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I Attempted Suicide Twice but Today I’m a Professional Coach Who Leads People to Success

I Attempted Suicide Twice but Today I’m a Professional Coach Who Leads People to Success

I woke begrudgingly with the sun shining in through the curtains, as I moved my feet to the floor I looked down to see the floor scattered with empty medicine packets. Lots of them. Then I remembered, last night I’d taken all my medicine. The medicines that made me get up, the ones that made me go to sleep and anything and everything else I could find around the house too. I was so angry.

Looking back to that dark day 13 years ago, I can remember the anger felt so engulfing I didn’t think I’d be able to speak to anyone without losing it. “How could I take that lot and not die!” I thought. It should have been a fore gone conclusion. I was so mad that I remember picking up the medicine guideline leaflet that can be like war and peace and looking for the pharmaceutical company’s telephone number so that I could phone them and complain, “This was false advertising, it clearly states that “in the event of an overdose, go straight to hospital. Risk of death.”

This may sound mad, but I was a poorly woman. I really hadn’t got a grasp on my mental health illness and I can remember that feeling that I just wanted it to end, life, me, just stop and let it go black for good. Thankfully I didn’t get my wish that day.

Looking back and remembering that moment, it’s like I was a different Mandie Holgate. I’ve learned so much about me, life, mindset and how to live a powerful happy life. And as awful as those 18 months of severe mental health illness were, without them I would not be changing lives around the world and have a book that’s sold around the world.

I wish we could learn the lesson easier that to be successful in everything we do, it has to start with self love. I often remind people that I can help them create the greatest marketing strategy or the best goal plan of action. However, if you don’t believe in yourself, you will find a way to damage your results and ultimately your success.

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Self love also enables us to keep our confidence and self esteem high. Without this, it too will damage our success. We will suffer far more when experiencing failure, which is an ingredient to the recipe to success.

However, the pre-depression Mandie never really grasped what she had been was not what she could truly be. And if this resonates with you, if you feel like you are struggling with mental well being, it’s not something to be ashamed about; it’s not a weakness (as I saw it to be). As scary as it may be, know that when you take that massive leap to tell someone and talk about it, you will be putting your foot on the road to making it easier and a better for you. The right people do care, if you give them chance to let them.

Here I’d like to share the tough life lessons I learned and how they could change your life without nearly losing yours.

Telling people you are struggling is not a sign of weakness.

The hardest lesson I learned from my own adversity and obstacles to happiness is that, I don’t have to do it all on my own. I’m terrible at asking for help. When I was ill, it was because I felt weak if I asked for help — useless and pathetic. “Poor Mandie, can’t deal with life” I thought.

However, I’ve learned that we all need someone to lean on sometimes. It’s a sign of strength to be able to say “I need help”. Strong and confident people trust that they are liked and respected. They know that if they ask for help, they will get it so as to get the results they want.

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The voices in your head will always aim to revert to negativity.

When I was ill, the talking therapies I accessed not only changed my life, but are changing my clients’ lives too since I also use the talking therapies with my clients now every day.

Of all the things I could share with you, I think being aware of the inner voice is a very powerful one. Learn to hear what your voices say to you. That internal dialogue can be a power for good or bad, but only if you become aware of what it is saying. I often point out to clients that at the start you don’t need to work out how to change that negative voice, just by being aware of it you could change it. It likes to go untested and unchecked, so note what you are saying in your own head.

Saying no is not selfish, it’s selfless.

We think we are being epic when we do everything everyone asks us to. When we constantly say yes, it does wonders for other people’s success. However, it can greatly impact on our own well being and success. A feeling of guilt and frustration can creep in, and you can feel like no one respects you or what you want to achieve. Learning when to say no and how to say it in the right way for you is a powerful way to achieve greater levels of success.

Getting it wrong is good for you.

For me, it was hard to accept that failure was going to be good for me. I felt like Mandie Holgate had to perform to perfection every time. The problem with this is that we are less likely to open ourselves up to mistakes and getting it wrong. We don’t want to lose face so we don’t risk failure.

However, failure is such a valuable lesson to success. It’s a chance to learn, appreciate your tenacity, determination and dedication. Without failure, you can’t hone your skills or even appreciate the depths to which they go. As long as you keep working towards your success, people don’t have a habit of concentrating on your failures. You, on the other hand, have an inherent ability to hang on to failure as a distinction of your success. Accept your failures as much as you do your successes to really achieve more.

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Changing your mind is allowed.

Becoming an entrepreneur, I had clear goals from the start on what I wanted to achieve and what success looked like to me. I rarely shied away from sharing what that definition of success looked like either. You are after all, far more likely to achieve success if you tell people what you are looking to do. However, sometimes I would find myself doing things that I didn’t really want to.

Learning to be honest about what matters to you in life and going for true passions can mean that you change your mind and there is no law against that. How much do you want this? Is this really for you? Having the strength to follow a clear path is powerful, and knowing when that path is just taking you further away from what you really want is just as important. It feels easier to change course than change your mind and skill set. Be aware with this top tip that you aren’t changing direction because you aren’t getting results.

Stop assuming that you will fail.

I don’t think I’ve ever had a coaching client that has said to me how awesome it’s going to be. They always start from a place of “What if we can’t cope with demand?” “What if I can’t do it?” “What if it doesn’t work?” or “What if they don’t like me?” The reason relates to top tip number 2 in that we tend to revert to a negative train of thought. And thus we assume we will fail. We never assume it will be awesome, that they will love us, that we will be a sell out success. (On the occasions where someone has assumed they would sell out, they’ve only thought like that because they’ve assumed that they wouldn’t be able to cope with demand, and so would still fail by damaging their brand and reputation!)

The “What if game” is a great way to challenge the assumptions you are making and find out if they are true, or only an unhelpful perception that is distorting your view of the results you can expect. What could you assume that could be positive and how do you ensure that this happens?

Doing more does not always compute to more success.

I love how the standard reply to “How are you?” is usually “really busy thanks” It used to be “fine thanks, you?” Being busy has become the curse of the 21st century. Woe be tide the person that admits to finishing work early or not hustling, toiling, pushing, working hard or giving it your all. As a society, we’ve learned to look over our shoulder and assume what the next person is doing is what we will need to do to be successful—wrong.

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We need to learn to think and work smarter. This summer, I turned my phone off and had 24 days holiday. The list of what I achieved in that time included a free holiday in a German Castle and opportunities I’d not even considered! No one need to know how many hours you work. The person you need to impress most, is you. If your way of working is delivering what you want out of your personal and professional life, stick with it. If it’s not work smarter, don’t just work harder. It will damage your long term health and happiness.

    And lastly this may sound fake or salesy, however 2017 has personally thrown my family some very challenging times that have had me looking to the heavens and thinking “Really? More stuff dumped on us?” I’ve used my own book that is packed with the tools and techniques that I started learning all those years ago when I nearly died to keep my mind positive and still achieve despite life throwing obstacles and adversity at me. I truly believe that we can achieve anything with the right mindset. I was rather proud to re-read my own book and think, “wow, there’re some seriously good ideas in here!”

    I don’t tell you this to sell my book, I tell you this because we are so fearful of being proud of ourselves and risking looking arrogant that we risk losing our self confidence and damaging our self esteem. Thirteen years on I’m very proud to be Mandie Holgate, and to be changing lives around the world for the price of a book. I wish that every reader of this article can learn the power of being able to say “This is me, and I’m damn good at it!” What could that do for your personal and professional success?

    Buy Mandie’s book Fight the Fear – How to beat your negative mindset and win in life on Amazon

    More by this author

    Mandie Holgate

    Coach, International BEST Selling Author, Speaker & Blogger helping thousands around the world.

    Positive and Negative Reinforcement: Which Is More Effective? 13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride How to Make Positive Changes Now (And Start Living a Fulfilling Life) What Is Self Efficacy and How to Improve Yours 6 Types of Fear of Success and How to Overcome Them

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2019

    Why Am I Not Happy? 5 Steps to Figure Out the Reason

    Why Am I Not Happy? 5 Steps to Figure Out the Reason

    In our diverse world, where everyone wants to stand out from the crowd and has their own opinions just about everything, there is a rather universal idea we all – regardless of age, race, location, gender — embrace…

    We all want to be happy.

    We want to feel that we matter, are loved, appreciated, problem-free, care-free, and financially secure. And this has become one of the most obsessive quests of our society—to be happy, at all cost, by all means.

    Happiness has undisputed benefits—supported by countless studies—to about pretty much everything in our lives—from our mental or physical state, to careers, relationships, finances.

    Although the self-help industry is still having a sunshine moment with its advice on how to get to this coveted state, no one (that I’m aware of) has come up with The Magic Potion—that one thing or action or thought—that can make us all content and whole for good.

    Of course, we also all are knowledgeable enough to recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. And that it’s often a combination of things that each one of us should intentionally do daily in order to reach that enchanted place where everything is intensely bright and upbeat.

    The reason that there are multiple antidotes to feeling gloomy is that there may be a million different explanations and their nuances of why someone is unhappy. It’s pretty much a different cause, path and experience for everyone.

    Top this with the “hedonic treadmill” phenomenon[1] —and you end up with an incessant (and rather tiring) pursuit of something that, quite frankly, no one has been able to define in concreate measurable terms.

    The second problem with happiness is that all of us become so hung up on the goal itself—that utopian state that we want to get to “one day.”

    Naturally, you can spend your whole life waiting for happiness to finally come knocking on your door, hoping, anticipating, existing in perpetual discontent—and the moment may never come.

    And then, looking back, you may ask yourself—was I truly that miserable or did I fall a victim of the happiness craze?

    That is—how can you know if you are really unhappy, if happiness means different things for everyone, it’s impossible to measure directly, and it’s rather fleeting?

    So, let’s start from the beginning— and examine the cause of why you’re unhappy, the symptoms and the treatment.

    Symptoms of Unhappiness

    According to the wellness site Mind Body Green, some of the most common manifestations you are not happy are:[2]

    • Feeling like you’re not as good as other people
    • Feeling like a victim of circumstances that are beyond your control
    • Feeling like your daily life is meaningless and task-driven
    • Feeling helpless, hopeless, or pessimistic
    • Protecting your heart with steel walls
    • Trying to fit in and belong, but rarely feel like you do
    • Feeling beaten down by the challenges you face in life
    • Feeling depressed, anxious, or chronically worried
    • Feeling like you’re not appreciated enough

    If this sounds like you, on a regular day, then you are not a happy fella, my friend.

    Reasons for Feeling Unhappy

    The most important indication that things are not great (at least in your mind) is the sense of “something missing.” You may not know what it is, but you feel hollow, incomplete. And you are aware that something needs to happen to make you come alive again.

    Of course, finding the reason for your woes is vital to prescribing (to yourself) the right steps to make it all better.

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    So, here are some of the most common reasons why you may feel heavy-hearted, or “like the joy has been sucked out of my life.”

    Lack of Meaning

    Everyone who’s someone in the happiness-advice trade will tell you that this is one of the main causes (of not THE biggest) of feeling blah. Especially relevant for our professional lives, lack of significance can be a dream-downer.

    An excellent piece in the New York Times talks about Harvard graduates who make $1.2 million a year in salary, but still feeling miserable and trapped in what they describe as “wasting my life” existence.[3]

    Simply put—you may feel unhappy because you need the “Why” in your life, as I also wrote in a previous post How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life.

    Happiness Disruptors

    Even perceived problems can feel quite real to many of us. Undeniably, though, any personal, financial, career, physical complications can make your happiness aspirations plummet.

    The constellation of all the issues or walls you can run into can be quite vast. For instance, you don’t like the way you look, you don’t make enough money, don’t have any friends or significant other, your health is fragile.

    All these can be serious impediments to an undisturbed-joyfulness type of life.

    Lack of Self-Esteem and Self-Respect

    Few years ago (2003), a paper by the psychologist Roy Baumeister rocked the science world. Titled “Does High Self-Esteem Cause Better Performance, Interpersonal Success, Happiness, or Healthier Lifestyles?” it presented the idea (supported by research) that self-esteem and happiness are linked.[4]

    Specifically, high self-esteem leads to greater happiness.

    In addition, according to the famous American author and speaker Gary Vaynerchuk, the main reason people are unhappy is because they lack self-respect—that is, they value others’ opinions above their own. Of course, it makes sense—and surely, it rings true with many of us too.

    Personality

    Linked to the above is another hindrance to becoming relentlessly upbeat, which may prove slightly challenging to overcome, if even possible—your personality.

    Of course, not per the self-help industry which thrives on the assumption that you can, with your own willpower, become a different person altogether. Namely—a much better version of the current you.

    But what the Wise Men also tell us is that you are either born to be a silver-lining kind of person or you are not.

    You can, of course, work on yourself to start seeing the glass half-full (vs half-empty). But you may never reach the gregariousness of someone who is just born with a more care-free temperament.

    Unreasonably High Expectations

    Having high expectations of yourself can be beneficial, according to research.[5] It leads to higher performance—a phenomenon called the Pygmalion effect.

    Having too high expectations of yourself, though, may be counter-productive. You can run into all slew of mental health issues—depression, self-sabotaging, self-punishment, etc. And it can spill over all areas of your life.

    It’s certainly a case for future investigation.

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    It will take perhaps at least few articles to list all the reasons why we can feel unhappy (a book even!).

    So, some of the other causes of being disgruntled with your life can be: long hours at work, “always-on” culture bread by the internet, increased screen time,[6] or boredom with one’s life (i.e. lack of excitement).

    Addiction to Unhappiness

    Apparently, you can also develop an addiction to unhappiness[7] —that is, some people like negative feelings and are “happy to be unhappy.” Rather disturbing, indeed.

    Unexplainable Reasons

    Or, sometimes, you just can’t put your finger on one thing, or on anything, for this matter—you don’t know for sure what makes you feel unhappy, nor what will make you happy. It feels like it’s everything—your whole life is a mess.

    But that’s not the end of the story. The most important questions you should be asking yourself are:

    Why? What’s the cause of my unhappiness?

    Because you can’t fix it when you don’t know what’s broken, right?

    5 Steps You Can Take to Figure Out The Why

    So, if you tick most of the symptoms above, it’s very likely that you are not living in Dream-land right now.

    Here is my advice on how to find your lumps in the batter.

    1. Mull over What “Happy” Means to You

    Happiness can take different shapes—hedonic pleasure, life satisfaction, desire fulfillment.[8] All of these—separately or together—can deliver to us sprinkles of joy.

    And because our lives are so diverse, the above will translate into different pursuits for each one of us.

    For instance, my hedonic weekend happiness means reading a book or writing, while for someone else—it’s socializing, taking a walk, or going on a shopping spree at the mall.

    Or, my life satisfaction can be to have a big family and leave a mark in the world this way. For others, it may be going after fame and fortunes. But either way, don’t fall for the society’s “narrative traps”[9]—that a bigger pay check, house, a certain job, person, etc. will give you a never-ending stream of bliss. It won’t, science confirms over and over.

    So, once you know what your happiness vision board looks like, you will have a better idea of what’s “missing” in your life.

    2. Re-Visit Your Expectations

    As I already mentioned, unreasonable expectations you or others have set for yourself can be deterring you from feeling gleeful.

    For one thing, aspirations often can become outdated. What you wanted ten or five years ago (or even six months ago) may not be relevant to your situation today and will need to be filed into a mental cabinet.

    Another issue is that our culture is putting an exponential pressure on all of us to perform more and better, to try and stretch the 24-hours a day into 30, to chase kudos and recognition. Any outcome that has earned less than the gold is punishable by exclusion for the cool crowd, by receiving less in perks, bonuses, and appreciation even.

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    As a result, anxiety, depression and all their dark friends start creeping into our minds and tint everything else that may be giving us joy and satisfaction.

    So, taking periodic audit of your expectations—their validity and importance place on your happiness list, is pivotal to stopping unhappiness spread into your life.

    3. Examine Your Way of Thinking

    At the heart of the so-called Rational Emotive Behavior Theory (REBT),[10] which was established by the American psychologist Albert Ellis in 1956, is the idea that it’s never the actual event that upsets us.It’s our interpretation and thoughts about it. By inference, changing our thoughts will reduce (and hopefully remove altogether) our anxiety.

    Let’s take this a stretch further. Positive (not delusional) thinking has been long proclaimed to be a winner when it comes to mental health. If you find yourself going down the spiral of negative inner dialogue, you must stop yourself immediately. It’s unhappiness trap.

    But it’s not easy-breezy, of course, to do such conscious policing all the time. It can become a habit, though, psychologists tell us. We can teach ourselves to quell negativity, and there are many things that can be done: How to Have Happy Thoughts and Train Your Brain to Be Happy

    And don’t forget to be grateful. It’s the best happiness shot there is.

    4. The Good Old Pros and Cons

    Although it may appear to be a less fascinating way to figure out whether you are unhappy or not, the pros-and-cons list has been around for a long time—and it’s still an excellent tool to let you examine things closely, evaluate alternatives and come to satisfactory answers.[11]

    Interestingly, as history tells us, this invention is credited to Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century. Notorious for his productivity, he applied the pros-cons exercise to almost everything in his life.

    The beauty of the method lies in its simplicity too. So, go back to the drawing board and start penciling down the things that you like and don’t like (make you unhappy) about your life, and the things that you know with certainty to make you happy today.

    Of the “things-that-make me-unhappy-about-my-life” subset, have a think what you can do to move these along the continuum—to the brighter side.

    You may be surprised to discover that you have much greater say in the building of your own happiness than chance, circumstances or others.

    5. Mental Cleansing

    Mental health is in the limelight quite often these days. And rightly so.

    The way we care about our bodies and minds directly links to many of our life outcomes.

    Mental clutter can become a well-being stumbling block. Overthinking, old grudges, past events, can all make it very challenging to feel elevated and content.

    Doing a mental cleanse once a month can be the remedy to set yourself on the path to happiness recovery.

    Pay a visit to the past to confront your fears, get rid of the people who bring you down, free yourself from any emotional baggage. It will help you silence the bully in your head.

    Take a periodic stock of all the things that make you anxious and declutter. Why hold on to the things that you know to bring you grief anyway?

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    Unless you are one of those unhappiness addicts I mentioned above (which calls for a more radical intervention), carrying emotional baggage without doing anything to unload it, is a anti-glee behavior.

    Bonus Advice

    Finding our Achilles’ heel of happiness can sometimes be a tall order. It takes time, conscious efforts and an honest desire to make it better. It also alludes that we are ready to take the plunge into the self-help territory and take actual steps to improve our situation.

    But it’s not a lost cause, the research tells us. It’s possible to make yourself happy on a consistent basis.

    Here are few universal suggestions:

    One of the things you can do is to inject some meaning back in your life. And the best way to go about this is to flip the narrative. Case in point—the story of John F Kennedy’s visit to NASA in 1962. He ran into a janitor and when asked him what he was doing, he replied: “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

    The happiness guru Gretchen Rubin tells us that there are two major path that lead a more fulfilling life:[12]

    One way is through our relationships—having strong bonds and feeling that we belong.

    The other route is through developing better self-knowledge—i.e. what things make us us, or glad, or sad. And base our way of living on our own values and goals, not others’.

    The feeling that we are not making progress is a definite joy crusher. We should compare wisely, find our passions, and diversify our experiences. These are not magic pills but more so opportunities to make our time here worthwhile and fulfilling.

    Final Thoughts

    Happiness is notoriously hard to pin down.

    There is no one definition of contentment, nor one way to ‘fix’ it. It’s one of those things that you can’t quantify and it’s idiosyncratic.

    More and more we hear a murmur from the science world that perhaps the best way to happiness is acceptance—of your failings and shortcomings, of the fact that life is imperfect.

    Knowing what makes us disgruntled is, of course, needed to find the right remedy for each one of us. Feeling constantly unhappy is not good and necessitates closer examination.

    Finally, beware of the narrative trap that if you are unhappy, there is something wrong with you. It may be normal, for a while at least. Otherwise, how would you appreciate the highlight moments of your life if you don’t see them against the backdrop of the gloomy times?

    Or, as the great singer Leonard Cohen tells us:

    “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

    More About Staying Happy

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Le via unsplash.com

    Reference

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