4 Steps for Reaching Genuine Happiness and Success!

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“The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake – you can’t learn anything from being perfect.” – Adam Osborne

I guess you could say I have made many mistakes throughout my life. I’ve spent the past few years learning, growing, and getting it right!
Pulling myself out of the chaos and confusion would become my primary goal in life. For once, I felt consequences, and aimed for victory! For as long as I can remember, I had big dreams.
Growing up and facing circumstances out of my control was never easy, but those situations would one day be the reason I was driven to pursue my dreams. I have discovered the secret to maintaining balance, harmony, and spiritual equilibrium. Can you guess what the most important component is to reaching these three things? YOU! Yes, that is right, every positive change will begin with You! I am going to show you why YOU are so very important to achieving great success.
It is safe to say I’ve always been driven by my dreams. For many years, these dreams were enough to get me through to the next day. I held on to hope for a better life. I longed to be a successful leader and advocate for health and fitness, and help others overcome all obstacles. What many discover, including myself, is that we are our greatest enemy. We are our own worst critic. We get in the way of achieving great success by how we view ourselves. Once we shift our thoughts, our lives begin to change.
What motivates you the most? Mine happens to be my spiritual connection, my wonderful husband and my three amazing kids! When I want to quit, I think of the above and I immediately gain momentum and strength to keep moving in a positive direction.
Over two decades I aspired to be a runner, fitness guru, expert in weight loss, and promote healthy nutrition and maintain optimal physical fitness to all of my clients. So I did. I placed most of my time, energy and resources into doing just that! Yet over time, the added stress, heartache, life disasters, unforeseen obstacles, and disappointments knocked me down more times than I can remember. But, I always got back up! Why? Because I wanted to!
Even if I did not jump right up, I got up, and I moved forward, learning and understanding from any recent failures. Nine times out of ten, most of my mistakes and failures could have been avoided, if I had shifted my focus and changed my thinking.
You see, the problem is, even when I was dreaming big, and following my gut, I was also living with a negative mindset, making mistake after mistake in my personal life.
But then it all changed. My mistakes became my life’s biggest lessons. This is were many of us screw up. We make a mistake, but we do not learn from it. We repeat this many times and these behaviors eventually change the outcome of our lives. Let’s face it, we are never prepared to lose the things we love the most, right? It may take losing everything before the lesson actually sinks in. Don’t repeat the mistake until it is too late. Take the lesson and use it to grow and change the behavior now! It is NEVER too late!
Fear held me back countless times throughout my life. I feared making mistakes, failure, rejection, and loss, but, believe it or not, I feared success, too. For many years, I set goals for myself – being a fitness advocate and creating programs that helped individuals reach their highest physical fitness level with nutrition and exercise programs that were challenging, yet effective. I had immersed myself for years, practicing, implementing, trial and errors, and studying. Studying and studying, oh and did I mention, studying? It was time to launch my programs to the online world!
You see, I knew I was capable of doing anything, all it took was hard work and dedication, but my previous mistakes were always on my mind. So, it took a little bit longer to get there. The more good I was doing, the more my confidence grew. My personal training business was doing great and now my fitness programs were taking off online and doing so much better than I ever imagined. Things were really taking a turn for the better. Victory and success weren’t just dreams, they had become my reality.
After a few years of having earning great success with my career, life hit again! Disaster struck, and I became ill with a virus of unknown origin. I began feeling sick, on and off, in the summer of 2015. This would continue for months and turned into constant fevers reaching 105-107°F by November.
I experienced flu-like symptoms several times over the course of five months.  Fatigue had consumed me, I was weak and tired all the time, running fevers at least twice a month. I went to a doctor, however the blood work came back normal. There were a few wrong diagnoses during this time, however, these would soon be corrected once I was hospitalized. As my health continued to decline of course so did my motivation.
November of that same year, my fever hit 105 and landed me in the hospital for several days.  My liver enzymes were dangerously high and the fevers continued to rise. The days in the hospital grew into a week, then two weeks. At one point my fever hit 107 and I was hallucinating and having seizures. The doctors were unable to get my fever down as my liver enzymes continued to rise.
The doctors told my husband to call the family in, things were not looking good. As I laid in the hospital bed, praying to God to keep me alive, I begged him for a another chance at life. I promised I would get it right! My fever would not break and I continued to pray and hold onto hope that I would turn the corner. I fought harder each day and always remembered my motivation, my spiritual connection to God, my husband, and my three children. I never gave up! I continued fighting and fighting to get better!
By the grace of God, I eventually pulled through this. It took months to recover and to this day, the doctors are not sure where the virus originated. Scary, right? Could this be a lesson?
This illness turned out to be a blessing. I dreamed even bigger than before and my passion for living a happy life soared! I remember one night, while in the hospital, praying and promising God, if I woke up and pulled through this, I was going to do great things and share my life story with the world. It was time to stop hiding from my past! My energy and focus for health and fitness were now being shared with an overwhelming passion to write a book!
I had hidden my childhood horrors most of my life, simply out of embarrassment, guilt, and shame. I felt the situations were isolated and I was the only one in the universe to experience these horrible things. Through intense therapy and making a conscious effort, I had forgiven most of the people who had harmed me. But I still had work to do. I wanted to reach out to those who had experienced similar heartache, become a beacon for those in need, and a messenger for the uneducated.
I now appreciate the fact that many have suffered through very similar disasters, abuse, and personal defeats like I did.
Over the months of healing and recuperating from this virus, I placed most of my free time, and energy into writing the book, Disguised Blessings. My dreams shifted into a new and unfamiliar part of my being. I continued to revisit a place I fought most of my life to avoid remembering. But I was driven to help people in a very different way.
Health and fitness is what I learned and knew so well. Sharing my story was uncomfortable, but would end up being the most liberating thing I could do.
As I continued exploring new emotions about releasing this information for the entire world to read, I was hesitant and reluctant to proceed.
I can remember thinking, If I had resources and a book like this many moons ago, things would have been much different. Being able to relate to another with similar experiences, would have helped me a great deal.
So, I moved forward, hitting roadblock after roadblock. I can not tell you how many times I pulled out of releasing Disguised Blessings. Fear consumed me, yet again. Fear of how this would affect my children, fear of exposing this and putting myself out there in such a way. I began to feel vulnerable, naked and embarrassed by the truth of my past and what happened to me as a child.  I was at a standstill with pursuing this dream for many months.
But then it happened, I gained the courage and strength to send the manuscript, allow the publishing process to take place and move forward knowing this book would help others and have a positive impact on everyone! I reminded myself: this was not about me, this was about all of you!
As I explored a variety of ideas, I discovered these very important steps. I noticed when I followed them, and remembered what motivated me the most, my family, I was immediately back on track and moving forward towards my desired destination. The steps helped me stay focused, learn from my previous mistakes, and continue following my dreams.
These are small shifts in mindset but with a powerful long-term success and happiness:
1. Step one: Self-love
Loving yourself is not selfish, it takes practice. Loving yourself is not a sign of vanity, it builds self-esteem and courage.
Loving yourself is one of the most giving and humble acts you can do for others. When you love yourself you are more likely to really give love and inspiration to others. It exudes one’s authentic self and it’s contagious!
Love is powerful.
Growing up, loving myself was obsolete. Once I discovered how critical this was in order for me to grow, I worked long and hard at doing so. Practice, practice, practice. Say nice things to yourself about yourself and positive and rewarding actions automatically follow.
I know, this sounds funny, but it really works! Who is comfortable talking to themselves about themselves? I certainly was not! But then I discovered how important this would be in reprogramming my thoughts.
Practice saying nice things about yourself out loud first. Then, look in the mirror and say the same things. You may giggle at first and feel uncomfortable, but keep practicing this exercise. Over time, it will get easier and you will gain an enormous amount of confidence and self-esteem.
2. Step two: Change your thinking
What we think, we become. This has put me at a standstill most of my life. I felt I was not worthy of anything good. Self destruction was my friend and I destroyed anything good. Bad things have a way of making us believe we are bad people. This is not true. Bad situations can alter our thoughts, but we must stand up and have the strength to avoid all negative thoughts that come into our minds.Our thoughts become our reality. We become what we think about the most. Shift your thoughts in a positive direction and you will notice an enormous amount of energy gained to drive you towards positive action!
Once I learned to how to love myself and changed my thinking, everything around me changed. The people I attracted, my circle of friends, my relationships, all of it changed in a positive way. My life changed drastically, for the better.
The bad things that happened to me as a child were not my fault. It took decades for me to understand this. However, the choices I made as an adult were my responsibility. I began to shift my thinking into a positive direction and great and wonderful things were transpiring. I no longer viewed the world as “bad”. I began to see all the good just by changing my thinking.
I stopped challenging all the good aspects of my life and I no longer tried to destroy them. I welcomed them, and was driven to keep going in the right direction. My personal training business blossomed into a very large community. My memoir was in the process of being published, and I felt liberated. Was it really possible to change my life after such disastrous events? Absolutely, and I am living proof this works!
3. Step three: Stop making excuses
Excuses are the stepping stone to failure and creating one’s very own failures. We will find every excuse not to change our current situations, even when we know we need to. Let’s face it, who likes change? Change is scary and we are all creatures of habit.
What we do over and over, we repeat. This works as a disadvantage, but will also work to your advantage.
If you want to lose weight, but you make every excuse not to workout, how will you accomplish this? If you want to eat better but won’t find the time to meal plan or cook, how will you accomplish this? You need to stop making excuses and do what is required in order to reach your goals.
If you suffer from any form of trauma, you must be willing to shift your focus into creating a life after the horror. Memories will remain, however, you must learn to immediately put those thoughts into a safe place and proceed forward with the understanding the past events can no longer hurt you. You are safe and you are in control of how your life will turn out. You are the most important part of healing. Find a safe and healthy way to react to those memories.
Examples: Journaling, exercise, yoga, meditation, art and painting. All of these things are great for the mental healing. Whatever works for you, make sure you use all resources to shift your energy when those memories invade your thoughts. Repeat healthy actions, over and over until they become habit. This will eventually take over and replace the bad habits you wish to make obsolete.
Everything we do and say is a choice! Choose to do the work and take action. If you want to accomplish success and reach your goals, what is stopping you? Get out there and do it!
4. Step Four: Balance
In my book Disguised Blessings, I explain seven tips on creating balance, harmony, and spiritual equilibrium.
It is so important to create balance in all areas of your life. Many of us focus on one or two things, placing all of our time and energy into these things and neglecting other very important components in our life.
For example: You want to lose weight, so you focus all of your time calculating calories, adding your nutrients, buying every vegetable in the aisle to make the healthy recipes you found online. You put everything into this and leave no room for a mistake in your plans.
But then it happens! You’re at a social gathering and you have a piece of cake. That is it! You tell yourself you’re a failure and the next day you quit your nutrition plan. All the food you bought rots and you throw it out. You now wasted valuable time, money and energy.
What if you create balance with your new meal plan? Give yourself freedom to have a few slips throughout the week. You must understand that you will fall off the wagon from time to time, and that is okay! Don’t stop or quit because you slipped a day or two. Who cares? There must be balance in everything we do. This goes for everything. Allow room to grow in all areas of your life.Relationships, career, yourself, fun activities, and so on.
When we take responsibility for ourselves, shift our focus, change the way we think, and balance life, we take control of our experiences and the outcome.
I know that it’s still an ongoing process for me, but I also know that by using these steps we can all deal with any situation we find ourselves in. That day I chose to take control of my life and step into the unknown, success and happiness was right behind me.
If you’re feeling tired and worn out, dig deep. Get up, shake off the negative and breathe in the positive. It takes strength and insane courage to get back up, but you can do this!
This is not about faking happiness, its about being real and true.
Getting to the point where you’re ready to change is what might take a little longer—but with the right steps it will happen.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.” – Unknown
This life is pretty damn amazing!
Chara

Pick up your copy of Disguised Blessings today. Now available in paperback and Kindle editions. https://www.amazon.com/Disguised-Blessings-Inspiring-Transformation-Reclaiming/dp/0998217107/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1483876715&sr=8-1&keywords=Disguised+Blessings

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