Elyse Gorman is a writer and teacher of happiness philosophy at NotesOnBliss.com. Her teachings have been featured in MindBodyGreen, Huffington Post and TinyBuddha. She is passionate about helping people to wake up to their true self, find the courage to create their ideal life, and find ways to expand their joy and inner peace through her articles, coaching and online courses.
We had a chat about facing fears and limiting beliefs, finding success and how to live a happier life.
Elyse: I’ve always been passionate about philosophy, self-help, spirituality and happiness – I have cupboards of notebooks filled with quotes, wisdom, musings and inspiration I’ve collected over the years!
A few years ago there was a book published by an Australian palliative care nurse with over 15 years experience in her field. She surveyed her dying patients on their top life regrets, and the number one answer that kept coming up was: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life others expected of me.”
This was a catalyst for me in two ways – it pushed me to take action on a dream I’d had for a long time (to start my own business), and it inspired me to dedicate my time to writing and coaching people on how to get in touch with their true essence and create an authentic life that truly fulfils them.
Elyse: It’s a 6-week crash course in the building blocks of a beautiful life. We cover three central themes – waking up to your true self, taking action to create your ideal life, and expanding your daily joy and inner peace. The latter is all about becoming a better ruler of your mind by releasing things that don’t serve you – like painful memories from the past, grudges, limiting beliefs, fears and self-doubt.
Elyse: The first thing is limiting beliefs. We’ve inherited these from our childhood, the media and the expectations of others.
We’re often taught that there’s a single definition of success, and it involves an established career, large house, acceptable body shape, marriage and annual holidays. When the truth is that everyone has their own path to walk in this, and what brings true meaning and deep fulfilment differs for us all.
The second thing is fear. We focus on all the things that could go wrong, instead of the things that could go right. It’s just a habit of thinking, and it can be changed.
You’ve gotten through everything life has thrown at you so far – so you have to trust that you will always be okay. There is a part of your spirit, beyond your ego, that is invulnerable and cannot be harmed. Even if you fail, you will find a way to get up and rebuild. But if don’t take action, you won’t get anywhere.
1. Follow your heart and intuition.
You can trust yourself and back your decisions. Also, when you do something you love and believe in, taking action will feel energising rather than draining. You will tap into a source of unlimited wisdom, inspiration and motivation.
If you’re not sure what your grand purpose is yet, don’t stress. Ultimately, your purpose in life is simply to be you – to get to know yourself better, to grow into the highest embodiment of you, to experience life, and to work, date, live, eat, dance, create and adventure in ways that feel good. When you create a life that feels right to your soul, you become fully alive, and the whole world benefits from your light.
2. Enjoy the journey and appreciate what you have now.
One of the hardest things when you have ambition and big plans is to learn to be happy in this moment – we’re all tempted to put our happiness and sense of fulfilment on hold until the day we’ve ‘arrived’ at our success. We have to learn to appreciate life now, in this present moment, or we’ll never experience true sustainable happiness. As the saying goes, “The secret to having it all is realising you already do”.
3. Redefine your definition of failure.
What if, instead of seeing it as a failure when you give something a go and it doesn’t work out, you see it as a victory that you tried in the first place? Perhaps the word ‘failure’ is more appropriate for situations where we don’t attempt things at all, because we’re ruled by fear, self-doubt and the lure of mediocracy.
You didn’t fail when you went on a date that turned sour, attended an interview and didn’t get the job, or launched a personal project that crashed and burned – you succeeded at showing up fully to life and you gained valuable lessons and life experience along the way.
4. See the lessons in challenging times.
Sometimes things don’t go our way, and that’s tough. But there is a lesson in every failure, and the challenging times in life often push us to grow into better, stronger and more resilient people.
5. Embrace uncertainty.
You don’t always need to know exactly how you’ll achieve your goals – you just need to have a vision and take the first few steps.
Imagine yourself walking along a long road late at night. It’s dark, and you’ve got a lamp which lights up a few feet of the road out in front of you. You’re trying to reach a beautiful, warm and cosy house filled with friends, good food and laughter at the end of the road. Does it matter that it’s dark and you can’t see all the way ahead to the house? No. All you need to see is a few feet ahead on the road – once you walk forward, the lamp will light up another few feet in front of you.
It’s the same with life. You don’t need to know every step to achieve your goals. You just need to know steps 1-5. As you move forward, the next part of your path will light up.