5 PRACTICAL Things That Actually Changed My Life. For Real
I wasn’t always running DARETOGROW, making a living as a Coach and Speaker, and earning a living through my online course. Nope. Three years ago, I was at the HEIGHT of a six-year-long stint of DEPRESSION, £100k in debt with no clue who I was or what I wanted.
It’s mad and I know this sounds extreme but three years ago I HATED my life and who I’d become.
In fact, I often found myself crying on the bathroom floor, head in hands asking: “There must be more to life than this?”.
Now that question was important because it proved I wanted more from life BUT it wasn’t THE MOST IMPORTANT question I’ve ever asked in my life. I’ll share that one in a second. First, let me give you some context.
At this point of my life, I was completely lost. I’d hurtled down to ROCK BOTTOM. I’d suffered with depression for six LOOOONNG years. And, to be completely honest, I’d had enough. Enough of faking it. Enough of living a lie. Enough of being unhappy.
I was desperate, but too proud to ask for help. Honestly? I thought I was beyond help. That there was no way back for me. I mean where do you go when you’re in that much debt? Where do you turn when you feel so embarrassed by what you’ve done? What do you do when you don’t even know who you are anymore or what your purpose is in life?
I felt so alone, like no-one knew me, like no-one even knew how close to the edge I was.
“How can no-one see I need help?” I’d often think to myself at 3am in the morning as the hours ticked by.
I guess I’d become far too good at hiding it from the people who loved me.
I had severe depression and I was running out of hope that things would ever get better.
Now don’t get me wrong: I had tried things before – I’d read books about depression and happiness. I’d quit my job in London and moved up north to launch my own business and had done well at that. I’d signed up to a PT to get back in shape. I hired a life coach in Manchester…
And when all else failed, I’d tried the whole ‘fit in and be happy’ thing, putting a smile on my face when I wasn’t quite feeling it.
NONE of it worked. I was too far gone. I needed a frickin’ miracle for things to change.
Well, ask and ye shall receive as they say! I got my miracle in the summer of 2015 – just about three years ago to the date. Although it didn’t feel like a miracle at the time. I have to say!
Seeing my puffy eyes, my solemn look and my sad breakfast cocktail of coffee, more coffee, the news, emails and chocolate twists from Costa Coffee, someone close to me took me to the doctors.
“Something’s not right”, she said, “she needs helps”.
As the Doctor sat patiently listening to my symptoms, so did I.
“She can’t get out of bed”, the friend said.
“She cries herself to sleep”, she explained.
“She won’t join in any games or activities. She just wants to be by herself or watch from the side lines”, she added.
“She’s just not herself”, she finished.
I guess I’d never heard it played back to me before. I sounded so lost. So low. So helpless.
But it WAS me who couldn’t get out of bed in the mornings.
It WAS me that was crying myself to sleep.
It WAS me who was walking around like a zombie, wearing a mask to fit in the real world.
It WAS me. And I needed help.
After about 10 minutes, the Doctor said “Yes, it does sound like you have depression, and you might even be bi-polar”.
I was shocked. Depression, maybe, but BI-POLAR? YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME.
I felt so angered that a complete stranger could label me after so little time. Fair enough he was a Doctor, but come on. This is my life we’re talking about here!
His diagnosis didn’t suit me. I was always the happy, optimistic one. What had gone so wrong?!
As I sat outraged, breathing deeply through my nose, he offered me a solution.
“I can give you anti-depressants” he said.
“NO!”, I shouted back before he could even finish his sentence, “I don’t want to take pills to feel better, I want to feel better for real”.
I was crying hysterically. I’d dealt with it for too long. The feeling of despair closed in and I wanted to run away.
“Okay”, he said, a little taken back, oops. “Go running, every day for the next two weeks and tell me how you feel. Running can have the same effect as medication”.
“Fine, fine I will”, I promised just so I could leave. I mean when I said I wanted to ‘run away’ I didn’t mean LITERLLY, I jibed to myself. At least I still had a private sense of humour under it all.
The next day, as low as a human being can be, it took ALL MY STRENGTH to keep my promise, not to the Doctor but to MYSELF.
And I went on my first run in years.
Pulling on my old leggings, tying my dirty old trainers, shuffling into that big baggy t-shirt, I thought “Come on Lisa, you’ve got to try”. I tied up my long blonde hair and hid it under a cap. I was ready, even though my leggings were so old that they had a hole in the seam, right where my bum was. “How sad is this?” I thought. “I’m such a mess!”, I told myself.
But nonetheless, I grabbed my head phones and punched “Motivational Speaker” into YouTube. No-one wants to be alone with their thoughts on a run like that!
The top video that came back was a video by an American speaker called Les Brown.
I pressed play. Braved the world. And went on the run that was to change my life forever.
It was on this run that I heard THE QUESTION. The question that caused me to turn on my heals, run home, write out a new plan for my life and start taking ACTION the very next day. It’s the question that got me here: Making a canny living doing what I love, depression free and living with my dream partner and our new whippet puppy by the beach in Tynemouth.
Here’s how it happened…
So I was running along, pulling my T-shirt down over the hole in my leggings, willing one heavy leg in front of the other, hoping no-one would recognise me.
And Les Brown asked at first: What would you do if you found out you only had three months left to live?
“Easy enough”, I thought to myself: “I’d sell my recruitment company and downsize my marketing agency, I’d write a book, I’d launch a coaching business, I’d move to Manchester and I’d tell my now partner I was in love with her…I’d TELL MY STORY. If I’ve only got three months left then why not?!”
It came to me like an instant download. I KNEW what I’d do. But it was only a hypothetical question, right? I wasn’t actually going to do it!
I mean…what would you do?
Anyway, it was the next question that CHANGED the entire trajectory of my life.
Get ready for it…
After a long pause, Les Brown followed very slowly with: “How do you know you haven’t got three months left to live?”.
I stopped DEAD in my tracks. The question SHOOK me to my core. “WOAH”, I thought. I’d never really thought of it like that before. “How did I know?!”. I guess I didn’t!
The question gave me what I’d later call a spiritual near death experience. It reminded me life was fleeting and we never truly know when our number is up. If mine was up in three months then I CERTAINLY wouldn’t want to go out like this!
Something in me changed in that moment. I suddenly had PURPOSE again. Meaning. I had a mission. I didn’t want to die and take my story to the grave. I wanted to live. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to show other people they could be happy too!
This is when the change really kicked in! I had my mission, I just didn’t know how to bring it to life.
So I went HUNTING. I read books on spirituality, the brain, change. I attended seminars on business, life and everything in between – sound healing bath anyone?! I did yoga, surfing (disaster LOL!) and painting. I saw Gabby Bernstein live (twice) and even flew to LA to attend Tony Robbin’s ‘Unleash the Power Within’ event.
What I learnt was cool and I felt my knowledge expanding. But knowing something and understanding it are two different things. To know is to know. To understand is to DO!
So then the ACTION kicked in and this is where things REALLY started to change. And I thought it would be useful to share this with you today. These are the five PRACTICAL things I actually did that broke a six-year-stint of depression, got me out of £100k of debt and allowed me to launch a business as a coach and speaker, running a high ticket online course twice a year from anywhere in the world.
Ready? Here they are:
#1 I CHANGED MY FOCUS THROUGH GRATITUDE
When you wake up feeling anxious or depressed or down, that’s okay. It’s not permanent. You can’t help how you feel when you first wake up but you can change it by changing what you focus on. I did this by writing down 10 things I was grateful for each morning for nearly a year!
I literally took a piece of paper from my mum’s printer (I couldn’t afford a new notebook!) and wrote down ‘Today, I am grateful to wake up in a warm bed because I feel safe in this bed’. ‘Today, I am grateful to have a hot shower because it means I can feel clean and fresh for the day ahead’.
Each day I listed ten new things and in doing that I literally trained my brain to look at the up side but more than that I RAISED MY VIBRATION.
This is something you can start immediately but it helps when someone guides you through it, I know. Last year, I led a guided gratitude practice for the first time at a live event and the room was in tears…of happiness. I knew then how powerful it was. Gratitude literally changes your state in moments. Give it a try.
#2 I LITERALLY DROWNED OUT NEGATIVITY WITH AN INCANTATION
We all have a voice in our heads. Mine told me I was fat, useless, a failure. It said all hope was gone and no-one liked me.
I learnt that I couldn’t stop those negative thoughts from coming up so I drowned them out with an incantation or affirmation. As soon as I realised I was talking to myself like that, I would immediately recite my affirmation: ‘I am a strong, beautiful, confident woman. I can have, be, do anything I want in this world. What I’m seeking is seeking me…’. And I repeated it until I felt better.
I still recite it now and get my students to write one of their own. Whatever words of motivation or inspiration you wish someone else would say to you? Say them to yourself
#3 I MUSTERED THE COURAGE TO EXPRESS MY TRUTH
I learnt that depression can come about when deny who we truly are. For me depression came about because I depressed my personality so much that I couldn’t bear to be present in my own life. So I checked out! To check back in, I had to get honest about who I was. I had to go against the grain to express my truth.
For me, this meant giving up two traditional six-figure businesses I’d built to impress other people. It meant coming out as a speaker, sharing my voice and message with the world. It meant cutting my hair (heck I even shaved it at the sides hehe). It meant moving to a new city. It meant buying a dog. It meant building an online course and running live events teaching what I’d learnt and using my gift to help other people.
Our truth is unique to each of us. It can be expressed in small things (like a hair cut or new top) and it can be expressed in big things like a change in job or even location!
Remember…to know is one thing, to understand is to ‘do’.
Of course, it’s hard to tell your truth in a negative or oppressive environment. That’s why it’s important to listen to motivational content and get around like minded people to make it easier. Building my very own DARETOGROW community has been such a game changer for me.
#4 I SET A BOLD AND COMPELLING VISION FOR MY LIFE
I learnt that you will only ever get what you expect for your life. Whatever you think you deserve is what you’ll get, for lots of reasons. (1) You vibrate on that frequency and attract more of what you are into your life. (2) You’ll take action in alignment with your beliefs. Small action = small outcomes. (3) If you punch a destination into a sat nav, how can you possibly expect to end up somewhere else?
We all have a secret fantasy; a life we wish we could live. Well I’ve learnt that we can have, be, do ANYTHING we want in life. But, only if we’re willing to admit what we want and declare it as a vision.
But, here’s the real secret. Having a vision of what you want is cool – the car, the business, the money. But having a vision of how you want to FEEL is the POWER. I wrote down four main feelings I wanted: freedom, inspirational, happiness and growth. And each day I asked ‘what one small thing can I do to feel free, to feel inspired, to feel happy, to grow?’ As I did the action, I felt the feeling. This is manifestation and it’s something you can practice right now.
Take ‘feeling inspirational’ for example. I first started sharing little 40 second videos on Instagram and writing posts on my blog. In time it’s grown to leading guided visualisations LIVE ON STAGE in front of live audiences.
You’d see, when I can get people to see it, to feel their dream life, they’re wiling to take much bigger action to make it HAPPEN. It’s a beautiful and humbling experience for me to be part of.
#5 I FOUND MY PURPOSE
We all have a unique and compelling purpose: A special reason for being here. What makes your purpose unique isn’t so much ‘what’ you’re here to do but who you can help because of your life and your experience.
I learnt my purpose on my run: It was to empower people to change their lives so they could change their own life and then change the frickin’ world. That’s my purpose. What makes it unique is my experience.
In learning how to get over depression, get out of £100k in debt and make a living online I not only learnt a whole new set of skills I could teach people, but I now had a STORY that resonated deeply with other people in similar situations.
My challenge was then: How can I help other people find their purpose. The answer came through meditation and not long after that I wrote a powerful guided purpose meditation to help people find theirs. It’s had such a powerful impact on the people who join The Online Course that I now share it at my live events. They’re pretty jam packed events, yes hehe.
I did other things too, like got around like minded people, I blogged and even vlogged my journey out of depression.
And I took it all and turned it into an online course and a live experience. That’s how I made the switch: I built a programme to help other people go through similar transformations in their own lives. It started small but it’s grown and grown. For me, it’s not just about providing the learning but creating an environment for change.
I mean what if I could walk you through that very guided visualisation exercise? What if I could show you how to feel that gratitude in minutes? What if I could introduce you to a community of like-minded people, just like you, who want to change their lives?
This has became my new focus and that’s why I want to invite you along to an experience to help you get back into alignment with who you truly are and create a safe and empowering space for you to try these exercises: to try a guided visualisation, to try a purpose meditation, to meet likeminded people on a similar journey back to happiness: To get back to YOU.
If any of this resonated with you, I’d love you to come and see for yourself what is possible in a new energy, with a new focus, with people there to lift you up and support you.
I’m running a live event in London on 7th September and it’s only £65. I’ll be leading a transformational talk and creating an environment for change. The evening includes a life changing talk, a guided visualisation to set your new vision and a purpose meditation to help you reconnect withwho you really are. And so much more…along with all the tea or coffee you can drink hehe.
By the end of the night, you’ll leave feeling renewed, refocused and with a clear plan for changing your life in the next 12 months. You will literally be in a new vibration.
If you’d like to find out more, click the link to view the event details and see some video footage of a similar event.
And, if you’d like to see me speak more about this right now, have a watch of this vlog from a few months ago. Skip to 4 mins 29 secs for the bit about ‘how to feel better’ or watch the full vlog if you fancy it.
I hope this post helped you in some way. If it did, I’d love to hear in the comments what one practical action you’re going to take to feel just a little bit better today. And if you’re coming to the live event, I will see you there and greet you with a hug myself! Let me know in the comments.
Let’s frickin’ do this!