I have a few questions for you:
I am asking you these questions because I have a quick story I want to share with you on the importance of being mindful of what we focus on.
Because what we focus on significantly impacts our mindset.
In the early 1990’s I lived in Tokyo, and at the time there was no such thing as the internet, nor were there any English TV shows or English newspapers. During my first few months of living in Japan, I didn’t overthink the fact that I had no access to the “outside” world; however, it hit me hard when I returned home to Vancouver, Canada for a visit. When I arrived home and began watching the local news on TV, I remember thinking that Vancouver was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Why did I think that? Because after months of having no access to the news, I was now bombarded with endless negative news stories about my city.
Vancouver was not one of the most dangerous cities in the world; however, that is how I perceived it because of my exposure to the news.
And that is how I became aware of how powerful our mind is and how easy it is impacted by what we focus on.
Someone recently said to me that she thought that the world had gone to hell in a handbag and when I asked her why she thought this, she rattled off a variety of topics circling the various news channels. My response to her was ‘has the world really gone to hell in a handbag, or is it that we have much more access to information, and specifically more negative information than we are used to?’
I don’t think there is any way to quantify and answer this question, but what I do know is that that if we focus on the positivity and beauty that is everywhere around us, both our inner and outer world will become much more positive.
I am not suggesting we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that the challenges of the world don’t exist; however, what I am suggesting, is that we ask ourselves this question:
How is what I am focusing my energy on, serving me and making me a happier, positive person?
I know that there is beauty and positivity everywhere; we just need to adjust our eyes and look for it.
Want to see a quick 2 minute video on the power of kindness? Watch the below:
For most of my adult life I have been a socially aware individual; relatively well versed on societal and global issues such as homelessness, inequality, the refugee crisis, war, natural disasters and diseases which plague parts of the population. One of my passions is politics and what makes society work or not work as a whole, and as such, I have spent much of my life reading and watching documentaries on various global matters.
Unfortunately, up until a few years ago, this passion led me to invalidate my own needs, desires, worries and concerns.
I used to compare and contrast societal problems to my own life, and when comparing said issue(s) I would berate and tell myself that I had zero right to complain about my problems and worries.
Guilt would continuously circulate in my mind, and I would link to myself: there are starving children in Africa… there are people far worse off than you… you have a roof over your head and food in your tummy… do you think you are that special? Get over yourself!
Because I kept telling myself that I was fortunate, I invalidated and did not give credence to my own distresses. I discounted the quiet knowing inside me that was shouting at me to change my life and to find my purpose. Inside I listened to the voice in my head that would say: You cannot do that… You cannot indulge such frivolities…don’t you know some people would love to have this job/make the money you do…you are lucky.
Eventually, the anxiety and subsequent depression that I fell into forced me to start listening to my inner wisdom and necessitated that I validate my own story. I become aware that just because my situation did not compare to someone else’s did not mean that my challengers were invalid and unworthy. And, as I began to validate my own story, I came to own it, and by owning it, I was able to set myself free and make the necessary changes to build a new chapter in my life.
Watch my YouTube video to hear how I learned to own, validate and reframe it.
You have a right to your feelings and story regardless of what others might be experiencing.
Remember that by validating and taking ownership of your story, you have the opportunity to re-define it.
Acknowledge the obstacles that you have overcome. We all have a story.
Where you are at today does not define you – you have a choice to stagnate in your existing story, or you can write new chapters.
Furthermore, validate and accept the story of others – even if you cannot relate to or understand the story.
Key questions to ask yourself:
Rejection hurts, however, providing you learn to understand and deal with it, it doesn’t have to define you or set you back.
Several months ago, I applied to be a keynote speaker at a large global corporate conference. And, last week I received a standard one-line email stating that I was not selected and due to the volume of applicants, no specific feedback would be given.
Did the email upset me? Initially, yes, however, I got over it quite quickly because I have learned to deal with rejection positively. Some years ago, I read a book (apologies, I can’t remember the name of it) which stated that to build self-confidence we should become comfortable with collecting “no’s”. Meaning, we need to get comfortable collecting rejections. The idea being that the more we amass rejection, the easier it is to face. Which ultimately then leads us to become incredibly relaxed and confident, chasing every opportunity out there, regardless of any potential rejection that may occur.
I have taken those words of wisdom to heart over the years. As a result of this, I have had many successes from opportunities that I otherwise may not have pursued. And, on the flip-side, I have collected countless ‘no’s’ and have been rejected on multiple occasions.
If you are dealing with rejection or have a fear of rejection, then there are a few things to consider:
You will be rejected more times than you are accepted, and that is okay. It doesn’t mean that you are a failure or undeserving; it just means that you tried and weren’t the right fit for that particular opportunity.
It’s not an excuse to give up - it just means that you need to keep persisting.
One of the first steps we can take to empower ourselves is to learn to let go of the past and cultivate forgiveness. Forgiveness of ourselves as well as others.
This can be easier said than done as upbringing and life experiences will no doubt have had an impact on who we are and who we have become, however, the past does not need to define us or our future.
Instead of dwelling on the past, we can gently ask ourselves the following questions:
By asking ourselves these questions, we will likely begin to realise that holding onto and clinging to unpleasant memories does not serve us. Perhaps you recognise this already but don’t yet know how to purge the emotional patterns that you have adhered to and adopted over the years - and I totally get it. It is easier said than done to forgive, release and let go. A serious amount of time and strong intentions to move forward are required to release any pain and behavioural patterns that may have been adopted over a lifetime.
To move forward towards forgiveness, I have found that it is important to view, acknowledge and recognise past experiences and their corresponding emotions from a place of compassion and kindness. This doesn’t mean merely forgiving and forgetting and putting any painful incidents into a nice tidy box in the back of your brain, never to be thought about again. But, rather, what it does mean is that we can keep the memory of the experience but let go of the emotion attached to it. And, ultimately, with time, we can work towards forgiving those that hurt us.
Again, to reiterate, this process in my experience does not occur overnight. Furthermore, it is essential to note that in some cases, the forgiveness process may require significant work with a trained psychotherapist. And that is okay – whatever method works for you in the journey of forgiveness is acceptable.
In my own forgiveness journey, I have come to believe that everyone is doing the best they can at their own level of consciousness. And, while I don’t condone certain behaviours and actions, I do try to adopt a compassionate mindset towards individuals who have upset me – because I believe everyone is doing the best they can with the tools they have in their own personal tool kit.
Recently I bumped into an acquaintance who I hadn’t seen for a long time, and during the conversation, I asked if she was still planning on starting her own business.
Her reply: “Not anymore, I’ve put those thoughts to the side, and I don’t think about them anymore – you know how it is… you start making money, and then you feel trapped by the income and next thing you know, you stop thinking about your dreams”.
She ended by saying “Do you know what I mean?”
Yes. I knew exactly what she meant.
It’s called the affluence trap – and it’s a multifaceted trap which includes:
Once upon a time, I was stuck in my comfort zone and the affluence trap until I realized the price I was paying was too high and that I had to push myself past my comfort zone.
It wasn’t easy to leave my comfort zone and the affluence trap I found myself in, and it isn’t for more people. The vast majority of us are not born with a silver spoon in our mouth – meaning; most of us have to work for a living.
But, with that said, we can begin to push ourselves out of our comfort zone by:
In my case, I went back to school while still employed in corporate life and although I didn’t know what life would look like without my corporate career – I had faith in the not yet seen. Meaning, I believed that my dreams and goals would come to fruition – I didn’t know how or in what capacity, but I believed in the unseen.
Becoming an entrepreneur has required hard work, grit and determination and many ups and down’s, including feeling like my goals are moving smoothly and steadily along – to times when my goals feel they are stagnating and not making any progress at all. And it’s a time’s like these that I remember to Believe in the not yet seen.
So how do you move out of your comfort zone?
First realize that you are not trapped in any situation that you may find yourself in – be it your career, finances, relationships, your weight, etc. You are not stuck. Second, realize that you can empower yourself by making small changes to move out of your comfort zone. Believe in the not yet seen and take steps each day (no matter how big or small) towards realizing your dreams.
Hi! Welcome to the Bootcamp for the Mind & Soul Blog, where I will be sharing with you how to develop healthy habits and empowering beliefs.