How you can become smarter and less stressed

The other day I was having lunch, at a not so-called Bulletproof restaurant (but I hacked around the menu anyways!) with a colleague who seems to have it all together in her life. She’s making bank on her startup, her hair and nails are always primped to perfection and she even talks about having sex with her husband several times a week. WHAT? As she filled me in on all the little wins that make up her life I couldn’t help but wonder how she manages to check all these boxes without being a frazzled whirlwind of deadlines that survives on sips of coffee and stress...

Do you ever look at a successful person and wonder, “Why not me?” How is it possible that people running several multi-million dollar companies somehow find the time to have hobbies or learn new languages while I sometimes struggle with getting to the end of my to-do list, and have been so stressed I might have forgotten to eat lunch more than once this week?  Before seriously digging into becoming a Certified Bulletproof Coach, I struggled with staying on top, one year I’d be successful, the next not, then back in the saddle to wealth and riches, then not. The ups and downs became, well, to put it frankly… crappy!  I had to literally take a time out and get myself together and realign myself.

While having a positive mindset backed up by good habits is the best place to start, the fact is that even with the best intentions we can become distracted and begin to lose sight of what we’re doing and why we wanted to do it in the first place. This can lead to increased levels of stress as we find ourselves working harder without necessarily getting better results.  Let me remind you, harder is not always better!

In order to keep on track and find a way to achieve our goals we first need to solidify what those goals really are and be on guard every day for things that will help us get there. This will allow our brain the freedom to learn new things and work smarter so that we don’t burn ourselves out. (NO, NO, NO!)

What is the reticular activating system (RAS)?

The RAS is a small part of your brain that is responsible for filtering all the information received through your senses (excluding your sense of smell which is hard-wired to your emotional response center) along neural pathways to the reaction center of your brain and can assist with controlling your attention.  (I love this, something is in control…)

Have you ever wandered through a loud and crowded shopping center, or walking through a busy crowd while on your phone and been surprised when someone grabs your attention by saying your name in a fairly quiet speaking voice, then that is your reticular activating system at work. It filtered through all the unnecessary sights and sounds while honing in on the most important thing -- your name.

The reticular activating system acts as the passage between your subconscious mind and your conscious mind by making note of the things that your brain should be looking out for (such as your name) and allowing it to ignore all the irrelevant information (such as someone else’s screaming child).  Pretty cool, huh?

How can our reticular activating system help us to achieve our goals?

Visualization is an essential ingredient when it comes to achieving your goals because it allows you to clarify what you’re aiming for and the steps you will need to take to achieve it. You can stop being stressed out by the big picture goal that you’re still miles away from and concentrate on the smaller steps that will lead you there.

With the help of affirmations and empowering questions, we can train our RAS to filter through information that may assist us in reaching our goals that would otherwise have been disregarded as background noise. It teaches our brain to look out for the signposts that we have set that means something is important or will be beneficial in achieving our goals - much like it is trained to respond to the sound of our name.

Before long the neural pathways in our brain will automatically recognize this stimuli as important for our goals and will bring it to our attention without prompting, helping us to achieve our goal faster and with far less stress.

Are you wondering, what exactly is an empowering question?

Empowering questions are the important questions we should be asking ourselves regularly when we’re working towards goals. They should evoke possibilities and allow us to discover what we’re good at, what we like and where we really want to go, while also eliminating the negative aspects that are standing in our way.  I have to ask myself empowering questions all the time, otherwise, my brain will fire off thoughts of random fantasy, and fiction. {Yes, of course George Clooney should be my private dinner guest!  You see what I mean?}  My mind is always there making things up, leading me on a leash.  Empowering questions and thoughts bring me reason and paths to my goals end.  

For example, rather than focussing on the negative by asking yourself, “Why aren’t I successful?” Perhaps you can start asking, “What does my version of success look like and how can I get there?”

Recently, I had a session with a client who was feeling as though her business had stalled. She sat there stirring spoonful after spoonful of sugar into her already too-sweet coffee lamenting the state of her finances and the unsuccessful launch she had just completed and asked me, “What am I doing wrong?”

Rather than merely comforting her and fill her head with unhelpful platitudes I pulled out a notepad and pen and took the empowering route. “Why did you start your business in the first place?” As she told me about the people she wanted to help, the brilliant idea she had at the beginning and the parts of her business that truly made her happy she went from drowning in her misery to hyperactive with enthusiasm (okay, that might have been the caffeine and sugar in her system but there was definitely a positive shift).

Twenty empowering questions later, she went home with a notepad full of ideas, a new set of goals and a supercharged sense of purpose that was set to reinvigorate her business and her life.


Why you want to start using empowering questions to change your life.

Asking yourself empowering questions can be a life changing experience. They can solidify why a decision is right or wrong for you and help lead you where you need to be in life to be completely happy and successful. The answers will give you an insight into where you want to be which allows you to concentrate your efforts towards them. You will work smarter because you won’t be wasting time on inconsequential matters and your stress levels will be greatly reduced.

Empowering questions encourage deep introspection while at the same time they force us to examine our path in life. Through asking ourselves these questions we can get to the heart of what makes us tick and can discover when our goals or plans for the future have changed.

Here are 10 empowering questions that you should ask yourself today:

  1. What am I really good at today?

  2. What makes me really happy right now?

  3. What do I want and how should I start approaching it now?

  4. What does success look like to me today?

  5. What motivates me now?

  6. What am I afraid of today?

  7. What would I do differently if fear wasn’t holding me back, ever?

  8. What is my number one goal for the next 6 months and how am I going to work towards it in the next five minutes?

  9. What is my purpose in life today?

  10. What is the biggest obstacle standing in the way of my success right now?

Start asking yourself these questions and watch your life change today!  

Want to find more empowering questions?  Schedule a call with me and take on your life, don’t let it keep taking you!