Do You Give Your Freedom Away?

freedom

Have you ever had those moments in life where you feel like God or the universe is trying to get your attention and show you something really important?

Over and over again in the last 24-hours, the same theme has been coming up.

Yesterday when it first hit I was like “that’s interesting”.

Then when it came up again this morning in a different context I thought “oh wow, what a coincedence”

And then the third example just moments ago, I literally sat down and said out loud “really??, this is that important??”

Clearly, someone or something that cares deeply about me is trying to make a point right now.

And I can’t think of a better reason to sit down at the keyboard and try to capture/express the depth of the message for others to share.

Scenario One

I’m talking to a friend yesterday, one of my closest. I know his story and he knows mine and we actually still like each other. (those in accountability relationships will get the humor in that)

He has had his share of weaknesses and struggles; childhood neglect can create emotional cavities that manifest in less-than-desirable ways later in life. And even in our best intentions, we will hurt the ones we love, and be hurt by them.

That is just life, we can learn how to minimize the damage, but few, if any, will ever be completely immune to it.

This time it was about his wife, she was triggered. He had done something that “this time” he was completely innocent but it flared up fear and anger in her.

We talked for an hour trying to assess the reality of the situation.

Yes, his past actions have helped create her insecurities, but the reality that she is responsible for her emotions and he is responsible for his is still the bottom line.

However, knowing the truth, and having our emotions follow along with that logic, are two VERY different things.

He was feeling insecure, kinda fearful. Any husband knows when his wife is upset with him there is unavoidable tension on the horizon and no way around it, you just have to step up and into it.

At one point he said, “ but I don’t have to own her emotions“.

And that was big, for both of us.

We are both very familiar with how our childhood woundings molded us into people-pleasers. We have become skilled at keeping the peace to avoid emotional conflict, it was the highest priority in our emotional world before enlightenment began to rewrite the narratives.

And we know the role codependency plays in that, the act of “feeling” responsible for other people’s emotions and making them responsible for ours.

In that one sentence, he proclaimed his freedom; he realized he was about to give his power away and he reclaimed it.

It wasn’t mean, it wasn’t selfish. He simply stated the fact that “just because my wife is upset doesn’t mean I have to be upset also”.

By him choosing to remain emotionally stable and still meet his wife where she is instead of having to somehow “make her like him again”, or “fix her”, he was then freed up to now simply love his wife instead of needing to change her state.

Sure it was a good desire, but it wasn’t necessary for his well-being.

That was true freedom example #1

Scenario Two

This morning I was awakened by a phone call; it was my old boss.

Just last week, after a year of me being on a medical leave of absence, we sat down and I signed termination papers. I had to surrender my job of 19 years. We were both saddened; but also trusting that God is manifesting new things.

So when my “ex” manager called this morning, I realized that I picked up the phone effortlessly, I was happy to see his name on caller ID.

I noted that awareness immediately because over the past year I have felt anxious, maybe even guilty, every time he called.

He was having a crisis at the office and was calling to get my opinion. I’m glad he did because what he was considering doing was a suicide run with the customer; a setup for disaster that could potentially make a bad situation much worse.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a solution for his issue, and I told him I would at the very least I would pray and we both agreed God is always faithful and this will work out, it always does.

When I hung up the phone I was at total peace… and that was unusual.

So much so that I began to journal and reflect on it.

What I realized is that even though I have been on disability for the last year and I was on an approved medical leave of absence, I “felt guilty”.

Somehow my boss represented my failure to perform, my inability to work meant I was less than a man, I was somehow useless.

But this morning when he called I had none of that experience.

I realized he was still the same person, it was only my perspective that shifted.

For the last year (probably more like my whole life) I had given my self-worth (another aspect of personal power) away to my job, my career.

Somehow my illness made me less of a person and all I could “feel” was how I was “letting them down” even though it was my illness that made me incapable of working my old job.

Throughout my entire career, I’ve always had the knowledge that “I can only do my best” but I always had the feeling like “it was never good enough”.

That’s how I got sick, my over-achieving workaholic, perfectionism mindset provided me great career success, but also drove my body and mind to the brink of exhaustion.

And a year later, I’m still trying to recover.

Again, emotions were driving my reality, not wisdom.

That was true freedom example #2

Scenario Three

And then the icing on the cake was soon after that phone call another close friend called to share an experience he just had.

He was at work yesterday and his boss and his cronies came out of an office as he was walking down their hallway. He instantly had this pang of anxiety. What are they going to say, am I in trouble, what will they say about this tomorrow?

Granted there is a lot of history that I won’t share here that makes this scene make more sense, but in a way, it’s kinda like my other friend and his wife. It is a relationship that has ups and downs, and it now generates “what is going on now” fear-based emotions.

You know, that uncomfortable space where somebody might do or say something and without knowing their motive we worry about “what are they thinking about me”.

We all say we don’t worry about what other’s think about us, but I would hazard to say that is b.s. for a vast majority of the population.

Our social survival is pinned to what other’s think of us, and our amygdala (the fight or flight response) is ALWAYS judging body language, tone of voice, and actions of others against past experiences to determine if the situation is safe or a threat.

But what he was so excited to share was the epiphany at that moment when he realized just seeing his bosses created this emotional response.

His inner dialogue went something like this:

“Why should I fear them, they are just men.

“Sure they hold the power to fire me, but so what.”

“God is bigger than my circumstances, this isn’t the only job on the planet that I’m qualified for.”

“I don’t even like this job.”

“If I ran into them at the grocery store they would mean nothing to me other than old acquaintences.”

WHY AM I CHOOSING TO GIVE MY POWER OF WELL-BEING OVER TO THEM”

At that moment, he was set free. His revelation gave him his power to choose how to feel about them and himself.

He simply needed to be respectful and do his job, and his bosses were free to have a good day or bad day and be grumpy or friendly as they choose.

They may control his time when he is on the clock but they will only control his emotional well-being to the measure of his internal dialogue and the power he places on their state.

That was true freedom example #3

From there I started to recognize just how prevalent this lack of emotional freedom is throughout my whole life.

When a police car pulls up behind me I get nervous… BUT WHY???

Well, in my teen years I was a party animal and used to drive wasted all the time (God’s mercy that I never hurt anyone) and cops were terrifying. Could my body’s emotional memory of those years still see police as a threat today?

Back then I was truly doing something wrong and should fear them, but that is not my reality today.

Wow, I realized that’s an actual description of PTSD. Past experiences creating unrealistic emotional responses to current events.

Or my son not replying to my text right away… could that mean he is in trouble or he’s upset with me?

Why would I go there… it could also mean he is just busy. (And that is all it means every single time).

When my son’s mother mentions that our son needs new tires on his truck, is she just “being a bitch that only calls me for money?” That depends upon how I “choose” to view the situation.

She’s just stating a fact and I am blessed with a son and with that comes the opportunity and obligation to help keep him safe.

If someone else doesn’t like us, does that mean we are unlikable?

If someone else didn’t think we did a “good enough job”, does that mean we didn’t give it our best and our efforts were wasted?

If someone else thinks our dreams to be an entrepreneur or to go back to school or take up sky-diving is stupid, does that mean us dreaming or desiring more is stupid?

If someone else devalues us, judges our motives, treats us poorly, says mean or unsupportive things… does that mean they know us better than we or God knows us?

We Choose to Believe What We Believe

  • I choose to believe I will or I can’t
  • I choose to believe I have options or I’m stuck
  • I choose to believe I am empowered or I’m a victim
  • I choose to believe that success simply has obstacles or life is cruel and unwinnable

Our Choices Create Our Reality

  • I choose to eat healthily or eat crap
  • I choose to risk being vulnerable with people or wall them off by wearing masks
  • I choose to go for my dreams or talk myself out of them
  • I choose to exercise or rest, save money or spend, like myself or hate myself.

Our Emotions Seek Survival Not Success

  • I can choose to be excited about the day ahead or feel burdened by it
  • I can choose to let courage propel me or fear to stop me
  • I can choose to be happy or sad
  • I can choose to be hopeful or hopeless
  • I can choose to take risks or play it safe
  • I can choose to feel alive or dead

Power is not something others bestow upon us, our true power exists in the way we value ourselves and how we interpret the circumstances of our life.

Some of my favorite ingredients for success

  1. Don’t Live Small; Have a Compelling Vision
  2. Own Your Shit; Then Strip Away Conditioning & Fear
  3. Live With Intentionality By Making Decisions and Taking Action
  4. Don’t Judge Outcomes as Good or Bad; Simply Measure Results
  5. Fall In Love With The Process

I’d say today’s message falls under #2 above, stripping away the conditioning and taking ownership for our lives.

Self-Awareness Is The Key

The committee (as I call them, the subconscious inner-workings) have agendas that do not align with change and growth and risk.

We have to become hyper-aware of the ways in which our thoughts and emotions try and trick us into submission and complacency to living “less-than” lives through an exaggerated pursuit of “safety”

We have the ability within us to create the lives we desire… but we must make the choice to believe that and to then wield our God-given power in ways that brings healing and hope to a broken world.


Join the conversation: How have you either given your power away or discovered ways to take it back?


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 2George Crone

Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching

Developer of The Life Mastery Project

Copywrite © 2019 Nikaos Strategic Coaching | The Life Mastery Project

Fear & Worry Expelled

source: https://www.petulengro.com/if-you-believe-you-can-or-you-believe-you-cant-either-way-youre-probably-right/

Few would argue against the statement that fear sits at the top of the list of self-limiting thoughts that keeps us from excelling into our future dreams and endeavors.

Whether it is a critical business decision, a career choice, a relationship issue, or a health concern. No matter the Pillar of Life that is at stake, self-limiting fear and worry breed resistance to change that can quickly immobilize us.

There is a ton of information out there regarding the topic of fear, but I have a specific focus for this article that I wanted to explore and get feedback on.

There are many ways to deal with the emotion of fear, the benefits of mindfulness meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, or listening to your favorite music are well documented.

And if you read the bible, you will find hundreds of comforting verses saying “don’t fear” with supporting references as to why we aren’t supposed to fear and don’t need to fear.

So What Is Really Going On

I find breaking down the internal dialogue is a huge help in not only bringing emotions like fear & worry into a proper perspective but often we can leverage our emotions for greater growth and success.

I don’t know about you, but my worry sentences always seem to start with “what if….”

Worry, by its very nature, is ruminating on future based worse case scenarios.

  • What if I can’t pay my bills…
  • What if I don’t get a new job…
  • What if I never get married and die alone…
  • What if my new entrepreneur endeavor fails…
  • What if I get on stage at a speaking engagement and freeze up…
  • What if…. (insert your dark vision of a bleak future here)

Many suggest that getting out of the “what if” zone is the solution. We are told to stay rooted in the present, do what you can do today and stop “worrying” about a future that hasn’t happened yet.

[to read more on this topic see when weakness is not weakness)

There is value to that, but on some level, I also vehemently disagree…

When I took the Clifton Strengthsfinder assessment, I was amazed to discover that Strategic Thinking was my #2 trait or skill set.

That new self-awareness changed my life.

I discovered that in my IT Career, I had used “what if” extensively for decades and hit home runs on massive projects by being very skilled in “risk assessment.”

Who knew??? What I thought was my most significant weakness turned out to be one of my greatest strengths!!!

What I needed to do next was figure out why this excellent career tool was so harmful in the other areas of my life.

To do that I spent a month researching that very question. Through meditation and journaling, I was able to capture and process the internal dialogue when I would find myself trapped in a state of worry, and a pattern emerged.

The Breakthrough

What I discovered is that in business, I was always forced to make a decision and take action. I had deadlines and employers with expectations and coworkers awaiting direction. I didn’t have the luxury of analysis paralysis.

But when making decisions big or small in my personal life, I would be plagued by indecision and inaction. Fear of missing out or fear of failure seemed to always take center stage.

I would ask, “what if…”

… the woman I’m dating isn’t the right one, and we end up hurting each other or wasting months or years in a go-nowhere relationship.

… my bold, high-risk move to leave my career to start up a coaching business fails

… what if my business takes off, but my chronic fatigue syndrome never gets better, and I stay too sick to keep up with success and growth.

I realized my ‘what if’ skillset had been aberrated into a debilitating excuse factory which caused hesitation and even drove me to give up and quit trying in many cases. It didn’t matter if it was a fear of failure or a fear of success.

In my career, I didn’t have the luxury of quitting out of insecurity (which is the source of much fear and worry), so I would do whatever it took to keep moving.

Failure simply wasn’t part of my mindset.

I also realized that in my career, I always had a clear vision of what success looked like at each stage. The rollout of sophisticated phone systems, multiple migrations of the companies accounting and project management software infrastructure, the opening of a new remote office in another state or changing network infrastructure carriers.

Never did I ask, “what if I can’t do it,” it was always “how am I going to do this.” 

My constant vision was seeing each stage being completed successfully and using “what if” to try and minimize failure points and cost overruns. It was never used to kill a project, or even delay it. It just kept me sharp, focused, I always remained determined to overcome.

An even bigger realization was that in every project, there were critical junctions where I had to make irreversible decisions. I had to proceed on faith, on instinct, on whatever it was in my gut that says, “this is the best decision I can make with what I know right now.”  

When I put these new awarenesses together, I discovered an empowering formula which now carries me beyond my comfort zone across all the pillars of my life.

  1. Start with a compelling vision of what success looks like
  2.  Leverage my new best friend “what if” to identify higher success options and stop magnifying paralyzing images of failure
  3. MAKE DECISIONS AND TAKE ACTION; MOMENTUM IS EVERYTHING.
  4. Be prepared to move forward without a success guarantee throughout the entire process; taking risks and stepping into the unknown is unavoidable.
  5. Trust my best instincts and do what I can do and trust God to guide me through everything else that I can’t control or predict today.
  6.  Choose to fall in love with the process by staying true to my values and vision and press forward; BE INTENTIONAL

We only fear where we are going if we are sitting in the backseat of our life and letting circumstances drive us to unknown or undesired places.

Once you get in the driver’s seat of your own life, you know where you are going, and you then become more focused on where you are and what you need to do next.

If a road is closed, you will find a route around it; you get low on gas, you will find a place to fill the tank; not reaching your destination is not an option.

What would it look like to treat every pillar of your life that way?

Fear and worry have no fuel to flourish in a mind that is filled with a compelling vision and an unwavering commitment to stay the course at any cost.

We must always remind ourselves that we are not waiting for our lives to change, our life is patiently waiting for us to adapt and grow.

Let’s not make our best life wait another day!


Add your voice to the conversation; what awarenesses or tools help you overcome fear and worry?


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 2George Crone

Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching

Developer of The Life Mastery Project

Copywrite © 2019 Nikaos Strategic Coaching | The Life Mastery Project

Growth Requires Acknowledging Weakness

self-awareness

I am happy to share I have really been enjoying my new found empowerment and freedom.

And it has been reaping rewards: the checklist is looking great:

  • completely overhauled my diet and eating habits
  • established healthy sleeping patterns
  • developed powerful morning and evening routines
  • fighting back against my chronic fatigue Syndrome and getting more exercise while maintaining new push/crash boundaries
  • and of course the big one; leaving my 30-year corporate IT career to start my own coaching business. 

That’s nuts, right?

I Have Arrived

Have you guys noticed this? It seems like every time I start thinking “I have arrived” I am soon after humbled by the realization that there is ALWAYS a “next thing”?

Allow me to explain

Part of my morning routine is to set balanced and reasonable expectations for the day, and my evening routine looks back over the day to make sure I stayed true to that plan.

However, over the last several days, I have been solely focused on my new business, from early morning into the late-night hours. I’ve been “in the zone” cranking out tons of content on The Life Mastery Series program.

So much so, that my morning and evening routines have been truncated or even skipped completely. Each morning I moved straight to the keyboard,  painting my thoughts onto blank white canvas, turning them into grand masterpieces (in my mind anyway) and being so tired each night that I would hit the pillow completely spent. 

A younger man could likely maintain that level of… commitment?… obsession?… drive?… not sure what the right word is there… but being in my 50’s and still working towards undoing the physical damage that decades of poor self-care manifested; I can’t.

But I have learned that a key component to Life Mastery is Self Mastery.

And a key component of Self Mastery is Self Awareness.

And a key component to Self Awareness is Self Acceptance.

Gone are the days of Self Condemnation, when I would look at some mistake or lack of action and spend the nightly recap being Self Critical over falling into old patterns or “wasting the day”.

Instead, I now choose to frame everything in life as “knowledge gained” and with that, the sense of wholeness, contentment, self-worth, and inner-peace has had fertile soil to flourish. 

We are always only discovering what works and what doesn’t.

Heck, other people are human and will make mistakes and let us down; and so am I… and so do I… welcome to the human condition.

That is easy to say, but I had that play out in an unexpected way.

I sat down two nights ago and looked over my Life Balance Checklist and this is what I found.

  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Health
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Relationships
  • Business
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Finance
  • Growth
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Spiritual
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Recreation

Clearly, not much balance there, and I found myself starting to get self-critical.

But here is where the magic happened. and why I had to share this with you guys.

Because of my difficult childhood and gaining the false belief that no matter what I do it is never enough; I realized early on that my ultimate priority is NO SELF CRITICISM. 

But yet, here I was, living out of balance. Clearly, I lost vision right, I’m obsessing in one area and the other areas are suffering, I’m blowin’ it, right?

Wrong!!!

Rebalanced Living Begins With A Rebalanced Focus

I had to get off the self-criticism train before I could recognize that the last several days have been HUGELY successful. I was experiencing a season of massive productivity on the new program that I’m working on. 

I was writing more than 5000 words a day, I converted each lesson into a podcast, laid down intro and outro music tracks on each and then uploaded into the program database and wrote page content for each lesson. 

What the heck, that is Superman status in a writer/podcast world. I did 4 complete entries in 4 days, from initial concept to editing and posting. That is nearly a full month of publishable content productivity in a span of only 4 days…

… and I’m being self-critical because I’m “out of balance”??!?!?!

It wasn’t until I got my weekly Grammarly update which stated I was more productive than 99% of other Grammarly users, that I realized my expectations were what’s out of balance, not my productivity focus! 

That Life Balance Checklist should have looked more like

  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Health
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Relationships
  • Business
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Finance
  •  Growth
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Spiritual
  • This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is red.jpg Recreation

Under my original perspective, all I saw was a sea of red boxes, a 75% failure rate; what I failed to see was that the green checkmarks were HUGE.

I was devaluing my progress. I was intentionally sabotaging my wellness by searching for some criteria to criticize myself. 

Another aspect of growing in our Self Mastery in pursuit of Life Mastery is to make sure we are trying to solve the correct problems.

I believed that not only was a balanced life one of the keys to a successful life, flipping that meant if I wasn’t living a balanced life then I’m not being successful. 

The problem was, my view was too narrow and my precepts were wrong

Having properly identified the areas of life that are important to me, I felt I needed a green checkmark next to them all, every day, with few exceptions.

I have disagreed with the huge philosophical movement that says having a balanced life is a myth.

I maintain that life balance is absolutely critical if we want to experience a deep sense of wholeness and fulfillment. 

Many times the problems are not that we are missing out on success, it is that we define success improperly. 

Being that I made huge progress on my business in such a short amount of time now means I can focus on recreation and relationships for a couple days. 

This is an entrepreneurial mindset that I never realized existed; that time management when working in corporate America is very different from time management when you are your own boss. 

If you are working 60+ hours a week for someone else then you are forced to cram in the rest of your life in the margins, evenings and weekends. And with such little time left it is critical to ensure that in the few hours you have you need to hit on all cylinders of your balance worksheet.

That does make balance a misnomer because working for someone else makes time a mostly non-negotiable commodity… they own you.

The Good News – I Am Still Balanced

So sure, it was 4 days of manic OCD type behavior, but that is wonderful. To be “in-state” or “in-flow” for 4 days in a row and knock out so many needle-moving activities is spectacular! 

I will now take the needed time to re-incorporate the other areas, no harm, no foul.

So what does this have to do with exposing weakness? Great question!!

Without an intentional and honest assessment of what isn’t working, we simply can’t develop an effective growth plan, either personally or in business.  

My growth this time came in the form of humility. I had to admit that my weakness was not life imbalance and just trying harder.

My issue was my old nemesis self-condemnation and perfectionism; it was listening to the voice that says “you may be doing a lot, but you aren’t doing enough” or “you aren’t doing the right stuff”

That’s bullshit!

The bottom line is, the verify definition of growth or pursuing success is that “we make progress”. That’s it! 

If perfectionism is still a struggle for you, know this: the only outcomes can be giving up because you can never achieve it, or burning out and dying miserably. 

Pride, fear, ego, control, expectations, limiting beliefs, unhelpful thinking patterns like living-in-the-extremes… these are all character defects that try to re-define success by setting the bar juuuuuuust outside of our reach; therefore making us feel defeated when we are actually being successful. 

Recognizing those faulty beliefs or reframing unreasonable expectations and getting back to loving ourselves and staying the course is what facilitates growth, and it is an indispensable ingredient of success. 

Success is not something we are chasing, it is something we live out daily

My success came in recognizing that my OCD served me great when channeled into business or health or relationships, but it serves me poorly in the area of self-critique because it feeds my disease of perfectionism.

So, instead of believing my growth was temporarily derailed by living imbalanced and dropping the ball, I now believe I grew personally through gaining greater self-awareness and I’m thrilled about my business progress.

It’s a win-win. I didn’t have to change my gameplan, I just needed to change my perspective. 

Can you relate to this topic?

How do you leverage your weaknesses into next-level strengths?

Join the conversation, add your voice to the comments section below.

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

Let’s Do This!

canon podcast image 2George Crone

Certified Life Coach & NLP Practitioner

Founder of Nikaos Strategic Coaching

Developer of The Life Mastery Project