Love Yourself First

I saw this post from Aubrey Marcus (CEO of ONNIT) on Facebook yesterday and couldn’t help but share it with you all.

He wrote:

“Have you ever gone to the supermarket starving, or with wicked munchies? You end up with a bunch of weird shit in your basket. This is the same as those who are desperate for love and trying to find others to satiate that desire. Often times, you will end up with something unhealthy you are taking home. So if you want to avoid dating the equivalent of Funyuns, self love is the place to start.”

Learning to love yourself is hard. What happens if you take a moment to get to know yourself and don’t like who you are? That will be painful, uncomfortable, and definitely difficult. However, that is the only way to get to the other side – self love. Spend some time alone, really getting to know who you are and what you need so you can ensure your actions align with your morals and values. The place you end up is where love is born and happiness thrives.

Without self love the partners you choose will all be loving that version of yourself you don’t even like. This is a recipe for disaster.

Stop Being a Worry Wart

I have just about finished my current book “The Big Leap – Gay Hendricks” and I would definitely say it is worth the read. If you want to learn about what is limiting you from becoming the happiest, most successful version of yourself, this book is a must.

Hendricks talks about all the ways that we limit ourselves from being happy and accepting wealth and abundance. When things are going really well rather than accepting it, enjoying it, and continuing to build upon it we do something that brings us down. It’s like the saying “too good to be true,” we naturally assume that with all good comes bad and we couldn’t possibly be happy all the time. Why not? Why aren’t we willing to be happy all the time?

One of those things we do to bring us down is worrying. How many of you worry? Worry about whether you left the oven on, if your success will be short lived, if you can pay the bills this month, if you made the right investment, anything at all. Hendricks challenges you to think of worrying as you crimping the flow of positive energy. What I found very interesting about this is that he links worrying to some positive or successful moment in your life. Things are going well at work? You worry about your wife cheating on you. You just qualified for a National Championships? You worry that you might get injured. Instead of embracing success and happiness you search for what must be going wrong – I couldn’t possibly have happiness without sacrifice.

Of course not every worry can be to stop the flow of positive energy, some worries are real and necessary to ensure your house doesn’t burn down! So how can we know when the worry is real or something we use to limit our own happiness?

There are two questions you should ask yourself:

Is it a real possibility?

Is there any action I can take right now (in this exact moment) to make a positive difference?

When the worry is if you left the oven on the answers are obviously yes to both. It is definitely a real possibility and you can take action to go home and check. However, if your worry is something like – my success won’t last – and leads to a “no” answer to these questions stop yourself right in your tracks and tell yourself one thing: you deserve to be happy, wealthy, and loved. Worrying is only limiting yourself from the happiness you deserve. Give yourself permission to be happy.

In the movie “Bridge of Spies” the character on trial was never worried even though he was facing terrible charges that would surely change his life forever. His lawyer asked him on a number of occasions “Do you never worry?” and he always replied “Would it help?”

Why Believe in Others

You know that friend you have with low self-esteem, that actually has amazing gifts?  The person that you believe in so much even though he/she doesn’t believe in himself/herself?  Well, we all have a little bit of that in us.  And we all have something that we can be great at.  Treat people like they are the best version of themselves, the version that you can see through all the self-doubt.  Hold them to a higher standard.  Believe in them.

This video is of Viktor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, talking about why we should believe in others.  Please check it out.  It’s only 4 minutes.

https://www.ted.com/talks/viktor_frankl_youth_in_search_of_meaning

Therapy is Cool

For the longest time I thought therapy was for people that were broken, weak, or had something “wrong” with them. Whenever I heard people mentioning “talking to a professional” it was always followed by discomfort, an awkward silence, or someone being offended. I automatically assumed therapy was something negative, something I would never need, something we needed to whisper about.

Over the past year my life has drastically changed. I went from being a full time student and athlete to running a company with 12 employees and thousands of active clients all while living in a new country with my new boyfriend. I have freedom of place and time, and I can honestly say I love my life. So many people think my life is “perfect” and I am “living the dream” so why on earth would I need therapy?

I met my boyfriend Michael Cazayoux and he completely changed my life. He is a recovering heroin addict and through that experience has been through years of therapy and treatment. I saw him living a life of honesty, vulnerability, and actively working every day on being a person of integrity. I wanted so much of what he had “figured out”. Nothing phased him, he rarely gets upset, talks bad about people, and always sees the good in those around him. Imagine being at an airport and your flight gets delayed, then the next one is over booked, you have to spend the night sleeping on the airport floor, and you miss 2 full days of your vacation. Michael would laugh, smile, and kindly tell the customer service agent “It’s okay, I know it’s not your fault.”

I wanted that. I wanted to be happy all the time and to feel like my emotions don’t control me. Michael attributes much of his current state of mind to the years he spent in rehab. This triggered curiosity in me. Do I need to “need” therapy to benefit from it?

Absolutely not.

Talking to a neutral third party, with no hidden agenda, that is experienced in mental health is for everyone and anyone. You don’t need to be an addict, have a mental breakdown, be diagnosed with a psychological disorder, or be struggling with anything serious at all. We all struggle with something and I can guarantee that you will be happier, healthier, and more successful after talking to a professional.

I have never had a rock bottom experience the same way Michael has but having someone to speak to where the focus is 100% on me has been one of the most eye opening experiences of my life. I vividly remember before my first appointment I thought to myself “What if I don’t have anything to talk about? I’m not really struggling with anything right now.” To my surprise 1 hour was not enough time. I have become better in every single way and have gotten to know depths of myself that I didn’t know existed.

I could grow and learn without professional help, but that’s like saying I could lose weight without a nutritionist, or do my taxes without an accountant. They are the experts for a reason, let them do what they do best. Taking the time to work on yourself is the most unselfish thing you can do. It will, without a doubt, be uncomfortable, painful, and bring up things you’ve spent years trying to bury, but it will be worth it.

Therapy is cool.

Integrity

Doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you are going to do it.

Integrity is wiping the toilet seat in a public restroom after you just got some of your piss on it, knowing that no one would ever know it was you if you left it there.

It’s NOT throwing trash on the ground when you are walking through the park.

It’s calling your friend back because you said you would.

It’s getting up early enough to make yourself a balanced meal rather than grabbing a Gogurt on the way out the door because you told yourself you would. (But let’s be real. Frozen Gogurts are one of the unsung heros of the last decade)

We MUST do all of these small things, and we must do them consistently if we ever want a chance of following through on the big goals we set for ourselves.

Every time we break a promise we made to ourselves or someone else, we destroy trust.  Loss of trust in ourselves leads to self-doubt, low self-esteem, and a further lack of follow through.  Nothing destroys relationships with others like the loss of trust.  Get in the habit of doing the small things every time and watch your self-confidence and relationships grow.

The Voice in your Head

You hear that voice in your head? The voice that seems to always have something to say. You could be sitting trying to relax and in your head you hear “Am I hungry?” “Did I forget to turn the oven off?” “Maybe I should call Michael and see what he’s up to.” Where is that voice coming from? Who does it belong to? Is it you?

I am currently reading a book called The Untethered Soul – I highly recommend it. This book starts off by discussing this voice and who it belongs to. I never really took the time to think about it, is that voice me? The voice constantly contradicts itself, it sometimes gives terrible advice, sometimes I completely disagree with it, so then could it really be me?

Imagine it is your birthday, you are waiting on your boyfriend for dinner and he’s late. The voice in your head is quick to say “He forgot my birthday, he doesn’t even care about me.” A couple minutes later your boyfriend calls and the voice in your head is saying “Ignore him, he forgot your birthday you don’t even want to talk to him right now.” You decide not to listen and answer anyways to find out he is late because he was planning an incredible surprise for you. If you had listened to the voice in your head you would have gotten it all wrong ruining the surprise and your birthday.

Now imagine that voice was coming from a friend, would you appreciate their advice in the future? Definitely not as much. Then why 10-20 minutes after getting terrible advice do we listen to that voice in our own head no questions asked? We think it’s us.

That voice is not you.

That voice is insecurities, shame, fear, excitement, anger, all the emotions expressing themselves incessantly. This is not you but rather a voice that you have created and if you let it one the will never shut up making it harder to actually hear your own voice. The way to mindfulness is to quiet that voice. You may never be able to turn it off completely but letting the thoughts and emotions pass will ultimately help you become a happier, healthier, and more successful human being.

One of my favourite quotes I heard from a friend Brooke Ence is to think of thoughts and emotions like birds flying by. You want to see them, acknowledge them, but let them fly by without a care. What you want to avoid is allowing those birds to build a nest in your hair.

Put down the shovel

joe-rogan

I was that guy (kid) with the gun in his mouth once upon a time. Literally. I was depressed and completely lost. It’s taken years and years of constant work, but now I am completely happy and free.

It took a rock bottom experience for me to finally wake up. The thing is, I could have dug much deeper. I made the choice for that to be my rock bottom, and decided to stop digging.

If you are reading this and feel like you are stuck, depressed, scared, hopeless, etc. just know there is hope. You can choose TODAY to be done digging and start to pull yourself out.

There will never be a time when it’s easy or comfortable, but I promise you it’s better than being miserable.

This also goes for any of you that have big hopes and dreams but are too afraid to take that first step. “Oh but I’ll never be good enough” “People will think I’m so arrogant for even trying this” “But what if I fail” etc.

You can make the choice right now to stop making excuses and start TAKING ACTION. One step at a time, one day at a time.

How to Build Mental Toughness

Most people think mental toughness is a genetic gift. You’re either tough or you aren’t. That is 100% false. Mental toughness, like most other mental skills, can be built just like any physical skill.

 

When we learn a new sport, we are constantly outside of our comfort zone. Think back to the first time you swung a golf club. It was probably about as awkward as the first time you had sex right? You hit the ground in front of the ball, you’d miss it completely, and every now and then you’d make contact and slice it out of bounds.

 

If you keep practicing, you start to learn and feel a little more comfortable with the club in your hand. You start making contact every time (even if you do keep hitting it out of bounds). The cycle continues to the point you can hit it relatively straight consistently.

 

Mental toughness is built the same way. Some people hit their first golf ball when they are 2, and some people have parents that foster mental toughness their entire lives. We adapt to our environment. Kids that grow up playing contact sports, working manual labor, get in lots of fights with their brothers, doing their homework before going outside to play end up being more mentally tough.

 

So how do you build mental toughness? You live on the edge of your comfort level. I say “on the edge” because part of the problem with mentally weak people is that they have a habit of quitting. If those people go too far, they are only more likely to quit and not progress. So take one step at a time, and your mind will grow stronger. Do things that challenge you physically through exercise and adventure. Do you things that slightly embarrass you. Things that make you feel “exposed.”

 

How many old men do you know that have played golf for the last 30 years and improved zero? Lots. “Why does that happen Mike, I thought all you said was I had to practice?” It’s because they got comfortable. They got comfortable and just played without practicing. Both are necessary, but you cannot improve past a certain point without directed practice.

 

Mental toughness is no different. You must remain engaged and present in your life. Regularly ask yourself where in your life you have become complacent. Once you identify it, devise your next step forward.

Stop Making Excuses.

You have a goal, a dream, something that you are striving for and almost without fail whatever you are chasing after comes with an excuse. We rarely every just dive into something headfirst admitting to our friends, family, even ourselves that we truly want what we are going after.

“I really want to get into that graduate school but I have had to work long hours, and I got really sick, so who knows what will happen.”

“I would love to win the National Championships but I had to travel and was out of routine a lot this year.”

“It would be the best thing ever if the book I wrote got published but I also have school and it doesn’t really matter to me that much, books are lame.”

We make excuses to protect ourselves. If we fail, we think those excuses will soften the blow. You didn’t get that job but you didn’t really want it that bad any ways, you didn’t win a medal but you were sick the weeks leading up. In theory this makes sense – protecting yourself from the pain of failure – but in reality you’re doing yourself a disservice.

What would happen if you were just honest and didn’t use a single excuse?

First and fore most getting rid of those excuses is going to automatically increase your chances of success. Now you know that failure is something you cannot deflect so you will naturally work harder to avoid it. Even just putting an excuse out there is going to subconsciously allow the idea of failure leak into your mind. You don’t want this.

Making those excuses is a natural habit but what if we thought about it this way?

If everyone around you knows you were sick, you were traveling, you got injured, and then you failed, will they console you the same way that they would if you didn’t make any of the excuses? Sure, without any excuses to lean on failing might sting a little more at first but your friends and family will be right there beside you to take some of the sting away. If they don’t think it was that big of a deal to you, it won’t be as big of a deal to them.

On the flip side, if you succeed but you “didn’t really try that hard”, or it “didn’t matter that much to you” the celebration around your triumph will not be as great as it could be. When you know you tried your best, you worked as hard as possible, and made no excuses, victory will be that much sweeter. Everyone around you will be glowing with pride and excitement knowing that this is something you wanted wholeheartedly. If you carry those excuses with you, when you succeed it will be as if you happened upon that success rather than earning it. Sure your friends and family will be excited for you but it will become success “even though you were sick”,“even though you took time off.”

Failing will never be easy but If you’re going to do it you might as well give it everything you’ve got.

Choose Happiness

 

There is always going to be something that you can be unhappy about. However, on the flip side there is always going to be the option to just be happy.

I’ll be happy when I lose 5 lbs

I’ll be happy when I get a new job

I’ll be happy when I make more money

I’ll be happy when I’m on vacation

Why can’t “when” be now?

The only thing that is stopping you from being happy right NOW is you. The second you really accept that, believe it, and become aware of it you will be set free from the confines of unhappy, sad, angry, frustrated, and all the other things we want to do without.

I recently had a conversation with my friend Melanie Barnshaw and she told me she couldn’t understand how people don’t ensure they have some time in the morning to be alone and present with themselves. She said “I couldn’t function without that time.”

I thought about this for a second and realized that we don’t know better. If you have never felt what a perfect, productive, and invigorating day feels like you don’t know what you are missing. But once you have consciously decided to be happy and because of that choice have a day where you are in a state of flow, nothing can go wrong, and you just can’t help but smile, you cannot un-feel it.

Choose happiness.

If you are unhappy right now do something different. You cannot keep living the same way expecting a different result. Wake up earlier, read more, meditate, journal, sing, take up a new hobby, volunteer, call an old friend. If it doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable, you’re not doing it right.

You can be happy TODAY!! Turn that fear into excitement and choose happiness.

For those that think you just don’t have the time to be happy I would recommend reading or listening this book: The Perfect Day Formula – Craig Ballantyne