Breaking a Cycle that No Longer Serves You

Interview with Kaley Klemp: 

Over the years I’ve sought out great coaches and teachers in dance, athletics, education but never in life or career. Thinking about it, that makes absolutely no sense at all as life and career are such big pieces of life and complicated ones that need navigation and support.  

A couple years ago a few different friends within the same week said to me “have you ever met Kaley Klemp”? It was a nice way of saying….you need help! I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Kaley and am honored she is contributing to Life Smart. I honestly refer to her as Kaley Llama. She is that wise.  You can read more about Kaley in the "Meet Kaley" post.

I worked with Kaley on a handful of different topics but one that really changed my life was recognizing a cycle/pattern and breaking it. I want to share what I learned with you. This methodology can be applied to numerous cycles in life (we all have them). I’ll share one of my cycles at the end.

CD: If something isn’t working in your life and you seem to keep ending up in the same spot (aka a cycle) what is the first step you can take to begin working on a solution? 

KK: The first step it to recognize that it is a cycle. I am very forgiving of one-off events (sometimes life happens!), but once something happens more than twice, it’s a pattern. I then work with people to get curious about what has been holding it in place. 

CD: When I began working through a cycle with you, you gave me the analogy of an an iphone operating system. You shared that the OS for the iphone 5 was fantastic but that it didn’t work in the next generation the iphone 6. This really resonated with me. Can you elaborate?  

KK: I think it’s important to remember that every pattern or cycle serves some purpose. It might no longer be healthy for you, but at some point in your life, it was working (somehow) or you would have stopped doing it. This is just like an operating system that gets outdated. It wasn’t that the prior operating system was “bad” - it just needs an update because you can’t run the next generation phone on the old OS without eating up your battery extremely quickly. Same applies to people: keeping an old habit or pattern isn’t wrong, it will just eat up a ton of your energy. 

CD: Once you determine there is a cycle that no longer serves you and you’d like to break that cycle what is the process? You gave me some clear steps that I’d love to share.


1. Recognize the pattern (what is happening in my life that isn't’ working or what have I been complaining about)

2. See what belief holds that pattern in place

3. Test to see whether that belief is still true (note: it usually isn’t)


Now you have the power to break the cycle. 

If you choose to find a new way:

1. Understand how it once served you and honor that. Then see, how is it serving you now?

2. Acknowledge the cost of keeping the pattern

3. Decide if you want to make a change, or if the benefit of the old pattern is sufficient to overcome the cost

4. Find a new path forward that honors your current beliefs and desires and fits into this way of living


CD: After having kids I found myself constantly complaining and in an eternal state of frustration over not having “enough time to work”. I felt that since I didn’t have the time I used to I couldn’t possibly do anything at the performance level I would want to or the level l had in the past.  

Kaley helped me recognize the cycle and break it. The pattern that had been in place since I was a little girl was do everything at 110%, nothing less. The belief that held it in place was that anything less than 110% meant I wasn’t fulfilling my potential. This way of operating served me well for a very long time and no doubt was a driving force behind successes I have had. However, it cost me a personal life and it also cost me the ability to live in the present and really enjoy life as I was always focused on the future.   

I decided I wanted to make a change as the cost of the old pattern (the old operating system) was too high. The old OS was now costing me being fully present with my family as well as shutting me down mentally to opportunities. Kaley helped me recognize successes I’ve had in the past where it actually was “easy” and didn’t require me to block out the world. Turns out the belief that I had to operate at a level of all or nothing wasn’t true.