We all have challenges. We each also have plenty of evidence of our ability to powerfully influence ourselves. We each have a history of choosing helpful mindsets, taking the right action, and solving problems well. Unfortunately, this evidence is often gathering dust in the back of our mental filing cabinet. This cabinet is a goldmine that must be sluiced for nuggets.  

What we focus on stays at the front of the mental filing cabinet. It is often fool’s gold with no value. We do not need to be in a trance state to organize our cabinets so that they serve us. We can begin shuffling the references, associations, and anchors that drive our behavior. We begin by engaging a state of gentle curiosity. 

Much of how we operate can be traced back to what we have been taught. We did not get to choose our early role models. But as adults, we can take responsibility for our progress now. We can dig for gold by looking at the power of role modeling with fresh eyes. 


After working through the proprietary change model, I often support clients to don the persona of a curious solution-focused amateur social scientist. The purpose of this is to dissect another’s personal success. Their subject can be anyone who has already achieved a similar goal or who is at least a few steps ahead. There are many steps to the profiling process which ultimately unearths several active field assignments. I will not explore the intricacies of this prospecting tool in this article. 

Another vein to follow is to turn our attention inward and unearth useful existing nuggets. We can choose to excavate personal references, stories, memories, or mind files that have gathered dust. This is important because these “things” impact our state and our ability to take action, in the present. Digging for gold is not a one-shot process, but when we begin, we find that more useful references naturally bubble to the surface. This is how the directed mind works.  


Let me give you a personal example of unearthing useful nuggets. Some of my most useful early mind files have to do with being highly energetic and athletic. I believe that this is who I am at my core. My mental filing cabinet holds three important nuggets that had gathered dust over the years.  

Over time, I allowed these references to shuffle to the back of my mental filing cabinet. They are, in order of significance to me: 1. being crowned the top female athlete at a school event 2. being the top gymnast in my class. 3. maintaining pace and endurance while jogging with my very fit Dad. 

These instances are ancient! They occurred before I was 10 years old. There are other more recent nuggets but these three were anchored on an emotional and physiological level, at a time of high suggestibility. To my detriment, I had allowed the anchors to these powerful references to wane.  

As an adult, a car accident left my body very susceptible to seizing up. For a while, I “forgot” these three references. In doing so, it was easy to not add basic yoga stretches and free weights (a whopping 20-minute commitment) to my daily walking routine. I soon began to feel like a stiff, cranky, old woman (and I am not really.) Insufficient movement created strain on my muscles left me tired, irritable, and prone to neck aches. It was a vicious cycle.  

When I allowed the experience of discomfort to stay at the front of my mental filing cabinet more associations of someone who was getting older, stiff, and feeling miserable began to develop. That was a far cry from how I perceived the real me.  

However, by accessing my cabinet intentionally and with gentle curiosity, my old references of being an active, energetic, playful, strong person began to resurface. I re-anchored these useful nuggets and reorganized the filing cabinet to my liking. 

By doing this, I sent my primitive mind on a behind-the-scenes fact-finding mission and located even more gold nuggets. As more nuggets bubbled to the surface, I eventually was getting my butt in gear and hitting the motherlode. Was this a process? Yes. Did it take some work? Yes. Was it worth it? You bet your ass it was. 

What nuggets are gathering dust in the back of your mental filing cabinet? The location of our files must be viewed as a personal choice. We can either bring nuggets to the fore or allow them to sink so deeply into the sediment that they become forgotten.  

Whether we profile role models or look within for inspiration we need to be deliberate. Let us remember that each one of us has a mental filing cabinet that can be mined for gold. Regardless of today’s challenges, we all have powerful nuggets stored away. I believe that we can dig for gold and become our own role model, even if there are times when we need a little outside support.  


1. What would you have liked your early role model/s to teach you?

2. What does a state of gentle curiosity feel like for you?

3. What useful nuggets might be gathering dust in the back of your filing cabinet? 

Terri Lee Cooper MSc. RSW