“What is a fear of living? It’s being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself – for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”
I wrote this book two years ago based on my risk management work in the intelligence and defense departments of Canada, NATO in Europe and Reuters in Asia. Managing risk and uncertainty is a complex process and a complicated game usually reserved for multi-million-dollar ventures and projects.
I realized, though, I could boil down what I used at work for my personal life. Especially during a crisis.
So, I’m giving the ebook and the audio away for free.
The language and the tools here have been extremely simplified. My colleagues may grumble they’re too simple. But I crafted this so the everyday woman and man on the street could understand and apply these principles to their lives in fifteen minutes or less.
This book is very short.
My nonfiction books are usually 250 pages plus long, but I kept this brief and to the point, as many may have neither the luxury nor the desire to read a full-length book these days.
Many people are talking about being anxious and frightened in these uncertain times. That’s a perfectly natural sentiment to have. Fear is not evil. It has its purpose and is a very human emotion.
However, in my opinion, fear is also unnecessary and a useless emotion that doesn’t allow us to see clearly ahead.
Fear doesn’t help us make smart decisions, especially when we may be struggling with health issues, job losses, isolation, and wildly fluctuating markets that can impact our retirements.
Fear, then, becomes a hindrance.
Hope this will help you or your loved ones. Feel free to share this with anyone you feel might be in need of a fear-busting formula right now.
*The downloadable audio is at the back of this ebook. When you sign up for it, you will subscribe to my email list. If you just want the book and the audio, download what you want and unsubscribe right away, and you will be fine.Bust Your Fears
Especially in times of crisis, “…you do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your habits”
~James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits.
I like to think I’m disciplined and optimistic, but this has been a particularly strange time and it’s slowed me down.
Hasn’t it for all of us?
No one in my life is sick or at risk in this global pandemic sweeping the world. I’m fine and staying at home, following the guidelines and doing my small part to limit the spread of this harsh virus.
But, on Sunday evening, after watching an Italian nurse share her personal story of tragedy, I burst into tears. Now, I’m not a cryer. Not usually anyway. It was a little embarrassing.
So, it was time to do something about it. I doubled down on my morning routine and this made a huge difference. Having a morning ritual has always helped me start the day right, regardless of the chaos or crisis around me, but I had slacked off a bit and that had been a bad idea.
Here’s how I’m now staying healthy and serene during these interesting times. I’m sharing this in case it might help someone else as well.
My Morning Ritual:
7am – Wake up, make bed & drink a glass of cool water.
7 – 7:30am – Brush teeth, wash up.
7:30 – 8 am – Yoga on mat at home.
8 – 8:40 am – Core exercise routine with sit-ups, pushups, planks etc…
9 – 9:15 am – With vision board in front, do affirmations out loud. Write twenty-five things I’m grateful for.
9:15 – 9:45 am – Vegan breakfast – 2-3 organic fresh fruits with toast & jam and a hot mug of Ceylon tea.
9:45 am – Turn on computer, put my epic movie-soundtrack playlist on and sit down to write. Use the Pomodoro technique to finish at least five thousand words each day.
These times are approximate and is what I try to stick with from Monday to Saturday.
Sunday is my off-day when I wake up and go for a run to the beach instead and try to relax by reading and cooking. My usual wake up time is 6:30am, but these days, with the added stress around us, I’m giving myself a full seven and a half hours sleep.
Sleep is good for stress.
This routine, I believe, is what allowed me to get ten to twelve hours of work done each day. This is how I was able to write the first draft of a book in one month.
In addition to the inherent advantages of exercise and meditation of this ritual, I discovered three hidden benefits to having a morning ritual.
1) The first is it reduces decision fatigue and keeps your mind fresh for more important matters. This way, you’re not wasting your precious brain power or willpower trying to figure out what you are going to eat or when you are going to exercise each morning. Your brain will know automatically what is next and that will keep it fresh and ready for longer periods of productive work in the day. This is probably the greatest benefit for me. As a novelist, I have to hash through the actions, the psychology and the interactions of a host of characters while keeping a story plot exciting, suspenseful and meaningful. This consumes a lot of brain energy as I’m literally (and literarily) thinking for five to ten people every day!
2) The second benefit is it gives you a sense of accomplishment. You can look back at the end of the day and feel like if nothing else worked out, at least you had one healthy meal and you did your exercises. How good is that feeling? These good feelings will keep you happy and productive through the day.
3) The third is an increase in confidence. The best way to build self confidence is to keep the promises you make to yourself. Create a ritual for yourself, give yourself time to adapt and stick to it. Yes, it requires discipline and some effort at the start, but what good thing in life doesn’t?
This ritual is not something I adopted recently, but one I’d worked on since 2015 after I started working from home.
I started small with five minutes of meditation and ten minutes of yoga, and then increased each area in small increments, building on each other, step by step. This structure became even more important after I quit my job to write my novels. I found it gave me a balanced mental and physical lifestyle and a healthy space to do the work I wanted to do.
Granted, I have no kids or pets running around in my home, so it’s easier to do my own thing, but I’m sure you can find ways take on small rituals in your day.
I work longer hours now than I did at my previous demanding risk and project management job, but I’ve never felt healthier and stress free than before. Many of my colleagues and bosses still think I was a bit nuts to leave a six-figured perfectly pensionable job, but I couldn’t ask for more.
I believe this morning ritual (plus my evening ritual which I’ll share another day) and the fact I’m doing work I love has injected a huge boost of happiness into my life.
I am no longer slacking. This morning routine is now a non-negotiable daily ritual.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned recently is that knowing yourself well and knowing how your thoughts and emotions can impact your health and wellbeing is a huge step toward creating a balanced lifestyle.
Given that we’re in the middle of a full-blown global crisis, here is one measurement tool to understand the stages of grief we all go through during challenging times.
Bonus: Find meaning
Sometimes we skip certain stages and sometimes we go through each and every step. Knowing which stage we are in will help us cope better and become more self-aware, so we can self-care.
Take care of yourself.
There is a silver lining in every dark cloud.
I believe we each can find our own personal treasures in the midsts of this crisis. Figure out what yours is and you’ll find calm among these chaos.
What about you?
What are you embracing to stay healthy and take care of yourself these days? Do share your tips and it just might help someone seeking peace and solace these days.
This past week has been super exciting! Just learned my first nonfiction book – Your Rebel Dreams – was nominated and is now a semi-finalist for the USA Chanticleer book awards in the Instructional and Insightful Non-Fiction category.
So far, my thriller novels have received the most attention with more than a dozen US literary nominations and four awards to date. But my nonfiction books are more staid.
My Rebel Diva nonfiction series is all about planning and creating a new life for those who feel stuck in their careers and lives. This is quite different from the car chases, fast-action and rebel girls who fight for their rights that goes on in my novels!
There are four books in my nonfiction series. Together, they encapsulate everything I’ve learnt on my journey from being an immigrant girl with $20 in my pocket to managing national and international projects in Canada and Europe to becoming a thriller novelist.
The books have quotes, graphics, step-by-step exercises & downloadable workbooks. After all that hard work *time spent on them, it’s feels immensely fulfilling to receive this nomination. I will be opening a bottle of wine to celebrate!
This is PART 3 of how to take stock of 2019 so we can prepare for a fantastic 2020. I’ll share with you my answers as I look back and plan ahead. The 3 final questions to ask as you stock take 2019 are:
What lessons (skills, knowledge, experience) have you learned in 2019?
What did you truly enjoy doing in 2019?
What are you grateful for in 2019?
Maybe you had a wonderful year full of achievements and dreams met. Or maybe you struggled a bit and wish you could have done more or better. Either way, pausing to ask what went well and what can be done differently is a powerful way to plan and progress next year. Without this reflection, we may end up making the same mistakes again.
Go over three key questions to ask as we look back at the year and plan for the next year and decade ahead. The process I will use is in my second Rebel Diva book – Your Rebel Plans. If you wish to follow along, you’ll find the template in pages 247-249 of the book.
Watch the video to answer the questions.
The Rebel Diva live video series tackles one self-empowerment topic every episode and shares practical tips to living a happy, healthy and holistic life. Living the Rebel Life means going against the grain and standing in our own power. It means finding the work that brings you joy and following your passions in life!
Choose the career you desire, not what others want for you.