How to Tame the Ego

Success is like a drug, and like drugs it comes in many forms: a return on investment, a fulfilling experience, or even reaching a higher state of consciousness. And just like drugs, success can develop into an addiction, and the only way to sustain the addiction is to feed the ego. The ego is the only thing that can convince you that the success (the drug) is all you need to live for.

My ego has fought for dominion over my conscious experience my entire life, and with each success, my self-awareness weakens and becomes a window of opportunity for my ego to reign.

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This week has been a series of wins and with each ‘hit’, I could feel my identity escaping me. When you succeed, in the very traditional sense of the word, the world starts to take notice and sort of validates your self-worth with every like, comment, congratulatory call or text. Each validation enhances the ‘high’, and it’s a difficult feeling to escape. I mean, who doesn’t like being validated by someone else?

Over the past few years, I feel my biggest accomplishment has been developing my self-awareness, and when my behaviours started mimicking that of my ego, it was time to put it back in its place. I found myself constantly checking my phone for red notifications, replying “thank you”, to comments from people who don’t really give a sh*t, and allowing myself to believe that only I can do what I do, which I know for a fact isn’t true. That’s not the life I want to build, that’s not the life experience I want live, and nor is it the life I want to share.

Praise is like positive reinforcement, the behaviours (the successes) I was being rewarded for (praised for), we’re reinforcing the idea that if I repeat these same behaviours, I can expect to be rewarded again. Soon, my purpose is replaced with the desire for more praise and validation. This entices the ego to come out and play, and to take control over my life in order to sustain this rewards based system.

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If I let this happen I restrict my potential, because it’ll only motivate me to do enough to keep others happy and keep my ego satisfied. It also places an overwhelming expectation, an unnecessary pressure which’ll distract me from being able to just, be. It’s a difficult behaviour to undo, a difficult behaviour to defeat, when this is what we’re taught from a young age. That the only reason to do anything, is for the reward.

We rarely praise each other for feeling completely content with where we are in our lives. Rarely are we impressed with people who are just happy on their journey, wherever it’s headed. It’s always a sort of “that’s nice” or “good luck” or “you’ll go far”- a compliment that suggests we should be doing more for a reward/better reward. I remember these praises, because I got them a lot when I started blogging. It was only when success grows, do people feel compelled to reach out and say “well done” and “Congratulations!”

Where’s the appreciation for just existing and being you? Why does being you and doing what you do naturally, have to be worth something in terms of “success”, before you’re appreciated at all?

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This is what years of feeling insignificant does to us, when we grow up feeling insignificant any experience of validation becomes a high, just like a drug, because the experience is so surreal to us. We want more of this unreal experience. We’re rarely taught that who we are is enough, so a lot of us spend a lifetime chasing the high for no other reason than to just feel worth something. Forever trying to prove our worth, and less time developing and learning from it.

We all have a reason to exist, we all have worth from the moment we’re born, and I think the ego is tamed when we accept that. When we accept ourselves life becomes this wonderful journey of discovery, instead of a mission to know and have things just to justify what we think we know, which is often very far from the truth.

When we equate validation to acceptance, to love, and to appreciation, we lose sight of our own capacity to accept, love, appreciate, so we blindly validate ego.

Without the attachment to traditional affirmations of success: the nice house, the flashy cars, the perfect relationship and all the other trimmings sold to us on social media, who are we? I think it’s a reason why so many relationships tank, why so many great ideas fail, and so many of us give up on things we’re passionate about so quickly. It seems if we don’t get the validation it’s not worth the experience, so we give up or do the minimum to sustain whatever we’ve built.

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All I did was start expressing my truth and once I got comfortable with it, I navigated my truth to different experiences, and the experiences taught me how to share it. Living more authentically gave me the courage to explore the things that truly interested me, and the more I learned, the more I invested my life into it. I was developing my passion and as my passion grew I identified my purpose, all because it just felt right, natural even.

This is why I wrote this post today, to save me and the future me from my own ego. It may not be well written, nor will it ever be perfect, but it’s me, and so long as I continue to express myself honestly, I’ll continue to develop and grow me into the best version of me I can ever be.

I think if we all work hard to develop self-awareness and actively help each other keep our egos in check, relationships will inspire, passions will be pursued and life will become a freer experience to live.

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Why are you afraid?

Imitation = Fear

Imitation is an expression of fear, because we imitate to blend in, to be accepted by society, and for others to notice that we fit in and that we belong. We imitate because we’re afraid of being rejected should we ever reveal our truest selves.

Many of us, predominately in the West I feel, are searching for that sense of belonging from a very early age. Think about how a toddler behaves, they walk around confidently, wearing the rawest version of themselves. Forever curious, they’re always in search of answers. Although it may not last too long, toddlers are also very compassionate, incredibly loving and confidently expressive.

I think as conscious awareness develops, there comes a time when we become curious about ourselves and our place in this world, and I think it’s at this crucial point when fear of expression starts to develop. It’s like we spend most of our lives slowly breaking free from a cocoon and once free, we’re very quickly misguided.

As we develop some independence we turn to the world around us for guidance on this human experience. However, the world is still very much an unequal place and as we receive its messages, predominantly through mass media, the majority of us feel underrepresented. When we do not see ourselves being represented, we quickly learn to feel that this is a world in which we do not belong, so what do we do? We imitate.

We buy into popular trends, we follow false idols, and we mimic those who are presented as most-self-actualized. We often do this so blindly that it becomes normal, until the distance between who we really are and who we’ve presented ourselves to be is so wide, that we become afraid to face the truth, and/or unsure of it.

It develops an anxiety of sorts, an uncertainty about the future and thus the quest for happiness continues to be a trivial pursuit. We feed fear each time we deny ourselves the opportunity to be liberated.

What are you afraid of?

I suppose we can measure fear by how much of our lives we spend imitating others. The world accepting us for how well we imitate it, is not the world accepting us. We’re merely helping the powers at be, reinforce their egos. If we want to be represented then we must show the world who it is that needs representation. However, chances are we’re all one of a kind and when we accept this we probably won’t care for representation, because instead we’ll be seeking only inspiration.

Remember the key to fulfillment, in any aspect of life, is a strong and affirmed identity.

Be you. Be inspired. Be Inspiring.

Read the full post here.

Protecting the Pride: Understanding How Advice Works

Lion

Only when the Lion has evaluated and reflected, will the path he must take become highlighted. Although he may be uncertain, the lessons he carries with him will uphold his identity and keep him protected. Only once he has discovered all that lurks beyond this point, can he invite his pride along to join him.

Our emotions guide the direction of our lives, but recently I have found myself at a crossroad feeling completely numb. When I feel my emotions slipping away I write, because it freely allows me to be completely honest, forcing me to confront any inner or outer conflict.

Although meditation, exercise and being surrounded by passionate and positive people helps, I feel more like me and more free when I write. If I can’t rely on emotion to guide me at this present time, then I need to process what I’m thinking and face my thoughts.

A few opportunities have risen in my life and I feel I’m being pulled in several different directions. I feel that I’ve come to a cross-junction of opportunities and I’m unsure which one will guide me closer to where I want to be in life. Unfortunately, the longer I linger here the less I feel and I fear this numbness will lead me astray, triggering complacency and forcing me to venture down the safest and most predictable route.

Living life having found a reason to actually live is a life worth living. There’s something I’m becoming more and more aware of: it’s that there’s no breaking away from passion. Once we’ve found that thing that fulfills our every particle, it consumes us and we get lost in development as we become more of the person we’re supposed to be. We become so sure of ourselves that in this self-assurance we forget that our journey always has a new beginning; that life and progress is never limited to just one route.

Before I used to just write The Lion’s Life, now I’m becoming it. I find myself wondering where an advisor goes for advice. I’m feeling stranded at this crossroad because I’m unguided, yet I am unafraid and completely aware. To guide myself I must be completely honest with myself and externalizing this honesty is giving me insight as to why I’m feeling this way.

As a coach, consultant, advisor or whatever title I’m given when guiding others, I feel nothing but passion. I’m assertive, expressive and in my element when engaging others. I don’t do it for any sort of self-assurance either, I continue on because it feels easy, because it feels natural.

In one way or another, every interaction and connection I make with people tends to lead to coaching, I find myself blissfully on duty. It’s the best addiction I’ve ever experienced and the fulfillment I receive knows no bounds. Every beam of hope or jolt of passion I see people experiencing; seeing their identities unfold and ignite makes my life worth living.

As I’m working on this post, it’s helping me realize that potential remains uncapped if we continue to experience these crossroads in life. The emotional numbness we experience is the result of feeling like we’ve exhausted our current abilities and life begins to lose its challenge. We’ve reached this point because it’s time to progress and we’re required to venture into new territory. This threatens to our affirmed identities which is why it is so easy to linger.

It’s these moments we must learn to become honest and seek guidance in order to grow and continue onward towards self-actualization. It’s about improvement and becoming better in every possible way.

I don’t want to be another advisor spitting out the same advice over and over again even though it’s easy to hold onto this peak. There’s coming a point where a lot of those I work with are becoming more affirmed, they’ll need a coach that grows with them, not someone who can only guide them so far.

I sometimes forget, all advisors need advice, all teachers need to be taught and all Gurus still need to experience.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

CliffNotes Guide to Kick Starting a Life of Fulfilment

Rocket launch

Repression, frustration, doubt, uncertainty, anxiety, fear and insecurity are just some moons that orbit around a lifeless planet called Judgment. Today is the day to climb into your rocket and take off to rediscover your world, a world that is simple and exciting.

To help launch your life into fulfillment, here are 5 of my favorite lessons that may help ignite your identity…

  1. Love and cherish life.

Life is incredible; it’s completely wide open and available to be explored. There’s nothing really holding you back from anything you wish to achieve. Negative thought is your only restriction. Start by appreciating life by finding gratification in small and simple things, things that are available to you naturally.

Remember to maintain your desire for freedom, fun and fulfillment and define them in your own way.

  1. Let go.

So many people are fed up with life because they’re living life constricted. You may not even realize that you’re holding onto chains of perception, onto an idea of how others perceive you without any quantifiable evidence. It causes you to box yourself into walls of comfort, fearing the freedom on the outside.

I would bet that most things you wish you could do are completely possible; the only thing keeping you from your potential is judgment. Let go and stop torturing yourself with words and ideals created by man. Start living and start feeling, listen to the heartbeat of emotion and let your feelings guide your destiny.

  1. Say “yes” more.

Embrace the spontaneity of life and expand zones of comfort. Get comfortable with confidence; share your deepest desires and discover them. Experience and explore curiosity.

We’re all artists. We have many skills and abilities lying dormant just beneath the surface of our conscious awareness, don’t be afraid to access them, fear will limit your potential.

  1. Work hard.

Life is hard, living is easy. The harder you work to live, the less you live to work.

Consume knowledge, test knowledge and challenge it. If what you learn doesn’t make sense then don’t be afraid to ask questions. Work hard to expand your horizons; don’t idly accept what you’re told as fact.

Also remember, the great things we have in our lives today are thanks to the hard work and boldness of great people before us. Work hard to leave behind a legacy, work hard to reach self-actualization, pay homage to greatness and pay greatness forward.

  1. Embrace others and build a community.

There’s a reason why we have emotion, not only do they guide our lives; they connect us to one another. We’re all beings connected by the very things that make us human, invite people into your life should they graciously want to enter and be there for those you can help.

Life can be great when explored alone but phenomenal when shared with others. It’s never been easier to meet new people and expand your reach; you have access people across the world at your fingertips. Network.

I guess the message in this entire post is: don’t spend your life creating moments and memories of regret just because someone else’s judgment held you back. Success is reserved for the brave and the bold, be fearless to find fulfillment.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Stop Playing the Blame Game

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Productivity and a proactive, positive mindset are crucial when formulating the outcomes you desire from life. If you’re engaged in a game of blame to make sense of failures or undesired results, then you run the risk of losing key identity traits that keep you on track with your aspirations.

Responsibility is not a selfish notion, it’s a collective one.

Everything I’m going to mention in this post is instilled within each and every one of us. You can either spend your efforts playing the blame game, which does nothing but distract you from reaching any level of fulfillment. Or, you can take responsibility for your life and let your aspirations power your determination to succeed.

You are solely responsible for your own life, despite what you may believe, you are in full control. You just have to ask yourself how badly you want the life that you crave. What sacrifices are you willing to make? What challenges are you willing to face? Even if it means being ridiculed and judged, are you able to take responsibility and stand up for your passions and your beliefs?

Responsibility transcends beyond your immediate needs, it’s ensuring that you pay a lifetime of duty to yourself, to live life optimally and take advantage of every opportunity you seek. It’s trusting your instincts and maintaining a healthy balance between your mind, body and soul.

Responsibility is understanding that every undesired outcome in life can be rehabilitated, so long as you strengthen your will and become incredibly aware. It’s overcoming fears and doubts by regularly consuming knowledge and accepting fact. It’s overcoming hesitation and raising your hand to ask a question.

You’re a being of uncapped potential and if there is something in your way that you wish to challenge, then develop and test your ideas. Turn your senses off from trending desires and create, and innovate by allowing your imagination to turn the gears in your mind.

For those you’re responsible for, it is your obligation to set prime examples of what responsibility looks like. Maintaining pride and upholding traditions of no value is not responsible. You must ensure that you create an environment for yourself and for others to be open and honest, in order to feel safe and secure.

When you feel that you have tried absolutely everything to succeed or feel deflated from a lack of achievement, you’re presented with an exceptional challenge. It’s the challenge of perseverance and yes, you do have what it takes.

It’s easy to blame the world and everyone in it for your problems, or the lack of present achievements/opportunities. Although you may have bigger hurdles to jump over that others perhaps do not, don’t allow this to be an excuse to lose control over your own life. Remain in the driver’s seat and take responsibility for the journey you embarked on.

So go on, trigger your motivation and feel the energy of that dream life you’re going to make a reality; navigate your mind into a state of ultimate responsibility!

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Avoid Giving Up: A Formula Tried and Tested

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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

Escape your Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

Over the last few (many) years I’ve gone from an uncomfortable person with low self-esteem to a confident being with self-belief. This had a lot to do with escaping my comfort zone and pushing the boundaries of my identity.

For the longest time I thought that “the comfort zone” was a safe place. A place where I can be myself and find peace within the life I’m living. The more I accepted this notion, the more I felt trapped by it and I realized that it’s a place that keeps us all from opportunities waiting to be captured.

You nestle into feelings of safety and familiarity so much, that you become afraid to step outside of it to explore the possibilities of your potential. It sort of reeks of agoraphobia and you enclose yourselves within your own prison.

I love it when people experience liberation, as they tell me about overcoming challenges and how they broke down the walls of comfort to achieve something they considered awkward and agonizing. They feel the excitement and thrill of a new experience that came from overcoming a fear of doubt – they develop a power of self-belief. Many think it’s a transformation of identity when really it’s your identity just breaking free.

The problem is perception, you often look at your comfort zone as a place you can return to. “I stepped out of my comfort Zone” something you’ve all said at some point I’m sure, but what if today you redefine it? As a place to break free from or rather a zone that you can expand until you no longer see limitation.

To build confidence or to even experience it, as is the case for a lot of people, you need to first learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Until this routine becomes normal and you learn to share your aspirations and “putting myself out there” is just a way of life, until you demand attention from the world, rather than shy away from it.

I believe it’s more foolish to not have tried than to fear looking foolish, although at times it feels embarrassing or silly but who cares? Seriously, who really cares? “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but our self can free our minds” Bob Marley had a point.

You are your own betrayer, you’ll relive memories of ridicule and then criticize yourself harshly based on the perception of others to silence the sound of possibility and live with frustrating echoes of “what if.”

There’s never any satisfaction of not knowing, it closes your mind and keeps you from reaching your full potential.  You may believe that straying away from what you’re used to is a dangerous mission, but one thing I’ve learned is vulnerability feeds confidence.

So long as you’re exposed there’s nothing to hide from, either people will pay attention and support you or forget about you in time. The moment they forget is the moment you evaluate and become aware of your complacency and reignite your brand and escape from comfort.

If stepping away from your comfort zone is difficult, remind yourself that the world will move on with or without you. You have the choice right now, to decide if what you want is worth putting yourself out there for or choose to become numb to your aspirations and stop yourself from becoming the best that you can be.

Rather than turn your back on fear, turn around and face it. Children are taught to stand up to bullies – a lesson that somehow gets lost in translation, perhaps with age, because the “real world” is the biggest bully I know. Eleanor Roosevelt had a point too “do one thing every day that scares you” and with each day you’ll build up your identity to withstand anything.

Remember the comfort zone is only just a tiny part of your identity you’re ok with. The moment you put yourself out there, you’re not giving the first f*** about what the world thinks, it’s with that attitude you learn about yourself and become more at peace with all parts of who you are.

You’re an individual [insert your name here], be one.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach