How to Break Your Chains of Fear
Hello, Salam, Shalom, Namaste, Aloha, Sat Sri Akal and Hola!I'm actually extra excited today because we have a guest and we are going to be having an excellent conversation with him, and I will actually invite my guest, my friend Geoff, to come on and introduce himself to you ... so please Geoff, please will you tell us something about you?
Yeah, thanks for having me today, I'm excited to be on the podcast. I'm Geoff and I'm a life coach that owns a company called MindAxis Life Coaching and what we do is we do transformative life coaching, basically helping people discover their passion, understand their purpose and create their personal vision so that they can have direction and move forward in life.
Very cool! How did you get into this work?...
Well personal development for me has always been very important. Like I started getting into personal development about three years ago but I've always been a kind of deep thinker. So when I started reading more books and watching many movies and things like that it helped me to really have a greater insight into knowledge, but also like my experiences as well because like I've done a lot of things in my life, traveled to a lot of places and you know done many things a lot of people haven't done. And it's allowed me to come to the core of understanding that the human experience is so important, that's why being a life coach is important to me so I can guide other people along their pathway too.Yeah, you know in that way you and I are similar because I also got into my work as a Happiness Expert/Coach, Trainer, Healer because of what I went through in my life as survivor of child sexual abuse and then the journey that I took to heal and transform from being a victim of abuse to being a survivor and then finally now being in a place in my life where I'm able to thrive... And I recognize that you know the more I actually help other people the more I end up helping myself. And what better, more amazing way to help people than to share with them what I have learned in the course of my own journey, you know to empower myself and become more... to how to become more peaceful and happy in my life because that I think really lays the foundation for success and love and healthy relationships and... and in the rest of our life.
Yeah, I definitely agree with you Samia. And like bringing back your previous experiences as well, it's like the more kind of like mental and emotional trauma you go through there's like two ways that goes you know. It's like it takes you down a bad path or you realize that you can do something positive with what you learned, you can share your experience with the world and kind of people in the same dilemma, you can show them there is a pathway out, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I think that's really cool.
Yeah, I know when I... I remember when I was in the thick of trauma I didn't think there was a path out. Like I wished there was a way out, but it was sometimes hard to hold on to that faith or hope. How did you, on your journey, find that hope or belief that there is a path out? What, what led you to even begin to seek a path?
Yeah, so I used to have depression for many years. And you know like many, depression led to drug abuse, and I was a heavy drug abuser for about nine years. I used to spend every day just getting high, trying to get away from life you know and it came to the point where like when you say make change fun and easy... it is true, you come to a point where honestly wanting to change is greater than the desire to remain the same and you cannot ... you cannot remain the same anymore. You can't just be getting high and smoking and doing things and drinking, you just can't do it anymore because you need to find a pathway to do something in life. And for me reading these personal development books and the life that I was living just didn't align, it didn't make sense. It's like how can you have this knowledge but be wasting your life as well? So for me it turned into a determination to change myself first and then show other people how they can do the same for themselves as well. And that's where the passion comes in.
Yeah ... Oh my gosh! I just found another similarity between your journey and mine and that is books. Because ...
This one? Books? Yeah!
Yeah, because when I was really down, on the fence and struggling to figure things out, I turned to reading books. And you know the wisdom that I found in the readings that I did, that is what sort of gave me the hope and the rope that I grabbed onto and started moving forward. Do you have any favorite books that you would like to recommend?
That I have read, that actually kind of helped me ... well one, kind of like it definitely helped me to get to where I am today is called "The 50th law". And it's a book by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. 50 Cent the rapper, he's also an author and he wrote this book with Robert Greene. And essentially it talks about how when you're sober you can change your entire life, like deciding to be sober is the most powerful thing because it means resisting all temptation. And if you resist temptation you build discipline and that is that... that book kind of switched on a light in my brain and I was like, what am I doing with my life?!
Yeah, yeah this is, oh my gosh! Discipline is so much at the core of what makes change possible, yeah. I know earlier when we... you and I had talked, we had talked about some values that we share in common and certain things that are really necessary for us to live by if we are going to be able to empower ourselves and be happy, make change and so on and so forth. And one of those values was authenticity. Can you talk a little bit more about that and what role authenticity plays in your life and in the way that you help other people take control of theirs?
Yeah, also I'm glad you brought that up somewhere because authenticity is very, very important to me. It's an essential core component of what MindAxis Life Coaching, my business, looks at providing people the opportunity to do so. Authenticity is you know there's a lot of definitions to this word, but to me and my vision, authenticity means being true to yourself... but the only way that you can be true to yourself is to understand who you are and that requires you to dig deep. So when I went through my journey of doing a lot of drugs, partying, wasting a lot of time and effort in my life, not to say that I wasn't doing things. I was still studying at university and I was still working. But I wasn't moving the needle towards where I wanted to be and that bothered me every single day... but I wasn't like doing things that were stupid, I wasn't on the street or anything like that. But once I discovered that the reason that my drug abuse was happening was because I didn't know who I was, I didn't know who I was, I was just a product of my upbringing, a product of my conditioning, I didn't know who Geoff really was. And once I put myself through a lot to get to that point, a lot of development I used to spend my whole day working and going to train at the gym and just constantly putting myself in a point of like every day I'm learning something better, I'm getting better every single day. And through this process I discovered what made me a person is that there is more to me than what I previously realized. There is more to Geoff than just the idea of Geoff... there is much more. But the only way to get there is to go through that process of pushing yourself every day to move the needle a little bit more.
Pakistani community that's more conservative, traditional, there's this mindset of you know anytime there's trouble in the relationship between husband and wife we're told, "Oh you have to be patient, you have to be patient, you know just kind of be gentle, be compassionate, be empathetic, be patient in the situation and things will get better over time”. And before you know it, like 10 years have passed, 20 years have passed and people are still stuck in the abusive relationship. And things are not getting better...they’ve only been getting worse. And you're still being told to be patient. And that's just really sad, that's just really sad. That's a serious... there's something very wrong...wrong with that kind of patience and the practice of that kind of patience in that kind of a situation.
That requires discipline right?
Absolutely! It is, It's the cornerstone of life.
Yeah... yeah... and so many... it's interesting you know as a Muslim, discipline is a very core value in the way we are taught to live life. So for example one of the most important aspects of a Muslim’s life if you are observant of the ritual practices is five daily prayers. So we actually have specific times during which we have to offer the daily prayers and they're spread throughout the day and night for that matter. And it takes a lot of discipline to be like, you know, no matter what's going on in my life I'm going to take a break when it comes time to pray, and pray... and that discipline, one of the reasons why it's so important is because without that discipline, you're not able to be consistent in living out your values like authenticity. It's like I think such a huge value for so many of us, like we want to be who we are, we want to be true to ourselves, that's part of how we understand true freedom you know. It's like, if you're not really authentic, are you even free? And so even if what you want is just to be free, truly free in your life, you still need to be authentic. But in order to be authentic like you were saying you still need discipline... just like connects with each other... it's so interesting.
It does! Well, discipline equals freedom right? And that may seem like a very weird concept. But discipline means you're in charge of your actions, you're in control. And if you're in control of your actions then no one else is. And if no one else is in control of your actions, then technically you're free as long as you make the willful choice to do what you want to do.
Yes, yes! So what ... because so many of us struggle with discipline, so many of us struggle with living authentically, what... what is like a big obstacle that you see, that prevents people from living authentically?
Apathy. That's what I see in a lot of people. Well I mean that... that sounds like a generalization but that's just an observation. But apathy is just where you can't invest enough emotional care into something because it's not that valuable to you at that point in time and this is what MindAxis Life Coaching is about. It's about helping people to discover that spark, that something that's worthwhile, putting in the effort and the time. And then it doesn't matter how much you do as long as you're working towards it you know it's the right path for you. And you know it's hard to feel invested when you just go to your job which you probably hate or say if you go and do something you don't enjoy, it's hard to care about it. And then that seeps into your life because you lose the drive and desire to move the needle forward... so apathy and kind of just like an acquiescence of care, that's a major thing that missing in a lot of people and it's time to like bring that back and understand what do you value? Where do you see yourself in 10 years? What's your vision?
Yeah, yeah... I think one of the ways that I learned or I heard that being taught that really stuck with me, is one of my teachers said you know, "The way you do anything is the way you do everything". I was like, no that's not true! I don't believe it, I don't believe it, I don't do everything the same... but there is actually, there is actually a lot of truth to that. And you know if you settle, allow yourself to settle and compromise with some, with one part of your life in terms of let's say you take on a job that you don't love to do and then you settle in you know for good enough, that you're like , "Okay I'll keep doing this job because it provides me some security, provides me with some benefits, and it's good enough", and so you settle for that and then that breeds the apathy and then that seeps into the rest of your life like you are saying and yeah. But the good news is, do you find that when someone actually commits to something that they really love and they're disciplined about it and move... move ahead in their lives to do everything they can, to stay true to themselves on that, then does that begin to seep into the rest of their lives and improve things in that way?
Yeah, yeah for sure. But I actually think it might be the opposite, because it's like little things build up to big things right. So for example if you, if you can't get out of bed in the morning, well that's going to seep into the rest of your life. If you can't have the discipline to make your bed or to keep your environment clean, well that's going to seep into the rest of your life. So it's all great to have a dream, a lot of people have dreams right? But when your reality doesn't connect to your dream then you have the problem of apathy. But when you have a vision that you can actually see yourself following a road map and strategizing, which is something I specialize in like a road map towards your vision, then well you're committed. You can do things like make a bed because you know that you're actually making steps forward and you realize that it's a long-term game not a short-term game. And that's how little actions build into big things like you were saying earlier that your mentor told you that how you do one thing is the same as you do everything, it's true. If you leave your room in a mess but you're trying to, you know, run a multinational global company, well at some point or other that is going to leak into what you're doing as a living. You have to be even across the board.
Oh! That's interesting, that's very interesting because so often... so often when I look at super successful people, you know like public figures whether they're business people or actors or political figures, a lot of times they... I mean the reason I know about them is they're public figures, is because they've achieved a great level of success in certain areas of their life. But oftentimes what we also find with these figures is that they unfortunately have huge messes in other areas of their life you know. So I mean, take someone like Michael Phelps, the reason he popped into my mind was because you know we recently had the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And I mean I've known about Michael Phelps since the last Olympics, right. And he's like this amazing athlete... in this like, top of his field and so forth... but this year I found out that he has actually been struggling with a lot of mental health issues and I was not surprised but surprised. But I was also really, well in his case, really happy that he's now talking about it and sharing his struggles and using the struggles that he's been through not only to do something good for himself in terms of learning how to have better mental health himself, but he's also, by talking about it in a public way, trying to help other people. But you know like, so here is someone who achieved extreme excellence and success in one aspect of his life but then he had this huge mess going on in this other area of your life. So when you talk about being consistent across the board, how do you manage that? Or how do you?... yeah...
Well that kind of like, that kind of speaks for itself because he wasn't consistent across the board. So if you... you know like life is a trinity of your physical, your mental and your spiritual health. And Michael Phelps is a serial winner. He's I think, he's the most decorated swimmer in history? I think so. But when he was... when you're that decorated and say his first medal he won, that would have been the pinnacle of achievement, when you win like your 25th medal, your 25th gold medal it doesn't really mean that much and everyone has an expectation on you to win. That is so damaging to your self-esteem because that pressure on your shoulders, a whole nation, it's the same as the Simone Biles thing that happened at this Olympics too.
When she just said she couldn't do it because when you win that much people expect you to win regardless of who you are and how you feel. And it's normal to love something and be passionate about it. But when people start expecting it from you rather than appreciating you for it, you begin to hate it naturally because you're not obeying... you're not obeying the law of balance. You're not looking at you know balancing out your personal life and your professional life, and then you just get unbalanced and then mental health issues occur. And it's always the case for very famous, very successful people.
Yeah, I think it points to like something being very wrong with how our society understands success and how it understands how to achieve success. Because you know people like Michael Phelps, Simone Biles... they didn't come up with the lifestyle that they did on their own. Like, they like... I was actually watching a documentary, also during the Olympics, that tracks the journey of I think four or five top elite gymnasts in America. And they were actually all part of the women's gymnast... US Women's Gymnast..
Yes! That's the way.
And they were talking about how like literally from the time they were little kids they got like... that's when they started with the gymnastics and they were taught that if you want to achieve success, if you want to become a good gymnast, and you... you know if you're going, if you're serious about gymnastics, then you have to make all of these sacrifices and work through pain and injury… And you know like they weren't, they weren't even allowed to have balance in their lives in terms of, I mean they were kids you know, and they were... they were spending hours and hours and hours every day at the gym just focusing on one aspect of their life you know, and that was mastering control over their bodies in the context of making certain moves and that's the life that they were -- given? I want to say it almost. Because when you're a little kid, it's like they didn't exactly choose it. There...it wasn't exactly informed consent you know. But they got into it and they kept going. And I mean, these ladies that were featured in the documentary, they were... they are part of the elite gymnasts in America. And American Women Gymnasts are top of the world. You know they dominate. So clearly these young ladies, these women, just like Michael Phelps for that matter, or other I'm sure Olympic athletes and so forth, they put in immense, you know, time and effort in achieving the excellence that they do. And they're told that you have to make all these sacrifices, forget about balance, and you know all these things. So they didn't, they didn't come up with all that on their own. This was society teaching them that this is the way to achieve success or excellence.
Yeah absolutely. And society conditioned... well their childhood conditioned their behavior today. And it's easy.... well it's not easy to be a serial winner. But it's easy to fall into a state of apathy when you are a serial winner, because there's only so many times that you can feel that feeling. You know the feeling of doing something for the first time, like say the first time you ever sat on a plane or the first time say you ever went to another country, right? But then say you kept going back. It doesn't feel the same way anymore. And in the same way when you keep winning and you keep winning and you keep winning, that pressure is square on your shoulders, and that burden... Honestly there's two kinds of people in this world; people that thrive on that burden, but there's also people who absolutely hate that burden because they want to do something else. And just because you can be a multi-millionaire serial winner it doesn't mean that you are going to be happy.
Because happiness isn't aligned to what you get from the outside. It's a part... it's aligned to what you are on the inside. And if you feel that you've transitioned away, like Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, they probably want to do something else. They want to live their life, they want to do something that's different. And I respect that, and I think a lot of people need to understand that expectation does crush people. And the expectation that people have on themselves crushes them even further. But it all depends on the way in which you look at it. It is perspective too.
Yeah yeah, so you mentioned tapping into your own vision and just becoming really clear about it as one of the ways that you begin, you can begin to shift yourself out of that apathy and you know this burden, expectations and so forth that society might have placed on you. Do you have, is there anything else that... that helps to shift out of the apathy?
Yes, so what really helps us to understand. So the person that I learned from, talks about the seasons of life, right. So there's multiple seasons the same way which you know countries have seasons like summer, winter, autumn...
Life... everyone is in this different season. So the person that you are at 20 is not going to be the person you are at 30. You're going to want different things, your objectives change, your values change, your principles change. And a lot of people don't reflect you know. You've got to reflect and understand your journey and be like, "Okay if I have learned this much and I'm becoming this person, is that still aligning with what I'm doing?... and if it doesn't…?” But if you don't reflect in the first place, that apathy remains. Because reflection is very difficult. it is very difficult. You really have to think about where it is my life is going. And when you do think about it, then you can start to see new areas to work towards, new objectives. And that's something that really fills you with life because you're like, "Wow! I can do all of this and I can create that change and make it fun and easy".
Yay! Maybe as our last question today, yeah, what are your, some of your tips for how you can make change fun and easy?
Enjoy the journey, is number one. If you're completely fixated on the outcome then you're not going to be able to see the little things that you're learning along the way. Like say someone's outcome was to make a million dollars right, but they didn't have a clear picture on how that was gonna happen. They're just, "I'm gonna make a million dollars"... but then they're so fixated on the feeling of making their million dollars that they don't experience or enjoy what they do every day. Like trying a different food is an experience, going to a different land, driving a different car, just doing different things. Now I'm not saying all of it's enjoyable. But when you look back on it, it's all an experience at the end of the day that I can talk about, what you can talk about. That's how we have this chat because it was part of the journey. So that's the first one I would probably say. And the second one to make change fun and easy is to be very clear on what it is that you want. You have to be very, very clear. So clear and specific that the change that you desire is as though it's already happened, like that change is already, it's already in your reality. All you got to do is make a few footsteps and you're there. And that's another one because then you’re feeling it, you're embodying it, and it becomes you. And the change will happen soon enough. All of it matters is time. And I guess the third one, now talks about the journey… but finally you just got to enjoy what's happening whether it's positive or negative, look at it as a way for yourself to characterize growth and then...
Are you making …?
At the end of the day you can talk about it...
Are you making a distinction between fun, are you making a distinction between having fun which was the first thing you mentioned and enjoying the journey? What's the distinction between those two?
Well, having fun is like looking at different experiences and trying different things, right. Because fun is also excitable, you're basically putting yourself in the driver's seat to do different things. But enjoying is a reflectionary thing where you look back and you're like, "Okay this was pretty, this is pretty fun, oh that was pretty miserable". But fun is like looking to the future, enjoyment is looking back into the past.
Oh very interesting! I never thought of it like that. Very cool, very cool. All right, any last thoughts that you want to share with us?
Yeah, look I want to say thanks for having me on the podcast today Samia. It was exciting. Happy to talk to you about authenticity, empowerment, and just talk to you about what MindAxis Life Coaching Does. And I think while, as we talked about, a lot of people have a lot of issues you know like with different Olympians and things like that. But when it comes to the end of the day, the most important thing as we've talked about is having that vision, having something to work towards and that's how we make change truly fun and easy.True, true! I agree with you. Thank you so much for joining us today Geoff. I feel like it was one of those things where I just found you because God wanted me to find you for some reason. And we'll discover, continue to discover that as we continue to work together, and I don't know how, but we'll see what comes out of what we're doing right now. And in the meantime I'm really enjoying myself and having fun.
You're a life coach, that's why we had a good conversation.
Yes, indeed. Thank you so much :)
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