Don’t Mind the Small Stuff – Zoom Out On Your Life

zoom out on your life

When You Become Distracted, Bring Back Focus By Zooming Out

At one time or another, we are all daydreamers, stress balls, disconnected, or whatever else is taking you away from focusing on your moment. It is whenever you find yourself in past or future events, i.e. things that don’t exist anymore or do not yet exist. Why is it that we insist on bringing our awareness to places that are not real, when the only reality we have to concern ourselves with is the very present moment? I think Prof Steve Peters puts it in to a very good and humorous context in  “The Chimp Paradox”; we have all have a very lonely chimp inside who demands constant attention and only wants to get up to mischief. Whether you call it your chimp, ego, shadow or something else doesn’t matter, the result is the same; you are stolen away from fully enjoying and embracing the present moment. 

Past

Many times when we focus too much on the past we can find ourselves in a pattern of depression. We basically have a fear, shame, guilt, sadness, grief, etc. about the past. We may fear the past coming back to haunt us, or perhaps we fear that we will never experience  something that awesome ever again. We bring ourselves back to moments when we did something we are not proud of, evoking feelings of shame and guilt. What really is the benefit in revisiting the negative emotions of past events? Many of my clients come up some interesting reasons for it, e.g. “If I don’t feel bad about it then I don’t regret it and then it’s like I would think it was a good thing” or “I know I shouldn’t suppress things so I must hold on to it”. Often when they write their reasons down and they can read it themselves they realise the lunacy of them. The idea is that you explore the lesson behind the event and drop the feelings surrounding it, which allows you to draw the benefits of experience without having to relive the negative feelings surrounding it. You will then not constantly revisit the situation either as you will only draw on it when the lesson you learned is needed in your present moment without having to actively and consciously evoke the memory of the event. 

Future

Similarly to how we treat past events that no longer exists, but these events are yet to exist. Your persistent focus on the future leads to anxiety. The excuses here range from, “If I don’t worry, who will?”, “I need to think of the future, otherwise I won’t foresee what’s coming next”, “I’ve been told that I need to focus on what I want in order for me to manifest it”, etc. For a future event to turn out exactly as you’ve perceived it is a near impossibility as there are always too many elements that you cannot control. The only thing you can control is how you feel about a situation. With that in mind, i.e. we do not control how the future comes together, we only control how we feel about it, why do we insist on worrying about the details of the future? We in fact view the future from the point of view of our past experiences. For some reason we believe that the future will be no different to the past. Our programming gives us a negative feeling about the future because we have been taught not to expect too much of it or that we are not capable of achieving greatness that we can’t even yet imagine. We impose these limitations on ourselves because we focus on the minutia. Most of the great philosophers, inventors, spiritual leaders, etc. could not envision where they ended up before they got there, they just did not impose any limitations on  themselves, instead remaining fully open to any opportunity and guidance to get to where they would be the greatest version of themselves.

Since neither the past nor the future exist, what is the only thing that determines your future, or the past for that matter? The present moment is the only control of how your past and your future will shape up. 

Present moment

Is it realistic, irrespective of your external circumstances, for you to bring contentment into every moment of your life? In my experience it is absolutely realistic. There are many prominent inspirational personalities around the world that have used their most traumatic experiences to turn their lives around. Two perfect examples of this are; Immaculee Ilibagiza, survivor of the Rwandan genocide, or Viktor Frankl, survivor of the Holocaust. These amazing people viewed their futures out of the possibilities of their attitudes in their present moments. They both decided to bring forgiveness into their hearts and not let their horrific pasts determine who they were going to be in the future.  It is when you string your past and future moments together that you get the full time line of your life. So if you start embodying what you desire to become in the future at this very moment, you will start building up a past and present moments that reflects the future you want. Naturally, as an extension to this your future also become what you want it to become because you already have it. Through this train of thought you will also see how you may control and change your past by bringing what you want to become in the future into the present moment. 

Zooming out

We’ve now explored why the present moment is critical in creating the life you desire, but your attention keeps getting dragged in to the minutia of the future and/or the past, how do we train ourselves to move int the present? Many books have been written on this subject, one of my favourites being “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, but my objective her is to give you one simple tool to use.

When you focus on the minutia of life; mainly past and future, you get bogged down and cannot focus on bringing in what you desire for your future to the present moment. The present moment really does not have any minutia because you are creating every moment as it happens, so there is no planning for the current moment, you flow where it takes you. Invariably your monkey brain or ego will tempt you away with distractions to think of the little details. When you notice this happening, just zoom out and take a bird’s eye view of what you want the sum of your life to be. How do you want to feel on average on a daily basis? What are some of the big aspirations you have in life; e.g. make life better for refugees, create a successful company, help as many animals as possible, be the best parent possible, etc? As you can see, the idea here is to keep it as broad as you can and not allow yourself to focus on any details. With the bird’s eye view in mind you then come back to the present moment with the past and the future out of your focus. As you return to the present moment, bring that feeling of what you want to accomplish with you and create each moment as a building block towards the broad goal you set for yourself. Keep repeating this when ever your focus is dragged away from your present moment and you will find that it becomes a habit and not something you have to do, it just happens. 

Stay in moment and enjoy every second of it 😉 

Photo by Sam Bark on Unsplash

Equality Movement in Society – What is Going Wrong?

Equality

Equality will not be achieved while viewing the world from our old paradigm

I was listening to the brilliant, and most “awake” radio breakfast host out there, Chris Evans on Virgin Radio on International Women’s Day and he was chatting with Mary Portas about her work and her new book. She said something that unlocked a train of thought and awakened a line of philosophy in my core. She said (paraphrasing), “You cannot change the lack of equality (female/male balance) within a current societal structure, which is conditioned for the alpha type personality.” Wow, how true isn’t that! If you follow my writings on Medium (https://medium.com/@clembke88) you will see a trend in my articles where I am advocating a paradigm shift from a quantitative society to a qualitative one. Mary and I are very much on the same page here; we need to shift society as a whole, one person at the time, to evolve to the next level and achieve equality. 

Trying to drive change from the perspective of the old paradigm

Human society is very much set up to celebrate the alpha personality; fight your way to the top and you are considered to have succeeded in life. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, it is the alpha personality that will be considered successful. The challenge women have succeeding in this type of society is that they tend to not be alpha type personalities, they tend to be more nurturing, caring, compassionate, etc. Whereas, males have a greater portion of alpha type personalities in their midst. However, men who are not of the alpha personality do not fare well either in these hierarchies, so it is not just a female issue. It has been famously proclaimed that “if women were in charge, there wouldn’t be any more wars!”. Looking at the females leaders of countries that we have had, I wouldn’t say that history brings any evidence of that statement being true. The reason is because the women that have succeeded in rising to the top in our current paradigm are no different than the men they competed against, they are type A personalities with as much issues that men have brought through the ages. Now, if we can change that statement to “if people were in charge that rose to power within a male/female balanced society, there wouldn’t be any more wars!”, I will be more inclined to believe it. It doesn’t matter the gender, skin colour, religion or any other attribute of leaders in society, it is the qualities of the society that they were nurtured and shaped that determines their leadership qualities.  

This societal structure was necessary and effective in the days when you needed strong leaders to protect against external threats. However, we are shifting far beyond those times and now the main challenge comes from within. That fear that was warranted in history still persists within us today, but we don’t actually know what we are afraid of, so we make up things to fear, basically anyone who is different from ourselves, change, etc. This applies to the majority of the movements for equality in our society today. Because of the prevalent energy of separation that still exists, movements don’t focus on unity, they have a “us-against-them” mentality. This mentality only leads to further divisions and contentious debates. 

The idea that we can legislate away inequality is a fallacy and usually backfires on itself. If we tell a company that 50% of their employees have to be female or male without changing the corporate culture and the culture in which the company operates, you will end up with a lot of employees of one gender or another that cannot perform to the same level as the more established group because they don’t have the training and experience, nor are they operating in an environment that is in line with their personality. This only serves to perpetuate the stereotypes and give the status quo an argument against change. This is not to say that we shouldn’t use legislation to hasten the move towards equality, but governments need to take a holistic approach to change as opposed to the areas that are the most visible and they can use to falsely claim that they are succeeding for their own political gains. 

With a bird’s eye view of society we see that it is stereotypically patriarchal because it has been shaped by alpha males for alpha males.  It doesn’t nurture the individual, but rather protects the “initiates”. Take the Catholic Church for example; the, one can only surmise, institutionalised abuse of young boys has been allowed to persist for so long due to the power structure and the insular club mentality that permeates these types of organisations. I suspect, one of the reasons why, in particular, the Catholic Church have had such a plethora of cases of degenerate acts is the very lopsided imbalance of male energy. It was only after the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325 and the First Council of Constantinople in A.D. 381 that the leading female characters in the early Christian story were suppressed giving way to an entirely male dominated hierarchical power structure. In the case of the Catholic Church, I believe that its survival is entirely dependent on very quickly bringing in women to the ranks across the Church to even out the balance of male and female energy. However, in itself this is not a sustainable solution for the Catholic Church to maintain its following. It must face its shadows from its history and reform the same way I suggest society as a whole has to reform to create an equilibrium and bring forth much needed balance. 

Forcing equality upon society will only lead to more division and confrontation. We must change our approaches and attitudes to every aspect of our lives to organically drive the change that will allow it to become a natural part of human evolution.

Driving change through evolution

The only way we will enact change is by engaging in open, transparent and continuous dialogue. The tug-of-war that we currently see, where the loudest alpha type personality garners the most followers and wins the argument will not solve the challenges we face. It is necessary, perhaps, in order for us to awaken to our own shadows relating to society for this to happen. However, it is not what will allow for peaceful transition into a new paradigm. We need to move away from the “us vs. them” attitude, to simply one of “us”. Equality has nothing to do with man vs. woman, black vs. white, Muslim vs. Christian, etc. Equality is about balance among us. Of course, we need to shine a light on the plight on the disadvantaged in society, but we need to do it with empowerment. Showcase how empowerment is helping the disadvantaged and it will increase the compassion from those who are not; it is through positive messaging that we create inclusion. Once you start looking at every situation with the us-mentality, it becomes natural to look at the individual, not separate from you, but the same as you. In actual fact the process will bring balance between the female and male energies within the individual giving space for more compassion and unity to take root and thrive. Through the individual we will shift our societal norms completely from the hierarchical pyramids where money, wealth and materialism are celebrated to flattened organisations that promote the individual and his/her creative contribution to society. This society will focus more on collaboration to solve the challenges we all face collectively rather than giving orders and frameworks that lack flexibility. Child care is a great example to use. If organisations want reliable attendance from their employees who are parents, instead of dumping the daycare problem on them as individuals, why doesn’t the organisation bring daycare within it so that parents can bring their toddlers into work and hand them over to daycare in-house? Some of the results will be:

  • You are helping solve a stress for the employee creating gratitude
  • You have a perk to offer in your recruitment drives
  • Improved attendance
  • Employees that spend more time at work because they don’t have to dash off to pick their child up from daycare

Do you see how the compassionate approach generating qualitative benefits in this example translates into revenue and savings in the output from these employees? Bringing these types of policies in across different aspects of the business create the idea of family, unity and community within an organisation. Silicon Valley companies, such as Google, are known to have some of these tools employed within their organisations, which is of course great. However, their challenge is that the approach is still from the eyes of the old paradigm. The full benefit will not be realised until the critical mass of individuals have shifted in to the new norm. 

If you read my article “What You See, Hear and Feel Becomes Your Reality — External Sensory Perceptions” you will understand the foundation to change that we as individuals need to make to become more positive and to approach life more from our hearts as opposed to our egos. With such a change, it would become natural for each and every one of us to seek the best for our fellow humans as well as the planet and all its inhabitants. Since our organisations, governments, etc. are made up of people and thus become dynamic organisms with energetic signatures, or, if you prefer, cultures, it is the people within these organisations that drive change, but only through their own individual shifts. Irrespective of where in the traditional hierarchy these shifts happen (i.e. worker, management, director or board level), when critical mass has been achieved the organisation will have no choice but to change into the new paradigm. It is important to understand that the individual will not accept the change by order; the organisation must bring the individual to understand that the change is for their own holistic benefit and will serve every aspect of their lives. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink; it will drink when it is thirsty.

When we focus on what makes us tick and what we truly desire we start delivering better results, become more creative, become more loyal (for the right reasons) and far more efficient. We must get past the critical mass of people adopting this new approach before it becomes the new norm and there is no longer any space for the old paradigm to exist. When enough people are motivated by inclusiveness and compassion, the collective fear that drove us in the old world will have no place to take root and grow. In a qualitative based society we measure success against quality not quantity; e.g. we measure quality of someone’s contribution, not how much money they are worth, we measure the quality of living or happiness as opposed to the amount of money generated by a population to measure their success. At work it is more important how happy you and your customer are together as opposed to how much they spend with you. It comes down to loving what you do and the money will follow.  

In this new paradigm female and male energies will be in balance, because they are in balance within each and every one of us. There will be room for anyone to succeed in the way they themselves feel is the definition of success, and their physically identifiable differences won’t be part of the discussion. 

We can achieve what ever we set our mind to, but we need to believe that this future is possible and that the responsibility to start the process lies with each and every one of us.

Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash

What You See, Hear and Feel Becomes Your Reality – External Sensory Perceptions

sensory perceptions

Are your sensory perceptions serving you?

We all know that today we process far more information coming in through our senses than we ever previously did. The vast majority of this information never makes it to the conscious part of yourself, it lands in the subconscious. This does not mean the information has no impact on you, on the contrary, it has a greater effect because you don’t control it and most don’t even realise the impact, so it sneaks up on you. A lot of people walk around like sponges without any restriction to what information they absorb. Just like a friend can bring you down or lift you up depending on their own energetic imprint at that moment, you are influenced by not only what you feel, but also what you see and hear.  

Just like your trauma and environmental programming sits in your subconscious directing your reaction patterns to situations you encounter, media, relationships, society, geography, etc. affects your attitudes and moods. It all really comes down to being aware of your sensory “intake”. Engage in healthy communications in your relationships, watch TV/movies that uplift you, limit your exposure to advertising, focus on what you support in society and help those in need and be in places that energise you and help ground you; these are just some examples of how we can work towards letting our external sensory perceptions help us as opposed to dragging us down. 

We are surrounded by negativity in the news, suggestive messaging in advertising, division and conflict in society and ego driven motives in relationships. With this bombardment of negative energies it is really tough not to get swept up in the machine and partake in the perpetuation of negativity. This is where we are sheep, we do not see any reason or possibility of change because “this is the way things are”. I am here to tell you that there are compelling reasons and not only possibilities, but necessities to change. However, it is each and every one of our responsibility to make changes within us, it is not anyone else’s responsibility. 

Let’s take a look at some of the major areas that trigger and influence us in our every day life:

  • Relationships
  • Media/advertising
  • Social media
  • Society
  • Geography

Relationships

When you argue with someone, it leaves you feeling pretty poorly inside, doesn’t it? You may have said things you didn’t mean, you may have been belittled or just drawn in a screaming match. In any case you are left affected by the altercation. How long do you carry around this burden of the altercation? Do you let it go only when the other party apologises or do you just stuff it deep down where you don’t have to deal with it? So, is this feeling you are left with something that was created by an outside force? No, any emotion or feeling or reaction is always created by you, but your interactions may trigger you to create it. Some relationship experts, and I use the term experts lightly in this case, suggest that you need to have fights now and then to keep the relationship alive. There is actually never a time that you would be better off arguing with anyone to the point where you get angry or upset. I think what they mean to say is that you need to always communicate your truth to your partner, family, friends, etc. so that you maintain that meaningful relationship. No yelling or screaming is ever called for.

If you are upset, communicate it in a healthy way. In the case where the person you are interacting with and has triggered the upset cannot recognise that you are upset and the reason for it, nor giving you space to express yourself, then yelling is not going to change that. In that situation you have to just express your disappointment with the lack of empathy for you and move on. The most important step in this situation is to forgive yourself and the other person to release the pent up emotions that you may have. Also, be grateful for the lesson the other person gave you; it could be that you learned something new about that person or perhaps you learned something new about an aspect in yourself that gets triggered and why. It is when you take something personally that you start reacting from the point of your ego.

If you end up in a situation where one of you do yell, if you are the delivering party, apologise to yourself and the other person for raising your voice and not communicating effectively. If you are the receiving party, calmly state that you do not deserve the disrespect of being yelled at and will leave the space if things don’t calm down. Again, don’t take it personally, the reason you are being “yelled at” has everything to do with the other person and their perspective. 

Forgiveness and gratitude are you main tools to successfully getting out of accumulating negativity from your relationships. Of course there are many more intricacies to consider, but this is a starting point. 

Media, advertising and computer games

Until you try choosing positive messaging in your media intake, you probably won’t realise the impact TV, movies, news and advertising has on you. The message delivery system is designed to make you feel bad as it better grabs your attention. Take a look at these points:

  • News broadcasts are predominately about bad things that have happened
  • Pharmaceutical advertising is telling you that you have a condition and their chemical is the only one that is going to make you feel better
  • Fashion advertising tells you that you have not succeeded because you are not wearing their brand
  • Movies and computer games show violence, imbalanced relationships, gratuitous sex, etc. as something we should expect from life.
  • Reality TV is focused on mocking people and showing them off at their most vulnerable

All these points serve to make you fearful of the world and humanity, cause you to feel bad about yourself, make you sick, eliminate your empathy and judge those around you, not to mention cause you to see yourself as separate from others. I am sure these are not the influences you want your subconscious to be programmed with, are they?

Imagine how you would start feeling if you chose the content you allowed your subconscious to pick up by choosing comedies, positive news, mindful content and move away all together from news and advertising. I have personally made a conscious effort of limiting my exposure by taking away my TV and only watching on demand programming. I also subscribe to Positive News, Happinez and Soul Hub, giving me content that shows a world that is positive and creative. It doesn’t make me ignore all the challenges the world has, on the contrary, it helps me come up with ideas of how to make it better. What would happen to our world if we all did that?

Social media

This is the double edge sword; it connects us to a vast variety of information and allows individuals to reach out through grassroots networks, but it is also highly addictive coping mechanism for many young people today. As many thing is can be used for both good and evil. 

What I want to address for the purpose of this article is the information shared by some of our friends that has a sole purpose of creating fear. We have also seen that governments use social media as a subversive tool to wreak havoc on national election by disseminating divisive messages. The messages that appear in our feed have the same effect as the news on TV, in our digital as well as hard copy newspapers, but with the added boost that the information now comes from someone you know, which subconsciously adds a layer of trust. Thankfully, you control the content that appears on your feeds. I am ‘ruthless’ in unfollowing (not unfriending) people that I am connected with on social media that perpetuate negative messaging. I apply the same filter to groups I belong to, if there isn’t a positive vibe in a group, off I go!  Your friends won’t actually know if you unfollowed them, but you will have less negativity to deal with. 

Again, this is not about putting your head in the sand, it is about protecting your energy from the constant bombardment of the negative messaging we are exposed to. For example, you don’t need to show horrible images of animal torture in the fur industry, show the beauty in the living being and target your message from a positive angle why people should be kind to animals and not support the fur trade (please note, I am not making any arguments for or against the fur industry, this is just an example).

Society

I could write books on this subject, but I will keep it short in this article by challenging you a bit. What do you think is the driving force that make us allow governments and government institutions to exert complete control over us as human beings? Is is because politicians and civil servants are superior to the rest of us? Of course not, they are human just like the rest of us. However, I would argue that the reason that we hand over the power to govern us is fear. We fear the past because, let’s face it, today is the best it’s ever been. We fear the future because we do not know it and we somehow believe this is as good as it gets, we cannot become better than this. The system is set up to create fear and division so that we won’t seek to create something new. If we did, politicians and civil servants would be out of jobs and they couldn’t have that. Hence society will, as a living organism, make sure your focus is on “us vs. them”, “follow us or this bad thing will happen”, etc. If you take a look at politics from a humanistic point of view you will see that it serves no one apart from the system itself. I am a willing participant in society, but I try to internally refocus from what could happen in any given situation in society to accepting that what ever is going to happen will happen. Beyond that, I then focus my attention on what I would like to see as the future of our society, partaking less in the game of us vs. them. Focus on what you are for and less on what you are against.

Geography

I think, unless you are a realised HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) or a realised ‘Empath’, it is when get older and more reflective that we pay attention to our geographical surroundings. What you see, hear and feel as you step out your front door will be what inspires you and drives your passion or weighing you down, draining you of energy. Artists are, in many cases, very adept at realising their environment is key to allowing their creativity to flow unhindered.

To show case this with a personal example; when I was living in New York City I remember walking out of our building on the Upper East Side (77th and York) my mood would change in an instant dependent on the prevailing energy in the City on that day. I didn’t understand this at the time, but now as I have been trained in the art of controlling my ability to sense energy, I find it fascinating. Now, add the noise, chaos, media imprint, advertising (I worked in Time Square!), etc. and I would be exhausted before even getting in the office. I love cities for the energetic flow and the ‘buzz’, but in terms of an optimal environments, cities weren’t, nor are, the best place for me to be. I need access to nature and solitude to recharge.

Paying attention to your sub-conscious ‘hygiene’ is no different than paying attention to your everyday physical hygiene, do it or you get sick; simple as that.  If it all appears overwhelming to you, start in small steps. You may want to wait until noon to look at your social media and the news and then only glance at it a set number of times during the day. It is important that you just make a start and work your way towards becoming aware of how your external surroundings and sensory environment affect you. 

Take care of what sensory perceptions you let in from your external environment into your sub-conscious and you will notice big shifts withing yourself. 

Photo by Branden Harvey on Unsplash

You Are the Way You Manage

manage

Pay Attention to What You Have Inside, It is What You Create On the Outside

As entrepreneurs, managers, supervisors, business leaders, well, anyone in a position of “power” really,  you carry tremendous responsibilities for your “subordinates”. That responsibility starts with yourself. 

In my previous writings I have discussed many influences that direct the collective energy in a cohesive group, as shown by the graph below.

return on investment

The person who has been granted permission (by the subordinates) to manage a group brings energy that carries an amplified impact on this collective energy. The primary reason for this is that the persons who are being managed look to the leader for guidance, so the energy that is being transmitted is being received as their own. It is important for the manager to realise that they do not lead with mandate from their manager, they lead because the people they lead allow it. If they didn’t allow it there would be nobody to lead as the subordinates would leave. Because of this relationship where the individuals being managed, hand over their own power to the safe keeping of the manager, a close energetic bond is created, which opens up for the amplified influence. 

I think you may easily see a correlation to the “teacher/student” relationship. Think back to your own relationships, what were the qualities of the teachers you liked and the ones that you didn’t? You may even recall that these teachers had days they were better or worse. Recall the impact they had on your education and ability to learn the particular subject. Now if you have a boss who is enthusiastic, passionate, involved and caring, do you not take on those traits in how you approach your job? Surely you do, bar some cases that are, the topic for another article. Then logic states, correctly so, that you will experience the same mimicking behaviour with a boss who is sulking, demanding, harsh, demeaning, etc. Based on this reasoning I am sure you can see the very real power a manager has over his/her subordinates. If you are in such a position of power you have a responsibility to treat that bond with sacred reverence.

You do also have to keep in mind that the “energy transfer” doesn’t stop there, it is then perpetuated to all that the subordinates come in contact with, not in the least your very valuable clients! 

Working to improve a group always starts at an individual level, but, as always, the leader has the greater responsibility to move through his or her challenges and to do it sooner than the group. If the group moves through their challenges, but the leader lags behind then the group will most likely dissolve due to that the chasm will now have widened. The leader will still be vibrating at a lower level, while the group has collectively raised their energy, widening the gap. 

You have to pay attention to how you treat yourself as this is how you treat people that you come in to contact with. What emotions are you embodying and employ when looking at yourself? Are you grateful for every aspect of your life, are showing yourself kindness and love? If you have low self-esteem, constantly entertain negative self-talk, harbour anger, spite and bitterness, it will all convey in your relationships and they will eventually break down. Similarly, your subordinates will mirror these qualities and you will treat them with the same contempt you treat yourself. Not a pretty picture is it? 

For most, dealing with the treatment of ourselves is a big hurdle because we don’t really know ourselves and it appears to be an insurmountable task. We also tell ourselves these stories why we are the way we are; genetics, our histories, punishment, etc. Know that any and all of these stories are falsehoods and illusions. You are worthy of all of the love, kindness, gratitude and forgiveness you can shower yourself with. A client recently stated to me that “If I don’t feel ashamed that means I approve of my actions and I could not stand for that!” Recognise it? I sure do, it is a story I used to tell myself until I realised that no one punished me for not punishing myself. If anything you will find people giving your positive comments one how your energy’s changed when you treat yourself better. If you carry shame, you have to just own up to what you’ve done, once and for all, and then leave that emotion in the past. You have to move through what ever negativity you have from the past and exercise forgiveness and gratitude for each occurrence. It takes practice and your fastidious attention, but it is what you need to do, you deserve it!

Photo by Vana Ash on Unsplash

Mental Wellness – What Every Employer Should Want for Their Staff

Mental wellness

Employee Mental Wellness is Directly Tied to the Bottom Line

The antithesis of mental wellness is not mental illness. Just because you aren’t at the top of your game does not mean that you have a clinically defined mental illness. Actually in many traditional cultures, mental illness does not exist; only varying severity of negative energy affliction. On a philosophical level I tend to agree with this, but the practicality of it is that, unfortunately, our society is not set up to handle it from that perspective. That is however a topic for another time. Mental wellness refers more to being in mental balance, very much the same way that we would maintain a healthy body. Just because we exercise and eat healthy does it mean that we are sick, of course not! It is becoming more and more popular and socially acceptable to take care of you mind as well as your body. One does not have to go to a mental health professional to maintain mental wellness, but sometimes that is a good place to start. Your mental wellness practice can be initiated by smaller steps though. 

Normally I would want to start digging up the root cause of any imbalance, but when you are dealing with groups and collective energies, such as in companies, you need to look at the external environments of the members to understand what unnecessary triggers exist for them. Once you move the group energy onto a stage where the members are starting to turn within and ponder their own existence, they will start the work towards finding the root cause of their own imbalance, we might just need to activate it. For the vast majority of us, our work place is the source of most of the stress and suppressed anger and frustration. If you think about it most of the time when you are at work, you play a role that is wholly, or in big parts, not an authentic projection of who you are; you are acting more how others expect you to act.  When you are in a prolonged state in-authenticity you will start to feel imbalanced and you and everybody around you will suffer for it. It isn’t necessarily because you are in the wrong job that you feel that way. It could be, of course, but it could be because we are all conditioned to perform to the standard of our external expectations. Our employers line up like everybody else to project their expectations on us. I argue that employers wield a far more powerful weapon against us in terms of drumming up our fears, which is why I think, apart from ourselves, our employers have a greater responsibility for our mental wellness than anyone else in our lives .

Every sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought that we experience throughout the day will have an impact on our mental/emotional state; positively or negatively. It is all perceived by our subconscious to generate the overall mood for the moment. We don’t even realise the impact every little thing has on our mood. Yet, this is not some new discovery, people just tend to ignore it. For example, hospitals usually have a primary colour scheme of green because it is known that green has a calming effect on our psyche. Red is a terrible colour for a bedroom because it riles you up. If colour has this impact, what do you think having, for example, the news playing the background in an office spewing out war, famine, violence and other negativity all day, will do to your mental balance. You need to surround yourself with that which you want to become. 

As a company, there are simple steps to help your employees feel more mentally balanced. Look at these aspects around yourself:

  • Interior design; does your office environment invite creativity and passion? What colour scheme is it? What plants are there (there are plants that literally eat negativity!)? Is it boring? What story does your artwork invite the viewer to be a part of? 
  • Company policy; does your company policy help colleagues to open themselves up to being helped? Are there processes in place to deal with challenges that colleagues face? Are your staff trained to identify when someone is not well?
  • Subtle signals; What do you have in the cupboards in the kitchen, healthy or unhealthy stuff? What magazines do you have in the reception area and the lunch room? How do people talk to each other? Do you have background music playing? 
  • Reward systems; are you set up to show your staff that you care more about the bottom line than their mental wellness? Do you offer wellness programmes that directly impact your staff positively? 

These are just some of the areas where any employer can take immediate action . As well as mental imbalance being a vicious downward spiral, so is it when you start focusing on improving your mental wellness; it is a positive spiral upwards. If you help your employees find better balance in their lives they will be grateful to you, they will be happier at work and at home, they have better clarity, more energy, joy, creativity and passion; leading to:

  • fewer sick days
  • increased productivity
  • improved creativity
  • decreased focus on their salary
  • less time waste while at work
  • positive talk about the company
  • increased revenues and profits

Make work fun for the right reasons and you will reap the rewards; not only the monetary ones but your own self satisfaction will be brought to new heights.. It doesn’t take much, but the payoff is tremendous. 

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Corporate Reward Systems Are Based On Fear

corporate reward

We Need to Rethink the Corporate Reward System

To be fair, it is not only the corporate reward system that needs a rethink. Our whole concept of rewards is based on making others believe they have something to fear or that they lack something. We have not yet reached the point where we truly understand what motivates people because we still believe in treating the symptoms and not the root cause of a symptom. 

Our rewards are set up as either, ‘do this or else you won’t get this’ or ‘do this and you will get this’. Most of us would say that only the first is governed by fear and the other is a rewards, carrot, based incentive. In fact, they are both fear based. The first one is based on fear of punishment and the other fear of lack. Rewards are essentially set up as competitions where the winner takes the reward. Competition in of it self is set up to create division and within many rewards systems you are competing against yourself. Division is the antithesis of cohesion, so what we have been doing all along is pitting everybody against each other, wondering why they don’t work as team. 

It has been shown time and time again that external rewards, such as money, privileged access, perks, etc. only work for a limited time and have to be constantly enhanced. Yet we never ask ourselves how we could do it differently, we keep coming up with the same solutions; throw money at the problem and it will go away, but it doesn’t. This is why we have ended up in the spiral with people just demanding more and more pay, even in the higher earning brackets, where all the comforts have already been achieved. Despite the increased standard of living people still claim they aren’t happy, why is that? Could it be that we are now evolving past attaching value to external things and are starting to pay attention to our intrinsic values? 

We now have a generation of youngsters nicknamed “Millennials” that anyone who isn’t one complains they can’t understand. What is different with this generation, as opposed to the regular griping of the older generation of the younger ones, is that they come into existence with a totally different collective consciousness (not scientifically proven, but shown anecdotally by extrasensory sensitive people and by theories based on old texts and cultures descriptions of our current age). Millennials do not respond the same way to old reward systems, to them it is more important with rewards that helps them evolve. Unfortunately, we have tried to fit this generation into our expectation of them instead of creating fertile ground for them to grow. This has made their upbringing very confusing and thus the higher tendency for this generation to find coping mechanisms in social media or something else. They do try to fit into our corporate rewards systems but they get disparaged quite quickly. I am simplifying the concepts very much here to set up the arguments further down, but, as averages, the concepts test well. 

We are all affected by this new collective energy coming in and we are all starting to lack interest in the external reward systems and looking for what feels authentic to us. Keep a person in an environment they lack passion for making them feel less than worthy and they will burn out, whether that is at work, at home, with a hobby, or some other situation. We now know that the old system giving people rewards that have perceived external values is treating the symptoms and not the root cause. They symptoms being lack of motivation, drive, loyalty, etc. We want to treat the core source of these symptoms. This is where you are going to have to dive deep and really get to understand what is the reason someone gets motivated. Below are some suggestions of areas that would motivate someone from a point of their internal desires:

  • Altruism
  • Learning
  • Self improvement
  • Teaching/coaching
  • Experiences
  • Work vs. life balance
  • Health
  • Well-being

We are starting to understand and value ourselves, giving us access to our authentic selves. Our external environment and our creations will have to reflect that authenticity. Anyone unable or unwilling to recognise and value that is going to fail at motivating anyone with that value system. 

Caring for those you are looking to reward is a first step. I am not referring to empty statements of concern or agreement with their plight, but actually tuning into their energy and truly knowing them and what drives and challenges them. This level of recognition requires a fair amount of courage as you may feel that you are getting invested. Once you have your boundaries set for this new style of relationship you’ll understand you don’t get invested just because you have a deep understanding of someone, unless you decided that is what you want of course. 

Secondly, you build up a reward system that appeals to the individuals based on how you know them. You of course need to find a balance of fairness between individuals, but since one person might not see a value in another one’s reward since they are personalised, this should not be a big obstacle.

You are now working on a deeper level of motivation and will find you are reaching your desired results with people that are more passionate and dedicated because you genuinely cared and provided rewards that were of true value to the individual. You aren’t just putting plasters (band aids) on the problems, you are solving the root cause eradicating the problem all together.

This, my friend, is a reward system that has longevity and will foster an environment that the right people are drawn to, making recruitment easier, creating a closer knit group, and a plethora of other benefits that you get for free.

You attract things and experiences that match the vibration you emanate and group energy is no different and it is your responsibility to calibrate that collective energy. 

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

To Fear or Not To Fear – Is That Really In Question?

fear

Unless You Are Staring Death In The Face Right Now, No, It's Not in Question

Fear, what is it really? It is a state of mind that comes from our learned behaviour. You aren’t born with pre-existing fear for anything, you learn to fear things, situations, people, etc. The ultimate fear is death, which is inevitable after being born. Fear was used in less secure times to protect you. This learned behaviour exists in your subconscious, so that when you had a sabre tooth tiger chasing after you, you didn’t have to think, you could just react and get yourself to safety. The same way you don’t think about breathing, pumping blood around your body by contracting your heart, etc. 

What’s happened over the generations since we actually had threats of being mauled by sabre tooth tigers is that we’ve replaced real threats to our lives with perceived ones:

  • Work hard or you don’t make any money (i.e. you can’t feed yourself and you die)
  • Fear God or you will end up in hell after you die.
  • Be attractive or you will end up alone.
  • Don’t speak your truth because then people with think you’re crazy.
  • etc.

These are the ones we are told. You then have the plethora of conclusions we draw as children about traumatic experiences relating to; love, connection, belonging, unity, security, etc. 

The fears we experience as modern evolved humans are far more commonly related to future events as opposed to facing death in the very moment you experience fear. We generate fear based on assumptions about people and situations. Basically we fear an illusion that has not happened and might very well not happen! Crazy, isn’t it? The political climate we are witnessing right now should make this craziness quite obvious to us and we should all be able to act to remove this illusion of fear from our very beings, right? Most of these fears are far enough away from our reality that we have to take someone else’s word for it; fearing minorities, immigration, trade imbalances, etc. This is how politicians manipulate us to follow them, irrespective of party affiliation. We make a conscious decision to buy in to these fears. If the issue that you fear is close to your person, e.g. unpaid bills, family illnesses, divorce, etc, they are harder to see as illusions as they are actual threats to the stability of your life, not a threat to your actual life, just life as you have thus known it. 

The ultimate fear is death. However, do we even have to fear this finality of our very human experience? A friend of mine always says:

“The most dangerous thing you can do in life is to be born.”

Isn’t this the truth, huh? So, why would we even bother fearing the inevitable? It will come one day, so why don’t we make the best of the time we have here? Many must experience some form of dying to realise that there is nothing to fear. Basically, when you are faced with stepping into the unknown from a life that you have known dying behind you, you are experiencing something akin to a near death experience. Your old life that you knew is dead and you are in the void between the moment of death and your future; the present! That is when you realise you have nothing to fear, you’ve survived “death” so nothing life now throws at you will be big enough to overcome. 

Until that moment most of us will avoid taking risks and stepping in the unknown because of fearing what will be on the side of that threshold. We would rather hang out in our mundane existence than take the risk that there is a something better on the other side. Who knows, it could be worse! I would argue that as long as you pursue your passion and follow your heart and gut you will never end up worse than in the place where you are stagnating. If you rid yourself of your fear, that leap of faith will be a foregone conclusion. In that state of fear you build up a negative reality because you are not living an authentic life. The fear will kill your joy of life.

I went through that process of a ‘near death’ that I describe above and realising that as long as I wasn’t dead I was alive and I owed it to myself to make the best of it. Friends have told me I need to keep some elements of fear otherwise I will end up on the street. Oh, ye of little faith. Removing fear from your life opens the floodgates to your intuition and bliss that is your natural state of being. Remember, fear is a learned behaviour and we were not born with it. Intuition we were born with and it gives you guidance in a similar way that fear does in a situation of a threat, but just far more beneficial and accurate. Fear doesn’t care what lies ahead, it is concerned with protecting you right now. Intuition does the same thing, but has a focus on the results of your reaction and thus allows you to act with integrity and authenticity. Hence, removing fear has not put me on the street, it has set me up to leading a rich life benefiting those around me. 

Try this exercise. Write a list of all your fears on a piece of paper. Now, cross out all fears that are not associated with an  imminent threat to your life. No, unpaid bills are not imminent threats. Ok, are you left with anything? If you are, then run for your life! Even if you have a terminal illness, you are still alive and have a fighting chance! Remove your fears and focus on what you want in life and fill it with passion, joy and bliss. 

Side note: Fear, like anger, is a very short lived condition that results in an adrenaline shot to your system to overcome the threat you are under. If you’ve seen an antelope, zebra or some other animal being attacked by a predator, they rush into action and run for their lives for only a few minutes until the danger has passed, they then return to grazing like nothing has happened. Animals don’t attach themselves to the fear, they use it to survive and then move on.  So when you experience that really unnecessary fear, just observe it and understand why it appeared and then let it go. Breath and relax and it will pass. 

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

External Approval for Self-Acceptance

Self-acceptance

If You Don't Accept Yourself, Nobody Else Will Either

On what do we base self-acceptance? Under what circumstances do you say; “You’re doing well. You are making the right choices. You rock!”? 

Unless you are on the path of self healing you are unlikely to utter any such glorifications about yourself. If you do, it is in agreement when someone else directs it towards you. Basically you feel you need permission from someone else or any other external factor to show yourself appreciation, love and kindness. Let’s try something before we go on; Go to a mirror and look yourself in the eyes. Take a few deep breaths and really look into yourself, then, with feeling and purpose say, “I love you!”. Repeat it a few times. How did it feel? Were you able to hold your own gaze? Were you able to show yourself love? It is tough one, isn’t it?

Due to minor and/or major traumas in the earlier parts of our lives we have raised defences in our subconscious that result in negative self talk. We limit ourselves so not to experience the pain of failure. We tell ourselves the stories that prevent us from progressing. Progress we must or else we stagnate and lose our passion and spark for life.  The lack of self-acceptance inevitably creates the search of external acceptance; if others accept me, I don’t have to. 

Illusion time! If you are unable to love and accept yourself, other’s will only accept you when you meet the criteria of what they expect from you. As you can see, in this situation others do not accept you, they accept the image of you they hold, which they created, not you. The only way for you to fully accepted by others is to achieve self-acceptance. Only when you accept and love yourself unconditionally will others see you for who your truly are and you will attract those that appreciate that version of yourself and they will love and acknowledge you for who you truly are. 

There is no other more important process for us to live successful rich lives than to practice unconditional self-acceptance. I read a book earlier this year called “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” by Kamal Ravikant, and it was profound in it’s simplicity. It is a book I use in my coaching due to the very simple yet powerful messaging. The key here is that when you shift your attitude to self-acceptance and to loving yourself, you eradicate any ill opinion from the outside because to you there is no question, you are loved by the one person who really matters; you! Don’t worry, this is not going to turn you in to a narcissist, unless you already are one, in which case you already love yourself, but for all the wrong reasons. Your propensity for kindness, goodwill, love, etc. increases with your ability to love yourself, it is the ultimate perpetual motion. 

Now that you are full of lust for life, passion and bliss you will engage in your work/creation without effort as you are no longer seeking the approval of everybody else. You are creating for the purpose of you own progress and evolution, not for any extrinsic values that are fleeting at best. It is your soul that is now being nurtured. 

Go love yourself like your life depends on it, because it does.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

What’s the “Return On Investment”? – If You Don’t Know You’re Not Ready

return on investment

Turn Traditional Valuation Methods on Its Head

When Bill Gates and Warren Buffet pledged their life savings to charity, do you think they sat down with the heads of the various charities and said, “What is the return on my investment”? Of course your business is not a charity, but the parallel I am drawing here is that they knew exactly what the return on their investment was to be; a better world. They would of course question the head of the charity on how they envisioned creating a better world and then assess if it aligned with their own vision.

When you invest in getting an office environment that is creative, vibrant and alive, you may not be able to say, “We expect an annualised return of 25% of this investment”, but you will be able to say that your staff and your managers will have the drive and passion to create success. The definition of success is very much in the intention that you set when you have an office that is fully aligned with their purpose.

When James Clerk Maxwell theorised in the 1870’s about radio waves he did not theorise about the return on his investment, he was in the pursuit of knowledge and advancement of humanity. When you look at the dysfunctionality of your business I am sure you focus on the bottom line and wondering how you may save your business. However, your passion is not money and thus you cannot align yourself with it. It may be the result that wealth has that you aspire to, or the lack of it that you are trying to avoid. When you focus on money in your business you are pushing your valuable energy in the direction of either materialistic values (external) or fear (negative emotion of lack), neither of which is going to get you what you want. You need to focus on what your true passion is; the creating! As per the example above, Mr. Maxwell focused on his passion and the monetary values were secondary, or a byproduct. The paradox is; the more you focus on the money aspect of your business, the more you will struggle to attract the success that brings you wealth. 

 I am sure you have heard the wisdom “Find your passion and the money will follow”. According to the “Law of Attraction” we attract what we are, so if you are passionate about what you do, you attract positive outcomes because passion carries a positive vibration. If you, however, are focused on negative values attached to the money aspect of your business you will attract more challenging scenarios. If you are only one sole operator, you can pretty easily work on yourself to align your mindset to your true desires in order too raise your vibrations. What happens when you have an office full of people that bring their own vibrations and experience to the collective energy? You now have to get all these individual energies to align with the passion to drive the success of your business.

The graph at the top of the article is a model I developed to show how to approach any group of people that need to work towards a common goal. As you can see, you are investing in the influences (the satellites in the model) driving people’s vibrations up or down. Improve the influences and each persons’ vibrations increase, thus creating an upwards vibrational movement of the collective energy of the group. When you improve these aspects within a business, each staff member will increase their own passion and drive for the business. You gain more efficient and loyal staff members who are only to happy to work towards the same goals you have. In some cases the staff member will realise that it is not what they have a passion for and leave, which is equally beneficial since an energy that was not making a positive contribution to the collective energy is now not contributing towards the vibration going down. It is critically important for us to instil in each person that they are only responsible for maintaining their own vibrations (actions, thoughts and words) at the highest levels. Instilling this mindset will allow each person to look within and stop focusing on their external environment. Once you take the external pressure away from a person they can focus on the present releasing the past and  without judgement embrace whatever the future might hold. A lot of people do not pay attention to these values until you point it out to them and show them the results it has on them. We need to give each person the tools to work on themselves to fulfil their end of the bargain. You are investing in tools.

When you have gone through the process and your staff is trained you will the the transformation take place before your eyes. You cannot measure it yet, but when new business comes through the door and you produce better services/products and you are, as a team, reaching new creative heights, you will also notice the change on the bottom line. 

Ask not what “Monetary Return On Investment” you will get, ask “How will this raise our staff’s individual EQ (Emotional Quotient)?”. NB. with EQ comes awareness of ones own (and other’s) vibrations and thus the ability to raise the same. 

Go out and make this a better world for all of us by being the best you can be. 

Bad Office Atmosphere – How to Move to a Creative and Vibrant Environment

office atmosphere

Keeping Up Frequency and the Vibe in the Office

We have all been there; we look around our work environment and something is off. Our colleagues are just getting on with their own things and there no ‘joie de vivre’. It really gets us down and we feel powerless in the face of the “bad office atmosphere”.  It is the environment where antagonism festers for no apparent reason. People are not helpful and tend to have separate goals with their input into the business. We have a dysfunctional group dynamic.

The reason we feel powerless is that we seek solutions outside ourselves and view the problem as a tangible external issue. Our first task is to realise that we are only responsible for our own energy and actions.  The second is to start analysing what is our part of the problem. You are part of the group dynamic, if there is a problem you are part of it, as well as you will be part of the solution. 

Some reasons for a crappy office atmosphere are:

  1. Disconnect in the hierarchical flow of trust and communication; managers and reports don’t trust each other because they do not communicate effectively.
  2. Poor or outdated systems and/or procedures and policies. This contributes to the first reason as management will be blamed for this.
  3. Lack of or too much influence in decision making by the staff. Too much and mangement appears weak, indecisive and inept, too little and they are viewed as dictatorial and out-of-touch.
  4. Lack of attention to staff well being.
  5. Individuals bringing in negative energies that lower the collective vibe.
  6. Gossiping and complaining.
  7. Wrong people in positions and/or right people in the wrong positions. 
  8. Attempts to fix the issues without proper direction or implementation. 
  9. Poor management of downturn in the economic climate and downsizing. 

There are of course plenty of other causes for the bad office atmosphere that you can add to the list, but these are the main ones I have found in my work. I should note that, if you have a great atmosphere with the whole team working together with passion towards the same goal, you will never have to address number 9, plain and simple. 

Ok, back to your part of the solution. Basically, you can make sure you are the best person you can be, simple huh? It is, but it does require that you roll up your sleeves and work on yourself so that you bring in the best vibes to the office that come from a genuine place. “Fake it ’till you make it”? Yes, you can fake it to start with, but that will become transparent after a while and will backfire. You have to do the heavy lifting to open yourself up to that level of existence . Check your own energy, is it really at maximum, are you truly happy and passionate about what you do? 

The next action you take is to make the white elephant in the room apparent to your manager, or if you are the manager to your peers. If you aren’t the manager, ask to be given a mandate to set up a plan to change the office mood by an energetic over haul. If you are the manager, you work out a plan to do the same. Anybody who works with addicts or in the mental care profession, know that half the battle it for the involved party/parties to recognise there is a problem. Once you start shining a light on the problem, healing has begun. 

You need to renew and refresh; from the decor to the interior design to policies to team building activities. Create a meaningful environment where people feel valued, creative and important. You need to scrub away the “bad” in “bad office atmosphere”. Below are some simple tips:

  • Bring in a speaker once a month for lunch to give motivational and inspirational talks.
  • Change out the magazines in the office for motivational, inspiring, uplifting and positive ones.
  • Turn off news  broadcasts and switch to white noise soothing sounds.
  • Make sure the artwork inspires the staff (no, for crying out loud, not motivational quotes artwork!).
  • Start a meditation practice.
  • Create a chill out space.
  • Plan quarterly meaningful team building activities or courses that help evolve each team member. 
  • Overhaul your policies and procedures. Make sure their aren’t any that create blockages in energy flow preventing people from feeling safe to communicate.

On a management level you need to identify where the the negative energy might be coming from. Is is from one or several people (staff or managers)? Is it sitting in the walls (nope, not kidding)? Does it come from the workflow, or the lack thereof? Much can be accomplished by giving staff the tools to work on their own energies and investing in their mental well being. This 2017 study 250 companies in the UK shows that mental health challenges in the workplace is epidemic: https://wearewildgoose.com/uk/team-activities/mental-health-in-the-workplace-survey/. Of course, if you are working with outdated systems and procedures you need to simply update them, but get it right the first time around or you will have taken two steps backwards. 

Be prepared to manage a reorganisation. Once you open Pandora’s box you never know what you are going to find. Perhaps you find that one part of the business simply is not working anymore and proceed to sell it. You basically have to open yourself up to all opportunities that will come your way as you start working on this process. Move past the fear and embrace change, and trust yourself. Shedding of negative energy is necessary to make space for creative dynamic energies. You will then give those negative energies a chance to transform themselves into their creative best. 

I am going to leave you for now with these thoughts: Imagine if all the people in your office read this same article and started working on themselves individually, what amazing changes you would see immediately. On a grander scale, imagine if every person in the world did the same?

Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash