One of the quotes that I am best known for in my career as a life coach is “Money matters, but mindset matters more.”
Now, as my book Finding My Peace: Empowering Poetic Essays from the Soul is released with so many personal details, life-changing “A-ha!’s” and a lifetime miracle, I realize how much peace matters. Money is simply what you chase when you don’t know that you need peace.
Peace is the elusive “it” that everyone wants. Most of us don’t know what it is – much less how to find it. It’s almost as if it is lost, and our life assignment is to find it. I found my peace through an elusive journey that I didn’t even know I was on. And now, in what feels like an instant, I understand the search, self-discovery, recognition and acceptance of my “it.”
Oddly enough, the opposite of peace is not necessarily chaos. Chaos is easily identified. However, it’s the status quo that’s challenging – the safe place where nothing changes but you. Identifying the stagnant places in your life is harder to detect because we fill emptiness with stuff before we realize it was ever empty.
This journey has taught me that, though the details differ from person to person, there are at least five universal and essential elements of peace:
What parts of your childhood are still impacting your life?
Each of us comes to Earth with the energy of the circumstances surrounding our conception and childhood. That energy is either ours to harness and leverage (e.g. being born into a wealthy family) or ours to overcome (e.g. being born into a wealthy family). Interpreting what these seemingly unimportant details mean is a difficult task, but one that proves well worth the effort when we figure out how important these puzzle pieces really are.
One of my clients had a life-changing “A-ha!” when I helped her understand the impact of losing her mother at an early age. Once Rita realized that she had to grow up to live with other relatives, she was able to understand the impact of missing her little girl play days. Finally, she had the missing element to find her joy.
What parts of that impact are within your control? Out of your control?
It is often said, “it doesn’t really matter what happens to us. It only matters how we respond.” Being able to dissect the parts of what we are and are not responsible for is critical to having the right response. It’s easy to confuse the two.
For example, have you ever met someone who continues to replay and internalize an event that was random and out of their control? Conversely, have you ever seen someone make a mistake, not take responsibility for it, and proceed to repeat it? Lastly, have you ever considered that maybe that someone is sometimes you?
Who are you really? What does your alter ego have to say?
It took me a long time to see the world through my own eyes. While I was in school, I used my mother’s lenses to motivate me to study hard, get a good education and then get a good job. Then I used society’s lenses to dictate what a good mother does. I allowed myself to be riddled with guilt and self-doubt as I developed my career and had to be away from my children. I tried to live up to the persona of a good wife and ignored many of my own needs in the process.
And then, finally, I listened to a voice that sounded like my alter ego, and I stepped into a new role. In my book I call it “DIVA For Real,” and my biggest wish is that every woman finds this inner voice for herself.
What are your major life lessons? What parts of your personality do others consistently mirror to you?
We are here to learn, grow and evolve. As such, our major assignment is to grow through what we go through. Every experience, every celebration, every crisis is customized to support our personal growth. The grief of losing my mother led me to focus on the lessons I was supposed to learn from her life. Once I got that, I still missed her but the pain was transformed into sustained gratitude for the gifts she developed in me. From that point forward, I was better able to use, appreciate and leverage those gifts.
Lessons are repeated until we master them and move on. Life’s curriculum is pass/fail. You retake until you pass. One of the ways that lessons are provided is in the people who show up in your life. Follow the patterns of personality traits that irritate you and circumstances that repeated themselves. Those are really modules that you are struggling with. You will know you have matriculated when new patterns surface.
Again, the biggest shifts I have seen are with the clients who are ready to do the work of self-discovery, get to the answers that have eluded them for years and then make new behavior choices. The question people ask next is – How?
What actions do you need to take to move yourself forward?
This is hard. I am educated and credentialed in the field of learning and development, and it still took me 21 years to figure this one out. Having children is a miracle, but it’s a common miracle that happens every day all around the world. So finding my father was the biggest uncommon miracle I have ever experienced. After 21 years of searching, I found him within 24 hours of the last necessary action required. How is it possible that a series of seemingly random coincidences would line up with such precision? My inquiring mind needed to know how this happened, so I examined the formula that activated that miracle.
Allison Manswell (MBA, CPLP) is the President and Chief Learning Officer of Empowered Village Training & Resources. She is the author of Finding My Peace: Empowering Poetic Essays from the Soul and The Champion’s Ride: Success Skills for Teens from an SUV. To her clients, she is known as the Mindset Coach. Most importantly, to Malcolm, Mykal and Maurice – she is Mommy.