Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

A Mother’s wish for her daughters

As a mother of two daughters, I was thinking recently about the most precious gifts I could give to them. Something useful and timeless, that they would cherish each and every day. After pondering on the subject for a little bit I came up with 3 gifts ideas in the form of a mother’s wish for her daughters:

1. Learn how to be courageous. You don’t have to be a hero. Just have the courage to be yourself.

2. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough be tougher.

3. Learn to think for yourself.

From the confines of my Island (Ile de la Reunion), my youngest daughter and I had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Those underwater photoshoots are not easy, Alizé got the gist of it fairly quickly. For me, it took a bit longer to get to grip with the technique of trying to look relaxed and not out of breath at the bottom of a pool, but managed eventually. The results are literally breath-taking. There are no tricks on those pictures, just Alizé and me, two amazing dresses, and a scuba diver photographer.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Learn how to be courageous.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Courage is the most important of all the virtues. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Being courageous doesn’t mean that you have to do bold spectacular acts of bravery and become a hero. You don’t have to be a hero, just have the courage to be yourself. Courage can show up in a very quiet manner and in thousands of unexpected ways. Deciding not to fight can sometimes be as courageous as charging into battle. Forgiveness requires a lot of courage. Learning a new skill, starting a new business venture, stepping outside your comfort zone requires a lot of courage. Standing up to bullies and speaking your mind requires a fair dose of courage. Falling in love, letting your guards down can be an act of courage. Staying positive and upbeat when facing setbacks, ill-health, old age or even death requires a lot of courage.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

Maya Angelou

The word courage originates from the Latin word Cor (Coeur in French and cuore in Italian) which means heart; in essence, it means ‘to act from one’s heart’. The etymology of the word indicates that when we act courageously, we are activating our inner power and strength which surfaces through our heart’s desire. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficulty, challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. So what is courage? There are many definitions of what courage is. Below are my favorite ones.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. Photo featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel fear, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

Success is never final failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

John Wooden

The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

Jim Hightower
A mother’s wish for her daughters . Every day living requires courage. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

We all have varying degrees of courage. Finding courage can be the choice we make every day, often in the quietest of ways. There is great courage in living life to the fullest, living with authenticity and a sense of alignment with one’s most deeply held values. And sometimes, simply getting up every day and putting a foot in front of another is an act of immense courage.

Barbara Bonner

As Maya Angelou rightly said courage is a virtue and it is the most important one to cultivate because without it you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Be courageous.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough, be tougher.

We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your Quest as a human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. When the going gets tough, be tougher. Have a fighting spirit but choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Have a fighting spirit. Focus on your goal quietly and silently. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Choose wisely which pursuits you spend your energies on. Do not waste your efforts on those that will not give you something positive in return. Be determined and independent. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again until you make it. It’s OK not to get it right the first time, so don’t let your failures prevent you from achieving your dreams. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Be observant of people and your surroundings. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Sure thing, but how? You can become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from our diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes. You can become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to unexpected events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise. You can become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Have a fighting spirit and when the going gets tough get tougher.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Think for yourself.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Think for yourself. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge.

Carl Jung

Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline. We all think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic.

Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs. You should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road, it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Critical thinking helps you determine what’s real and what it is not. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps you determine what is real and what it is not. But before you are able to exercise your cognitive ability to think critically, you need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. You can only think critically about things you have knowledge of, you can’t really think deeply if you haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.

The problem these days is that we are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe. Critical thinking is important because you need this skill in order to navigate your way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to all of us on a daily basis on all media platforms.

Do not relinquish your power to think critically on someone else even if that person goes by the name of Expert. It is important to note that society needs experts because those people know a thing or two about their own area of expertise, they are specialized in their field and are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world at large. Having said that, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest you put your critical thinking hat on to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that these experts may be subject to bias and in the worst-case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong. History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong.

Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We expect Facebook, Twitter TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. The problem these days is that the media is trying to spin everything you see and everything you hear. White is black and black is white. Use your discernment, look out for inconsistencies, trust your instinct. Don’t accept things at face value, ask questions, look under the surface, lift the veil.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. , think for yourself.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Can We Find Hope Amid Uncertainty and Conflict?

Whether we think about it or not, Hope is part of everyone’s life. How can we find Hope? Everyone hopes for something. We are living in an age of despair and fractured communities where we are being forced to alienate ourselves from our family, friends, colleagues, and clients. The world currently is filled with fear, stress, and sadness, and it can become second nature to develop a negative worldview and a feeling of hopelessness. There seems to be more pain than we can heal, more dissent than we can mediate, and more uncertainty than we can comprehend.

In times like this, what can we do to comfort ourselves, and the people around us? We can call upon Hope to step into our life. Hope is a powerful antidote to feelings of despair and desolation. Hope acts as the light in the midst of darkness and will bring you renewed optimism and vitality. Hope doesn’t mean that life has to be all rainbows and butterflies, it doesn’t mean that you are always happy and that you can’t feel emotions like hurt, sadness, or anger, but it does mean that your view of your circumstances and those of the world around you goes beyond what it is actually happening.

We should try not to focus so much on all the negativity that surrounds us, but we should learn to focus instead on all the good things that are happening in the world because it is always there but it is buried under a thick layer of muck. It is not unusual to find yourself feeling down in the dumps. When this happens we let our Hope slips away. Thankfully, we do not have to let ourselves linger in a hopeless place; we can find Hope again through a simple smile, a hug, or a kind word from someone who is special to us. Some days, we feel lost. We look at the situation around us, and everything seems empty, open, and devoid of Hope. When this happens, we can almost physically feel ourselves starting to spiral into a depression. But it doesn’t have to be this way. With every passing moment, there is an opportunity for change.

How can we find hope? Hope can be found in many places.

How can we find hope? Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

I found Hope at the bottom of a pool in Réunion Island. Meet my youngest daughter; today you can call her Hope, but her real name is Alizé she was named after the wind that blows over the Island. From the confines of my Island, Alizé had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Those underwater photoshoots are not easy, but she got the gist of it fairly quickly. There are no tricks on those pictures, just Alizé, an amazing dress, and a scuba diver photographer.

We all had days where we are feeling down in the dumps, and if we are not careful, we can let our hopes and aspirations slip away. But don’t let yourself linger in a hopeless place; if you lift your head up and look around you will find Hope in many places; you can find Hope in a simple smile, a kind word, or a hug and some other places too. Hope triggers a sense of purpose and aspirations during desperate times. Hope provides a haven from pessimism and fear. It galvanizes our courage and mobilizes our energy and vitality. It enhances our mood and our creative thinking. Hope can be found in small successes. A lot of times we find Hope and Aspiration in big victories and accomplishments; the problem is, large-scale victories and accomplishments don’t happen that often. So, don’t forget to celebrate the small victories, you will find Hope laying there too.

Hope is the place you want to go when you find yourself sitting in a dark place. Hope is the name of the person you want to know where all the people around you are spreading fear and misery. Hope is the seed that is buried deep inside you that you want to sprinkle around like magic fairy dust. Hope is the feeling that carries you through, no matter what.”

Joanne Reed

How can we find hope? Find Hope in action.

Hope is not just a lovely fluffy, romanticized, and noble idea; hoping for things to get better without doing something about it is not enough. We have to spring into action and be more intentional about our hopes and aspirations for the future. If you think that all the problems of the world will be resolved as soon as we can all agree on how to move forward, then you are kidding yourself because instead of going to that place called Hope, you will swim in an Ocean of Despair.

How can we find hope? Photo featuring Alize Reed by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Asking everyone to agree on one thing is an impossibility, and the earlier we realize this, the better it will be. Being able to work together and live in a semi-harmonious manner with our neighbors and within our community is good enough. Don’t try to aim for a utopic world vision seen through pink-tinted glasses where everyone loves and helps each other. Stay real and grounded, it is not about friendship and interacting only with the people you like and the people who think the same way as you think. Life is about getting along with people who are different from you, with people you find boring, annoying, or even objectionable because the challenges that face us as a group are more important than our personal likes and dislikes. It doesn’t matter what people believe, what matters is what they do. Agree on actions.

Humans are naturally cooperative and loving. We raise children and care for pets. Divide and conquer is a strategy that has been used since the beginning of time by a small group of people who are thriving to exert control over the populace. The more energy is expended by the public fighting among themselves the less anger is directed at the overlord class. It is a Machiavellian ploy. Do not fall into this trap.

Having said, that there are times when you have to protect and isolate yourself from the toxicity that emanates from some people. The who and what you surround yourself with dictates whether or not you have a positive or negative worldview. There is power in surrounding yourself with positive people, environments, and experiences that bring you joy and encourage you to become the person you want to be. There are people out there who are so stuck in their own way of thinking with zero amount of self-awareness that is not worth you spending your time and energy with them. They are like vampires; they will suck the energy and all Hope out of you. Instead, put some effort into surrounding yourself with elements that send you positive energy and distance yourself from negativity.

“Bees don’t waste their time explaining to flies that honey is better than shit.”

A Wise Man

But I digress, let’s get back to Hope. Hope can be found in many places, at the bottom of a swimming pool on a faraway Island, during a walk in nature, in the company of friends, family, and strangers, whilst listening to your favorite songs, or whilst giving a helping hand to those who are less fortunate than you. Hope is more than simple optimism, it is more mysterious, delicate, and elusive but it is something that we must cultivate because without Hope there is no life.

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

metamorphosis – How does one become a butterfly?

Metamorphosis. How does one become a butterfly? The butterfly has one of the most fascinating life cycles of all creatures. It starts its life as an egg perched on a leaf. When the egg finally hatches, a caterpillar emerges from the egg. The whole raison d’être of the caterpillar is to eat as much as possible in order to reach its desired growth. During this stage, the caterpillar will outgrow and shed its skin as many as four or five times. As soon as the caterpillar is done growing and it has reached its full length and weight, it takes refuge into a cocoon, also known as the chrysalis, where it can safely rest and digest all the food that has been consumed in the previous stage.

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly

Unknown Author

Though the chrysalis appears unchanged from the outside, there is a dramatic transformation taking place inside, this process is called metamorphosis, whereby the body of the caterpillar is slowly dissolving to create a brand-new being. At last, in the final stage of its metamorphosis, the fully developed butterfly is ready to emerge from the chrysalis. The butterfly breaks free from the cocoon with wings that are folded and wet, so more rest time is necessary to allow blood to flow into the wings.

Finally, when the wings are fully dry, the butterfly is ready to take flight and share its beauty with the world. If we look closely at the process of the butterfly transformation from one state to another state, we see it is not an easy process. It takes time and each phase is necessary before the next stage can take place.

Metamorphosis. How does one become a butterfly?

Metamorphosis. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @ terydiving featuring Joanne Reed in the role of the Butterfly-Mermaid. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture – Ile de la Reunion.

From the confines of my Island (Ile de la Reunion), I had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzota-Davranche (@lartisanecouture. For a short moment in time, I felt like a butterfly who just came out of the Chrysalis; the result looks (literally) breath-taking but the process was far from easy. I was fairly nervous at the thought of doing those underwater photoshoots, because I have never done this before, and I didn’t know if I could pull it off. Being an island girl, swimming was something that I learned to do from a very young age; I have always been a good swimmer and I always felt comfortable in the water, but it took me a little while to understand the technicalities of posing for pictures underwater in an amazing dress, trying to look light, elegant, not out of breath and above all acting like a butterfly-mermaid who feels totally in her element being underwater. There are no tricks in these pictures just me, an amazing dress, and a scuba diver photographer.

What I learned during that experience of being a butterfly-mermaid is that, when you are ready to display your new you to the world, move forward with courage, while recognizing the fragility of your new wings and when things don’t work out the way you expected, best to let go of your expectation. It is natural for human beings to seek validation; we thrive on being seen and being appreciated for our work and effort. We all want to become a beautiful butterfly admired by the people around us and for the most ambitious admired by the whole world. But the reality is many of our endeavors will turn into tiny moths instead, and that’s OK. We have to resist the temptation to be driven only by the desire to create something grandiose and earth-shattering; it is OK to shoot for the stars, but if you don’t get there, it is also OK to be fully satisfied with whatever emerges from the chrysalis, for nature has a need for moths as well as beautiful butterflies.

Metamorphosis. What I learned being a butterfly for one day?

Metamorphosis. Life is a dance. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed in the role of the Butterfly-Mermaid. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Ile de la Reunion.

The butterfly is considered a wonder of nature, it symbolizes personal transformation, changes, rebirth, and the lightness of being. The butterfly as a spirit animal will remind you that life is a dance. You should not take things so seriously. Transformation and changes don’t have to be traumatic. They can be sweet and gentle, so you can accept them with grace and joy. I invite you to emulate the transformation process of the butterfly when you are working on your own transformation and growth.

The caterpillar stage.

In this stage of the butterfly’s life (which follows right after the hatching from an egg) the main task is consumption. For us, we can assimilate this stage with the stage of growth when we are consuming as much knowledge and training as we can about something new that we want to understand and master. This is the stage when we learn how to master our craft, and it is also the occasion for us to keep an open mind about how things were redone and shed old ideas, concepts, and habits that don’t work anymore. Sometimes we have to unlearn the things we learned and take the path less traveled by. This is often a stage of great excitement and energy as we enjoy the flow of creativity and inspiration it brings; but the learning process can also bring with it its fair share of hard work and loneliness.It is important that we do not rush through this stage and have the patience to go through the not-so-glamourous part of the learning process.

A house built on sand won’t last very long. In the olden days, if you wanted to enter a profession you had to find a master who will be willing to take you under his wings and enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft. The normal length of an apprenticeship was 10 years; learning the craft required patience discipline and dedication. The modern concept of this is the 10,000 hours required to master a skill as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers.

Metamorphosis. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne Reed in the role of the Butterfly-Mermaid. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Ile de la Reunion.

“Anyone who would spend ten years absorbing the techniques and conventions of their field, trying them out, mastering them, exploring and personalizing them, would inevitably find their authentic voice and give birth to something unique and expressive. Embrace slowness as a virtue in itself.

Robert Greene

We have a tendency to want to take the quickest, easiest path to our goals, we are impatient and want to see results quickly, but remember “there is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.” The best way to cultivate our natural impatience is to cultivate a kind of pleasure in pain – like an athlete, you come to enjoy rigorous practice, pushing past your limits, and resisting the easy way out.

The Chrysalis stage.

In this stage, the caterpillar takes refuge in a protective cocoon where they can safely rest and conduct its metamorphosis quietly and privately. Human beings tend to skip that stage or confuse it with a period of a downturn or treat it as a failure. In fact, this stage is a necessary stage where you should learn the art of being still. What does stillness mean? Stillness means to be steady while the world spins around you.

Socrates tells us that philosophy begins with wonder, and wonder is rooted in stillness. Other philosophers from various schools of thought have come to a similar conclusion, namely that the ultimate destination in our life is to master the stillness that is required to become masters of our own life. Stillness is an important tool on our journey to find clarity. The ability to see clearly not only when you are meditating but in the midst of conflict when you are frustrated, angry or scared, will help you find a more logical, less emotional response and give you choices to do things different of do nothing at all.

In your own journey to become a butterfly, don’t forget that the process is never easy and requires much patience, and remember …

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly

Unknown author

And this my dear friend, is your quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How Contemplating Death COuld teach us how to live

Death is a difficult topic of conversation. People would rather not think about or talk about death. While we all know that we will die, this is a fact upon which few wish to dwell. Even though, each day countless individuals reach an untimely demise in the prime of their life, rarely do we contemplate that this risk hangs over our head as well. Despite its inevitability, death is one of the least discussed events in our lives. This is the reason why I decided to dwell on this a little, steering clear of the sordid and morbid aspect of death but choosing instead to focus on the positive aspect of death and how contemplating death could teach us how to live.

There are countless reports of people experiencing near-death experiences to come back to the world of the living with a completely new mindset and a will to live their life more intentionally and more intensely. Although those out-of-the-ordinary experiences are interesting, it is not surprising to think that if you were at death’s door, went on the other side, then came back into the world of the living, for sure you will feel ecstatic and motivated to live your life differently. More difficult to tackle is trying to ascertain how contemplating death could teach us how to live without having to travel to the other side.

How contemplating death could teach us how to live

Philosophers spend their days thinking about the meaning of life and you can’t talk about life without having to talk about death. Countless philosophers, theologians, and psychologists did not hesitate to tackle this tricky subject and spent countless hours dwelling on it. Their conclusion: death is inextricably a part of life and lifelong consideration of death enriches rather than impoverishes life. These individuals recognized that far from a morbid practice, periodically thinking about death can be life-enhancing.

How contemplating death could teach us how to live and manage our energy . Photo by Onlyyouqj via freepik.com

Though the physicality of death destroys an individual, the idea of death can save him.

Irvin Yalom

The truth of the matter is that we mortals should be reminded from time to time of our own limitations. To live fully we must be cognizant of our limitations, the most significant of which is the scarcity and uncertain duration of time we are each granted. Failure to recognize this limitation and to live accordingly is one of the most tragic tendencies of mankind. We have a tendency to sacrifice and devalue the present in the false hope that there will always be a future in which to make amends. But the future does not belong to us. Contemplating death forces us to reorient ourselves towards the present moment, and to live life with a renewed sense of urgency.

When we contemplate the possibility of death, we should do it with moderation, like our exposure to the sun. Both are integral components of life but staring at either for too long only leads to debilitation — damaged eyes in the case of the sun and paralyzing anxiety in the case of death. Turning away completely from death, however, can be just as debilitating. For as the rays of the sun are needed to sustain life, periodic reflection on death seems necessary to imbue one’s life with a spark of urgency and an appreciation for the present that so many in the modern-day lack.

Academy of Ideas

How contemplating death could teach us how to manage our energy wisely

Contemplating death also forces us to better appreciate the value of the time we have and how we spend it.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”

Henry David Thoreau

Life is finite. I only have one life. What’s happening after nobody knows. So, if I know that my life is finite, I want to be extremely clear where and towards whom I should expand my energy. The law of thermodynamics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another. If I have 10% of spare energy to allocate to someone and decide to give it to John, I have to know when I make this allocation that John is worthy of my time. If I give 10% of my energy to John, I have to know that he is going to do something good with it, because if I know that he is going to squander it, I will rather give it to someone else.

How contemplating death could teach us how to live and manage our energy. Photo by Toa 55 via freepik.com

People and things are the biggest consumers of energy. Some people lift you up and give you energy. Other people suck a tremendous amount of energy from you. The greatest impetus to manage your energy is death. Far too many people waste a great deal of time on things that contribute little of positive value to their life — be it unhealthy relations, dead-end jobs, or destructive habits. Often, we know we need to change, to stop wasting our time, and to focus our efforts elsewhere, but we delay and justify our delays with the excuse that in the future conditions will be more ideal. Kind reminder: Life is finite and waiting for ideal conditions to do anything is a dangerous game to play.

When the Dalai Lama was asked in an interview, what surprises him the most; he offered an insightful response: Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as he is never going to die, and then dies never really lived.

Periodically contemplating death can also improve our relationships with others. If we are more cognizant of our own mortality, we will also become more aware that the lives of everyone we care about hang by a similarly thin thread. Never knowing when the final time will be that we see someone can make us more appreciative of the times we do spend with them.

“Limitation in the possibility of an enjoyment raises the value of enjoyment.”

Signmund Freud

How contemplating death could help us with our legacy

According to Ernest Becker, to act in this world with relative composure, human beings should alleviate the fear of death by leaving a legacy after they are gone. The antidote to the terror of death is to live a life that is significant. If one’s legacy lives on, then death is not one’s final destiny. One can keep the fear of death at bay by feeling that one’s life has a significance that will live on after one’s death. Each person needs to be a heroic contributor to the destiny of man.

“What man really fears is not so much extinction, but extinction with insignificance. Man wants to know that his life has somehow counted. If not for himself, then at least in a larger scheme of things, that it has left a trace, a trace that has meaning.”

Ernest Becker

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

The Importance of Spaces-in-Between

Horror Vacui” — Nature abhors a vacuum. Aristotle coined the phrase that expresses the idea that unfilled spaces go against the laws of nature and physics and that every space needs to be filled with something. But, is this right? I am thinking that applying this concept of horror vacui to our life may not be such a good idea after all. I am thinking that instead of filling up all the available space that we have, we should instead keep those spaces in-between empty to reflect, to pause, to re-energize, to find ourselves. We should not underestimate the importance of the spaces-in-between.

It’s the silence between the notes that makes the music. It is out of the silence of the gap, or that space between our thoughts, that everything is created, including our own bliss .

Wayne Dyer

The spaces-in-between are critical to our physical and mental health

The spaces-in-between are critical for our physical and mental health- Photo by Peter Kai via freepik.com

We should never underestimate the power of the spaces in-between. If I wrote this article without any spaces in between the words and with no spaces in between the paragraphs, it will no doubt turn into an incomprehensible black mass of letters aligned one next to another, that will make no sense to anyone. The spaces in between the words are critical, without those spaces, the whole text will just be gobbledygook.

Spaces- in-Between moments in our life are also vital for our physical and mental state of mind. We all know the benefits of staying active and getting regular exercise, but whether you are training for a competition or making sure that you are keeping up with your fitness regime, more isn’t always better. Rest days are just as important as exercise. Taking regular breaks allows your body to recover and repair, and skipping those rest days may lead you to overtrain or burn out. Rest is essential for muscle growth. Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue; during rest, cells called fibroblasts repair the muscle. This helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscle.

Life is busy, there is so much to do and take care of on a day-to-day basis, being this and that and everything in between. As soon as one task is accomplished another one is making its way on our to-do list. The result may be exhaustion and a feeling of discontent. We have to prioritize the space we put in-between moments in our life. We have to learn to press the pause button more often. Life is not an ever-ending checklist or a destination. It is a journey that should be punctuated by pauses and moments of reflection where there is nothing to do but just enjoys the silence, enjoy the quietness and the preciousness of that Space-in-Between moments.

Space-in-Between moments don’t have to be moments of silence or deep meditation, it can be anything that allows you to do something that makes you feel joyful and peaceful such as taking a minute or two to smell a flower, walk barefoot on the grass, walk in the rain without a care in the world.

There is something that is empowering and freeing about spaces-in-between

There is something empowering and freeing about the spaces-in-between – Photo by Peter Kai via freepik.com

Holocaust survivor and world-renowned psychiatrist and author Viktor Frankl taught that the space in between is what differentiates humans from all the other animals. He wrote in his memoir “Man’s Search for Meaning” that between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.

When you are intentional, aware, and awake, life is naturally spacious. The next question is how do we cultivate that spaciousness? First, you have to switch off all the noise around you, start with switching off your TV, and all your electronics. The constant stimulus of technology prevents us from discovering the depth, meaning, and substance found in the stillness of the in-between spaces.

“All of humanity’s problems stems from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone” Blaise Pascal.

Too often our minds are caught in a cycle of stimulus and mindless distractions, practicing the art of being still, and experiencing more space-in-between moments will definitely help us unclutter our minds. When we find the time to pause and to observe from a neutral place, we begin to see what is. From that placeyou can find your way back from the confusion and chaos of life and you will be able to get a better vantage point about yourself and the world around you. You will get some clarity about who you are, where you want to go, what you want to be and you will be able to connect with the people around you in an optimum manner.

Stillness is an attainable path to enlightenment, excellence, greatness, and happiness, it can inspire new ideas, sharpens perspective, and illuminate the mind. Stillness slows the ball down so we can hit it generates a vision, helps us resist the passion of the mob, and makes space for gratitude and wonder. The Spaces-in-Between moments are where we often find some of the greatest riches of life.

And this my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

Back home

I have always had great difficulties answering the question “Where are you from?” This seemingly innocuous question always throws me back a little because I don’t have a simple answer to give to that question without having to explain my whole life story including giving an impromptu geography lesson to the person asking the question. I was born and raised on Réunion Island, a place that most people on the planet have never heard about. Location: Indian Ocean. Tropic of Capricorn. Coordinates: 21.11 degree South Latitude. 55.53-degree East Longitude. Official language French & Creole. I am a French national married to an English man and I have spent the past 30 years living overseas (England, USA, New Zealand, South Korea.) I recently reentered my homeland to settle back on my island. Coming back to Réunion Island after so many years away has made me think about the concept of Home Sweet Home.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home. Case Creole. L’entre-Deux. Photo by Joanne Reed.

Home is a fluid concept, and it means different things to different people. For a lot of people, home is strongly connected to one particular place where you operate within familiar landscapes, sounds, and smells, a common language, with family and friends around you. It is the place where things are predictable and secure. But home is more than your birthplace; home is the place where you feel comfortable as a family member, as a member of society, as a friend, it is the place where you feel that you belong, and where you feel involved with its surroundings.

My two daughters were a bit confused about this concept of home when they were younger. We were living in South Korea at that time making regular trips to England, Australia, and Reunion to visit family members during school vacation. I remember one particular conversation I had with my eldest daughter, Maya who was 9 or 10 at the time, “Mummy, where is home?”. I knew that she was getting a bit confused with this concept, so I thought carefully about the type of answer I should offer to her and said: “Home is where your family is”. She thought about this a little bit, and I knew when she smiled back, that I somehow managed to clear all the confusion that was running through her head with one simple sentence -“Home is where your family is”. From that day onwards, everything was clear for Maya, our immediate family was living in Korea, where both of her parents were working and where she and her youngest sister were going to school; so, Korea was home. We have family living in England, in Australia, and on Reunion Island, and traveling to those places to meet up with them took us to another one of our homes. All those places were also home to my daughters whenever we visited them.

Away from home

Back Home. Case Creole. Photo by Joanne Reed – L’Entre-Deux, Ile de la Reunion

When I was a child, I dreamed of the day when I would leave my island which felt very small and very insular. I wanted to travel and see the world. Foreign lands like the USA and Europe had an iconic status to me. I wanted to go there and see for myself what it was like to live in those places.

I feel blessed that my studies, my career as a lawyer, and my husband helped make my dream of living and working in foreign lands a reality. I lived and worked in San Francisco (USA), London (UK), Auckland (New Zealand), and Seoul(South Korea.)

Living and working in those countries taught me a lot about the country itself but also about myself. I learned that I have a great capacity to adapt to changes, meet and connect with lots of different people, blend in and operate happily as a stranger in a strange land.

People develop a strong emotional attachment to the places they live because their physical surroundings play an important role in creating a sense of meaning and organization in their lives. The result is that the place where we live is closely tied to who we are as a person. Living in big cities such as San Francisco, London and Seoul fitted perfectly to who I was when I was a young lawyer working hard and trying to find her place in the working environment. Many years later, my aspirations are different. I aspire for peace and quiet, I want to live in a comfortable and close to nature kind of environment.

Back home

Back Home. La Chappelle. Cilaos – Photo by Joanne Reed. Ile de la Reunion

Life events have sent me back home on my island after 30 years of living overseas. I must be honest, I had mixed feelings about this return back home. I wasn’t sure if I could find my place among the locals after so many years away. I am happy to say that my return back home went really well, thanks to the amazing network of family and friends that I have retained here on the island. Managing to keep those connections alive over the years was so worth it. There is a special type of comfort in knowing that your friends and family are here for you, that they will back you up, cheer you up, understand you and take care of you. And it is comforting to know that whether you are near or far love will always hold you close.

After so many years spent overseas, I have learned that there is no such thing as the perfect place. The perfect place to live does not exist, there are advantages and disadvantages everywhere you go. There is always a mixed bag of good and bad. You have to make the most of what your current location is offering you, and you have to make do with the inconveniences and unpleasantness of things that irritate you with the place where you live.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust.

Island living has plenty of advantages. The beach is never far away, and the mountains are a drive away. Family and friends are plenty and as for opportunities, it is up to you to make them happen. I am having lots of fun re-discovery my island and looking at it with fresh eyes. I appreciate the beauty the island has to offer, its clean air, the amazing sceneries, and the people who inhabit it. When I wake up every morning I am trying to look at my new surroundings with fresh eyes and not through a veil of memory and assumptions.

People have a tendency to take people and places around them for granted. Familiarity makes us forget how blessed we are to be connected to this particular person or to be living in a particular environment. Once things become familiar to us, we no longer see them. We must become more intentional and see those things and those people with a pair of fresh eyes. It is easy for people to put a label on everything and everyone, based on some interactions that happened in the past. When we interact with someone, we should try to put a fresh eye on this particular interaction and resist the temptation to bring our past experience with that person as the only criteria to rely on, thinking that we already know what that person is all about. People changes, a good person can turn into a bad person and a bad person can turn into a good person at any given moment. Don’t make assumptions about people based on your past experience with them. Keep your interaction with them fresh.

Coming back home after many years overseas made me realize that home is where your friends and family are. Home is not a place, it is a feeling. Keep looking at life and people with a fresh pair of eyes.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Be Healthy Self-Help

work it.

Work is part of our lives, and it starts from the day we are born. As brand-new infants, we have to figure out a way to drink that milk that will keep us alive whether it comes directly from our mother or from a bottle, and for a little person, it requires effort and hard work getting through that bottle. As a toddler, we have to work our way through a nursery. As a child we have to start doing some real hard work going through school to learn A, B, C. As young adults we leave high school with our diploma to walk straight into university. After a few years on Campus, we leave with a degree to walk straight into a job that will keep us busy for the next 30 to 40 years, whilst working on building a family and a home at the same time. Finally, we get to have a break in our olden days to enjoy some peace and quiet time during our retirement, where the only work we have to do is to babysit our grandchildren from time to time.

We can’t escape the fact that work is part of who we are and what we do. Some people say work is a curse, and labor is a misfortune, and for sure if we are given the choice to laze around or to do some work, most people would jump at the chance to laze around. But how long can you stay satisfied laying down on your sofa doing nothing? What if we can make work our passion? I say, work it and let’s make our life a work of art.

Work it.

Hard work is always the baseline of great achievements. Photo by wayhome Studio via freepik.com

Being successful at something requires hard work, sweat, tears, discipline, and patience. In the olden days, if you wanted to enter a profession you had to find a master who was willing to take you under his wings and enter into an apprenticeship to learn the craft. The normal length of an apprenticeship was 10 years; learning the craft required patience, discipline, and dedication. The modern concept of this is the 10,000 hours required to master a skill as described by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers. Hard work is always the baseline of great achievements.

Robert Greene called this Mastery. He wrote a whole book about it. “

“Anyone who would spend ten years absorbing the techniques and conventions of their field, trying them out, mastering them, exploring and personalizing them, would inevitably find their authentic voice and give birth to something unique and expressive. Embrace slowness as a virtue in itself.”

Robert Greene

Olympians become at the top of their games by investing years of their lives into training, by getting their body ready to perform at its optimum level, and by building the strength of character and mental toughness that is necessary to become a champion; the same applies to your life as well. There is always work to be done and this is best describe by Maya Angelou who wrote a poem titled Women’s work. Below is a short extract from that poem.

Women’s work by Maya Angelou

I’ve got the children to tend. The clothes to mend

The floor to mop. The food to shop

Then the chicken to fry. The baby to dry

I got company to feed. The garden to weed

I’ve got shirts to press. The tots to dress

I gotta clean up this hut. Then see about the sick

And the cotton to pick…

Work of art.

Make your life a work of art. Photo by Wayhome Studio via freepikc.com

For a lot of people, work is just something they have to do to earn a living, put a roof over their head, pay their bills and put food on the table. For the lucky ones (a small minority) work is their passion. Who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to turn their passion into their work? For some people finding their passion is easy, they were born knowing what it was; what is less easy is to get started and to do it consistently. For others, finding their passion is not so obvious. The problem is that a lot of people believe that their passion is hiding somewhere, maybe behind a tree or underneath a rock. The truth is that our passion comes first from doing things, and then doing them right.

We should get into the habit of injecting passion, not all the things that we do. If we do this consistently, a time will come when something stands out above all the other things, and that is the very thing that we should devote more time to doing passionately. That’s all there is to it, just do it. Work it! But what if you have no passion to create anything? In that case, the only thing you have to do is to listen to the philosopher Carl Jung.

“If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself. To give style to one’s character is a great and rare art.”

Carl Jung

How about turning yourself into a work of art? Maybe the healthiest person you could be? Or maybe a deep philosophical thinker? And when you got it, flaunt it.

“Consider making your life a work of art. You have yourself to begin with and a time of uncertain duration to work on it. You do not have to be who you are, even though you may be quite content with who and what you are; it will not be hard for you to think of something greater than you might become; it need not be something spectacular or even something that will attract any notice from others. What it will be is a kind of excellence that you project for yourself and then attain. Something you can look at with honest self-appraisal and be proud of. Make your life a work of art!

Richard Taylor

Work-In-Progress

I like to think of myself as Work-In-Progress. I work hard, perspire a lot during the process. I cry many tears along the way, get deflated when the outcome doesn’t match the input of energy I invested in the project, but I made it my quest to make my life a work of art. When you glance over my work, you are catching a glimpse of my soul. I march to my own beat, and wildly dance to my own rhythm, as I turn my passion into my work. Make your life a work of art.

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

How much is enough?

How much is enough? We often want more than we have now. More money, more gadgets, better furniture, a better house, a better car, more clothes, more shoes, more success. We live in a consumer culture, where our needs, want and desire can be satisfied very easily. We don’t even have to get out of bed to get those things, we can just browse the internet, click a few buttons, get our credit card out et voila! The object of your need, want and desire can be delivered to your front door.

As soon as we fulfill one need, another one comes to replace it, as soon as we purchase something we really need or want, we fantasize about owning another item and it goes on and on. We are all suffering to a certain extent from sins of luxury. The more we have the more we want. Where does necessity end and excess begin? How much is enough? There isn’t one answer to the question of How much is enough; there are as many answers as there are people on this planet. And even when you think that you found out the answer to that question, that answer will no doubt change over time as your goals change, unexpected events and challenges may come along your way, that will make you change your definition of how much is enough?

What does enough mean?

Enough is the quality of knowing that you have everything you need and want but nothing in excess, nothing that burdens you. Having enough money will make your life comfortable and easy but having too much money could give you sleepless nights and could bring with it its fair share of stress and worries. Enough doesn’t mean the just bare necessities of life, i.e., food, water, shelter, and enough money to get by. That’s not really enough. Enough means having enough to live, and enough to be happy, and enough to thrive. You don’t want to just survive; you want to thrive. You want to be good at what you do and do what you love.

What does enough mean? Photo by Halayalex via freepik.com

“My mission in life is not just to survive, but to thrive, and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

Maya Angelou

People who have come to know how much is enough for them display the following qualities:

1. They have a sense of purpose larger than their own needs, wants, and desires. Desires are infinite. Fill one desire and another emerges. A sense of purpose directs your attention to only those things that will really serve your mission, whether your mission is to make money, raising children, or growing a garden.

2. They know the value of money; they know where it comes from and where it goes. If you don’t know how much you have, you can never have enough.

3. They rely on their internal compass to let them know if something is really adding to their happiness or is just more stuff to use for a minute or two, then store, forget and ultimately sell or give away. Their sense of enoughness isn’t based on what others have or don’t have. They have no interest in keeping up with the Joneses.

4. They have a sense of responsibility for themselves, their family, and the world at large, a sense of how their lives and choices fit into the larger social and spiritual scheme of things.

5. They raise their children in an environment where they get enough opportunity to build character, to fail, to contemplate, and pick themselves again.

You are enough

You are enough? Photo by Drobotdean via freepik.com

According to Melissa Camara Wilkins (Author of Permission Granted: Be Who You Were Made to Be and Let Go of the Rest), You are enough does not mean that you have been measured, considered, and judged and that you have finally earned the label of “enough”. It doesn’t mean that you‘ve worked long enough, tried hard enough, presented well enough. It’s simply who you are. You don’t have to be more, or do more, or buy more to be who you are meant to be. You are enough doesn’t mean that you are a final product, complete and finished, all done growing and changing and learning things forevermore. You are enough does not mean that you are all-powerful and perfect either. You are enough does not mean that you are everything.

You are enough does not mean that you have to be self-sufficient. It doesn’t mean that you don’t need anyone or anything. It means that you understand how much you do need, how small you are in the great grand universe – and you don’t need to be bigger than that. You are enough does not mean that you never need help. It doesn’t mean that you are flawless, or that you never make mistakes. Knowing that I am not perfect doesn’t mean that my flaws are the truest, most important thing about me, it just means that I acknowledge them, they are part of me. You are enough as you are, mess and all, beautiful and broken, showing up for life every day. That’s all you have to be and all you have to do.

You are enough doesn’t mean that you have to stay stagnant. Of course, there are things you might want to be more of. More open. More true. More authentic. More free. More connected. More intentional. More purposeful. Being enough means that you acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, and move forward with purpose, at your own rhythm. Life does not need to be an endless treadmill. The truth is, we – especially women, but all of us, really – are swimming in a sea of expectations. And when you decide to let go of those expectations and give yourself permission to be who you really are, that is where freedom begins.

No matter how you feel, get up every day, dress-up, show-up and do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better do better. Maya Angelou… and that’s enough.

I wish you enough

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess,

I wish you enough “Hellos” to get you through the finale “Goodbye”

Unknown author.

And this, my dear friend, is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy

the problem with stereotypes

A stereotype is defined as a simplification of reality, a rigid, categorizing – and often discriminatory – representation. A stereotype is a fixed, overgeneralized belief about a particular group or class of people. By stereotyping, we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have.

For example, saying that women have no sense of direction, that girls suck at math, or that football is a man’s sport, are stereotypes. Stereotypes are like air, invisible but always present. Stereotypes can be positive or negative. Negatives stereotypes about women or minority groups are easy to spot, more pernicious are the positive ones, such as men are not in touch with their emotions, black people are good athletes. They don’t seem so pernicious because their content is complementary, but stereotypes are bad even when they are good.

Generalization v stereotypes

The term stereotype, as it is understood today, was coined by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Walter Lippmann. He defines the term in his 1922 book, Public Opinion, as “The pictures in our heads” that we have of a specific group of people. He adds that while this picture may not necessarily be complete, our habits, our tastes, our capacities, our comforts, and our hopes have adjusted themselves to it. While a stereotype may hold true for a group as a whole, it can distort our perception of an individual, who may or may not fit the stereotype.

Generalization v Stereotype -The problem with stereotypes. They are bad even when they are good. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Stereotypes can be linked to any type of cultural membership, such as nationality, religion, gender, race, or age, but it is important to note that there is a difference between cultural generalizations and stereotypes. Cultural generalizations allow us to understand the patterns of cultures to which one belongs (nation, age, gender, etc…) and it provides the basis on which one can understand other cultures. Cultural generalizations involve categorizing members of the same group as having similar characteristics. Generalizations are flexible and allow for the incorporation of new cultural information. They are a type of hypothesis, or guess, of what we expect to encounter when we interact with a certain culture; and this is a good thing. This flexibility can subsequently lead to increased cultural awareness and thereby improve intercultural relationships.

Cultural generalizations must not however be confused with cultural stereotypes. Generalizations become stereotypes when all members of a group are categorized as having the same characteristics. Stereotypes are typically inflexible and resistant to new information. They can, and often do lead to prejudice and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Cultural stereotypes do not allow for individual differences and interfere with efforts to understand an individual on a personal level. Curiosity and flexibility help navigate the differences between generalizations and stereotypes. While generalizations serve as a springboard for greater intercultural exploration and understanding, stereotypes hinder both awareness and further learning about others and about oneself.

The problem with stereotypes

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story”.

Adichi Chimaamanda

Stereotypes make us lazy and encourage nonchalant judgment because we assume things about people based on a stereotype. It drives and nourishes racism, sexism, and all form of discrimination. I have a strong aversion to labels and being put into a box; as soon as someone puts a label on you or throw you into a specific box, you lose your identity as a unique individual who may or may not fit into that stereotype.

The problem with stereotypes is that they are incomplete. Photo by freepik via freepik.com

Stereotypical biases happen all the time. Knowing that this exist can make us more mindful as to the way we treat individuals from other groups. We are all unique and different from each other. What makes us different is not the color of our skin or our geography, it is the fact that there isn’t another person like us anywhere else. So why try to put people into a box and stick a label on it? Because it is easier to control people this way. Once you belong to a certain box you are expected to walk on a straight and narrow line. Venturing outside that path is frown upon. Dissenting views and actions are not allowed because dissent is being viewed as being disloyal to the group.

I am not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 years old. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the people I met, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable but also spontaneous and unpredictable. I am all of that and more and a constant work-in-progress.

All around us, there are spheres of authority always dictating what we should do, how we should act, and what we ought not to do. Aside from the formal structure like the laws, there are also informal powers dictating our actions, lifestyles, speech, thought patterns, education, cultural upbringing, religion, etc. This invisible current forces us to travel down a certain path, act a certain way, and be a certain type of person. Much of our individualistic tendencies do not develop as freely as we think because we have to conform to societal expectations of us and stereotypes.

One way to free ourselves from the shackles of societal restrictions that impede the originality and flexibility of each person would be to develop our individualism, and sense of freedom. Freedom refers to the ability to make decisions and take actions without any form of interference. Freedom comes with the dynamics of being able to change your choices and activities at any time. If you are free to do something, you should also be free to reverse it or do something else. You are free to be whoever you want to be and don’t have to stick to that choice forever. Today you can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as you want and tomorrow you can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if you feel like it. Paint your own canvas with the colors you want. Be an artist.

Paint your own canvas with the colors you want. Be an artist.

To be free, you need courage. According to Earl Nightingale “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity”. Conformity as a word means acting in accordance with the prevailing social standards, attitudes, and practices. The problem is that when people are always thinking alike, no one is thinking at all. Courage on the other hand means boldness or braveness.

With this said, I will leave you with the wise words of Bassey Elimian whose sentiment on this subject echo mine.

“I am a woman and also an individual with a brain. Please don’t put me in a box. I admire and respect other women. I am a giver and advance my interests too. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a woman and not a doormat or a pushover. I don’t gossip, but I read and write.”

Bassey Elimian

Personal note.

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code.

Categories
Be Happy Uncategorized

Life is a double-edged sword. Learn the art of not hurting yourself

Life is a double-edged sword. A Knife is only as good as the one who wields it. You can use a knife to cut vegetables and cook a beautiful dinner, but if you are not careful you can cut and hurt yourself with that same knife. There are times when our greatest strengths turn out to be a source of weakness as well; this occurs when we overplay on our strengths or rigidly work to them.

The starting point is to know and be aware of what your strengths are and know when and how to use those strengths bearing in mind that self-awareness and flexibility will help you stay the course. Life is a double-edged sword the way you communicate and express yourself can be good or bad depending on your communication style. Every communication style has its strong points and weak points. The strength of your communication style can turn into a weakness if people rely too much on it.

For example, a reflective and cautious person is admired for her thoughtful approach to every problem and decision-making process. However, this strength can become a problem if it is exaggerated. A reflective person can turn this strength into a weakness if their reflectiveness makes them suffer from analysis-paralysis and make them unable to make a decision due to over-thinking a problem. This reflective person turns into a way-too-cautious-and-inflexible person unable to arrive at any decision without detailed and complete information. Anyone who is expecting to have complete information before making any type of decision is doomed because it is an impossibility. Things change all the time, what’s true right now at this minute can turn out to be untrue 5 minutes later. Every day we make decisions based on incomplete information.

But I digress. Let’s go back to the main point of this article which is to explain the concept of why life is a double-edged sword. To help me do this, I tapped into the wisdom of Jay Shetty and some interesting concepts that he explains in his book “Think like a Monk”. Jay Shetty explains that there are 4 types of people in this world. 1. The Leader. 2. The Guide. 3. The Creator and 4. The Maker. All 4 types have strengths and weaknesses and depending on how you play those, you will find yourself operating within your mode of goodness, or within your mode of ignorance. The rest of this article will be based on Jay Shetty’s explanation of this concept.

Being a leader can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. being a leader can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.comfencing. Mixed media

Originally, leaders were Kings and warriors. Today you have politicians, military personnel, law enforcement personnel, justice personnel who occupy that position. The skillset required for this type of position is good communication, honesty, and integrity, being driven by a noble cause to defend and protect your people; being inspiring and engaging is definitely a plus.

Those who are operating in this group are natural leaders of people, movements, associations, and families. They are motivated and directed by courage, strength, and determination and are driven by the need to protect those who are less privileged. They are led by higher morals and values and seek to enforce them across the board. They provide structure and frameworks for the growth of their people. They like to work in teams. They are focused and are dedicated to a mission.

Throughout history, there are countless examples of leaders who proved that holding this function is a double-edged sword, and not in the best sense of the word.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

If a leader operates under a Mode of Ignorance as Jay Sheety describes it, you will witness a shift happening. That person would go from being an honorable individual to being a despicable character who gives up on change due to corruption and hypocrisy, develop a negative and pessimistic viewpoint, and loses his moral compass in his drive for power. They use their talents and influence to serve themselves and not humanity.

Life is a double-edged sword. Stay the course. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Guide can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. Being a Guide can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.com

Guides are teachers, coaches, gurus, mentors. Their skillset is learning, studying, sharing their knowledge and wisdom. A coach and a mentor want to bring the best in the people they connect with, they want to help you be the best version of yourself and will help you find your purpose. Their quest in life is to find meaning, fulfillment, purpose, and share their wisdom with the world. They are here to serve. They enjoy intellectual pursuits and meaningful conversations.

If the Guide operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from sage to fool; not practicing what they preach, and not leading by example. They could also use their knowledge for strength and power and not for the good of humanity.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

They are countless examples throughout the world of mentors/gurus/spiritual leaders who became corrupted by the power of their position and the unconditional devotion of their disciplines. Those supposedly enlightened individuals became harmful, destructive, taking advantage of their followers, clients, disciples in the most despicable ways, because those people were extremely vulnerable, desperate, lost, and confused.

Life is a double-edged sword. Stay the course. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Creator can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Life is a double-edged sword. Being a creator can be a double-edged sword adventure. Photo by User 14190141 via freepik.com

Originally Creators were merchants and businesspeople. Nowadays they are marketers, salespersons, entertainers, producers, entrepreneurs, and CEOs. Their skillset gravitates around brainstorming, networking, innovating, making things happen. They have great sales, negotiation, and persuasion skills, they can convince themselves and others of anything. They are highly driven by money, pleasure, and success, they are very hardworking and determined. They are status-driven. They are dynamic, charismatic, and captivating. They create products and ideas that make money but also serve others. They provide jobs and opportunities for others.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Sir John Dalberg-Acton

Still, if the Creator operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from a great negotiator to a scammer. Creators can become corrupt they can lie, cheat and steal to sell something with no value. They can burn out, and become depressed, moody, difficult, and very unpleasant characters.

Life is a double-edged sword. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Being a Maker can be a double-edged sword adventure.

Originally Makers were artists, musicians, painters, writers. Today, the same list applies but you could add engineers, architects, programmers, coders, carpenters, cooks. Their skillset gravitates around inventing, creating, implementing an idea, a vision, a concept. They like exploring and experimenting with new ideas. They tend to choose meaningful goals to pursue. They are driven by stability and security.

Still, if the Maker operates under a Mode of Ignorance, you will see a shift from creative to destructive, when they feel anxious, stuck, and unworthy. They focus more on money and fame instead of focusing on honing their skills.

Life is a double-edged sword. Practice the art of not hurting yourself and the people around you.

Moral of the story

Whatever you do, whether you are a Leader, a Guide, a Creator, or a Maker, life is a double-edged sword. You have to stay alert and stay on the straight and narrow path with some flexibility thrown into the mix.

“A Knife is only as good as the one who wields it.”

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal note.

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Be Happy

do what 99% of people don’t do. manage your energy wisely

Do What 99% of people don’t do. Learn to manage your energy wisely. We all have a finite amount of energy to spend. We all know this, but somehow, we act as if we have an unlimited supply of energy to waste. Each day we use the energy we have, we invest it in people and things that surround us until we have no energy left and we become exhausted. What most people don’t do is evaluate who and what they invest their energy in.

We should treat energy the same way we treat money. Know how much you have before you decide how to spend it. We have to assess how much energy we have in order to manage it and allocate it wisely.

This concept is well explained by Dandapani in one of his talks. Danapani is a Hindu priest, an entrepreneur, and a former monk of 10 years. He works with entrepreneurs and some of the top athletes in the world in order to help them understand and leverage their minds so that they can be the best at what they do. The rest of this blog article is based on the teaching of Dandapani.

How do you learn to manage your energy wisely?

Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy. We compared energy to money earlier. Energy can also be compared to water. If you take a watering can and you water a garden bed, will the weeds grow or will the flower grow? Both will grow. Water has no ability to distinguish between the weeds and the flowers. Energy works the same way.

Do what 99% of people dont’ do. Manage your energy wisely. Photo by Master 1304 via freepik.com

If I invest my energy into something negative whatever will manifest from this will be negative, and if I invest my energy into something positive, good things will come out of this. Right now, you are the sum total of where you invested your energy all your life. That is why it is important to know who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. Spend some time every day to figure out who you are and what is the purpose of your life so that you can direct energy towards that purpose and grow flowers instead of weeds.

In order to do this, you have to understand the difference between awareness and the mind. Dandapani defines awareness as a ball of glowing light that can float around. He defines the mind as a vast space with many areas in it such as anger, hate, jealousy, joy, happiness, resentment, food, art, sport, science, technology, etc… Your awareness can move into any area of the mind you want it to go to. If your awareness goes to the happy area of your mind, it will light out this particular area with a glow of happy feelings. If your awareness goes to the angry area of the mind it will light up this area with a glow of grumpiness and unhappy feeling.

So far so good, but you may ask yourself how do you direct your awareness to the area of your mind you want to? So glad you asked. By developing your willpower and your power of concentration you can take that awareness to whichever area of the mind you want.

Your energy is flowing wherever your awareness is going.

How do you learn to direct your awareness to wherever you want it to go? Dandapani tells us that in order to learn to direct your awareness to wherever you want it to go, you have to learn and practice the art of concentration. Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time. Most people have difficulties concentrating for 2 reasons. They have never been taught how to concentrate, and they never practiced concentration. Throughout our life we are surrounded by people who keep asking us to concentrate starting with our parents, our teachers, our boss; but those same people never told us how to concentrate.

We learn to concentrate by doing one thing at a time and we get to practice our concentration skills by integrating this practice into our everyday life. Look at your average day and pick one recurring event in your life. For example, every day you talk to your spouse about this and that and many other things too. So, every time you do that, give your spouse your undivided attention. Keep your awareness on him or her. If it drifts, bring it back. When you speak to your family, friends, colleagues, or customers, give them your undivided attention. By the end of the day, you would have clogged close to 6 to 8 hours of practicing concentration. This method allows you to take this tool and insert it into a recurring event in your life rather than creating another practice to fit into your already packed-up daily routine.

Do what 99% of people dont’ do. Your energy is flowing wherever your awareness is going . Photo by Master 1304 via freepik.com

The other thing we need to develop is our willpower. We are all born with various levels of willpower, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter if you start with a low level of willpower, you can develop it as you go along because willpower is like a muscle, the more practice the stronger the muscle. There are 3 ways to develop willpower: 1. Finish what you have started. 2. Finish beyond your expectation. 3. Do a little bit more than you are able to do. All of this requires effort and effort is willpower.

The same methods as explained earlier apply here, you take those 3 methods, and you apply them to a recurring event in your life. I have breakfast every day. Each morning, I decide what kind of breakfast I want to have and I proceed with making that breakfast for myself and my family. If I have time to make breakfast and eat it, I also have time to tidy up and make the dishes. I complete my breakfast routine by cleaning up afterward. If I bring this process into everything I do, I end up developing my willpower slowly but surely. Every time my awareness drifts away, I use the mental power I develop to bring my awareness back.

The greatest impetus to manage energy is death.

Life is finite. I only have one life. What’s happening after nobody knows. So, If I know that my life is finite, I want to be extremely clear where and towards whom I should expand my energy, because there is no point in learning and practicing how to focus if you don’t also learn what to focus your energy on.

The law of thermodynamics tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed it can only be transferred or transformed from one thing to another. If I have 10% of spare energy to allocate to someone and decide to give it to John, I have to know when I make this allocation that John is worthy of my time. If I give 10% of my energy to John, I have to know that he is going to do something good with it, because if I know that he is going to squander it, I will rather give it to someone else.

People and things are the biggest consumers of energy. Some people lift you up and give you energy. Other people suck a tremendous amount of energy from you. Be aware of energy vampires. There are 3 types of people: 1. Uplifting people. 2. Neutral people. 3. Not so uplifting people. When I spend 5 minutes with an uplifting person, I walk away feeling re-energized and inspired. If I spend 5 minutes with a neutral person, I walk away feeling the same as before. But if I spend 5 minutes with a not so uplifting person, I walk away feeling deflated and exhausted. Dandapani calls this type of person Energy Vampire.

There are two types of energy vampires. 1. The Transient Energy Vampire. 2. The Inherent Energy Vampire. Say, John has just lost a family member from a terrible disease. He feels sad and depressed and has trouble coping with the loss and you need to be there for him to uplift him from his sorrow. He consumes a lot of your energy for the next year or so, but it is OK. You give him that energy because he is your friend and that what friends are about. You display compassion, empathy, and love. On the opposite side of this reside the Inherent Energy Vampire who has always been this way and who will not change. When you come across such a person, practice the art of being affectionately detached. Do not give that person the opportunity to pour on you all their misery, and do not let those people monopolize your time and drain all your energy.

Take away.

1. Life is a manifestation of where you direct your energy.

2. We all have a finite amount of energy to spend. Learn to manage your energy wisely.

3. Learn and practice how to focus and what to focus your energy on.

4. Hang out with uplifting people. Stay away from Energy Vampire types of people.

And this, my dear friend, is Your Quest.

Personal note.

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

should you hire a life coach or mentor?

Should you hire a life coach or mentor? Not everyone needs a coach nor wants one. If you are struggling with some unresolved issue and have a problem to resolve, you can just enter a search on the internet and you will find, in no time at all a book, a YouTube video, an article, a blog, or an online course telling you exactly how to solve your problem. There is no doubt that you can DIY your own path to success and your own self-development. If you can do this on your own, well done. Keep doing what you are doing.

But for those who are struggling with an overload of information and are getting confused with all the well-meaning advice that populate social media and other platforms, and who end up not knowing who and what to believe, hiring a coach or a mentor can be a smart decision.

What exactly is a life coach?

A Life coach is not a therapist. Therapists focus on healing past issues, whereas coaching focuses on implementing changes to create a new future. The International Coaching Federation (ICF) defines coaching as “partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.” The process of coaching often unlocks previously untapped sources of imagination, productivity, and leadership.

Improve your skills. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

Life coaches work with individuals who are looking to create a pathway to reaching set goals. Whether it is work, personal, or family, coaches act as unbiased thinking partners and hold their clients accountable by typically having regular meetings and guiding them throughout the process. How do you know that it is time to hire a life coach? How do you trust it will benefit you? Albert Einstein gave us the perfect answer to this question.

“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them”.

Albert Einstein

Have you ever been in a situation where you think of a problem over and over going round in circles without going anywhere? Sometimes you need a new approach, a new level of thought, in this case, a third party to sound your ideas off and help you see things from a different angle, challenge your way of thinking or open you to some unexplored possibilities. Another question you may ask yourself. Is it worth the money? Rates vary enormously. Choose a life coach/mentor that you like and can afford and see if it works for you or not. It’s that simple. Life coaches who charge enormous rates are often too busy dealing with their high-profile clients and are inaccessible anyway.

When hiring a life coach or mentor may be a good idea

Do you lack a clear vision or your vision is so big you are feeling overwhelmed? Are you irritable, defensive, or prone to knee-jerk reactions? Are you facing a life transition and are having difficulties adjusting to your new circumstances? Do you have a pretty normal and pleasant life, but you are feeling a bit off anyway? If the answer to all those questions is yes, maybe it is time for you to consider hiring a life coach or mentor who can provide you with a safe and compassionate place to vent your feelings, put things into perspective and guide you. Perhaps you keep trying to improve your situation and nothing seems to be working. To achieve the results you want, you will mostly need to change your attitudes or underlying beliefs.

Transitions bring up stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, all of which have the tendency to set us on edge and make us feel we need to talk things through with someone who is not a family member, or a friend. Family and friends have great intentions, but they are not impartial. Being too close to your situation can limit their vision and the advice they may give you. Perhaps you need help in figuring out what’s next? A coach will stand next to you and guide you in this exploration process. They can ask powerful questions that break through your old defenses. When you learn to be curious about your life, you will become more willing to take on challenges that once seemed scary.

Fear of failing is the biggest killer of plans and ideas. Most people don’t dare to think big and follow their dreams because of the fear of failure or being ridiculed and rejected. The end result is that their dreams will always remain just that, a dream. The dream made them feel good while it lasted, but their ideas will remain known to them only. Their songs will only ever be sung in their heads, with no audience to listen to and no one else to appreciate them. The books they could have authored remain only thoughts. Most people won’t even reach for their dreams because they are unwilling to feel uncomfortable, to have their limits tested, to live on the edge, to be outside their comfort zone, to be criticized, to be let down, and to be challenged.

“You miss 100% of all the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzky

What could be the worst outcome if you did take that shot? Failure? A bruised ego? Loss of money? And what might you gain? Knowledge? New connections? Insights and experience? People should not focus so much on how often they fall, they should instead focus on learning, having new experiences, picking themselves up, and seeing how far they can go. And if you can’t do this yourself, or with the help of a book, a YouTube video, or an online course, maybe it’s time to ask a coach or a mentor to help and guide you.

The biggest motivator of all for hiring a life coach or a mentor, life regrets.

Be yourself. Photo by Lenadig via freepik.com

When people come towards the end of their life and look back to reflect on the choices they made they are often filled with regrets. Bronnie Ware a hospice worker and the author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing described in the book, conversations she had with senior citizens who were filled with regrets about their life journey and for taking the easy way out, rather than tackling challenges in a self-fulfilling way.

1. The number one regret people voice on their way out, according to Bronnie Ware is that they did not live a life true to themselves but did what other people expected of them. We often follow a path that has been traced for us by our parents, society, peer pressure, etc… don’t get me wrong, it is honorable and commendable to provide for yourself and your family, but once our basic needs are fulfilled (see Maslow pyramids of needs) spend some time and energy on your own self-actualization.

2. The second regret people voice while dying is working too hard on someone else’s dream and not their own. This goes along the same vein as the first point but there is an extra dimension to it. Time is of the essence. There is nothing wrong with being an employee and getting paid for the time and effort you spend working for someone else, but once your employee work is done, do not neglect to work on your own project/dream/side hustle, etc… Time is of the essence, you can never get back time wasted away. It is gone forever. Days, weeks, months, years pass, and just like that your life is nearly over. Instead of lazing around on the sofa every night after work watching Reality TV, why not use this time to further your own dream?

3. The third most cited regret Bronnie Ware offers is that people look back and wish they had had the courage to express their feelings. We can all relate to this one, no matter our age. We owe it to ourselves to clarify how we feel, what we feel, and how to effectively state our feelings. You don’t have to be inconsiderate when doing this, you can do it honestly and gently. For more on this, you can check the article I wrote on this subject. Voicing our feelings can also help us identify how our expression affects others as well as ourselves.

4. The fourth regret Ware includes is a desire to have stayed in touch with old friends. Loneliness is rampant in contemporary culture. Life is busy and too often it gets in the way of maintaining and nurturing connections with our friends. Friends come and go you gain some and you lose some, but true friends who you can really count on when the going gets tough are rare and it is definitely worth spending time maintaining that connection.

5. The final item Ware cites is that people regret not having let themselves be happier! Are you shocked by this? But how can we let ourselves be happy if we are not mentored in the art of developing our happiness? Where are those rare individuals who are living out their own visions? What does authentic happiness look like and how does it show up for each one of us? We’ll only have the answers to those questions through personal trial and error and maybe a life coach or mentor can help you do just that.

Personal note

One-to-One Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI).  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

The audio version of my book “This Is your Quest ” is available. Feel free to check it out and use this special Promotion code