episode. So I love naming things. The name Inner Workout for the company is maybe one of my favorite things that I've named. I originally chose it because I liked the play of words. And what's interesting is that Inner Workout has been around for three years at this point, it has evolved into so many things. And still the name Inner Workout fits. Even if people don't fully know what Inner Workout is or what it does, they get a sense of what we do. And they continue to have a sense of what we do, even as the company has evolved. I also like it because I, I'd like to think, like most people, but maybe it's just me, you can let me know, especially towards the beginning of my own journey, have felt like I have put more effort into physical workouts and into doing things for my body than I did into working out so to speak for my overall well being. Inner work wasn't something that I have always intentionally sought out. I've always been curious, I've always liked to learn. But doing work on myself is actually something that I've really leaned into in my adulthood. And you may have heard me mention this on the podcast before, I've been with my husband since high school. We have seen each other grow and change. And something that he recently told me that I just had to pause and appreciate, is he said, I appreciate the fact that you are willing to work on yourself. Not everyone is willing to do that. And the reason that that felt so sweet is because I wasn't always willing to do that. I for a long time thought that who I was was just kind of faded. And I didn't get any say in it. So it's cool to have the person who is closest to me and has seen so much of my growth from a front row seat, acknowledge that I have chosen to do work, even when it's hard, even when it's uncomfortable. And even the terminology that I'm using there, like I've chosen to do work, I've chosen to work on myself, you've probably heard someone say that, right? I'm working on myself, I'm doing the work. I don't know if you've seen, oh, I can't think of his name on Instagram. But he, especially during the peak of the pandemic, would do these little one minute videos. And he had this impression of "This is my impression of someone doing the work." And it was just them kind of being like, you know, "I'm doing the work. I'm really doing the work right now. I'm doing the work." And that's how it can sound, it can be like what does that even mean? Even as I'm saying it, what is that, is it just gibberish? Is it something that I'm saying to sound cool and deep? Or is there something beneath the surface? At Inner Workout and for me, there is some substance when I say that I'm doing the work. And when I talk about inner work, when Inner Workout talks about inner work, what we mean is that effort and intention that you put into becoming more of who you already are. Let me say that again, inner work is the effort and the intention you put into becoming more of who you already are. This is another one of those things that I don't, I feel like I can't say enough times. When I'm saying that. I felt like who I was, was faded. It was because I was I had all of these people telling me that this is how I was supposed to be and this is how it's supposed to show up in order to be good and successful and liked and appreciated in our society. But inner work is about who are you? Who are you at your essence, and how can you become more of that in the world?

If some of this sounds familiar, it could be because you listen to our Begin Within podcast series or because you've thought about doing our Begin Within coaching container. The next time we're going to do that is next summer, we'll add the link to the show notes if you want to learn more, so you've got time to think about it, but Begin Within in Inner Workout at least, is the container where we do this work of inner work deeply. And it's four months, because there are four aspects that I have seen show up in most people's inner work journeys.

The first aspect of inner work is self care. And intertwined in self care is support. You've heard us talking about that, because we just taught again, the Self Care Support Masterclass. And we start in this place of self care, because I see people, especially strong friends and self aware over achievers burn out on trying to create change in their own life. Because it can be very externally motivated, I need to change so that they will accept me, so that they will give me this promotion, so that they will XYZ, so that they will, I'm fitting myself into this mold for them. And when that happens, and you're not starting from a place of relationship with yourself, where you know yourself, where you're listening, where you're practicing, doing loving responses instead of the responses that feel obligatory, you get burned out on doing this, quote unquote, inner work. And you don't have what you need to sustain the effort. So whenever I am, inviting people into a journey of inner work, or observing people on their journeys of inner work, I'm always curious to see how, and honestly, if they're caring for themselves, if they have a support system in place, because if they don't, there's only so far they can go before it starts to wear on them. So that's one aspect of inner work is making sure that you have this foundation of care and support.

Then we get into unlearning. If you're anything like me, when you're on these types of journeys, you're like, I want to change. I see this glimmer of who I am. And that person is more willing to share their opinion, or that person is learning a skill that they've always wanted to learn. And I want to get straight into that part, the doing, because we're conditioned to do, that's many of our defaults. But most of us have things that we have to unlearn before we can create any type of lasting change. And if we aren't doing the unlearning, what happens is we're building on this foundation that is flawed. There's cracks in the foundation, they might be hairline cracks. But then over time, as there's more pressure, as our seasons of life change, as things expand and contract, all of a sudden, that foundation starts to crack because we didn't take the time to look and see, oh, there's this belief that I'm holding on to, oh, there's this bias that's getting in the way, there's this behavior that I keep repeating. So that work of unlearning, doesn't always feel sexy. But when we skip over the unlearning, let me put it this way. There will be unlearning in almost everyone's journey. And you basically have a choice. Can I do it up front? Or am I going to have to revisit it later? Speaking from personal experience, it's more pleasant if you do it upfront. Rather than having to come back and feel like you keep hitting yourself in the head against this thing that you have to unlearn and that you have to sit with.

Once you've done the unlearning, then you can get into the learning part, which a lot of people find really fun. This is where you are connecting to your wisdom. You're learning about yourself, you're seeing yourself more clearly, you're seeing yourself in all of your fullness. It's a really beautiful phase and aspect of doing the inner work. And it's also where you can start to fold in other people. Where you're grounded enough in who you are, to hear other people and not take what they say as gospel, but then to filter it through your own wisdom and your own self expertise.

And then the last phase of the inner work cycle is growth, where you're celebrating your progress, and you're taking imperfect action, step by tiny step by tiny step as you get closer to who you are.

So those are four phases, four aspects of inner work. That baseline of making sure you have the care you need to even do the work, the unlearning of biases, beliefs and behaviors, the learning and accessing your wisdom and hearing the wisdom of others without having it overshadow you. And then the growth of taking imperfect actions. And I always struggle with what to call these, because it's not necessarily linear. You're not necessarily immediately going from learning straight into growth. Or sometimes you're doing some learning and some unlearning at the same time. But these four elements are almost always present when you are doing the inner work.

I was thinking about this for myself, as I am in this phase, where there is a lot happening in my life personally and professionally. And I can see all of these here. So the self care and the support, if you listen to the last episode, I talked about how, as I'm preparing for the season of launching a book, and launching some other businesses, I am seeking out support, and I'm really leaning into my own self care, making sure that that foundation is solid, so that when all of this change happens, I know that I have not only myself that I can return to and I'm grounded in myself, but also I have other people who I can lean on and who I've been in relationship with for an extended amount of time so they know me, they're not new to me.

On the unlearning, sometimes I get annoyed at unlearning, honestly, I'm like, can we be done with this? Does this have to keep popping up? And for me, I'm doing a lot of unlearning around comparison. It's actually some homework that my therapist gave me recently, where I think that I have moved past comparing myself to other people or comparing my work to other people's works, but it sneaks in there, in these insidious ways, that I have to start to have fresh eyes to see it again. Because maybe the old way that I compared myself isn't happening anymore. But there's these new ways, that having someone else point them out to me, it's like, oh, okay, this is a new comparison game now, I've got to work with this. With the learning, like I said, when I was describing it originally, I love the learning phase. Because I just get to appreciate myself and realize this is what is true of myself, and the way that I work when I am at my best. And ask how can I create more space for me to show up at my best? So with Inner Workout, I've been realizing I love teaching workshops. I love it. It is such a treat. It is such a gift to get to do that. So why not have a monthly workshop and invite people to come to that? Why would I deny that? So that's something that has maybe taken me a while to accept or to trust that that could be true. And I'm leaning into it and it is a lot of fun.

And when growth, man, I could give countless examples of how I'm growing, of how I'm taking incremental steps, even something as simple as being comfortable with discomfort and instead of making it mean anything, I'm realizing, Oh, this is part of the process. I'm going to feel a little bit uncomfortable here. Not in an unsafe way. But in a "I'm in my learning zone" way. I'm trying something that is outside of what has been the norm recently. And I'm going to celebrate that. It's not bad to be uncomfortable or to experience discomfort. This is actually a sign of growing and that is not something that I would have seen or acknowledged in myself before. So it's really cool to appreciate that. So those are just some examples of how I have seen these things show up right now. And like I said, it's not all linear. Some of these are connected to the process of launching a book. Some of its related to launching a business. Some of it is just general life stuff, where I'm realizing, like comparison, for example, oh, this is showing up in different places. But because I'm doing my inner work, I'm able to see how these things are present in my life. Because that work is true for me, at least right now. So, now I get to turn the mic to you which aspect or element of inner work, the self care, unlearning, learning or growth needs your focus right now.? Self care, unlearning, learning or growth, what needs your focus?

I always appreciate you reflecting with me. Thank you so much for your time. Thank you as always for your expertise and take care.