Now What?

Back in January 2004, aged 18 I started working for a well known High Street bank. It was my first step out of blue collar and straight into supposedly white collar. Though retail is retail at the end of the day. Only this time I was wearing a tie. I’ve always been about the grit. If I ever wanted something I would do what it took to get it. In this case it was interview after interview. I knew I just needed an in then I could gain experience and work my up.

The concept of wanting became all too intense when I started learning about how loans and credit cards worked. Well, I say learning how they worked, however, what I really mean to say is that I now found out they existed and that I could buy whatever I wanted right there and then. Building up a credit rating subsequently led to other companies wanting to give me credit cards and so began the slippery slope. Continue reading “Now What?”

The Difference Between Successful And Unsuccessful People

Provocative title, right? A step by step checklist for aspiring people driven to succeed? Perhaps a dig at those whom would be considered to be unsuccessful? Make of it what you will. I don’t consider myself to be either successful or unsuccessful, as I’ll be explaining throughout this post. If anything this is a checklist for my own benefit and if it helps sparks some sort of curiosity in others then great.

Firstly though, the term ‘success’ is very vague. I am going to state what I believe to be the definition of success. Here it is: ‘Self-actualisation’. There are many ways of defining this. We could state that it is the realisation and application of one’s own talents. An individual living in accordance to their own highest values. It could simply be defined as someone that lives their life from their heart. All of the above centre around one key element; fulfilment. Continue reading “The Difference Between Successful And Unsuccessful People”

Trying To Run Before I Could Walk

We’ve all been there. Often times getting too ahead of ourselves we miss out the finer details of things that turn out to be the most important. Whether it be excitement, exuberance, lack of maturity, I have lately been identifying my own reasons. Which if I am being completely honest have been largely attached to fear.

In my previous blogs I have often brought up how having gone self employed around 7 years ago I have felt an overwhelm due to the sheer survival instinct that I have imposed on myself. Looking back it started a little earlier than that when I was working in a bar. Continue reading “Trying To Run Before I Could Walk”

Is It Really Me Against The World After All?

Throughout the last 7 years, as I have been consumed with the field of personal development, I have noticed several defining moments that have led to certain shifts in my life. None more so than my most recent one which has been the eye-opening experience of my de-cluttering. Since reading books such as Stuffocation and American Mania: When More Is Not Enough, I found myself highlighting certain behaviours in myself that I wasn’t originally aware of.

I have always prided myself on being a grafter. I could out-work anyone at anything because I needed to be better. Little did I know that it was just a way of seeking approval from a higher authority. I felt as if I needed that pat on the back from people that, for whatever reason, I had put on a pedestal.

To my shock I realised that I was putting everyone on a pedestal. No matter who it was, I needed to gain their approval in some way. It was all rooted in a fear based mentality that made me so afraid of offending people that I just kept things bottled up. I kept myself shut off from the world and kept my distance. For so long I felt separate and left out.

While everyone was going about their lives I would watch from afar and envy. Envy because these people appeared to have a confidence to be themselves that I could only dream of. So afraid of people’s judgement and ridicule I never really gave myself permission to follow what truly matters to me.

As I plunged deeper into the field of personal development I found that I was creating more distance between myself and others. The reason being is that I am a dreamer, I have a vision and I feel that we play far too small compared to what we are capable of. Frustration was getting the better of me because so many people just aren’t willing to listen. Yet it was myself that I was most trying to convince.

When you don’t have the same mentality as virtually the entire world’s population you find yourself becoming very lonely. I haven’t had the best of luck in relationships mainly because I have trust issues about letting someone get close to me and partly because girls I have been with in the past haven’t really embraced my desire to better myself. In many cases I have been called deluded.

Of course it would be easy to say that I have attracted a few bad apples along the way. Although I am not sure that is the complete truth. If I am being honest with myself then I would say that I have been looking for them. If you surround yourself with negativity long enough it will become engrained and all of a sudden I am on red alert for anything that matches that bias.

The fact that I have spent pretty much my whole life with this mindset creates a big conflict when I am looking to make something of myself. Talking about all of the opportunities, possibilities and successes that life has to offer soon makes you an outcast in your negative environment. So how do I react to this? I sulk. I get frustrated. I sink back down into a hole. I let other people’s views be the deciding factor.

Well not anymore. I am tired of letting other people think they know whats best for me. From now on they can do and say whatever they like that is best for them and I will do what is best for me. As I approach 32 years of age I have finally found myself coming into my own a lot more. By having a major de-clutter physically and digitally I have noticed that it has happened mentally as well. I have cleared my mind a lot and have become less attached to people’s views.

I was once part of an ‘evidence based’ fitness group on Facebook and some of the conversations that were taking place originally made me feel good because it meant we could openly attack people. If it wasn’t backed up by the holy grail of science then it was fair game. It turned me into an obnoxious little shit because it made me believe that I had free reign to attack anyone and anything that I felt like.

I was attacking spirituality in particular and the New Age movement. A concept that led me into science because I had a yearning to know more. I was attacking a vital step in my development. All the while I was distancing myself from the loving people and nature that the New Age movement is known for. For whatever reason I didn’t think it was acceptable to appreciate both science and spiritually so I found myself having to pick one.

For as long as I can remember I have always been complaining about things that I deem to have hindered me in some way. The more I drew my attention to all these things, the more they kept showing up. Or did they? You see, events come and go. It is our emotional response to them that bring them into our awareness and we then decide how significant they are to us. This is essentially how the Law of Attraction works.

All these events throughout my life that I thought were holding me back and pushing me down were actually helping me up. Teaching me to grow and evolve. Giving me necessary challenges in order to better myself. Yet all the while I was trying to play the victim in order to first get sympathy and also to use as an excuse for not achieving anything in life.

I would say the biggest defining moment of them all was losing my dad when I was very young. I was lucky enough to have a step dad that I have always got along with but the void of losing my biological dad definitely had a huge impact on me. I repressed my emotions for so long and it is only recently that I am able to feel open to discussing it.

Deep down I have used this as a way of reinforcing a belief that I am not good enough. I am not worthy of love because it will just get stripped away from me. Again, playing into that victim mentality and using it as an excuse. However, what if I were to re-frame it? What if I were to identify the positive aspects of this experience?

There is no question that this is what has given me so much drive and determination. Having to prove myself and my worth may seem like such negative components of a personality. Now I see them as a positive fuel to help me grow and expand. Only this time I am doing it for me and no one else.

Then I look at when I was growing up and ‘smarter’ kids were going to grammar schools while I went to the local comprehensive that had a less than favourable reputation. I had comments aimed at me quite regularly by their parents. Something that at 12 years old you don’t really know how to deal with. It made me believe I was thick and that I wouldn’t be capable of much.

Now what if I were to re-frame this as well? Let’s just say I did go to the same schools, get the decent grades and fitted in with this middle class way of living? I can only hazard a guess that I would have come out, got a job, met a wife, got a mortgage, had kids and waited for retirement and subsequently death. I have nothing against the people that want to live in this manner. More power to them and I applaud those that are happy living in a way that suits them. However, this particular way just isn’t for me.

So what have I done instead? Well, having deep rooted father issues gave me a disdain for authority which led me to working for myself and entering the business world. With so many people disillusioned by their job and waiting for 5pm and the weekend to come around I cannot believe my own luck that I get to run my own diary as well as pursuing something that I love and having the time to do it.

My once hedonistic mindset was cursing just how hard I had to work to survive. Now I see that the hard work was serving me for a much greater purpose and one that outstrips hedonism by far. It has taught me about taking responsibility for myself, given me a vision for the future and a desire to make something of myself.

In regards to growing up believing I was thick. As soon as I got into Personal Training I discovered that I was able to understand the theory components. This gave birth to a new belief that maybe I could be intelligent after all. I have since gone on to learn about topics such as neuroscience and quantum physics as they relate to consciousness. That void has driven me to value knowledge and education. I wouldn’t be anywhere near as smart as I am now if I hadn’t have been somewhat disparaged about my lack of intelligence as a kid. I no doubt would have just rested on my laurels and had no desire to grow and develop.

This entire journey that I have been on has put me on the most important quest to learn how to love myself. Only then would I know what true love in a relationship surely is. Starting out with such a low view of myself has led me to go deeper and deeper to collapse stored baggage. What if I had the bog standard life as described above? I am not convinced that I would have ever felt true connection that I know is coming my way one day.

Through experience I have had to learn money management skills the hard way too. Getting myself into a lot of debt ‘chasing the dream’ taught me to wake up. I am now on a mission to become financially independent in my thirties. The alternative that would have been to hopefully retire in my sixties having spent forty-plus years working a job I wasn’t inspired by.

I have always bemoaned my experiences in relationships and I now know why. Holding back from getting attached I never really gave much. I certainly haven’t loved, I know that. To protect myself from hurt I wouldn’t allow love. So what did I do? I kept finding fault. I only made myself aware of the bad stuff. The things that annoyed me or frustrated me. That way I could distance myself because I had an excuse to.

My last two girlfriends have pointed out the same thing; that I always think that anyone and anything is against me. They were right. As much as I don’t like to admit it and it is now time to face up to the truth. Though going through those relationships with my protective barrier meant that I was creating a lot of conflict. I wouldn’t budge an inch on anything and instead would cite all arguments as an all out attack on little old me.

And maybe that is what has been holding me back all this time? By viewing the world as against me has given me the perfect excuse not to love myself fully. By finding fault in anything I possibly could gave me fuel for my so called victimhood mentality. It also made it a lot easier to judge anything I could. Creating so much hate within me. If I only look at the bad stuff in life then it gives me an excuse not to participate in it.

Now it is time to let all that go. The view I had of the world was merely a projection of how I have long felt about myself. But I deserve better. I deserve to have all I want to in life and I will continue to pursue it. I have had many defining moments up until this point and I am looking forward to many more. All those events that I thought were trying to drag me down were actually freeing me up to go on to bigger and better things. I finally see that now and couldn’t be more grateful.

“Change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Wayne Dyer

Time To Start Looking Ahead

Recently, I have been having the mother of all clear outs. Minimalism is being taken to a whole new level in my life. Over the Easter period I read a book called ‘Stuffocation’ and the message really resonated with me. I am a huge proponent of capitalism, only in its current format it just isn’t sustainable. I learned all about the damage that we are doing to this planet purely because of the accumulation of ‘stuff’.

I wouldn’t say that I am boycotting materialism completely because I am not looking to get rid of my BMW any time soon, unless it is to buy a Jaguar. On the whole, I knew I needed to start getting rid of things. I had spent so long accumulating things that I forgot why I was doing it in the first place. Then it dawned on me, it was attached to my need to keep up with the Jones’.

Brands and fancy things have never been my forte and my fashion sense is questionable at best. That didn’t stop me pursuing the riches as if I was into those sorts of things. Reason being is that I attached my worth to accumulation. I had so many attachments that I didn’t even realise just how much they were holding me back.

And so began the clear out. I was getting rid of clothes, old souvenirs, paperwork. Everything was going. I decided to take it digitally and deleted hundreds of saved emails, Facebook friends and phone contacts. I even deleted my entire LinkedIn account. With each deletion I kept finding myself thinking “Oh but I may need that one day”. As if my life somehow hinged on it.

Little did I know that I was embarking on a new found sense of freedom. And I still haven’t gotten anywhere near finished yet. I had spent so long accumulating the past that it was steadily building me into a prison. A prison of attachment. For so long I felt as if I had nothing. Trust me, start throwing things away and you’ll realise just how much you do have.

So my physical surroundings were becoming clutter free, my digital presence was also going down the same route. I was finding myself becoming more carefree and present. However there was something else that also warranted my attention which was my body and mind. I have come to learn that the body is the unconscious mind and all those experiences and so called beliefs that we accumulate throughout life just store up in our bodies.

I’ll give you a recent example from a session with Mind Body Connection Coach Martin Feaver. As he was working on my left side he brought up the subject of ex-girlfriends and one in particular kept coming to mind which kept causing me a lot of pain in the area he was working on. When he made me focus my attention on something else the pain went. He made me realise how I can switch it on and off. He helped me open up about what the issue was and all of a sudden the pain just went and I felt a compassion for this particular person.

I have just begun the process of a body transformation using the expert skills and knowledge of a peer of mine. We took before shots so that I can track my progress. What I noticed on the rear shot was quite severe scoliosis in my spine which I thought I had gotten rid of to a degree. There is a muscle in the lower back called the Quadratus Lumborum (QL). One of the left and one of the right.

The one on my right is jammed up good. It hampers me in most things such as running, squatting and even driving. Given that I have had more pissed off ex-girlfriends that I have hot dinners then I’m pretty sure that I have these jammed up muscles all over my body. Not to mentioned other episodes in my life that I have also held on to.

More so than any previous girlfriend, I feel that the biggest issue I have faced was that of my dad dying when I was very young. Many people would often state their sorrow when they found out and I didn’t really think anything of it because I didn’t really know what was going on at the time. Little did I realise that I would repress so much emotion. In all honesty I feel that repressing emotions to the degree that I have all this time is what has probably led to having a long line of pissed off ex-girlfriends.

So far I have only really scratched the surface of these issues and I am now starting to understand how important it is to bring them out in the open and deal with them so that I can truly move on in life.

What is interesting to me is that having spent a lot of time in the last few weeks going through and deleting things from Facebook I got to see just how my personality has changed. My photos were mainly of me going out drinking and having fun which continued and even occurred to a greater extent during my time in Australia. I thought that life was one big party and so I would act as if it was. It was merely a cry for attention. Perhaps something I felt may have been a void since that young age.

I went from Mania to Depression and it is only now that I am beginning to open my eyes to that sweet spot in the middle whereby I can look to the future instead of the past. I spent a long time working with Elite Life Coach Tony J Selimi and he gave a great analogy when we first started working together.

He said that you cannot build the shard with the foundations of a three storey block of flats. That message has stuck with me because ever since that day I have kept digging and digging. What I keep finding has been uncomfortable to say the least. The more I keep bringing to the surface and collapsing, the more I can live with an inner peace and calmness that deep down we all crave far more than whatever material possessions we think we want that often only serve to hold us back.

Totally Addicted To Stress

We’re just three weeks away from a general election in this country and I have always tended to keep myself out of politics. Partly because like everyone else, I know absolutely nothing. Mainly though it is because I am on a journey of self-governance. Bit by bit I am starting to take more responsibility for myself. It was a journey that started around 7 years ago and has brought up to the surface more pain and discomfort than I could ever have imagined.

The first time I went self employed I had no idea just how hard it would be. I just assumed that I would have clients queuing up wanting to be trained. I had unknowingly thrown myself in the deep end and was starting to sink, fast. In a bid to overcome this discomfort I went looking for answers. I enrolled on courses, I bought books, I spent hours on YouTube, you name it.

Every minute of every day I was switched on, looking over my shoulder expecting some kind of apocalypse to happen. I feared not knowing, I feared being left behind. Endless hours of worry consumed my life. It kidnapped my focus and attention. I wasn’t present in situations. Everyday was a struggle. Every second was a struggle. My energy was waning more and more as time went on.

Money was the major source of my struggle. I always attached money to my security and I attached my security to that of the approval of others. It was my assumption that the more money I made, the better lifestyle I could live therefore I would be approved of. I needed that approval because I had such a low opinion of myself that I just had to try to find it from somewhere.

The irony was that I was trying to leverage money I didn’t even have. I was booking courses and programmes using credit cards and racking up debt. I thought these programmes would be the answer because I could get the knowledge I needed to make more money and so on and so forth. Little did I know at the time that I was just spiralling downwards.

I was taking on as much work as I could in order to cover the excessively high minimum payments on my credit cards. We’re talking 60-80 hour weeks, quite often working every day. Tutoring, assessing, Personal Training. Anything that I could do for work in order to get as much money as possible. I was desperate and I was splitting my time and focus in so many different directions that I was beginning to burn out.

Knowing that I was unable to find funds to put myself through any more courses and living up to the eyeballs in debt I felt completely stuck. In fact, the word that kept coming to mind when I was alone with my thoughts was ‘hopeless’. I felt completely down and out and with no idea what I was going to do. I even looked into an IVA which is a type of bankruptcy. I was so close to going for it.

In my vast book collection, there are of course many that are about wealth, money management, finances and economics. I realised that I needed to educate myself on the subject rather than trying to build a business out of thin air. I started applying the techniques (which most people say are ridiculous, something I’ll be writing about in future posts) and mercifully, the tide began to change.

I started to make myself more important that any of my expenses by saving the first portion of my income each month and made a commitment to keep raising it. Things started to shift. My mindset began improving, money was coming out of places I wouldn’t have expected and business was starting to take off. I now find myself almost debt free and, more importantly, with a much brighter outlook for the future.

So here I am now, writing this from a point where my worries have greatly subsided compared to what they were perhaps just 6-12 months ago, business is ticking over nicely, I have a great steady income and I finally see a lot of light at the end of the tunnel. You would think I’d be happy with that right? Well of course I am given the struggles I have put myself through in the last few years.

All of a sudden I no longer have to be working 24/7. I no longer have to take on as much work as possible. In fact I am in a position now where I don’t have to work weekends if I don’t want to. I have staff that carry out most of the business admin and I can even let go of certain tasks and duties that are not important.

I have just discovered how hard this is for me to accept. Whether I liked it or not I had gotten myself used to the demand of my time, the struggle and fight. I am so grateful that I don’t have those same demands anymore but I found myself really struggling to adjust. Having spent so long looking over my shoulder I am now in a position where I can relax a little bit, take stock and just breathe.

This is a position that I wanted to get to for so long and even though I still want to get further and further in life I am very grateful to have come this far. However, my body is still playing catch up. It only knows stress because that is all it has been exposed to for so long. Even before going self employed I was very much a worrier. If I am being completely honest with myself then I still am to a degree.

I have so much free time on my hands that I could be getting back into my memory training, I could be reading and studying more, I could be spending more time in the gym. And I will. What I really want to do though is allow myself to get bored for a while. I want give myself as few commitments as possible in order to shake off as much of the ‘stress residue’ as possible.

The reason being is that I feel as though I would only be doing certain things for the sake of it rather than because I actually want to purely because of how I have programmed myself. I now have the perfect opportunity to really master meditation and get to know myself a lot more as I continue my journey to self awareness. As much as I love my study I feel I am really being drawn into spending more time alone with my thoughts. Often quite a daunting thing to experience at times.

The deeper I dig, the more solid foundations I can lay down. Meaning that I can lead a more authentic life that gives me greater purpose. One of the best things is that I can become more aware of what challenges I want to pursue rather than having them thrust upon me by my unconscious mind.

I could very easily bemoan the struggles I have faced over the last 7 years. That isn’t going to get me anywhere though. Those struggles were necessary as they have given me the strength to take on the next 7 and see what happens. For so long I was chasing the so called ‘good life’ where everything was easy. The pleasure that Hedonism promises. Deep down that is not what I want. I want to grow, develop, evolve. This will bring me new obstacles to overcome as I expand my comfort zone further.

One particular path I am putting myself on is that of a body transformation. I have always wanted to be lean and ripped and have a great physique. I now have the time to dedicate myself to that journey. I was too ashamed to admit where I would be starting from and so I always made out that I wouldn’t ever want to look a certain way. Deep down I did and now I want to do it because I feel that my body deserves to be the best it can be.

All along I have been this ‘perfectionist’ that beat myself up because I wasn’t ‘perfect’. I felt as if I had to have ‘made it’ and even acted as if I did. I kept trying to dish out advice because I was an ‘expert’. The truth is that I haven’t made it. Who ever does?

Now I have humbled myself enough to state that I am still at the start of my journey, pretty much, regardless of how far I feel I have come. I am happy enough to show my imperfections here at the start and instead of striving for an end goal as such I am more accepting of the idea of loving the journey and the process and reaping the accomplishments along the way.

Maybe the best thing out of all this is that I am not scared of the mistakes and failures that will likely come up. This is because I know that they will teach me so much that I want to learn as I continue my journey to self-governance.