What Are You Really Afraid of?

Lately, I’ve been thinking about how some of the most important choices I’ve made throughout my life have been based on fear. All of us, to some extent, are motivated by fear of losing something you've made a part of yourself, or your identity. The unmistakable pain of loss. I was always in fear of losing people, material things or some part of my identity. This is especially true for some of the emotions I’ve held on to. I was an emotional hoarder. Giving up those feelings was like giving up a part of my identity. And if I was giving up that, then who was I? This is the exact question we need to navigate to and answer for ourselves when we find that we’ve been living with a limited mindset.

Facing Your Fears

Digging deep to find what truly scares you is intimidating.  At some point you have to do some self contemplation. Face the things that you fear the most. Take them head on. I know taking this step can seem overwhelming, but it’s an essential part of the path to improving your mindset. The thing I was afraid of the most was being alone. I’m divorced and consequently, I was holding on to feelings of inadequacy. I had an irrational notion that I would die alone and unloved. I decided to stop dating. No online dating sites, nothing, I did nothing but reflect, learn and write. The writing process was cathartic and gave me perspective. I would write daily in a journal and periodically re-read some older entries to see if I had made any mental or emotional progress. I did this for 9 months. I often had deep feelings of abandonment and loneliness. It was difficult but necessary. In that time I faced the biggest fear I had. I was afraid to be alone because I was afraid of who I had become. That time away afforded me a new perspective on how I viewed myself and how I had become a fraction of the person I knew I was capable of being.

After facing my biggest fears, it was like the weight of the world was lifted off of me. I had nothing weighing me down. Now, a year later, I have faced another fear. I recently quit my job to pursue self-employment. This took a great deal of contemplation and trust in myself. I would not have been able to make such a life changing decision had I not went through the dark time of facing my biggest fear of being alone. This opportunity would have gone right by me had I not been in the right mindset. I am so grateful and thankful everyday that I did that for myself. It’s hard to describe the feeling of living life without fear. The warm comfort of releasing fear. Nothing has the power to make you wasted among humanity but the lack of control of your own mind, to leave you fragile, with an  inflated victim ego.  Let the limits in your mind dissolve, then the fear will have no where to live. If you master this, you can master anything you want.

Fear of Letting Go

Life seems to be fulfilled when your putting things and people in. But what happens if your letting go? There needs to be space for improvement. If you’re holding on to things that no longer serve you, there's no room for the opportunities that will.

Making Fear Based Decisions

You have to get to a place where you’re not basing your decisions in fear or lack but in a place of prosperity and abundance. When you start learning to think in these terms you won’t be afraid of losing something or letting anything go. Your mind will think in terms of what you can accomplish or gain. You’ll be surprised by how opportunities and solutions come faster and easier after you learn to see things from a prosperity perspective.

Take away from this post:  You have to make yourself uncomfortable and push past your fears. Don’t let fear control your mind. 

Thank You, Friend

A sincere “thank you” is powerful and goes beyond just having good manners. People take everyday little miracles for granted. How often are you thankful for waking up, being in good health, or having food and clean water? How often do you tell the people you love how grateful you are to have them in your life? Today I'd like to say how grateful I am for a special person in my life, my best friend.

Back in high school I was ridiculously awkward, never popular or outgoing. When I went in blind freshman year at Central Michigan University I never expected to meet the best friend I never knew I needed. She is one of the few people in my life that have helped me overcome the limitations I had put on myself. She accepted me, in all my awkwardness, and helped me open up. Always a true friend, someone I could always look to in my corner. Her friendship has never wavered, even in my darkest times of withdrawal from the world. She has shown me what friendship really means and I am only a good friend because of what she has taught me.

I practice gratitude on a daily basis but today I am especially grateful for the wonderful people in my life. To all of my special friends, co-workers and family: please accept my gratitude and send it back out into the world by practicing gratitude today (and everyday!).

Take away from this post: Be grateful for what you love in your life. Simple as that.

Lessons I learned from Too $hort: “The first thing you need to do is set yourself some goals…

...Think positive, everything else is old. And work hard, never stop hustling.” If only I would have heeded this advice when I first heard "Gettin' It" back in '96. I think these two lines sum up all of my posts to date! When I was living with a limited mindset, I felt my life was like a series of vignettes. Perhaps not rooted down in any given reality and at any moment I could have spun off into some other parallel universe. All could fall apart on a dime. Nothing was solid or permanent. Not even the feelings I'd kept closest to my heart. Things change. People change and grow. Ten years go by, I suddenly pulled out feelings I thought hadn't changed and there I was, alone, clouded with doubt about the very fabric of life and second guessing gravity. Faltering on everything I'd ever known. I felt like I could have fallen off the earth if I believed in nothing.

Maybe for a moment I told myself I didn't believe in anything, which meant I didn't believe in myself. So there I was standing at the edge of the earth ready to give up on everything. 

The human spirit is resilient if we listen, if we let it be. The power I had was elusive at the time. Now I know what the human mind is capable of, made so dull by limitations from every outside source from the time we're born. Setting a clear goal was the first step I took in changing the way I think. It may seem fundamental but in my limited mindset it was futile for me to set goals when I believed I would never achieve them. 

I learned that setting goals is not only helpful in organizing day to day things but necessary when mapping out big life goals. The universe can't deliver what you don't specifically ask for. Having a clear goal is key to achieving what you want. When I went about setting a life goal I took some advice from Bob Proctor. You may have heard of him from "The Secret" and his work with the law of attraction. He said, "Set a goal to achieve something so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time." 

This video from Bob is great motivation to set big goals for yourself. 

The take away from this post: Believing in your goals and that you can achieve them is key to getting what you want out of life. 


8 Things You Should Stop Saying to Your Kids: Phrases That Create and Reinforce Limited Mindsets

One of the biggest goals in my life is to make sure I've given my daughter all the tools she needs to be happy and successful. My biggest fear is failing her. Through my research I've found that the words that we say to our children have a lasting effect, it's not just in one ear and out the other like we think. From around two years of age and up until five or six we have predominantly theta brainwaves which are associated with learning retention and creativity. This is why children absorb information at a faster rate than adults and, for example, why children are more receptive to learning a second language during this time. These predominantly theta brainwaves help retain information in a primal attempt to stay alive. As we grow older our brains have decided that we know enough to keep ourselves alive and so go into mostly beta waves during waking times and occasional alpha waves. 

I've created this infographic to illustrate some of the negative language we use with children and perhaps our own self-talk. This is how a limited mindset starts and gets stuck. By curbing this type of negativity we can help our children open their minds to greater possibilities and expanded awareness. Trying to reprogram your mindset later in life can be a long, difficult struggle. Avoid that by giving your children the tools they need to build a healthy mindset from the beginning. 

The take away from this post: There's a science behind the brain and we're not using it to the fullest potential. 

Nourish Your Brain: 5 Best Places to Learn on the Internet

One of the most challenging mindset limitations I have overcome has been my lack of a college degree. I dropped out of Central Michigan University after three years with no focus or major. I labeled myself as the college dropout and for years I let this label define me. I unwittingly factored in outside influence and the negative connotations of  "college dropout". Deceptively, my ego made me believe I was inferior and kept me from doing things outside my comfort zone. I was missing opportunities because, in my mind, they were out of my reach. I gave into my limited thinking and used my college dropout label as an excuse. 

The truth is there are successful people (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg) who, like 30% of college students, dropped out early. Similarly there are great thinkers and innovators (Richard Branson, Frank Lloyd Wright) that have never stepped foot in a college or university.

 We have been led to believe that a proper education leads to comfort, security, and fulfillment. And while this may be true in some cases, college isn't for everyone. Do we want to perpetuate a culture where a degree is the ultimate ticket to success? Especially in times where degrees aren't necessarily helping grads land a job and student debt is becoming an increasing problem.

 Learning should be a positive experience and one that you feel comfortable with personally and financially. The point I'm trying to make is that there are alternatives to traditional 4-year colleges. Fortunately there are now options to explore before you make the choice and, if you’re like me, when you're faced with overcoming dropout status. 

So, start nourishing your brain. Here are my top five places to learn on the internet. Most sites are free, so there are no excuses!

People use the internet for finding their wedding dress IQ? Huh? I'm speechless from how oxymoronic that is, considering with the same click you can learn from some of MIT's best professors. MIT is sharing some of their online coursework, and it's free!

Khan Academy is also free and you can learn alongside your children. It's a good starting point to get into a non-traditional mindset of learning outside the classroom. It's come to a point in our society where we shouldn't be solely relying on public education. 

Saylor Academy offers several courses that earn you transferable credits to certain accredited schools that they affiliate with. They offer core classes you might take in a traditional college or university as well as career oriented courses. 

Alison offers free courses to expand workplace skills from business and IT to health and personal development. This site is great if you are looking to grow your knowledge base whether you want to advance in your current job, look for a new job or start your own business. 

SkillShare has been one of my favorite places to learn. They charge a small monthly fee for access to all their courses. You can also take some courses for free if you’re not up for the premium membership. This site has course-work taught by successful working professionals. Most of the classes are brief and to the point so you're getting good content in a timely manner.

Self-education is becoming more prevalent lately as people start realizing they want more than the 9-5 grind. Learning new skills is a great way to get yourself motivated to branch out, start your own business and get into an independent mindset. 

The take away from this post: Don't let labels negatively affect your mindset. It doesn't matter where you are in life, you can always learn and grow. 

Change Your Mindset: Overcome Limited Thinking

Blindly pawing at existence isn't sexy. I've come to realize that we've let the reckless torture of conformity plan our lives for us. It's become inherent to accept things in our lives that other people have decided for us. 

I had been foolishly carrying around a limited mindset I had collected since grade school. I was sad, frail minded and silent. I felt inferior and useless. I often felt shame and ridicule. I was bound by fear, hiding from everything. I made myself small and invisible. And I brought that terrified little girl into every facet of my life because I didn't know any better. I didn't know I had a choice to be something different. I just assumed I had to live that way and there was nothing I could do to change it. 

My perception of the world was askew. Once I stopped being the victim of circumstance, I found my voice. Through an everlasting purgatory of self-doubt,  I found a way out of my limited thought patterns by changing my mindset.

When I learned that the only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves, my life started to lucidly change. They only exist because we maintain them. We can blame any number of things, parents, society, school, etc. but the truth is we take them on because we believe them. The moment we take responsibility for our surroundings and the outcomes in our lives, is the moment we can start to take charge of our thoughts. 

It wasn't until two years ago that I found the path that felt right for me. It all stemmed from one line of a text I received:  "the map is not the territory". It was the most alluring six words I had ever read. It made me want to uncover and discover all the things my mind could do. As I tried to wrap my head around the meaning, it gave me a distinct feeling of premonition. I started researching it and I haven't stopped for two years. I've done more studying and learning in that time than I did all through high school and three years of college.  

I found that the phrase is associated with NLP, neuro-linguistic programming. It essentially means my reality is not your reality. We all have different maps and trying to understand that is crucial to how we interact with each other. There is more to be said about NLP and it's benefits which I'll leave for a future post. 

My research eventually led me to mindvalleyacademy.com after stumbling upon a youtube video featuring the founder, Vishen Lakhiani. In one of my favorite videos he describes what he calls Brules or bullshit rules, which is the limited mindset playing out. You can check it out here.  I found his Consciousness Engineering course to be distinctly helpful in targeting exactly where you pick up negative thought patterns and then he teaches hacks to remove them. This site is where I started to learn that there are practical things I could do to improve my thinking. 

One of my biggest influences through this journey has been Carl Harvey from thebiglife.com. He has a radiant personality and his positivity is contagious. He does a weekly show and has tons of free content to help you reach your personal and professional goals. If you're struggling to see results in your life and you need to step up your spiritual growth game this is the place to start. The insight you'll get is amazing.

Both of these sites have helped me develop positive mindsets and gave me realistic ways to dissolve limited thinking. These particular people resonated with me because they were genuine in wanting to help people with self empowerment, personal and spiritual growth and abundance mindsets. 

This was just the beginning of the knowledge I started to uncover. In my next post I'll share resources for independent learning. 

The take away from this post : The fool knows nothing of his own mind. Get to know yours.