A couple of weeks ago I attended the Ultimate Leadership Program of Ed J C Smith for the second time. It is a 4 day full-on seminar where you learn coaching techniques that you can then use on yourself and others to improve yours and their lives. It is all about becoming the best version of yourself.
I have spoken about this before; this is a place where I have learnt some amazing techniques that have helped me fight depression. This is why I wanted to share this experience with you in the hope that it might help you too.
A little way down the road…
On the first day of the seminar, while walking to the venue with a very close friend who attended the seminar with me the first time around at Easter, I asked her: “do you remember where we were last time we came to the seminar? Let’s just pause for a second and think about what we have achieved since then.”
And suddenly I realised how much my life had changed in only 4 months:
- I finally authorised myself to stop traditional psychotherapy (which was no longer working for me) and started a hypnosis therapy. With hypnosis therapy I made huge progress into understanding better the roots of my depression, which allowed me to heal key relationships in my life
- I stopped taking anti-depressants (see the recent post Let’s talk about antidepressants )
- I started this blog
- I am coaching 4 people using the techniques I have learnt and am already seeing results
- I stopped drinking coffee
- I now have a much stronger morning routine even though I can still progress in this area; and
- I “got out of the tower” as per Ed J C Smith’s recommendation and started dating again 🙂
That sounds like a lot, right? But until I asked myself that question, I had been looking forward so much that I hadn’t even noticed how much progress I had made.
What is remarkable is that the reason I originally went to this seminar was to start my own business. And that it was the only reason. I wasn’t loo3333king to work on myself at all. I had my therapist for that. But when the seminar started I realised that Ed J C Smith was right. Yes your career and your project are important. They are even very important. But there are a number of other things that you should work on before you start focusing on your work mission. You should start with your health, your emotional intelligence and your relationships, to name just a few.
In fact Ed J C Smith takes you through the 7 Elements of Wealth™ and asks you to score yourself so that you can see where you should focus your attention in your life. It usually isn’t where you thought you should. What did particularly struck a chord with me was his claim that if you genuinely score highly on all of these elements then you cannot be depressed.
This exercise helped me reset my priorities. Even though my health had by now been my priority for over 2 years, I had not given too much thought to the other aspects of my life. I am only human; after a few painful break-ups I had gone back to “hiding in the tower” not particularly willing to open myself to getting hurt again. It seemed that focusing on my blog would be a much safer place to be!
When you start the Ultimate Leadership Program (ULP) Ed J C Smith warns you: “I am going to push you out of your comfort zone”. Well… he certainly did. And I am glad he did too because what he had to offer was much deeper and much more powerful that what I had come for.
So now let’s talk about what I have actually learnt and how these coaching techniques can help fighting depression.
How does it all work
In a nutshell the coaching techniques I have learnt from Ed J C Smith are a series of cognitive changes exercises that you can use to re-program your brain. Why would you want to do that? Because all behaviours are trained and most likely you have picked up some bad habits, or limiting beliefs, along the years that are preventing you from being as happy as you could be.
There is only one thing in life that holds us back: our limiting beliefs. The most common reason people are not successful is because they think they cannot be. If you go to an interview thinking that you cannot do the job, it is most likely that you will not get the job. If you do not start that business that you have been dreaming about for years while suffering a 9-5 job that you no longer enjoy because you do not believe that you can start your own business, you will never be able to do it. If you don’t believe in yourself, why would others do?
Again, the most common reason people stay in unhappy relationships is because they think they cannot be in a happier one. My mum used to tell me things like: “You are looking for a perfect man who does not exist”, “You need to be happy with what you have got”, and so on. And this is what I answered: “Mum, I am not looking for a perfect man. Indeed the “perfect man” does not exist because no one is perfect. What I am looking for is the man who is perfect for me because we share the same values and want the same things in life. That is rather different.
So if you are suffering from depression chances are you have a bunch of limiting beliefs that are holding you back. They might even keep you depressed. Have you recognising that critical inner voice yet? Everybody hears it; that voice that tells you not to get out of your comfort zone because you might get hurt. But when you are suffering from depression your critical inner voice feeds on your limiting beliefs and amplifies them.
And the good news is…You can use cognitive changes to get rid of these limiting beliefs and replace them by positive ones Sounds too good to be true? Where is the catch, are you asking yourself as the good sceptic that you are? Well, the catch is that you are going to have to do a fair amount of emotional hard work and face your fears. It won’t be easy but it is totally worth it.
Now the practice
So what you need to do is assess what it is that is holding you back. What are you afraid of? Go on, make a list! Mine is rather long and each time I manage to break some of them I discover new ones!!
Once you have assessed the issues you are half way there and you can start tackling them one by one with a coach.
What the coach will do is work with you to help you remove the limiting belief and replace it by a positive belief.
Examples of things you can work on:
I can’t be successful / I can be successful
I can’t find love / I can find love
I can’t fight depression and live a health life / I can fight depression and live a healthy life
I can’t quit smoking / I can quit smoking
I can’t stop eating biscuits / I can stop eating biscuits
And the list goes on… You can retrain any behaviour.
To make this a little bit more real, I thought I should share with you the details of how this has worked for me. I am going to dissect every change I have mentioned above and tell you what happened starting at the first ULP I attended in April to the second one I have just attended.
The result I got
How I got it
|Moving from psychotherapy to hypnosis therapy, understanding the roots of my depression and healing key relationships in my life||First I put my hand up having no clue what was going to happen to me when Ed J C Smith asked if anyone in the audience was suffering from depression. He asked me to come up on stage and he coached me in front of 100 people I did not know! We talked about many things including how long I had been on medication and following a traditional therapy.
After the exercise I was overwhelmed by the love I received from my now fellow coaches. Many people I had not spoken to before reached out to me. It was one of these rare beautiful moments in life where strangers are able to connect. And it gave me a lot of strength to deal with what happened next.
After the ULP I let it all sunk in for a while. I was already using hypnosis for punctual issues and this was how I had quit smoking. I felt very conflicted about stopping a psychotherapy that the world is saying you should follow when you suffer from depression. By then I had already invested a lot of time and money and some people were advising me to “see it through as I was so close to the end”.
When I spoke to my therapist about it, she advised that if I wanted to go ahead with this change of therapy she could no longer treat me.
So I had a hypnosis session just on this topic, to help me resolve this internal conflict. I woke up feeling sure that this change was right for me and implemented the change.
And I do not regret the change for a second. This was one of the best decision I have ever made. The progress I am getting with hypnosis are 10 times bigger than the ones I got with psychotherapy.
|Stopping anti-depressants||See post Let’s talk about anti-depressants|
|Starting blogging||Attending the ULP and meeting so many people who have their own business made me realised how much I want this for myself. I also did a couple of cognitive changes exercises to get rid of limiting beliefs around success. And a few weeks later I launched the blog.
But more importantly, talking so openly about depression to total strangers made me realise how much blogging about depression was needed. So many people are suffering in silence thinking it is just them. And after receiving such warm encouragements from everyone I just had to get started.
|Coaching others||This seems to be a “side effect”! I was never interested in coaching others. But after the ULP I started telling everyone about how amazing these techniques are and the results that I got from them.
And people have asked if I could help them with this and that issue, which I was very happy to do because I love seeing others grow and succeed.
So here are some of the results so far:
– I helped a friend with pre-interview confidence crisis. She performed very well at the interview, refused the job as she discovered through the interview process that it wasn’t right for her and a few weeks later found her dream job
– I helped another friend removing her limiting belief that she was bad with numbers. And she no longer panics when she is asked to add up a few numbers
– Another success I am pleased about was to help a friend with removing her biscuits craving. It’s been weeks now and she still feels like she is now the one in control. I love that!
|Saying no to coffee||During the first ULP we did this very powerful exercise called “Like to Dislike”. This is quite a popular technique when you are trying to stop eating something. It does work with smoking too. If you type “like to dislike” in You Tube you will find videos of people coaching using this technique.
So I choose to do it with coffee, which I was drinking a little bit too much of out of habit and because I was often working long hours and felt like I needed the energy boost.
It worked so well on me that I did not touch coffee for 5 weeks. The detox process was very telling! I had bad headaches for a while and I kept falling asleep at my desk. When I decided to try a coffee, “just to see”, after 5 weeks I reacted very strongly to it! I was hyper for 3 hours and then started having palpitations. So that little experience did its trick. I no longer even want to drink coffee.
|Morning routine||So the major difference between pre-ULP and post- ULP is that I get up earlier in the morning. The alarm goes off at 5:50am. And I slowly wake up and get up at 6am.
Now this does not yet happen every single day, but it does happen most days.
The other things that I got better out: starting my day with an anti-inflammatory drink.
And I use this extra time to have a proper breakfast and either exercise or write for the blog before going to work.
My morning routine isn’t set in stone yet. I am experimenting with it and more importantly I listen to my body. If I am very tired because I went to bed later than usual, I give myself an extra hour.
|Getting out of the tower||This one was funny. On day one after Ed J C Smith presented the 7 Elements of Wealth™ to us I went straight to him and ask: “Do we have to sort out these elements in the order that you give? For example, my focus at the moment is on my business, not on being in a relationship, so I can just skip that one, right?” To which Ed J C Smith answered: “But everybody needs love!”
And later on when I went on stage to talk about depression he did manage to get me to acknowledge that I was worried that I would never find love. And this is when Ed J C Smith encouraged me to “get out of the tower” because if I waited for a guy to climb that tower, I might wait a while…
So I left that to sink in for a little while and a few weeks later I got myself on Tinder and went out on a few dates. Nothing really came out of it but it was fun to be dating again. And then I met someone that I quite like (not on Tinder – just for the record). No idea where this is going for now, and I am super scared that it might go wrong again, but it’s a step forward.
Clearly I still have a way to go but I will continue this journey because I do believe that this is how you become a ninja who can achieve anything they want in life 🙂
Have you tried cognitive change techniques before? Do you know other ways to achieve the same results? I would love to hear what you think of all this so go ahead and leave a message below!