A doorway to your true-self

Of all the chatter that goes on in your head, how do you know what voice to listen to? How do you know what voice to ignore? How do you know what voice to take action on? This past week I have struggled and I haven’t felt at my best.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote about living life out of three different zones.  The comfort zone, the danger zone, and the adventure zone.  All of these zones have a voice that speaks within our heads.  I realized that the adventure zone is my true authentic voice that has my best interest at heart but I found myself experiencing more of the comfort zone and at times going over the edge to the danger zone, self-sabotaging behavior.  This is how I was able to come out of it and in doing so, realizing something very powerful.  

First, I set a goal.  The goal was to hit a distance under a certain time on the treadmill.  I made the goal challenging intentionally because I knew that it would be a battle of voices inside my head.  During my workout, I tried to come up with every excuse possible to stop. I almost convinced myself to quit. That voice of comfort was trying to stop me.  There was an emptiness behind all the chatter in my head.  That space of emptiness gave me a sense of peace. Suddenly there was a voice coming from that emptiness and it said to take it stride by stride.  It said to keep going. That was the voice of my true self! It was the same self that set that goal from a place of not feeling at my best. 

If you want to experience your true self, set a goal.  Make it a challenging goal so you get to the edge of wanting to stop.  Remember, you want to reach that edge because that’s where you get the opportunity to make a choice of what voice you take action on.  You will realize that there is emptiness behind the negative chatter.  The chatter wants to keep you small, comfortable, and stagnant.  That emptiness is where your true self resides and speaks from. I’ve experienced where that emptiness doesn’t say anything at all but just it’s presence gives me a sense of peace and harmony.  It speaks without speaking sometimes.  

I recommend that you set a challenge for yourself daily, weekly, and monthly.  The more that you experience your true self, the deeper your relationship to it becomes.  You will begin to identify with it. Eventually, you will embody this emptiness making you feel whole and complete.  The more you nurture this relationship, the better life will be. This doesn’t mean that everything will run perfectly.  It does mean that you will develop the capacity and awareness to make decisions from the most powerful space, your true self.  

Possible goals to set that will get you to the edge:

  1. Lose 15 pounds
  2. Exercise 30 minutes a day
  3. Meditate for 20 minutes a day
  4. Eliminate screen time and scrolling one hour before bedtime
  5. Get up one hour earlier 
  6. Eliminate fast foods
  7. Eliminate unnecessary phone scrolling and tv time 

The Adventure Zone

Know your zones

As I navigate through this life, I discover many things. I have experienced a great deal in the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Through it all, I have developed the capacity to become self-aware…well, for the most part. One of the most powerful things about becoming self-aware is discovering the power of making a choice.  First of all, you must understand that there lies a thought that precedes the point where we have the opportunity to make a choice. Maybe that thought comes from a goal that you have. Perhaps that thought comes from an intention or a desire to be better.  The reality is that thoughts are constant from the point we wake up to the point we go to sleep. In my last blog, I wrote about blind spots and how they affect the choices we make at the sub-conscious level. But today I want to talk about conscious choice and how a thought leads to a choice which then leads to experiencing life out of three different zones. 

Overcome your comfort

We have the power to turn a thought into a choice that may allow you to experience the magic, the goodness,  and all the possibilities that life has to offer. I call that place “The Adventure Zone.” This zone is where you navigate through life powerfully, with confidence, and with a tremendous sense of accomplishment.  How do you get into this zone? Let’s say that your goal is to lose weight and the time of the day has come to get your workout in. You are driving home from a long day at work and you are conflicted to make one of two choices.  You either choose to skip the workout, go home, get dinner, and get cozy and comfortable while splurging on neftlix. Deep inside you know what you have to choose but the choice is not an easy one. This is your opportunity! Choose to do your workout because it serves you on so many levels! Choosing to be in “The Adventure Zone” is under your control by simply choosing to go workout. The opportunity to make a  choice carries with it the capacity of putting you into one of three zones and the choice is yours. Isn’t that empowering? 

The choice is yours

If you choose to skip the workout, ask yourself why you chose to do that?  Most likely, you skipped the workout because it was uncomfortable to go through with it.  It was a comfortable choice to go home, get dinner, and watch nefflix. Unfortunately, making this choice doesn’t feel too good and we lose a sense of power and confidence.  This zone is “The Comfort Zone.” It’s the zone where nothing happens. In this zone, you are comfortable and no real change takes place. But it’s not so bad because we can still choose to propel ourselves to the “Adventure Zone” but only if you are aware of where you chose to be.  Self-Awareness is key because if you lack it, you may find yourself in “The Danger Zone.” Let’s say that after you chose to skip the workout, you took it further and decided to pull over to meet your co-workers for a drink. One drink turned to two, to three, and then you decided to splurge on those tempting buffalo wings and garlic fries.  Well, that’s “The Danger Zone.” It’s a zone of self-sabotage. It’s a place where we dig ourselves a deeper hole to climb out of. Ask yourself, why? But this zone is not a place of doom, although it can feel like that and in some cases it is.  

Make the distinction

Let’s take it a bit deeper.  It’s entirely possible that you chose to have those drinks and food because you didn’t feel good about yourself for skipping the workout.  You want to avoid experiencing life in “The Danger Zone” as it never leads to anywhere good. Although it may feel temporarily good, it’s not real. And don’t confuse “The Danger Zone” with a good time because it’s not.  It’s completely healthy and necessary to have a good time. You just have to make the distinction of when it’s a good time and when it’s “The Danger Zone.” You can still meet your co-workers for happy hour and buffalo wings without it being “The Danger Zone.”  

Awareness is key

Deepening your self-awareness is the key to understanding your choices and creating a deeper relationship with yourself to help you navigate through your life.  I encourage you to have a goal, an intention, and a vision of what you would like to accomplish and understanding the thoughts that will come. Understanding the choice you will have to make moment to moment.  And ultimately, understanding the zone you are experiencing and why. Understand this, “The Danger Zone” is an act of self-sabotage. “The Comfort Zone” is a place where no change occurs. And “The Adventure Zone” is the place of positive results.  You choose. 

How can a blind spot lead into a clear path?

My heart hurts

As a little boy, I would frequently tell my Mother that my heart hurt. I was afraid to go outside to play, afraid to speak to others, and scared to walk to the school bus. I lived in constant fear and anxiety even though I had a tremendous feeling of purpose for life. Because of my fears, I made choices that didn’t serve me. I would choose to play inside rather than play outside and make new friends. I would make up excuses not to attend social gatherings. Blind spots make us fall into a similar pattern where the choices that we make don’t align with the goals or vision we have for ourselves leaving us trying to navigate through a path that feels cluttered, foggy, and dark.

My wife’s diagnosis

Two summers ago, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer at exactly one month before one of my life long dreams would come true. One month after my wife’s diagnosis, my book “The Hart Method” was published. I had a plan of action and a vision to follow through on with the publishing of my book and the accomplishment of my goal. The plan was to continue training athletes, book speaking opportunities, train teams, do a book tour, and expand on my passion by sharing through online platforms. Unfortunately, that vision became foggy, unstable, and ultimately came to a stop. When we received the news of my wife’s diagnosis, we were at the beach enjoying a hot summer day with our family. Upon hearing the news, my heart sank, my feet went numb, and tears were shed. I became paralyzed.

Paralysis because of fear

For the last two years, I have been at a standstill and didn’t even know. I lost connection to my body. I didn’t feel grounded and was having a difficult time navigating through my emotions. My level of motivation, creativity, and will have been extremely low. The uncertainty of my wife’s health landed me into a dark cave for protection but hidden from the outside world to leave me with a feeling of disconnection. I was out in the world but out of my body. That blind spot I had as a little boy came back and I didn’t even know it. The choices I was making were not aligning with the vision in my heart. Like that little boy, In spite of my fears, I held a vision of hope and accomplishing great things. I knew that I would move beyond my fears, beyond my self-doubt, and beyond the chains that I put upon myself. Now as an adult, I still have those two parts to my heart. One side of pain and the other side of hope. I am committed to going out of my cave no matter how scary it may seem.

Inner knowing

I know and trust that there is support around me but I do know that ultimately it’s up to me to step out of my darkness to see the light of day. I have a Father and child inside of me. The Father in me tells the child inside of me that everything will be alright. The child inside of me trusts that it will. We all have blind spots within. Life has a way of revealing our blind spots and usually in the form of trauma for us to see, to feel, and ultimately to continue to move forward without having to go into our dark cave for protection. We can very well still be children experiencing and projecting our traumas and leaving us feeling stuck, unmotivated, and depressed. Maybe traumas aren’t meant to be eliminated. Rather, maybe traumas are there for us to acknowledge for us to develop a greater sense of compassion, awareness, and love for ourselves to clear our path through the power of vulnerability together with the courage and strength to express ourselves authentically.

8 things you can do to reveal your blind spots and clear your path

  • Reflect at the end of your day and look at the choices you made. Ask yourself if your choices served you? Why or why not?
  • Ask your peers, friends, relatives, and partners how they view you or better yet, ask those individuals that raised you how you were as a child.
  • Reconnect to your past and be open and honest about your fears, limitations, and circumstances that bring you anxiety.
  • Reflect on your own life and the major setbacks that you experienced and connect the dots to another setback later in life.
  • Quiet your mental chatter and clear the space by meditating or engaging in activities that keep your present like exercise or creating something with your own two hands.
  • Start a personal journal and write openly!
  • Express your emotions authentically to others. When someone asks you how you are doing, tell them the truth!
  • Allow yourself to feel without judgment.

Rewire, Reconnect, and Remember.

Armando Hart