5 proven strategies to overcome anxiety

Popovich strategy to win

Anxiety is such a common thing in today’s world.

Im sure almost every one alive has battled anxiety at some point. Most people battle it every day. 

Let's think about it like a game. The object is to win. Here are the top strategies that will give you the best chance of overcoming anxiety in your life. 

 

1. Examine the story you are living out of

Did you know that anxiety needs a story in order to survive. Therefore, the aim of the game is to live out of a story where to be anxious just doesn't make sense.

Contrary to popular opinion, anxiety is not a condition that you simple have to survive or endure. It doesn’t come out of nowhere. You are not broken. What’s more, the source of your anxiety is not strange, random or unknowable.

There is always a reason, an underlying belief, a fear or insecurity that has created the anxiety response to something in your reality.

So, of course you are anxious. What did you expect? I'm not being critical, but simply stating that emotion always flows out of belief. What must you believe about your life, your situation or yourself in order to be anxious right now?

If there was no limiting belief, then it just doesn’t make any sense to be anxious.

Anxiety always flows from a story of inadequacy. At a deep level you are insecure about not being enough for the challenges you are facing. This leaves you feeling incapable of doing what needs to be done and then the only thing left to do it be anxious.

Taking the time to examine the story you are living out of gives you the ability to gain self awareness about the cause of your anxiety. With this awareness always comes more choice. You can’t change what you can’t see. Rather than trying to overcome the anxiety with behaviour management strategies, you are now able to change the underling belief producing the emotion in the first place.

The cool thing is that you are not just an actor in the story of your life, you are the story teller. If you don't like your current story, only you have the power to write a new one. 

What would you need to believe right now in order to be feeling calm, confident and in control of your results?

What must those who are already living free from anxiety believe? 

 

2. Only focus on the next thing.

Former Australian opening batsman Justin Langer defines mental toughness as the ability to just focus on the next thing. The last ball has already passed and the fast bowler you are afraid of is not on until the next over, but right now all you need to focus on is the very next ball. Be totally present for the next thing.

When I am worried about the challenges of tomorrow before I go to sleep, my simple instruction to myself is to focus on the next thing I need to do – which is to get some peaceful sleep. Once I have completed that job, I’m allowed to focus on the next thing I need to do. One thing at a time. With this strategy, there is no room for anxiety.  It simply doesn't make any sense to be anxious if all I am focused on is the current task right in front of me and I believe that I am capable of completing it successfully. (The story I'm living out of)

The myth of multitasking

All the research around multitasking concludes that it is actually impossible. Our brain can only effectively focus on one thing at a time.  While it may appear possible to listen to music and study simultaneously, your brain is either 100% focused on one or the other task. It is constantly switching. Every time it switches, it has to shut down the softwear program for one task and reload the softwear for the other task which as you can understand is actually very inefficient. Research also shows that, in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ. It causes mistakes, stress, lower productivity it even affects your memory.

Therefore, it is actually impossible to do anxiety and gratitude. or anxiety and decisiveness or even anxiety and anger. You have to chose a point of focus in order to run any of these strategies.

So what would you need to be focussed on to feel anxious right now?

What would you need to focus on to feel totally relaxed and confident? 

You are entirely responsible for what you are paying attention to. Change your focus, and you change how you feel.  

Practice mindfulness.

Being mindful is simply an exercise in paying attention to your own thoughts. It is about being an external observer to what is happening in your world rather than being caught up in the drama of it all.  Dr David Peterson defines mindfulness as “Paying attention in a particular way on purpose in the present moment in a non-judgmental way” It is all about being totally present to the here and now. Anxiety is about focusing on past or future, mindfulness is about being here.

Mindfulness is to focus on one thing and to fully experience it. When the mind wonders, it needs to be brought back to that one thing. e.g. Breathing, an emotion, what the senses are experiencing, one thought, gratitude, mission, purpose. etc

 

3. Face up to life. 

Every day we have countless opportunities to face up or run away from our reality. It turns out that every time we run away from the challenges of our life, we increase the levels of anxiety, while facing up ultimately allows us to live anxiety free. 

 Nathanial Brandon’s book the psychology of self-esteem, shows us how this works.

Life happens- Each new day presents new day presents new problems, challenges and opportunities. We then have a choice to face up or run away from the reality of our life. We can own, accept, confront, and take responsibility - or hide, blame, avoid, and pretend. 

If we run away, we may escape our situation, but we take shame guilt and anxiety with us. 

If we face up, no matter how hard it is, we actually get through to the other side and take strength, confidence, peace from the situation. 

Every time we run we teach ourselves - 'I can’t. I don’t have what it takes and therefore need to keep running.' Facing up, on the other hand, teaches us  - 'I can. I have what it takes to deal with life' 

Running ends up creating a limiting belief that I am no good. I’m not enough. Facing up leads us to believe we are worthy, I am enough!

One path leads to poor self-esteem. The other healthy self esteem.

So...Do you want to feel good about yourself? Do you want to live anxiety free? If so, it is essential to face up to life. Every time you run away, you undermine your own self-esteem and lose the anxiety game. 

 

4. Change your language

Susan Jeffers in her book “Embracing Uncertainty” says that if we tie our happiness to things working out the way we want, then we are perpetually tied to disappointment. Why tie happiness to things outside our control? It is still crucial to be very clear about what we want, but we need to work out how to be happy because of who you are, not just when things go the way we want them to.

To be anxiety free, it is crucial to cut the cord between your happiness and your outcomes. This starts with the language you use with yourself. - Your self talk. 

I have two mantra's that I find particularly useful to win the game with anxiety:  – “Whether this works out or not, I still deeply love and accept myself." ."All I need is within me now. I am a good person, a creative person, an intelligent person. I have no idea what will happen tomorrow, but when I get there I know I will work it out, just like I have every other day of my life till now."  This means I am able to totally pour my best energy and effort into what I am doing and then let go of the need to control what is outside of my control.  In this story, anxiety makes zero sense. 

Labels

What if you couldn't call anxiety anxiety? What if that label was actually part of the problem. If you couldn't use that language, would it still be possible to have the same experience?

The words we use don't simply describe our experience of life - they shape it. 

What if when you noticed your pulse racing, stomach tightening, palms sweating, adrenaline rising you stopped and asked "What for" instead?

Perhaps it is a signal from your subconscious preparing you for action? Maybe you've avoiding something that needs your attention? Maybe its a way of you becoming aware that you are now leaving your comfort zone, but you should keep going. 

When you change your language, you also change your experience. 

 

5. Let it go

Having used all these proven strategies, the only thing left to explore is whether or not you are in fact holding onto your anxiety because it is working for you.

Basic human psychology teaches that every single thing that we tolerate or complain about but do not change MUST be giving us some kind of reward. 

I get that it is highly offensive and confronting to suggest that your anxiety could be working for you, yet if you are really serious about winning the game, you'll need to be prepared to consider this vital aspect of human behaviour.  

Maybe anxiety gives you a chance to hide, gain pity, excuse poor behaviour, get angry at the world, withdraw from situations you feel insecure about? Maybe its something else, but if it really was giving you nothing, you would have found a way to let it go already.  

So often people feel that the things that are causing them most grief in life are holding onto them, when really we are holding onto them.

My favourite example of this comes from “The Simpsons.” (season 5 Ep6)

On his way home from work to take Marge to the ballet, Homer ends up getting both hands stuck inside vending machines while trying to steal their contents.

The next scene the area is cordoned off and the fire brigade and emergency services are there to attempt the rescue.

Fireman: Mr Simpson, there is no easy way to say this, we’re going to have to saw your arms off.

Homer. Awww, but they’ll grow back won’t they?

Fireman: Yeah sure…They’ll grow back

Other Fireman “Ah…Homer, are you just holding onto the can?

Homer: “Yeah…why”

 We too have the power to set ourselves free by letting go of the can – The moment we are truly done with being anxious, we can let it go. We literally are that powerful.  

 

 

If you are ready to really win at this game and you are ready to change your story, your focus, your language you sate and your strategy, make sure you take jump on the autumn 30 day coaching program starting the 30th of April. 

Click here for more info

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Serious questions about the bootcamp that demand an answer.

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Here are 10 important questions about the 30 day overcoming insecurity bootcamp that demand good answers. 

1. Why is it so expensive?

Simple...$995 is the absolute minimum amount of money I am willing to exchange for my time, energy, skills, experience, and knowledge to solve this kind of problem for you. 
 

2. Will it work?

Maybe...People often over estimate their readiness for change. Some people get scared and dance around the edges of the coaching stuff and then run away when it gets too confronting. 
However, as long as you are willing to be ready, and commit to showing up each day to face up to your reality, you cannot not find this 30 day program absolutely life changing. 


3. Online courses normally suck - Is this one any different?

Yes...I'm not trying to get out of hard work or just sell you something you don't want. 
The online coaching delivery sometimes suits people better than face to face! 
You can do each module whenever you are ready, from the comfort of your own space and be totally honest about how you are feeling. 
You receive a high level of personal coaching from me and EVERY time you submit a response, I will reply and engage you around what you've written. 
You will find me VERY accessible. 
I only have up to 10 people in each bootcamp so that I am able to provide a high level of individual coaching to each person. 
This almost forces you to keep a journal of the whole process to look back on and remind yourself of. 
 

4. Do I really have to face my deepest insecurities?

No...But if you don't, they will taunt you for the rest of your life until they ultimately consume you leaving you in a state of madness. 
 

5. Will it hurt?

Yes...This is a journey into pain not away from it. 
It will get harder before it gets easier. 
The only way out of your dysfunction is through. There are no short cuts. 
 

6. How much time will it take each day?

As much as you like...You could spend as little as 10 minutes, or hours if you wanted to. 
The more you give me to work with, the more I will give back in return.
 

7. What if I don't like it?

You will...If you don't, you can have your money back. 
 

8. What if I'm different from everyone else, and my problems are more complicated or unique?

You're not...The problems you are facing right are never complicated or unique. We all face the same kind of challenges in different ways, and the way forward is always simple and hard.
 

9. What if I can't stay disciplined enough to finish the whole program

N/A...This program has nothing to do with self discipline. Instead by doing the 30 day overcoming insecurity bootcamp you are actually giving yourself permission to flourish again. This is a VERY different and more high quality form of internal motivation than self discipline could ever be.  

A simple explanation of the BE DO HAVE model

The Be Do Have model is one of my favourite coaching tools. Both Stephen Covey and Anthony Robbins use it in their writing, yet I believe it predates both of them.

It is a wonderfully powerful framework for lasting change, however is often over simplified and misused. 

Here is the essence of the BE DO HAVE model. 

Who do I need to be?

Success in any area of life always starts with a very clear picture about the results you desire. If you don't know what the goal is, it is impossible to tell if you've achieved success or not. 

Once we are really clear about what we want and why we want it, the game changing question in not ‘what do I need to do?’ but ‘who do I need to be?’

 Another way of asking this question is ‘what kind of a person would have access to these kind of outcomes?’

 For example, let’s say I want to write a book that’s a best-seller. Only 2% of all authors will ever sell enough copies of their book to justify the time, money and energy they’ve spent in writing it. It’s not simply the best books that get published, just like it’s not the most talented sportsperson, artist or business person that ends up on top of the pile. Despite what most people think, the best don’t always finish first. So simply doing my best isn’t likely to deliver the results I am looking for. I need to find out what kind of person gets their book published and sold when most others don’t. The question I need to ask myself is, “Who do I need to be to write a best-seller?”

 What kind of person makes it in their field of expertise, when most work hard for very little recognition or reward? What must they believe about themselves? How do they dress? What is their relationship with money? What story do they live out of? How do they walk when they enter a room?

If I can be this kind of person, then I can have access to the same results as they do.

The Be Do Have model really unpacks how this works in the real world.

 Be Do Have

 There are three common approaches to trying to get ahead in life. Only one of them actual works. 

 Let’s call them:

  • The Victim,
  • The Worker
  • The Winner

 The victim arranges their life in the order HAVE DO BE

They say, “When I HAVE enough time, money and support, then I’ll DO the things I’ve always wanted to, and then I’ll BE happy and successful. The problem is I don’t HAVE yet. If I had what that person had, I’d certainly be as successful as them, but I don’t so I’m not.“ The victim is always waiting for externals to change before they can move ahead in life.

The worker is all about DO HAVE BE

They say, “The more I DO, the more I’ll HAVE. The more I’ll HAVE, the happier I’ll BE. The problem is, the more I do, the more there is still to do and the more I have to more there is still to have. I am defined by what I do so I become driven, busy and tired. The more I have, the more there is to lose so the harder I work.” We all know that the link between having more things and being happier is a myth, so being happy never arrives.

The winner orients their life quite differently: BE DO HAVE

They say, “It is not what do I need to HAVE before I can start, or what work do I need to DO… but who do I need to BE? What kind of person would have access to the kind of outcomes I want? Then being that kind of person, what would I be doing? And then the having takes care of itself.”

Be Do Have is definitely the rarest of the three lifestyles and the most abstract, yet it is the only one that works.

 

For more great personal development tools and content, check out my book. Elegantly simple solutions to complex people problems. www.jaeminfrazer.com

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December offerings

It has been such an outstanding 12 months! There have been plenty of tough challenges to overcome and all kinds of wonderful new learning, growth and wins along the way. 

I count it a joy and privilege to be able to share quality personal development content with you and trust that it has added value to your life this year and improved the quality of your health, finances and relationships. 

I’m winding up for 2017, but here few offerings for the end of the year. 

There is still time to order a copy of my book before Christmas either as a gift for friends and family or as some great summer reading over the hols. 

http://jaeminfrazer.com/resources/

I’m more than happy to sign and write a personal note in the cover if it’s a gift. 

While the end of year seems to be quite hectic for most, if you are in a place where your holidays give you a window to focus on your personal development journey, I am willing to work with 1 or 2 people over December/January. 

(Message me directly to apply)

I’m really looking forward to an epic 2018. Here are few of the cool things to look out for next year. 

- If you are looking for a great start to the year, the first overcoming insecurity bootcamp starts on the 6th of Feb

http://jaeminfrazer.com/lifecoaching/

- The “Find Yourself” group retreat is on again from the 17th – 20th of May in Queenstown NZ! Limited places available. 

- The audio version of my book will be released mid year!

And as always, there are opportunities to do one on one coaching or coach training with me throughout the year. 

Have a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Years with your loved ones. 

Jaemin

9 Powerful presuppositions that will change your life

A presupposition is a background belief that is assumed and accepted to be true. Here are 9 of the most powerful belief statements of those who do life well. 

1. People work perfectly

You are not broken. The results you are getting in every area of life are the exact results you've designed your system to create. Every behaviour is meeting a need and every strategy has a positive intention. 

2. You love yourself

All self protection is evidence of self love. Change comes when you make peace with yourself and work with yourself rather than through conquering yourself. Self permission is far more powerful than self discipline. 

3. Your body craves health.

Health is the default. When you take the handbrake off and give yourself permission to flourish, health is where you end up. Unhealth, sickness and excess weight is serving you by protecting from what you are most afraid of. 

4. You have 100% choice

You are exactly where you have chosen to be. . You may not choose what happens to you, but you always choose your response. 

5. You only do what works

Every thing in your life that you tolerate and complain about but don't change - MUST be working for you. If there really was no payoff or reward you would have changed it already. 

6. You are not a victim

We are sense making creatures who go into the world and tell stories about our experiences. Nothing has inherent meaning except the meaning we give it. Life is not based on what happens to you but on the meaning you place on these events.  You are not just an actor in the story of your life, you are the story teller. You are the only one powerful enough to hold yourself back and the only one who can set yourself free. Therefore you are not a victim.

7. You are enough

There was a time in the history of you being you BEFORE any limiting beliefs existed or anything diminished who you saw yourself as or what you were capable of. You have always been enough. 

8. Your results are your own

You are 100% responsible for your own results and your own relationships.  You are constantly training others how to treat you by what you allow and deny. While blame and excuse may make sense, they leave you with no power to change anything. 

9. You get what you want

We each have the power to get we really want. If you don't have it, part of you doesn't want it or is not prepared to pay the price to get it. 

10 Minute Tuesday - How to gain an unfair advantage in life

Here are 3 counterintuitive, and countercultural success principles that most people will never use. 

"To succeed in life is actually easy because most people never will! You only need to do a few key things well, semi-consistently to quickly rise above the pack" 

Which of the 3 ideas do you find most challenging?

Solving the insecurity problem

The fear of not being enough

At the core of almost every issue we face in life lies the fear of not being enough. We each crave a sense personal significance and yet inevitably seek this need to be met externally looking for validation, acceptance and approval from the world around us.

We fear we are not enough and are insecure about our value.  

Left untreated, this insecurity leads to what can only be described as madness. News reports from around the world confirm this reality every day! From Donald Trump to Harvey Weinstein to Manus Island and Global warming. It's all madness!

The fear of personal inadequacy drives all dysfunctional behaviour and causes inherently good people to consistently, and against their better judgment, make choices that hurt them and those they care about.

While most people are insecure about being insecure and so will never have the courage to face this fear thankfully there is a clear framework for this most important work for those who are ready and willing.

It is entirely possible to be free of all insecurity by working through all 9 stages below. (Taken from the overcoming insecurity flow chart)

Overcoming insecurity

1. Come out of hiding

2. Letting go of blame and excuse

3. Accepting that all we have is story

4. Having a compelling vision for your life

5. Facing your deepest fear about yourself

6. Inviting a skilful guide into your life to help you be free

7. Rewriting your story

8. Internal rather than external referencing

9. Managing your state.

Let me remind you that the process of overcoming insecurity may not be easy, but neither is it complicated. The way forward is always simple and hard. 

 

 

 

 

Find yourself

The purpose of this group is to help you FIND YOURSELF. That is what we are all here for!

It is my intention to whole heartedly serve you on this journey by facilitating a safe space for you to do the real work of genuine personal development. 

I promise that you will not find yourself 'out there'...No matter how hard you look. You don't find your true self in the opinions, acceptance, or affirmations of those who think they know you. 

You won't find yourself by meeting other people's expectations or following their agenda for your life. 

You won't find yourself by playing by the rules of society and keeping everyone else happy. 

You won't discover who you are by someone else answering the question for you. 

To find who you really are and what you are capable of requires you to look deep inside. 

You must be willing to know yourself. 

This requires you to remove all judgment and to begin the journey of self awareness with compassion and curiosity. 

It requires you to be willing to embark on a journey of discovery and purpose with great courage, passion and determination.

It requires you to confront your deepest fears and venture far from what is safe, known and comfortable. 

It is a journey fraught with danger. There are no guarantees that you will make it out alive. 

The stakes couldn't be higher, yet the rewards always justify the risk. 

Yes it is freaken hard...but this is the hero's journey and YOU are the hero in the story. 

Everyone is waiting and watching for you to find yourself and show up in the world in all your unique beauty and splendour. 

So this week, here I am again encouraging you in every way I know how to stop running and hiding and being held back by doubt and fear. 

Are you willing to face up and say yes to life?

If so, what are you going to do about it?

If not, why not?

 

P.S. If you are not already part of the FIND YOURSELF Facebook group, you can join here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1031442036922497/

After a while your job will suck...It's actually supposed to.

Did you know that after a while your job is supposed to suck?

If you were to stop and ask the first 10 people you came across today to tell you about their job, I'll guarantee you'll hear some painful stories. 

Most people do not love their work. 

More than that, most people experience high levels of stress, frustration and pain around their employment situation. 

The interesting news is that after a while your job is supposed to suck. Pain is guaranteed. In fact, it is actually normal, healthy and to be entirely expected that you will grow to hate your day job.  

 

The gift of pain

Pain is actually a gift designed to protect you from doing major damage to yourself. It is all about keeping you safe, happy and healthy. ( Read more about the gift of pain)

Pain is your most honest voice. It is there to tell you to make change. 

Sooner or later, working for the man is going to create major pain in your life. There is nothing surer. Now, rather than that being a huge problem, it's actually a wonderful thing. The pain is there to let you know that it is time to keep growing. To find your voice and your sweet spot and step beyond the comfort of the system into the realm of the entrepreneur. 

The pain of the job you now hate is telling you to stick it to the man and take control of your life. To create a lifestyle around doing work that you enjoy, and are good at and something that gives you the ability to leave your unique mark on the world. 

If you ignore the pain and tell yourself to suck it up because this is as good as it gets, no one could blame you. Chasing your own dreams is fricken hard. Serving someone elses dream means you never really have to stick your neck out and see what you are capable of. You can't fail if you never fully try. Yet choosing to suppress the pain inevitably starts to cause atrophy of mind, heart and soul. You end up as a mindless consumer, soothing the pain with various ugly self medication strategies. 

(N.B. If you are 17 and not enjoying your job at KFC, don't stick it to the man just yet...There are still plenty of important life lessons about being a responsible adult working as a good employee for you to learn before you are ready to move on.)

The 7 levels of living

One of the most useful frameworks for understanding the path and process of growth as a human being is the Spiral Dynamics model created by Chris Beck and Don Cowen. 

The 7 levels of consciousness we can grow through are:

1. Survival

2. Tribe

3. Rebellion

4. The system

5. Entrepreneur

6. Contribution

7. Statesmanship

If you have made it to level 4 "The system" congratulations are in order.  (Read more about all 7 levels of living) That is a big achievement, but while it was definitely a big deal for you to step up as an adult and land a decent job when you were fresh out of school or uni, if you are still in the same place 20 years later, major problems start arising. 

Everything that is alive is growing. The moment it stops growing, it is now officially dying. 

While each of the 7 levels is essential and healthy in the beginning, the longer you stay there, the more unhealthy it becomes. 

Working as an employee (level 4) is all about making someone else rich, and serving someone else's vision. To do that requires suppressing your own great ideas and just doing what you are told. Again, to submit to leadership represents some high level growth when you are young, (Growing from level 3 rebellion to level 4 system) but now that you have a few of your own grey hairs it is time for you to start leading rather than being a follower for the rest of your life. 

The aim is alway to keep growing. Keep learning about who you are and what you are capable of. Be grateful that your current job is "shitting you to tears." That is a beautiful gift to tell you that there is more for you still out there. Yes stepping out and doing something new is incredibly scary, but surely becoming part of the living dead is far more scary. 

The big lie of the the system 

The system (Level 4)  is lying to you all the time, trying to convince you that you are weaker than you think. It is designed to keep you stuck, paying off your mortgage, keeping up with the jones's, being afraid of everything that could go wrong! The message being poured down your throat day and night is: "Don't dare imagine you could survive out in the real world on your own. You need the comfort and security of having someone else make it work for you"

The big issue is that people buy into the lie that they could never survive. This is fed by the underlying insecurity and limiting beliefs of inadequacy. While they hate their job, they are full of self doubt about whether they are good enough to make it on their own. 

So many people complain about their day jobs, like there was something very unfair or shocking about it being painful. 

Your boss took the risk to stop being an employee and pursue their dreams of doing their own thing. You have been the beneficiary of their entrepreneurial vigour. Where is the complaint? 

Yes serving someone else's vision is not fun. So what did you expect? When you are you going to toughen up and chase your own dreams?

This is why the step in growing from level 4 "System" to level 5 "Entrepreneur" is almost entirely about personal development. You've got to face your fears, get clear about what you really want in life, decide if you have anything of value to offer the world, be prepared to embrace uncertainty and back yourself. It is at this point that you have to face the fear of your own inadequacy and deal with all insecurity or else you will convince yourself that you need to be happy with what you've already got so that you don't end up with nothing. 

 

Do you want to be part of the 5% or the 95%?

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The great news is that you are actually stronger than you think. 

You are not perfect, but that's OK, because you are enough. You always have been and always will be. 

Insecurity can be overcome. It is entirely possible to live free for all insecurity and become great at being yourself. There is a clear process and a well worked framework to follow that is guaranteed to work. (Check out the overcoming insecurity flow chart) 

The world is eagerly waiting for you to step up and bring your unique contribution. There is only one of you, and so to show up fully as yourself is good for everyone. 

As Seth Godin says, stop waiting for someone else to pick you or open the right door of opportunity for you. Pick yourself! Open your own doors!

Pain is a gift.

Growth is essential.

Work out how to become great at being yourself so we can all enjoy who you really are.  

 

 

 

 

The gift of pain

Pain is a gift

People who do life well work with themselves not against themselves. This actually requires them to stop and listen to what is going on inside. If you are not accustomed to listening to yourself, the best place to start is with pain. Pain is your most honest voice to yourself.

See pain is a gift. I was reading a story recently about a 5 year old leprosy sufferer who bit the end of her finger and wrote her name on her bedroom wall in blood because she could. The disease attacks the nervous system which means the pain signals stop. If you put your hand on the fire, it is actually supposed to hurt so that you quickly remove your hand before it gets badly burnt.

Yet in today’s world we often treat pain as a bad thing. We mask, medicate and avoid pain wherever possible.

Pain is designed to protect us from further pain

If you ignore it, then there is nothing to stop you destroying your own life.

The main reason people don’t listen to pain is that they think it will require them to change something hard. Deep down the fear is the they are not up to the challenge. They don't have what it takes. They believe that they are somehow inadequate or not good enough and so need to keep running away from their reality. Yet suppressing emotional, mental and physical pain will always cost you more in the long run. 

Pain really is our most honest voice. It is a gift designed to protect us from further pain and tell us that we have incredible value and need to be protected. Pain tells us what is not right and informs us about the things that are unsustainable and emotionally damaging that need changing.

Typically people seem to hate pain. We try to avoid, ignore, mask or run away from it all costs. Most people don’t listen to their pain because the moment we actually hear ourselves loud and clear, it demands we take action and make change. They would prefer not to face their pain and deal with the things that require massive action because it’s easier not to. This response to pain becomes a habit, and soon enough it is simply their way of life.  

Pain doesn’t tell us about the future and what we should do, it simply tells us what is not working now. Not listening to pain is like turning off the warning lights on our dashboard or the light in the lighthouse because it is annoying us. When we do that, there is nothing to prevent the car from running out of oil or the ships sailing onto the rocks. Pain is simply an internal signal about something that is not right physically, emotionally or relationally. The purpose of this signal is to protect us from further pain by alerting us to the things that need changing immediately. 

Learning to listen.

Becoming self-aware can seem strange or difficult if you have never made time to stop and listen to yourself. The great news is, you can learn. If you can’t hear or see what’s going on under the surface it is highly likely that you are attempting to have these conversations with yourself as the critic, the judge or the drill-sergeant. It is likely you imagine that this hard line approach will change your behaviour, when in fact it only reinforces the danger of being vulnerable. Your inner self will resist this approach and put up more walls to hide behind.

Imagine sitting in front of someone you have never met before and asking them to tell you all about what’s really going on in their life. Imagine also that your body language is closed, you are checking Facebook on your phone and you tell them you’ve only got five minutes so they better make it snappy. Do you think that they will readily open the vault and share their deepest feelings with you? I think not!

So what does it take for a stranger to open up? Every day, I talk with people whom I’ve never met before, and within two minutes they feel comfortable enough to tell me things they have never said out loud before. This happens because I carefully create a judgment free space for them and they sense the fact that I am only there to serve them. This makes it safe enough for them to access self-awareness, often for the first time.

It’s no different when you are building a relationship with yourself. It is only as we create a judgment free space and listen to ourselves as the dispassionate observer that it’s safe enough to be open and real. Let go of the judgment and watch how easy it is to see and hear what is really going on inside.

Stop and reflect 

Are you willing to take the time to stop and listen to yourself without judgment?

What is your pain saying to you today?

If you were to treat it as a loving voice, with your best interests at heart, how would you respond?

If you were to believe that you were enough and up to any challenge that life throws your way, how would that affect your willingness to listen to your pain?

How not to be a life coaching muppet

If I see another life coaching video pop up on Facebook or YouTube where someone is trying to sound like the expert but is just saying a whole bunch of nothing, I may lose it…

“Muppet: In Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, the word muppet has come to be used as a mild term of abuse, meaning a stupid, incompetent, or idiotic person, or the obvious interpretation of someone who is inanimated or somehow not there.” Wikipedia:Muppet

The thing about the coaching/personal development industry is that there is ZERO barrier to entry. There are no rules or governing bodies requiring you to jump through hoops or meet certain standards before you are allowed to sell your wares to the world.

This is both an incredible opportunity and an incredible challenge at the same time. It means literally anyone can be a coach. It also means that because anyone can be a coach, you have to work hard at separating yourself from the crowd and proving that you are not another muppet with nothing real of your own to say.

Here are 10 things to think about to help you avoid this problem…

  1. Develop your skill. Just because you did a course one time, doesn’t qualify you to be the world   expert on a subject.
  2. Reference your ideas. If you didn’t make it up, give some love to the person who did.
  3. If you have nothing new, interesting or useful to say…don’t say anything.
  4. Solve problems. See a need in the world and find a way to meet it with a high quality solution. The world needs personal development solutions more than any other kind. Make sure what you are saying is an actual solution to a real problem.
  5. Keep learning. It’s grow or die. Just because you provided a high quality solution once, doesn’t guarantee someone else hasn’t already found a better way to solve that problem. Keep improving and developing your solutions.
  6. Fake it till you make it with integrity. This industry is ALL about backing yourself, you can’t wait for someone else to pick you. You have to start somewhere, and you need to believe you are successful before others will believe it.  Just make sure that when you step up with something to say, that you are all in, not just playing around the edges.
  7. Smoke what you are selling. If your ideas are so good, make sure they are producing incredible results in your own life first before trying to sell them to others.
  8. Find your voice. Don’t copy others. You are unique. You are the only one of you on the planet. Be good at being you. Don’t try to be somebody else.
  9. Authenticity is everything. People want to see and hear the real you. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to have everything figured out to be useful to others. Keep it real.
  10. Add value. Always always always seek to add value to those who are listening to you rather than just flapping your gums and wasting the internet.

The 7 levels of living - Spiral dynamics

First created by Don Beck and Chris Cowen, the descriptions of each level are not seeking to label or define an individual, instead they are a useful framework for understanding where you currently are and where you'd like to be. 

Every level is an important and healthy part of developing as a human, yet the longer you stay there without growing, the more hazardous it becomes. You can't skip levels and you can't move on until you've learnt the lessons of that level. It is possible to be living on one level in a certain area of life and a different level in another area. The description below will help you get an overall feel for where you are at. It will also help you to see if it is time for you to leave the safety of your current level and enlarge your capacity as a human being. 

 

LEVEL 1 - SURVIVAL

Level 1 - Survival

Relationship with money: 

  • I have no idea where my next dollar is coming from.
  • I’m in serious trouble financially.
  • I’m really struggling and living off the bare minimum.

Relationship with work:

  • I’ve been unemployed for a long time.
  • I’m in and out of work all the time.
  • I really struggle to keep any long term job.

Relationship with others:

  • I am lonely and isolated.
  • No one even cares about me or understands what I'm going through. 

Relationship with self: 

  • I feel completely lost.
  • I have no idea who I am or what I'm doing. 
  • My head is a mess

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

- Crisis, chaos and danger

- In need of immediate assistance

- Cannot survive alone

 

GROWING BEYOND SURVIVAL

You need to find good people who you can trust – fast. A church, community/support group, mens shed, friends and or family. Allow them to help you get back on your feet, but be careful to become so dependent that you stay there forever. 

LEVEL 2 - TRIBE

Relationship with money: 

  • Almost all my money needs are taken care of by my family or friends.
  • The people in my world look after me.
  • I can share or borrow from others if I'm in need. 

Relationship with work: 

  • I do basic work that only requires me to follow a clear set of instructions.
  • I’ve always worked in the family business or done the jobs others want me to do.

Relationship with others: 

  • My decisions are based on what others tell me to do or what they think is best for me.
  • There are strong people in my world who control my life and there is a clear set of rules that govern most of my daily decisions.
  • I feel very connected to a close knit community. We share almost everything in common.

Relationship with self: 

  • For the most part I'm happy to go with the flow.
  • I'm not really sure what I want or who I am apart from the tribe I live with.
  • I rarely stop and ask many questions, if it works for others who I trust, that's good enough for me. 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

- Emphasis on shared culture, traditions and beliefs

- Easy to blend in

- Safety in numbers

- There are a lot of things you do simply because they are time honoured traditions

-People like things the way they've always been. If it ain't broke...don't fix it

THE TRIBE

Being part of the tribe is a very happy and safe season of life. In fact when it is all working well, it is hard to imagine how life could ever improve. The challenge of living on this level is that you are not rewarded for your individuality or independent thought. It is not the place for questioning what or why. Inevitably, you will run into trouble when you have thoughts or ideas that are not in line with how the tribe operates. If you pursue them, it will take you in to level 3 rebellion. If you squash them in order to keep the peace, you remain very small and immature in life.  

 

 

 

GROWING BEYOND THE TRIBE

If you want to keep growing as a person, eventually you will need to step away from the tribe and work out how to make your own decisions. This could be one of the hardest steps you’ll ever take, and you may be persecuted and ostracised, but take heart because everyone who has achieved anything in life has walked this same road before you. Take some risks, be prepared to speak up and step out. Just like the baby bird learning to fly, at some point you've got to leave the comfort and safety of the nest otherwise your wings will never work. 

LEVEL 3 - REBELLION

Relationship with money: 

  • I don't need money to do what I want to do. 
  • I won't be controlled by it. 
  • Money is an evil part of the system. 
  • It would be great if we didn't need money at all.

Relationship with work: 

  •  I avoid working for the man wherever possible. 
  • Sometimes it is a necessary evil to put food on the table. 
  • I'm happiest doing work that I can do on my own with little direct supervision. 

Relationship with others: 

  • I don't trust others and prefer to be as independent and self sufficient as possible.
  • Most people are controlled by the corrupt system run by rich greedy politicians and multinational companies.
  • I have a small group of friends who understand me and are at a similar stage in life. 

Relationship with self: 

  • I battle many demons.
  • There is a large amount of pain inside I have no idea what to do with.
  • I suppress my emotions through self medication and substance abuse.
  • I'm angry and depressed a lot of the time.
  • On my best day I feel carefree and full of adventure. On my worst day I feel completely lost and hopeless. 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

- Emphasis on independence

- Standing against something you don't like

- Pushing the boundaries and testing the limits of what you can get away with

- Experimentation 

- Casting off all rules

REBELLION

Rebellion is a vital stage of human development that allows us to move from dependence to independence on our journey toward maturity. It also helps us overcome the fear of what others think about us or needing others permission to do what we want to do.  It helps us to explore what we believe is right or wrong, good or bad for ourselves rather than being told what to do. 

The challenge is that it is very unsustainable to remain here for long. The rebel thinks that they will change the world, but instead they just make mess. The rebel who stays independent too long becomes paranoid, bitter and isolated. Their growth into adulthood is stunted and their passions and talents are made redundant. It turns out that we function best as part of communities and teams. 

 

GROWING BEYOND REBELLION

If you want to grow as a human, it’s time to suck it up, build bridges back to the real world, restore relationships, apologise, settle down, stop fighting and deal with the anger. Most people are good and can be trusted. It is time to find people you can work along side and learn to trust. To progress to the next level you will need to learn how to humble yourself and be a student of those who have gone before you.  

LEVEL 4 - SURVIVAL

Relationship with money:  

  • I work for a pay check. I can earn a bonus if I do really well. 
  • I have a clear savings and retirement plan.
  • Even though I’m in debt to my eyeballs, if I work hard for the next 20-30 years I’ll be able to have enough so that I can retire comfortably.

Relationship with work: 

  •  I work hard 9-5 every day serving someone else's vision. 
  • My hard work makes someone else rich. 
  • I'm good at what I do, but my job doesn't require the best of me. 
  • There are opportunities to grow within the company and climb the ladder, but only to a point.
  • I have to go to work each day to afford the lifestyle I'm signed up to.

Relationship with others:

  • I fit in well and play my role as a responsible adult.
  • There is a fair measure of obligation that drives my daily decisions, but that's just life. 

Relationship with self:

  •  On my best day I feel that I'm making progress towards my financial or retirement goals,  and ticking all the right boxes, yet on my worst day I feel like I've sold my soul to the system and I'm a caged animal slowly dying.
  • The longer I stay here the more unhappy I become.
  • It is better not to ask too many questions or explore the hidden areas of pain. Just suck it up and get on with life. It's not like I've really got any other choice. 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

- Emphasis on comfort and security

- Willingness to play by the rules to get ahead. 

- Compromise, juggling, balance, sacrifice

- Rules, taxes, responsibility, work, savings, retirement plan 

- You don't love it but it's just the way life works

- In exchange for giving up individuality and control, you get comfort and safety

THE SYSTEM

While it is crucial and healthy to live in level 4 for a season, the aim is to learn the lessons so that you are able to continue growing as a person. Entering level 4 in your early twenties is quite an achievement, yet if you are still here at 40, it is likely that you are now stuck in the system. It may have been a big step for you to land your current job, relationship, etc, but that was 15 years ago.  Now, you often feel stale and stagnant. The dream inside you is dying. If you stay here too long it will kill you. In fact, the only way you can stay on level 4 long term is by lying to yourself. - which ultimately leads to trauma.    Here are 15 checks to see if your lying to yourself.

 

GROWING BEYOND THE SYSTEM

If you know that you've been living on level 4 too long and now it is killing you, it's time to face up to your deepest fear. 

The biggest thing holding you in the level of the system is the lie that you are weaker than you think. You need to face that fear. Who are you? Are you enough? Do you have what it takes to go out on your own, not as a rebel, but as a person following their dream, passion and heart's desire.

To grow beyond the safety of level 4 into the relative unknown of level 5, really requires a significant shift in your personal development journey. The level 5 entrepreneurial journey is all about bringing your uniqueness to the market place. For that to happen successfully you need to find yourself. From there, the key is to develop confidence and skills side by side so that you are able to create something valuable and back yourself to deliver it well.  

If you desire to make a meaningful contribution in life, you must continue to grow through level 5 and onto level 6. Otherwise you will always be limited by small mindedness and a lack of resources. 

Level 5 directly confronts both of these limitations. 

LEVEL 5 - ENTREPRENEUR 

Relationship with money:

  • I've moved beyond simply exchanging time for money
  • My money works for me. I’ve created passive income streams that continue to generate money for me even while I’m asleep. 
  • Now I can make my money work for me and there is no limit to what I can earn. 

Relationship with work: 

  • I'm my own boss. I've created my own job. 
  • I can operate as a freelancer or consultant on my own terms
  • I employ others to make my business succeed and outsource tasks that are not good use of my time

Relationship with others:

  •  I see others as either useful to help me achieve my goals or standing in my way. The path of an entrepreneur can also be incredibly lonely and isolated. 

Relationship with self: 

  • For the most part I see myself as happy and successful, yet I'm driven to prove that I can make this work and to make myself feel even better by having and doing more! I'm willing to take 100% responsibility for my life and my results. I know if I don't make it happen, no one else is going to do it for me. 
  • On my best day I feel like I am invincible and there are no limits on what I'm capable of. On my worst day I am wracked with self doubt, limiting beliefs about whether I've got what it takes to make this thing work. 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

- Emphasis on innovation, creativity and pioneering

- Confidence, back yourself, chase the dream

- Finding your voice, speaking your message, discovering your gift

- Abundance, opportunity, possibility

- Bending the rules to suit

- Finding freedom to pursue your passion  

- Stress, anxiety, pressure

ENTREPRENEUR 

 

You’ve done the hard work of stepping out on your own, but there is still plenty to prove and plenty to defend. If you stay in this level too long you will start holding people back beneath you. There are many level 5 entrepreneurs who are solely focused on building profit and status and will stop at nothing to achieve this. Employees become commodities and everything becomes intensely personal. Those who don't grow beyond level 5 can become greedy, selfish, proud, lonely, and controlling. They are hard to get along with and life is all about them. 

GROWING BEYOND LEVEL 5

To transition from level 5 into level 6 will require you to confront and overcome the ego. The key to go beyond this level is to shift the focus from building your own empire to genuinely serving others. The process of breaking the attachment between your personal significance and your own business is essential to grow to the level of contribution. It is some of the most confronting and deep personal development work a person can do. Not many people grow beyond level 5 because of how difficult this transition is, yet when a person has overcome their ego, the contribution they are then able to make is truly extraordinary. 

LEVEL 6 - CONTRIBUTION

Relationship with money:

  • I have far more money than I require for my own needs. I can do whatever I want and not put myself in financial trouble.
  • My money is directed towards philanthropic work solving the worlds biggest problems of inequality and injustice. 

Relationship with work: 

  • I work purely for enjoyment and to serve as many people as possible
  • I'm very selective about what new projects I agree to. 

Relationship with others:

  •  I see myself as part of the global village. My aim is not to gain status or fame for myself, but to give back and add value to others. 

Relationship with self: 

  • My whole life has been about becoming the best version of myself. I  am still 100% committed to this journey of self discovery. Even though there is still plenty more growth to come, I'm incredibly comfortable in my own skin and almost everything I do is aligned with my highest values and purpose. 

OTHER CHARACTERISTICS

- Emphasis on the global community 

- Giving back, making a difference on as big a scale as possible. 

- High level of self mastery

 

GROWING BEYOND LEVEL 6. 

The key learning to move beyond this level of living is about stepping up into ultimate purpose and capacity, discovering that your greatest ability to serve others lies in giving extraordinary leadership.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEVEL 7 - STATESMANSHIP 

Those who make it to this level have transcended level 6 by making such a significant contribution. Examples may be: Mother Theresa, Oprah, Bono or Nelson Mandela. The focus now turns to leadership and modelling a way that inspires millions of people to live differently.

Letting go of blame and excuse

Letting go of blame and excuse

 

The two things blow my hair back most in life are:

 a) How extraordinarily powerful people are. There are almost no limits to what we are capable of.

b) How much power most people give away and live as disempowered victims. I’m genuinely astounded at peoples capacity to just get by and survive, constantly complaining yet continuing to do the same old stuff they hate every single day!

 

The reason people give away their power is because often it’s easier to live without it. As Spiderman says “With great power comes great responsibility”

Often people simply opt for the safe approach to life. If they give away their power then nothing is their responsibility and nor is anything their fault.

Yet then all they are left with is blame and excuse!

 

Blame is fun

 

Blaming someone or something for your current results is so natural, easy and even a little bit enjoyable (if we're going to be really honest)

I mean it just makes so much sense to be angry at injustice and all the unfair, unfortunate, wrong, bad, mean, sad, rude things that have happened to you.

If only this hadn't happened...If only they hadn't done that...If only you hadn't been treated like that…If only...

You are totally within your rights to play the blame and excuse card again and again, because what happened to you is wrong and it is unfair and it shouldn't have happened and you did deserve better.

The only problem with blame is it leaves you powerless to change anything.

You become a disempowered victim waiting on the world to change.

 

Getting better results 

 

The only way to get better results in your life is to take responsibility for them. Success in any area starts when we realise that your results are exactly that…your results. Letting go of blame and excuse and taking hold of 100% responsibility and choice is the only way to turn things around and improve the quality of your life.

 

Let go of the payoff

 

In order to take your power back, you have to be willing to let go of the payoff you got for giving it away in the first place.

Lot’s of people feel incredibly disempowered in life and that they have had their power taken away from them.

Yet interestingly personal power can never be stolen, it is only ever given away.  The only reason we would give it away is if we get something valuable in return.

This thought is incredibly confronting I know, but also incredibly liberating at the same time, because it means we are not victims. We are exactly where we have chosen to be. Which means we could also make different choices.

The main pay off for giving away your power is that blame and excuse is far easier than embracing responsibility and choice. We get to play the victim and take the moral high ground. We get to point the finger and compare ourselves to those treating us poorly.

 

Take your power back

 

You can take your power back as long as you are willing to let go of the pay off you got for giving it away in the first place. It is so easy to believe that our life is affected and limited by all the things others do, and that we are victims of our environment, yet as Victor Frankyl declared to his Nazi captors from a German concentration camp – “You can take every single thing away from me, but you can NEVER take from me my ability to choose how I respond to you!”

When you take power back, then you also have to take 100% responsibility for your own results and your relationships, which is really hard!

The moment you are ready to do that you can step out of the victim mode of living and exercise personal power in your life again.

 

Tough questions:

 

Who or what are you blaming right now?

What excuse cards are you playing?

How's that working out for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does change happen?

When each of these 3 things are present, you cannot not change...

1.NEW AWARENESS. 

If you can't see it, how can you possibly change it? All change begins with seeing things with new eyes.- A light bulb moment,- A new perspective- A great question that unlocks a whole new level of learning- An understanding of WHY you are doing what you are doing. 
The proverb says "Seek understanding like silver and search for it like precious jewels..."Be prepared to ask, seek, doubt, let go of being attached to a certain way of thinking and living.

2. MORE CHOICE. 

We are all trying to bring peace and comfort to ourselves the best way we know how. If we had a better way, of course we would use it. More choice comes every time we listen to wisdom and learn a better way. It flows out of the experience of gaining new and deeper awareness. It comes from realising that being stuck with limited choice is simply an illusion, and that we each have 100% choice about the things that matter most in our lives. 
Never stop learning. Embrace 100% choice. Be willing to let go of the old way every time you find a better way.

3. ALTERED BELIEFS. 

Behaviour comes out of belief. It never lies. It proves what you really believe to be true, or important. Therefore if you're new awareness leading to increased choice, alters what you believe is true, what is right or what is best, then your behaviour is automatically changed as well. 
Dr Ian Snape taught me that all beliefs exist on a probability scale from 0 - 1. 0 is 100% not true and 1 is 100% absolutely true. Now seeing that we never have access to that level of certainty, we are left to live in the grey in-between. Based on our understanding, learning and experiences, things are either highly likely to be true, highly unlikely, or somewhere in the middle. 
Every time we have experiences of increased awareness and more choice, our beliefs slide up and down the scale. They are highly mobile - Not immovable forces. I'm sure at one time in your life you believed that the existence of Santa was highly likely, but that belief has probably slid down the scale to now be highly unlikely. As a result of this, your thoughts feeling and behaviour around christmas time automatically change too. 
So embracing new awareness and more choice, leads to altered beliefs. 
Changed beliefs = changed behaviour. 


If you are trying to cause change to happen in your life and your awareness hasn't increased, you don't have more choice and your beliefs haven't altered - then that is the very definition of pushing shit uphill. 
Good luck with that...