Did you know there is more to life than being happy?
In her book, the Power of Meaning, Emily Esfahani Smith shares her four pillars pillars of a meaningful life after realising many people were still not happy in their own world.
The Four Pillars of a Meaningful Life
1. Belonging –
Belonging comes from being in relationships where you are valued for who you are intrinsically and where you value others as well.
2. Purpose –
Finding your purpose is not the same thing as finding that job that makes you happy. Purpose is less about what you want than what you give. The key to purpose is using your strengths to serve others. For many people purpose happens at work – a “why” that drives you forward.
3. Transcendence –
Transcendence states are those rare moments when you are lifted about the hustle and bustle of daily life, your sense of self fades away and you feel connected to a higher reality. You could feel transcendence through writing, drawing, playing sport or teaching. It really depends on your gifts (hint – think about the last time you lost track of time and were really in flow).
The story you tell yourself about yourself – how you became you. We sometimes forget that we are the authors of our own stories and we can change how we are telling them. Yes – you can edit, interpret and re-tell your story.
Living a meaningful life, takes work and every day we are constantly creating our lives. The important thing to note is – are we doing it consciously or unconsciously or as I often refer to it with my clients – living above or below the line.
You can watch Emily’s TedTalk below 🙂
Over to You…
Now you have read the 4 pillars of a meaningful life, what are you going to do to apply this information? Remember, it’s up to you as you are the Sovereign of your own life.
Yesterday was 25 Years to the day since I reached the 3rd Round of the 1994 Australian Open Singles event and appeared on A Current Affair.
This week, I ventured back to the Australian Open for the 2nd time since I finished playing in 1997 (the other time was when I graduated from the Elite Coaching Course and attended the Coach’s Conference).
Subsequently it got me reflecting, what would I say to myself now as a 46-year-old to that 21-year-old who played on centre court? This is what I came up with (in no particular oder)…
27 Things I Would Want My 21-Year-Old Tennis Playing Self to Remember
1. You Are More than a Tennis Player!
Playing tennis is what you are doing at the moment as a profession, it is not WHO you are. You are so much more than a tennis player and your achievements do not relate to your worthiness as a human being. You are already worthy of love, connection and belonging and you do not have to prove your worth.
2. Be Honest
Be honest with yourself and when you feel safe and comfortable, be honest with other people. As they say, the truth will set you free.
Yes you have a strong mind and are focused, however there are thought processes which drain you (e.g. limiting beliefs, comparison, control, overcommitment and self-doubt) and do not serve you. Learn mindfulness as this will help you defuse from these draining thoughts.
7. Listen to Your Body
Learn to tune in and listen to your body. Your body gives you so many signals and it is important to listen to it, so you can minimise injuries and burnout.
9. Invest Time in and Develop Your Inner Circle of Trust
Your inner circle of trust are the people who really know you, allow you to embrace your imperfections,vulnerabilities and have your back when things don’t go accord to plan. Invest time in building these relationships.
“Self-compassion entails three core components. First, it requires self-kindness, that we be gentle and understanding with ourselves rather than harshly critical and judgmental. Second, it requires recognition of our common humanity, feeling connected with others in the experience of life rather than feeling isolated and alienated by our suffering. Third, it requires mindfulness – that we hold our experience in balanced awareness, rather than ignoring our pain or exaggerating it. We must achieve and combine these three essential elements in order to be truly self-compassionate.”
13. Manage Your Money
Stay connected with your money and develop your relationship with it. Know where it is flowing from and where it is flowing to. Have a team around you whom you trust and will support you with its management as your money matters!
14. Believe in Yourself
Yes, there will be some very challenging times and you will make “mistakes”. These times will push you to the brink and you will wonder if you can go on. Trust me, you can! You have the strength and resilience to get through the darkest days and nights. You are here for a reason (just like everyone else) and the world needs your gifts, so focus on them and believe in yourself (and remember number 11).
15. Embrace Change
Life will continue to change (that is part of the adventure), so embrace it and remember to –
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell
16. Question Everything
Be inquisitive and question everything. Learn for yourself to discover your truth.
17. Continue to Move and Take Care of Your Body
Moving your body is important, so continue to find ways to move it and take care of it through adequate nutrition etc., maintaining it and listening to it.
18. Develop Your Passions Outside of Tennis
Even though you enjoy tennis now, it will not be what you do for the rest of your life. Develop your passions and skills outside of tennis (e.g. complete educational courses / qualifications) as they will help you transition to life after tennis.
19. Give Unconditionally
When you give, give unconditionally. Yes truly, do not expect anything in return – just give (of course, as long as it feels good).
20. Celebrate Your Achievements
Maybe at the moment, you are not proud of your achievements, however it is important to celebrate them as you work hard.
21. Have Fun
Yes really, have fun and enjoy what you are doing.
“People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing.” ~ Dale Carnegie
22. Always Do Your Best
Show up and do your best. Mary Lou Retton was reported as saying it this way –
“As simple as it sounds, we all must try to be the best person we can; by making the best choices, by making the most of the talents we’ve been given.”
Reflection is a great tool that allows you to take notice and become more mindful of what is happening in your life. You can reflect on many areas of your life including – your day, week, match, training schedule. As you take time out to reflect you can discover what works for you and what doesn’t.
24. Patience is a Virtue
Continue to take small steps every day towards your vision. One day all of those small steps will add up, however remember patience is a virtue.
25. Healing Starts from Within
The most important relationship you have is with yourself. Healing starts from within, so invest your time to know, like and trust yourself 🙂
26. Be Kind
Yes, you know actions speak louder than words, however still be kind and treat people the way you want to be treated.
27. Begin Each Day With a Beginner’s Mind
Each day is a new day with new opportunities, so begin with a beginner’s mind.
So there you have it, 27 points to support you over the next 25 years. And remember –
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
As they say – life is a daring adventure or nothing at all. On Saturday 12/1/19, I travelled to Melbourne and a flood of memories came back to me from my tennis career. I decided to share what I was feeling on my personal Facebook page, and also the Habits for Wellbeing FB page and Instagram and this is what I wrote after the introduction above…
“You see – it’s 25 years since I reached the 3rd of the Australian Open Singles event, played on Centre court and was featured on A Current Affair (yes I was 21). And I have been to the Open once from memory after I finished playing in 1997 (it may have been twice, however didn’t check – I went to receive my Elite Coaching Course graduation, which co-incided with the coaching conference and why I am not sure if it’s once or twice).
I didn’t realise until this past week how much shame I have carried with me around my tennis career. I’ve realised now how much I had taken on board other peoples stuff (i.e their opinions, beliefs etc.) and deep within me, had the belief that I was a mistake and a bad person because I did not live up to other people’s expectations of me around tennis.
Trust me, I did my best and I now know I am not a mistake or a bad person for not living up to your expectations (thanks to the support of my coach) and I can finally be proud of what I did as a tennis player 🎾
Why do I share this with you?
Because these past few weeks I’ve been hearing the judgements come up around the performance of players. Those judgements are yours and rarely do they have anything to do with the player. I can only imagine the players are doing their best as I did. We really never know what is going on in another person’s life, unless we are privileged enough to be apart of it.
I also share this as I know shame is a debilitating emotion for many and it cannot live in the light – it only lives in the dark ❤️
I’m super grateful I’ve been able to learn the difference between my stuff, other people’s stuff and the bigger picture. As well as what is my responsibility (and other people’s). And I really hope other athletes can as well and have the courage to work through to the core of their own story and be who they are.
Remember you are a human being, first and foremost and not a machine. Being an athlete comes down the list 💕❤️”
Following are a couple of photos from that day 🙂
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them below.
In this post, I will share with you briefly what emotional intelligence is and three steps to start developing your emotional intelligence.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Originally John Mayer and Peter Salovey (1997) defined emotional intelligence as involving the abilities to –
to monitor one’s own and other’s feelings,
to discriminate among them, and
to use this information to guide’s one thinking and action.
However, since 1997, Mayer and Salovey have redefined emotional intelligence as –
the ability to perceive emotions,
to access and generate emotions to assist thought,
to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and
to reflectively regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).
Then in 2016, Mayer et al, further refined their definition as the four-branch model of emotional intelligence, with the four branches being –
facilitating thought using emotion,
underfunding emotions, and
Developing Emotional Intelligence
Now we are on the same page about emotional intelligence, let’s look at a 3-part process to start developing emotional intelligence. Six Seconds developed this three-part model in 1997, as a process to provide a practical and simple way to learn and practice emotional intelligence, A bit like an action plan for using emotional intelligence in daily life.
This model of EQ-in-Action begins with three important pursuits: to become more aware (noticing what you do), being more intentional (doing what you mean), and being more purposeful (doing it for a reason). Basically –
Know Yourself (K) – gives you the “what”. When you Know Yourself, you know your strengths and challenges, you know what you are doing, what you want, and what to change.
Choose Yourself (C) – provides the “how”. It shows you how to take action, how to influence yourself and others, how to “operationalise” these concepts.
Give Yourself (G) – delivers the “why”. When you Give Yourself, you are clear and full of energy so you stay focused why to respond a certain way, why to move in a new direction, and why others should come on board.
The basic model, “KCG” or “Know, Choose, Give” is simple and easy to begin putting Emotional Intelligence in to action. You can see the model is a CIRCLE and that is deliberate as it is a process (not a list). The process works when you spin it, like a propeller moving a ship. As you move through the “Know, Choose, Give” you gain positive momentum!
Three Steps to Start Developing Your Emotional Intelligence
Following is a short clip from Joshua Freedman one of the creators of Six Seconds. In the clip, Joshua elaborates on the above model.
Over to You…
Now you have read the 3 steps to start developing your emotional intelligence, what empowering choices are you going to make? Remember, it’s up to you as you are the Sovereign of your own life. If you would like to know more about the Emotional Intelligence Assessments, please click here (as I am a Certified 6 Seconds EQ Assessor).
Mayer, J. D., & Salovey, P. (1997). What is emotional intelligence? In D. J. Sluyter (Ed.), Emotional development and emotional intelligence: Educational implications (pp. 3–34). New York, NY: Basic Books.
How do you define yourself? How do others define you? Do these match or they different?
One of the things I struggled with in the past, is the label of tennis player. Yes, I achieved a lot as an athlete, however when I finished playing the sport, who was I then?
People were still asking me about tennis and as I was no longer playing, I didn’t know what to say as who I was as a tennis player appeared to be much more exciting to them compared to who I was becoming post tennis (yes that is my interpretation).
A few years ago I came across the work by Robert Dilts on NeuroLogical Levels – this made so much sense to me and helped me expand my own identity and make conscious changes in my own life. Dilts’ Neurological Levels is based on Gregory Bateson’s Logical Levels of Learning.
Expanding Your Identity – What Makes You, You?
So what makes you, you? Here is a visual based on the NeuroLogical Levels by Robert Dilts.
As you can see by the above image, human beings are complex and are made up of a variety of elements – an identity is made values and beliefs, and then each value and belief relates to different capabilities, those capabilities relate to behaviours within environmental conditions. Some of these elements are internal and some are external, so is it any wonder expanding your identity can take time!
Over to You…
Now that you have read about what makes you, you, what are you going to do with this information in order to BE who you are born to BE? If you are ready to make a change in your life and create a life you love, it would be wise to align all of the NeuroLogical Levels.
Remember – you can choose to be at cause or effect in relation to change – the decision is yours!
Stop waiting for the perfect moment. Start living and creating your dreams today. Start making empowering choices and doing what brings you joy. Remember, it’s up to you as you are the Sovereign of your own life.