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Stuck in a power struggle with yourself?

iStock_000005889385XSmallAs a coach and counsellor, I’m privileged to work with some wonderful high-powered businessmen (and -women). Yet the men, particularly, often resist their power so strongly that it can sometimes be hard to break through. They’re used to being in charge and to making things work. After all, for better or for worse, they’ve been running the world for millennia. But if things are not working in their business, they tend to attribute it to some external factor—the market, the economy, the poor work ethic, the wrong location, the workers, the competition, etc. They tell me: Olga, you don’t understand this business. I’ve been running this company for 30 years and I know how these things work.

And I say to them: Well, you’ve been running your body for 55 years and it’s not bringing you what you want; how well do you know how it works?

I’ve been around the block, Olga, and this is how it works in this industry. People just don’t

But it’s not about those people, out there. It’s about what’s going on inside; it’s about the power of you and your subconscious, and whether that power is switched on or off. It’s about whether that power is being channelled into external sinkholes or into the true inner drivers of your life.

But you don’t know how hard I’ve worked, how many times I’ve tried to fix this… you just don’t understand everything I’ve done.

True. I don’t. But I don’t need to, because I know the power of you—how it gets switched off, what it takes to switch it on, why we resist it so much, and how we can prove to ourselves that there’s an easier way to win. I don’t need to know the story of your life to know what’s going on; whatever’s happening in your life right now is story enough.

Yes, but…

I’ve been there, done that—argued with all the ‘evidence’ that life presents, and resisted the deeper truth, again and again and again. I’ve been masterful at resisting the power of me, and I know the symptoms of self-denial.

There’s a basic goodness and strength in men that pushes them to want to achieve things, to perform well and to make things work. (Of course, there’s sometimes a teeny weeny bit of ego, as well…) But while men can readily acknowledge the power of their business, as something they have created, they often discount the power of themselves, which is something that they are. And while it might sometimes seem as if I’m criticizing their approach by focusing on what’s going on inside them, I’m actually paying them the greatest compliment possible. I’m directing them to explore a power that will leave all their sophisticated business strategies in the shade.

We all have it, of course—not just men—and it’s a power that overrides market forces, the economy and whatever other factors may seem to be deciding our fate. Recognizing and understanding that power represents such a radical shift that it’s often too big a leap for some to make. Circumstances are so convincing, dramatic and distracting that we can’t see how some indefinable force inside us could possibly cancel out all the ‘evidence’ of our apparent inability to turn things around—to get the partner of our dreams, to save our business, to heal our relationships, or to break long-standing cycles of debt or defeat.

Yet if we resist an exploration of this power, we’re resisting ourselves. If we resist an expression of this power, we’re resisting success. If we insist on believing in the power of external forces, we’re resisting the easy route to getting what we want.

In all the strategizing, financial planning, market research and other due diligence that hard-working businessmen undergo, it can be hard to see an easy route. But if we switch our focus from external events to our internal dynamics, we discover a much greater force that can work in our favour.

I sometimes encourage men (especially those who work even harder when things stall) to take time out to just sit and meditate—to allow inspiration and answers to come to them, and to demonstrate the trust and confidence that they don’t always feel, deep down. But many of them are quick to set me straight: Olga, meditation doesn’t work for me. And I don’t have time for it; I’ve got to save my business, make money, protect my employees…

If we resist meditation, we’re resisting a connection with our self—the source of all our answers. And if meditation ‘doesn’t work’, it’s the connection with self that’s been scrambled.

We all have the power to be masterfully ‘manifestatious’. Our bodies and minds are the systems through which we live our lives—the medium through which we process who we think we are, how we think life works, and what we believe is possible. It’s not about finding a savvy business plan to outsmart the competition, or using clever marketing strategies to attract lots of paying clients. It’s about recognizing that you are the system, and then working to ensure that that system is operating powerfully—with solid self-worth, positive intent, healthy dynamics, clear boundaries, wholesome integrity, honest self-expression, sound values, and a loving validation of who you are, without manipulation, disrespect or contrivance, and without compromising or over-extending yourself in the hope of a payoff.

So, men, take a bow for all that you’ve achieved …and take a break to let in all that’s trying to reach you. You deserve it and it’s time to let things be easy. Any negative circumstances are simply pushing you to take charge in a new and masterful way, from the inside out.

Forget about tapping into the grid; get connected to the power in you and you’ll have no more power failures in your life. You’ll have power to pass on to others—and rocket fuel to spare.

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Is fear the story of your life?

28/05/2013 2 comments

Caveman and t-rexOnce upon a time, we lived in caves. We also lived in fear. We were hunters, but we were also prey, vulnerable to attack from nasty, brutish beasties. Outside our caves (and sometimes also in them), life was scary, unpredictable and full of unknowns. We learned to lie low, to reduce our exposure to danger; we learned to be stealthy to avoid being eaten alive; we learned to understand our predators so that we could outwit them; and we learned to hide, as being visible could mean big trouble.

Fast-forward to the twenty-first century… and we have traded caves for boxes in the sky; we’ve traded loin cloths for suits, clubs for cellphones, and grunts for smooth talking. But we still live in fear – fear of competition, fear of not being good enough and fear of not being loved. We’re afraid to be ourselves, to stand up for what we believe in and to do outrageous things. We’re afraid to be fully seen for who we are, even though (in fact, because) we crave visibility and acceptance. We’re afraid of rejection and of not being liked, which makes us needy, distorts our sense of self, and leads to compromises that bring us more of what we don’t want.

We may wish to blame our parents, our parents’ parents, or even our prudish Victorian ancestors for our inhibitions – and for all the disappointments that result; yet these fears have existed in us since the first hairy beast – and the first human being – roamed the Earth (and, back then, there may not have been much difference between the two). We are safer now than at any other time in history, yet our fears have not diminished accordingly. Instead, they have been channelled into a much more insidious – yet equally life-depleting – context. They are fuelled by low self-worth, by a sense of unacceptability and by the idea that we’re innately sinful and imperfect, constantly in need of improvement, redemption and forgiveness.

But where does this impetus come from? The answer is religion, although religion is not the answer to anything else at all. Whether you are religious or not, you have been shaped, distorted and diminished by religious influence. Even if you consciously reject all religious constructs, they have had an impact on almost every culture on Earth, filtering down to you through your parents, teachers, politicians and presidents, while seeping into the morals, laws and constitution of almost every ‘civilized’ nation.

Religion has disconnected us from our own ‘hotline’ to God/the universe and our own power, just as effectively as rubber-soled shoes have insulated us from our electrical connection with the Earth. We no more need a religious framework to connect with our all-powerful, co-creative, spiritual selves than we need a cable to connect us to the Earth’s energies. Existing as human beings is enough, as is standing barefoot on the grass.

Our natural flow of power and energy has been distorted by generations of programming. As a result of self-appointed religious intermediaries, and the manmade rules and regulations that they promote, we have surrendered our autonomy as innately worthy, creative and masterful beings.

But there is nothing wrong with us. In reality, the only thing we need to ‘fix’ is the layers of negative programming and conditioning that have scrambled our connections – with our self and with our power to create the lives we want.

Removing these layers of low self-worth sets us free to clearly see the truth – and to apply the universal laws that enable us to thrive and love life. Like taking off our shoes and walking barefoot along the beach, it reconnects us with the Earth and with the life-giving energies that fuel our body, mind and spirit. But if we always have our shoes on, we are no longer grounded in the earth, and the ‘charge’ from cellphones, wi-fi and countless electrical appliances can overwhelm the body, creating sickness, inflammation or stress. Similarly, without emotionally, mentally and spiritually grounding ourselves in the truth of our mastery, we fall prey to the unfounded fears of our forefathers. But just because they succumbed to religious oppression, way back when they risked being burned at the stake, doesn’t mean we have to.

So kick those shoes off and get re-connected with the earth, and with your innate goodness and ‘godness’. Look around you and see just how truly safe, loved and cared-for you are – by nature, by your own creative self-sufficiency and by the universal energy that fuels us all. Whatever fears you have originated in your mind. And if you can change your mind, you can do anything.

Toxic-parenting purge [Part 2]

30/04/2013 1 comment

51 Move your bodyToxic-parenting purge [Part 2]

Resolving emotional pain can be serious stuff. If you have personal issues from your early years, you may find it exhausting – not to mention expensive – to address them effectively. And if you’ve suffered abuse in your upbringing, it may be depressingly difficult to break free from the frustration, anger and shame of the past.

To continue in the vein of emotional spring-cleaning of my previous blog (Part 1), here’s another spin on taking charge of your own healing, while giving yourself permission to have fun with it and thereby reduce its grip on your life. If you have suffered emotional, physical or psychological abuse in your life, the suggestion of using humour is not meant to trivialize your experience; it is, however, intended to lighten your load, while encouraging your subconscious to take a less serious view of what happened, thereby transmitting more positive messages to your body-mind as well as to the outside world. Since our self-worth is determined by our perception of who and what we are (which has been largely shaped by others), we can reduce any negative perceptions by focusing on light-hearted self-acceptance. When we laugh, we lift our spirit – and we also reduce the weighty ‘charge’ around the emotional pain in our hearts, which can cause us to attract more of the same.

Choosing to have fun with some former painful, damaging experience is a powerful statement of self-determination. It’s an active refusal to allow that pain to further dictate the quality of your existence. And if you’ve already done a lot of personal growth work, having outrageous fun may be the only thing you haven’t tried.

So let’s take that abuse to pieces. Let’s break it down so that it no longer runs your life or makes you reactive. Let’s see what it really stands for, and how you can read something better into this highly-charged word, transmuting it into a higher expression of who you really are, with humour, creativity and self-acceptance:

A is for ab-use – the creative and energetic use of your abs to exorcize your inner demons and free yourself from emotional angst, while making a nice tidy little six-pack of your tummy. Work those abs and pump that solar plexus, where most of your heavy-duty negative programming is lodged, but from where it can be ousted, with a little huff-n-puff and dogged determination. (You can double the benefit by doing this while watching a really funny movie, although you may end up doubled over.)

B is for brave-blogging – a brazen blog on something totally tedious that happened to you, written with all the weighty seriousness associated with a major world crisis. Like when you lost your earring down the plug hole and had to resort to all kinds of contortions and pointy contraptions to fish it out; or when you stepped on a massive mushy slug – in your bare feet! – and the luscious sound and texture of it, as it slithered silkily along the skin of your sole, where all 72,000 nerve endings instantly related the gristly nature of this encounter to every squeamish cell in your bod… or that time you had a really bad hairday and ended up looking (and feeling) like an angry buffalo in need of a parting just a little more to the left or maybe the right, if only your hair were not in a state of electrified anarchy… Be brave. Write unflinchingly. And send your message out to the universe. Speaking of which…

U is for universe – your very own private playground, with endless resources to nourish you and your dreams. Know that the entire universe is there to serve you – to enable you to discover, heal and empower yourself, not to mention having a laugh at all its cosmic ironies. Everything around you exists to somehow make your life better, richer and more meaningful – and it’s meant to make you laugh. The universe is working entirely on your behalf (even if it doesn’t always seem to), and it’s dedicated to bringing a smile to your face, every single day (which can be really hard work when we take ourselves seriously). Look for the humour, especially in the pain, for every single molecule thrives on the vibrations of your laughter. Own it; make the universe yours; and see what wonderful mischievous magic you can co-create together when you see the universe as the cosmic comedian that it is.

S is for scrumptious, sinful, soulful sustenance – the kind your body needs to support you in living your best-ever life. Focus on eating power-packed foods for one whole week and see what happens when you nourish yourself fully, without resorting to the comfort foods that the battered body so often yearns for. Think: brain food, superfood smoothies, maca-flavoured munchies, sprouted nutty nuggets, raw-cacao brownies, veg-n-fruit bars, raw chocolate – all the yummy, nourishing, potent stuff that you can find or fabricate yourself. By eating delicious foods that boost your brain power and your mood, you’ll gain a new understanding of the feel-good factor – and you’ll want to chuck the dreaded comfort foods that only mask your pain and stress your already-addled adrenals. Feed your body lovingly, and you’ll attract more of that loving quality into your life.

E is for everything – what you are made of, what you were created to do, and what you stand to gain by liberating yourself from the pain of your past. You have it all – the resources and the recipes; the faculties and the funnies; the smarts and the sexiness; the ideas and the insights; the wealth and the worthiness; and the power and the purpose, not to mention a host of heavenly hormones and huge hugability.

So put your own fresh, sassy spin on that tired old record that keeps replaying itself inside you. Hopefully, the abuse you suffered is a thing of the past; when you find creative ways to let it go, you give us all the gift of your presence by sharing the real, unabridged, uninhibited you.

I look forward to reading your brazen brave-blog.

Time for a toxic-parenting purge? [Part 1]

25/04/2013 2 comments

30 Missing Pieces telling offParenting is a tough task. Perfect parenting is an impossible one. But most parents do a phenomenal job of caring for their children, while holding down a job (or two), remembering everyone’s birthday and making order out of chaos. There are some, though, whose unresolved issues and emotional pain from their own upbringing result in abuse and deep emotional scars for their offspring. The fallout is costly, with failed relationships, unexpressed anger, and years of therapy for many worthy souls. And even if they arrive at a place of compassion and understanding for their parents’ pain, it can be hard to completely let go of the feelings and memories that distorted their world.

In cases like this, it can be refreshing to give yourself permission to vent and to not feel obliged to love someone just because they gave birth to you. It can be healthy to reclaim yourself by rejecting all that ‘stuff’, through humour and spontaneous self-expression, in ways that got suppressed through abuse in your formative years. If you’ve done years of therapy and have diligently peeled away the layers of pain that got laid down, it might feel good to just ‘let it rip’.

Over the years, many women have came to see me about the pain of their past – and the damage done by their severely dysfunctional alcoholic parents. These parents had dumped all their toxic pain on their children (a projection of their own sense of worthlessness and despair, since their children are an extension of them) and some took a perverse pleasure in seeing them suffer. It’s hard to feel compassion for parents like that – and maybe we shouldn’t even try. If we find ourselves trying to make sense of such wanton cruelty, it’s often because we’re trying to figure out what it was about us that caused them to be that way. That, in itself, is a big part of the damage done to our sense of self and our innate self-worth.

So, for all those lovely women (and men) out there who have experienced the pain of a loveless and alcohol-driven existence, here’s a tongue-in-cheeky recipe for relief that will hopefully bring a smile to your lips and a lilt to your heart. (For other forms of toxic parenting, see Part 2 – coming shortly.)

Imagine a world without those parents; they have evaporated into the ethers in an alcoholic haze and are no longer using up valuable oxygen on planet Earth. You’ve decided to expunge all negative feelings and memories associated with them. What should you do?

Celebrate! Take a whole week off work and give thanks that you’re finally free. But don’t go drinking, now. You know what happened to them, and you don’t want to give them the afterlife satisfaction of turning into an alcoholic yourself.

Spend all of Monday walking on the beach, breathing in that delicious parent-free air. Savour the fact that you are a self-sufficient, autonomous, self-determined being, and give yourself total permission to be as outrageous and creative as you a-parently are.

On Tuesday, eat a whole bar of organic dark chocolate, just to re-affirm that you can actually enjoy yourself (maybe even experience ecstasy, if it’s really yummy chocolate) without getting drunk. Notice the uniqueness of your experience, which you can’t possibly describe to anyone else, even if they’re a connoisseur of chocolate, and remind yourself that all your experiences are your own, for you to accept or reject, as you see fit.

On Wednesday, go into a pub/wine bar and order a fresh orange juice, sipping it slowly as if it were heavenly nectar (which it is). Luxuriate in the fact that your taste buds are alive and well (rather than being numbed by alcohol) and that you can fully appreciate the delicious, sun-kissed perfection of nature’s simple goodness. 

On Thursday, go dirty dancing and take special delight in being able to pirouette 10 times without falling over legless. Even if you do fall over, you can laugh, knowing that it puts a healthy spin on life; and you can get up, knowing that you’re still in charge of you.

On Friday, write them a letter telling them what you think of them and send it off to the Guinness Book of Records, without a return address. Be creative, exaggerate, and inject as much humour as you can, knowing that laughter is a form of self-love – and an antidote to pain.

On Saturday, go sit on a mountaintop and give thanks for all that you are that they were not …and apologize to the universe for ever thinking that you were anything other than perfect – not to mention courageous, strong and forgiving, with an uncanny ability to see life’s many ironies.

By Sunday, you should be feeling fabulous. Parents? What parents…?

Please note: No parents were harmed in the making of this blog.

Righteously religious …or mightily misguided?

26/02/2012 1 comment

A young woman called Lola contacted me recently for help with a religious dilemma. She was a ‘non-practising Catholic’ and desperately wanted to marry her ex-boyfriend, who happened to be a Jew. They had broken up because of the religious mis-match and she wanted help in trying to win him back. Lola was willing to convert to Judaism and would do anything to prove that she could be a good Jew. How could she get him to believe her? What could she do to convince him that religion would not be an issue if she converted to his faith?

The problem with religion is that it’s divisive. It separates people into different categories, rather than bringing them all together as one and the same. It forces people to accept certain dogmas, rules and rituals …if they want to be part of the club. And it tells them what to believe rather than helping them to explore their own spiritual selves, forcing them to be judgemental of themselves and others. More importantly, it forces people to choose—resulting in the kind of lose-lose choice that Lola felt forced to make. If I choose this man, I must become a Jew. If I don’t convert to Judaism, I lose this man. Going deeper still, it means: if I choose this man, I lose a part of myself; if I become a Jew, I compromise my values, my independence and my personal freedom. There’s no room here for me to change my mind later; my kids will be brought up Jewish, even if I decide I can’t handle it.

So I asked her if she really wanted to marry a man who made these kinds of conditions and demands. Could she unconditionally love someone who did not unconditionally love and accept her? Was she willing to give up her personal autonomy—her right to choose whatever she might subsequently choose to do or be, in any area of her life, in the future? Was she willing to distort herself to fulfill what this man considered to be a necessary role?

A relationship founded on this kind of unhealthy compromise can never be truly loving, trusting or committed, since all such compromises ultimately require a distortion of the self, which creates resentment. It would be shaped and controlled by an outside force, in the form of religion, and Lola would be monitored for her adherence and commitment to the Jewish faith. She would need to constantly demonstrate her conformity and would likely find herself saying yes when she wanted to say no, going along with rituals and ceremonies that had no real meaning for her, and generally suppressing whatever feelings she might have along the way that might jeopardize her ‘right’ to stay married to her chosen partner.

If religion requires this kind of sacrifice and if it doesn’t bring us together in love and unity, surely there’s something wrong with it. And why should anyone be expected to take on another’s beliefs, when our connection to God (or whatever we might choose to believe in) is a purely personal, private matter? Why should we care what others believe in, provided we live by our own healthy values and respectfully allow others to do the same? How can any faith be threatened, if faith exists inside each individual and is the one thing that no one can take away from them? Does it matter to you that I eat brown bread instead of white, prefer yoga to tai chi, support a different football team, or believe in me more than in a priest/minister/rabbi…? How does it benefit you if I believe exactly what you believe, rather than being true to myself? Being true to me is precisely what makes me reliable and trustworthy, since I won’t be swayed by others telling me what to do. And personal autonomy is the key to empowerment and fulfillment (not to mention democracy), since anything else is control.

So if you’re ever faced with a situation like Lola’s, ask yourself this: Is it really about religion/your football team/politics/vegetarianism? What are you really afraid of, if your partner doesn’t share your beliefs? Is it him/her you’re afraid of losing control over or it is you? And if you’re not in charge of your own beliefs, who is?

Getting to the core of love

We spend a lot of time and energy seeking love in our lives. We may be looking for acceptance from a partner or approval from a parent; we may be hoping to succeed at a job interview or to win the respect of our peers; or we may be looking for support from our friends or help with some heartache. But all of these things are a form of love, and the need for this love drives almost everything we do.

Yet in relating to our partner, parent, boss or friends, we often send them very self-defeating messages. In our need for love lies our subconscious belief that we don’t deserve it. And in our attempts to appear lovable or acceptable to others, we trip over ourselves telling them how inadequate we are. I know I look fat in this dress. I’m really stupid when it comes to maths. I’m never going to get this right. I don’t earn enough money. I’m a hopeless dancer. I hate my legs—they’re full of cellulite. My hair’s a mess. I’ve got SO many wrinkles. I look ancient… What man/woman is going to want this??

We invalidate ourselves daily and we’ve got an arsenal of disclaimers to pre-empt the possible—and anticipated—criticisms of others. We so desperately want others to like/love/accept us that we allow them to define us—and we help them along by listing all our flaws and shortcomings. We give them rights to us—the right to determine how lovable we are; the right to determine how we feel about ourselves; and the right to treat us the way they think we should be treated. Yet we’re entitled to love and we must take ownership of our rights.

When we subconsciously believe ourselves to be unlovable, we prevent others from loving us. If we want to truly allow others in and to be deeply, unconditionally loved, we must stop rejecting ourselves—before, during and after any kind of interaction. We must reclaim ownership of ourselves and allow ourselves to be loved. It’s a choice, not a judgement. We must realize that we determine just how lovable, acceptable and deserving we are.  We think it’s determined by others who appear to be judging us, but the deeper truth is that our perception of unlovability causes us to attract people who reflect that perception back to us.

Being overweight, financially challenged, clumsy, shy, insecure etc has nothing to do with our lovability. These are merely the outcomes of our belief that we’re unlovable and we use them as excuses to buffer ourselves from being ‘found out’. After all, if someone gets too close, they’re going to discover just how unlovable we really are, right? Or so we often believe.

Yet a lot of our insecurities can generate self-pity—even blame. I’m so upset that he didn’t like me. How could he SAY such a thing?? If only she hadn’t made that nasty comment about me I’d be okay. It’s her fault that I’ve got this whopping headache. Some people are so selfish; they just dump everything on me. Everyone expects me to do all the work around here. We even use others as an excuse for staying stuck. I’m not going out today; I’ve put on so much weight, I don’t want anyone to see me like this. I’m not going to his party; he’s only going to talk about his boring work…

We’re really quite creative in the strategies we devise to hold ourselves back. We hardly need others to help us. But we need to wise up if we truly want to be loved. We must take ourselves seriously if we want to be seen for who we really are. And we must take responsibility for all the people we reject in their bid to reach us. Attracting love is not just about loving yourself more; it’s about choice, ownership, responsibility and entitlement—keys to the core of you.

Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s for the birds…

We could learn a thing or two from birds—the feathered variety. They’re up at the crack of dawn every day, singing their little hearts out, and never worrying about where the next worm is coming from. They’re not moody and they don’t get depressed when it’s raining. (I’ve never seen a bird sulk—have you?) They add value to any natural environment, with zero negative impact. They stick together and they trust in nature’s rhythms. They’re true to themselves and they fly where their inner guidance takes them.

Humans, on the other hand, tend to be filled with self-doubt and insecurity—despite all our resources, skills and creativity. We have difficulty trusting ourselves or the natural order of things. We mask our fears, put on a brave front, and do whatever we can to impress others, in the hope that they’ll find us acceptable.

In life as in business, this insecurity cramps our style. It hinders our authenticity and the power that comes from being naturally, quirkily ourselves. In striving to make ourselves acceptable, we actually diminish our value. If we lack strong, healthy self-acceptance—as so many of us do, due to early negative programming or insensitive upbringing—we don’t believe we’re worthy of love, success or approval. As a result, we make compromises in the hope that others will like or accept us. We say yes when we really want to say no; we over-extend ourselves in our work because we want to prove our value; and we go along with what others want, to avoid conflict, disharmony or rejection.

Yet to be powerful in business and relationships, we need a strong sense of identity, healthy self-worth and the ability to embody our personal values in everyday life. Now, more than ever before, we’re being called upon to say what we mean, mean what we say, and practise social, moral and emotional integrity. When we do, we make a powerful impact. In the midst of all the hype and hard sell, authenticity is as refreshing as a cool shower on a blisteringly hot summer’s day.

The only thing that stops us from being more powerfully authentic is the fear of rejection. We’ll do almost anything to avoid that. But catering to this insecurity often brings us the very rejection we fear, whereas being brazenly authentic makes us attractively compelling. When we dare to be ourselves, to speak our minds and to express how we truly feel, we become magnets for good stuff.

Being authentic not only breaks long-standing cycles of conformity; it also gets people’s attention, as well as their respect and admiration. I’ve experienced this in my own work and life. When I say what I think/feel (despite anticipated negative reactions), I feel good about me—and that, in turn, generates some other positive outcome that matches the healthy self-worth I’ve demonstrated by being true to myself.

Finding true success and fulfillment is all about practising the very qualities that are so often missing in our early conditioning—respect, honesty and the ability to communicate with presence and transparency. These qualities are often missing in our business dealings too, as we’ve all been programmed to cater to the needs and expectations of others, rather than trusting in the value of our unique insights and contribution.

If you want to thrive in business or in love, dare to express what you really think; be proactive, rather than catering to existing circumstances or market forces; follow your instincts and find your voice, even if it means disagreeing with the boss; let go of the need to be accepted by others and focus instead on being true to you—the person you’ve got to live with for the rest of your life. Only when you give yourself the approval, acceptance and respect you’ve been seeking from others, can you really take off and fly.