Use your Pain to Awaken your Potential

Do you ever feel as if you’re sleep walking through your life?

Going through the motions, back and forth, in the same old, same old routine.

I once worked in a Customer Complaints department where people would ring me up and yell at me.

All … day … long…

Although I dreamed of being a writer, the only thing I got to write were grovelling apologies to the angry people who yelled at me…

‘Dear Sir, I’m so sorry you found a pubic hair in your new fridge-freezer…’

Monday to Friday, my life was built around the nine to five grind. The only release came at the weekends when I’d go pubbing and clubbing – but that was also part of the same old routine. And the highs I experienced came from a powder or pill, rather than from inside of me.

In this world of dumbing down and conformity it can be so frickin’ easy for our true selves to fall asleep.

Years or even entire lifetimes can go by without even realising that we’re trudging along in some weird kind of dream-state.

So, how do we wake up?

This weekend, I was asked to take part in an author event at the Awakening Festival on the Isle of Wight

Over the course of the weekend I met some incredible people and had some brilliant conversations about what these people were doing with their lives and how they came to be at the event.

I met journalists and authors, and brand advisers and coaches, and dance teachers and yoga practitioners and a book club founder and a tattooist. All of them are now making a living from their passions. All of them had awoken to their true purpose – and I was really curious about how they’d come to do so.

The one thing that came up time and time again was the key role pain had played in their awakening.

Every single one of the people I spoke to had overcome major adversity to get where they are today.

Death, grief, depression, addiction, abuse, loss, burn-out, suicidal thoughts. The stories I heard were deeply moving.

But the really interesting thing I discovered was that the challenges these people had faced hadn’t just been obstacles to overcome – they’d been catalysts in their transformation.

In other words, it had taken a serious amount of pain to get these people to wake up to who they were born to be and what they were born to be doing.

And this is true for me also.

The pain of being trapped in a very unhappy place in my life many years ago gave me the wake-up call to pursue my writing dream, which led to me winning my first book deal.

Then, when I was dropped by my publisher a few years later, the pain of being a so-called failure became the catalyst for me completely redefining success and building a new career helping others with their writing and as a speaker and a coach. And ironically, becoming a published author again.

The pain I experienced burned away all of the false beliefs that had been keeping me asleep.

I woke up to the truth that your career does not define you – your true self defines you.

And your true self is all about Love and joy and gratitude and wonder.

It’s about embracing life with the imagination and curiosity of a child, so that you can discover the work and people and places and connections that light you up rather than dim you down.

Some questions for you:

How could you use the painful experiences you’ve been through as a call to awakening?

How could you use them as a catalyst to change your life for the better?

How have they made you stronger and wiser?

How could you use them to help others?

What is your pain trying to tell you?

The Awakening Festival was the creation of the wonderful Kate Taylor, pictured on the right in the photo above. The idea for the festival came to Kate in the shower just six months ago, so it was incredible to see it all come together so magically. You can find out more about Kate and the story of her personal awakening here.

My other Awakening buddy pictured in the photo is Donna Hay, founder of the Wild Woman Book Club and subscription box. I spent loads of time with Donna this weekend and I was blown away by the creative and ‘wild’ ways in which she’s helping others through her work. You can find out more about her and the story of her awakening here.

I hope these stories inspire you in your own awakening.

Life is way too short and way too precious to spend it asleep.

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