Beating Depression

It is at this time of year that I tend to reflect on my life more than usual – I think deeply about who I have been, who I am now and why.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was a very different person than I am now – In fact, almost three years to the day I was lost… lost in the fog and mist of depression.

You might know about my story, I have mentioned it in other posts… how I used to smoke 40 cigarettes a day, 50lbs overweight and utterly miserable – these were just the outward signals of the dark disease which was growing inside me.

I cannot accurately describe how I felt during this time… it was as though a cruel, oppressive and hurtful entity had been absorbed in every pore of my body and mind.

It felt separate from the “real” me, yet it was all consuming. I felt like I was drowning. It was scary and there didn’t seem like there was anyway out.

However there was a way out. I did escape, I haven’t fallen back, I never will – and I learnt some important lessons:

  1. Depression is very real and has to be taken very seriously. It is a disease and we should treat anyone caught in the midst of it with the same compassion and care as we would with any other physical disease.
  2. It is possible to recover from this disease.

If you have been caught by depression, please get some professional help – I can offer my advice on how I recovered and hopefully it can help – however, nothing can beat professional support, especially if depression’s claws are in deep.

The way I managed to free myself will sound simple – I decided I had to change and I started taking positive actions everyday.

I realise this will sound over simplistic and unrealistic, but it is true – I was in a desperate situation – I had to change, otherwise the consequences would have been the darkest possible.

When I made the decision it felt impossible. I had no idea what to do or where to start – what possible action could solve something as big as depression?

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The thing is that is what depression wants you to think – depression wants to grow – and the perfect conditions to grow are in a static, absorbed and defeated individual..

On the contrary… I found that depression cannot grow when positive action is consistently taking place.

Success is “consistency”

It is not about one grand action that will rid you of depression forever. That is unrealistic and will make you give up when it doesn’t happen immediately.

Instead it is about momentum – lots and lots of small but positive actions to improve your situation. They can be tiny steps, but when you keep on adding more and more, the momentum becomes unstoppable.

Going for a walk in nature, writing down some goals, making the call, reading the chapter of a book, meeting with friends, seeking professional help and applying for a job… keep taking small actions.

None are the antidote to depression on its own, but together they will slowly remove the conditions for depression to grow.

As the momentum builds, so will you and so will your mind – The fog will start to lift and the oppression will be defeated.

Take positive action – any action, no matter how small… just do it consistently, don’t expect immediate results and you can change your life… I did.

How to believe in people again

Almost everyone has, at some point, been hurt, rejected, dismissed and treated badly. When this happens many of us then find it hard to believe and trust in people again.

If you have ever felt like this, then here are 4 strategies that will allow you to stay positive and get the best out of all of your relationships... Even if it seems as though you are surrounded by people who have hurt you, let you down or broken your heart.

Trust is a biological need

The science is clear… Trust and connection are critical factors in human existence. This is not my opinion, this is proven scientific fact. We are literally biologically forced to connect with others, because we are stronger together.

If you allow a few people to make you lose faith in that, then you are only hurting yourself.

Branding the entire human race as cruel and nasty because of a few people is ridiculous. Think about it… there are 7 billion people on this planet – all of which have a biological need to connect with others. Don’t let a couple of idiots ruin your perception of how many great people there are in the world.

Acknowledge people are just like you

everyoneWe only ever get to see our perspective of life and it is easy to think we are alone in our struggle. The truth is everyone struggles.

Some find it hard just to get through the day, others are frustrated because they can’t chase their dreams, many are worried about how they can support their families, scared of what others think about them. The lists are endless, but the ultimate truth is that everybody is struggling somehow.

It is so important that you understand this. If you ever get to a place where you think your situation is so special and unique that nobody can ever understand you – You are in a bad place and, more importantly, you are wrong. You have more in common with others than you realise.

By saying that nobody could ever understand you, all you are doing is freezing yourself out of relationships.

If you freeze yourself out, then nobody will understand you because you won’t let them, NOT because they can’t. That is your doing… not theirs.

Stop building walls

Once you have been hurt, it is tempting to create emotional barriers and walls to stop you getting hurt again.

Been hurt in love? Create barriers that make it difficult for you to fall in love again… so in theory, you won’t get hurt again.

Hopefully you can see the problem with this tactic. Barriers and walls stop you feeling positive and wonderful emotions. Emotions you need and desire.

Barriers and walls keep the bad guys out, but they also fend off the good guys too.

Walls solve nothing, they just deny you what you want most and they also hurt other people… good people.

The brave thing to do is to brake down your walls and allow yourself to live. I can’t promise you that you will never get hurt again, but by allowing those positive emotions in, it does mean you will experience 10x the love, joy, happiness and trust than you would if you lock everything out.

Most people have walls… break down yours, break down theirs… with love, with joy, with trust and your life will become abundant.

Birds of a feather

141159769539890017_cyh5thwj_cThis last strategy is so simple, but also the most effective – Remove negative people from your life and increase the amount of positive people.

Positive people are supportive, caring and helpful… There are billions of these types of people across the world, literally billions!

They will help you grow, develop and become the best version of you, so seek them out.

Yes there are mean people in the world, but they are not the majority… You don’t have to have them in your life. It is a choice, make one that improves the quality of your life.

Putting it all together

There are mean people and when you get hurt, it is tempting to turn your back on the world and lose trust in people.

Don’t, mean people are in the minority.

You have a biological need to connect with others – If you deny yourself this, you are only hurting yourself.

You are not the only person who is struggling. Understanding this truth will allow you to have more empathy for those around you.

Stop building walls – You deny yourself the emotions you most desire when you create barriers – don’t deny yourself love, joy, happiness and trust.

Choose to build relationships with positive people. There are loads of them out there!

Never, Never Be Afraid To Do What Is Right – M L King

Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther-King – They are great people who have etched their names in history books for standing up for what they believed in and they helped change the world in the process.

572990aeaa13a-fullWe are told powerful stories about special individuals who changed the course of the world by standing against status quo – sometimes facing unsurmountable odds, yet ultimately winning though.

We are told everyone has this power. We are told we too can change the world if our resolve is strong enough… but can we?

I mean these stories sound compelling, yet in your life right now, can you make a stand? Let’s start small… can you go up against the boss at work and not damage your career?

Going a bit bigger… Can you legitimately challenge those in positions of authority, such as politicians, without being removed or arrested?

I think we can, but not in the way the stories would lead you to believe.

Standing up for what you believe in is not a single event, it’s a way of living – It would be impossible to make a huge stand for what you believe to be right in one moment, if your actions in the past didn’t back you up.

Standing up for what is right, is living what is right. It is in your everyday behaviours and actions.

1. Clearly understand what you believe in
2. Share this with everyone
3. Make sure everything you do is linked to this

So if you passionately believe in ‘being honest’ … then communicate this value simply and with clarity… then follow it up by making sure you always tell the truth!

It is a simple example, but hopefully it demonstrates the power of being able to stand up for what you believe in – because if this is how you live your life, then it is easy to challenge the status quo when needed, because everyone will expect it!

This of course has it’s challenges, but what it allows you to be is authentic, strong and value led.

If you don’t live your life by these rules, then you will end up living your life by someone else’s. That is the opposite of standing up for what is right.

Be the best version of you – stand up for you believe in… stand up for what is right.

What the world needs now, is enlightened leadership – Do you measure up?

To become the best leader you can be, you will need to be brave enough to put your current leadership up against a mirror.

However, most leaders don’t bother. They think there is little else to learn… They are wrong.

Last weekend I had the privilege to speak at a conference about motivation and as always I stuck around to see the whole event. I was struck by this companies culture, they were progressive, enabling and it appeared as though they had a highly engaged team. They challenged their leadership culture openly – with the desire to improve as the main priority.

This demonstration of leadership behaviours highlighted an unconformable truth. Cultures and leaders like this are rare…. Really rare.

How many senior leaders do you know that openly practise and develop their understanding of the science of human motivation?

They are literally an endangered species.

 

“Enlightened leadership is awareness where we experience values like truth, goodness, compassion and also intuition, creativity and focused attention”

Deepak Chopra

Even in our enlightened world, the most common approach you will experience from a leaders is, “This is want I need from you.”

Most leaders ask for more, demand more, without giving to their employees. Leaders want more, faster, cheaper and they want it now.

Sometimes they might even throw in a financial incentive (Which has been proven to worsen performance when partaking in complex tasks – as proven by hundreds of social science experiments!)

So think about this for a moment – Most leaders will ask their followers for improved performance and then provide them with an incentive that is a performance inhibitor!

Now take a look at your own leadership – Is your approach a “this is what I need from you” one? Do you provide your followers with tools and strategies that support or inhibit them? How do you even know?

The world is changing and so are followers. Back in the time of the dinosaurs, a leader was seen as powerful and strong if they demanded more. Dinosaurs are extinct and so should be that type of leader.

Followers are demanding a new type of leader. A leader who is enlightened, a leader who understands social science, who understands intrinsic motivation and has the approach of “This is what I will be for my followers.”

The absolute final truth about your leadership ability is in the hand of your followers. It is the ONLY factor that counts – Your followers decide if you are a leader, nobody else.

As a follower – What type of leader would you want to be lead by?

You will find that your answer gives you clues to the leader you need to become.

What is leadership, if it is not about creating the optimum environment for followers to be successful?

Think about YOUR leadership –  Do you demand more from yourself in providing the conditions for your followers to flourish?

Be a true leader, be a progressive leader… be an enlightened leader. It is what the world needs now.

Get my FREE Design Your Destiny book here and start your journey to success today!

Why do we pretend that SUCCESS is a destination?

Why do we determine success as attaining things we don’t currently have?

I mean that’s really weird right? Saying ‘I will be successful when… I get… or this happens..’

That means success is always in the future and if we have programmed ourselves this way, then even if we achieve our original goal, it wouldn’t mean we are successful – Success will have just moved on to another destination.

We always tell ourselves the same story – when we finally arrive at ‘success’, our lives will be great, be so much easier, be so much happier.

We are literally telling ourselves a fairytale.

Take a moment to think about the story we tell ourselves – Life currently has its struggles, but you will persevere and work hard, then one happy day you will graduate and be ‘successful’. At this point life suddenly becomes easy, you will have more fun and you will be happier.

Does that sound like real life? Do you really think that happens to anyone?

Sorry to bust the bubble, but that story is simply just not true.

Success is not a destination, it never has been and never will be. There is no arrival – You will have challenges and difficulties no matter what. That is just life.

Success does exist though. It is in the actions you take everyday to become a better version of you. Success lives in the now, it lives in your development, it lives in your actions.

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So if you desire success then there is only one question to answer – Will you choose the discipline required to take hold of the now, to live in the now, to improve yourself now?

The discipline to act in the now, is what creates your destiny. Discipline is what will make you the best version of you.

If you don’t choose the discipline of the now, then you will experience only one possible outcome – Regret.

  • Discipline is the factor that gets you back on track, when you lose focus (and we all lose focus from time to time).
  • Discipline is the factor that gets you moving forward quickly when you have failed or been rejected.
  • Discipline is the factor that guarantees you will become the best version of you and the life that comes with that.
  • Discipline is the factor that allows you to be successful now.

I choose discipline – I want to say at the end of my life that I gave it everything I have had. I cannot tolerate the thought of holding regret… of saying ‘what if’.

I urge you to choose discipline too.

Success is not a destination. Success is right now, in the actions you take. Choose to be the best version of you.

Like this post? Then get my FREE ebook that will help you become the best version of you & design your destiny Click here NOW!

How to CRUSH fear!

No matter who you are FEAR is going to play a part in your life.

How we interpret the fear we feel will determine the action we take… and ultimately the success we achieve in our lives.

In this video I share how we can effectively and powerfully understand what fear is, how to use it to serve you and eventually overcome it!

 

What to do when you have been let down by someone you trust

I have recently been badly let down…

The person in question was in a situation which was difficult for her, she was highly stressed and appeared to be making herself ill.

So I listened, I supported, I trusted, I guided. I even went above the call of duty and threw myself in the firing line for her.

My action worked – her stressful situation dissipated and, in the moments when I took the heat away, she turned on me – blaming me for it all and informing everyone that would listen, that she was faultless. She quickly distanced myself from her and then she attempted to muscle in on the good work I created for her company!

How would you respond if this was you?

The probability is you will have experienced a similar situation like this in your life. Where someone you trust, fails to reciprocate that trust and lets you down.  When this happens it is understandable that your response would be emotional and negative.

The unfortunate truth is that responding this way rarely helps anyone. Especially you.

The reaction that will serve you best will help you move on and be able to trust again quickly and wholeheartedly. Here is how:

Forgive

“Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.”

Desmond Tutu

Holding resentment inside only hurts one person – you. The last person who needs to be hurt by you is you, so you have to rid yourself of resentment.

Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy will die. The poison will do nothing to your enemy, but will kill you!

Forgiveness can seem hard… Why should you forgive someone who has hurt you? The reason you should is because forgiveness isn’t just about the antagonist, it’s about allowing yourself to stop hurting… and you deserve that.

Be your best self

20141223140914-give-gift-your-presenceSometimes when we feel we have been let down it is easy to close ourselves off to the world.

Who is this behaviour serving? Nobody, that’s who.

The past is the past. It cannot be changed, you can only learn from it. The one thing that is an absolute certainty in life is that if you want the future to be brighter, you have to bring your best self to the game.

Be bigger, be better and be bolder… be your best self and you will bring the best out of the present and the future.

Expect the best in others

Just because one person has let you down, it doesn’t mean the world is full of evil, untrustworthy people. 99.9% of people have the desire to be nice, kind and helpful individuals. Don’t close down your opportunities to connect deeply with others, just because one person has broken your trust.

If you expect the best from others, your behaviours will adapt accordingly and you will engage with the world in a positive fashion… and guess what? Engaging positively with those around you will, 99.9% of the time, result in positive outcomes!

Surround yourself with positive people

When-you-surround-yourself-with-positive-loving-peopleIt is said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. So who do you want to be and who do you want to be surrounded by?

This is a choice – seek out the people who have aspirations and goals like you. The people you admire. The people you can trust.

Don’t get sucked in by people who are self obsessed, negative or selfish… It will drain you. Instead look up at those people who soar… and choose to fly with them.

Putting it all together

The bottom line is that some people will hurt you – NEVER let that stop you being the wonderful and authentic person you are.

Be the best version of you!

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What To Do When You Feel Alone

Human beings need connection – It is a desire and need that is a part of our genetic make-up.

So when we feel alone or disconnected, it can be the darkest of places.

More and more people feel this way – In a world where the internet and social media provide us with more connections than ever, we feel less connected.

If you feel this way or know of someone who does – This video I offer my advice from my own personal experience with loneliness:

Care About What Others Think And You Will Always Be Their Prisoner

A friend of mine was asked to change a presentation by a senior leader within her business, because he didn’t like a particular section… It wasn’t feedback to make the presentation better, he just wanted it removed… The presentation wasn’t even for him.

What would you have done?

Even though the removal made the presentation worse and although the section she was asked to remove linked directly with her personal values – she changed the presentation.

Her desire to be liked was greater than her belief in her presentation.

She is not alone – We all have an innate desire to be liked, especially by those who appear more important. In fact some of us have such a deep need for approval, that we will act against our own self interest in the hope we will be seen in a more attractive light.

It is okay to want to be liked, it is a normal human need… but when it penetrates our values and actions in a way that doesn’t allow us to be ourselves, that is simply wrong.

What if we could live in a world where the most authentic and best version of you was all you ever needed to be?

“I will never let anyone walk though my mind with their dirty feet”

Gandhi

The Problem

When we desperately seek approval, we are solely focused on other people’s agendas and being seen as someone whom they approve. In basic terms we try to fit in by thinking and acting like them.

However we are kidding ourselves -you are not just like them. You can only ever be just like you.

When we try to imitate and replicate others, we will end up feeling drained of energy because attempting to second guess what someone else is thinking is ridiculously hard. Not only that, but you will likely fail in your goal of being liked – rather you will be perceived as unauthentic.

The Truth

Nellore-Kungfu-Training-919849465401-Indian-Shaolin-Wushu-Camp_8We need to come to terms with the fact that the only thing in this universe we have control over is our thoughts and our actions.

Absolutely nothing else is within your control – especially the thoughts of other people! The bottom line is that you cannot force anyone to like you.

You can be authentic and they will choose to like you or not.
You can try to trick them into liking you and they will still choose to like you or not. The only difference is, if they like the false version of you, what do you think will happen when they discover you deceived them? How will you feel having to live a lie?

What to do

There is no magical formula I’m afraid.

I wish I could create five steps to be liked by everyone and anyone, but I can’t.  Nobody can – it doesn’t exist.

I can offer my advice:

Aim to be the best version of you.

  • Live your values in everything you do.
  • Allow your voice to be heard – what you have to say is of equal value as anyone else in the world.
  • Be true to who you want to be – the best you. You have access to that person right now, you just have to choose to step up, feel a bit vulnerable and show who you are.

This advice is easier said than done. It will feel scary, you will feel vulnerable and it will be challenging. But when you represent your authentic self fully, the connections and relationships you build from that will be the most magical and special of your entire life.

There will still be some people who don’t like you. Even the best version of you!

Don’t worry about these people – really don’t! Just think about these people for a moment… people who don’t like you for being you…do you really want that type of negativity in your life?

You are worth more than that – shine like the light that you are, the people that matter will be drawn to you!