How To Do The Work summary

How To Do The Work Summary and Review | Nicole LePera

Recognize Your Patterns, Heal from Your Past, and Create Your Self

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How to Do the Work offers a manifesto for self-healing and an essential guide to creating a more vibrant, authentic, and joyful life. Drawing on the latest research from science and healing modalities, Dr. LePera investigates the self-sabotaging behaviors we all engage in. She then uses this same research to explain how we can start doing the work that will help make us happier and more fulfilled.

The book is divided into three sections, each focusing on a different aspect of the “work” of self-improvement. The first section helps readers identify their negative thought patterns and the underlying beliefs that drive them. The second section focuses on developing self-compassion and learning to be kind to oneself. The final section teaches readers how to cultivate a sense of self-worth and build a healthy sense of self.

How to Do the Work has already been translated into 17 languages.

About Nicole LePera

Nicole LePera, also known as the holistic psychologist, received traditional training in clinical psychology at Cornell University and The New School of Social Research. Based on her hugely popular Instagram account @the.holistic.psychologist, Dr. LePera shares her tools for transformation with an ever-growing community of #SelfHealers. She currently has over 3 million followers on Instagram and over 6 million YouTube views.

StoryShot #1: 10 Tips for Manifesting your “How To”

LePera explains that you have to manifest your “how to” before you can start learning how to improve your mental health. She describes manifestation as the process of actively bringing the things you want into your life. This process involves shifting from a passive receiver mindset to an active creator mindset. You will be able to manifest effectively after learning about LePera’s ten tips for manifesting how to, which are:

  1. Know with absolute certainty what you want – People tend to have a better understanding of what they don’t want rather than what they do want. LePera encourages readers to write out what they want and provide as much detail as possible. The clearer you are on what you want, the more likely you are to receive it.
  2. Directly ask to receive what you want – Manifesting puts intention and energy behind causal desires. So, avoid passively thinking about what you want. Actively and intentionally ask for exactly what you want. This might be asking other people, but this can also be writing this want down in a journal.
  3. Visualize your future self – Imagination is a very natural process. That said, most of us haven’t practiced it since childhood. Visualization relies on our imagination and sends the same signals to our brain as the physical reality. For example, imagine sucking a lemon. Within a few seconds, your mouth should be watering. This shows that visualization creates the same response as reality. Try to imagine the future self you hope to be. Close your eyes and visualize what it would be like to be this new person.
  4. Take action to match desire – After identifying what you want and visualizing having it, the steps will reveal themselves to you. If you are struggling to take action this means you are lacking clarity. LePera recommends starting by creating a morning routine that is intentional. Mastering these rituals creates a solid foundation for manifesting. 
  5. Commit to daily visualization and affirmations – You should start even if you are skeptical. If you commit to daily visualizations and affirmations you will consistently improve. The author provides the example of Bob Bowman, coach to olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. He explains that Phelps would spend two hours a day for months before the olympics visualizing himself winning. He would image every detail right down to how the air will smell and the time that will be in the clock.
  6. Be present and acknowledge what’s given – When we are not present we passively impact on our lives. Through repetition, our brains can learn to be actively present all the time.
  7. Feel gratitude – Ideas will be revealed to you throughout the day if you are manifesting. These might only be small ideas but you should be thankful for them. Write down that you are grateful for this gift or say “thank you” out loud. This gratitude will encourage your mind to think of more ideas in the future.
  8. Tune into intuition – Manifesting requires you to control what voices you take in and return to your inner guidance. It is a bad habit to keep seeking others for guidance. Try to be intentional about making a connection with your intuition.
  9. Work through resistance – Manifestation is often accompanied by doubt, frustration and confusion. This is why daily meditation is important as it allows you to slowly observe these thoughts. You should learn that you are not a slave to your emotional shifts and see resistance as a fleeting thing.
  10. Accept that this will change how you view people around you – Being intentional with your words and thoughts will impact on your view of others. You will notice that people mindlessly affirm what they do not want. The result of this can be that you want to spend more time alone. This is natural and requires you to be compassionate and patient with yourself. Use this time of isolation to do things you enjoy but haven’t had the time to do.

StoryShot #2: How to Do Ego Work

LePera believes ego work is important for everyone but is especially important for those who:

  • Feel emotionally depleted
  • Feel stuck
  • Don’t feel joyful
  • Feel ready to let go of black and white thinking
  • Find themselves in unfulfilling or toxic relationships
  • Find connecting with other people difficult
  • Feel their beliefs are rigid and would like to grow
  • Feel ready to heal

The author describes ego work as a shift in consciousness. That said, a shift in consciousness requires work. Your ego hates change more than anything else. So, you will experience resistance. Allow this resistance to surface without judgment and remember that resistance offers opportunities to grow.

Ego work also allows you to return to your true nature. Your life will have been spent functioning in patterns you haven’t chosen. So, ego work is also an opportunity to choose. LePera doesn’t suggest killing your ego or denying its existence. She describes it as your protector, scanning the environment for anything attempting to do you harm. Anything that conflicts with the ego’s perception of self becomes an ‘enemy.’ Your overidentification with these traits has trained your ego to see keeping your identity alive as its main purpose. But, you must accept that your ego should be separate from yourself and work on actively maintaining your identity. By doing this ego work, you are allowing new experiences to come into your life. The result of this will be greater confidence.

StoryShot #3: Five Steps of How to Do Ego Work

In How to Do The Work, LePera gives five steps of how to do ego work:

  1. Allow your ego to introduce itself – The ego does not like to be observed. So, this step can be very difficult. LePera suggests finding a quiet place where you feel comfortable, closing your eyes and repeating the affirmation: “I am safe and I choose a new way to experience myself as separate from my ego.” You might experience scary physical sensations, but this is totally normal.
  2. Have a friendly encounter – Your “ego speak” is released when you say the word “I” before anything. Set an intention to witness your ego with one conversation you have today. You can do this by paying attention to what you say after the word “I”. Consider how often you use this word, the adjectives you use and your emotional reactions to these phrases. If you repeat this practice you will prime new pathways in the brain that allow observation to become easier.
  3. Name your ego – Naming your ego is a powerful step in seeing the ego as separate from you. You can now notice when that individual comes and goes rather than it being an invisible concept. You should practise this stage for at least two weeks. After this stage, you should have a better understanding of your authentic self.
  4. Meet the triggered ego – LePera describes a trigger as an emotional response unequal to the event. These responses are driven by the ego as it’s a master storyteller. Your ego remembers thousands of experiences you can’t even consciously remember. Try to calculate what events trigger your ego and why this might be. 
  5. Appreciate and accept the ego – This step is not intuitive which means it will take several repetitions to feel natural. So, to make it repetitive, LePera provides some prompts:
    1. I appreciate that my ego came to protect me from (emotion felt during trigger)
    2. It is acceptable for me to experience (new emotion you want to feel)
    3. I no longer have to attach events in my life to meanings of (emotion felt during trigger)
    4. I am (affirm new emotion)

StoryShot #4: Five Strategies for Practicing Self-Acceptance

The third section of How to Do The Work focuses on cultivating a healthy sense of self and building self-worth. It begins by discussing the concept of “self-acceptance,” or the ability to accept oneself as one is, flaws and all. 

The book argues that self-acceptance is an important foundation for healthy self-worth and offers strategies for practicing self-acceptance, including mindfulness techniques and self-compassionate affirmations.

According to the book, some tips for practicing self-acceptance include:

  • Notice and acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Recognize that it is normal and human to have a range of thoughts and emotions, and try not to criticize yourself for having them.
  • Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your present-moment experience with curiosity and openness, rather than trying to change it or judge it.
  • Use self-compassionate affirmations. Rather than judging or criticizing yourself, try saying things to yourself that you would say to a friend in a similar situation. For example, “It’s okay to make mistakes, I am only human” or “I am doing the best I can with what I have.”
  • Write in a journal. Reflect on your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a non-judgmental way. This can help you gain insight into your patterns of thought and behavior and learn to accept yourself as you are.
  • Seek support from others. Talk to a therapist or trusted friend or family member about your feelings and struggles with self-acceptance. Often, having someone else listen and validate our experiences can help us feel more accepted and understood.

StoryShot #5: Tools and Techniques for Cultivating Authenticity

The book also covers the concept of “authenticity,” or being true to oneself and living in accordance with one’s values and beliefs. It provides tools and techniques for cultivating authenticity, including:

  • Reflect on your values and beliefs. Take some time to think about what is most important to you and what you stand for. Ask yourself what you want to stand for and how you want to live your life.
  • Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to your present-moment experience and try to be present in each moment, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future.
  • Set boundaries. It is important to know what you are willing and not willing to tolerate in your relationships and in your life. Setting boundaries can help you stay true to yourself and your values.
  • Communicate openly and honestly. Be authentic in your communication with others and be honest about your thoughts, feelings, and needs.
  • Take risks and try new things. Step out of your comfort zone and try new things that challenge you and help you grow. This can help you discover more about yourself and what you are truly capable of.
  • Seek support from others. Talk to a therapist or trusted friend or family member about your journey towards authenticity and seek their support and guidance.

Overall, the third section of How to Do The Work aims to help readers cultivate a healthy sense of self, build self-worth, and practice self-care in order to live a more authentic and fulfilling life.

Final Summary and Review of How to Do The Work

How to Do the Work aims to help readers learn how to identify and overcome negative thought patterns, cultivate self-compassion, and develop a sense of self-worth. It combines elements of traditional psychology with mindfulness techniques and Eastern philosophy. 

The book is divided into three sections, each focusing on a different aspect of the “work” of self-improvement. The first section helps readers identify their negative thought patterns and the underlying beliefs that drive them. The second section focuses on developing self-compassion and learning to be kind to oneself. The final section teaches readers how to cultivate a sense of self-worth and build a healthy sense of self. 

The book includes tips for manifesting and achieving one’s goals, such as knowing with certainty what one wants, directly asking to receive it, visualizing one’s future self, taking action to match one’s desires, committing to daily visualization and affirmations, being present and acknowledging what is given, feeling gratitude, and releasing attachment to the outcome. 

It also covers the importance of self-care and offers strategies for prioritizing self-care in one’s daily life, such as setting boundaries, practicing self-compassion, and developing healthy coping mechanisms.


We rate this book 4.2/5.

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