CNLP 427: Allison Fallon on How to Unlock Your Brain and Leadership by Writing Things Down

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Author, speaker and CEO Allison Fallon has helped CEOs, Olympic gold medalists, politicians and many others unlock their brains and leadership by learning how to write things down.

Allison has seen leaders get freed from anxiety, depression and past trauma by learning a specific form of writing for just 20 minutes a day, four days in a row. In this interview, she unpacks exactly what that can do for you.

Welcome to Episode 427 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey shares how to use your summer to restore yourself.

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The Power of Writing It Down by Allison Fallon

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Business Made Simple Podcast –  How and Why Should You Write Your Story?

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

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Insights From Allison

1. 20 minutes of expressive writing can dramatically improve your life

So many of us have begun to self-medicate and live our lives distracted. Rather than actually sitting in the quiet moments alone with our thoughts, we fill them with noise, food or other distractions.

Allison (along with decades of scientific research) argues that leaning into your feelings, and doing 20 minutes of expressive writing a day for 4 days, brings massive health benefits emotionally, physically and professionally. She does an excellent job explaining the benefits in her book The Power Of Writing It Down.

2. The Western world has wrongly disconnected our emotional feelings from our physical bodies

Somehow, Western society has convinced itself that our emotions and our physical bodies are completely separate. This is a dangerous belief that has caused us to underestimate the damage poor emotional health can do to our physical bodies.

One of the key reasons that writing down your personal story works is that writing unlocks parts of your brain that you don’t normally use. These parts are connected to the rest of your body, so when you begin to heal them and speak truth into the lies they believe, your physical body can heal, as well.

3. The biggest key to overcoming writer’s block is…

To overcome writer’s block, you need a shift of perspective around what writer’s block actually is. It’s not that you don’t know the words to say, it’s that there’s something you want to say that you feel you cannot say out of fear of being judged or losing something/someone.

When you find a way to say the thing that you’re afraid of writing, it will unlock that area of your brain/life. This process turns writer’s block into a diagnostic tool you can use to learn more about yourself and your own internal struggles.

Quotes from Episode 427

The power of writing it down is that it can help us not only understand what we've been through, but what we've overcome. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet Writing will allow you to tell the truth that you would be otherwise unable to admit to yourself. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet Data shows that 20 minutes a day for four days in a row spent expressive writing can dramatically improve your mood and immune system, increase empathy and increase levels of happiness in romantic relationships and jobs. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet If we aren't in touch with our own pain that we've lived through, or our own wounding, then what we end up doing is unconsciously passing on that wound to the people around us. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet The power of writing puts you in touch with that voice inside of you that knows the truth. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet To think that we don't have physical reactions to emotional realities is a bizarre disconnection, but writing has a way of bringing those things back together. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet Writing is a way that, for anybody, you can dip your toe in the water of peeling back the layers of the onion that are you. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet You're most tempted to quit moments before your critical breakthrough. Click To Tweet Without knowledge of God, there's no knowledge of self, but without knowledge of self, there's no knowledge of God. - John Calvin Click To Tweet The most important thing a business leader can do is understand their own story. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet Expressive writing is writing about your deepest thoughts and feelings about a particular topic. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet 30% of people in your congregation will have some sort of violent physical episode in their partnership within the lifetime of the partnership. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet Everyone can benefit from sitting down to write about their personal story. @missallyfallon Click To Tweet If you want to blow it in this next season of leadership, here's what you should do this summer—don't take time off to restore yourself. Click To Tweet Leaders, the more tired you are, the more intentional your plan for recovery should be. Click To Tweet If self-care is important in normal times, it's 10 times more important right now. Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 427

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Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

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Next Episode: David Nurse

Author, speaker and former NBA coach David Nurse talks about what NBA athletes and Fortune 500 CEOs have in common, how to overcome intimidation as a young leader and the best way to handle influence when you’re young.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 428.

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Carey Nieuwhof
Carey Nieuwhof

Carey Nieuwhof is a best-selling leadership author, speaker, podcaster, former attorney, and church planter. He hosts one of today’s most influential leadership podcasts, and his online content is accessed by leaders over 1.5 million times a month. He speaks to leaders around the world about leadership, change, and personal growth.