I had a rather unconventional childhood. I didn't spend my time playing games with dolls, as is expected of little girls. I had no fear and I questioned everything -- and I mean everything. At the age of 14, while most kids were out doing teenage things, I was glued to the library. I read and read and soaked up all the knowledge I could when it came to psychology, philosophy, the human mind, the mind's interconnection with body and spirit and the patterns of successful people. Even at a young age, I dedicated my learning journey to human potential and success.
When I grew older, I entered the great big world of finance and climbed that corporate ladder fast. Clearly, all my childhood learning was paying off. But I still felt emptiness inside. I didn't feel fulfilled or passionate about what I was doing.
I then became a mother and hit what I regarded as a major catastrophe. I fell into a deep bout of postnatal depression, which left me feeling alone and lost. Motherhood brought me face-to-face with some of my darkest thoughts. I was hindered by my deep-rooted limiting beliefs and couldn't understand what my purpose in life was.
Don't get me wrong; I loved being a mother. But as I embarked on this new journey, I reassessed every facet of my life. I bandied questions around about what impact I wanted to have, how I wanted to manifest my strengths and where I wanted to focus my energy when I wasn't a full-time mother. I was plagued with the question of whether I should feel guilty about wanting to be something else besides just a mother. I wanted more, but felt ashamed of myself for wanting to develop in other ways, to pursue my personal passions. Taking time out for me felt wrong. Surely I was denying time to someone who needed more of it than I did.
I'm not someone who can accept such frustration, so I decided to do something about it. I couldn't stay in my dark hole forever, so I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. I hired mentors, studied brain plasticity and I literally rewired my brain. My revelation was that in order to move forward, I had to overcome my limiting beliefs that were holding me back in my state of postnatal depression.
The Path From Crisis to Success and Passion
There are two exceptionally important dates in your life: the day you're born and the day you find out "why" you're here, which is where your passion and purpose come from. I talk about this in detail in my upcoming book Reboot! Your Mind: 7 Steps for Working Mothers and Entrepreneurs.
So when do you find your "why," you might wonder. Well, research has actually shown that people find their "why" or life purpose after experiencing life challenges.
In my case, it was time for action. I needed to take the crisis and turn it on its head. I wanted to make a difference, to follow my dreams and use the talents I had been given, so I decided to join the entrepreneurial revolution. I'd already been researching personal development, brain studies and human potential for the past 25 years, as a hobby. Why not turn that knowledge into something worthwhile? Thus my businesses were born.
Brainy Child Education came first, established as a means to providing parents and educators with essential tools and resources to help each and every child reach their ultimate potential. Not long after, I set up a success coaching and training business, with an emphasis on women's issues. I focused on what the latest psychological and neuroscience data was telling us about the brain, behavior and change.
Were Other Women Dealing With the Same Issues?
Once I'd recovered from my personal crisis, I felt a strong need to see if other women were facing the same issues I had dealt with. In August 2014, I conducted a survey with more than 6,000 women online. The results were astounding.
• Women have an immense amount of difficulty in managing work, life and family commitments.
• Women are tend to be "people pleasers." This leads to exhaustion and a feeling of being overwhelmed as they constantly try to please all those around them.
• Women carry worry like it's another personality sitting on their shoulder. They worry about their futures.
• Women are afraid of failure, lack self-worth and often feel as if they're not good enough. They feel disempowered and lack confidence.
• Women fear disappointing people, so guilt walks around with them day after day.
• Women want to do meaningful work and accomplish something significant in the world.
This survey proved to be very insightful. It shows that even in our so-called age of enlightenment, women still feel scared to follow their talents and dreams.
The Almighty Secrets to Success
So, what does it take to be successful?
Here are some of the success secrets I've learned along my journey, based on personal experiences, 25 years of research and learning from many mentors:
1. What Does Success Mean to You?
We all have unique gifts and talents, whether we've manifested them or not. It's vital to make a commitment to discover these talents and follow our dreams and passions -- not someone else's. Therefore, our first step should be to define what success means to us as individuals.
2. Beat Negative Thoughts and Beliefs
One of the most difficult challenges I came across in my life was overcoming self-doubt and my fear of the unknown. Over time, I've come to realize that our own experiences and perceptions, as well as the opinions of others, have a powerful effect on how we view ourselves and what we can accomplish. When we break away from our restricting beliefs, we feel empowered and energized to reach our full potential.
3. Failure Is an Inevitable Part of Life
No one goes through life without experiencing failure. Accept this and don't beat yourself up when you fail. Turn those setbacks into learning opportunities. After all, risks are part of success, but they must be calculated and focused. These falls along the way can build character and lead to insight, as long as you pay attention and learn from your mistakes. Remember: Those who live too cautiously may not fail -- but they won't grow, either.
4. Find and Be Your Authentic Self
You are you. Don't be afraid to show it and own it. To be successful, you NEED to be authentically you, in all your collaborative work with others.
5. Be a Pioneer
Chart your own course and be a pioneer. This is one of the most important traits of a strong leader. Be bold, stand out -- but be smart about it. All successful women listen to other people and learn from them, but you can then put your own stamp on things by thinking differently and coming up with innovative solutions. Especially important for women leaders, embrace your feminine talents and you will find yourself redefining women leaders as strong and powerful, like their masculine counterparts.
I can honestly say that my personal journey hasn't been easy, but has it been worth it? Absolutely. By following the above steps, I've learned how to pursue my passion and live a meaningful, fulfilling life. I've realized that self-belief, perseverance and positive relationships are at the heart of achieving long-lasting and purposeful success.
In my next blog, I will reveal the root of my limited beliefs, which was the ultimate cause of my postnatal depression.
I also share my top success strategies in great detail in my upcoming book 'Reboot Your Mind: 7 Steps to Success for Working Mothers and Entrepreneurs,' which will be coming out later in 2015. I hope you'll subscribe to this blog so you'll know when the book comes out.
Sources: I conducted an international market research by surveying women online and offline with over 6k respondents. My survey asked five simple questions: 1. what is your biggest frustration, challenge or fear?, 2. what have you tried but has not worked? 3. what worries you? 4. what are you afraid will happen if you don't resolve your biggest frustration, worry or fear? and 5. If you had one question what would it be?