To give a bit of a credible-context to this topic I will be, of course, sharing my own personal experience that led to a profound life lesson –Ok, so the short of it is that over the past two years I have become far too focused on getting short-term results! I’ve been impatient and have allowed my ego to control my emotions…
It started in a place where I thought I knew how to be grateful and humble. Doing whatever it takes to make my life better I was willing to invest in personal development and make sacrifices. In other words, I was committed to success.
I wanted to experience the lifestyle of a winner. I wanted to feel what’s it like to be an achiever and made everything possible to do so. Even making sure I looked that way.
But at some point, I started losing it.
I began telling myself and others that I co-founded a company, I was coaching entrepreneurs and charged that much money. I was too involved in “cool” projects and was travelling a lot. I was trying to let people know what an intense and exciting life I had.
I was busy trying to make sure everyone understands that I, blah blah…
I lost it.
Self-compassion is HUGE
My humbleness disappeared. It led to things such as self-deception, personal dissatisfaction, financial obligations and worst of all it affected my marriage. Basically, I had the whole package to deal with.
After a realisation of what happened like most of us would do, I started blaming myself. For a few good weeks I criticised myself and thinking, “Oh gosh, I have lost so much precious time for nothing”, “How could I be so blind?”, “How on earth did I get in this position?”.
I knew I had to stop this. I had to go back to the basics. I turned to an advice from Eric Barker and his book “Barking Up The Wrong Tree” – I lately recommend this book, a lot!.
He writes that according to Navy Seal James Waters, the way to build self-compassion is to talk to yourself with kindness. There is no need to use motivational language you won’t believe. You have got to stay true to yourself.
Well, if a navy seal says so, then I certainly should try, right?
Tim Ferris has been talking about reframing questions a lot on his podcasts. I applied his advice as well. I sat down with my own self and objectively put things into a different perspective. I started asking questions such as:
- If I don’t need to prove myself to anyone how would I feel?
- What is really important for me in life?
- What do I want to change about my life this year, month, week?
I still revisit these questions almost on a daily basis. And I am no longer surprised why I “lost it”.
You don’t have to experience what I have gone through. The most practical thing you can do is to dedicate a certain amount of time every day to think about the questions I wrote above.
It really is that important, as nobody else will hand these answers to you, so it’s completely your responsibility to identify them.
The most challenging in this type of situations is to remain in control — not to revert back into the “blame mode”.
Remember, stay humble.
A strategy that will make a REAL long-term difference
Self-compassion is one of the tools to “recover” or overcome challenges in life. But what do you do to take your life to a new trajectory?
You have got to start with the end in mind. Now, this is the time to plan out what you want.
What is it that you really want in life?
Until you answer this question, you will be experiencing confusion, unfulfillment, depression, desire for immediate pleasures. Is this how you want to live the rest of your life? I don’t think so. I certainly don’t want to.
Here is what helped me to get clear on what I want.
Recently, I re-read the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This time it has a completely different influence on me. In one of the chapters, Mr. Covey talks about the principle of two creations. Everything is created twice. First, you plan out what you want, second you make sure it’s being executed.
Now, this exercise is to really help you create a long-term vision for your life. It requires you to have some time alone and undisturbed.
Now sit down and imagine your closest friend or relative has passed away and you are at his/her funeral. As you approach and look at this person’s face you see yourself. You realise it’s your funeral and these are your friends and family members who gathered to say goodbye. Now imagine that your spouse, closest friend, business partner or colleague, parents and children are about to give the speech.
Imagine and write down what will the say about:
- What kind of husband or wife have you been?
- What kind of business partner have you been?
- What kind of son or daughter have you been?
- What kind of friend have you been?
- What character and qualities of the person have you developed?
- What achievements and legacy have you left?
If you did this exercise with all honesty then the answers should have shown you what your heart really desires.
For example, I realised that top three qualities I admire and want to embrace are gratitude, leadership and hard work. My legacy is creating a community, building a world-wide project or an organisation and writing several bestselling books.
Let the answers rest in your mind for a week or so. After get back to it and make sure it feels RIGHT. Now you have full responsibility to act. Remeber the principle of 2 creations?!
But if you don’t act and decide to go back to your previous habits of thinking, and lifestyle then you are doomed to remain unhappy…
You make the choice.