What To Tell Yourself During A Tough Time.

Image Credit: Dan Evans

We all go through tough times.

A few examples of mine are:

  • Multiple consecutive breakups
  • Walking away from a business that could have made me a lot of money
  • Having my career come to a grinding halt
  • Dealing with mental illness

The list is very long and I’m sure yours is similar. It’s not about the tough times we go through though because they are guaranteed and you already knew that before you clicked this article.

What matters during tough times is what you tell yourself.

This is what I say to myself during tough times — well there’s actually four things I say to myself depending on the tough time I’m facing:


“This will pass”

No event in your life lasts forever. Today may be a really tough day, but that won’t last forever. We delude ourselves at times by saying in our head “I’m always going to be like this.”

“Why does this always happen to me?”

“Here we go again.”

These negative phrases tell our brain that things are never going to get better. When we say these phrases to ourselves enough, we start to believe them. During a difficult period in your life, in that moment, things will suck.

Image Credit: OIVIND HOVLAND/IKON IMAGES/CORBIS

The way to get out of your head is to see the truth: this will pass. In one day, one month, or one year this tough situation will have passed and you’ll be onto the next part of your life.

Nothing lasts forever unless you allow your mind to trap you in the moment and believe a lie which is that this moment won’t pass. It will. You will come out the other side.


“I’ll be stronger having dealt with this situation”

Woman Lying on Blanket Under Man on Her Legs Holding Hands during Golden Hour

When you reframe your tough times into strength building exercises, they take a whole new meaning.

All of a sudden, your current situation that may be wearing you down becomes like reps at the gym. The reps are a struggle and it hurts, but if you keep moving forward, you end up with mental toughness and strength.

“Exchange your tough times for mental toughness”

See this challenging situation for what it is. It’s the chance to come out the other end stronger.

Stack your tough times up like gold medals.

Free stock photo of city, sky, art, landmark

Have you dealt with cancer? Good, then you won’t take your health for granted ever again.

Have you lost a loved one? Then you’ll never take the rest of your family for granted and care for them more than you did before.

Did you lose your job? Amazing! Now you can work somewhere else and discover more of your hidden talents!

Without tough times, you won’t have the strategies you need to deal with the impossible. Your heroes are your heroes because they’ve used their tough times to become stronger.

Failure and rejection are the building blocks to whatever your definition of success is. Tough times make you hungry and that’s a good thing.


“Keep taking baby steps forward”

Tough times can feel like quicksand sometimes.

If you don’t keep moving forward though, you’ll eventually sink into the quicksand. The best thing you can do during the toughest of challenges is take baby steps.

Image Credit: François Coutu

When I battled severe anxiety, I took baby steps such as these:

  • Walked 15 minutes a day
  • Drank an extra glass of water each day to hydrate my body
  • Read one book a month on anxiety
  • Exposed myself to one small fear each day. It started with going two levels in a lift (something I couldn’t do before). Then I’d go three levels the next day and so on.

That last dot point is critical. Overcoming tough times requires you to take baby steps in the form of being uncomfortable. When you’re growing each day, you don’t have time to be too concerned about a particular tough time.

My battle with anxiety eventually led me to flying long distances (another thing I couldn’t do before) and then speaking on stages in front of a lot of people.

As you can see, the first few steps — like going two floors in a lift — are quite small. Then the steps get bigger and bigger until what used to seem impossible becomes a piece of cake.

Take baby steps.


“It only takes one person”

Two Woman Sitting on Bench Near the Table

Tough times often require someone to believe in you. From my experience, you only need one person.

One person to believe in your idea.
One person to love you.
One person who has gone through the same tough times as you.

This one person exists. You have to go out there and find them. That one person for me was a team leader when I was working in a call center. He believed in me enough to take me aside and coach me one on one.

He believed I was going to go on and change the world through personal development. He was right and I did!

Don’t give up. Your one person exists as well.

<<<>>>

These four things are what I tell myself during a tough time. One of these phrases will always be the right one depending on the circumstance.

Believe that there is a way out and you’ll find one. It’s during the tough times that you’ll develop the skills and experience to help others.

Image Credit: The Atlantic

What I’ve learned is that to get through the tough times, one of the best hacks is to focus on helping others. When you’re focusing on how you can serve, your own selfish problems become insignificant.

Seek out people who have even bigger problems than you do and listen to them. See if you can help them.

That’s how you deal with the tough times.

Tell yourself the truth. You deserve to hear it.

Intuitive Planning

Free stock photo of sea, person, beach, vacation
Effective Planning For Sensitive People
Group of People in a Meeting
Intuitive Planning.
How to plan if you are a sensitive person in a willpower world

How often have you heard about the importance of planning or power of manifestation? Have you ever wondered if everyone talks SO MUCH about planning, why it doesn’t really work for you? You probably thought (I definitely did) What’s wrong with me?! Don’t I have enough will power for that…? Am I lazy?? (yes, this scary question…) NO. It is just you are a different type of a person. Yes, planning is important, manifestation is possible and even ordinary for people who mastered a skill of it, but we can choose the way we plan that works for your personality, aligns with your Soul and makes your heart beats calmly, not crazy when you are in a panic, thinking “HOW can I do it all?

Man in Brown Long-sleeved Button-up Shirt Standing While Using Gray Laptop Computer on Brown Wooden Table Beside Woman in Gray Long-sleeved Shirt Sitting

 

Is there a way of planning and manifesting that fits you?  And how can we use our sensitivity not to be worried or overwhelmed, but manifest and plan what we want more effectively?

 

Three Women's Doing Exercises

Here where the spiritual ideas and (surprisingly)) physics come handy. Everything is energy. In this perspective, we have to consider feeling and emotions as solid parts of energy we use for realization and preparation.

 

Free stock photo of man, people, woman, construction

We realize a maximum of our potential when we plan with our feelings and sense, using our mind. Not vice versa, when we mostly try to think what is good, but don’t feel passion about it or even don’t believe it’s even necessary.  What does this mean? The core here is very simple. The Universe realize what we FEEL, our emotions are the impulses to the actualization. Planning and dreaming are good, but what we really FEEL and BELIEVE deep inside of us, this is what really come true.

 

 

“You manifest what you believe in” (Oprah Winfrey) 

Man In White Dress Shirt And Maroon Neck Tie Shaking Hands With Girl In White Dress

 

 

The effective planning is all about adjustment with your plan. Any successful coach or powerful book have never said: “Write it down and do it”. They all repeat the same thing: “BELIEVE in your plan and do it.”

Person's Playing Chess

 

 

“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” (Napoleon Hill) 

 

 

 

Write it down with the main purpose – to believe in it. Structure your belief so you can act more effectively.

 

 

It leads us to important realization that we need to pay attention to our assumptions. As they are the main reason why we can’t believe with our heart in what we see in our minds. Any technique or boost of willpower can’t help in a battle with your own negative views.

 

 

This truth is even more powerful for women. For us everything is based on the perception, on the intensity of our emotions and feelings, on our belief in the capacity to transform a dream into reality. All of the greatest achievements started from the vision and strong emotion of faith. When we believe with all our hearts we start to see steps in the darkness. We program our subconsciousness to look for the answers and find them. We follow deep feeling of belief that in other words, I like to call intuition. 

 

 

Intuition is the core for many successful businesses, for greatest of books and pieces of art.

 

 

Believe in yourself+ believe in the idea + intuitive planning+ action = success. 

 

 

When you follow your intuition in planning or manifesting you first open doors in your mind and then in your life. Yes, it is easy to mistaken intuition with somethings else. I hear this concern very often and still repeatedly have it my mind. So here I want to give a very important hint:

 

 

When you try to distinguish whether it is an intuitive feeling or not, ask yourself: Am I feeling it from a place of fear or from a place of trust? What am I afraid of in this situation? Do I try to run away from something I am afraid of with this feeling? If your answer is yes, it’s probably not intuition. As our intuitive feelings always create, not destroy.

 

 

 

 

 

The laws of the Universe makes it clear: The manifestation and planning are more effective when you are a sensitive person! All we need to do is switch from our fears to best beliefs. 

 

Habits You Should Adopt Immediately

Habits You Should Adopt Immediately to Make Big Changes In Your Life

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

For better or worse, our habits shape us.

Our daily lives are a series of habits played out through the day.

Better life habits have the potential to increase your well-being and ability to perform effectively.

Confucius once said,“Men’s natures are alike; it is their habits that separate them,”

Don’t let bad habits hold you back in life.

Start building these habits for a happier, productive, and fulfilling life.

Enthusiasm is common. Commitment is rare

Butterfly Perched on the Yellow Petaled Flower during Daytime

In research by the Journal of Clinical Psychology, approximately 54% of people who resolve to change their ways fail to make the transformation last beyond six months, and the average person makes the same life resolution 10 times over without success.

Knowing what to do is not an issue, COMMITTING to it is the problem!

Many of us lack the proper structures to support the behavioural changes our life goals require.

Commitment, consistency and patience.

Those are hardest skills I have had to learn to use to be better and improve daily. In his brief 1890 work, Habit, William James- a writer, philosopher and physician considered to be one of the fathers of modern psychology laid out observations on forming new and lasting behaviors:

“Put yourself assiduously in conditions that encourage the new way;” He wrote. “Make engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid you know. This will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might; and every day during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not occurring at all.”

Making meaningful and long-lasting changes in life depends on your ability to form and execute new goal achieving activities consistently enough that they become habitual.

Spend the first hour of your work day on high-value tasks

Free stock photo of man, hands, people, woman

Don’t begin the activities of your day until you know exactly what you plan to accomplish.

Don’t start your day until you have it planned. — Jim Rohn

Every morning, get one most important thing done immediately.

There is nothing more satisfying than feeling like you’re already in the flow.

And the easiest way to trigger this feeling is to work on your most important task in the first hour.

Use your mornings for high-value work.

Lean to avoid the busy work that adds no real value to your work, vision or long-term goal.

Low value activities, including responding to notifications, or reacting to emails keep you busy and stop you from getting real work done. Make time for work that matters.

In his book, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, David Allen says, “If you don’t pay appropriate attention to what has your attention, it will take more of your attention than it deserves.”

Research shows that it takes, on average, more than 23 minutes to fully recover your concentration after a trivial interruption.

Single task with purpose

Free stock photo of dangerous, police, group, helicopter

In an age of constant digital interruptions, it is no wonder you’re having trouble ignoring distractions.

If you really have to focus on that task, limit the time you have to spend on any given task. Add dates, and due time to your to-do lists.

Push yourself to deliver within the specified time and move on.

Single-tasking is one task at a time, with zero tolerance for distractions.

Try the Pomodoro Technique to improve your chances of success when you embrace single -tasking habit.

Focus on one task for about 30 minutes, then take a 5 minute break, and then move on to another task or continue the task.

Commit to lifelong learning

Girl in Red Short Sleeve Dress and Flower Headband Holding Pen and Writing on Paper on Table

One of the best ways to gain knowledge is self-education. Period.

It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting in a college classroom or a coffee shop.

As long as you are genuinely interested in what you are studying, don’t stop. Make the most of your time and get the best education you can can offer yourself.

People who take the time and initiative to pursue knowledge on their own are the only ones who earn a real education in this world.

Take a look at any widely acclaimed scholar, entrepreneur or historical figure you can think of.

Formal education or not, you’ll find that he or she is a product of continuous self-education.

Lifelong learning will get most of your questions answered.

You don’t even have to commit long hours everyday to learning. Whatever time you decide to put in your own education, stick to it.

What are the most interesting topics you wish to know more about.

The goal here is to find as many sources of ideas and knowledge as possible.

Brain Pickings is a good place to start. It’s one of my favorites. And it’s free. Go subscribe and you won’t be disappointed.

Find other blogs blogs, websites or online courses that can broaden your horizon. Read expert opinions about topics of interest on Quora.

It’s a game-changer in the world of question and answer websites. Look for answers to some of your most important questions at places people normally ignore.

Use lateral thinking to solve problems

Woman Wearing Blue Jacket

Lateral thinking means deliberately setting out to look at a challenge from completely different angles to find great solutions that would otherwise remain hidden.

As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results”.

A new approach is probably all you need to get unstuck.

Break away from vertical thinking.

Vertical: Step by step, analyzing, based on facts and convention, one expected result.

Lateral: Provokes, jumps from one to another, breaks the rules, looks at possibilities, many results

Shane Snow, author of Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success explains:

Lateral Thinking is the process of solving problems via different angles than you might expect. It doesn’t happen when you do more of the same thing. So justsimply working harder may not accomplish a goal like rethinking the approach you’re taking. Lateral thinking is about getting in the mindset of breaking the rules that aren’t really rules; they’re just the way things have been conventionallydone in the past.

Spending just 5 minutes a day being mindful changes how you react to everything

Person's Playing Chess

At any moment, or situation, if you’re aware that your mind is wandering, you’re halfway to a successful mindfulness practice.

Mindfulness is paying attention to everything happening around you.

According to research, it has some quite extraordinary effects on the brains of those who do it regularly.

Through repeated mindfulness practice, brain activity is redirected from ancient, reactionary parts of the brain, including the limbic system, to the newest, rational part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex.

Sometimes, achieving calm has everything to do with starting things off right each day.

Mindfulness doesn’t have to be practiced in the form of a 30-minute meditation sequence.

Mark Williams, co-author of Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic Worldencourages us to live in the moment everyday. “Start living right here, in each present moment.

When we stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, we’re open to rich sources of information we’ve been missing out on — information that can keep us out of the downward spiral and poised for a richer life”, he says.

When practiced and applied, mindfulness fundamentally alters the operating system of the mind.

In less than five minutes a day, you can become less reactive and more in tune with the moment.

In that five minutes lies the opportunity to improve the way you decide and direct, the way you engage with everyone around you.

Most people find mornings the best time to practice mindfulness, but you can do it any time of day.

It can help you select your responses and make calculated choices instead of succumbing to reactionary decisions everyday.

Your brain needs you to read everyday

Free stock photo of light, landscape, person, woman

Reading puts your brain to work.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to your body.

It gives us freedom to roam the expanse of space, time, history, and offer a deeper view of ideas, concepts, emotions, and body of knowledge.

Roberto Bolañosays“Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people’s ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.”

Your brain on books is active — growing, changing and making new connections and different patterns, depending on the type of material you’re reading.

Reading heightens brain connectivity

Our brains change and develop in some fascinating ways when we read.

As you read these words, your brain is decoding a series of abstract symbols and synthesizing the results into complex ideas.

It’s an amazing process.

The reading brain can be likened to the real-time collaborative effort of a symphony orchestra, with various parts of the brain working together, like sections of instruments, to maximize our ability to decode the written text in front of us.

Reading rewires parts of your brain. Maryanne Wolf explains in her book, Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain:

Human beings invented reading only a few thousand years ago. And with this invention, we rearranged the very organization of our brain, which in turn expanded the ways we were able to think, which altered the intellectual evolution of our species. . . . Our ancestors’ invention could come about only because of thehuman brain’s extraordinary ability to make new connections among its existing structures, a process made possible by the brain’s ability to be reshaped by experience.

Reading involves several brain functions, including visual and auditory processes, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension, and more.

The same neurological regions of the brain are stimulated by reading about something as by experiencing it.

According to the ongoing research at Haskins Laboratories for the Science of the Spoken and Written Word, reading, unlike watching or listening to media, gives the brain more time to stop, think, process, and imagine the narrative in from of us.

Reading every day can slow down late-life cognitive decline and keeps the brains healthier.

In a world where information is the new currency, reading is the best source of continuous learning, knowledge and acquiring more of that currency.

Reading requires patience, diligence, and determination.

Reading is like any skill. You have to practice it, regularly and constantly.

Where you prefer the alluring glow and convenience of a smartphone or the sense of control of a paper book, by all means make time to read.

Next time you choose a book from the shelf, or download a new title on your Kindle, stop and think about what you’re reading — it could impact you more than you realise!

Expose yourself to different world views

Free stock photo of landscape, nature, people, water

 

Be genuinely curious about other cultures, languages or how things are done differently by others.

Different cultures could have a big positive effect on your own ideas. Read about other industries.

Find out how work is done in different markets. Get out of your own perception for once. Be open to discussions that does not share your world view.

Read books on topics you usually ignore.

Unconsciously, you are are more likely to search, find and read about everything you know something about.

It’s a way to protect and reinforce your beliefs, perceptions and opinions.

The only way to get out of your own world view is to step outside your perception and embrace new knowledge.

Get fascinated by a lot things.

If you can’t get fascinated, you won’t care enough to really learn something. You’ll just go through the motions.

How do you get fascinated?

Often doing something with or for other people helps to motivate me to look more deeply into something, and reading about other people who have been successful/legendary at it also fascinates me.

Allow yourself to wander.

Take a break to restore flow

Man and Women Hand Shake

Sometimes all you need to restore flow, is to take a step back and ask where the current patterns are leading and whether you are making progress or not.If you feel stuck in a different area of your life, break the norm.

When was the last time you deliberately broke your flow. Taking a break every now and then is important for your work. Do yourself a favor and take sometime off to recuperate.

Don’t stay put in one spot for too long. Move. Get up. Take a 15 min walk. The faster your blood moves, the faster oxygen gets to your brain. Hence, better ideas, better results.

Practice solitude.

If you are distracted by too many things, it pays to disconnect. Remove distractions. Turn off notifications.

Or better still, turn off your phone, mobile devices and leverage silence to think or relax. In other words, block out the external world and retreat inwards to find new energy.

Sometimes all you need is a change of environment, style, routine or pattern. Break away from the usual.

Sura, aMeditation Coach, recommmends you move and play. She writes:

Being immersed in movement and play really gets the flow of energy moving in your body and your life. Try a new way of moving: dancing, tai chi, racquetball. Go see a comedy. Paint. Play Twister or Monopoly. Whatever it is, let yourself be free without restriction. What are the silly, playful things that you don’t usually make time for? Giving yourself time to play and unwind can make an immense difference in bringing new energy into your life.

If you could just pick one or two habits to create in the next few months — habits that will have the most impact on your life — what would they be?

Ready to start a life-changing habit?

People Doing Marathon

Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

7 Life Lessons That We Can Learn From Hollywood Movies

I was recently reading a book titled ‘Writing Screenplays that Sell’ by Michael Hauge and was fascinated to see how psychologically informed screenwriters need to be to create engaging stories with meaningful plots and entertaining characters.

Although Hollywood sometimes gets bad press for promoting materialistic and unrealistic goals for the audience, I do believe that some valuable life lessons can be learnt from dissecting the common elements of screenplays that result in successful movies.

Here are eight insights that I believe are important:

#1 – Be the hero of your story

Every movie has a hero that we identify with and develop empathy for. Screenwriters do this deliberately because we are likely to care more about the story and become involved in the movie if it focuses on one character and their perspective and challenges more than the other characters.

In real life, the person whose perspective we are able to most tune into is ourselves, and we feel the emotional impact of our experiences whether we like it or not (even though a lot of people try to tune these out). It, therefore, makes a lot of sense to ensure that we are the hero of our own life.

Unless you believe in reincarnation, it is generally accepted that we only have one life. Once we become adults, no one else is entirely responsible for the direction that our life goes in except for us. We are the screenwriters, directors and the main character in our story – unless we give that power up to somebody else. This is a scary thought, but also a potentially liberating one.

Although there are limitations to our abilities and dreams and it is essential to have realistic expectations, there are too many people that I see that put up roadblocks and barriers where they don’t need to be.

So if we are free to do what we want with our lives, and responsible for how they turn out, what do we want to do? Live the life that someone else wants or expects of us, or follow our dreams and hopefully achieve our goals.

anton-repponen-99506.jpg

#2 – Challenge yourself if you would like to grow

Screenwriters are taught that a movie should start slowly, and build pace as the film progresses through increasing the magnitude and difficulty of challenges that the hero faces until the climax of the film. A resolution is then typically achieved, and all of the loose ends are tied up before the movie concludes with the hero being a much better person than they were at the beginning of the film. It is from overcoming bigger and bigger adversity throughout the film that the hero develops and grows. Without challenges or difficulties to master, this growth and character development would not be possible, and people would find the movie dull or boring.

In real life, I see a lot of clients who want a life free of challenge. They strive for a life of inner peace without stress or anxiety and believe that this can be achieved by consistently remaining in their comfort zone. In their comfort zone, they do the same thing each day, don’t take any risks and generally feel okay. A lot of them will tell you that something is missing, however.

We need to push beyond what feels comfortable to grow, and with this comes a certain amount of stress and anxiety. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and can be a good indication that you are sufficiently challenging yourself so long as you are not feeling completely overwhelmed. Just remember to start small with tasks that feel a little scary but are also achievable, and as you build up confidence move onto more significant challenges. As long as the challenges are consistent with changes that you would like to bring about in your life, you will feel more energetic and alive than you ever could by remaining in your comfort zone. Even if you don’t succeed.

The purpose of life is to be defeated by greater and greater things.” — Rainer Maria Rilke

tim-marshall-57456.jpg

#3 – Conflict leads to more intense emotional experiences

Screenwriters are taught to create conflict in every scene where possible, usually by having two characters in the scene who have different views and objectives. This is because conflict creates emotional involvement far more than general exposition ever could, leading to a more engaged audience.

In real life, especially in relationships, this isn’t always a good thing. We might feel a more significant attraction or more intense emotional experience with someone who is actually opposed to us in what they want. I see it all the time when individuals who are anxiously attached (like being close to their partner and worry when they are apart) end up in relationships with individuals who are avoidantly attached (like their independence and autonomy and then feel trapped and smothered if they are too close). Each time it leads to an emotional rollercoaster ride, with lots of conflicts, big ups and downs, and greater emotional involvement. It keeps both parties occupied and interested, but will do more harm than good in the end.

Finding someone who wants the same things that we do may be less exciting initially, but can also lead to greater satisfaction and well-being in the long run. Be aware of the emotional trap, and use your head as well as your heart when determining if a relationship is suitable for you.

kalen-emsley-99659.jpg

#4 – Have clearly defined goals

All heroes will have the primary goal or external motivation that they will pursue throughout the film. Screenwriters are encouraged to make this evident to the audience so that they will cheer on the hero as they make their journey through their challenges in pursuit of their goal. In a horror movie, it may be to escape from or kill the bad guy. In a heist movie, it may be to steal the money and get away with it. In a romantic comedy, it is to win the affection of the love interest. In a coming of age story it is to learn something, and in a sports movie, it is to win.

In real life, it is essential to think of the big picture at times, and ask yourself where you would like to be in 1, 2, 5, 10 and 20 years from now? How would you want to be spending your days? Whether it is owning a business, buying a house, getting married, having children or running a marathon, these external, observable goals help keep us motivated and focused on our destination, or where we would like to see ourselves in the future. Once these goals have been achieved, they can be ticked off the list. It then becomes vital to elicit and develop further goals to pursue.

Believe big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success. Remember this too! Big ideas and big plans and often easier – certainly no more difficult – than small ideas and small plans.” — David Schwartz

joshua-earle-133254.jpg

#5 – Understand why you want to achieve these goals – clarify your values

It may not always be explicitly stated, but a hero in a movie will still have an internal motivation or reason why they are pursuing a goal, otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth them overcoming all of the obstacles that they face to achieve the goal at the end of the movie.

Two people may want to buy a house or run a marathon, but their reasons for doing so could be completely different. One home-buyer may want security and a place to call home, whereas the other person is wanting to make their parents and family proud of them (to gain love, approval or acceptance). One marathon runner may decide to enter the race to become healthier and lose weight, whereas another may do it to spend more time with their friend or partner that loves running (for greater connection or intimacy).

Values, unlike goals, can never be ticked off the list, but are guiding principles that can either be followed or not from moment to moment or day to day. If honesty is an essential value to you, you can be honest whenever you tell the truth, and dishonest whenever you lie. By living honestly, you will be feeling more fulfilled, and by being dishonest, you will likely feel dissatisfied or guilty. Firstly clarify which values are most important to you, and then set short, medium and long-term goals that are consistent with the guiding principles that you choose. 

To be truly rich, regardless of his fortune or lack of it, a man must live by his own values. If those values are not personally meaningful, then no amount of money gained can hide the emptiness of life without them.” — John Paul Getty

stefan-stefancik-106115

#6 – Have mentors that can help you to achieve your goals

Screenwriters call these characters reflections, and they are there to help the hero to learn and grow along with their journey towards their ultimate goal. This is Robin Williams to Matt Damon in ‘Good Will Hunting’, Mr Miyagi to Daniel-son in ‘The Karate Kid’, and Morgan Freeman in most movies (‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘Bruce Almighty’, ‘The Dark Knight’). They usually don’t have a big character arc themselves, because they are already evolved in the areas that the hero is trying to improve. This is how they can know what the right thing to do is and help guide the hero on their path.

In real life, it is important to have mentors or people that have done what you would like to do, that you can turn to for help when you get stuck, have questions, or need advice. By seeking support through individuals who are more knowledgeable and experienced in the areas that you are hoping to build skills, it is possible to learn from their insights and mistakes without having to repeat them yourself, leading to a more effective learning and growth process. If they are able to be honest and direct in their feedback of your strengths and weaknesses, they can also help you to see the real you and guide you towards what is right, authentic and true, even if you don’t exactly want to hear it. Mentors can be friends or relatives, or can even be paid for or hired too. It is why people have psychologists, personal trainers and life coaches. It is also why I obtain regular external supervision so that I can keep improving towards becoming the best psychologist that I can be.

The way for you to be happy and successful, to get more of the things you really want in life, is to study and emulate those who have already done what you want to do and achieved the results you want to achieve.” — Brian Tracy. 

joshua-earle-63441.jpg

#7 – It is our actions that define who we become

In his book ‘Story’, Robert McKee, a famous screenwriter, says that the hero’s character is truly revealed not in the scenes when everything is relaxed and calm, but in the choices that they make when the going gets tough and they are under pressure. The greater the pressure, the more revealing the scene is of the hero’s essential nature. Notice it is not their intentions, or things that they may speak about doing earlier in the film, but what they actually do when it really counts.

How will you react in the most significant moments in your life? With courage and persistence in spite of fear or challenge, or with avoidance, excuses or procrastination? With compassion, generosity and respect, or criticalness, selfishness and contempt? Will you talk about all of the great things you want to do or the things that you could have been, or focus on what you can still do and get out there and do it? It doesn’t just have to be big moments either.

Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great” –Orison Swett Marden

 

Dr Damon Ashworth

Clinical Psychologist

The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness

Midsection of Woman Making Heart Shape With Hands

The Purpose Of Life Is Not Happiness: It’s Usefulness

For the longest time, I believed that there’s only purpose of life: And that is to be happy.

Right? Why else go through all the pain and hardship? It’s to achieve happiness in some way.

And I’m not the only person who believed that. In fact, if you look around you, most people are pursuing happiness in their lives.

That’s why we collectively buy shit we don’t need, go to bed with people we don’t love, and try to work hard to get approval of people we don’t like.

Why do we do these things? To be honest, I don’t care what the exact reason is. I’m not a scientist. All I know is that it has something to do with history, culture, media, economy, psychology, politics, the information era, and you name it. The list is endless.

We are who we are.

Let’s just accept that. Most people love to analyze why people are not happy or don’t live fulfilling lives. I don’t necessarily care about the why.

I care more about how we can change.

Just a few short years ago, I did everything to chase happiness.

  • You buy something, and you think that makes you happy.
  • You hook up with people, and think that makes you happy.
  • You get a well-paying job you don’t like, and think that makes you happy.
  • You go on holiday, and you think that makes you happy.

But at the end of the day, you’re lying in your bed (alone or next to your spouse), and you think: “What’s next in this endless pursuit of happiness?”

Well, I can tell you what’s next: You, chasing something random that you believe makes you happy.

It’s all a façade. A hoax. A story that’s been made up.

Did Aristotle lie to us when he said:

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

I think we have to look at that quote from a different angle. Because when you read it, you think that happiness is the main goal. And that’s kind of what the quote says as well.

But here’s the thing: How do you achieve happiness?

Portrait of Young Woman With Yellow Flowers in Field

Happiness can’t be a goal in itself. Therefore, it’s not something that’s achievable.

I believe that happiness is merely a byproduct of usefulness.

When I talk about this concept with friends, family, and colleagues, I always find it difficult to put this into words. But I’ll give it a try here.

Most things we do in life are just activities and experiences.

  • You go on holiday.
  • You go to work.
  • You go shopping.
  • You have drinks.
  • You have dinner.
  • You buy a car.

Those things should make you happy, right? But they are not useful. You’re not creating anything. You’re just consuming or doing something. And that’s great.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to go on holiday, or go shopping sometimes. But to be honest, it’s not what gives meaning to life.

What really makes me happy is when I’m useful. When I create something that others can use. Or even when I create something I can use.

For the longest time I found it difficult to explain the concept of usefulness and happiness. But when I recently ran into a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, the dots finally connected.

Emerson says:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

And I didn’t get that before I became more conscious of what I’m doing with my life. And that always sounds heavy and all. But it’s actually really simple.

It comes down to this: What are you DOING that’s making a difference?

Woman in Floral Headdress Sniffing on Red Flowers

Did you do useful things in your lifetime? You don’t have to change the world or anything. Just make it a little bit better than before you were born.

If you don’t know how, here are some ideas.

  • Help your boss with something that’s not your responsibility.
  • Take your mother to a spa.
  • Create a collage with pictures (not a digital one) for your spouse.
  • Write an article about the stuff you learned in life.
  • Help the pregnant lady who also has a 2-year old with her stroller.
  • Call your friend and ask if you can help with something.
  • Build a standing desk.
  • Start a business and hire an employee and treat them well.

That’s just some stuff I like to do. You can make up your own useful activities.

You see? It’s not anything big. But when you do little useful things every day, it adds up to a life that is well lived. A life that mattered.

The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there’s zero evidence that I ever existed.

Recently I read Not Fade Away by Laurence Shames and Peter Barton. It’s about Peter Barton, the founder of Liberty Media, who shares his thoughts about dying from cancer.

It’s a very powerful book and it will definitely bring tears to your eyes. In the book, he writes about how he lived his life and how he found his calling. He also went to business school, and this is what he thought of his fellow MBA candidates:

“Bottom line: they were extremely bright people who would never really do anything, would never add much to society, would leave no legacy behind. I found this terribly sad, in the way that wasted potential is always sad.”

You can say that about all of us. And after he realized that in his thirties, he founded a company that turned him into a multi-millionaire.

Another person who always makes himself useful is Casey Neistat. I’ve been following him for a year and a half now, and every time I watch his YouTube show, he’s doing something.

He also talks about how he always wants to do and create something. He even has a tattoo on his forearm that says “Do More.”

Most people would say, “why would you work more?” And then they turn on Netflix and watch back to back episodes of Daredevil.

A different mindset.

Mindset Opposite Positivity Negativity Thinking Concept

Being useful is a mindset. And like with any mindset, it starts with a decision. One day I woke up and thought to myself: What am I doing for this world? The answer was nothing.

And that same day I started writing. For you it can be painting, creating a product, helping elderly, or anything you feel like doing.

Don’t take it too seriously. Don’t overthink it. Just DO something that’s useful. Anything.

LIFE – Struggling With Depression

You Might Not Actually Be Struggling With Depression

But you may be dealing with depression’s lesser known evil twin

Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

“My depression is worse than ever.”

Sipping my Americano, I nod in response to my friend and then open and close my palm in a gesture to say “Tell me more.”

A few years earlier he went through a dark time when a drunk driver hit his motorcycle and he lost a leg. Not long after, his wife of two months filed for an annulment. We’ve often talked through his depression and lifelong struggle with it, but this time the situation was different. He’d recovered from the loss of his leg and was in a healthy spot with his new girlfriend.

“Well, my day begins early enough and I’m ready to tackle the things I need to. I have a break between clients most days, so I tell myself I’ll use the time to accomplish what I need to get done for work, my relationships, and life in general. Chores, bills, you know.” Trailing off he bites down on his breakfast taco, then wipes the edge of his mouth.

“Anyway, I do none of it. I’ll sleep, or I’ll put on Netflix and zone out. Then I run late for appointments and I’m pissed at myself for not doing what I need to. At night it’s the same story — more Netflix and apathy. Then I begin to feel indifferent and hate myself that I feel so numb to my circumstances. From there, I spiral. It gets harder to get out of bed every day. I don’t go to the gym. I don’t practice my spiritual disciplines. I hate myself for it, but I also have little zest for life and I grow increasingly depressed, isolating myself from others and believing this is how it will be forever. I have no idea how to break out of it, and my pills don’t seem to help.”

Whistling low through my teeth, I slurp my drink once more then smile. “Well the good news is it’s not quite depression.”

The disbelief on my friend’s face is clear. He’s spent most of his life battling depression. But I hold up my hand before he can object: “You’re dealing with depression’s twin cousin. It’s called acedia.”

“Ah-seed-e-what?”

The Noonday Demon

Acedia (pronounced ah-SEED-e-uh) is an old term coined by monks who lived in the desert during the fourth century. Before the Seven Deadly Sins became known to the world, the early Desert Fathers had a list of “Eight Bad Thoughts.” One of the most severe thoughts was that of acedia, which the church eventually rolled up under the sin of “sloth” when the seven sins became commonplace.

One would think “lust” would be the one they hammered on given the religious leanings of the modern church, but it was considered one of the most minor “bad thoughts.” The monks viewed lust as a lower form of greed in that you desired something you didn’t have. Acedia was one of the most severe and deadly thoughts because of the despair and absolute disdain for life it produced in a human being. It’s a shame the word has been lost to ancient textbooks and is no longer used, because acedia’s connotations carry far more weight in today’s cultural environment.

I first learned the term when I read author Kathleen Norris’s book, Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life. In the book she quotes a monk who states:

“The demon of acedia — also called the noonday demon — is the one that causes the most serious trouble of all…He makes it seem that the sun barely moves, if at all, and…he instills in the heart of the monk a hatred for the place, a hatred for his very life itself.”

Many of the desert monks found themselves in the same place as my friend. Work in the morning, but by noon, they despised the repetitive nature of chores or work. After some time in this condition, they felt little zeal for life. Prayer stopped, sleeping increased, and they felt numb. Eventually, they despised life itself as they spiraled into a dark hole.

Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

This condition can even begin due to traumatic events in one’s life. Norris — no stranger to suffering and pain — tragically lost her husband, but instead of spiraling into depression, she found herself battling acedia. In an interviewregarding her struggle after her husbands death she explained:

“There were so many days when I woke up indifferent to everything, especially when my husband died…When he was alive, the care-giving had to be done so I couldn’t be indifferent. But I think one of the worst phases — and I don’t want to malign the show because it was kind of entertaining — was when I watched an entire season of America’s Next Top Model. In one sitting.”

Reading through the book, I nodded along and remembered times when I thought I’d been depressed only to discover I’d been battling its twin cousin. That old feeling of indifference and apathy leading to a numbness, only to spiral further out of control and despise being alive.

When I started researching depression for a book I was writing, our organization surveyed five hundred men and women. When we compiled their answers, many of them explained the exact symptoms of acedia. Because depression is complex and we use one word to lump several aspects together, the healing process can become confusing. It’s like the word “love” in effect. While I love my wife, I also love breakfast tacos. But I certainly don’t “love” the two the same way. That morning over coffee, I explained to my friend that due to the way depression and acedia intertwine, he could be dealing with both at the same time.

“The good news and bad news, however,” I told him, “is acedia is a condition you can fight, but fighting it can also be mundane and feel as if you’re getting nowhere.”

Combatting Acedia

I’m willing to bet if I asked each person reading this, “What things are you constantly putting off and why don’t you want to do them?” everyone would have an answer. In our day-to-day lives vain repetition sounds terrible and we hate doing it. For instance, if I told you I needed you to stuff 2,000 envelopes with letters, then handwrite the names and different addresses on them, you’d say it was torture, right? We put off things like prayer though we’re certain it will enrich our spiritual life. We put off doing the dishes or laundry even though we know we need clean dishes to eat on and clothes to wear.

After I gave my friend a copy of the book Acedia & Me for him to read, he called me one evening to say, “MY GOD! IT’S LIKE I’M READING MY LIFE ON PAPER!” He found that even in his romantic relationships acedia had covertly snuck in. While finding romance and a significant other is often on the forefront of many young singles’ minds, here’s something most people forget about staying together “for better or for worse”: it can — at times — feel like going through the motions. That romantic infatuation or ooey gooey feeling you once had, with time, will morph into a love of the will. Funny enough, every marriage that has stood the test of time will confirm “love is a choice and action, not just a feeling.”

So here’s the good news. Combating acedia has simple steps that can help you act and combat the feelings of indifference, self-hate, apathy, and keep you from spiraling further. The bad news is that it begins by choosing to take part in little things that may seem repetitive, but make a big difference.

When HeartSupport surveyed our 500 respondents battling through depression, we asked a simple question: “What things have helped you cope and battle your depression?” Here’s what their answers revealed — most of the activities that helped were repetitive tasks that could be done daily or weekly. Things like serving within their community, writing, journaling, yoga, exercise, cleaning, or several other mundane or repetitive activities.

Simple activities made the most profound impact we discovered | Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

What the desert monks found in their battle with acedia was the same. They found joy after they had completed tasks at work even though sometimes the drudgery seemed insurmountable. By pushing through and praying — even in short bouts — they were glad they did. For everyone in this life, discipline often becomes the defining fire by which things like talent or goals become an actual ability. It is indifference and believing it will always be this way that keeps us stuck. You may be tempted to think, “this is just another way to call depression something else” but consider that there’s always been a power in naming things or knowing your enemy to fight them.

For instance, in his epic, The Name of the Wind, author Patrick Rothfuss has his main character learn the name of the wind to command the element which in turn transforms him into a legendary wizard. In Harry Potter, knowing Voldemort’s name — and that he was Harry’s true enemy — gave Harry the power to defeat the evil magician. Perhaps the most quoted example comes from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War in which he states:

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

If you don’t know what you’re fighting, then you can’t expect there to be progress. But if you do? There’s a good chance that some forward momentum, no matter how small, might be the crest of the tide that begins to break the chains.

So if your enemy’s name is acedia, then you know what to do.

Break the chains.

Life – Steps to upgrade your life

Photo by Vinicius Wiesehofer on Unsplash

These 4 Mindset Shifts Will Give You Unprecedented Personal Growth By 2019

4 steps to upgrade your life

“Most people drift through life without devoting much conscious energy to figuring out specifically what they want and what they need to do to get themselves there.” -Darren Hardy

Your level of talent and “potential” is irrelevant if it’s trapped in a mediocre mindset.

Most people don’t put much energy into their fame of mind and how they see the world. As a result, most people are left with subpar mindsets that severely limit their ability to build wealth, develop relationships, and achieve far more than their peers.

But you have the power to choose. If you put in the work, you can change your frame of mind to allow yourself to accomplish incredible victories, very quickly. Sometimes, big changes come in small packages.

Mental visualization precedes physical achievement. Before you can accomplish anything significant, your mind must believe you can first. This is why most people won’t build wealth, won’t have great relationships, and won’t achieve their highest goals.

Here are 4 mindset shifts that will give you unprecedented growth this year if you start developing them today.

A Wealth Mentality (Not a Poverty Mindset)

“Look upon your own mind as a garden. You are a gardener, and you are planting seeds (or thoughts) in your subconscious mind all day long, based on your habitual thinking. As you sow in your subconscious mind, so shall you reap in your body and environment.” -Joseph Murphy, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Growing up, I saw my family go through financial ruin. The family business went under, and we lost the cars and the house. My dad had to leave the country to find work when I was 17 because there was no work during the recession. The rest of us had to move in to my grandpa’s cramped 3-bedroom house.

This experience taught me a few things. First, I believed money would always run out in the end. Second, the best I could hope for was a guaranteed salary with benefits, protection from the imminent financial disaster waiting to strike.

This is a poverty mindset, and I had it for many years. I worried excessively about not spending a few extra dollars if I didn’t need to. I focused more on hoarding pennies than I did on earning more income.

The Poverty Mindset believes:

  • “Money doesn’t grow on trees”
  • You’ll never be rich
  • Job security is more important than career freedom
  • Disaster is imminent, you need to be ready
  • Rich people are selfish and oppressive
  • Money is precious and you need to grab what you can
  • Worry about today’s bills, not your legacy
  • Government aid is more important than developing personal financial literacy

In the words of Robert Kiyosaki from his book Rich Dad Poor Dad:

“Most people live their lives chasing paychecks, pay raises, and job security because of the emotions of desire and fear, not really questioning where these emotions-driven thoughts are taking them.”

The poverty mindset is shared by more people than not. There’s an old saying that says if you took all the money in the world and divided it up equally, five years later the rich would be rich again, the middle class would return to the middle class, and the poor would become poor again. The statement obviously a big generalization, but the principle is extremely important:

Most people will remain in their current status as long as they don’t have a fundamental mindset shift.

If you want enormous success in 2019, you need to start this mindset shift now. If you continue to embrace the poverty mindset — “money doesn’t grow on trees” and are more focused on getting enough government aid than developing your own financial skills — you’ll always stay where you are.

The abundance mindset shifts from the statement “I can’t afford that” to the question, “How can I afford that?

A wealth mentality enables you to think in 100x and 1000x magnitude. Most people are more concerned with getting their next 3% raise; having a wealth mentality opens your creativity and imagination to allow you to discover ways to make 100x your usual income.

What you truly believe about yourself is what you become. If you truly believe in your ability to create wealth, your mind will figure out a means how.

“Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how to.” -Dr. David Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Be Open to Correction and Feedback (Most People Aren’t)

“We cannot change what we are not aware of, and once we are aware, we cannot help but change.” -Sheryl Sandberg

You don’t have to love it. You don’t have to smile or enjoy it.

But if you want enormous personal growth, you need to open yourself up to correction.

Getting negative feedback about yourself almost always sucks. At best, it’s uncomfortable. It’s exhausting to manage your emotions and instinct to defend yourself and hear how you weren’t good enough.

Back at my old corporate job, I remember insisting to my boss that I was totally open to feedback, and wanted to hear all about my shortcomings so I could address them and make them better. In her wisdom, she graciously responded that every time she had brought up feedback for me, I’d get defensive and sulky and bitter.

I could’ve sworn I was happy and cool about it.

I wasn’t. Most people aren’t. That’s fine. You don’t have to like it. But this mindset shift is one of the most important skills you can develop before 2019. If you want to see enormous improvement in any area of your life — from presentation skills to meditation to communicating with your partner — you need to be open to correction and feedback.

This is the core of Deliberate Practice. In his book Peak: Secrets From the New Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson wrote:

“Once a person reaches an ‘acceptable’ level of performances and automaticity, more years of practice don’t lead to improvement.”

If you keep doing things the exact same way, you’ll just keep getting the same average result. Elite practice means getting feedback and learning from your mistakes. But naive practice is doing it over and over expecting repetition alone will help you. You need an outside eye to point out what you can’t see.

Here’s something that helps. Don’t take it personally, because it’s usually not. It’s professional. And if you want more money, more sales, more influence, more progress, more satisfaction, you need to tweak your professional abilities.

A mentor of mine once gave a sales presentation for his company. He boldly asked a peer to watch and give him feedback on his performance. After the presentation was over, his peer had plenty of negative feedback and notes to work on.

Most people would naturally get defensive and perhaps even deny the criticism. But my mentor took it in stride by telling himself, “It’s not personal. It’s business. I want to get better — this is how I do that.

He knew that if he wanted to be a better speaker, he’d need to learn more skills and techniques. The best and most efficient way to do that is getting immediate and detailed feedback.

You don’t have to like it. But if you (truly) open yourself up to hearing corrections about yourself, you set yourself up to improve faster than 99% of your peers.

“The right sort of practice can help pretty much anyone improve in just about any area they choose to focus on.” -Anders Ericsson

Focus on Learning and Creating, Not Entertainment and Distraction

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.” -Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert comics

Most people are distracted right now.

They’re distracted while they’re at work. They’re distracted when they’re with family and friends. They’re distracted at the gym, on their commute, and even in the shower.

The majority of people will continue going through life this way, never experiencing the fullness of a life filled with deep focus and purpose. They use their sharpest focus on the very things that don’t matter, and waste their potential.

In his book Deep Work, Cal Newport explained how people with the ability to do deep work — intense focus on important tasks for long periods of time — are exceedingly rare in society at the same time that the necessity of the skill is increasing. In other words, the best jobs, projects, and opportunities are given more and more to individuals who can focus.

Most people don’t prioritize learning and creating. They don’t care enough about any efforts to invest in their personal development and growth. To them, entertainment is more important. Most people have replaced achieving their life dreams and goals with TV, partying, and social media.

As a result, most don’t have close relationships. They’re stuck in jobs they hate, rarely doing work that truly excites them. Their life is on the fast-track to disappointment, and they don’t know what to do about it.

If you don’t want to end up living a life of mediocrity, focus on learning and education. It’s the fastest way to become extraordinary, wealthy, and successful.

Wrote best-selling author Hal Elrod:

“Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.”

If you want enormous personal and professional success in 2019, you need to shift your focus from entertainment to learning and creating. Your level of success in any area of your life — health, finances, career, relationships — is determined by your personal development.

What you focus on is what you get.

“The goal of life is not to relax on the beach, sipping mojitos all day. The purpose is to find something you love that adds value to the world.” -Ben Foley

Treat Your Loved Ones Like You Actually Love Them

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” -Ernest Hemingway

Low-quality relationships have a negative impact on every area of your life.

If you take your relationships for granted and never take the time to develop and nurture them, every part of your life suffers — your health, emotions, potential, even income.

The truth is, the quality of your relationships is totally in your control. Despite this, most people can’t be bothered to learn how to communicate. This is why most people will never have great relationships — they choose the easy way out.

It’s easier to take relationships for granted, even with those closest to you. But if you want enormous satisfaction and fulfillment in the key areas of your life in 2019, you need to develop your relational skills. In the words of Tony Robbins:

“The quality of your life is the quality of your relationships.”

You can’t achieve incredible leaps in success without working with other people. I used to think you could go as far as you wanted by yourself; I was wrong. There’s an old African proverb that goes:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Here’s a personal example. I’ve been writing for a long time. Sometimes, I have great months where I reach a ton of people and get dozens of emails from readers who tell me my writing changed their life. I sell my courses and feel great.

But other months, it feels like I didn’t accomplish anything. No one emails me; no one buys my stuff. I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m not good-enough; I feel like the jig is up, and the truth is revealed — I’m a loser who just got lucky.

This is where relationships save my ass. My wife reassures me that the lies I’m believing are just that — lies. My best friends encourage me and tell me to keep writing. It’s not about what I feel, it’s about what I do consistently. I feel a little better. The month ends, and I feel refreshed and self-confident.

If you treat your loved ones like you actually love them, you receive exponentially more in return than you give. That’s how the world works: as best-selling author Derek Sivers once said:

“The world gives to the givers and takes from the takers.”

This mindset shift is extremely important. If you want to see unprecedented success in 2019, start focusing on this principle now. The quality of your relationships determine the quality of your life.

In Conclusion

“How much you improve is up to you.” -Anders Ericsson

Most people aren’t even preparing for next month’s progress, much less next year’s.

But the truth is, the world’s most successful spend enormous time and energy preparing for their future and improving their mindset. They know this is the difference between making an extra $1,000 this year, or an extra $100,000.

They know their ability to progress and grow is founded on their relationships, and focus their attention on developing and nurturing their relationships.

You need to start planning for the future now, and these 4 mindset shifts are some of the most important ways to do that.

Improve Your Self-Compassion

How to Improve Your Self-Compassion

Exercises to become kinder towards yourself

Pic by Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

“Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.”— Nathaniel Branden

Self-compassion beats self-confidence anytime, as I wrote in my previous post. I discussed how overconfidence and narcism force us to compare to others, they blind us and make us feel miserable when things go wrong.

Being self-compassionate is like fresh oxygen to your mind.

Here are some exercises for you to put on your oxygen mask first.

1. Reframe your thoughts

When your inner voice is making critical judgments, moderate those thoughts by making them conscious.

Reframe your judgmental words in a positive way.

The above are just examples, use your own words. Find a way to observe yourself through a kinder lens. The idea is not to lower your bar but rather focus on what you can improve — criticism will only get you stuck.

2. The criticizer, the criticized, and the compassionate observer

This exercise by Kristin Neff is inspired on the two-chair dialogue.

You will sit in three different chairs — arranged in a triangle form — each representing a different perspective. Refocus your thoughts and feelings on being supportive and caring of yourself.

Identify an issue. Start at the ‘self-critic’ chair and express out loud your thoughts and feelings. Move to the ‘criticized’ chair — empathize with how your inner-critic makes you feel. Conduct a dialogue between the two trying to integrate both perspectives.

Lastly, take the ‘compassionate observer’ and try to make sense of the overall situation as if you were observing someone else. What does your ‘compassionate-self’ say to the ‘critic,’ what insight does it have?

Reflect on the learning. Check out the in-depth version here.

3. The Compassionate Letter

The purpose of this exercise to write a letter to yourself as if you would address a friend that is suffering and being harsh on herself/ himself.

Writing will help you tone down negative emotions and be more kind to yourself — treat yourself the way you want your loved ones to treat you.

This letter is a space to express what you are going through and how you are feeling — focus on how you’d like to feel. Provide yourself some words of encouragement and some small steps that can move you in the right direction.

Reflect how you talk, and how you would like to talk, to yourself.

You can record yourself and then listen to the recording the following day, or you can read it out loud to a friend. The purpose of listening to your own voice is to take some distance — observe yourself without being emotionally attached.

Ways you are sabotaging your career

12 ways you are sabotaging your career

I’ve had to learn most of these the hard way

Unsplash- Annie Spratt
  1. Not having awareness of the market value of your role and industry therefore accepting a lower salary.
    As daunting as negotiating can be at first, it is a skill worth developing. Start by recognising your bargaining position and the specific value you bring to the table. Be assertive.
  2. Not networking both inside and outside of your company.
    Decisions around promotions are influenced by your presence at social environments and opportunities often come via people. This is how you advance in a large corporate. Also helps you to develop a support network in advance should you ever need it. I attended a talk with Carrie Gracie (link to her article), an editor who is currently in an equal pay row with her employers, the BBC. She reinforced how important solidarity had been in her plight against injustice.
  3. Not being proactive in seeking opportunities to advance, also known as ‘not sitting at the table of your career’. As much as other people may have your best interests at heart, they can never advocate for your advancement in the way that you can. So avoid being passive and leaving these matters to your manager or your team. This goes beyond just working hard and hoping to be noticed. It requires that you volunteer to take on projects that will give you the chance to shine and show what you are capable of.
  4. Not contributing to meetings, nor sharing ideas in group settings.Your thinking is what sets you apart from your peers and sitting quietly whilst other share portrays you as somebody who has nothing interesting to add. I’m not suggesting that you talk for talking sake but rather demonstrate that you are able to bring ideas that will add value.
  5. Not being effective during working hours thus choosing to catch up in time best spent with family or recharging your batteries.
    ‘There is a time for everything’. It’s great to be committed to work but life is not all about work. That’s what causes people to burn out and one day realise (often when it’s too late) that there were other things that they should have prioritised.
  6. Not taking a long-term view of your career. 
    Taking a long term view means that you can recognise other areas worth investing in now that would boost your prospects further down the line. These may include skills such as leadership, people management, sales and learning new languages. Careers, just like life, can be unpredictable and taking this approach means you can be prepared to go back to the drawing board and explore a new direction if you so wish or circumstances demand that you do. By also committing to learning and developing yourself, you begin to build your self-confidence, which impacts your self-perception.
  7. Not anticipating nor adapting to change at work. 
    There is no denying that technology and innovation are changing the future of work, which in itself is bound to create instability and uncertainties. This will lead to restructuring and change in management. Whilst you cannot control this, you can however develop adaptability skills. ‘It’s not a matter of whether your cheese will be moved because it will. Rather how best you can prepare your mind to go in search of new cheese or anticipate that current cheese may run out. Complaining is not a strategy nor is burying your head in the sand.
  8. Staying in a job that you hate or makes you depressed.
    Life is too short to be spent in such toxic environments. Find the courage to seek out your options in advance, so you don’t end up jumping ship in a reactive manner. Always best to head towards the ideal role than to try and simply escape what you don’t like.
  9. Not taking the time to figure out how and what you want to add value to in your career. 
    The process of experimentation is how you truly find out what matters and you will commit to in the long-term. Competence can be up for sale to the highest bidder but commitment never is. The former is a heart thing and not a cheque thing. Purpose therefore is found at the intersection of earning a living through avenues that you are committed to. That’s how you get paid for what you would do for free.
  10. Not improving your interview skills. 
    This is vital, and thus an on-going project so that you are able to bring your CV to life in an effective manner. What helps is to clearly define your values, work on your self-confidence, and utilise storytelling (putting a select stories together from your experience so the interviewer can be clear on what your differentiation is). Also asking the right questions so you can make an informed decision. What are the company values, long term vision, what’s expected of you and how performance will be reviewed are a few worth putting across.
  11. Not being clear on your career boundaries. 
    You can’t always have it also best to determine in advance what your negotiable are. Higher salary can often require longer working hours. What are you willing to put up with?
  12. Not working on your personality.
    Skills are important but never underestimate the role of your optimism, patience, being good-natured, listening skills, being interesting and also showing interest in those around you. Not a case of just being a corporate robot or seeking to please everyone. I’ve noticed that in some cases, personality trumps skills. Hence why most business decisions are often made over lunch and people work with those they like.

Secret to Getting Everything You Want in Life

Photo by Dion Tavenier on Unsplash

The Little Known Secret to Getting Everything You Want in Life

Think you know It? Everything Is ____________

You’ve probably heard that men are from Mars and women are from Venus. That can make communication pretty tough sometimes.

But figuring out what your customers really want can be just as challenging, no matter what planet they’re from!

Here’s the problem: You may think what you are selling is the best thing since sliced bread. But if it doesn’t line up with your customer’s needs, you’re wasting your breath.

When you don’t know what someone really wants, you’ll be busy, but not successful. You feel active but frustrated that you don’t see results.

Every day becomes a chore as you pick up the phone or email, or set an appointment with one more person that you’re pretty sure will get you nowhere.

That frustration can be deadly.

  • It sucks the life out of you.
  • It drains your energy.
  • Worst of all, it kills your hope.

And when hope is gone, you’re career, your business, or even your life is in a whole lot of trouble.

So what can you do to make sure you know the customer’s needs so you can meet those needs?

How to Discover What Someone Really Needs

My sales mentor, Zig Ziglar, taught this 4 step process get to uncover what someone really wants — and deliver what they really need.

  1. Need Analysis
  2. Need Awareness
  3. Need Solution
  4. Need Satisfaction

Here’s how to put it to work for you.

Step 1 — Need Analysis: X-ray Your “Customers”

People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. — Steve Jobs

Need analysis is like an x-ray to discover what’s really going on beneath the surface.

Even if a customer is asking for your product or service, they may not be clear on what they need. That confusion can take them off-course pretty quickly.

You have to learn to acknowledge the needs the customer already recognizes and uncover other needs they’ve missed.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that it is your duty to discover those needs and get them out in the open. As you’re searching for needs, wants and desires will also surface.

People will often take action on their “wants” as well as their “needs.”

But be careful not to invent or create the needs and wants — that’s manipulation, not selling.

To sell is to serve.

When you uncover what someone really needs, you can truly serve them by meeting that need.

A sales pro, armed with integrity and an idea, product, or service that he or she believes in is a powerful force. The best pros do their homework and discover background information about people. But regardless of how much homework you might do, eventually you have to analyze your customer’s needs.

Develop an attitude of curiosity and sincere interest in the answers to your questions.

Step 2 — Need Awareness: Uncover What Lies Beneath

The smart ones ask when they don’t know. And, sometimes, when they do. — Malcolm Forbes

Need awareness has two distinct parts. First, listen carefully to what people say. Listen to identify specific needs then reply in a way that plays those needs back to the customer.

Second, help your customer recognize the need for what it is, so they can see how you can provide a solution. If your customers don’t see the need, you can’t meet the need.

Being well-versed in these 5 areas of knowledge will position you to make the connection between the need and what you sell:

  1. Product Knowledge.
  2. Industry Knowledge.
  3. Pricing Knowledge.
  4. Application Knowledge.
  5. Competition Knowledge.

Step 3 — Need Solution: Show the Benefits

Step 3 is where you present your idea, product, or service.

Notice that you don’t start here. You invest the first two steps discovering and tuning in to their needs and wants. You’ve established your authority with the 5 areas of knowledge.

It’s the time to stop asking questions and start presenting solutions to needs.

But a word of warning! Don’t disconnect with your prospect by leading with your product at this point. This may sound counterintuitive, but none of us buy products. People don’t buy a product, they buy what that product does for them.

We buy the products of the product, which are called “benefits” or “need solutions.”

Step 4 — Need Satisfaction: Meet Your Customer at the Need

This is the most important step when it comes to helping others.

  • If you have a sincere desire to help other people…
  • If you truly believe in your product or service…
  • If you honestly want the person to benefit…
  • If you really expect to benefit financially from your hard work and effort…

Then you’re now in a unique position to satisfy your customer’s need.

So…

Ask For The Order!

Too many people go 90% of the way and stop. They miss the close. They forfeit the sale.

You’ve identified your customer’s needs and you have a powerful solution that has value. Now is the time to boldly and confidently close the sale! You’ve earned the right, so do it now and you’ll reap the benefit of helping them meet their needs.