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Self Improvement

No More Self-Defeat: These 5 Strategies Grow Your Courage



no more self defeat

In January 2011, I tried to end my life.  Numerous corrosive and false core beliefs guided my decision although I was barely aware of them.  As major depression steadily dimmed the light of hope, reasons to care became harder to find.  Finally, a sense of utter worthlessness shrouded any purpose for staying alive.


Recovery involved therapy, where courage to take charge of my life took root.  I learned it is my responsibility to get my needs met.  Rather than waiting for rescue from some uncertain hero, it is up to me to live by my values.  I have the power to believe in my worth or not, to allow for imperfection or not, and to decide who I want to be.


Start Where You Are

Eventually I had to change my entire worldview.  No one has to be as low as I was before looking up, though.  Regardless your perspective, the concept of growing your courage may feel overwhelming.  Traversing the distance between where you are and where you wish to go may be beyond your imagination.


Upon hearing my story, a woman struggling with her sense of identity asked, “How did you get to where you know who you are?”


It is so simple; it looks like a magic formula.  What works for me is the same as for anyone.  An adjusted mindset is an outcome of taking one step, the next, and the next.  This is also true of finding success in your work, standing up for yourself, and squarely facing the conflicts of life.


You can grow your courage!  Imagine finding and using your voice.  Picture a day without self-defeat.  Smile at the idea of a whole week outside the status quo.  These five strategies break down a potentially daunting task into manageable chunks.


Ascertain where you are mentally, spiritually, and physically, and make note of it.  One day you will look back in pride at how far you have come.  Where you are today is the best starting point for you.


Plant a Seed of Courage

Even the tallest Sequoia tree was once a seed.  You need a seed of courage.  You will find it in strategy one.


1) Ask yourself what you want.  Is it fear?  Do you want to accomplish what you dream of doing?  What kind of person do you want looking back at you in the mirror?  Take the time to write down your answers.


The result: Clarity of focus will surprise you and others.


Stan is a young adult whose parents paid his bills.  One day he announced, “I do not want you to help me.  No money, no rescue.  I want to know I can make it on my own.”  With that, he moved to another city alone.  His struggles included homelessness and loneliness.  Because he knew who he wanted to be, this motivated him until he earned financial independence.


Water That Seed with Action

Dry seeds blow in the wind but do not produce anything.  Your seed needs the water that strategies two and three provide.


2) Define what needs changing, and come up with some creative ideas to follow through.  No idea is too weird as this is just brainstorming.  For example, if you want to be more assertive, practicing in front of the mirror is a step forward.  If you want to stop procrastinating on a tough decision, ask a friend to give you a deadline.


The result: You will begin to feel and think differently.


Edgar lost his job.  As an older man, he began to feel useless.  Hopelessness finally paralyzed him until it was difficult to tackle small chores.  He said, “I feel as if I am only waiting to die.  This is not good.”


Edgar began cleaning up around the house.  This led to building a birdhouse for his wife.  Soon, he was speaking differently, and believing he could contribute.  He said, “I’m going to volunteer at a charity.  I’ve plenty to give.”


3) Ask, “What step(s) will I take today toward becoming who I want?”  Make at least one quality decision.  So what if the step is tiny, who cares?  You are the one stretching your courage, do what is fitting for you today.  Amaze yourself over time, as one step leads to another, then another.


The result: You will know you are a winner


Julie is extremely overweight and unhappy about it.  Walking across the lawn at a nearby park is too strenuous, so she does not go there with her children very often.  She decided she wants to be healthy and more capable, so she sought appropriate support, and is changing her behavior around food.


In the mirror, she sees obesity.  In her mind’s eye, she recognizes a fighter.  Her boldness and self-respect grow.


Enjoy the Harvest

An apple seed becomes a tree that yields nourishment, beauty, and more seeds.  Your seed abounds with ripe courage.  Strategies four and five will prevent it from rotting on the tree.


4) Celebrate the victories, which are each step!  Pay attention as your confidence muscles bulk-up.  As change develops, you will inspire yourself.


The result: You will reap success after success


For a long time, my mantra was negative and self-loathing.  I turned down compliments, and denied myself the joy of victory by counting only mistakes.


A therapist recommended I write down each success without judgment.  I remember beginning one list with “got out of bed”.  The battle lasted for three years as automatic thoughts routinely dismissed even significant gains.  The process worked!  Today, attagirls override should’ves because I see success instead of failure.


5) If you fall back, do not worry.  Everyone falls back in bigger and smaller ways.  Start again, even if it is from scratch, and congratulate yourself for being so bold!  Most people remain stagnant.  You are a champion just for trying again.


The result: Self-defeat is defeated.


Cheryl moved to another state, grateful for the opportunity to start over.  Her intention was to avoid making a fool of herself this time, and to hold her temper.


Her job requires she speak up and share ideas.  The first time someone criticized her words, she snapped back in defense.  The next day she stayed home nursing her wounds and regret.  She was embarrassed.  Practicing the first four strategies over the last two years had built her confidence and all but eradicated her displays of temper.  Now old doubts refueled her shame.


It was difficult to return to her new co-workers, apologize, and try again to win their trust.  Nonetheless, she did not run from it or make excuses.



You are brave with each step you take- even for reading this and thinking seriously about change!  Every movement counts.


At the time of my attempted suicide, no one could convince me my life held purpose.  A blanket of old wounds, preconceived ideas, and unmanaged major depression obscured truth.  From despair to a slow crawl, from standing to walking- my task has been to listen to wise counsel, retrain my mind, and take one step each day.  My primary motivation from the start has been to honor God in how I think and with my choices.  I now pursue a mission of bringing hope to others who cannot see beyond their pain.


It is your turn to name what you want and to decide what kind of person you want to be.  Engage in brainstorming ideas to reach these goals.  Start moving.  You will astound yourself, and your courage will blossom, one step at a time.

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Self Improvement

Couple Entrepreneurs: How to Make It Happen With Your Partner



Partners entrepreneurs


Have you always dreamed of having success as an entrepreneur? Thoughts of working for yourself, doing things you’re passionate about, and not worrying about working for someone else may linger in your mind most of the time. If you’re married, there is a chance that your partner has some of the same goals, and that means the two of you could eventually become a pair of successful entrepreneurs who motivate one another, continually work hard, and reach all kinds of goals that will get you both further in life.


How to Make It Work


Although you may like the idea of becoming a successful entrepreneur while your partner does the same, it’s not uncommon to have some concerns about the situation. You may worry that you’re both going to take on too much and not have enough time for one another, but that isn’t always the case. It’s all about prioritizing work, setting a schedule, and being there to support one another through the ups and downs that will eventually occur.


Before working together to achieve goals, sit down and have a full conversation about the goals you’d like to achieve and the role you’ll each take on. Both of you will need to come to an agreement to keep work and the relationship separately while being respectful to one another. You can’t expect to have success with your partner if neither of you are respecting one another or collectively sharing ideas. You’ll need to focus on communication and compromising at times to make things work on a long-term basis.


Prime Examples of Successful Entrepreneur Couples


If you’re in need of motivation and encouragement because you’re not sure how to get your start in a specific industry with your partner, it may be best for you to learn a bit more about some of the successful entrepreneur couples out there. These couples work hard to achieve their goals and they support one another in various business ventures. They put forth the effort that is required of them to consistently achieve their goals.


Chris Sacca is a successful billionaire who once was fired from a job as a lawyer and then moved on to Google where had more opportunities to learn, invest, and become the success he is today. He is now the owner of a successful venture capital fund, known as Lowercase Capital. Although he’s had much success in his career, Chris Sacca’s wife, Crystal English Sacca, is a successful entrepreneur in her own right. She’s spent most of her career creating compelling and engaging commercials as well as digital advertisements for various companies. She’s worked for several of the most popular brands, including Sprint and HBO. In addition to these accomplishments, she works as an art director. While these two individuals aren’t doing the same things, they’re a married couple supporting one another while they each work hard to achieve their own personal goals.


In addition to Chris Sacca and his wife, Stewart and Lynda Resnick are another good example of a successful entrepreneur power couple. They currently have a net worth of 3.9 billion dollars. So, what is it that they’re selling? There is a good chance you’ve consumed at least one of the many products they own and distribute, such as Fiji Water or Halos oranges. The pair met when Lynda started her own ad agency and was assisting Stewart with a project for the business he was running at that time. Over time, they started working collectively together to invest and sell assorted products to the public, many of which are naturally good for human consumption.


Do What You Love and Respect One Another


There are plenty of entrepreneur couples out there. Some are just getting started while others have been in business for decades and continue to achieve a high level of success. Although you may be focused on figuring out your passion and what you want to do to get further in life while making a decent income, it’s important to understand that it’s possible for you to achieve the same level of success as some of these people who are earning millions of dollars each year. Most people don’t become a success overnight but figuring out what you want to do and how you’re going to make it happen is a great way to get started.


In addition to figuring out what you’d love to do for the rest of your life, you’ll need to remember to always respect your partner throughout the process. The thing about these successful couples is that they’re willing to provide support and guidance, they know how to communicate, and they believe in one another. If you don’t have respect, trust, and support in the relationship, it’s going to be difficult to have success as entrepreneurs together.


If you’ve always dreamed of running your own business with your partner by your side, it’s not a dream that is too farfetched. In fact, there are lots of successful couples that are working hard, reaching goals, and living the life they’ve always dreamed of having.

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Self Improvement

How Does Sleep Affect Your Mental Health?



Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep is our body’s repair mode. Our cells, tissues, muscles, and hormones are all replenished during the deepest phases of sleep. This ensures that we are operating at our best the next day.

Experts recommend about seven (7) hours of sleep a day for an average adult. This is keeps you mentally and physically focused. But what happens when you don’t get enough? Is there a link between sleep and our mental health?


The Link Between Sleep and Mood

Even someone who isn’t an expert on the subject can appreciate how active they feel after a good night’s sleep. In contrast, one can feel exhausted, irritated, and distracted after not getting enough the night before. That’s because sleep plays an important role in your mood and performance.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania conducted a study in which the subjects were restricted sleep to only 4.5 hours each night. After a week, the subjects reported greater levels of negative emotions and mental tiredness. Once they were allowed to sleep normally however, there was a sharp improvement in their mood.

Just as sleep impacts your mood, your present state of mind also has an equivalent effect on the quality of your sleep. If you’re anxious or stressed, your body will release hormones that force you to stay awake through the night, depriving you of much-needed rest. The result is a cycle of stress and lack of sleep.

Research suggests that around 15-20 percent of people who are dealing with insomnia (an inability to fall asleep) go on to develop serious mental depression. While research is still being conducted about the exact nature of the relationship between sleep and depression, there has been enough progress to indicate a strong correlation between the two.

People who suffer from insomnia are at a significantly greater risk to develop depression or anxiety. In fact, the onset of these conditions can be accurately predicted by studying the patient’s sleep patterns.


The Link Between Sleep and Learning

In addition to your mood, sleep also appears to impact your mind’s ability to learn. Three separate processes govern learning in your brain: acquisition, consolidation, and recall.

Acquisition entails receiving information and storing it in your neural circuitry. The second process, consolidation, strengthens the neural connections in your mind so that the memory is stored in an optimally useful form. Recall is when the brain accesses this stored memory when it is needed.

Poor sleep compromises all three of these processes. However, it is acquisition and recall that are most affected by sleep deprivation. Recent research has also demonstrated that a lack of sleep can reduce the brain’s ability to consolidate information it is presented with.

Students take note: inadequate sleep may negatively affect your chances of passing that exam. Indeed, you may even find yourself forgetting how to do simple tasks. If you’ve ever been involved in back-to-back all-nighters during exam week, you may already have experienced forgetting a solution to a simple problem – even after you’d done it half a dozen times!


Dealing with Sleep Problems To Improve Mental Health

If you’re experiencing emotional apathy, anxiety, depression, or irritability, one of the steps you can take before seeking a professional is to assess your sleep situation.

Treat sleep as a ritual. Similar to reading to a child before putting them to bed, a habit that helps one disconnect from gadgets and put their mind in a relaxed mood can go a long way towards ensuring a restful, wholesome, sleep experience.

Making time before going to bed is a good idea. Avoid exposure to bright lights (such as those emitted by computer screens and smartphones). Try not to consume caffeine or alcohol, as all of these can be detrimental to the quality of sleep (and may even prevent the onset of sleep completely).

Obviously, the way you’ve set up your bed (and your entire bedroom) will also play an important role in how well you’re able to sleep. For example, memory foam mattresses are often recommended for individuals who sleep in awkward postures that can cause back pain. For some good reviews, check out The Sleep Judge.

If you can’t get rid of thoughts buzzing around in your head, you may want to listen to some natural background sounds, such as rainfall or wind rushing through trees. This will ease your mind away from distractions, helping you drift off to sleep. If you get the recommended amount, see how replenished you feel the next day!


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