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

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Dealing with Loss

LossDealing with loss is not easy, although its impact is measured by its significance to your life and your identity.

Whatever the circumstance it’s lonely and trying to reconnect with your identity and trying to move forward with your life is a challenge you never anticipate.When you lose a piece of your life that signifies a large part of your identity, repairing the damage requires you to regain control.

Loss presents itself with many challenges and I think the first thing you lose is control over your emotions. For anyone that has suffered any kind of loss can agree, that the arrangement of different emotions overwhelms your ability to process.

Sadness can get burdened by anger, anger can possibly lead to guilt, guilt gets enhanced by thoughts of hope and happiness, then reality kicks back in and you’re back to feeling sad again. The cycle continues on and on as you raise more questions to gain understanding and/or try to move on.

The effect from mixed emotions can cloud your identity. For those that haven’t suffered loss, relate by remembering how it feels when embarking on something new. When you start something new you’re excited and scared at the same time, you’re confident yet hopeful and can feel stressed yet still feel very ready. This constant cycling through emotions cause doubt and confusion. The series of emotions are different but the way they impact your identity are the same – they slow you from progression.

If you’re anything like me, avoidance is your go to. To avoid facing each and every emotion you end up focusing on routine, like burying yourself into work perhaps, or starting random projects that don’t make sense at this particular point in time.

At the other end of the spectrum you have a self-pitying and self-loathing reaction to loss.

Whichever way you choose to deal, the answer isn’t avoidance. You need to line up your emotions and deal with each feeling properly. Reduce its impact by allowing yourself to feel and build up a tolerance, so the next time it comes around you can cope better.

Between all the support and sympathy try and source support from someone strong willed enough to tell you to regain control, to tell you that you can rebuild your life again. It comes across brutish in society but when you’re going through cycles of emotions you need this awakening to break from it.

Preparation

One thing you should determine is whether you were prepared for the loss or not, sounds a bit silly in a lot of situations but you’ll find understanding this really helps with reasoning your emotions. There’s an odd source of strength that comes from knowing this.

If you were prepared you can put yourself back together much more quickly. Take losing your job for example, you can prepare for the potential of also losing your home. As horrible as it sounds you can almost process the loss before the loss even occurs and put processes in place to help you through it. It alleviates some of the stress however can cause anxiety as you wait for it to happen.

However, when life catches you off guard and side swipes you with loss, you’re having to prepare after the loss occurs. It’s like literally getting stabbed in the back, you don’t see it coming and you don’t know the attacker but you’re left to deal with it after it’s occurred. When loss is unforeseen it is much more difficult to recover, but knowing this gives you the freedom to feel each raw emotion in its entirety. It causes much more stress but lessens anxiety.

Either way, distinguishing your level of preparation, will help you move towards reaching that point of evaluation and reflection. It sounds simple but it’s something you never really consider when faced with loss…it allows you to look at your loss somewhat objectively, allowing your mind to think outside the cycle of emotion.

Evaluate and Reflect

Evaluate your current circumstance, at this very moment evaluate your responsibilities and really pick apart your life to understand your significance within it. Turn to areas of your life that require you to be yourself again, if you don’t get back on track with life what else will suffer? You need this reminder, you need this reasoning to break the cycle.

Reflect on your past and the life you have built, look to the choices you’ve had to make to build it. You’re currently faced with choices even though you may not see them yet. These choices can repair or further break down your identity, taking more parts of your life away with it. For example, choices that result in you lying in bed all day or getting up to seize the day.

You may never be the same person after suffering a huge loss but you can rebuild your identity to a point of restoration. Like constructing new walls that restore old ruins – it may not be the same but it can defiantly be brought back from frailty, to be relished once again.

Remember, it is OK to think about yourself – you need to. To regain control you need to move forward step by step and you must start with reclaiming your identity. Each and every day you work to feel like yourself again is a day contributed to moving forward and filling in the missing parts of your life.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

5 Reminders to Get You through a Tough Week!

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We’ve all had to face challenging weeks; high stress, never-ending tasks and a little drama along the way…here’s 5 reminders to help you get you through it all.

  1. Get Your Priorities In Order

Understand your priorities, take a look at the week ahead and plan your time accordingly. Ensure that time is managed well and remember not to neglect anything. You’ll feel pressured by a tough week even more if you cannot make time for the important things in your life.

Get your work and life balanced, as one will always affect the other. Avoid a tough week from becoming a stressful month, and don’t be left with a wasted year because you “never had the time.”

  1. Plan Something To Look Forward To

If you haven’t done so already, do it now. If there’s no fulfilling reward and the end of this journey then you’ll feel even worse and more beaten up. Always work and live towards something that feels rewarding; particularly something that makes you feel accomplished and proud. Make all that hard work payoff!

  1. Engage In Daily Activities That Makes You Smile

For the love of beer have fun! If your finding there’s less smiles and laughter this week, you’re heading in the wrong direction. Make an effort to do something that makes you feel good after a tough day. The world has enough stressed and irritated people in it, so don’t become another one. You can face anything so long as you dedicate sufficient time in your day to distress by engaging in activities that make you feel good!

 4. Remove Yourself From Negativity

If you’re hanging with people who complain a lot then remove yourself from this escalation of negative energy. Hang with positive people who remind you of your identity, who give you the boost you require to get through challenges. Connect to those who motivate and encourage you; people who give you that confidence boost to see anything through!

  1. Turn Your Game Face On

You’re a force to be reckoned with, there are many challenges you have faced and have overcome, remember them! Take control and shrink the size of any challenge by growing the size of your spirit. Trigger your motivation by reminding yourself of what you are capable of. Remember you can’t be intimidated by the size of a challenge if your mind is focused, clear and open!

Happy hump day and welcome to September!

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Cheers to That Little Voice Inside My Head

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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

The Feel Good Factor – “Don’t Worry. Be Happy!”

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A question always presented by my parents, no matter what crazy idea I supported, whatever journey I embarked on or whatever risks I’ve taken; “are you happy?”

It’s a simple question, but it’s the simplicity of it that I relate to. That one question inadvertently forces me to face any of my life’s decisions and yes it includes relationships.

Life isn’t supposed to be complicated, so long as you’re living by this one principle. Don’t get me wrong, it can get hard as hell making life work your way, but it’s knowing that you’re invested in the things that will make you happy, is what makes life worthwhile.

When you really think about it, what is the essence of your goals and dreams?

This feel good factor has nothing to do with indulging your inner desires. It’s having the focus, determination and courage to be who you are and to live your life how you intend to. If you can achieve this way of living then happiness is what you’ll generate.

Life is what you make of it and I want you to make it happy one. Go out there and show the world what your made of, wear a smile on your face and prove that life is worth living.

I just had a random flashback of my mum’s morning alarm song; to quote the lyrics of Bobby McFerrin  (a.k.a. Mums wake up song) -“Don’t worry, Be Happy!” 🙂

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

Self Actualization – A Lesson in Freedom of Thought and Freedom from Thought

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A problem with being unable to deal with stress and an irritated mind is unexpressed thought. Also, you may find that your decision making skills fail you because the tempting devil against the wise angel sitting upon your shoulders are becoming more and more intrusive, swaying you from one dilemma to the next and as a result, you cannot process any thought or idea constructively. So how do you deal with it? I discovered the key is to simply learn how to express what’s on your mind in a way that can be read back to you.  I wrote something similar to this on my post on depression but I have recently found that it helps during other times of stress too.

On my travels I had met many different types of people and I was always fond of the artistic folk I came across, because I found they had the most balanced of minds and even though most of them were struggling, they came across very much at ease: musicians, painters, photographers, actors, writer’s, dancers and so on. One common trait among them all was that they persistently externalised thought and their stresses would be drawn out through means of their own interpretation; I was surrounded by amazing talents but I was more in awe of the self actualised personalities I came across. It was because they all had a process to explore what was going on in their minds.

They had ideas and they played with them, they had thoughts and extracted them, each time paying close attention to themselves to construct pieces of work. To keep that locked up and unexpressed would clearly cause stress and inner conflict. It seems so obvious and yet many of us keep bottled up every single day. Imagine a painter being unable to paint; he’ll get buried under stress over the ideas and thoughts floating in his mind to which he cannot express.

Parents, professionals and students alike are pressured by the build up of stress – hundreds of you can simply relieve a lot of tension by practising the art of letting out thought in a personal and perhaps creative way. It can alter your state of mind! Simply place thoughts into a sensory receptive format and offer your tired mind a helping hand – start by putting pen to paper until you find a more fulfilling way of processing.

Furthermore you’ll find artistic people are always creating and would continue to create work and will often start again until their egos were satisfied. Like how therapy works, you continue to open up and let your thoughts spill out until you reach a breakthrough. Why spend hundreds of dollars on a shrink when you can take small steps like journaling first.

This is also another reason why building an identity and knowing who you are, is crucial to your success, as it gives you the freedom to externalise thought with confidence and ease. My mind and my focus have become much stronger ever since I started writing and being able to share and discuss my words openly and honestly, its apart of who I am – its freedom of thought and freedom from thought – it took a while to wrap my head around that but as I continue to write I understand what that concept means more and more.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach

How to Deal With the Emotions You Ignore

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Recently my emotions ran amuck and every day, rather than take time out of my already overwhelmed schedule to express them, I stored them somewhere in my mind to process later on in order to power through and accomplish tasks. When we’re on this roller-coaster toward success we knowingly put our feelings to one side which, if left unresolved, come back later and negatively impact our state of mind.

You know how in cognitive psychology the mind is likened to a computer, well imagine you’re working hard on your computer and during your work you’re met with a pop up, like an error message or warning. It’s the computer alerting you to something, instead of paying attention we tend to have a habit of clicking the little ‘x’ at the corner of the window or passively clicking ‘OK’ or ‘Close’ to get rid of it. We then continue to repeat this process as this pop up returns until something goes horribly wrong and we’re forced to deal with it. That’s how it gets when we’re so focused on reaching goals. We sometimes ignore how we feel until we’re inundated with emotions which lead us to stress and frustration.

Shutdown: Let’s say I recently clicked the ‘x’ too many times and my computer shutdown. I had ignored so many emotions to get through my tasks that I became frustrated, angry and a little lost. I had no idea what to do next and I couldn’t confront anyone because I wasn’t sure of where to begin. I was going to start writing, but then the message in this post would have been very different to the one you read now because emotions affect output. So I took my car keys and went for a drive, driving keeps me focused on a task yet allows me to think. I know people who take naps to cool off, exercise is also a favorite of mine. Also note, whatever you try to do to clear your mind and pay attention to your inner self, you must proceed alone without any influence.

The “the cooling off period” is crucial to the healing process. Its helps you work through emotions and allow you to come up with sensible and sustaining solutions. I always thought music would help, but music is a motivator for me I know that driving allows me work through anything that I have to deal with. I took note of that, I can only begin to get motivated if I have cooled off. I haven’t met a person yet that can go from a very stressful emotional state to a motivated state that quickly, I find those who can, often just suppress what they feel causing further problems for themselves in the long run.

Reboot: When I went for my drive I switched the phone off to avoid dealing with any “enablers” or “triggers” people swaying me one way or another giving me guidance based on information I would pass onto them. Seeking advice on your own feelings is sometimes a bad idea as the advice given would just be biased, especially making it unfair to others affected by your own frustration. After about an hour on my own processing my thoughts, I had come up with solutions that would work best for me and others around me I was able to reboot and pick up my tasks from the point I had left them. I came home, and I was back up and running, furthermore I could start motivating myself again and get that natural oomph back into my life and my work.

Upgrade: The last stage was to set up a solution. Just like your computer getting a virus: you install software to fix it and periodically you update that software to ensure it adapts to new threats and changing formats. So if we’re not dealing with our emotions and end up overwhelmed and frustrated, then we must put something in place to ensure we do not continually repeat this pattern. For now, I go on more drives; it’s how I best deal with my crap. If I’m working on my next big project and I feel my emotional baggage is just getting a bit too heavy, I go on a drive and deal with it, I won’t push it aside and I avoid so much aggravation.

Develop a system that works for you, deal with the warning signs; you of all people know when you’re beginning to feel things that affect your mood, so pay attention, run those “upgrades” you recently installed to process the emotion. Check for updates, be on the lookout for new ways to better deal with your emotions (you won’t figure it out overnight) but whenever you feel overwhelmed, find that one thing that will help you cool off, but ensure you do not use the thing that motivates you as you’ll need that for when you’re ready to pick yourself back up.

Vancouver Relationship and Life Coach