Reflect on your story - the chapters in your life so far, times you've been at your best, what you've learned from the challenges you've overcome, your values and strengths, what success might look like for you now.
Stay present. Notice your thoughts - and observe that you are more than your thoughts. You can do things that are important to you while thinking ‘negative’ thoughts.
Notice and feel your feelings. Emotions connect us to our authentic self and other people. We’re all born with 7 core emotions that help us navigate life effectively. These are: sadness, joy, anger, fear, digust, excitement, and sexual excitement. Something like anxiety is an inhibitory response. Often it's what we learned to feel when one of our core emotions was deemed to be unacceptable as a child. It can also signal that we're feeling more than one emotion at the same time (eg fear and excitement). Notice the physical sensations in your body and see if you can name the emotion(s) you're feeling. Breathe slowly and deeply from the stomach to ride emotional waves.
Remember peak experiences, times when you've been in your element, in flow. You've forgotten your 'self', transcended it. You're fully focused on what you're doing, on expressing your natural talents. When did you last experience awe and wonder, your innate connection to nature and the larger world? These experiences are always available if you notice what's around you and live in the present moment.
Keeping these things in mind, give yourself some time and space to think about what the next chapter in your life might be. What's important to you right now, in your work and life? What would you attempt if you knew you couldn't fail?
Create experiments to help you explore your ideas. Break down ambitious goals into small steps and move towards what you value even in the presence of uncomfortable thoughts and emotions.
The meta-skill is your ability to notice – your thoughts, your feelings, when you do what you intend to do and when you don’t, the people and the world around you.
Good luck and all the best, Andrew
In The Whole Story, I’ve conceptualised this process as a journey, a road trip through your mind. Here’s how I imagined it.
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