How To Extract Life-Changing Takeaways From Any Experience

Mental and Emotional Mastery is a critical foundation of Life Mastery. Here is an example of what this looks like in my own life.

Psalm 26:2 (AMP) Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my heart and my mind.


If we are intentional in looking for it, God will always provide an epiphany – A Golden Takeaway from any significant experience in our life.

When that happens, it leads to a new set of options, choices that we can utilize in the future to grow and achieve greater levels of peace, wholeness, and connectedness to others, ourselves and God.

It is through a new awareness that we gain new perspectives.

When our patterns of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors start to make sense we can then choose to change (or more accurately surrender our dependence on) the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that no longer serve us well.

What follows is the way in which I “work things out”.

It is how I attempt to discern “what is God trying to tell me here” and “what I am supposed to do with it”.

So what do you say, you interested? Great, let’s do this!

The Process of Processing 

  1. What happened (the situation)?
  2. What were my motivations, emotions, and spiritual condition (called States)?
  3. What does God want to reveal (post-reflection)
  4. How have my new perspectives and awarenesses changed (take-away)
  5. What can I do differently next time (action plan)

What follows is an example of how that exact process plays out for me. This is a very real situation that just slammed into me within the last 48 hours.

It is a compare and contrast from two similar events in my life that had polar opposite driving forces and outcomes, and the emerging awareness of why one worked and one didn’t have the potential to be life-changing for me.

And who knows, maybe for someone else?


STEP ONE – What Happened

This all revolves around 2 separate road trips that I’ve taken in the last year. I’ll call them Trip #1 and Trip #2 (creative eh)


This took place soon after I first got sick when I was forced into a medical leave of absence over a year ago.

I first drove to meet a friend and we camped for a few days but instead of turning south from the campground to go back home, I ended up turning north on an impulse to just “see where it leads”.

It was a spectacular 10-day journey of prayer, journaling, sight-seeing and soul-searching throughout the coastal areas and mountains of Central and Northern California, complete with an endless stream of Divine Coincidences


This happened yesterday, nearly a year after the first trip; and although the original intent (on some level) was similar to trip #1, the outcomes couldn’t have been more radically different in every aspect.

This trip started out as me just wanting to clear my head (similar to trip #1).

But what manifested as was an 860-mile round-trip from Los Angeles to Cedar City Utah in a 22-hour waking nightmare.

Same person, same car, same intent/desire, but insanely different experiences.

Why did they turn so different?

Gratefully God can work with those kinds of questions!

Mark 12:29-31 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” [my emphasis]

STEP TWO – What Were My Mental, Emotional, Spiritual & Physical States

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV) Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have found it critically important when trying to discern why things go right and why things go wrong, what part of it was “up to me?”

It comes down to self-awareness which is never intuitive. And it is likely the most critical life-skill that is never taught. 

95% of our thoughts, feeling and actions are driven subconsciously from our mind/body past experiences.

It’s an auto-pilot and without recognizing the survival forces at work (fight or flight response) can drive us to live reactionary lives. We say, do and feel things not based on current realities but largely on past “take-aways”.

So I always start by asking myself: What were my “states” before and during the encounter?


Mental – I believe I was clear-headed. I had a sense of adventure, of wanting to explore. I was feeling like I was a free spirit who could do whatever I wanted (which is not normal for me).

Emotional – I was in a pretty good place. I was apprehensive about the impulsiveness of the decision but I was expecting a really neat experience, even though I had no idea what to expect.

Physical – My health condition was a serious consideration, but I theorized that laying in a hammock on the beach watching a beautiful fire-red sunset was better than laying in bed at home. So I was alert to my physical limitations and believed this was a reasonable act self-care. 

Spiritual – Here is the secret sauce. Every step of the way from the second I turned my car north away from the direction of home, I took a stance of nearly excited faith. “This is crazy Lord, but I trust you”. 

I won’t share all of the DIVINE MIRACLES that took place on trip #1 but the very first one will blow your mind, at least it still does mine.

Were there Divine Appointments?

I drove north wanting to go to Big Sur campground along Highway 1 in Central California. It is the exact place where I gave my life to Christ some 8 years before then and being that I wanted “get with God” on this trip, where better to go?

Highway 1 Big Sur, California

The problem is, Limekiln Campground is a small-ish campground in one of the most spectacular regions of the California Coastline, and reservations are made a year in advance. You NEVER just drive up there expecting a spot. And this place is remote, if camping isn’t available here you might be homeless. No cell service, and no services for many miles.

What I was doing was CRAZY. Yet this was a different kind of crazy in this trip versus trip #2 as you will soon see.

So what happened? I went there on faith. And long story short, not only was I ultimately able to get a spot in Limekiln Campground, the ONLY spot available was the EXACT SPOT that I gave my life to Christ at 7 years earlier.

That is an impossible outcome, but easy for God. And the entire trip went that way.

Every campground was “impossible to get into” yet by some miracle, I got in… for 10 days straight hopping from campground to campground I was met with miracle after miracle.


Mental – The premise of this trip was a trainwreck from the beginning. If you’ve been following my blog in the last week or so you know my counselor has been uncorking some childhood trauma stuff. I haven’t wanted to go there but I also believe God said: “you are ready”. So I’ve gone fearfully but willingly.

On this day I was having a really rough time, I was stuck ruminating on past events, and as they say, what you feed grows. And this was feeding my emotions.

Emotional – Again, trainwreck. What was uncovered was long deep and buried shame, self-hatred, and rage toward people who have treated me terribly throughout my life and I just “let them do it”. I’ve been passive, insecure and fearful all my life but most of the vile of poison was outside of my awareness in the 95% subconscious fight-or-flight regions of my brain. Fight or flight was alive and well this day!

Physical – I was not healthy. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last few nights and with the emotional exhaustion, my body was not doing well. But I was also filled with fight-or-flight chemical flood as the pain and anger escalated throughout the day. I was worn, and my bed would have been the safest place for me, but I had to run.

Spiritual – Here is where I believe the takeaways are going to come from. I’m somewhat processing this live right now as I type this so this is an organic exercise. So I was in prayer all day, but the emotional state and ruminating thoughts seemed stuck. My motivation on this trip was not “I’m moving towards God”, it was “I’m running from this house”.

Were there Divine Appointments?

I believe there were Divine Appointments on this trip also, but many different kinds. I left at 5pm physically worn and drove with no direction from God, instead just “where do I feel like going”. I drove to the mountains and didn’t “feel” better so I drove to the desert and didn’t “feel” better so I drove to Las Vegas and still didn’t “feel” better so I kept driving east until 2am, completey exhausted and nearly hallucinating on the road.

Again, what I was doing was CRAZY, but this time truly cray-cray!!

no hotels
not what you want to see when looking for hotels at 2:30am

One of the reasons I kept driving, there were no hotels available for hundreds of miles!

And when I finally stopped driving out of necessity? Still no hotels! I ended up sleeping near a dumpster behind a restaurant in my car in 37-degree temperature for only 3.5 hours. When I woke up I had the (rational) thought, “what the hell am I doing here” and pointed home and started driving.

I believe the Divine Appointment was that there were no Divine Appointments. This was all about me and my feelings and God wasn’t going to bless this trip. He kept me alive, but my entire experience was miserable.

STEP THREE – What Does God Want to Reveal?

I could have just had the thought, the first trip was great and the second trip sucked and leave it at that.

I’m very intentional in my prayer life, and I know and expect that when I go to God with feelings of hurt and confusion that He wants to give me peace and rest through the types of comfort and revelation that only He can provide.

So when I asked God “what the hell was that about?” (yeah, we have a pretty casual dialect, He gets me) He was quick to respond.

Clearly, the Divine Appointments were off the charts different. In the first, I met with blue skies and blessings beyond measure. But trip 2 was dark and met with resistance and tension the entire time.

This was my Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde struggle that I battle with, and they each took their own version of their perfect trip.

Obviously, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually, I was not the same person on both trips.

God was reminding me that my battle is not with “unfair or difficult circumstances”, it is always within myself.

STEP FOUR – The Perspective Shift

So what is my take-away?

Before making any decisions in life I have to make sure that The Four States are in order first. If any is not in balance, then getting them there becomes my highest priority at that exact moment. If I don’t they will overshadow everything I do.

And if all four are out at the same time, I’m at grave risk of making decisions that can physically or emotionally harm myself or others. It is not a rational place!

In the case of mental or physical illness (depression, chronic illness, etc…) I do not need to make excuses or feel guilty when saying “I can’t”.

If people don’t understand that I am doing what I have to do for me and are disappointed and take it personally, then that’s on them and not on me.

It comes down to self-care. What were my states?

Trip #1 – clarity of thoughts, emotionally stable, physically aware of self-care boundaries and spiritually consulting and trusting God with every risk-filled decision. This trip took place during the daytime – in the Light

Trip #2 – ruminating thoughts, emotionally unstable, physically exhausted and spiritually disconnected from God (and therefore susceptible to Satan’s influence on my decision-making processes). This trip was overnight – in the Darkness

If I had been more SELF-AWARE (and especially God aware) I would have realized that my desire to re-experience last year’s trip, albeit good, was entirely impossible in my current condition.

Not just one, but all four States were extremely out of balance and I should not have been on the road in the first place. Saved by Grace for sure!!

STEP FIVE – The New Action Plan

  1. SELF CARE MUST TAKE PRIORITYI should not tackle any activity or make a critical decision if all 4 states aren’t well balanced. I shouldn’t feel guilty or compelled to meet other’s expectations if my 4 states aren’t well balanced.
  2. IF I AM STUCK IN ANY STATE – ASK FOR HELP!Spiritual – find someone to pray with mePhysical – find someone to help me
    • Emotional – find someone who cares enough to sit with me in it
    • Mental – find someone to process with me

As obvious as those may seem, I don’t do them well, and I don’t do them consistently.

In fact, this whole exercise has given me a greater perspective of how when I let my emotions guide me I will almost always make bad choices.

I’ve been dragged around by my emotions my entire life and driven by a sense of shame and obligation when selecting the things I do. Many times the outcomes are not good, I have truly been my own worst enemy.

In many cases, I may have “looked like” I was a great guy, but many of my actions were in fact just manipulations so that I “looked good” to others in the hopes that I might “feel good” about myself. (hard to admit that)

I believe this is what God talks about when He talks about the condition of our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Well, what do you think?

My desire is to help people discover how the places of hurt and brokenness from our past traumas or childhood neglect has tricked us into believing things about ourselves, others and God that just simply aren’t true.

Pain, shame and blame are not from God.

Through greater self-awareness, we can become masters of our own inner and outer selves and thereby serve God and others with a pure heart where everyone wins.

For those of us who have experienced childhood trauma or neglect, the process of self-care is not intuitive. In fact, the road ahead is hard.

But both God and Science agree: we can be transformed by the renewal of our mind!

I’m not selling anything here. I’m just a new startup trying to get off the ground. Any comments or feedback is welcome, good or bad. 

You can also find other free resources at:


George Cronecanon podcast image 2

Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching

Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

Developer of The Life Mastery Project


Copywrite © 2019 Nikaos Strategic Coaching | The Life Mastery Project

One Man's Journey of Redemption

Psalm 26:2 (AMP) Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my heart and my mind.


If we are intentional of looking for it, God will always provide an epiphany – A Golden Takeaway from any significant experience in our life.

When that happens, it leads to a new set of options, choices that we can utilize in the future to grow and achieve greater levels of peace, wholeness, and connectedness to others, ourselves and God.

It is through a new awareness that we gain new perspectives.

When our patterns of thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors start to make sense we can then choose to change (or more accurately surrender our dependence on) the thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that no longer serve us well.

What follows is the way in which I “work things out”.

It is how I attempt to discern “what is God trying to tell me here” and “what…

View original post 2,542 more words

Are You Lost in the Weeds?

life is

It’s almost funny to me how self-sabotage can still sneak up on me and take me out.

For anyone that has spent any substantial amount of time trying to accomplish a goal, you know first-hand how hanging on to your “why” is critically important.

If we don’t have a well defined “why” that you are doing something then it is virtually impossible to summon the strength, courage, and endurance to make it through the seemingly endless battles and encroaching hopelessness that inevitably comes up while in pursuit of our dreams.

What is super important to recognize, however, is that challenges only become roadblocks when we lose perspective.

As I talk about constantly, our life experience is filtered through our belief system and values. What we believe is true will ultimately become true, either through perseverance or sabotage.

Case-in-point: as an IT Manager I was called upon to tackle incredibly challenging projects quite often. From finding new ERP Software to replacing a legacy phone system with a new IP based system. From evaluating evolving infrastructure hardware and software requirements to rolling-out entire enterprise-wide solutions for both.

Oh, and did I mention I was a department of one! I had no employees working for me in the IT department, I was it.

With nearly 200 employees in 5 different offices throughout the entire Western United States region, my hands were full. And when I started working there, they had only 5 AOL dial-up computers (yes, that just aged me).

I had to research, develop, roll-out and manage all of the projects without ever having done any of them before I joined the company as their IT Manager.

And literally, EVERY project was a success.

How is that possible?

When I look at my relationships, health, finances and other areas of my life at that time, I was a complete trainwreck.

I was 70lbs overweight with pre-diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, an active alcoholic, and hadn’t dated in nearly 20 years. I also had 1 bankruptcy in my past and the once-again maxed-out credit cards were threatening a second.

How could my career be stellar and the rest of my life not be working?

I was the same person in all those areas of my life, with the same capabilities, brain, and strengths.

As I reflected on that incongruency in my own life I realized it was mindset; that failure never entered my mind in my career, and giving up was never an option, and fear never took me out.

I was the IT Manager and I had a task to accomplish. I loved the challenge. Inevitably every project started with a Google search; how did others accomplish this.

And then I would begin to cast a vision of what the end-game would look like.

Then start assessing where we were now, what did we have already that would support the project and what did we need to dump and acquire.

Invariably a thousand knowledge deficits arose, and sacrifices had to be made, compromises and constant risk assessments continually restructured the process… BUT QUITTING WAS NEVER AN OPTION.

I realize now, in hindsight, failure wasn’t even on my radar, that was an absurd thought.

We needed a new phone system and I was going to roll one out, come hell or high water.

But when I thought about dating: what if she’s not the right one, what if I blow it, what if we date for a while then she goes crazy and I can’t get out of the relationship, what if everything goes great and it might lead to marriage, what if… what if… fear fear fear!

How about my finances: I really want to go on that motorcycle trip over the Continental Divide next Fall in Colorado, I’ll just put in on a credit card. I really want to go out to dinner with my friends, I’ll just put in on a credit card. My car’s a piece of crap, I’ll put the downpayment on a credit card. I need a new computer, I’ll put it on a credit card… I’ll put it on a credit card… credit card… credit card…

And what about my health: It’s a busy day, I’ll just grab fast food… 3x per day for 30 years! Insane eating habits.

Yet every year I would jump on the New Years Resolution with millions of others who dreamed of living differently in various areas of their life, make great plans, but never able to stick with it.

In every area of my life other than my career, when I envisioned a goal (dating, get out of debt, get healthy), the minute it came to actually “doing the work” I would get “lost in the weeds”. 

I would make choices based on immediate desires (temptations and feelings) instead of long-term visions. Or begin ruminating on my fears of what could go wrong instead of being driven by what could go right. 

In my career, failure wasn’t even a consideration, success was inevitable, it had to be. I just had to figure out how to do it and take the necessary steps every day. And every day I loved the process because every successful benchmark took me one step closer to the goal. 

I can’t begin to tell you the hundreds of hours I have spent personally and with clients trying to gain focus and clarity and drive and passion to get through the hard work of achieving goals, when in reality it comes completely natural with no awareness at all if we can just stay focused on “the vision and the why”.

I have an exercise for you, should you be interested in seeing just how good you are at this already, maybe without even realizing it.

The Success Mindset

Step One) Think of a past success that you are especially grateful for or proud of. 

  • Graduating from college?
  • Landing a killer job?
  • Getting that first date with the guy or gal you’ve been crushing on forever? 
  • Paying off your last credit card
  • Losing 50 lbs
  • Starting a new business
  • If you are younger and can’t think of anything major, how about getting your drivers license. 

Step Two) Get in touch with your mindset during your road to success

  • Was failure even a consideration?
  • Did fear stop you from progressing?
  • Did you see challenges as insurmountable or “just the next thing to solve”?
  • Like getting your drivers license, was the thought “I’ll never get my license” ever a belief that made you quit trying? Everyone gets their license, even if it takes a few tries, right? But did you have a clue how to drive when you started?

Step Three) What did the process look like for you?

  • Did a lot of it suck but you did what needed to be done and in hindsight glad you did?
  • Were you embarrassed to ask for help or did you instinctually and effortlessly seek out others for support?
  • Did you think of yourself as stupid for not having “all the answers” at the beginning of the process, or just took the “next step” without realizing it?
  • Did not having a clue “how” you were going to pull this off create debilitating fear that stopped you from trying?
  • If it was a weight, financial or other type benchmarks, was the daily sacrifice difficult during the entire duration or did it become almost fun as you saw the end-game coming closer into view

Step Four) Contrast and Compare the areas of your life that you struggle in vs your successes

  • Are your “thought processes” the same in both scenarios?
  • Is your focus on the goal any different?
  • Is your confidence, attitude, or beliefs about the situations any different?
  • Is your commitment, drive, and desire for success any different between them?

Invariably, it is our beliefs about our chances of success that keep us from being successful. 

So, what were the important variables for you when looking at a successfully completed goal vs one you keep failing at?

My guess is we will always find mindset, attitude, emotion and beliefs at the center?

Whatever the difference, ask yourself “why do I think differently about this area of my life than I do in the successful area(s) of my life?”

The Pursuit of Successful Attitudes

A clear vision of what success looks like is a critical first step.

“I will get my drivers license, I will get out of debt, I will get down to 150lbs, I will start dating and find my perfect mate, I will get sober, I will succeed in my business, I will, I will, I will!!!”

We cannot ask ourself “what happens if I fail” or get stuck believing “I’ve tried before and failed”. Those are a freight-train to the weeds!

We achieve what we focus on, trial-and-error prior to success is not a failure. Failure only arrives when we quit trying.

Taking a drivers test and not passing simply meant you studied harder and tested again, right?

Having an unshakeable “why” is another critical step. 

“I want my freedom and my driver’s license is how I get there, that’s why I will keep studying and training”.

“I want to live longer and play with my kids and watch them grow up, that’s why I’m losing the weight”.

“My business depends on me finding an edge over my competitors, that’s why I will keep searching for new innovation”.

“My company needs a new phone system and that’s my job, bring it on, let’s do this!!!”

Our “why” is what powers us through. If the goal is all you can see then the steps to get there are almost insignificant, they just are part of the process.

No stress, no drama, no fear… just “what’s next” as a matter-of-fact.

Never losing sight of the fact that YOU CAN DO IT

In looking at our past successes instead of our past failures, we can see that our mind, body, emotions, and will, combined with our faith and determination made the seemingly impossible, possible.

We must realize that we have all the internal goods needed for everything we need for success in every area of our life, we just need to tap into it, nurture it, develop it, whatever “it” is.

The greatest challenge is keeping our minds out of the weeds so our emotions stay positive and enthusiastic, which in turn feeds our mind’s creativity and resolve.

Gaining High Self-Awareness

For many, if not most of us, or even EVERYONE… recognizing when our self-talk becomes negative, extreme, black-and-white, all-or-nothing or worse, self-condemning or fear-based, we must punch-out IMMEDIATELY

So what do we do if we find ourselves in the weeds?

Steps to Avoid/Recover from THE WEEDS

  1. Refocusing on your “why” and reclaim the commitment to success
  2. If there were significant trauma, abuse or childhood neglect issues, counseling is warranted. Some of those negative beliefs run really deep into the subconscious and with a self-sabotaging inner-child running amock the chance of getting off course is significant.
  3. Learn to engage the emotions. I am personally a big fan of mindfulness meditation and I use a Muse Headband and Headspace App nearly every day to help stay focused and present.
  4. Start each day with a priming exercise of some sort, something that kicks off the endorphins around achieving your goal(s) and being connected and filled with gratitude.
  5. Practice your faith, meditation, journaling, exercise… do the “self-care” stuff that helps keep you sane.
  6. Get an outside perspective, especially if you find you have been stuck in the weeds for months, years or even decades (as I was). Get a coach, one who specializes in the area you are wanting to excel. Relationships, health, finance or just a general life coach can be super helpful in gaining new insight, focus, and motivation.
  7. Take a time of solitude, either in a hobby or go for a walk or whatever that looks like for you. Reflection and refocus is healthy and necessary occasionally, even if only for stolen brief moments.

Do you have others? – please share below!

The point is, it is always our thoughts that lead us either further down the path or into the weeds. We may not have much control over the 95% of our brain that operates outside of our conscious awareness, but we can work miracles with the 5% that is under our control once we recognize we are losing sight of the big picture and our motivation is waning.

Take control back today!

Join the conversation: How do you “stay out of the weeds” as you move towards your more abundant life? Feel free to comment below!

My desire for LMP (The Life Mastery Project) is to create a fully-engaged community of overcomers who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other

Let’s Do This!

canon podcast image 2
George Crone
Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner
Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching
Developer of The Life Mastery Project and Life Mastery Series
Copywrite © 2019 Nikaos Strategic Coaching | The Life Mastery Project