Achilles’ heel.

Achilles

It doesn’t matter how big and strong we are does it, it doesn’t matter what we’ve been through, endured and survived and all of those life lessons don’t mean a single thing at all because like it or not we all have that one person we seem to be completely powerless against. For me the best way to describe it and probably how I realized it and related to it was Dwayne Johnson in the movie Central Intelligence. For those of you that haven’t seen it his character has been through a huge body transformation, he was an overweight high school kid that was bullied then went and turned himself into the man mountain that we all know. He is this huge hyper confident and positive character but there is a scene where he comes face to face with his nemesis the school bully. The bully still taunts him not fearing the size of him and remarks that no matter what he has done to his outside he will always be the same on the inside. Dwayne then looks to a reflection of himself and see’s the image of his former self looking back at him and cowers to the bully.

That is how it can feel with someone in your life, they can instantly put you back in that place of vulnerability and weakness just by seeing them, speaking to them, on the phone or even receiving a message off them. For some reason you feel weak or near defenseless with them, be it from an abusive or controlling standpoint or even from such strong emotional bonds that you seem to never be able to sever. Which is really the subject matter for this. I know I have struggled in the field. Not in a pining or needy sense, more everything that has been and gone seems to instantly vanish when I interact with a certain person and I can find myself on the ropes trying to regain little composure. Not control mind, I let that be knowing I can confidently handle the situation. I mean, in that movie the Rock eventually faces the bully and finally gets to move forwards with his life. It’s almost like a human flaw to struggle in a totally unnecessary manner. It’s that human element where our emotions and feelings almost get the better of us, that’s not actually a bad thing being reminded we are human and that another human touched and connected with us so deeply. It’s almost a privilege to have been that submersed in someone although you can, and I did lose your identity. That is something you only really see on reflection and once you do find yourself again you generally will be an improved version. However, they will always have a piece of you and vice versa. For me I with all of this I feel it is because there is still a physical tie. The house that is waiting to be sold feels like it is keeping everything linked. It’s turned into the sun in my universe and I’m just standing back from it on my planet watching it as I continue to revolve around it just waiting for it to go supernova and bring about the end. Which will hopefully catapult me out into space until one day I will set up shop on my new home planet in a new solar system. No doubt from there I will still be able to see that old constellation but from where I will be, it will be light years away.

These people have an affect on us which is almost like being haunted, like they are never really more than two thoughts from our minds. Now this isn’t to say my situation, my ‘sun’ has held me back in getting on with my life. In fact I have made ginormous leaps forwards in virtually every aspect of my life yet the whole time it feels like I am being tethered somewhere. Have you ever had those dreams where you can’t move as fast as you want to? Like you are trying to run away but you can’t seem to make your limbs move the speed you want them to? That is probably how I can describe it best. It’s a horrible feeling that you can’t get away or break free and no matter how much effort you put in you don’t make it almost as if you are walking through wet sand or walking face first into strong winds.

This feeling is a hard one to describe properly but no one likes feeling this way. Earlier I said it could be for a lot of reason but for me it was that all consuming deepness, we were interwoven for many years and honestly, as I write this I don’t know if that particular feeling of connection will ever leave me. As an adult I have never experienced something like this before, it has been quite overwhelming and to this day I probably have this person entering my thoughts too often. I put it down to the current circumstances, that is all it can be now. The last link, the last physical or material joint.

Naturally you get used to people not being in your day to day world, all the habits and behavioural patterns begin to fade. I remember initially being very aware and mindful when talking to people of using particular phrases and terms that were born during that period, even to the degree of removing them from my vocabulary altogether. As with everything else though that behaviour faded, I found myself a footing and as I returned to me this new me flourished and continued to develop.

It’s not an easy thing though moving on from a person, regardless of what’s gone before. The human element remains and certainly for me I tend to initially remember the good, the belly laughs and smiles. Things like Facebook drop in a little reminder too, old memories you shared, it has been difficult removing those as they come in as it feels like removing part of your history and I don’t deny myself any of my history. The good or the bad as each were steps towards the making of me as I am now. That is a me I am very proud of being and enjoy being.

So now as I start to prepare for that sun to go supernova my gut tells me it won’t leave a black hole. I think it’s going to be more of a white hole which in it’s definition is perfect; “A hypothetical region of space and time which cannot be entered from the outside, although matter and light can escape from it”. That sounds pretty perfect to me, a place that has been and you can’t add to or lose anything else into but can release things from time to time. So by that I shall embrace the dawn of my white hole, that place I can see but not add to, a place where I can throw a rye smile. That is where, I assume my weakness will end and the moving on can become complete.

My Achilles’ heel, as big and strong as I am with everything  I have done, do, achieve and believe that is my weakness. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I accept where everything in my life is and would not change a single thing if I were given the opportunity. I’m not about looking back and wanting to change things, none of us should view life like that. I wouldn’t want that life again either but it doesn’t stop me feeling vulnerable about it from time to time. I know I’m strong, I know no one has a hold over me but that doesn’t stop the feeling and the related emotions even if they are temporary.

If you’re there too, in this same place then don’t worry about it. Know that even if you feel like you are weak it doesn’t mean you are, we all have more strength and will power to draw upon than we even know and remember, that feeling isn’t one way. Everybody has a weakness for someone but it doesn’t have to mean that will be your downfall. Whoever your Achille’s heel is they have one too. Should it be the same person then that forms a circle that will need to be broken.

So don’t get caught up in feeling weak, it passes. As all things do. Just put a little distance between them and your thoughts. For me, she was never a person I wanted to get over, I just had to.

Trust the process.

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Don’t you find it so frustrating when what you want never seems to arrive? Or that you get diverted off the path you thought you needed to be on and it feels like you’re moving further from where you want to be. That can actually be the case but more often that not if you are working consistently on getting to the finish line in whatever that might be, losing weight, changing jobs, starting a family, saving for a new car or holiday. It doesn’t matter what the end goal is the fact remains the same. You have to trust the process.

What does that actually mean? Is it a term you have heard before? For me it was a term born in the gym. When I went from a gym numpty, to  a gym rat that had sorted out his nutrition and then onto a competitive bodybuilder it was a phrase I started to hear. In it’s essence in terms of bodybuilding it means while you’re doing this, while you are preparing your body for competition you will go through the full spectrum of emotions. You will look in the mirror at your body and see nothing, you will see no change, no progress or development and you will want to throw the towel in right there and then. you will be tired, snappy, aching and down hearted about not seeing what you ‘thought’ you’d see that you would happily walk away from any further plans or commitment to the cause, you would happily erase all memory of the notion of stepping on stage because right there, in that moment the mirror is telling you that you could b=never be ready for it. It’s at this point, this crossroads that I first got told to trust the process but what did it mean? Well, it means that although I’m looking at my body and it’s not doing or looking like I expected it to that doesn’t mean that it isn’t doing what it needs to be doing. You can research things until the cows come home but if you have never done something, lived or experienced something you will never truly understand it until it is real in you life. In trusting the process you are putting your belief that if you keep consistent, keep doing what you set out to do then everything will align at the end.

I suppose in a religious term it would be dubbed as blind faith. It is not blind though and the same rule applies, if the work is there, if you are dedicated, consistent and a little stubborn then it all comes together when it is supposed to. For bodybuilding it all climaxes on show day when every workout, meal, pose, sleep and stretch comes together and that transfers to every aspect of life. If you’re training for a new job the workload might seem overwhelming so you think your old job isn’t so bad, if you are trying to lose weight are the scales are stuck even though you haven’t missed a beat or you’re working on a relationship that’s in turmoil and it seems you aren’t making any moves forwards. In each and every one of those examples you will be, just because that progress isn’t visual or obvious it doesn’t mean it is not happening. Consistent work will always bring about consistent results, that is how it works. Realize that there are no short cuts, no stage presence pill or instant qualification, no such thing as fat burning foods. No other way that good old fashioned hard work then you will accept what needs to be done and get on with it.

All this does not mean you wont keep questioning the process. That is what builds character, builds true strength of character. Having belief that even though it doesn’t appear to be doing what it says on the tin, behind the scenes all is well and everything will come together at the right time. Understanding that all the planets align at the right time. Using myself as a reference point, my last couple of years have been horrific, losing my dad in what seemed like the blink of an eye, having no one to turn to about it then as I felt I was starting to make my way out of the woods my long term relationship ended. I was broken, on the floor on my knees with no clue on how to even process what was happening. It’s only looking back now that I understand the process. Now don’t get me wrong it was a horrible process but it has freed me, it has forged me into a different kind of man. The process makes you understand so much more. It’s going through these things, these ‘processes’ that build the experience we need, the tools of knowledge that we are not to fear what we go through . Knowing that you can draw strength form others and likewise offer support to those around you that may be walking a path. Coming out the other side once you have trusted the process is incredible, it’s uplifting. I as I’m sure many of you have too have walked away many times before. Told the process to sling it’s hook but once you stop doing that, once you carry it over the finishing line you level up. You see it all so differently, a bit like the matrix you just see the code. You don’t see obstructions or challenges you just accept that there is a journey ahead dusted with lessons and you get on with it. If anything you embrace it.

It is knowing that whatever you will be undertaking there will be a start, middle and end to it and you will maintain the belief that it will complete. Knowing you can and will bill capable, determined, persistent and consistent enough to achieve it. If life has taught me anything recently it is that opportunity is out there and anyone has the ability to fulfill their goals. The process will always take as long as it needs to take, no short cuts or quick fixes. take that easy or sparkly route at your own peril as all you’ll be doing is delaying the inevitable. The inevitable fact that if you want something you’re going to hard to work for it. Take a few risks along the way but make sure they are calculated risks, have a plan but be flexible to adapt as required. All of these things form the process.

No matter what you’ve been through, whatever may have broken your trust in anything else, never lose the trust in yourself and your ability to achieve what you want to. That trust in yourself that you can create whatever life you want for yourself. Trust in yourself, trust the process. Understand that when maybe it feels like things aren’t going right or the walls feel like they are closing in that if you keep true to what you’re doing that the prize and the spoils are yours for the taking.

So if you’re there, where I was, doubting if what you’re doing is worth it or if you’ll ever make it to the end. I’m telling you it is worth it, you will make it to wherever you want to be and when you do…. well, you’ll see.

What are you waiting for?

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We all have dreams don’t we, we all have that ideal scenario that we hope for but what stops us from going out there and getting it? As I have touched on before, for some reason we train ourselves to be governed by excuses, we talk ourselves out of even trying to do what we want. Eventually, once the planets align there comes a point where there aren’t any excuses left yet we still try and defer going all out for our dreams. This for me begs the question; ‘What are you waiting for?’. What is it that is holding you back? You’ve got to believe in yourself, once you can do that, once you have learned to harness self belief then destiny will be staring at you, it will be looking straight into your eyes and it wont blink, it wont look away because it knows you are ready, and you’ll know it too. You will feel that fire swirling around inside you, the thoughts of your own goals will never leave your mind. This is where you must place yourself in order to achieve your dreams. There is no magic pill, no free rides, no piggy back as someone else does the heavy lifting. This is now you. You versus you each and every day. Endlessly chipping away at the seemingly impossible task, yet this wont phase you, that line of thought wont even enter your mind because you know it’s doable, you feel it’s doable, you believe it’s doable.

The empowerment of self belief is many things, it’s inspiring. Watch how many others draw enthusiasm and determination from how you carry yourself. The passion you convey in talking about your dream and what your are doing will ignite others to try and realize their own dreams. Positivity is infectious, it breeds more and more positive energy. It makes like minded people gravitate towards you. Then those people all begin to bounce off one another. Ideas, suggestions, developments, collaborations. It makes opportunity infinite.

As someone that has always had a billion ideas but never really been in the right place internally to really chase them down, to pursue them into completion and beyond. Where I am at now, destroying every single marker and task I set myself without a second thought. It is so liberating and it has the domino effect, everything you set out to do and complete is like adding an accelerant  to the fire, it fuels your passion and it fuels your belief in yourself. It also acts to add reinforcement to your course of action.

What is something bad happens, wont that undo everything? No, we all know life will throw in a mixed bag of cheeky surprises ready to blindside us at any given moment. Bad and unforeseen things are going to happen here and there that’s all part of it but when you are in that positive mindset you are already best prepared to process and deal with anything already. Think of it this way, if you mind is already tuned to being negative then you will almost be searching for something negative to happen and when it does you will adopt a defeatist attitude but flip that to a positive outlook and you will feel more like ‘should something come along to rock the boat I will just deal with it there and then’. That’s the battle already half won. Don’t let non existent things influence your outlook and mindset. It’s like keep thinking back on the past, nothing is to be gained. What I want you to do is change your default settings, switch them into positive mode in everything you do. There isn’t single aspect of life that isn’t improved by this mentality. You’ll do positive things without even knowing because it just becomes normal. You’ll whittle out all those little negative traits and influences that hold you back and when you reflect you will recognize  that the whole time you didn’t even see how much they were holding you back.

Don’t put it off, don’t let your life pass you by without going for it. The rewards are out there for each and every one of us. We always take tomorrow as a given but think about it. Have you ever stopped and considered that today, right here and now could be your last day? That’s not meant to sound all doom and gloom, quite the opposite in fact so take a second to think about that as a real fact. What you do here and now today could be your last actions, your last opportunity to do something amazing with your life. This is why it’s so important to make the most of it. If you want a real life example, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer he spoke of plans for he, my brother and I to go sea fishing. The grande royale for a father and his sons. He said once he had got through his treatment we would book the boat and the three of us would take to the seas, but he got worse so we said we would organize it for when his condition had improved. Little did we know but our window had already passed. He was never well enough again to book it and trip never happened. I hate fishing but that trip would have been cemented in my memory forever. So don’t put things off, don’t put anything off. When he first said about the trip it should’ve been booked there and then.

So when someone asks you what you are waiting for, or even if you find you’re asking yourself that question then seize that moment there and then, do it, book it, say it, dream it. Whatever it may be do it, don’t let a moment slip away because you might not realize but that may well have been your only chance for it. Live in the moment. As the people around me now know I have adopted a certain outlook to anything in my life. If opportunity comes a knocking, if I get asked if I want to do something or go somewhere then my default answer is ‘yes’. Then I work out the details between now and then. Believe me if nothing else it keeps things fresh!

Try not to overthink things either, it’s like tethering yourself to life. Don’t start thinking about the negative outcomes, if you are going to think about things think about all the possible positive outcomes. What could actually happen if you went for it. What other opportunities could be born from going for it? You see thinking in both positive and negative ways has the same effect, they both breed more of the same but when you’re thinking negatively it will spiral down and down until it hits the bottom. Now flip that to positive thinking and it only climbs higher and higher. There is no ceiling, no top to reach. That’s the overall beauty of a positive outlook. It’s limitless, a never ending journey all based on how you choose to look at things and how you choose to approach things.

Another thing I have woven into my daily approach to life is what my training partner do in the gym. If either one of us suggests something then it has to be done. Coined as ‘You said it so we do it’. It’s embracing the freedom of an outcome, enjoying the potential of the unknown. It’s liberating.

Just don’t get caught in waiting for the right moment to come along. I can pretty much promise you it’s never going to arrive. We as people will always convince ourselves that aright moment will appear, normally because what we are waiting for is scary or require stepping out of our comfort zone. Sadly neither life or those opportunities will sit and wait for us, we have to go after them. Wait for nothing, seize and create opportunity. Embrace a positive life then pop your seat belt on and enjoy the ride.

Mirror mirror.

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Who we are and who we project ourselves to be can be vastly different. They can be polar opposites of the spectrum. To a degree this is normal, if we’re starting a new job or career there will naturally be an element of this in order to make a good initial impression. But what about away from that, when it’s just you faced with you looking back at you in the mirror? Is that the same person you see?

What do you see? I have just tried this, I was standing in my kitchen eating a packet of crisps and I was looking at my reflection. Initially just casting my eye over my physique and what the past week of irregular eating and sugar binging had done to it, but then I looked at my face, yes it is incredibly handsome but I looked further in, I began to look beyond the physical. Into my eyes as if I were looking into someone else’s as I was talking to them and it got me thinking. Am I who I think I am? Am I who and what people think I am? My conclusion was yes, on the whole it’s a yes.  I don’t run from or try and mask my flaws, I think now at this stage in my life I am very honest with where I am at, and how I got here.

I see my own personal flaws and what could be defined as weaknesses, all of which come together and form me as a whole. Which is basically it isn’t it, accepting that all of our traits form us and who we are. I believe the real difference in what defines a person is knowing and understanding where we fall down and not hiding it or purposely masking those parts form others. For whatever reason, vanity, insecurity and possibly a fear of not being accepted for who you actually are. Now life is a long journey to try and keep uphold that vision. I’d imagine, it will be futile. As the saying goes, you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Maybe those closed doors  and actually the ones obscuring ones true self. I’m not saying all people are deceptive or that ‘bad people’ can’t do good things but it’s a cloak that raises questions. You have to be comfortable in yourself first and foremost, that has to be the starting point in my opinion. You have to be ease with your own company, your own space.

If you see something in that reflection that you don’t like and I’m not talking about the physical because ultimately the physical form (health reasons aside) is irrelevant. It’s our being, our energy that truly matters. Having that cleaned soul. If you do see something that you don’t like then address it, try to understand it, learn its origins and it’s reason for being there. As an example I present my case, I’ve spent the majority of my life a little offset, nothing of ill intent but for whatever reason just slightly unaligned. As with most people I just took it as that was me and got on with things. After all, we’re all different aren’t we?

Then, after meandering through life thinking this is how it is some life changing events rolled into town. A full set of them, poor choices made by various parties and my Dad taken ill and passing. I was left flailing and I had to change something, I had to understand myself. So, I sought council. Before I go further for my generation doing this carried a certain stigma, it was a dirty word but I had reached a point in my life where the need to understand and realign far outweighed the opinions of others. Therapy is a tool there for us to use, a powerful tool and those that have trained specifically to help others, well they are very special people.

So, I spent some time online reading profile after profile until one spoke to me. That is the process I would recommend to anyone looking to talk to someone. I dropped him an email and arranged our first appointment. Going in to that first session I knew I had to make progress to move forward, to discover things and begin to understand. To do that I had to be open and honest, there is no point being guarded or dancing around the issue. We discovered I had been traumatized by the passing of my Grandad and more to the point in how I had been told. I had always carried a handful of memories with me through my life, memories that had remained in crystal clear hd.  These memories had become interlinked, all unrelated in their making but fused together in the trauma of my news. This combined  gave birth to them manifesting in the need for me to keep control of the things in my life for the fear of them being taken from me. In that respect it had defined my understanding of boundaries and control when I would have been forming ‘normal’ parameters for them. As soon as we touched on this I felt everything start to undo, I felt the walls around me that had been built up by this behaviour start to disassemble brick by brick. It has allowed me to understand everything and now move to feeling free.

Learning that you cannot control what is going to happen throughout you life was huge to me and then realizing that you don’t need or want to control it but should be looking to put your efforts in how your deal with the things that happen in life. That is the important skill to understand and learn. It’s letting life unfold naturally, not trying to steer it in any particular direction. Then when it throws you a curveball you are grounded and level enough to deal with it in the best possible way. Now even though I have discovered, processed and broken through my own personal barriers I have remained with my councilor, not for the need to learn more about myself. I’m currently the best physical and mental version of myself i have ever been, but to just vocalize and talk through what I have going on. It’s a amazing facility to use and I believe everyone can benefit from it in some way. Those that scream they don’t need to see anyone? Maybe we should clear a path and usher them to the front.

This is why I’m not scared to look at myself in the mirror, to actually look at ‘me’, who I am. I see and accept my mistakes, shortcomings and flaws but I can also see the genuine, generous and caring person. I am not and never could see myself better or worse than anyone else, we are all the same blank canvas at the start just our pictures evolve differently. I try and see the positive in all situations.

So if you see something looking back at you that might not be something wrong but just something you would like to improve then be proactive and tackle it. Trust me, as someone that has stood there not knowing what was going to be unearthed and faced whatever came out and then to make it through to the other side not just stronger and more understanding but also totally at peace with myself. Then anyone can do it, anyone can improve themselves if they want to. There will be a reason that you’re not happy or content with what you see but take confidence that whatever it is, it can be fixed.

Take the brave step to travel down to the lower levels in order to make the surface a better place.

 

What’s your excuse?

 

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What is your first thought when you wake up? What is the biggest reason you aren’t doing what you want to do with your life? I’ll tell you, it’s the ease of making excuses, finding something else to blame for not traveling in the direction you want to. The workload at your job, having to run the kids here there and everywhere, you just don’t have enough hours in the day to do what you want to do. I could list reasons into infinity and each and every one will be the same, an excuse.

Now look at it this way, each time you wake up you are presented with another 24 hour window of opportunity, 24 hours to take another step, no matter how big or small towards your goals. I’m not saying it will ever be gifted to you but you have to realize every single person on the planet wakes up with the same time slot in front of them as you. It’s how you use it. It’s not even a case of how much time you have it’s how you utilize it. We all have a ‘thing’ a dream or goal, that ideal life that rattles around our heads when we’re daydreaming or talking to our friends , but the bottom line in reality is that no matter how crazy or unrealistic it seems, no matter how far fetched it sounds it is all achievable. Every single one of us has limitless potential, it is only restricted by ourselves, by not believing  in our own capabilities but that’ s inaccurate as we all have the ability to be what we want.

Break your day down, look at how you use your time. The first thing you will see is the amount of time your face is buried in your phone. Now, depending on what you are working towards your phone can be your worst enemy or one of the strongest tools you can utilize. It is such a powerful tool when used correctly, the power and influence you can generate is staggering, and as with everything else what you put in your get back in return. It is also a place of escapism where we lose ourselves browsing, shopping, chatting, laughing at meme’s. It’s where we can lose total track of time. I have made and implemented a rule where asides from updating socials, blogs and such like I don’t use my phone in the evenings. Do that and watch your productivity soar. Something that simple turns a 1am workload to a 11pm finish.

Anyway..we all know we spend far too much time on our phones that isn’t breaking news. Of course we need to chat and escape but it is finding that balance, that is why we are here after all, to find that ideal (not perfect) balance. After all, it is only you who will suffer or benefit from your dedication. Effort is relative to reward, doesn’t matter what you apply it to. Now the rewards, those returns are never going to be instant and more than likely not equal but when they start to filter through everything begins to make sense and they become addictive. Pair that to the fact you are working on something you want to make happen those rewards taste even sweeter.

Have you ever stopped to think about things the other way round? I mean instead of finding something to stop you trying, to stop you having a go at what you want, maybe flip it, look at it that if you give it a shot at the very least you will be spending time doing something that you are passionate about, that interests you, something that you will learn more about the more you do it. Isn’t that a better outlook? I know my own world and life has been astronomically better since I learned to take this approach. It puts you in control of your time, it lets you map out what you want to achieve. Personally I have never worked as hard as I have in the last 18 months. I am so dialed in to doing what I love and enjoy, to make doing that my life, my passion and my career all wrapped in to one that in itself fuels me. I don’t even entertain down-time, the thought of parking myself on the sofa and staring at the TV for hours sends chills down my spine. So much so that I sent my Sky box back. Now I don’t even have the option and that suits me just fine. It is my passion, my craft that I am ever refining and developing, I don’t want distractions. Why do you need to make excuses to do something you would love to do? Move it from an idea into a reality, your own reality and don’t put if off. That’s another big hitter of the excuses; ‘oh I will start it on Monday’ or ‘after I have finished this I’ll start’. It’s all buffering, all putting it off for no reason or are you worried about failing at it? Good! You need to fail here and there along the way as that will only serve to improve what you are doing.

Not enough time is not a valid reason, nor is the fear of failure. You make the time by using every single second of your day effectively. As for fear? I understand the concept of fear but I do not allow it to dictate what I do and when, it is not relevant. Have you ever considered what fear actually is? It is the concern of an unknown outcome, an outcome that could be negative. Not ‘will’ be negative but it could be. Even if it were ultimately it will become positive once you have taken something from it. Do not let fear be an excuse not to chase your dreams, to not even try, that’s madness. The leap into the unknown is maybe the biggest character building exercise you can do, to face the fear and do it anyway and soon you will learn to embrace it, to seek out doing things that scare you as you’ll know these actions bring about the rewards. Fortune favors the brave.

An excuse is just you holding on to the hope that you wont have to do something but sooner or later, if you really want it you will break past that barrier and take charge of your life’s direction. Imagine it, an excuse free, fear free life where you are sitting firmly in the drivers seat taking on all comers and making all the decisions you need to. Of course there will be challenges and curveballs but tat’s what we are designed to do, move forward regardless of what obstacles have been laid before us. Are you worried what people might think if they see you chasing your dream? Well firstly, you are the one out there trying every day, working towards your goals and your ideal life. Secondly, who cares what other people think? Seriously this is also one of the biggest excuses and hang up but why? What should you care what other people think about you or what you’re doing? Besides you will soon work out that those who actually want you to do well, they’ll be the ones positive about what you are doing because they will see that it is making you happy. A close friend of mine is a bikini competitor, one of the best out there but she can’t and wont get caught up in peoples opinions, not that anything has ever phased her focus but on occasion it has got to her. She found herself wasting time entertaining what people were saying about what she was trying to achieve. My advice to her was simple, people will always going to have opinions on what you are doing, whether you ask for them or not. you’re going to hear a lot of good comments and a lot of bad comments, the key is to ignore them both. No-ones opinion should affect what you’re doing and working towards. It is your dream, your vision. Never waiver, don’t make excuses, it’s wasted energy. Energy better served poured into realizing your dream.

So from now on when you’re about to stop yourself from doing something, why? Why do you need to hunt for a reason not to do it? Why do you need an excuse?

Don’t make excuses, you don’t need to.

Don’t think, feel.

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Since I have been podcasting the main feedback and comments that come back from my audience (thank you all by the way) is that I am ‘brave’ for doing this. it seems almost a novelty that a relatively young man, I’m in my forties I know that’s not ‘young’ but I’m not a white haired professor type with crumbs scattered all over my jumper. That a guy in good shape, got some looks about him is taking the time to actually tell his story, trying to bridge that gap that us men seem to create when it comes to honestly expressing our feelings. Obviously I haven’t always been this open and honest about my feelings, my emotions and what was going on in my head. Well, that might not be obvious but it is true. I was a bottler, not really for the fear of upsetting anyone but maybe for reasons leaning towards not arguing and for not hearing things I didn’t want to hear. If you’re not fully emotionally developed then hearing negative things about yourself can hurt and as men, we bury. We don’t show that things have affected us. Maybe that’s the prehistoric, primal caveman that remains. A small underdeveloped brain unable to express itself clearly.

To tap into  that maturity unfortunately you have to grow up which more than likely will involve some hardship or heartbreak. This is why you’ll see those blokes bawling their eyes out after a few too many, the guard has come down, the alpha male projection has slipped.

Protecting yourself from hurt is a natural thing but as I have learnt, you can spend so long trying to keep yourself out of harms way, building complex barriers in the hope that no-one cold possibly navigate through them and find the gentle, raw and pure emotions and feelings buried within. They do though, people come along and knock you for six and you’ve let them in without even knowing. I used to be horrific at expressing my feelings and all that ended up doing was branding me as intense, not cold an unapproachable but looking back there was some swerving movements made to avoid dealing with me. Not the nicest way to be thought of. Working so hard to protect yourself from hurt is actually counter productive. You have to put yourself out there. You have to take a deep breath and say “Ok, I understand that I could get hurt here but I deserve to be myself, this person deserves me at myself”. Where can we really expect a relationship to travel to if one party feels like they aren’t getting someone’s full soul?

Weaknesses aren’t an invitation for people to come along and destroy us. It’s us standing up as a human being and saying that this is you, who you are and holding nothing back. As with anything in life, be that work, love, relationships, friendships, it’s all energy. The energy we put out is what will find it’s way back to us, that’s not a trick. That’s just how the universe works.

To be honest is the strongest you can be, it’s the greatest strength you can yield. Besides, liars always either mess up or get found out. So come on fellas, we don’t have to lie about our feelings, or hide them. We don’t have to seem them as a weakness. The amount of women I have spoken to that say it so refreshing hearing a man talking openly about his feelings. Yes, this is the further end of the scale by me laying myself bare and putting it out there for all to learn but I knew good would come from it, I knew people, men and women would understand and relate to it. Sometimes it might take a heartbroken fool and his journey to provoke an idea or notion that in maybe sharing what I have experienced and been through, maybe that could act as a catalyst to a more open channel of communication where anyone going through something in their lives could tap into and realize they aren’t alone. To see what I am trying to do, in that sharing my mistakes, my journey although unique to me is not unique to the world.

To deal with things at an honest an open emotional level, to convey what you are thinking when you are thinking it and to make that process involuntary. It is very liberating.

In my podcasts I refer to someone quite frequently, someone I love dearly and is the most brutally honest person I have ever met. No-one gets a filtered version, it’s direct honest on tap and it is incredible, no grey areas. If I ask her something, some advice or her opinion she will always full stop it with ‘well if you didn’t want to hear that you should have asked someone else’. No middle ground, cold hard facts. Just how it should be.

What would it feel like if you put your journey out there? Letting other people know they weren’t alone, sharing lessons you have to learn and what path you’ve traveled. The saying is knowledge is power, but maybe the power is in helping others with that knowledge. We have all at some point and maybe not just the once. Can there be an upper limit to the power of sharing and being honest with who we are? I don’t think so, the more people that can be inspired to open up about how they are feeling will only create a domino effect. It always comes back to positive energy and if the motivation for that positive energy is to help the healing then quite honestly someone break me over and over again as I will do what I can to help, guide and listen.

It’s our feelings that we use to navigate our way through life. Someone close to me once said that and I didn’t really understand it then but it is so simple. People react to what they have to work with, give them stress or pressure and you no doubt will provoke responses tainted in the same. So if you are in tune with your emotions, if you are at ease with expressing them then it will amplify. Looking back, that same person taught me a lot about emotions and expressing them. I do believed I failed miserably there too but as with it all a lesson was learned.

I think honesty about who we are and how you feel brings about a certain freedom. To be confident enough in the moment to react honestly, it has a purity to it. Put yourself out there in the world as you are, don’t hide or obscure any part of you, not from anyone especially yourself. Discover how more responsive people are to you when they can feel they are getting all of you. It’s not a trick, it’s just sitting back in the comfort of being yourself. Nowadays if someone asks me how I am, how my day was I don’t go to  a template that they expect to hear, if I had a rubbish day then I’ll say that but finish it with a positive remark.

As with everything body and mind it is all built from experience and confidence. Both of those will generally come with a price tag of a learning curve but will ultimately put you on the pathway to a better place, an honest place.

Just be you.

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So this evening me and my daughter were chilling after dinner, she was sat on the sofa with her face buried in her phone and I was laying on the floor making notes on a new positive shot. She asked me if I was writing an episode for the podcast which I wasn’t but needed to so I asked her what subject should I cover, and her response was quite simply ‘just be you’. Doesn’t really get much simpler does it? That truly is the bottom line to what I am trying to install into her, that all she ever needs to be in her life is ‘her’.

It’s a subject that may not actually be as clear cut as it sounds. Sometimes you may have to go on a bit of a journey to discover you. I don’t necessarily mean a month staked out on a sun lounger in Bali although that most certainly wouldn’y hurt the process, but I refer to the process we all go through to learn who we are and that only comes with time and experience. To know who you are and where you want to go out of the blocks is a pretty rare thing. For me I don’t think I have ever been as dialed into who I am and where I want to go as this place I am in now.  That has taken some serious learning though, some harsh lessons but the liberating feeling of knowing not questioning who you are and what you want is incredible. Without trying you begin to project this powerful positive energy, a field of distinct confidence. It’s the confidence you emit when you don’t question yourself. A self belief. It spreads out to the people you interact with and are surrounded by. I suppose it is a certain immaturity that leads us to not be ourselves, maybe an insecurity or lack of confidence in ourselves that can make us adopt another persona. It’s being comfortable in you, I want my daughter to be confident in who she is as an individual, to understand that not all people will like you or what you do and that’s ok. The quicker we learn to stop trying to please everyone the easier life gets because you’ll never please everyone, not by a long shot. It’s quest doomed for failure. You have to aim to do things that please you, if your’e working on something you get pleasure from and makes you happy then you’re going to be so preoccupied in doing that you wont even consider having to pretend to be someone else. That is the beauty of it, happiness distracts you from falseness, it’s not even on your radar. If you are at peace with yourself, content and happy in your own skin then everything else just falls away. You wont entertain drama. I used to, I got caught up in paying attention to who said what about who, who was doing what with who. So much so that I lost sight of who I was.

Now it could be said things are mightily different, after a few life lessons smacking me around the chops several times my settings are completely different. I’m only interested in self improvement, helping those that also find themselves with questions and lessons that aren’t sure with how to process. Helping anyone I can through these channels.

Where I am now though with my life it is still a little bizarre, I witness people from my past checking up on me and what I am doing with my life. That’s all good though, life is all about doing what makes you happy. I am by default a very caring person but knowing that I am ‘being watched’ I don’t care at all. I guess my life just took a different path, I switched lanes and elevated myself from a horrible place and somewhere in doing that I rediscovered ‘me’. He was pretty beat up, a right mess in fact but everything was repairable, it always is. You can always get back up and each time you do it forges a stronger version of you.

Going back to today’s title, think about it. If you are not yourself  for whatever reason, where do you draw the line? Are you someone else when you are with your partner? your family? your children? Surely you must be, if you can’t be at your absolute base level with them then you have got to ask the question why. I get that it is really common for people to not like themselves for a multitude of possible reasons, bullying, eating disorder, controlled, abused I myself am a little body dismorphic so I get it but you have to come to realize that who you are, whoever that might be, with every flaw, quirk and habits you should still be proud of you. Dropping the mask or shield frees you in so many ways, like one of my favorite lyrics by Ian Brown ‘when your halo slips for good you’ll have to wear your hood’. If you’re not you and the mask slips it’s going to  leave a lot of people wondering who you actually are. Luckily for me I don’ have this issue, not now. I am me. Free.

What do you think is stopping you from being you? If it is a fear of being judged then I have a little secret to tell you, it doesn’t matter. Anyone wanting to judge you for whatever reason isn’t someone you need in your life. I have a hack that might work. Try this, ‘don’t care what anyone thinks of you’. That’s it, does that sound so crazy? because that’s all you need to do. Be the free spirit that is so comfortable in their own skin it makes them wonder why you’re so happy and at peace. You’re confidence will make them question everything and you will be oblivious as it wont even register with you. Their lives are just standing still, but they’ll find their way eventually.

I suppose in today’s age where everything is so heavily driven by how we are perceived and what we are doing or have it can seem like a scary challenge to just be you. There are a lot of pressures to have this, get that,go there but it is all front of house. It’s all superficial, nothing means anything if its merely a materialistic passion or craving. Look at the top of the spectrum, those so successful in their field, earning more money than I could spend on pizza in fifty lifetimes. They’ve pushed and pushed themselves to reach and achieve their goals, as we all should be doing. Once they have climbed to the peak their outlook changes. Think about as a visual, you climb to  the top of a mountain to realize you goals and dreams. As you’re climbing all you can see in front of you is the rock face, occasionally you will reach a ledge where you get the opportunity to look down and see how far you’ve come. Then, one day you reach the summit, the very peak of the mountain top and what happens, there you have 360 degree panoramic view of the world. You can see everything, your view has completely changed. You stand on top of your achievement, all the blood sweat and tears, the long nights and early mornings but now everything is crystal clear. Now you see what is important, you have the experience and lessons learned along the way with you. You see these people that have achieved this move away from the materialistic, they start giving back, investing in people, in life. Now you don’t have to be anyone in particular to understand this. Anyone can dial in to this mindset. You have to tune into your self belief, you are going to spend a lot of time with yourself during your life so you may as well like yourself.

So I guess that is it really isn’t it. Don’t listen to everyone else, listen to that twelve year old girl that is starting to find her own place in this world. Like she says, just be you. Once you are you are going to like it and the knock on effect is that people, friends, family even strangers will sense your balance and feed off of it.

Be mindful of training yourself each morning. Have a look in the mirror and like what you see looking back at you.

Magic bricks.

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“I’ve spent so long thinking, so damn long planning and preparing for every possible outcome or eventuality to anything that happens in my life. It’s pushed people away and its made me a very serious person”. That is what you would’ve heard me say to describe myself if I had been asked for an honest description of how I was not so long ago. It’s not a very flattering version is it? It’s not going to make you overly popular or have the party people in their droves gravitating towards you, and its not a very nice feeling thinking thats how you were perceived. But that was then, and this is now. Now its a different story, the zen master pops his head around the corner, looks at me and asks me for tips! If anything, if this is possible my zen state may have gone too far? Now its all too easy, an easy life surrounded by easy going people that are a joy to be around and guess what…so am!

If you investing yourself only good things will happen. The key is in order to do it you have to be honest with yourself otherwise you will never truly get to the heart of rediscovering where you had slipped off the track and therefore you will go the long way to putting yourself back. Kind of makes sense doesn’t it? Tackle it head on, and if like me you feel there is/was something unaligned and you want to do something about it then I’m telling you its not actually a scary path. It may seem or feel bit daunting but its you talking about you, how hard can that be? To do it, to put yourself where you want to be the first you have got to do, the first part of the process is to break it all down. Oddly you won’t even know its happening. You’ll talk and look and explore then at any given point it will start to undo. It’s like dismantling a real brick built wall. You can shout at it and nothing will happen, you can punch and kick it and nothing will happen you will probably just hurt yourself, you can clatter a sledgehammer at it, that will get things moving, half bricks and fragments flying everywhere with no real clue where you are hitting the wall. But, if you look at the wall, analyse it you will see where you need to begin and again just like a real brick wall you find that magic brick, the brick holding the whole wall together and its like a key to unlocking the rest of the wall. It just comes tumbling down, you can physically feel it. I remember  the feeling when we worked out the source of my issue. As soon as I started talking about my Grandad. The best way to describe it it is imagine you are standing in a well, a cylinder of bricks around you, higher that you can reach. Then when you find that magic brick it unravels. Like dominos one after the other. It begins to let light in as the wall lowers, then reaches head height and you begin to see again. It continues to drop allowing you the freedom of movement again, by that I mean you can feel you mind breathing again, like it is clearing its lungs or having a big double arm stretch after an extra long Sunday lay in. Then before you know it its gone and you can just step out of the wall and now you have the ability to step up all of the loose bricks and head back up to the surface.

The only real thing now, speaking from my own experience of course is you (I) felt like a raw nerve, like a totally exposed nerve moving about in the breeze. More like a new born baby, I remember coming home and not really knowing where I was or what to do with myself but not long after I was gone, totally spark with emotional exhaustion. Waking up the next day though was incredible, it was like that night was the closing of a door behind me. now obviously you have to tackle the who, wheres and whys of what caused the magic brick but the hard work is done. You are already on a new path, it’s now the work undertaken to remain on it and to move forwards. Trust me on this, if I can do it then anyone can do it and once you are on that new path you won’t even think back to the old one. Imagine a world, your world with a mental an emotional freedom. An existence where you can move freely amongst your thoughts and decisions, processing and reacting to anything and everything in a constructed and methodical manner. Probably the best way to describe it would be when you have got a naughty dog or a new puppy and you’re over the park. You’re walking along nicely and its only the lead holding him there. Then you think because he is being so good you will unclip the lead and in a micro second he bolts as far as he can as quickly as he can. That is how it feels breaking down and removing these emotional demons. You’r free, off the leash to roam and explore at your leisure.

I think after you do this, after you go through this process and naturally what you discover will be unique to you but it will all be relevant and make sense and I’m pretty sure it will be a surprise and even more so on how it manifested. I guess thinking about it the magic bricks apply a lot of things in life. Any problem you have to deal with or face, the success of getting through it will always be your approach to it. That magic brick could be how and the manner in which you need to deal with someone. My dad always used to say learn how to pick your fights, know when to go into battle and know when to just let something go. he was always about seeing the bigger picture, not necessarily winning every battle but viewing the whole thing. Play for winning the war. That probably sounds a bit dramatic but in it’s simpler form it’s knowing when and how to tackle something.

I work hard, I train hard and I eat well, well at weekends I relax and enjoy my food more. I enjoy life, I enjoy my work, I enjoy the company of some amazing people from lifelong friends to people I share and experience many things with. All of this has been made possible by looking at myself in the mirror and knowing there was something that needed addressing, not even knowing what it was or it’s cause. Just in taking that initial step to self help, to a positive lifestyle. With all things in life it was looking beyond the initial fear and unknown and viewing that bigger picture (thanks dad). Seeing that if I spent some time searching, working and developing myself then the big picture was very much a potential reality. So I reached that point, that crossroad decision to go looking for my magic brick. I didn’t really know that was how it would work with my mind but I knew it was time to do it.

If there is something out there in your life, out in your world that is not right then proactively go after it, go and find its magic brick and I promise you once you do find it and you remove it there will be an instruction or lesson left behind by it. Like a fortune cookie but this fortune won’t be ridiculous, it will be inspiring.

Curtain call.

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I’m not really sure what is happening to me this week. For those of you that don’t know (why would you?)I’m about to move, this marks the end of a very long chapter my life. The final run of packaging takeover the box of closure to be put into storage. It’s a time I have been patiently waiting for. Truth be told I have been held in a state of limbo for 18 months. Not being able to relax in my own home has taken its toll on me. Imagine, every time you hear a car coming down the road you twitch into a meerkat like state of alert or coming home and knowing someone else has been in and moving around the place. This behaviour, for one reason or another I have had to endure. It’s been far from nice and the worst thing is knowing my daughter is there watching her dad never be able to relax or unwind, always tense.

But…we are virtually there now and the realistic thought of closing that door behind me for the last time is amazing. Naturally it’s tainted with sadness, 18 years this has been my home but as we know, change promotes growth and that’s what we want isn’t it, to grow, to develop. Yet even with the finishing line of the mental horrors from the last two years in actual touching distance, the brain and my emotions still manage to catch me unawares.

Imagine this, you have an entire life to sort through. Years and years of intertwined memories and experiences. Things you forget about. I had a couple of boxes to sort through, mainly paperwork, a nest of cables, tonnes of NBA trading cards (one quite special one oddly missing..?) but the thing that got me was a folder of keepsakes from my daughter. All the normal stuff like fathers day cards and a load of notes that I used to put in her packed lunch that she kept. Straight away just looking through those put me on the ropes but as always, the big guns took me down. The grand royale of knocking you sideways, the photo albums. Flicking through those those physical visual memories done me. I was gone. For some reason a photo, a real photo in your hand seems to have about a billion times more emotional power than just looking at your screen. Maybe its because you took the time to actually get in printed? You liked an image, a moment in your life so much that you turned it into a physical possession. So I won’t lie to you, I was done, the tears were thick and fast. Going page by page through photo albums removing and destroying those images I just didn’t want to remember anymore. What really tipped me over the edge was seeing those pictures of my daughter so much younger, seeing the three of us as a unit doing stuff and the innocence of her. I think thats the power of photos, they capture a moment that’s rarely taken for a negative reason. I mean who in the middle of an argument stops and says “Wait wait, lets capture this” We don’t, photos are taken for remembering those moments we live that we want to be reminded of. I guess that’s why looking back at them, not through negative eyes but maybe..cold eyes; it’s sad. It’s very sad actually and even now, a grown man in full control of his emotions was reduced to a blubbering mess instantly. That’s a good thing though, I’m not going to deny myself of these emotions and moments. Let them out when they are there or they will only resurface as something different. Release them there and then, it acts like a pressure valve and it frees you, it certainly freed me. I woke up the following morning feeling a hell of a lot better. I had felt myself putting up a bit of a people buffer of late. Just to keep everyone at arms length as I tackled this last bit. Not a defensive barrier just something to enable me to focus. It is a journey that only I need to be on, this is to be my closure.

I’m not afraid to take anything on by myself now not that I ever was but with this subject I have to take it over the line alone, it feels right to do so. The last piece of the jigsaw, well maybe not who knows what last minute curveball life could throw my way? The difference now for me is I actually embrace it. I don’t run from whatever is on my plate, I simply pick up my knife and fork. Learning to trying not to steer the things happening in your life or the decisions of others is a huge leap in making processes like dealing with moving under these circumstances so much easier. So I think the important thing for me this week was the instant recognition that I knew it was going to be tough and instead of shutting down and isolating myself I actually took the time to say to those close to me, “Hey this is really quite tough on me at the moment  but it’s something I know I must do alone so please be patient with me”. I had to be upfront and honest with the nearest and dearest because the last thing I would want is any other them to think I was upset with them or them to take it personally. My past track record would have been exactly that. This is a prime case of my personal development and growth.

It’s all bit surreal though, such a large chapter of my life winding up, it’s the first time I have had to really deal with something like this from this perspective and it really isn’t nice but I know I’m not alone. How common is this scenario? Sadly very, all too often relationships end but the bottom line is that a relationship that has done so for one reason and one reason alone, because it was meant to. There was something, maybe many things there that weren’t right and all the pain and upset are necessary in taking you forwards, making you stronger and more adaptive. So if you feel that something isn’t right; I can tell you now you’re more than likely right.

So now as the packing boxes come out I will be traveling light into my next chapter, both in materialistically and mentally. I don’t really want much of this period to follow on with me into the next phase of my life. Leave the past in the past, take the memories, from time to time you’ll think back on them, maybe be reminded by something and you may even smile and that’s ok. That’s healthy. I guess what I would say is if you are going through something like this or if you have been through this and it continues to affect you, let it go. You don’t have to let any negative influences from your past infiltrate your present and future. After all going through this stuff is what has made you the amazing person you have developed into today and likewise don’t deny yourself the good memories either, it all played a part in developing you.

It’s madness though really isn’t it? You can go through a full spectrum of emotions. As you hurt, recover and heal you break down barriers, establish new boundaries and experience amazing growth as a person all to have it temporarily torn down by a photo! Another example of life mixing it up as and when it chooses to, but ultimately the process of sorting through everything has been positive, if anything its been soul cleansing. I guess the moral is that its ok to have things upset you and its ok to have things from the past that you didn’t want to think about again make you smile, even if only briefly.

That’s all part of being human and its nice to be reminded from time to time that we all are.