The Mindset behind Creating a Healthier Planet: Routes of Change

Routes of Change

“I’d like to see our species come together and use our amazing potential to live in harmony with all life on this planet. If I had to leave an impression, I’d like it to be a smile.”

 – Markus Pukonen, Founder of Routes of Change

On 3rd Ave. and Main St. Vancouver B.C. is where I last saw Markus Pukonen; a man on a mission to “circumnavigate the planet without a motor.”Markus Pukonen

Founder of Routes of Change; a registered non-profit organization, with the intention of raising support for organizations that are creating a healthier planet, Markus began his adventure around the world on foot. Since then, he has already hiked, skipped and danced his way through the first few kilometres and according to his live, online GPS, he currently appears to be canoeing down Lake Ontario towards Prince Edward, ON.

I first got introduced to Markus when I gate-crashed his fundraiser during my recent visit to Tofino, BC. An intimate event, I spoke to several people who knew Markus personally and from what I had learnt, I was eager to understand the mindset of this man with an ambitious goal, derived from noble motives.

Markus loves our planet and “all of the beings on it.” He found himself burdened by the unfortunate state of our planet six years ago, when he lost his beloved father to Leukemia. Around the same time, his sister was pregnant with his niece. This cycle of death and new life caused Markus to wonder what type of future his niece would have, if we continue to pollute and ruin our planet. It also caused him to question the legacy he’d leave behind, if he were to face the same fate as his father. “It was time for change” and it was during this poignant time in Markus’ life, which jolted him to act upon one of his ultimate aspirations.

Over the last six years, Markus has been carefully planning, fundraising and generating awareness and support for his organization. Now that ‘Routes of Change’ has officially launched, he’s beginning to feel both the positive and negative impacts of this mission.  The pressure is definitely on and as deadlines loom, the reality of his aspiration is settling in.

To keep himself motivated and focused, Markus doesn’t overlook his emotions. He realizes that they are a key component towards navigating himself towards success. He also practises communicating openly for others to understand him better, especially during moments of high stress and anxiety.

“I’m planning on dancing every day to make things happy and positive and keep the silliness of everything in focus. I practice belly breathing, moving meditation, and yoga as well.”

Also, Markus occasionally finds himself “nervous and stressed.” On top of raising funds to support himself throughout this 5 year mission, he’s set himself a “huge goal” of raising 10 million dollars towards supporting positive change. So naturally, he’s finding himself questioning how it’ll all “come together.” Furthermore, Markus has been pretty independent his entire life and for the first time, he’s asked for support from his community in a “big way,” causing further thoughts of concern and uncertainty as he doesn’t want to let anyone down.

“I overcome these concerns and doubts by focusing on the positive, on the fact that I am doing exactly what I want to be doing. I know that things have a way of working themselves out if you move confidently in the direction of your dreams.”

Markus has also become mindful of the fact that not everyone understands his mission, nor can everyone empathise with his passion. He’s learnt that staying true to himself and standing by his own identity, will guide him towards the success and fulfillment he desires. He adds:

“I also remind myself that I was willing to do this trip without any money.”

His strength and encouragement also comes from gratitude, he genuinely values community, oneness and family. Even though he’ll be without his nearest and dearest for some time, he only has to think about them to trigger motivation.

“I think about the love they have for me. I think about doing my best in order to make them proud. I don’t focus on the fact that they aren’t with me, I focus on the fact that they ARE with me. I feel their love and support and I gain inspiration and strength from it. I focus on that overwhelming feeling of gratitude.”

Markus sets a great example of how to use your identity towards bigger aspirations. He’s combined what he loves to do (his passion), with what he has to do (his purpose) and as a result, he’s well on his way towards reaching levels of self-actualization.

There are many lessons to be learnt from Markus and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to meet with him. He’s confirmed that staying true to our own identities, engaging in what we’re passionate about and maintaining gratitude for the very things many of us take for granted, will steer us towards a life of bliss and fulfillment.

Have a great time Markus and thank you for raising awareness to make our home a better place to live.

To learn more about Markus Pukonen and ‘Routes of Change’ check-out Routesofchange.org. You can also support Markus along the way, by sponsoring a ‘penny per kilometer’, joining him during a leg of his trip or simply by offering him words of encouragement, advice and support.

Routes of Change

VanCity

Advertisements

If I Had All the Money in the World…

Money

If I posed the question, “What would you be doing right now, if money was no object?” You’d probably be able to answer it quite easily. Some of you may even have several different answers, each one just as fantastical and glamorous as the last, but how truthful would your answer be?

To be honest, the answers you construct wouldn’t matter anyway, the detail you should be focusing on, is how different your life is now to that of your fantasy? Or rather, why is a fantasy so appealing?

When you find that life isn’t quite shaping out the way you had hoped, where life just isn’t exciting and that it lacks a certain je ne sais quoi, questions like these tend to arise simply because you desire something better.

The problem with this particular question, is that it never really forces you to face your true desires. Having more money just gives you the option to escape into a belief of fulfillment. You’ll probably base your answers on what you’ve seen on the telly or what’s been covered in those shiny magazines, because those people look so happy.

If you truly seek change and you really want to build a better life for yourself, you should start by asking yourself “What decisions would you make right now, if you could make them without any consequences?”

You live your everyday life chained to responsibility and ideology without giving yourself the opportunity to really explore the depth of your identity. If you had the ability to make a consequence-free decision right now, what would it be? If you could leave it all behind where would you take your life? What purpose would you fulfill/discover?

Ask yourself these questions and face the honesty that you probably live with but never ponder. Really get to grips with a reality where you are in full control of your life. Where life is dictated by the very traits of who you are, rather than what you can do with how much you’re worth. For once just think about doing something for yourself that probably only you would understand.

Until you face what it is you truly want from life, you’re never going to live. Life is way too valuable to live idly.

I know there’s definitely some work ahead of me to attain the life I want to live, but I know with each word I write, each person I coach and each effort I make to build a more fulfilled life for myself, I’ll never need to find comfort in escapism, for I’m already on a road to where I want to be.

Allowing myself to think freely in this way, has allowed me to configure my goals independently and tap into the heartbeat of my own desires.

Even for just a moment, take consequences out of the equation and it’s remarkable what you may learn about yourself and/or what it is you actually want. Face some truths so that you can navigate your life towards something more fulfilling

Don’t become just another irritated soul trying to fit into this world, become a liberated one and claim your place in it.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Avoid Giving Up: A Formula Tried and Tested

wheel-of-fortune_2011_a_l

Facing a crisis

My life began to get pulled into different directions as my mind kept pacing from one aspect of it to another. I was trying to balance day-to-day motions and emotions, while constructing the next chapter of my life. I found myself losing control because I was motivated by fear.

I had built up a level of success that I feared losing. Rather than deal with these feelings, I sped passed them and missed certain cues telling me to slowdown and evaluate. If I had just taken the time to understand what this new area of success meant and what I should’ve been focusing on, I could’ve re-organized my life and continued on attentively. I would’ve done what I did much sooner…

My priorities were mixed up, my mind couldn’t sit still and it all became overwhelming. It was like my life was stuck in a game of Wheel of Fortune: blogging, completing my book proposal, ‘Feeding the Lion’ videos, consulting, running a home, finances, family, friends, me time? Exercise, meditation, reading, dating, query letters, researching agents/publishers, writing, more errands to run and so on. I was never certain where the wheel would stop, I needed an indication of what I should be working on in order to keep progressing successfully. I just felt compelled to always “spin the wheel” because I was afraid of losing momentum. I just kept on going and did a bit of everything; unfocused and unsure, my aspirations were beginning to get blurry.

I became hesitant of what goals I had to accomplish and what aspects of my life I was supposed to be focusing on. I remember trying to write a blog post but kept trailing off topic because I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I felt like an actor playing many roles at once; I became disordered and almost went on stage wearing the wrong costume.

Life was unclear because I was motivated by the fear of losing success, rather than the reasons for pursuing it. I firmly believe that fear is a response to the lack of control, and that’s exactly how I felt. That loss of control caused me to crash. It caused a lot of anxiety as one deadline loomed after another, and if I’m being completely honest, the thought of giving all this up crossed my mind.


Taking my own advice

When you find yourself stuck in a theme of uncertainty and insecurity, you find yourself in an identity crisis. You’re lost between two worlds, between you recurrent reality and the life of your aspirations. Comfort ZoneYou end up swaying between motivation and procrastination. You’re either sitting around procrastinating, waiting for motivation to come along, or your motivated to work just so you can feel better about procrastinating. Your mind faces an aggressive wrecking ball of doubt, as it breaks down the confident spirit you were once plugged into.

…I started to read through my own blog posts and it was like I was talking to myself. Evidently I was reading my own journal. My aspirations were communicating to me right there on the screen, but my conscious thoughts were not relating. For the very first time I started to question my own advice to the point of disbelief.

It was a very threatening thought process but it was that exact eye opener I needed. I’ve been blogging for some time now and these lessons that I had already learned and shared, lessons that led me to my current accomplishments in life, needed to be retested. The answer was right there in front of my own eyes.

I needed to prove myself, to myself. There was no way I could continue guiding others if I was struggling to guide myself. It was time to take my own advice and rebuild my spirit back to the level I had maintained for so long.

I turned to my aspirations and reminded myself of where I was aiming to be in the next few years. Almost instantly, I noticed how taking the time out to evaluate and reflect allowed me to focus on where I was going wrong.

I was entering a new chapter in my life and I had forgotten what it took to get me here. I needed to remind myself of my identity. I needed to reaffirm my aspirations and listen to that little voice inside my head. I needed to re-align my responsibilities with my dream. The list kept on building as I read through my blog, I realized how many cues I missed out on.

With the intention to uphold the lessons I had shared through this blog, I constructed a plan that resonated with this new chapter I started. As I plan to move to Los Angeles, CA in the next four years, everything I was trying to complete contributed towards this next major goal in my life.

So I flew out to L.A. and connected to my goal emotionally to face what I had almost turned away from.

Alone

I went alone to escape any zones of comfort I had nestled into. I rebooted my identity as I was forced to speak to people about myself and my aspirations. I connected to my environment and completed the goals I had set myself. I networked, I motivated people, and I helped a couple out in their relationship. Then others started to approach me for guidance and motivation. I knew there and then that I was on the right path, because I felt fulfilled doing it, I naturally felt like myself as I was in my element.

I worked and I had fun too, I even did things I felt I never had time for. Not only had I rebuilt my spirit, I raised it. I returned home having accomplished several goals that I had struggled to focus on and complete. More importantly, I returned home having strengthened my identity, with a rediscovered sense of self-assurance.


The Formula

Identity and DreamRemember success is a series of different levels, when you reach one level it doesn’t grant you access to the next. You need to re-establish yourself and familiarize yourself with the new platform from which you’re working from. Once you become aware, you will discover what you need to do to make it to that higher tier and avoid giving up. You declutter your mind and refocus your energy.

The best thing is that the formula for this is quite simple because your identity and your aspirations are forever interconnected, they can help each other out.

If you ever find yourself at a loss of identity, remind yourself of your aspirations and allow yourself to psychically connect with a small piece of it. Whether like me you book a short trip to somewhere you aspire to be, or something totally random. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s doable and that it connects directly to your aspirations.

On the other hand, if it’s your aspirations you’re struggling to remember, do something that makes you feel like yourself and connect with your identity. There’s nothing better to remind yourself of what you want from life, than to immerse yourself within your own identity.

Good luck on your ventures and never let fear lead you astray.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Cheers to That Little Voice Inside My Head

unknown-913570_1920
Ever had that little voice inside your head whisper the truth about the things you really want, but have the perception of risk and expectation silence it? That voice that wants you to explore opportunities and encourage you to take action, is the voice that may just guide you to the life you really want. Perhaps it doesn’t make sense on paper nor to everyone around, but that little voice could very well be your potential talking.

I remember back when life never felt exciting, I would spend more times talking about the things I would change rather than changing them. I often found something to complain about and I’d let a lot of things irritate me.

I would literally have to schedule time to enjoy my life, for instance holidays and moments with friends and family. I remember thinking to myself, “happiness can’t be limited to small increments of time.” I felt like I was failing at life.

Initially I thought money was the answer so I worked harder and made more money. That didn’t work; I was still unfulfilled, I just had nicer things around me. I tried getting into a relationship, but I think companionship back then made it worse, because it placed me onto someone else’s idea of fulfillment because I hadn’t figured out my own. Each attempt at finding happiness and fulfillment through expectation and ideology, that little whisper  in my head became more frequent. The more I ignored it the more depressed I got, the more I listened to it the more fear I held on to.

That persistent nag kept insisting that there is something better for me to pursue, that there is something genuine out there for me to connect to. Small everyday frustrations would lead to huge outbursts of anger, quiet moments of contemplation would lead to distraction and procrastination. It became evident that I could no longer ignore that little voice inside my head, the one telling me the truth, because I was no longer feeling nor acting like myself. I was not happy with the life I had built.

When I first quit my “secure job” to move abroad everyone thought I was crazy and at some point even I thought I had lost my mind. I can’t even tell you how much I doubted myself when I had actually made the commitment to change my life. To make a better life for myself and face the truth I was battling was difficult, because overtime I learned to ignore it. When you get good at a indulging a certain behavior, undoing what you’ve learned is a vulnerable process. I’ve since learned to trust my own instincts and have become more confident as a result, because today I’m more open and honest about what I want.

Whatever risk, whatever doubt I had in my mind, listening to that little voice brought to light the stuff I was really unhappy with. Listening to what I really wanted from life has brought me more success and has made my life easy to live. Life feels full and I actually enjoy waking up in the morning, I’ve even been led to a career I’m passionate about, something I thought I’d never discover.

Every challenge I came across taught me more about myself than I have ever knew before, because I was forced to rely on truth. When I gave everything else up that’s all I had left. I built confidence and self-belief from the ground up I feel and I know why it’s a journey people must take alone. When you liken it to running a race, it’s the runner that has to jump over the hurdle, no one else.

I’m not suggesting that you need to make drastic choices, but allow yourself to be curious and discover possibilities. Don’t let your spirit give up just because you think there is no hope for something better. Try listening to that little whisper more often and you might be surprised by how much of your life your missing out on.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Moving from One Goal to the Next: Relinquishing Doubt

Goals

There’s a lot of material out there that talks about setting goals and aiming high, even my blog carries this re-occurring theme. This time, I wanted to write to those that are on the verge of hitting a goal, as I am on the verge of accomplishing one of mine.

Like many goal oriented people, we become solely focused on accomplishing the task at hand and just like the time that seems to escape us, our emotions do too.

I’m close to finishing my very first book. I’m becoming to get a little nervous now, because all my spare time was dedicated to writing; my focus was set on getting it finished, that very little thought went into what would happen when I did. Now I’m near the end, I find myself processing all those emotions and thoughts that got buried under my work.

I’m thinking about all those times I said no to going out with friends in order to complete another chapter and all those times I was up late writing and struggled to stroll into work the next day. The outcome of my efforts need to make those compromises worth it, it’s quite intimidating!

These feelings began to overwhelm me and I felt like I would regress to self-doubt.

The decisions I had made, the commitment and dedication I gave to this project were pulled back into debate. I turned down job opportunities, I literally had people waiting for me to submit resumes and I never did. All of these decisions are hitting me now because I chose stick by my aspirations over taking a safer route.

So I did what I always do when I get these feelings of anxiety, I looked back at all my previous accomplishments. Moments in my life when I was at my lowest and moments of greatness. As I reflected I realized these feelings had occurred before; when I quit my job to move abroad, my very first day at university, the time I explored new cities on my own and even the day I started this very blog. I’ve had a lifetime of experiences to remind me that these feelings are completely normal and I remember why.

I reiterate, fear is a reaction to the lack of control and nobody can control how life is going to work out, but everyone can control what they do with it. I don’t know where my book is going to take me, but I learned that every experience has always led me somewhere and I grew stronger from every experience. The value is: I learned more about myself, the things I am capable of and what I can accomplish if I stay focused and true to my aspirations.

Over the past six years I went from being lost with low self-esteem to self-actualized and confident and I did this by taking full control of every step I made. The day I decided to follow my own passions I was freed from the burden of any expectation and pressure to “settle.” The message is: I have this one life to live right now and I’m not going to waste it by not trying.

Furthermore, this is where surrounding yourself with the right people and always discussing openly about your aspirations pay off.

I tend to become a recluse when I write, but when I am socializing, who I am and what I’m working towards becomes evident right after the question “so what do you do?” Recently I connected with some people who I hadn’t spoken to since earlier this year and the majority of them asked me how my book was doing. It was in that moment, a flood of positive energy seized any doubt that I was feeling, because someone held up a mirror and showed me that I can put my mind to anything and accomplish it.

Whichever direction the book goes, I know for certain that I have the ability to write one. The things I’ve learned, the process and what I’ve been through probably mean more to me right now than the final outcome. I’ve learned that no matter what the outcome is, I have the ability to start something and follow it through to the end, teaching me that I can start absolutely anything I want and so can you!

Even though I started off not knowing how to do it, I got it done! So take it from me, be whoever you want to be, tell the world about it and embark on your journey, dedicate your life to your aspirations and free yourself. Doubt may creep up from time to time but on that day you’re forced to look back on your life, I promise you nothing will fill you up with more pride and fulfillment than your accomplished goals.

Whatever the outcome, I’ve already set the next goal to get my book published, so I will make it happen one way or another. This goal that I’m about to complete will highlight the things I need to do to achieve the next and with each goal accomplished, I’m that much closer to my dream.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

 

Learn to Align Responsibilities with your Dream

Appreciate what you have and use what you are grateful for as ammunition, for productive activity towards your goals.

Ever since I’ve started my own path in life, I’ve learned to take time out to be with the people I need to be with, to remind myself why I do what I do. I’ve also learned to take breaks and travel to places that remind me of where I soon want to be. I’ve learned to reflect on time, to understand what challenges I have overcome which strengthen my will to continue on with my pursuits.

There’s this misconception people have when it comes to chasing dreams. It’s suggested that you have to put your everyday life aside and develop some sort of tunnel vision of where your headed, blurring everything else in your path.

A belief that there are a lot of sacrifices we have to make, to make things happen. I now know that this is not entirely true, because the life you wish to pursue must echo within the life you live today. It is possible to turn moments that feel restrictive, into a major part of your journey. I have my responsibilities as do we all, and I learned to align these responsibilities with my work and make them worthwhile.

How?

Well for example, if you have a full-time job that pays the bills, use it to your advantage. Speak and engage in conversation with people/new people at work and take advantage of this learning opportunity. An opportunity to showcase and test your skill and talent, not just skills required for the job, rather the ones you have that motivate and inspire others by simply being you; a skill you’re going to need if you want success.

If you have children, break the everyday routine. I suggested to a friend that when it comes to waking up his family in the morning, he should inject high energy into the home. I suggested fun music in order to start everyone’s day motivated and full of excitement, turn a moment into a memory with purpose.

You can still pursue your dreams and make the life you’re currently living feel worthwhile. Take these moments that feel like a break from progression into a purpose for progression.

Your life today is full moments that positively impact your goals, it’s time you started making the most of them before you miss the opportunity to do so.

Inspiration for this post: Janet Jackson – Got til it’s gone

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Succeed with Confidence – Share Your Personal Life with Your Personal Life.

The day life really changed for me was the day I decided to expose my soul to the people around me.

I finally let out those ideas that I had kept quiet, knowing that keeping them to myself only held back my dreams. When I shared my work publicly, I was able to pursue my ideas confidently and I was ready to take on the perceived judgment and ridicule that once held me back.

It was that day everyone understood who I was and what I stood for.

The day I uttered the words “F*** it” and just poured my heart into my passions, was the day my identity was freed and life became exciting again and I let those passions lead the direction of my life.

I finally decided to accomplish the things I really wanted for my life.

Mindset

I’ve dreamed big since I was a kid and the day I made my life a priority and shared my identity with those around me, was the day I began pulling that dream into the realm of reality.

Something insanely good happens when you decide to let those dreams out. All of a sudden I knew what I wanted, I was able to understand others much clearer, I became much more instinctive and learned to make quicker decisions for myself.

I was able grow and learn again. Just like it used to be when I was a kid, I was becoming naturally drawn to things that piqued my interest, learn something new and actually understand it.

My dating life even progressed from quantity over to quality, I became content being single and I learned to know what I expect from a relationship (Click here and you can read all about it).

Most importantly, It highlighted the people in my life who really supported me. I began getting the encouragement to pursue my passion, it was support I thought hadn’t existed.

I became so dedicated to my writing that negative influence’s faded away. I’ve noticed how people give me constructed advice now and think twice about sharing empty opinions, they know that I’m sticking by myself, thus prepared for anything thrown my way.

I promise you, you’ll release yourself from living a life you’re not fulfilled by, on the day you decide to share your personal life with your personal life, that day you’ll become free to confidently pursue the life you crave and succeed at it.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach