A very special anniversary

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11th March.

I looked at the calendar and thought: ‘something important happened on that day’.

I couldn’t figure out what it was until I checked my work calendar. Exactly a year ago, I organised my first ever public speaking session at my company!

I didn’t plan it.

It wasn’t my idea.

A senior employee, who attended my series of a digital marketing-related training that I delivered at my company’s offices,  approached me after the last session.

-Why don’t you teach us all how you do it?

-But.. I thought I just did! – I replied and smiled slightly worried.

-No, I mean teach us how to speak so comfortably in public!

I was surprised, flattered and a bit doubtful when I first heard it. But, at the same time, my brain immediately started imagining what I could do to in order to make it happen.

-I guess I could! – I replied.

The next day, in order not to chicken out from this idea, I created an event and invited the whole company to a 2-hour session that was due to take place in just over 2 weeks time.

I started preparing myself by writing all the possible things I could share.

But as I was doing it, the chimp in my head (that is the emotional part of my brain) realised the potential magnitude of this task and I got very anxious.

I was just about to attempt to persuade my work colleagues that speaking with confidence in front of an audience is possible and, if practised, can even become enjoyable!

And I, the person who was still nervous before each new speech, was to stand there and make it sound easy!

It wasn’t just about learning how to speak. To make an impact, this training had to be about learning how to express yourself freely, telling the world who you are, what’s your story and what you know!

Who was I to do such a thing?

Did I know enough about it myself?

Did I have the power to convince anyone to try?

“But what if they think that I am full of myself?”- my chimp was definitely not helping out with this task.

I knew I had to go back to working on myself. On my own confidence!

I went back to reading my books on this subject, I watched loads of videos on Youtube from Stanford and Harvard University professors, motivational speakers, through to doctors and spiritual leaders.

A week before the session I already had 25 people signed up for the training and then the adrenaline hit really hard…

I read more, researched more and wrote more of what I would like to say because that was taking me away from my anxious and unhelpful thoughts.

It got to the point that I even got myself a waterproof notepad and took notes of videos that I watched while taking a bath. Seriously, I still have it and highly recommend it! 🙂

I also knew that just reading a book, watching a video or attending a lecture wouldn’t get anyone to speak.

This training couldn’t be as simple as showing some slides and telling my story. It had to be done in a way that our scared brains would react in a courageous way!

We had to practice speaking!

11th March arrived.

I stood in front of all these people who gathered in a small room. My mouth was dry, my hands were shaking, my breath was shallow.

I told them I would share my story and my speaking tips but we were also going to practice speaking.

I could see the fear in their eyes. They didn’t expect it and they definitely didn’t look forward to it!

And then.. something beautiful happened.

I realised that all of these people decided to participate because they trusted that I could teach them something useful.

My mind decided to switch its attention from my thoughts to the thoughts of my audience.

My heart followed applying the same system to feelings.

Somehow all the right words came to my mouth and I said much more than I thought I would. Fo 2 hours we were all operating on the same wave length. We smiled, we laughed, we shared the same emotions, we practice speaking and… we all had a great time! 

I cried that night from the overwhelming feeling of gratefulness for this moment in my life. I realised that by overcoming my own fear I gave something important to others.

Ever since that day, we have been meeting on regular basis to practice our skills by presenting 5-minute speeches where anyone has a chance to share their thoughts on any subject as long as its at least slightly related to work. The audience plays an important role in this too because after each speech everyone has to give the presenter some positive feedback.

Why only positive?

Because our brains are experts in finding negatives themselves and most of the time we know very well what we did wrong. However, it’s what we do right that is sometimes hard for ourselves to pinpoint.

If you hear from others what you do right, what made them listen, what is your strength, you can use that to master your further speeches.

It needed, however, to be done in a safe atmosphere which is not often easy to achieve at workplaces. But boy did we do it.. So far, I heard almost 20 stories during which we cried, laughed, felt intrigued, inspired and educated. We realised how much talent and knowledge lies within us and we felt even more driven to do more!

A few months later I delivered another training session on this subject and I can truly say that both the training and the practice sessions are changing my life constantly!  I really believe that they help us built trust within the company, they make us all grow personally and professionally.

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March is a very special month for me also for another reason. Four of those people who attended the training are going abroad this month to present for the first time in their life at a business conference related to our industry.

They go there to look their fear in the eyes and to show the world who they are. Because they told themselves THEY CAN!

And the rest will be history 🙂

The Unleash the Power Within Experience – part2

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If you read my previous post, you probably got an idea that the Unleash The Power Within seminar surprised me on many levels.

However, one thing that I completely did not expect to take away from this event is the super strong willingness to improve my health backed up with the knowledge on how to start!

On the second day of the seminar we were asked to quickly draw a diagram assessing from 1-10 each area of our life such as finances, career, relationships, emotions, physical body and time.

We were given about a minute to do so, therefore couldn’t really think much about what we were writing. I was pretty surprised that out of all the other areas of my life, I rated my physical body with the lowest amount of points. I considered myself to be a reasonably fit person but I was also aware that there was a room for improvement in my diet, work pace and certain thinking and acting habits. I just haven’t realised how big that room would become by the end of the event!

Robbins went on to say that the area that was the lowest in terms of points in our diagrams should be the one we ought to start working on straight away since this is the one that would have the biggest impact on everything else in our lives.

He mentioned several times that 80% of the success is psychology and 20% are mechanics. However, what he was also very passionate about and repeated on many occasions was that without health (and by health he meant energy) you can’t achieve as much as you could if you were at your healthiest and fittest state.

I couldn’t agree more. The last 3 years of my life have been pretty challenging. This included a very hectic travel calendar (40% of the whole 2015 I spent away from home mostly for work), taking on many new responsibilities and some new hobbies, doing a lot of overtime and, on top of this, dealing with a quick and unexpected loss of a close to my heart person.

I was suffering from stress and tiredness and was comfort eating chocolate and loads of fatty food such as crisps, chips, steaks etc. (I am an onion ring addict!!)

My travel had an impact on the fact that I couldn’t train my beloved volleyball as much as I wanted to and I didn’t do any other sport while I was away (that’s caused by my own laziness rather than anything else!).

All of this in return affected my energy and mood levels. Moreover, straight after the UPW conference, I flew to Berlin to deliver another super intense training and immediately after that event I got pretty poorly with a cold/flu kind of illness from which I have been struggling to recover ever since.

That is why the message from Robbins hit home really hard!

Here is a brief summary of the things that I learnt:

  1. 70% of the toxins inside our bodies are removed through our lungs yet most of the people do not provide enough of oxygen to their cells and therefore feel constantly tired and start ageing quicker. Regular exercise dramatically increases the oxygen levels in our bodies which in return can have great impact on our mood levels.  I loved Tony’s trainer Joseph McClendon explaining in a hilarious way how we should use our diaphragm to breathe more deeply rather than in the usual shallow way that most people do.

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    Joseph McClendon explaining how to breathe from the diaphragm
  2. 60-70% of the Western population is dehydrated. Most of the people only drink when they feel thirsty, not when they should – that is a couple
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    Add lemon to water

    of sips of water every 15-20min. The feeling of thirst is our body’s last and desperate signal to get some liquid. The first signal is tiredness and the feeling similar to hunger (that is also why many people overeat because they confuse being hungry with being dehydrated).  A well hydrated body produces colourless (not yellow or orange) urine. A slice of lemon helps alkaline the water.

  3. 90% of people have too much acid in their bodies due to consuming too much caffeine, whites, vinegar, meat, diary, sugar, alcohol, nicotine. And acidic environment is perfect for variety of modern illnesses to thrive. If you are overweight you are over acid. Cancer grows only in acidic environment.
  4. Sugar is toxic in our body . We are taking 30 times more sugar in our body than our grandparents were taking at our age. Sugar creates environment where there is less oxygen. It is the number one factor behind obesity and type 2 diabetes. This is a subject I have been researching a lot this year. If you quickly want to learn more watch ‘That Sugar Film’ on Youtube (if you live in Poland go to cinema as they now screen it!).
  5. 70% of our food should be water rich and the only way to achieve that is by eating green things. Tony calls them ‘alive things’. ‘If you want feel more alive you need to eat more alive foods’.
  6. We do not eat enough of healthy oils – that is Omega 3 and Omega 6. They increase oxidation and metabolic rate and have many more amazing benefits to our bodies.
  7. We eat too much meat that is full of hormones and antibiotics injected to dramatically speed up growth and avoid the spread of diseases. 
  8. We eat too much diary which again comes from poorly fed animals.

I think that it’s super important for all of us to pay more attention to our health. However, with the large amount of information available on this subject, it is sometimes very confusing to feel confident in terms of what we should be doing/eating/drinking to stay healthy.

I decided to give Robbins’ advises a try. I know he is, just like me, a research freak and he wouldn’t teach something he doesn’t practice himself. I have started applying the rules given and I am already seeing amazing results in terms of my body weight. The more I read about it, the more sense all of this makes to me and the more motivated I feel to keep going.

I believe that all the big things happen through small, systematically implemented changes. At the end of the day, being at your maximum physical and mental health should be an ultimate goal for all of us if we want to live long and brave lives.

And what a great goal that is to have! 🙂

 

 

The Unleash the Power Within Experience – part 1

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When you experience something that is altogether so mind-blowing, thought-provoking, shocking, calming, and at the same time purely outstanding, it is really hard to find the words to accurately describe it.

People have asked me during the last 2 weeks what was it like to attend the Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within seminar. Some of them had heard of Robbins before, others didn’t have a clue who he was, yet they saw me posting some pictures from the event on social media or read my previous blog post and wanted to know more. Some of those who asked, felt the same about the area of personal development like I did, some of them felt that ‘this whole positive thinking stuff’ was a complete bunch of rubbish. Trying to find an answer to explain to all of them in the easiest to understand and shortest way what I have just been through wasn’t an easy task.

This is also one of the reasons why I have not written anything in this blog for the last 2 weeks. I just simply couldn’t imagine how I could describe this whole experience in one tiny post without making sure that it would justify the power of this event. I also wanted to give myself the time to think about everything that I learnt over those 4 days.

I dare to say that nothing, absolutely nothing can prepare you for the emotional rollercoaster that you will experience during this event if you decide to participate full on! I thought I knew what I was going to see/hear/feel since I saw Tony Robbins for few hours 3 years ago. But being immersed into this whole event for 4 days proved to be a completely different game level. By attending this seminar, one would expect to hear a lot of things that trigger new ways of thinking about our lives. However, one thing that surprised me was the amount of focus we put on managing our physical state. Tony Robbins every single day repeated the following mantra:

“Motion creates emotion”

That is why, attending this conference was completely different from reading any book on this subject or watching a video. During the conference I, together with eight thousand people, was completely immersed in the atmosphere driven by the incredible charisma of Robbins. We were challenged to walk on super hot coals, speak to complete strangers, tell them about our deepest fears and dreams, do physical and breathing exercises and stay at the conference even for as long as 16 hours in a single day. We danced, laughed, cried, shouted and jumped together without any limitations. All of this in order to release the kind of energy that many of us clearly didn’t even know that we could access within us.

I am usually a pretty energetic person but definitely not a morning one, therefore I was totally surprised when I came back one night to my hotel room at 1:30am and at 6am the following day was wide awake wanting to dance and ready for the next day!  🙂

20160410_103350On the first day of the event, we were given chunky workbooks and these workbooks over the next 4 days have become the testimonies of many of our thoughts, decisions and realisations that our mind produced during this time. Before we were asked to write anything down in the workbook, we were put in a peak state that allowed us to think openly and without fear. We were told not to hesitate if a thought that didn’t sound right was coming into our mind during that state- we just had to write it down. I was at times so embarrassed about the bravery of my thoughts achieved in that state, that I decided to write them in my native language so that no one around me could understand them! 🙂

When I read my workbook now, I am pretty amazed to see what my brain came up with without overthinking certain subjects and without being driven by emotions. It helped me realise some core beliefs that I had about myself and how they have been limiting me so far. I also learnt a lot about my core needs and what I have been doing so far to meet them in both good and bad ways.

When I finished writing down some of my thoughts, I took a moment to look around. It was extraordinary to see so many people around you being so focused on describing their lives in their little books. They were holding on to those books as if they were their precious babies! Many of them had tears in their eyes..

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This event made me realise how important in our every day lives is to slow down and take a moment to think what is it that actually matters to us and what we could do to live for what matters, not for what we feel we have to do or what others try to tell us we should do.

‘What is your purpose?’ – Robbins will ask you during the event.

What are the unique talents that you have been given as a human being that you supposed to discover during your life time and utilise them in order to help others shine?

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Throughout this event, I had a deep feeling that I am doing something very special for myself – allowing the time to focus on who I really am and how I should use that knowledge to shape my life.

I have realised how absolutely crucial for all of us is to take time away from our usual lives and spend it on meditating about what is important for us, what we are grateful for, where we are going, what is our purpose and whether we are doing everything we can to fulfil this purpose. It is so easy nowadays to focus on the things that don’t lead us to anywhere – scrolling down through the social media statuses of people who we barely know, reading news and gossips about people who don’t bring anything positive to our world, spending time in front of TV watching shows and films that cultivate unrealistic picture of life and don’t teach us anything valuable.

Where are we in all of this?

How come it is so easy to sacrifice our private time? The time that we could spend otherwise on dreaming, exploring our potential and assessing the paths to follow?

After the event and in fact even few times before, I have asked myself several times where is this internal drive of mine for becoming better, stronger, fitter version of myself comes from? Where is it trying to lead me? And the more I focus on this now, the more I realise that I do it because I want to have bigger impact on the people around me. To uplift them, to inspire them and to show them that if I can, for example, manage my public speaking fear and in fact build a full career around it- they can too!

I found today a video of Oprah Winfrey making a  commencement speech at Harvard University where she perfectly describes this drive of mine:

“You all might have a little anxiety now and hesitation about leaving the comfort of the college and putting those Harvard credentials to the test. But no matter what challenges and setbacks you will encounter along the way, you will find the true success and happiness if you have only one goal: to fulfil the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being. You want to max out your humanity by using your energy to lift yourself up, your family and the people around you”

She also mentioned the following quote that really resonates with me :

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Howard Thurman

Why was it worth coming to this event? I could come up with tens of reasons but one sentence summarises it all – it made me feel truly alive!

And I wish to myself and everyone else to experience this empowering feeling on a regular basis. That’s why I am committed to sharing my experiences via this blog and in fact, any other way that I can!

 

 

 

I am going to see Tony Robbins!

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Next week something really special is going to happen!

For the second time in my life, I am going to see Tony Robbins during his famous ‘Unleash the Power Within’ event! I have just printed off my ticket and I still can’t believe that this it’s real! 🙂

I have been thinking about attending this seminar for almost a year now. Although, I had no doubt that this was going to be a great and potentially life-changing experience, I wasn’t ready for such a serious financial commitment (especially since I made a decision that I would only go if my partner decided to go too!).

The cheapest tickets (if not booked a year before) cost £795.00 per person plus travel to London and a 3 night hotel stay altogether summed up to almost £2000.00 (that’s around 2800.00 US dollars). On top of this, in order to attend the full 4 day-long event, I also needed to take Thursday and Friday off work… I had a ready-made list of reasons to say ‘Maybe another year..’.

Because of all of the above, over the last 12 months I have spent endless days thinking whether I should do it or not. I am very cautious with my money and any big financial commitments like this always make me nervous. During the moments of doubt, I found it really difficult to justify spending such a large amount of money on, what my brain was thinking at the time: ‘something that wouldn’t give me any specific skill’.

I have been to the Unleash the Power Within website millions of times hoping to suddenly see a huge discount and, failing to see that, spoke to the customer service team several times almost begging for a better price. 😉

I spoke to some of my closest friends and family about this, wishing that they would help me make a decision and click for me the ‘Buy’ button. I researched similar speakers and conferences and tried to persuade myself that I don’t need to spend so much money if there are others organising similar, much cheaper events.

But despite all this, I always came to the same conclusion..None of these cheaper events were run by Tony Robbins!!

The first time I saw him was in October 2012 during another London event (which somehow only cost me only £77.00!). A company called Success Resources organised a 3 day long conference and one of the main speakers was Tony.

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Tony Robbins, London NAC October 2012

Although he only spoke for few hours, it was one of the most amazing speeches that I have ever heard!

He has an indescribable power of making people feel that they can live the life they want. Listening to him made me feel that I could do anything, be anyone and get anywhere in life that I wanted to be! I felt empowered, motivated, grateful for what I had and who I was already, and extremely excited about the future! All of those emotions at once, to the point that I felt I could jump to the moon and back from enthusiasm! 🙂

I felt huge positive energy running through my veins straight into my heart and this lasted with me for months afterwards!

It was purely amazing!

I was making so many notes during this event and publishing loads of quotes of Robbins on social media. I wanted to share these feelings with the world! I wanted everyone who cared to read my posts to at least for a moment feel as excited as I felt that day!

Below is what I wrote on my personal Faceboook account straight after seeing Robbins:

I’ve just spent 6 hours listening to Mr Robbins today, jumping, dancing and screaming like a mad squirrel and I feel absolutely amazing and inspired!!!! And all that after 2.5h sleep last night! He is A GENIUS!!!! Watch his videos or read his books if you haven’t done it yet!!!

As you can imagine, not everyone shared the same excitement..

Some people commented if I was ok, others felt concerned that I was taking part in some sort of cult 😉 Those who knew Robbins’ work were a bit more understanding 🙂

But what really mattered to me is what followed. During the months after the event I felt unstoppable!

A lot of things started to make sense!

3 weeks before the event, I sign up for a public speaking course organised by my city’s council. I did that because, as I wrote before, ever since I was a teenager I was affraid of speaking in front of people. At that point, I only wanted to gain confidence when speaking during the business meetings…

Just over a month after the event, I stormed into my boss’ offices and said that I wanted to become a trainer. I knew nothing about the subject that I said I would teach. I just knew that whenever I had the opportunity to teach someone something (never more than one person at a time) I always enjoyed it. It gave me this fantastic feeling of helping others to achieve something by sharing my knowledge with them.

I also knew that my company has just agreed with one of the biggest internet companies in Europe that we will be their official training partner. I grabbed the opportunity and, despite my fear, run to my boss’ office and said I will do it.

The first question that he asked me was ‘Who are you?’ and the second was whether I didn’t mind travelling to Barcelona once every month… 😉 Well, guess what?? I did not!

I don’t remember anything else from that conversation, but I must have been quite persuasive because a month later I was on a plane flying over 3000km away to be trained! The training turned out to be only an introduction to the subject. I needed to gain more knowledge myself from the materials available online. I studied anything that I could find, day and night, weekdays and weekends. I asked hundreds of questions and wrote hundreds of pages of notes down. I spent every spare minute mastering the subject and designing the training materials. And all of this hard work paid off! 3 months after that I was delivering my first ever training in front of our client’s directors!

Everything that followed from then was like a dream come true! I have travelled around the world training hundreds of people in 10 mind-blowing locations that I always wanted to see such as Barcelona, Las Vegas, Shanghai, San Francisco, Istanbul. I have met amazing, beautiful and super clever people from top companies in the world and learned a great deal of knowledge from them. I became a specialist in the area that I was teaching and was even described as ‘the best speaker’ on the subject. The training that I designed was translated to Chinese language and now I have a team of amazing trainers delivering it in China.

However, what was the most important achievement for me was that I found what I really loved doing and I have started getting paid for doing this for living!

When I think about all of this now it truly amazes me that all of this have happened because I decided to fight with my fear and persuaded someone to give me a chance to prove myself..

‘It’s in your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped.’ T.Robbins

Few weeks ago I finally made a decision to see Tony Robbins again..what will follow I don’t know yet, but when I think about it I am already smiling! 🙂

 

 

My Journey to Become a Better Human Being

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Almost 8 years ago, I graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree. Literally 13 days after my graduation day, I packed one suitcase and left my home country to live in England.

At that point, I was convinced that this was the right thing to do rather than continuing my education by signing up for the master level studies. Most of the people I knew at that time struggled to understand my decision and were trying to convince me to stay and continue studying. In the country of my origin, higher education was regarded as a ‘must’ to achieve something in life. Yet, I voluntarily resigned from further studies and was moving to a country where, according to my advisors, ‘I had to start everything from the beginning’.

I had £400.00 in my pocket when I landed in Doncaster in July 2008. I also had a room at my friend’s house for which she only charged me £30.00 per week for the first few months. This was a huge help! However, the biggest thing that I had during that time was this huge, restless and relentless belief that I will be fine! For some hard to explain reason, I knew that whatever happens I will be ok! I felt that England was a big chance for me to build something of my own, learn more about myself and become a better human being.

After 6 weeks of searching, I managed to get a job in a restaurant and soon after that my first office job. I remember waking up every day at 7:30 and thinking that some of my friends were probably now moving from one side of their pillows to the other after another heavy party. 😉 I was coming back home around 6pm, super tired and sometimes super bored thinking that my friends were most likely just about to leave to another party..

But I had a mission!

I wanted to become someone despite not having a master degree and leaving my country!

I wanted to be successful!

That’s when I started reading even more about personal development, goals, persuasion and self-management and every time I would come across a great quote I would write it down on a piece of paper and stick it on the wall in my tiny room with a Blu-tack (when my friend saw all these Blu-tacks on her super white walls she almost throw me out of the house! 😉 ). I would stick those quotes in such places that I could see them every morning as soon as I woke up. And believe me, I have never been a morning person therefore any extra motivation that would drag me out of bed was always needed! 🙂

The reason why I write this blog post now is because today, when I was looking through my ‘memories box’ I found some of those quotes and… now they are back on my kitchen board! 🙂

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Including this one which is one my all time favourites:

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This graphic, which was given to me on a really bad day at work by one of my colleagues. It helped me many times not too quit when I was doing something really difficult. Being an immigrant, a foreigner, a single, a graduate with no practical knowledge, a young woman in business, a learner of English language and a person scared of public speaking – just these few things caused me enough of dark moments to doubt in myself!

But whenever I did,  I would read all my wall quotes and the hope for the better times would once again start growing in my heart. 🙂

Many things have changed during those last 8 years in my life, but two things remain the same – I am still living in England and still, everyday, I do my best to build something of my own, learn more about myself and become a better human being.

And that is a truly fascinating journey!