Before The TO-DO List

The problem with me is that I’m a driven performance-based perfectionist who doesn’t have an “off” button.

You might be asking “what’s wrong with that”. And on some level, you would be correct.

It has served my career and bank account well for several decades.

But living on the edge like that for too long WILL HAVE (not might have) catastrophic health, relationship and overall well-being negative effects.

And in my case, to the extreme. Burnout is real.

I knew I was getting more and more tired over the last few years, but the doctors, cardio tests, blood work, MRIs and every other test imaginable all showed I was healthy, really healthy.

Yet I was calling in sick every month, 3-day weekends, 4-day weekends, then starting to use up vacation time… just to recover to go back to work.

I had worked those kinds of hours my whole life and I loved my career.

So what’s the big deal?

The big deal came on August 10th, 2018 when I got home from an out of town job in my typical exhausted state. I told my bosses “I needed to take some time” and they were always all too happy to accommodate. The job was done and I “earned my rest”.

However, this time I never recovered.

Pure exhaustion consumed me, and I was in bed for weeks before even getting to a doctor to start running tests.

At the 12-month mark, we decided to terminate my leave of absence and I’ve been officially unemployed (otherwise knows as entrepreneurship) and considered disabled ever since.

And I’m still not getting much better!

I’ve got some strength back, and have made huge lifestyle changes that are helping, but my mind and body are still fried.

Every day feels like I’m waking up on a Saturday morning after a 70hr work week and I desperately need rest.

But I do rest, I rest a lot… or do I?

A Needed Shift In Awareness 

The reality is, I may be bedbound 50% of my days, but the other 50% I’m working on this new coaching business, and producing content through blogs and podcasts and going to counseling and doing as much light housework or exercise my body can handle, and still serving at church, and, and, and…

The reality is, my every day is crammed with anxiety over my todo lists.

Sure, the lists may look different than they did before I got sick, but I’m still the same driven workaholic obsessed with my todo lists and I suspect that is a huge contributor to why my body and mind aren’t resetting.

I’ve got to slow down mentally before I will get the peace and rest my body has been so desperately begging for over the last many years.

But it’s not intuitive, it doesn’t come naturally.

My therapist suggested I try things that used to be fun, or other ways to unwind and disconnect.

My Reset List

  • Picked up a childhood pastime of building model airplanes
  • Took online Udemy art classes and began sketching and drawing
  • Began doing mindfulness meditation and light yoga
  • Watching Netflix shows and movies

My Reset Results

  • model airplanes are hard and I suck at it. I spend hours and get frustrated on pieces coming unglued, paint being sloppy, not being able to see the tiny pieces. I’ve spent a hundred dollars on magnifying holders, sanding kits, special paintbrushes and dammit this just isn’t as fun as I remember it to be.
  • I can’t draw! My desire is for landscapes, to recreate vacation scenes or drive to the mountains and draw the beautiful vistas. My proportions are wrong, can’t get shapes right. It’s just an abstract cartoon looking like a hot mess, and it’s not fun! So take more courses, spend 100’s on better art supplies, still not fun!
  • Ughhhhh, who can lay still for 20 minutes and not have the mind wander for 19 of them. Practice, practice practice… spend hundreds on meditation apps and Muze headband. Still can’t shut down, not fun!
  • What, there’s nothing wrong with watching every season of Lost, Grey’s Anatomy and The 100 in a month is there?

Let me say that all of those things are awesome and I highly recommend all of them.

But can you see the problem? It’s pretty darn obvious when drawn out like that…

NO MATTER WHERE YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE

Perfectionism and obsession are born many times from childhood trauma, neglect or some form of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) that writes false narratives on our soul which prevents us from being able to balance, to rest, to find peace or joy between the todo list action items.

For me, it became pretty clear through counseling

Where The Wheels Come Off The Bus

CHORES FIRST THEN PLAY

My dad grew up in the depression with 13 brothers and sisters on a farm in the midwest. As soon as a kid could walk they were put to work. It was a hard life and you worked to survive. It was a necessary mindset on many levels, and it was all my dad knew. And he passed it on to me.

I have very vivid memories as a young kid being outside pulling weeds (my most hated chore) and I would wander off chasing butterflies or something. That behavior was met with wrath. Dad was angry at life, and he took it out on me and mom. And the punishment was severe, always verbal and if it happened more than once the punishment became physical.

You simply had no time for play because there were always more chores to get done. And I can now see how that manifested in my adult life. As a field engineer fixing computers at grocery stores and gas stations, the pager was always going off. I wouldn’t each lunch or stop for the day until I was completely exhausted or all my work was done. Food and rest can wait. (Hello, self-care anyone?)

STOP CRYING OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO CRY ABOUT

Anyone ever experiences that one? My dad would punish me with the belt, leaving welts across my back, arms and legs and then tell me to stop crying. WFT?

But you know what, you can stop crying. It is either stuff the emotions or continue to get hit and yelled at. It’s amazing how resilient and strong-willed a kid can become for survival.

But what do you think that teaches? Emotions are bad, stuff them and for sure never talk about them or let them slip out.

Science has known for a while the physical toll high levels of stress, depression and “stuffing emotions” can have neurophysically. The mind/body connection is real.

Gee, I wonder what living like that for 50 years can do to a mind/body? Cause Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, facilitate a nervous breakdown, cause ulcers, cancer, and a host of other “unexplained” diseases?

Add to that addictions of all kinds and mental disorders. Stuffing emotions is an epidemic of global proportions, but we’ve all been trained well to not acknowledge or talk about it. Just man up, leave the past in the past.

Our bodies remember

UNSAFE, FEAR OF THE FUTURE

Another todo list nemesis. Each item on the list represents “failure if not complete”.

Again, for normal people, this can be easily navigated with a well-balanced internal compass. But for the rest of us…

We all know worrying about the future is a chronic problem with almost zero value. Our fight-or-flight part of the brain doesn’t recognize time. So thinking about a “possible” future failure feels like present time danger. And the neuro-cocktail of chemicals that flood the system when in danger (real or perceived) is another destructive life force.

For me, two of everyday fears almost always manifested.

If I upset my mom during the day she would threaten me with “wait until your father gets home”.

This was a big deal and terrifying. Dad always got home from work tired and usually short-tempered. Dealing with “that damn kid” is the last thing he wanted. And if mom went whining to him about something I did, it was a lock that I was going to get beat.

And the second scenario, it didn’t matter if mom didn’t complain about me, dad didn’t need a good reason to blow up and rage on me.

Life as a child was all about the eggshells, fear. Fear that I would do something wrong. Fear that dad might “think” I did something wrong even if I didn’t.

Even when things were great, there was no rest because it would never last. So even when having fun, it’s wasn’t fun because fun, happiness, and peace never lasts long anyway.

Talk about carrying crap beliefs into your adult life. Fear kills us from this inside far worse than any circumstances in our outside world could ever do.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH

This is another one where the todo list can become toxic.

I’ve noticed in me that every project that I take on I am miserable in the middle ground between points A and B. I want to go from 3rd-grade arithmetic to calculous overnight. I see the goal, let’s ge there already.

Necessary steps are an annoying delay to the prize. It’s a microwave mentality that creates mountains of internal discord and is the purest enemy to quality work. It simply wants the todo list done without regard to quality.

A good link to my childhood on this one was when my dad let me run the gas lawnmower around 12 years old. This was a big deal!

He even went in the house and let me do it all on my own instead of hovering over me yelling every time I missed a blade.

I was going to show him, and my inner perfectionist was born. I spent hours perfectly getting every blade, sweeping down walkways and edging around planters. This was the best the yard could ever look.

And when I proudly finished up every task, put the trashcans away, stored the lawnmower in the shed and ran into the house to get my dad’s inevitable approval over my amazing work, his response was spit out in a sarcastic tone: “I saw you went around the yard to the center and I taught you to go back and forth, you just never listen”.

And that was his only comment.

Even my perfectionism isn’t enough.

And all of these are only single examples of a few items. Amazed I survived quite honestly!

So What Is The Solution?

For one, lots of counseling!

Ok, I say that a little tongue in cheek, but the reality is we can only move forward by looking back.

We have to root out the faulty beliefs about where we fit in the world and destroy the negative thinking patterns that were created to fit within that false view of ourselves in the world.

“We can never thrive if we are too busy simply trying to survive” 

So, back to the point of this post, I have chosen to create a new kind of TODO list.

THE TO BE LIST

to-do-list1

This doesn’t mean that I have thrown out my todo lists, they are still incredibly valuable and necessary.

But, I spend time every morning committing to these foundations first before I even consider looking at my goals for the day.

THE SEVEN IMPERATIVES

1. BE IMPECCABLE WITH MY WORDS 

This is about character. What we say matters. If I say yes, then follow through. So I better make sure that I only say yes to the things that come up that I am 100% committed to following through on. I must learn to say no more often if I don’t want to feed my workaholism and perfectionism, and ultimately my guilt and shame when I ‘m forced to let people down.

2. SELF-AWARENESS OF MY STATES

I’m a huge fan of Tony Robbins’ concept of States. Although 95% of our reality exists in the subconscious layer in our primitive brain (fight-or-flight, amygdala), we still have the ability to train and strengthen our higher functioning thoughts (consciousness, pre-frontal cortex).

For some, the training began with healthy parenting early in life.

But if you experienced any kind of trauma or neglect, every minute of every day is literal survival and our fight-or-flight turns on nearly permanently. This is necessary as a young kid trying to survive, but living purely on emotional needs has killed billions of people prematurely, and it will continue to do so.

Few of us are trained at self-care, which can only take place with high levels of self-awareness.

The four primary areas I focus on every morning first thing to ensure my “States” are centered before anything else are as follows.

I do this in the form of affirmations through self-talk.

Of course, you should personalize these based upon your own beliefs and needs.

Centering Of The Four States

  • Mental – my mind is clear and sharp. I am focused and alert. My mind is stronger than my emotions and I am aware at all times what I am thinking. When I notice that I have begun ruminating, worrying or daydreaming I will gently return to what I’m focused on in the present. I am smart, creative, focused and whole. I love the way my mind works, I love my intellect and my problem-solving skills. Thank you, God for making my mind the way you have. I promise to care for my mind today.
  • Physical – my body is healthy, I’m feeling strong today. I am so grateful for this new day and new opportunities to find ways to exercise my body. I can almost feel the oxygen-rich blood pumping freely to my muscles and organs bring health and growth and new healing. I will not push my body further than it can go, I will not demand more from it than it can give, so I will remain aware of when I need a break, and when I can push. Thank you God for giving me this body, I promise to take good care of it today through nutrition, exercise, and self-love.
  • Emotional – I am feeling great, I am confident, I am safe, I am secure, I have choices, I have options, I have freedom. I choose today to embrace this day with grace and patience. I will be aware of when my mood changes and gently restore myself to exactly how I’m feeling right now, which is overwhelmingly grateful for this day and the opportunities that lay ahead for connecting with others, myself and God. Life is great and I feel great, and today I choose to thrive. No matter what I get done, it will be enough for today.
  • Spiritual – God I thank you. There is an uncountable number of people who are never born every day. But you chose me, you gave me life. You gave me a working body, mind, and soul. You kept me alive through the suffering years. You now have filled me with purpose and promises and joy. You never promised an easy life, but I know that with you I can do all things. I will lean on you today, even more than yesterday. I trust you with my life, my future, my past, and especially in my present. For today, it’s you and me. I humbly accept responsibility for the choices that I will make, and I trust that you will guide me in all my decisions. I trust that I will find not only purpose but rest in you today. Thank you, Father, you are a Good Father, you are my Abba Father and today I will be grateful for all that you have done, are doing, and the promises to come.

There are many ways to do morning priming, this is just a quick one I’m doing currently. I am also, as mentioned, a big fan of Tony Robbins. For another take on an outstanding morning priming exercise that I’ve done probably a hundred times check out Tony’s Priming Video. It’s more on the motivational success side of things, but super helpful all-around.

3. BE KIND TO MYSELF

This one should seem obvious and hardly warrant being mentioned, but you’d be amazed at the deficit much of the world has in this area.

The criticality here is that we can’t know how to be kind to ourselves until we discover how we have not been kind to ourselves. 

The easy-to-reach-low-hanging-fruit is the internal torture chamber of perfectionism, people-pleasing, workaholism, ruminating, negative beliefs and a host of other barely perceptible driving forces that keep us mentally and emotionally wired and fired beyond healthy limits.

This area of self-awareness takes a lot of practice though.

I found accountability is helpful resource here too. We must have a tribe of people around us who will notice when we are lost in our heads.

(see my post lost in the weeds for a deep-dive into this area of awareness)

STEPS TO BEING KIND TO YOURSELF

  • Not skipping meals
  • Taking regular breaks
  • Letting progress not perfection be the goal
  • Celebrating every achievement, big or small
  • Finding opportunity to laugh with others
  • Letting people do nice things for you like buying you lunch or running an errand for you or slashing your bosses tires (ok, maybe not that last one)
  • Having a cheat day – with limits! This one is dangerous for me. I use food or TV as medication and escape so I can make a whole chocolate cake and 3 fast food meals or bingeing TV an entire day my cheat. That is not self-care. My new motto is “no cheat days”… but I still give myself limited permissions here.
  • Take time to sing or dance. Getting alone might be tough, but when I put on some kickin worship music my soul soars. Do whatever works for you, but taking mini heart & soul breaks can do wonder for a mid-day reset.
  • Develop your own reset list (see mine above). When I’m in a good “State” then my reset list works great. Hobbies, meditation, yoga/stretching, go for a walk. Anything that lets you breathe in life. We can’t be serious ALL the time.

Obviously, this is another list that you should personalize. Take time thinking about the things that make you happy, bring you joy, give you a sense of connectedness to others, make you feel good to be alive. 

4. STAY PRESENT IN THE NOW

Much of what this list is already about is staying present. Rumination or stuck thoughts can rabbit trail me very easily. Being a writer I spend a lot of time in my head already so it’s hard for me to notice when I’m in the weeds again.

TRICKS TO STAYING PRESENT

  • The 2-Minute Awareness Check
    • Feel the materials and textures of items or furniture around you. Soft, rough, cold, metallic, etc…
    • Smell any smells you can notice around you or intentionally bury your nose in a flower or burn incense or candles.
    • Listen to all the separate sounds you can identify near and far. The hum of the computer or sirens outside, or the lazy coworkers gossiping down the hall (gee, ya think I’m still harboring some workplace resentments haha)
    • Look at the shapes and colors of objects around you or pick out tiny details as far as you can see outside a window.
    • Taste food or drink and pay close attention to texture, flavors, temperature
  • The Millisecond Jolt– wear a rubber band and snap it when you notice you are daydreaming or ruminating.
  • 30-second Mindfulness Breathing. I use a 5×5 box breathing.  Focus on your breathing and inhale slowly for the count of five, hold for a count of five, exhale for a count of five, and don’t inhale for a count of five. A few of those and I’m right as rain (whatever that means!?!?)

5. FOCUS ON SOLUTIONS

The benefits of this one should be pretty obvious also.

One huge breakthrough I had a few months ago was realizing how easy my career was yet relationships and other aspects of my personal life were a trainwreck.

When I sat down with intentionality to figure out why this was so, I found the answer!

In my career, failure was never even a consideration.

Maybe it was the perfectionism, but there was NEVER any fear involved or consideration of quitting.

For example, I had a huge project as an IT Manager where I was the only employee in the department (known as a One Man Show). We needed a new phone system. I knew nothing about phone systems. I did what anyone would do, I Googled “corporate phone systems”.

And the project began.

In my mind, I was going to roll out a new phone system and this was going to be awesome.

I ran into hundreds of knowledge deficits, procedural roadblocks, resource limitations, and timeline constraints.

But every step was simply “bring it” and “What’s Next”!

However, in my personal life, I’m riddled with fear, expectations, doubt, insecurity.

I’m the same exact person, but my beliefs about what I’m capable of is different.

The battle is in the mind. 

When we focus 100% of our attention on the end-game, then there are no such things as roadblocks or quitting, everything becomes a mere speedbump, barely perceptible as “the next thing to solve”.

This one is huge and staying aware of it is changing my life.

6. BE AWARE OF CHOICES

For me, this ties into my childhood trauma garbage again.

As an only child in an abusive household, my body remembers the horrifying experience of “feeling trapped”. And rightfully so.

But as adults, we have choices.

The problem is when a situation resembles those old feelings of being stuck in a situation that we didn’t have control, our primitive brain can say “oh shit, I’m stuck” and we become convinced we have no options.

Are you in a bad relationship? You’re not stuck!

Are you in a bad job? You’re not stuck!

Are you in a bad financial situation? You’re not stuck!

Do you have poor health? You are not stuck!

Believing you are stuck guarantees that you will be stuck.

If you want a deeper dive on this then make sure to check out my podcast on anxiety

We have to take ownership for our beliefs and behaviors and recognize that until we are dead there will always be some way in which we can improve or at least better endure our current situations.

And that begins with our attitudes.

Instead of saying: “I am stuck, and this is impossible.”

Say: “I feel stuck but my feelings don’t dictate reality” and “This will be hard, but it is not impossible”.

When you take ownership of your future and change your self-dialogue, your feelings will change from hopelessness to hopefulness, from dread to eager anticipation.

And when that happens, creativity and drive have the opportunity to flourish once again.

7. BE CONNECTED TO MYSELF, OTHERS AND GOD

We can’t do this life alone.

When we are “feeling” overwhelmed or stuck or struggling to get by in any area of our life, the hardest thing to do is ask for help.

I recently had a therapy session where I was describing a situation that I felt trapped in and my therapist chose the NLP route (of which I’m a huge fan!). She asked me to describe what my situation “felt” like.

I described that it felt like having my arms wrapped in a rope, around and around a dozen times and I couldn’t reach the knot no matter how hard I tried.

She offered the standard NLP solutions, “what can you do to the rope?” she asked. “Can you disintegrate it, turn it into something else, can your arms turn rubbery so you can reach the rope”.

NLP is a lot of fun for us creative types, and it’s freaky how well it works. 

But this time I couldn’t do any of that.

I replied, “no, this is like Wonder Woman’s Lasso, I am powerless to even move”.

She then asked me a question that surprisingly freaked me out and I violently reacted mentally and emotionally (my fight-or-flight triggered big time).

She asked, “can I untie the rope?” 

This one question led to changing a big part of my life. 

When she offered, in my mind’s eye I leaned over towards her in a submissive, “OK, let’s try”.

But the second I even considered letting her help to untie the ropes my mind screamed:

NO, IF YOU LET HER THEN YOU WILL NEED HER TO UNTIE ALL YOUR ROPES. YOU’VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO UNTIE YOUR OWN ROPE OR YOU WILL BE DEPENDENT UPON HER. 

EUREKA, WE’VE STRUCK FAULTY BELIEF!!!!

It was at that moment that I realized, as a kid who was all alone and had to figure out how to survive on my own, I came to BELIEVE that people aren’t safe, nobody can help me, I must figure everything out on my own because people will leave you and if they were important to you, they will leave a huge hole.

A host of lies came pouring out, and I realized I NEVER ask for help. Asking for help is a sign of weakness and dependence. And I have suffered my whole life because of that belief.

And this plays out in every aspect of my life. Even with God.

I came to Christ nearly 9 years ago. But I am now recognizing more and more that I only give him pieces of my life that I’m ok with if he screws it up because I can take it back and fix it through my old behaviors of food or porn or other ways to “escape or medicate the feelings”.

This act of surrender and trust is huge and still really difficult for me. 

But I have found that as I begin to ask for help and trust others that my sense of connection to the world, God and even myself is growing exponentially.

Every person on the planet has their own stuff, and two can carry a load much easier than one.

We’ve got to lose the Lone Ranger mentality if we are ever going to thrive in this life.


Conclusion

I believe this is a crossroads we all face every morning. We can choose to almost maniacally pour ourselves into our todo lists and maybe make progress, but at what cost?

I now know that self-care must always be my highest priority.

When we stop taking care of the essentials of proper sleep, nutrition, mental and emotional wellness and spiritual wholeness through maintaining healthy and valuable relationships, the road ahead will likely be much shorter than we had hoped or planned.

So find ways to take care of yourself. Heed some of the warnings from my own life and grab hold of some of the suggestions and make them your own.

And don’t forget to join the conversation in the comment section below.

We all grow together when we share the insights we gain in our mutual pursuits of Life Mastery. Be encouraged, your words could change the life of someone else.

And if you saw yourself in any of this stuff, don’t hesitate to reach out for a FREE CONSULTATION.

I’m happy to spend an hour chatting with anyone, even if it doesn’t lead to a coaching relationship. Just click the link and scroll to the bottom of the page and fill out the simple form. I will get back to you usually within 24 hours.

So what do you think, ready to tackle the day?

Me too, 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

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

 

Where Did 7.5 Billion People Go?

dyer music

“Don’t Die with your music still inside you”   

Wayne Dyer

I just got back last night from a 6-day trip to Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California.

It was a very intentional trip, a soul-searching recalibration. Just me and a small Airbnb cabin in the woods. No wifi, a cell data plan that was almost all used up, and no agenda other than prayer, meditation, journaling, and rest.

The “rest” part I knocked out of the park by taking 1/2 dozen naps nearly every day! It felt like I had narcolepsy.

And these weren’t all just little 20-minute hitters. Some were as long as 2 hours, complete with drool, face smash and intense dreams. I guess I was more exhausted than I realized.

And the majority of the other time was spent sitting on a back patio with stunning views of mountains, trees, blue skies, fresh air, and all the mountain sounds and smells that go with it.

arrowhead

On my first day of the trip, my son was starting the first day of his 3rd year in college. I guess he decided he wanted to share the love because he texted me at 5:30 a.m.!

And I’m so incredibly grateful that he did.

arrowhead sunrise

Not just to connect with him, but also that it set a precedent for the entire week. Once I saw that first sunrise, my breath was taken away, and I realized this was the very reason I came up here.

I was searching for my awe and wonder; life had become too serious. And this was surely one way to reconnect with all that God has created.

From a short hike…

hike in arrowhead

… that turned up new discoveries…

plant in arrowhead

It didn’t really matter what I was doing, simply being in those surrounding made even the mundane feel significant.

A simple lunch became something to “take in,” and not just “consume.”

lunch in arrowhead

But there was a dark side. That part of me that is constantly driven decided to make an appearance.

Now usually, I consider “being driven” a critical ingredient to success.

There is a vast emotional desert that lies between where we are and where we want to be and without a focused agenda and drive, we will never be able to keep up the momentum and heart needed to persevere.

But I learned a valuable lesson this week. And in fact, I believe it was an answer to prayer.

Along with the motivations listed above, I also needed to reignite Nikaos and Life Mastery Project in my soul. It has felt “motivational” but not “inspiring.” It was as if the fire was fading and it was becoming an endless todo list.

I had become desperate to find out why my dream was becoming a drudge and re-ignite the fire

So in that first 24-hours of the trip, I journaled nearly 20 pages. I was on a mission to discover what my internal roadblocks were; to see where the resistance was coming from.

And that first 24 hours turned into 3 days of obsession, to the point of nearly being manic.

I was uncovering more questions than finding answers, and it was creating massive waves of discontent, confusion, and insecurity.

What I had intended to be a comprehensive restoration and re-ignition week was becoming a train-wreck of emotion and thought.

And then, just as God does, several coincidences took place which created new insight.

One of my daily visitors was a very healthy squirrel; I named him Eggbert ( I honestly have NO idea why!!!)

squirrel

He was super friendly, nearly came right up to me on several occasions. I’m guessing this is a very safe place for him, and that was a comforting thought. The world is full of so much danger and chaos, and to be in a place where wild animals are at peace was very calming to me.

And soon after taking that picture, I read a statistic that squirrels lose up to 80% of all the nuts they bury.

That’s insane! How incredibly busy are these little guys fighting for survival by burying nuts for the winter only to discover that 80% of their hard effort is wasted in over-producing, over-preparing, over-planning?

And as I sat there in paradise, stressing out on having to get to the bottom of what was going haywire in my thoughts and feelings, I suddenly felt just like that squirrel.

I spend hundreds of hours taking new online certification courses, reading inspired materials, listening to Audible books, and watching encouraging YouTube videos.

And I spend even more time journaling and meditating to connect with the deepest inner places.

But now I had a new question; how many of my endeavors are not that important; not much different than that of a squirrel’s pointless toil?

Past connections began to flood my awareness.

A motivation coach stated: “3 hours of intensely focused and uninterrupted work will get far more done than 10 hours of unfocused busyness”.

Or AA’s motto of “keep it simple stupid,” and the Bible’s admonition to have a “child-like faith” or the entire books of Ecclesiastes “everything is meaningless”

In many cases it is true, “less is more”. There can be a beauty in simplicity and clarity.

Sure, my 3 days deep-dive revealed some excellent stuff that I was unaware of before. But in many ways, not the things I had set out to find.

What followed over the next couple of days was a series of more profound takeaways that I didn’t even expect. And aren’t those always the best ones!

  • Fact: There are 7.5 billion people on the planet today. But 100 years from now, there will be 7.5 billion (or more) completely different people alive on earth

The entire earth recycles itself of all living life in an incredibly short amount of time. How much of our time is spent thinking, believing, and doing unnecessary things or thinking unhelpful thoughts that increase the risk of missing out on all the good that God intended for us in this life?  

  • Plants are the only living thing that has absolutely no say in their survival, they are completely dependent upon Mother Earth. Animals, on the other hand, must pro-create and survive in the wild. Humans, however, are the only living organisms that create or destroy, love or hate, build up or tear down. 

The odds that your mother and father connected at the exact time and space they did and that your single sperm beat out millions of others in that fateful moment of conception, means that we are important representatives of the human race, and stewards of planet earth. What are we doing with this awesome and unique opportunity?

  • Wayne Dyer: “Every person has a song, don’t die without letting others hear your song.”

Is there anything more important than just singing our song loud enough that others can hear it every single day? Isolation, fear, self-doubt, worry, procrastination, unforgiveness… these are all song killers. 

  • A friend of mine said in a phone conversation,” George, it sounds like you are lost in the weeds, get out of your head, and get back to experiencing the mountains.”

And it is true… No matter where you go, there you are.

I took the crazy-overthinking-guy with me believing he might slow down. Nope, he only has one setting, full blast. Which is great, I just need to remain aware and be intentional about when I step into his realm.

(On a side note, I’m a big fan of the exercise of personification of emotions or beliefs, it makes it easier to recognize and interact with them in a revealing and positive way. I will share the details of that exercise at a later time.)

I was touched by awe for a moment then dove back into figuring out the complexities of life, and in the process was missing out on life.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Our yesterdays are merely a filter by which our beliefs, decisions, and feelings pass through. And our tomorrows are made up of dreams or dread.

What we do with all of that is our choice, in each moment.

Only in our today will we experience what it is we choose to experience. Hope or hopelessness, connection or disconnection, desire or defeat, love or loneliness.

Lives can be transformed from a single conversation

Hearts can be restored by a single loving gesture

Purpose can be discovered, new freedoms unleashed, new hope can be born, but only for today, in the now.

If we will only believe it is possible and live as if it’s already true.

Love is the key: Love ourselves, love our neighbors, love our enemies, love what we do, love who we are, love who God is, we must cherish each moment of our life, even the hard stuff.

We will never find hope, courage, strength, endurance, or any other pursuit of the heart in our tomorrows, they must be lived out today.

And if we will do that, tomorrow we will remember a great yesterday and that will nourish a greater hope for our tomorrows.

Thank you, Lord, for the beautiful days

beautiful day

And thank you to the community of Lake Arrowhead for the hospitality.

lake arrowhead

It was indeed a trip to remember, although, with the amount of information and stimulus pouring into my mind daily, it’s likely I will forget most of the journey in a short time, or “lose my nuts” as it were.

So, heeding the lesson in this post, I will have to find more ways to “enjoy the moment” and quit trying so hard to prepare for my future when in reality, yesterday’s future is here today.

We can choose to live at peace with ourselves and the world around us in the midst of the struggle by choosing not to miss a single nugget of what this life is offering right now, today.

We must always remember that discovering our song and singing it loud and proud is what matters most in every moment.

Join the conversation: How do you “enjoy each day” and “sing your song” as you move toward a more abundant life?


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

But Overcome What?

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse. Helen Keller

hellen keller 1

I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling to find my voice, my message, my niche’, my audience.

Sure I write everything from the heart and freely expose my own life’s victories and blunders. But it seems that I’m still trying to figure out what my life’s story is trying to say.

Clearly, The Life Mastery Project is about “overcoming”… but I realized this morning that is much too vague.

Discovering that “our mess is our message” and that “our tests become our testimony” is a beautiful thing, and it’s easy to share from that space. But to provide an offering that you, the reader, are consistently interested in following and engaging with is another thing.

I’m not Tony Robbins, although his energy, wisdom, and vision of success run through me.

I’m not Darren Hardey, but his DarrenDaily wisdom influences me greatly.

Clearly, I’m not Jesus Christ, but the Word of God and his heart and teachings flow through my veins through the Holy Spirit, or at least that is my belief. 

I’m not Derek Rydall or Wayne Dyer… but their enlightened wisdom is a part of me.

I’m also not Bill W or Ted Roberts… or John Eldredge, Oswald Chambers or C.S. Lewis or Dallas Willard, but their heart and wisdom influence my thoughts.

These and dozens of others are the mentors I study under. As are my therapists throughout the years who have also brought insight and greater self-awareness.

Or the concept of Ikigai, or Tao/Buddhism wisdom. Or discovering my personality styles through Clifton, Myers-Briggs, and The Love Style self-assessments.

Some may contest that Christianity refutes the concepts of addiction recovery, psychology, self-help, and enlightenment and say they can’t be intermixed. But in my (current) view, they are all aspects of the same thing; a whole mind, body, and spirit existence.

Yes, the tenants of Christianity go far beyond just being our best self or living our best life. But the truths contained within are universal to many enlightenment and scientific discoveries, beliefs, and understandings.

But I digress. As mentioned, I am starting to recognize that I am somewhat all over the map by pressing into these different ideologies and areas of study and awareness.

It feels like the incongruency creates a lack of clarity and therefore, a lack of branding.

So again, I press back into the question; what is the Life Mastery Project all about?

What is my gifting? What value do I bring to others through my testimony and messages?

I feel like I came closer to that answer last night.

I was in a social gathering, a reception for an artist friend of mine. It was his gig, and I was just there to help out with the logistics; food, music, and general guest well-being.

Social gatherings are not my thing. I am an INTJ, an introvert, who feels overwhelmed in crowds. Add loud music and dozens of simultaneous conversations, and it’s just too much to process. I found myself having to step outside to get air often, and I struggled to connect with anyone.

These were the artist’s peers, not mine. But I met someone there who seemed different. We connected. We talked about the “emotions” the art drew out.

Earlier that night, I had someone ask me what I did for a living. I realized that was the first time that question had been asked of me since I left my 30 year career in Information Technology to become a Life Coach.

I struggled to answer him. I said, “I was in IT for 30 years,” and “I’ve been out of work for a year on disability.” I felt strange claiming to be a life coach.

It was a good reflection point for me. After that conversation, I realized I still see myself as being in limbo.

I have been working tirelessly for months on building the foundations for The Life Mastery Project and developing The Life Mastery Series. And I am working on getting Nikaos Coaching off the ground. Yet somehow, it appears, that I didn’t feel legitimate with these endeavors.

So when this gal asked me the same question a 1/2hr later, I was ready. “I’m a life coach,” I stated with confidence and authority.

I couldn’t really gauge her reaction, but it felt good to claim my dream. I may not have a significant impact yet, but that doesn’t mean I’m not putting myself out there and doing the work that is required.

One step at a time, one day at a time. 

I am an entrepreneur, I’m a knowledge broker, I am a thought leader; just an unknown one haha. And that’s ok!

What happened next, I believe, was God’s way of revealing the answer to my question: what’s my purpose.

She said something (of which I don’t even remember now), and when I gave my response, she replied: “oh, your right, I’m so stupid sometimes.”

The words just rolled out of her mouth casually without any real emotion or conviction. It was as if she had said that statement to herself a million times before and she was just “stating a fact.”

Of course, the hair went up on the back of my neck, and I lovingly snapped back “hey, you don’t get to say things like that around a life coach, you are NOT stupid. Our self-talk matters”.

She was startled but then instantly replied: “your right, I even know that is true, self-awareness and self-dialogue are so important.” My parents never called me stupid, why do we do that?”

(side note: if you aren’t prepared to get a profoundly probing response, never ask a life coach why we do stuff)

I proposed that “we acquire that kind of self-assessment by the way we felt as a child.

The significant people in our life didn’t have to use those words, they just needed to treat us a certain way. By either doing something to us or holding something back from us, we experienced emotions and formed self-opinions.”

I went on to say that it is common to feel invisible, or voiceless, or like we didn’t matter. And that it was us who assigned the labels to those unexplainable feelings, especially if nobody else was around to adequately explain them to us.

I continued: “they may have loved us dearly and would never use words like that, but their actions speak to our soul whereas their words only speak to our minds.”

I could see her processing, lights were going on, synaptic connections being made.

I should have possibly let it go at that, but I was now in my element. For the first time at this social event, I had a connection with someone, and we were having a meaningful conversation. I could “see with my soul” that she had self-worth issues, and my “auto-pilot” felt the desire to engage; to help.

She then stated, “that makes sense, so what do we do with that?”

(Again, side note: often, Pandora’s Box exists at the core of the areas that we find ourselves stuck in life. When I think about “being an overcomer, this is ground zero.)

With her follow-up question, I felt like I had permission to go deeper. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just seemed like the door was open, so I walked through it.

I explained in more detail that we remember childhood events through emotion instead of intellect. Unfortunately, studying self-help books or gaining intellectual knowledge or doing talk therapy doesn’t always help. Especially if the circumstances or trauma took place very young in life.

I then gave her an example from one of my own life-changing epiphanies. It was an enlightenment breakthrough event that came from a counseling session looking back at something that took place with my father on vacation when I was 10-years old.

(Seemingly lots of side notes today huh? A detailed breakdown of that specific childhood event which changed my life can be found in the Life Mastery Series.  I am also now certified in the NLP process, which unearthed the truth in that childhood experience for me. NLP has since become a prominent part of my life coaching practice.) 

I then noticed she had tears streaming down her face. My ability to connect with people’s deepest place of wounding had drawn out this complete strangers pain in a public setting.

I continued, however, and explained the process of how I found incredible healing from those early formative years and the freedom I experience today.

Just as I was finishing “the lesson,” the artist walked up to us, and he noticed her tears, and she quickly composed herself.

I later apologized to her, but she explained that she was grateful for the conversation because she didn’t realize that stuff was hiding under her own surface.

I’m sure you can imagine that my INTJ processing plant has been working overtime on that encounter since last night and into today.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the whole experience had something to do with my question to God. How does what I’m learning from my own wounding and my ongoing recovery position me to help others? 

There is a new clarity starting to emerge, even as I relate last night’s events here to you now.

We have many things to overcome, but there is a definite order to things.

WHAT DOES BEING AN OVERCOMER LOOK LIKE?

  1. Overcoming the faulty self-narratives, limiting beliefs and thinking patterns
  2. Overcoming our learned habits of conformity, complacency, and conflict
  3. Overcoming our lack of self-awareness, self-control, and self-discipline
  4. Overcoming our lack of vision, empowerment, and faith
  5. Overcoming our lack of commitment, determination, and focus
  6. Overcoming our lack of organization, goal setting, and intentionality

It has been my experience that simply beginning to incorporate these things in my life has rewarded me with the daily gifts of living as an overcomer. I am experiencing vibrant new energy, inner-peace, and joy. 

There is no arrival; there is only pursuit

We don’t overcome, we become overcomers

If we are hoping to feel successful and happy by overcoming anonymity, poverty, or insignificance, then we will be disappointed if we ever achieve those things.

An overcomer is one who has mastered his body and mind, and he can honestly say it is well with his soul.

Being an overcomer is a constant daily internal battle against our desire for smooth sailing, comfortable surroundings, and a risk-free environment. An overcomer is no longer in pursuit of pleasure or happiness, she has learned that those are byproducts, not sources.

Psychology, sociology, physiology, and spirituality all play crucial roles in wholeness.

And it is wholeness that is the pursuit of all overcomers even though these areas will never be fully overcome.

There is no “one thing” that we must overcome to be an overcomer. 

That may be disappointing, I know I have spent much of my life looking for the “one thing.”

The good news is history proves that everyone has the ability, capability, and even a responsibility to live their life as an overcomer.

No matter where you find yourself in life, somebody has been there before, and they have overcome your exact same circumstances.

You have exactly what they had; a brain, two arms, two legs, a beating heart, and a soul.

I guess my message has been all-over-the-map because my awareness is all-over-the-map.

Everything matters, it all plays a role. And it is all stuff that I personally have to be aware of and press into every day in my own life.

The difference might be that I am falling in love with the process and accepting who I am as I am today.

I don’t feel a lack of anything, although there is much I still look forward to having, experiencing, and doing.

My joy comes from being the best I can be each day and helping others on their journey of overcoming.. overcoming whatever the next thing is.

And my even greater joy is when I see those I help begin helping others.

It is our shared journey of redemption to reignite the light in us that darkness tried to snuff out.

But just because something is our destiny doesn’t mean it is our guaranteed destination.

It is only after we take ownership of the process that we are then free to enjoy the journey. 

This is why I encourage everyone to JOIN IN ON THE CONVERSATION; BECOME A PART OF THE SOLUTION.

If my blogs or podcasts spark anything, know that there is a place where your voice can be heard.

It’s no secret that inquisitive, helpful, encouraging, and respectful comments help further the conversation.

And of course, likes and shares help grow the community.

How can you help me?

Through my coaching website, you have access to a direct contact form. If you provide your contact info, I would be happy to connect with you.

I’m a lonely introvert, let’s chat (haha)


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

When Is Weakness Not Weakness?

strenths

Could that be any more counterintuitive?!?!?!

I’ve been kinda struggling the last couple days.

I’m still all-in with the dream of breaking free from fulfilling someone else’s vision (corporate jobs) and living for greater impact through sharing my experience, strength, and hope with the world (entrepreneurship).

But those old tapes, no matter how much we fight against them, seem to still have a voice.

  • You aren’t doing enough
  • You aren’t doing the right stuff
  • Who are you to compete with the big boys who have been doing this for decades
  • It’s too hard running an entire business by yourself
  • Your goals are too lofty, bordering on unreasonable
  • (add your inner-sabotager here)

I say it over and over; until we become self-aware of our negative beliefs and unhelpful thinking patterns we become prone to letting the feelings; those nay-sayers; to take us out.

Gratefully I’ve become pretty good at noticing them, so I can counter them pretty quickly

  • I AM making progress, there is no such thing as “not doing enough” unless I place that performance-based burden on myself
  • I AM doing the right thing If I am spending time in ANY area of my life that needs attention, which could include a Netflix binge – the definition is up to me
  • I AM taking my life to the next level and not competing with the big boys. Impact and success are they byproducts of consistency and creativity; leave the rest up to God
  • If my goals aren’t lofty then they aren’t big enough. We shoot for the sun and if we hit the moon, how awesome is that!
  • (list your counter-attack here)

But what happens when the internal dialogue comes up against something about yourself that doesn’t want to let go?

For me that looks like:

  • The “what if…” rumination can send me down a negative spiral for hours
  • Wanting to be “more social” yet always leaning toward introversion keeps me feeling disconnected
  • An OCD type behavior that runs really hot or really cold on projects
  • Driving other people crazy because I believe EVERYTHING has meaning and connection; even silly and seemingly insignificant things which make me feel like an outsider
  • Struggling at small talk and sometimes making people feel uncomfortable because I’m only fully-engaged in deeper more meaningful and personal conversations
  • (insert some character traits that you seem stuck with)

But there is good news

That list (and several more) has always been my nemesis, the enemies within that I believed I had to change or grow out of and fight against to be the best version of myself.

What I discovered however through Myers-Briggs and Clifton Strengths Finder is that those are key personality strengths that make me who I am.

So often we fight against our core personality and it makes us miserable, it robs our peace, our self-confidence and can make us feel broken, defective, different.

Again, my entire life’s message revolves around confronting those negative self-image items that reside under the surface and out of view from our conscious mind.

Through those self-awareness tools I discovered that:

  • Being an INFJ (Myers-Briggs) and being STRATEGIC (Clifton Strengths Finder) means that being in my own head is where I thrive, it’s where great insights into what makes me and the world tick comes from. It’s what allows me to solve problems, connect the dots and visualize solutions.
  • Discovering what makes me tick also allowed me to see that obsessively focusing on a project and losing myself for hours if not days in a task at the sacrifice of other areas of my life, including self-care, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That is what it looks like when I’m “in the zone” or “in-flow” or “in-state”. I can get a month worth of content created in a matter of a few days. Granted I need to be warry of balance, but this is not a valid self-condemnation character trait. Quite the opposite, it is something that if I manage and balance properly should be celebrated; it is another aspect of what makes me who I am.
  • Again, both Myers-Briggs and Clifton Strengths Finder confirm the same things, and me believing everything is connected and has meaning is an amazing encouraging tool. It is how I can make meaning out of even bad things, I can give others hope, encourage them that it seems dark now but that hardships not only open new doors but sometimes shove us through them and force us into becoming greater versions of ourselves. God intends for us to thrive, He wants the best for us, and us being challenged in greater ways is wonderful; oftentimes comfort is not our best friend for it breeds complacency.
  • I also realized that not being comfortable in large crowds or being comfortable with small talk is not a bad thing either. My core mission, gifting and calling is to have an impact on the lives of others; to become the best version of me and use that to help others. It again is what makes me tick. Something in my character disarms people, and they are many times very comfortable in only a few minutes and I am able to plants seeds of grace and encouragement in an incredibly short amount of time. There is nothing wrong with small talk, but at my soul level, it is a waste of time when there is an opportunity for impact. What a beautiful thing huh?

Hopefully, you can see the point. So often what we may think is a character defect or flaw because we believe we “should be like everyone else” or “more normal” is, in fact, the very thought process that becomes self-condemning and self-limiting leading toward self-sabotage.

We have to learn to love ourselves, embrace even our perceived weaknesses, discover how they can actually be our strengths, and then move forward with even greater confidence, empowerment, and boldness.

Do you have a strength that you believed to be a weakness at one time?

What tools, similar to Myers-Briggs or Clifton Strengthsfinder, have helped you discover more of who you are?

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 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

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