Is Your Memory Faulty?

During a more difficult time in our past, it can be easy to rewrite what actually happened, how we felt, or what the circumstances were. Why is that? How can being more aware help us keep the narrative intact?

December 21, 2021
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Melissa Albers  0:01  
Hey everyone. Welcome to the self awareness Journey podcast. I'm Melissa Albers.

JJ Parker  0:06  
And I'm JJ Parker. This podcast is for seekers, seekers of happiness and joy seekers of a centered approach to success in life. Seekers of their true authentic selves.

Melissa Albers  0:17  
Get ready for some real talk on everything from anxiety, emotions and habits. To love, compassion and forgiveness. We know you'll be challenged and enlightened by this conversation. We're so glad you're here. Let's dive in.

JJ Parker  0:35  
We'll see you and I joke about work amnesia all the time. Right? This idea that we forget things that we did at work. Yeah, I had the craziest amount of work amnesia this week.

Unknown Speaker  0:49  
That's saying something because we almost always have crazy amounts. So this out of your head?

JJ Parker  0:54  
Well, a lot of times we will have like little bits of work amnesia. I say like, yeah. Okay, let me tell you what I forgot. Yeah. And you'll understand the impact. And then I want to talk to you about, like, what happened and why. Why this

Unknown Speaker  1:10  
happened? Oh, God.

JJ Parker  1:13  
I think it'll be interesting. Okay. So for one of our businesses, we have been really working on retention and recruiting. Yeah, right. recruiting more people, then the higher environments really difficult. Yes. Yeah. Lately, right. Um, and from a business perspective, right. Like, I'm, like the single owner, there's no other shareholders. Right? What the leadership team and I started talking about was, is that business at a point where a stock option program would make sense for the employees for retention and recruitment? Right. Yeah, kind of all share in the upside, like, you know, obviously, I want to do that for everybody. Yeah. You know, as the company grows, right? So we're taking about a stock option program, and I was like, okay, like, my task from that meeting was to go investigate what that looks like. Okay. Okay. So our lawyer, his name's Harold.

Unknown Speaker  2:26  

JJ Parker  2:28  
I was like, Okay, I gotta get a meeting with Harold. So for some reason, I was like, Okay, I'm just gonna, did I ever talk to Harold about this? I wonder if I ever talked to her on the stock option program. I was with her lawyer for like, 10 years, like I probably at some point did. So I typed into my email, Harold stock option, and hit return. And it came back with the search results. And they're sitting in my email was a stock option program that he had already completely drafted, as per your request, as per my request. And that I had actually already signed Oh, and ratified into the company. corporate documents.

Melissa Albers  3:16  
Get out. Yeah, you forgot the signature part.

JJ Parker  3:20  
Yeah. Right. This is not a minor thing. This is like, No, this is me like peeling off a huge percentage of the company and not owning it anymore. Oh, my

Unknown Speaker  3:33  
gosh, Jay Z. When was it? When was it?

JJ Parker  3:36  

So that was a little I've been disturbing. No, I mean, yeah. Like, how could I have forgotten that? I did that. Right. Yeah. And so. So I don't like that. I forgot that. I really it really kind of irks me like I don't like when I lose my pencil. Like I had this one pencil for like a decade. No. Like, I just don't like losing

Melissa Albers  4:09  
little holdings. By the way, I should just describe it. It's a mechanical pencil. It's a little more small around the barrel than most and it's got silver on either end, and he really likes that.

JJ Parker  4:21  
And so I don't like losing little things or forgetting about little things. I really don't like the forgetting about really big things.

Unknown Speaker  4:28  
Yeah, I don't know. Go Go ahead. I

JJ Parker  4:32  
got I got thinking about that. Specifically, like 2017. Yeah. And I was like, what was going on in my life in 2017 that I would have kind of like, forgot that I did this. Oh, and wow. So a year prior. Am I

Unknown Speaker  4:56  
in trouble? Yeah, totally.

JJ Parker  5:00  
Well, your prior I had bought out my business partner that was an emotion, super emotional thing it was then, right before this agreement you and I shut down cardiology. We had to i Then I had hired one of the key employees from neurology over to this other business. I had a huge staff kerfuffle. I could rearrange the whole bunch of people on the bus.

Unknown Speaker  5:30  
Yeah. Yeah, it was such a highly emotional

JJ Parker  5:34  
time. Yeah, yeah. And that might be why I couldn't I didn't, I just simply forgot that. I had done this.

Melissa Albers  5:46  
I have a question. Uh huh. Now, I don't know if this podcast is the time to ask these kinds of questions.

JJ Parker  5:55  
I think it is, ah, ha, ha.

Melissa Albers  5:57  
So you know, both, both of us have work amnesia. And what we mean when we say work amnesia is we can both put our heads down and just produce stuff. Go Go, go, go go like and produce way more than the average person would naturally consider as normal. And we are both a bit. Well, I don't want to say perfectionist, because you're gonna say no, we're not. But we sort of are like, the quality of our work is important to us. Let's say it that way instead of perfectionism. And I am wondering right now, if we have used that. Go mode to hide or avoid some really strong things that are happening in our lives that are difficult. Aha, aha. So that was your kind of getting at? Is that why you were thinking that would be a good thing to talk about today?

JJ Parker  6:59  
Yeah, it really got me thinking about, like, yeah, it really got me thinking about the idea like, like, using work. I mean, certainly maybe like using work as an avoidance technique. Yeah. Or even the idea. Like, when you're in a high emotion, yeah, state. Yeah, you act like it really does, like affect your memory and what you can actually recall. So the, the idea that like, like, can you even kind of like trust your memory very well, when you're in these emotional states? Hmm. Right. That's probably like, the deeper that's a deeper thing I was thinking about like, like, when I'm really emotional when I'm not like, my centers yourself, when I'm not my authentic self. When I'm really out there. You're on the edge. Like, like I'm doing things. Right. Hopefully, those are the right things. I certainly probably think they are at the time. Yeah. But then the idea that, like, my recollection of what happened during those times is is frankly, not very good. That's super interesting, to the point where I forgot like a really major thing that happened in the business. Yeah. Melissa and I are huge self awareness nerds. We've been working on this stuff for a really long time. And we love talking about it and sharing it with all of you, we've actually brought all of the stuff we've made into an online course. And we think it's really great. The course starts by learning about yourself, and how your mind body connection works. It dives into your thoughts and feelings. And then helps you learn how to become your true authentic self. Start your journey today. Head to the software destroy calm to learn more and sign up

Melissa Albers  9:04  
well, I think, you know, maybe you're being a little hard on yourself. I mean, yes, you don't remember that document. But I actually remember when you were doing that, and I remember that it was really important to you, it's always been important to you that philosophy of sharing the wealth sharing everything, that's just who you are. So I so I don't know whether I would beat myself up so strongly that you don't remember actually signing the document because you've talked about doing this many many times. This isn't this isn't a new thing. I mean, here it's coming up dry. I'm trying to give you a little grace here so you're not

JJ Parker  9:40  
feel more like I have like Alzheimer's. I keep on doing the same thing over and over thinking it's new.

Melissa Albers  9:46  
No, but I think you know what, though, there's something really interesting in here about when we kick up the activity when we kick up the goal mode. In an effort to avoid or waylay other stronger, deeper feelings or sensations that we have. That's a very interesting thing to think about. You know?

JJ Parker  10:10  
Yeah, sorry, I was just pausing like this. This is a little bit like, this is an interesting podcast, mostly because like, like here, this is a thing that I was like really kind of struggling with all week. Yeah. And we talked about personal things. Obviously, we really use ourselves as examples all the time. Yeah, we do this. And I'd say like, a lot of the stories that I'll talk about do have a bit of like, like, comic irony to them. But, like, this one, to me is is like, really hard, because it is bringing me back to a time in my life, which was probably the hardest time of my life, frankly, I mean, yeah, getting a getting a divorce from my business partner app. Yeah, it was really hard. And it's just it brings me back to all of that emotion.

Melissa Albers  11:04  
Yeah. Yeah. So I get that, you know, while I'm, first of all, I really appreciate your vulnerability in this conversation, because we know that this isn't easy stuff. This is really, really hard stuff to talk about. And the other thing, I think that there's a certain level of honesty that you're that you're looking at it with, except I would also add, that was a few years back, and you are not the same person that you are now. Hmm. And I think much of the reason you are who you are now is because of that. Right. And I think sometimes when things have a lot of energy for us, especially if it's negative energy or painful, it is way easier to just stuff it out somewhere, stuffed it under the bed, put it somewhere else, I have a girlfriend who says when she gets emotionally overwhelmed about a situation, she literally pictures, putting it in a shoe box, wrapping a bunch of rope around the shoe box, and she pictures putting it up on the highest shelf of closet. If that's not the perfect visual for how we try to pack things away. Right. Oh, and I think that the I think we all try to pack things away with different techniques. And I think both you and I have what we've used to pack things away is go mode. Mm hmm. And go so hard and so long, and create so much. I mean, it's like prolific creation, that it gives us a false sense that we have processed through and we don't have any of that residual.

JJ Parker  12:34  
Oh, yeah. Oh, my gosh, this is just the worst. Okay. Now, I remember, like I couldn't remember until just now. Oh, now I remember what happened right after that agreement that I forgot about. Yeah. What is I busted the company apart? I posted it into two business units. Yes. Remember? I bought two separate businesses? Yeah. Yes. That's the Go mode thing that I did. Yeah. Because that took a tremendous amount of effort. Yes. It like a tremendous amount of management. Right? Change Management detail. Yeah, that's the thing I went and dove into. And that's why I forgot this agreement. Yeah, because I did it. And then I jumped into that huge project,

Melissa Albers  13:18  
you know, and it's so funny is that this agreement right now is enormously important and impactful. And back then, think about it like this. Back then. That agreement is still very important, but it paled in comparison to the work that you were doing. Yeah.

JJ Parker  13:36  
Yeah. Huh. That's super interesting. Isn't it funny? How even just talking in this conversation? Yeah. Like, like, it's helping me get through. Yeah. And process like, yeah, situation? Well,

Melissa Albers  13:52  
I think too, you know, as we always talk about how to process our feelings, because we're always working on this with a self awareness journey. It's like, you know, we always say the traditional model of therapy is where you go back to a situation over and over and over again, and you just recreate the energy of that situation until you find some way of trying to, you know, dissipate the, the angst around it, or dissipate the heat around it, or whatever it is. But you know, both of us don't really have, we don't subscribe fully to that notion. Most of what we talk about is, how are you feeling right now? What's the easiest way for you to move through that and to just to just go forward in your authenticity, right. So so there's an immediacy about that in a real time about that. And that does not lend itself to processing painful things from our past as easily, unless we're really being aware about it. Yeah. Right. So it's a little bit of a slippery slope that way. Yeah. I mean, I, I think if the intention is pure Like, we have work amnesia, and we're making jokes about it and stuff like that. But this particular instance was something that was extremely hard and painful. And and so what you did is you survived. And you created more created differently. And and that's, that's that's the really important part to also balance some of the other stuff out. Yeah.

JJ Parker  15:27  
And maybe maybe that now you're kind of like, unfold and things like that it could be that when we talk about work amnesia, yeah, in sort of a cheeky way. Yeah. It is about more being like hyper focused and sort of forgetting what we're doing when we're in that hyper focused mode. Right. I think maybe what I went through in 17, and 17 was much more like a traumatic event. Yes, that I was, like, that was altering my memory. Oh, right. Yeah. Which is, which is like a step above just our cheeky work amnesia thing that we talked about. Right,

Melissa Albers  16:07  
right. Well, not too far back, we just released a pod on PTSD. And it's not too far away from that actually, you know, our body, our emotional body or mental body suffers some sort of trauma. And we seem to use the word trauma for things that are Hollywood style. Mm hmm. But yeah, trauma in an emotional sense can be something very, like what you've just described, when we close cardiology down, even though we did it beautifully. It was so traumatic. Yeah, it was so traumatic. And both of us were wounded. There was a lot of that, that we were really wounded. So the fact that you were having that experience, plus still all of the uncoupling. And I would say to remember, when you were splitting your business into two, you had a fair number of naysayers that didn't think that that was the best thing for you to do.

JJ Parker  17:01  
Yeah. And some of them had, and some really long term employees had to get off the bus.

Melissa Albers  17:05  
Yeah. So it's hard. Yep. Yeah. So there was a whole bunch of stuff that went along in that. And that was a really, really major time. I mean, it would if you want to use the word, emotional crisis, that's probably where you would want to use that phrase. Not to be overly Jozek. Yeah,

JJ Parker  17:23  
I was gonna say I was getting way more dramatic than I did. I just wanted to talk about how I forgot about one little thing, one little, one little thing. So what like how you phrase this? Well, at first, I was just like, I like how you phrased like, like, trauma? Yeah. Like, there's there's this hotly like you said, Hollywood version of trauma. Yeah. But everyone has their own trauma, like, their own definition of it, and their own level of it. And, and it should be like, traumatic events. Yes. You know, for one person will look very different for them to the next. Right, yeah. So just this idea that there's no like, you know, you don't have to have like, had someone you know, like, pass away, like, right, like, cancer or some huge event is, yeah, it does. It doesn't necessarily mean that, you know, all sorts of other things could be trauma, yes. Just even if they're not just like the big couple of things people think about, you know,

Melissa Albers  18:26  
it's interesting to like, just using this word. And in my coaching experience, I've seen so many people that will have some sort of something that happened or a relationship that they've experienced, that wasn't terribly dysfunctional. It wasn't anything, that's wouldn't be what most people have experienced in their lives, yet. The experience to that person was traumatic. It could be, I have one client that was the youngest of three children, and constantly felt they were the ones who were left holding the bag. They were the ones who were supposed to smooth everything over. And while that might be like, Well, yeah, that's, you know, bummer for you, that's where you were in the birth order. I mean, we have all sorts of ways of justifying people's trauma. But how it manifests with this person is that every relationship they enter into as a new leader, there is this real deep concern and worry that they're not going to catch the bag every time and that they're going to be looked at as a bad leader. And it really is deeply seated into that. And that is simply because of a trauma that was experienced to this person. And it was traumatic to them. And it was replicated multiple times just this little, these little proofs like this is what's expected. And that proof happened over and over again. And it became very traumatic. So it is really interesting when you think about what people have in their own systems and what informed you know, what are those things? How are they informing us all the time in our heart and soul as we're trying to go? bought our business. You know, what, what do we hold is important today based on some kind of trauma that we've had in our in ourselves?

JJ Parker  20:11  
Yeah, just making sure we give people grace around those periods of their life. Right. Yeah. Like, you know, for for me as I, I probably don't even remember how I was acting in 2017 Very clearly or my view of it. Yeah, certainly. I wouldn't as probably, I probably have a little bit of delusion around how I thought I was acting and how I was really acting.

Unknown Speaker  20:39  
Yeah. Right.

JJ Parker  20:42  
Yeah, so just understanding as people are going through these different moments in their life, that that are traumatic for them, that we should make sure we're, we're giving them grace. Yeah. And I like in the moment and while after,

Melissa Albers  20:58  
you know, I think that we can extend that suggestion to offering grace to all people you always hear about this, like, be compassionate, you know, have empathy for others. But this is kind of why this exact idea here that we're talking about is the trauma that people experience, how it manifests, what they forget what they don't forget, you know, how they cover it, what they do to make themselves feel better. These are all human practices, that we all do our own thing all the time, but we really don't know what's happening to the person right next to us. You just don't know. We can't know all the experiences that they've had. I had a guy I was coaching this one time, he was a pretty tough guy. He was very, very introverted. And he had a lot of real, he's just a little tough to deal with. For people. He had a lot of edges, I'll just say that. And, and I had breakfast with him one time. And my effort for that breakfast was to give him feedback, you know, I had it sort of ready to go like, Okay, I got to help this guy get get into a better place with his people. And he came to that meeting and told me that when he was young, his brother was killed his oldest brother that he was best friends with. And the minute I heard that it stopped me in my tracks, and I realized, there's so much about him, I have no idea. And even though it's manifesting in a certain way, right now, repetitively, um, you know, he needs to be treated, treated with love he needs to be treated with. He's fragile. You know, he's fragile. We're all fragile. And it's just how good we are at covering it.

JJ Parker  22:42  
Yeah. And so that I think that's really interesting. Like, here, you had a perception of a guy that's rough around the edges and a little tough. Yeah. Right. When in reality, yeah, he's was much more fragile than Yeah. Then the exterior view.

Melissa Albers  22:57  
Yeah. And I had a buddy who used to say, even big monkeys fall out of trees. I loved because, because I think we all think like, oh, this person has this title, or this person has this status. Yeah. So they must be bulletproof. You know? Yeah. And no, they fall out of trees, just like all the other one. Just like all the rest of us.

JJ Parker  23:19  
So let me ask you for the next time by getting a really high emotional state,

Unknown Speaker  23:29  
yeah, hopefully, I hope I got you. Well, we will we all do.

JJ Parker  23:36  
Well, so as far as self awareness goes, right, like, I think back now, as I'm reflecting on that, that particular time, I'm like, well, what could I have been doing? Or like, I like to stay more centered during that period of time? Right. Yeah. Like, obviously, I had a lot of going on. There's a lot of changes a lot of motion. Yeah. And, and we weren't really talking a lot about self awareness, especially like nighthorse level now. Right? Yeah. 90 back then. So I didn't have those tools. Right. But where we're at now? Yeah. As I've been developing those tools to like, help keep myself more centered, more consistently. I'm just, I think, like, what can I do to like, notice that I'm getting into the state? Yeah. Other than you just calling me out on it.

Melissa Albers  24:34  
I don't do that. I don't do that. Okay, fine. I do that. Now, you know what I think it is and I talked to people in coaching all day about this, and it is the gap. I call it the gap because there is we know inside when we don't feel good. And we all have tremendous skills at avoiding that. Hiding it, pushing it away. We all have tremendous skill. cuz we think that that will help us. It's like, oh, no, no, let's, let's just avoid these really hard feelings, because they'll just eventually go away. And they don't they don't we know that now we know that. So I think really, the first thing is, is that we give ourselves grace, we know we have the mechanisms inside of us that tell us how we're starting to feel and get off centered, we know that, then there's a period of time that we either don't know what it's about don't know why don't know what to do, or whatever, or we want to avoid it. And I call that the gap, before we reach a point that we just can't not deal with it. We just hit a wall where it's like, I have to deal with this. And I think our goal here is to shorten that gap to make that gap more narrow. It's like from the time we recognize that we've been triggered, because that's what it is, it's a trigger. How quickly are we able to have enough self confidence and trust ourselves, to close that gap faster. And that is where we become that centered space. Again, it's like, you know what, I am sideways. So the other night, I was laying in bed right before I went to sleep, and I had had a conversation with one of my kids that left me feeling a little unsettled. And then I had gotten real busy in the rest of the day, and didn't really think about it. And I crawled in bed to go to bed and the light was off and and I just had this weird little niggling inside. I just kept thinking like, what if I just didn't feel quite settled? And I asked myself, What is this? What is this feeling? What is this about? And I just traced it back, traced it back. And then I recalled what it was. And it was this unsettled conversation. And right there is the point where we would pivot Now am I going to create a gap right there and justify it and get mad or have emotion or put a bunch of unrealistic expectations on my kid? Like, what? Or? Or can I just say, Oh, I'm feeling unsettled about that. And I know my children are so gifted and resources to resource to figure out whatever they need to figure out. And, and so I was able to close that gap sooner. Now, that's just a little small example. But I think that's how we do it. We just say, oh, okay, hang on a minute, what is this feeling and trace it back? trace it back until we get to the actual root? Yeah. And it sounds complicated, but it really isn't. It's like something doesn't feel good. Inside. We've talked about triggers. The body tells us when we're not feeling good. The body tells us we've been triggered, and we can start identifying what the trigger is based on where it feels.

JJ Parker  27:43  
Yep. Something we can practice every day, every day. Little steps.

Melissa Albers  27:48  
Yeah, precisely. Nice job, by the way, on the on the employee thing. That's pretty cool.

JJ Parker  27:56  
All right. Did you enjoy this episode, please go to your favorite podcast platform to subscribe, rate and leave a review so others can discover it as well.

Melissa Albers  28:07  
Growing self awareness is a lifelong journey, and there's always further to go. And it's better when we're all in it together. Please think of someone you know who could benefit from hearing today's conversation and share this episode with them. We can't thank you enough for listening. Until next time, happy exploring seekers.

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Discussed in this episode

Let's get real

Meet your guides

JJ Parker

JJ Parker is a serial entrepreneur passionate about building creative strategy, efficient operations, and unique marketing perspectives. Parker got his start as a student at The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and soon after launched his first company Tightrope Media Systems (TRMS) with a high school buddy in 1997.

Melissa Albers

Melissa is passionate about developing people’s self-awareness and ability to positively interact with others. She focuses on the importance of building influence, and highlights the most important relationship we have is with self first. Ms. Albers speaks on leadership and self-awareness, and has shared the stage with John Maxwell (Leadership Author and Speaker), Lee Cockerell (Exec VP of Disney) and Les Brown (Motivational Speaker) to name a few.

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