Instinx Ladder2

I’m a difficult student because I don’t hold back and I can be kinda bitchy. No really, I can. When I choose to step in to the ‘student’ role, I can get kinda selfish. I suppose it’s a bi-product of living most of my life in the inspiration space, feeling compelled to do ‘good’ in the world.  When it’s my turn, I take it and often I can have a bit of an edge.  It’s complicated, because I devour everything I dive in to. I lip smack each morsel of life-changing learning – because for me, that’s what it is. The stakes are high when I step into a ‘classroom’ of sorts. I don’t want to stuff more learning inside of my already at capacity head. What good is that? How does that live?

I’m not interested in becoming a breathing, eating, walking library for one. No thanks. I learn in order to live. Can you feel my edge?

I’m a crappy student because I grumble the entire time I enthusiastically participate.


I grumble on the inside, often putting on a very happy face on the outside, in order to cushion my impact on everyone else. At the same time I wildly gobble up every single piece of information that I’m being fed. I love to learn. I have an insatiable appetite for puzzle pieces. I don’t want to put them all together into a static formation and complete the puzzle. No. I’m not a fan of polished work, or knowing anything. I like knowledge, yes, but knowing?  nuh uh.  From what I can see, ‘knowing’ can cultivate division rather than connection. Now wondering… and collecting… and listening… and learning… hmmmmm that’s delicious.

Why hang a completed puzzle on the wall? (Okay, I know people do, and no disrespect… I mean, to each their own… but it ain’t me). I’m not interested in admiring how it all fits, because tomorrow it may not. Life is a river that must move. A moving rivers doesn’t freeze.

I collect pieces, not puzzles. They’re like beach glass to me. I play with them, watching how they capture light in different placements.

Oh boy. No wonder I never went to university. How did learning become so complex? My own push and pull that happens inside of me and the rawness of my learning style exhausts both me, and probably my educators too. This is a new thing for me. I wasn’t always like this. I used to be compliant, a good student, polite and reliably kind. I may have been late a lot, flustered and disorganized, but I put my hand up regularly, set an example, and actively withdrew from my bank of joy to get through each class, workshop, or session. Oh gawd, it doesn’t feel like that today.

baby sun

My bank of joy for learning is now wearing a disguise. I look less like the ‘baby sun’ from Teletubbies and more like the Anonymous Hacker.

anonymous hacker

So there I was a few weeks ago, sitting with Elinor Meney of, and I was there to learn. My dear friend and founder of Xenia Retreat Centre, Angelyn Toth had invited me to take part in an Instinx workshop with Elinor, and trusting her invitation, I accepted. With a hot cuppa tea in hand, we began.

So what is Instinx?

In brief… Instinx is a personal development and management coaching technique that delivers permanent improvements to performance, competence and ability.

It’s a coaching technique that removes any persistent ceiling or brake on a person’s performance, and increases their energy and ability to tackle and benefit from the opportunities and adversities of every aspect of their life.

Sounds pretty good right?

Enter: My skeptical Hacker, fueled by my Baby Sun of course.

Here’s what I love…

Much like Byron Katie’s The Work changed the way I see situations/problems/obstacles by giving me four tangible questions to ask in order to drain out the drama to find my own ‘truth’, Instinx offers a step by step ‘ladder’ approach of identification and inquiry in order to climb out of ‘stuck’ patterns without talk therapy, cognitive filing of more information, or hours and hours and hours of inquiry. It’s simple.

  • Ask a few questions. (There’s a specific series of them).
  • Answer them truthfully with heart and mind.
  • Identify the ‘rung’ of the ladder you’re on.
  • Then identify what each ‘rung’ up will do to change your current dilemma of stuckness.
  • Then let go because once identified, the ‘shift’ is already on the move.
  • Trust the shift. Watch the next rung of the ladder arrive.


I hate simple.

I love simple.

I don’t trust simple. That’s the truth. 

The Hacker couldn’t stop laughing and scratching his chin. And my Baby Sun? Well, she was too busy giggling and cooing to register an opinion at all.

But then it happened.


2015-04-21 03.00.00

After that one session, I spent two weeks immobilized by who knows what. It was like I was walking through a fog, weepy and discombobulated (FYI… I’m sure this doesn’t happen to everyone). What did I choose to work on that created this melting down of my ambitious daily doing-ness?

Flawless Customer Service.

I know. It’s not deep. Not at all.  In fact Elinor, the Instinx Coach, said to me after I read out my area of growth: “in my eighteen years in this work, no one has ever chosen Flawless Customer Service”. I guess it’s not really a ‘stuck’ area of life for most people but it sure has been for me.

So what happened?  And what changed after I did the Instinx work? 

One of the question we must ask when following the Instinx method is: What is the key area of difficulty? After rambling through a bunch of thoughts, I finally rested on blurting out : “If I need to serve others, what’s left for me?”.

Okay, so sidebar: That was a Baby Sun moment. Hackers don’t think like that. Hackers don’t blurt at all. They are shrewd, calculating, guarded, and deliberate. Thank god I have a Baby Sun alive and well inside of me because it was that spontaneous, trusting and bright eyed baby who spoke the innocent truth I needed to hear that day: “what will be left for me?” – that has been the governing fear underneath my stinky customer service practice (or lack of).

“If I need to serve others, what’s left for me?”

Did we go into my past to identify why I think that? How that thought got there? How many experiences I’ve had that has reinforced that belief? Did I tell my ‘what about me?’ story? Did I grieve?  Did I cry?  (Okay, so I did weep a little). Did I do any of that deep, wrenching, exhausting stuff?  Nope. Not at all.

It did however trigger a fog for two weeks after, but by letting the fog be there, it lifted on it’s own, turning into mist and then blowing itself away.

That’s the SHIFT Elinor was talking about. It unleashed the weather, bringing the fog with it, then invited the wind to come in and release it back to nothingness.

What does that mean in terms of PRACTICE?

So today, is my customer service stellar? Not yet. Have I created a system that I follow regularly and enthusiastically? Not yet either. HOWEVER… Today I am consciously serving my clients from an entirely different source. I used to procrastinate my follow up and follow through because it felt like I HAD to, because people might get MAD at me if I didn’t, because my PAYCHEQUE requires it, and in doing so, I hated that part of my business. Blecccccccchhhhhh I  H A T E D  I T.  I endured a laughing and taunting hacker beside and behind me because he could just watch, laugh and point at me. I was the one suffering, not him. Even my Baby Sun couldn’t help because after all, she’s just a baby… Cute as she is, she can’t even talk.

But after the shift… This crazy thing happened:  My Hacker went missing, and The Baby Sun moved on. Okay, so I’m not so naive to think that they’re completely gone, I mean, after all, I created them in the first place. They are the characters that I built to serve my life in practical and beneficial ways like: my sense of humour (hacker), my problem solver (hacker), my faith (baby sun) and my mommadom (baby sun).  The thing is, those two characters sure as heck should NOT be running my customer service department.

Can you imagine The Hacker running the customer service desk, while Baby Sun fills the orders in the back?  Oh geeeeez louise… sorry folks. That’s: 

The Gong Show

Okay, so after these most awesome insights and 24 hours of sleep, I decided, being the super-student that I am, to take on another subject.

This one was much riskier:

A Happy and Passionate Marriage, which after working with Elinor became much more specific: “To do the things I have to do to maintain the twinkle in my eye for my husband”.

2016-05-01 15.22.03


(yes that’s our eldest son photo-bombing in the back – What a turkey!). 

We’re 15 years in to our relationship, so this isn’t a statement about my husband, nor a terrible sob story about our disconnection… although there’s been moments of course (years even). Let’s be real, life is long and there’s lots of water under the bridge over that time. However, without going in to all of that… guess what the thought bubble was that was contributing to my ‘stuckness’?

Yup, you guessed it: “What’s left for me?”

Interesting right?

Then guess what happened after I consciously moved up to the next rung of the ladder?

Here’s my facebook post about it. It happened the very next day and WITHOUT a conscious choice to ‘do’ it. It seriously, just spontaneously happened:


In case you can’t read the tiny writing above, here it is:

Too much information or inspiration? Tara Caffelle… I’ll let you chime in! This morning I dropped my boyfriend off at 6:30am. Let’s see, last night he fixed my car, rubbed my cramped up runner’s leg before bed annnnnnd played frisbee with our six year old before dinner. That’s my boyfriend. My husband doesn’t do stuff like that, or so I’ve often told myself. He says to me this morning as I kiss him a few too many times in our big ole pick up truck ‘what’s gotten into you?’ – What? I can’t watch my boyfriend walk on the boat? 16yrs together means we’ve seen a lot of things, done a lot, hurt a lot, resolved, healed, forgave and celebrated a lot. Love you Mr. Todd. Have a beautiful day. I’ll see you from stage tonight after you walk up the hill off the boat. Xxt

For that next morning, and many mornings later, I became his girlfriend, and he my boyfriend. That’s sparkle my friends, and it’s intoxicating.

So this morning, I pull out my Instinx duotang (I love that word – so student-ish) and I try the ladder thing again.

Today I ask about abundance, about money, about peace and having enough. The deal is, I’ve made money – buckets of it. I’ve had no money – empty buckets of it. I spend what I have, and I obsess about what I don’t have all the while believing that I can create anything.

Oh gawd… it’s like I’m the challenged student in the classroom of cash.

Guess what the underlying message was yet again?

There’s never enough at the end. 

Slightly different, but exactly the same theme right?  It’s just another version of:

What’s left for me?

Wow. It appears as though starting this Instinx journey around the banal conversation of Customer Service has lead me to the central landing spot of my stuckness: ‘what’s left for me?’ or ‘there’s never enough left for me’. 

Beautiful right? Says me, the incessant learner.  

So where does that leave me? Today, having experienced the shift twice before, I am quietly, knowingly, lovingly, trustingly watching, allowing and waiting for the surprise of change. I am allowing the SHIFT to happen.

I often say this, and it applies here for sure: You can’t push process, but you can move momentum.

I highly recommend the Instinx work. I for one am adding it to my overflowing toolbox of ‘go to’ instruments that I use regularly to clear the cobwebs, tighten the bolts and open up the floodgates of living full out.

I’m keeping this particular tool on the first shelf – easy to access, and simple to use.

Thanks Elinor. I look forward to many more chats together. I think my obstinate student is a result of this very stuck theme don’t you? Hmmmm…. There’s never enough left for me. No wonder I’ve been a pissy yet ‘good’ student.

Want to work with Elinor?  You can reach her here: and she works in both Australia and Canada. How nice is that?






TinaO is a writer, speaker and the founder of TinaOLife – a hub for all things worth living for, the workshop Live Your Best Story, and her coaching practice:  Tall Poppy Living. She’s also a professional network marketer with a decade in the industry and with her Tall Poppy Living for Network Marketers Coaching Program, she teaches: selling isn’t slimey and marketing isn’t make-believe. You can be yourself and be successful in Direct Sales.