Celebrate your success and don’t be afraid of it

This week I noticed this blog, patrickschriel.com, is exactly one year old. That is a reason to celebrate as it developed from a hobby to something very serious. Little did I realize what an adventure is would become when I started it. I managed to post on a weekly basis, there are now more than 65 articles and people are enjoying reading them. My writing has improved, I made new friends and traffic to the site has been increasing every month. I’m even making some money. Patrickschriel.com is a real success!

Writing for this blog is a fun thing to do and while doing so I realized that I wanted to make a career out of helping others with their personal development. Personal development is my passion so why not help other as well? One thing led to another and last spring I signed up for a two year training course to become a certified life coach. I’m very excited about all of this and am looking forward to the year ahead. You can see I’m real proud of what I accomplished.

Part of my own personal development is that I am not afraid anymore of being successful. It wasn’t too long ago that I actually was, and thinking: okay I have some success, but how long will it last? I was sending signals to my subconscious mind that I didn’t allow myself to be successful. I was afraid of success, and success was afraid of me.

My own happiness was not a major goal. I’d rather lived an average life, being content with what I had, instead of living my passion; reaching my full potential. The higher I climbed the harder I could fall was my motto and by doing so I was setting myself up for failure: A self fulfilling prophecy. I knew other people were successful, but me? No way!

That was the old me. Since then I have been working on my self-confidence, among other things, and am glad I did. It made me a much happier person; I’m not afraid of success any longer, I enjoy success and can also share it with others. This is something I wish for others as well as I realize self-confidence is a major issue with a lot of people.

Another thing I learned is that happiness is not something to obtain in the future, it is a mindset; you can be happy right now. All you have to do allow yourself to be happy. Most people set goals in their lives but forget to enjoy themselves along the way. What’s the fun of working hard without a little fun in your life? Enjoy every moment of it! It’s not the end result that counts; it’s the journey towards the goal.

When reaching your goals, make sure you celebrate. Celebrate the little successes and celebrate the big ones. Celebrate every step you make, celebrate every moment of your life: by doing so happiness will become a way of life.

Remember, celebrate your success and don’t be afraid of it. If I can, so can you.

Take charge by making conscious decisions

The ability to make a conscious decision is one of the things that separate human beings from animals. We make choices and decisions all the time and our lives are filled with them, consciously and unconsciously. Some are rational; some are made out of emotions such as love or fear. Some decisions we make in a blink of an eye, some take us longer as we need to ponder a bit before we decide. Making decisions is part of who we are.

How do we make decisions? The decisions we make can be small ones like switching lanes, what clothes to wear, deciding to get a cup of coffee or what kind of sandwich to eat. We also make bigger decisions with the potential to change our life such as deciding on an education, what kind of job to do or choosing a mate and having children.

We think we make all decisions by ourselves, consciously, but is this really so? How many of those decisions are actually being made by our subconscious mind without us, consciously, knowing why we make them? It will surprise you how many decisions are made this way. My estimate is that this is more than 90 percent for the average individual. That is a huge percentage. Can you imagine how much it will improve your life if you take charge and can lower this percentage by making more conscious decisions?

Let’s have a look at the kinds of choices and decisions we make. For the convenience of this article I divided them up into three categories:

  1. Fully aware and conscious decisions. We are not hindered by conditioning and are fully aware when we make choices and decisions. We use the information that is available to us, balance it, look at from all possible angles and listen to the signals our body is giving us through intuition or our gut feeling before we decide. We take full responsibility for each decision, knowing and feeling it was the right thing to do.
  2. Conscious but conditioned decisions – influenced by our subconscious mind. These decisions are colored, based on past experiences, fear, our culture, what our friends would like us to do, advertising and other sources. Our subconscious play a major part in our decision making progress as well. Often we think we have a choice, but the way our subconscious mind is “programmed” is actually determining the outcome of the decision. We are aware we take decisions, but not why we take them.
  3. Fully unconscious decisions. These are the decision we make while we are not really aware making them, and cannot explain why. This can be decisions made out of habit or generally doing something without thinking about the consequences for yourself and others. Most crimes are “planned” this way. It’s like switching on the TV, selecting a channel, and at the end of the evening not remembering which show we watched. This is auto pilot mode, fully unconscious. We give away the control over our lives and often blame others for the consequences.

Now I presented these categories to you I hope you will see that most of your, and the decisions made by others, will fall in category 2 or 3. This is the first step towards a more conscious way of living and taking decisions in your life. Now you are aware of this, you can decide to change. The goal is to make fully conscious decisions as much as possible. Knowing how and why you make decisions, fully conscious and aware, making the right choice, will enrich your life; by doing so you regain full control as you are the director of your life, you decide.

You can start by examining your own decision making process. Why do I take this decision? What are the pros and cons? Am I influenced by someone or something else? How do I feel? Remember, any decision is better than no decision at all. Make decisions that feel good. Decisions made out of fear are usually never good. Make decisions with your heart, feel what is right for you.

Be aware that no one is perfect. Nobody is making conscious decisions all the time. Even if we are fully conscious things may not work out the way we thought they would. Give yourself some credit. Circumstances may change and not all information was available at the time you thought you made the right choice. Know you did the right thing given the circumstances and the information that was available to you at the time you made the decision. Take charge by making conscious decisions.

Learn about yourself from the people you resent

In our day to day interaction with others there are people we like and others we don’t. Some give us inspiration, some make us laugh and others make us think. All of this is normal and part of who we are. But sometimes we meet people which we, instantly, don’t like at all. They seem to represent everything we are not. They can make us feel nervous, anxious, stressed or even angry. Generally they give us a whole bunch of negative emotions. We seem to be allergic to them.

Have you even wondered why that is? I think you can learn about yourself from the people you resent.

People we like usually have traits we can identify with. They can make us feel good, make us happy, they inspire us. We may admire them as they represent some part of us who we are or want to be. On the other hand people who we are allergic to have traits or characteristics that don’t belong to our values at all. They represent something we are not and don’t want to be. We think we have nothing in common with them.

But is this really so? What if there is more going on than meets the eye? Could it be that the reason why we resent them so much is that they trigger a hidden part of us? A part of us which is unknown or which we have neglected? Have a look at the following example:

Sarah is vice president of a software company. She worked very hard and made long hours to get to where she is now. Sarah is always busy with work (even in the weekends) and enjoys what she is doing. She expects this same attitude from the people working for her. Sarah can get along with almost any anyone. Well, almost, as there is one exception: People, who are lazy, slackers, do not have any goals and do not take responsibility for their actions. The exact opposite of what she is. Sarah is a usually very polite to people but whenever she meets someone with this personality type she responds furious. Why? Because she has met a personality type which resonates with a part of her that she doesn’t know.

Whenever someone is giving us this kind of reaction there is a good chance that that person is triggering a part of us which we haven’t given enough attention. This could be a part which we have ignored and may need to develop. In Sarah’s example she doesn’t allow herself to take a break or take it easy. That’s why people who seem to be lazy trigger an emotional response with her. The neglected part is giving her a signal to give it some attention. In other words: she needs to develop her “lazy” side.

I invite you to investigate this side of you. If certain people can trigger a strong emotional response, if we resent them, then ask yourself: What makes me feel negative about this person? Why do I respond this way? What is it that I don’t like about this person and is there a hidden part of me that resonates with this? Could it be that I neglected this and need to develop? There is a lot to learn about yourself from the people you resent.

How to change and grow in life

Do you think there can be personal growth without any effort? And can there be change without some sort of resistance? The bigger the opportunity to grow, the more issues will come up which you’ll have to deal with. It’s a natural law. The more you can take as a person, the more you will get. Do you know how to change and grow in life? Real change will not come easy; you have to work at it. Personal development is for the brave at heart. You’ll have to earn real and lasting change.

When you’re growing, maybe going through a transformation in your life, you’ll have to let go of the old to make room for something new. This is a natural thing and cannot be done without some turmoil in your life; which you need to go through to proceed to the next level. I always look at it as some sort of test to see if you are ready for it. Once you pass, you are ready for something bigger and better.

Looking back at my own life; the major changes that took place, lessons I had to learn and growing experiences, all of them, went hand in hand with issues I had to deal with or people who resisted them. Luckily I was persistence enough to conquer all of them. Once dealt with, the issues went away and I could continue on my path of growth. Every significant change was an opportunity to grow.

Last year presented another opportunity to grow. I’ve had an interest in personal development for a long time and decided to follow this passion, setup this blog and become a certified life coach to help others. This also meant I had to make an investment in a two year study to make all of this happen. This decision, and the actions that go with it, was enough to turn my life around. I’m going through a real transformation and it is no surprise that I’m now presented with the challenges that go hand in hand with this important change in my life.

I look at life as a journey and the challenges I face as an opportunity for change. In my life I’m constantly presented with opportunities to grow. This time is no different. The fact that all these challenges come up is proof for me that I’m on the right track. I’m very excited about this as I know I will conquer this too and will prevail.

Change is natural, not something to be afraid of, as nothing remains the same. You may not change, but others will. Change is an opportunity to grow. It’s how you deal with change that determines the outcome. If you walk away from it, nothing will happen and you may be presented with that same challenge at a later point in your life when you are more ready for it.

If you, consciously, accept the challenge something wonderful can happen. Change can be the catalyst for something bigger. Change can make you grow, it can transform you. But remember: Personal development is for the brave at heart. You’ll have to earn real and lasting change. Once you learn how to change and grow in life, once you follow the path, there is no turning back.

Don’t take it personally. This is one of the basic lessons in personal development and usually good advice when people criticize or reject us. But how come? Why is taking things not personally such a good lesson, especially in compassion, reality and consciousness?

We all experience the world around us differently. With our five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch) we process an enormous flow of information that is constantly reaching us; day and night. The only way our brain can handle this is to filter it. This is the reality we experience. Our experience is not the real reality but a filtered one. We are living in our own world.

We filter the information based on past conditioning and experience, what is important to us, what we believe, our emotional state of being, hormonal activity, how conscious we are and if we are in a friendly or hostile environment. All determine how we view the world around us and how we interpreted it. Let’s look at the following example:

Three hikers are walking on a mountain trail and suddenly a bear and cub appear on the trail in front of them. They all experience the encounter quite differently. For the first hiker this was as closest to nature as he could be. He has never seen a bear before and was in awe seeing the bear and cub. The second hiker was very frightened, she panicked and started to run (not a good idea if you encounter a bear). The third hiker, an experience one who has seen many bears while travelling, was more interested in the reaction of his fellow hikers. All saw and experienced the same situation differently, They all witnessed a different reality: Their reality.

What is frightening for one may be a joyful experience for another. What makes me nervous may excite you. Our filtered reality is how we experience the world and people in it. The implication of this is that when we encounter other people, we are not encountering them but a filtered reality, our reality, of them.

This is something you should be aware of when interacting with others. Their reaction to what you are saying is not a reaction to you but to their own reality of you speaking to them. A simple question like “How are you doing?” or “Can you help me?” may give a different set of reactions depending on whom you ask and how they filter the information of you that is reaching them.

Knowing you are living your own reality, not the real one, will make you more conscious of how you view the world around you; how you experience your own reality. It will make you more conscious of your behavior toward others and how you interact with them. Knowing all of this will give you the power to play with it, experiment with it, and change it if you like. You have the power to change your own reality. All you have to do is change the way you filter it.

To conclude: Knowing how you and others view reality will make you more compassioned towards others; and to yourself. Isn’t this great? After all they experience their own reality, not yours. There is no reason to take it personally. Isn’t this a great lesson in compassion, reality and consciousness?

Who am I: The search for the authentic self

The goal I have with this blog is to help you become conscious of who you are and to awaken your authentic self. Most of my articles are an invitation to investigate this so you can start the journey toward a more conscious life. This article is no different and is about the question “Who am I?”.

Who am I? If you would ask me who I am I can give you multiple answers. I can tell you that I’m a father and husband, a facilitator and coach, a blogger, someone who likes to travel and hike in the mountains or tell you I am a nice guy who enjoys drinking a good glass of wine. I can also tell you I like to dress casual and sometimes more formal. I guess all of the above is true, but is it what really defines me? Is this my true identity, is this the real me?

Many people mix up the roles they play in life with their true identity; the one who they are behind all the false beliefs, facades and survival strategies they developed when they were a child. They have identified themselves with them and may have long forgotten who they truly are. Our society plays a role in this as well and if may be difficult to resist all the false messages that are coming to us through the media, social structures, work and other sources.

I think asking yourself “Who am I” is the most important question there is. This question alone can be the start of a self discovery journey to find your true self, your authentic self. If you like, ponder this for a while:

  • Am I my job?
  • Am I the status that I have?
  • Am I my bank account?
  • Am I the car I drive?
  • Am I the clothes I wear?
  • Am I what others tell me that I am?
  • Am I my religion?
  • Am I my anger or frustration?
  • Am I my fear?
  • Am I my joy?
  • Am I what I’m thinking?
  • Who am I?

I think human beings have much deeper layers than what appears on the surface. On the surface we only play a role. Someone who is angry all the time may be hiding his insecurity on a deeper level. Someone who is funny may be hiding his sadness. We’re like an onion which can be peeled to unravel the core of our being. Every layer brings us to a deeper level and closer to our self. The trick is to unravel ourselves so much that our true identify, our authentic self, can shine thru.

Once this happens we have finally found who we are. We have found our true self, which has been hiding in the basement of our being since early childhood. Now is the time to let it out. Now is the time to awaken our authentic self. We can finally live a free life, free from all the roles, free from all the restrictions we have set for ourselves.

To conclude this article: There is another reason why finding out who you are is so important. There is a lot of anger and hate in this world. People think they are different because of their race, faith or the language they speak. If you start this journey of self discovery and dare to go deep enough you may discover we are not so different after all. At the core of our being we are all the same.

I wish me a merry Christmas and a happy New Year

The days are short and it’s cold outside in the part of the world where I live. This means that 2009 is coming to an end. Only a few days are separating us from 2010. For me this is the perfect time to look at my own personal goals; to see what I have achieved this year, to update existing goals and to set new ones.

I think I managed pretty well. It was a year of positive change. I had to let go of the old to make room for something new. I started a new path towards my own personal development and decided that I want to be a life coach to help others. I am very excited about this and this blog is part of that pursuit. Most articles in this blog are meant to make you more conscious of who you really are, to awaken your authentic self.

Traditionally when people send out Christmas and New Year wishes they all wish the best for someone else. I decided to do things a bit different this year. I will only make a wish for myself:

I wish me a merry Christmas and a happy new year. I wish that I will continue to be happy and successful. I wish to be a little wiser and more loving, more compassionate towards others.

Do you think this is selfish? I think it’s not. Here’s why: Only when I am happy can I make others happy. I can only do good to others if I am good to myself first.

It is relative easy to wish others well or to say you love someone else. But how many people can honestly look in the mirror and say they love themselves? Can you? Many people lack the self-confidence for this. They think they don’t deserve to be loved. Thinking they are lacking an essential quality for this. Thinking they are too mean or too fat, too slim, too tall or too short; maybe too dumb or even too smart. Whatever it is they don’t accept themselves for what they truly are.

Self-acceptance is the first step towards self-confidence. Do you think the perfect human being exists? Do you think you can be, or have to be, perfect for the full 100 percent? Wake up! This will never happen. No one is perfect or will ever be; perfection is an illusion. I know that you are a unique human being and deserve to be loved like all of us. What is better than to accept and love yourself for what you are? Think about this: You can only love others if you can love yourself first.

Life wouldn’t be fun if we were perfect all the time. The challenge is to keep improving and to enjoy the ride along the way. Accept the fact that you don’t need to perfect to feel happy. Happiness is a way of life, something you can be right now. Happiness is not a goal to achieve in the future.

I love myself. I wish me a merry Christmas and a happy new year! I hope you too can make the same wish for yourself.