Vancouver Life Coach

Vancouver Entrepreneur - Podcast

Click to listen online!

Click to listen online!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Robert Szmigiel of VancouverEntrepreneur.ca about running VanCity Life Coach Inc. and what it's like being an entrepreneur in Vancouver, B.C. It's been an incredible journey so far, and reliving how it all begun was quite emotional, and also realizing how everyday I feel like it's just the beginning! I hope this podcast interview inspire you to share your ideas and explore your potential, the time to act is now!

For an iTunes link, click here.

How I keep my Ego from controlling my life.

Feeling like I'm on top of the world...

Feeling like I'm on top of the world...

Vancouver is a wonderful place to call home, and I've found a lot of success here. However, I can sometimes lose sight of who I really am, when the "success" is all that my life becomes. I'm a great Life Coach, I can say that confidently, but it's not all who I am...

Click here to learn about how I keep my Ego from taking over my life, and what you should start doing to navigate your life into a happier, more fulfilling direction.

This is why you're afraid.

DaVinci Vancouver

I’ve been quiet on the social media front for a while, and I’d like to say it’s because I’ve entered a new realm of self-awareness, but in truth it's been busy.

A few months ago, I successfully launched my group coaching program and what started out as a project to make life coaching accessible to the wider community, became an eye opening realization for me.

Imitation = Fear

Imitation is an expression of fear, because we imitate to blend in, to be accepted by society, and for others to notice that we fit in and that we belong. We imitate because we’re afraid of being rejected should we ever reveal our truest selves.

Many of us, predominately in the West I feel, are searching for that sense of belonging from a very early age. Think about how a toddler behaves, they walk around confidently, wearing the rawest version of themselves. Forever curious, they’re always in search of answers. Although it may not last too long, toddlers are also very compassionate, incredibly loving and confidently expressive.

I think as conscious awareness develops, there comes a time when we become curious about ourselves and our place in this world, and I think it’s at this crucial point when fear of expression starts to develop. It’s like we spend most of our lives slowly breaking free from a cocoon and once free, we’re very quickly misguided.

As we develop some independence we turn to the world around us for guidance on this human experience. However, the world is still very much an unequal place and as we receive its messages, predominantly through mass media, the majority of us feel underrepresented. When we do not see ourselves being represented, we quickly learn to feel that this is a world in which we do not belong, so what do we do? We imitate.

We buy into popular trends, we follow false idols, and we mimic those who are presented as most-self-actualized. We often do this so blindly that it becomes normal, until the distance between who we really are and who we’ve presented ourselves to be is so wide, that we become afraid to face the truth, and/or unsure of it.

It develops an anxiety of sorts, an uncertainty about the future and thus the quest for happiness continues to be a trivial pursuit. We feed fear each time we deny ourselves the opportunity to be liberated.

Creating a safe space.

In just under 8-weeks my group members had shown phenomenal personal growth. The majority of my clients started out the program feeling insecure and unsure about their future. Towards the end, they all reported feeling happier and unafraid to explore their potential, and reported feeling sure about where they’re headed in life.

I think the success of the group coaching program, was largely due to being a safe space for participants to reconnect with and explore their truest selves, and realize that they’re not alone. I think for many it was the first time they understood how their identities became so blurred and as the weeks progressed, participants became more expressive and compassionate toward one another.

The program became a safe space for them to freely explore their potential without limits. For example, I had one participant who started out as this rigid, hyper-masculine character and he joined the program wanting to learn how to be more productive, and maximize his earning potential. Towards the end, we learned that his procrastination and lack of fulfillment were down to pursuing a path he did not align with, nor particularly enjoy. He had spent so much time imitating an identity attached to confidence and wealth, that he became afraid to pursue something he was actually passionate about and good at, which was art. He learned how to set goals mindfully and how aspirations are achieved, and now he’s enrolling in design school alongside his 9 to 5, to pursue a career where he can do what he loves and impact social change.

In my trial group, I had a participant who joined the program to learn about her place in the world. She was uncertain about her relationships and felt anxious about pursuing her independence. In the program, she learned to trust her emotions for guidance and it turned out, she didn’t fit the image of conventional relationships, of which she was afraid of:

What are you afraid of?

I suppose we can measure fear by how much of our lives we spend imitating others. The world accepting us for how well we imitate it, is not the world accepting us. We’re merely helping the powers at be reinforce their egos. If we want to be represented then we must show the world who it is that needs representation. However, chances are we’re all one of a kind and when we accept this we probably won’t care for representation, because instead we’ll be seeking only inspiration.

Remember the key to fulfillment, in any aspect of life, is a strong and affirmed identity.

Be you. Be inspired. Be Inspiring.

What is Integration?

At the start of 2017 I officially launched a complete integration program, and started harm-reduction consulting as additional services of my life coaching practice. Traditionally, I’m serving clients engaged in, and/or post, psychedelic therapy. However, upon developing the integration program, I've found that the needs of this service actually stretch beyond the revival of the psychedelic and spiritual revolutions.

In my work, I define the service of integration as helping people integrate an awareness of two or more ‘systems’, for lack of a better term, into one. These systems can be likened to an individual connecting with different truths; ideas; beliefs; ideologies that cause an unsettling. Being aware of each system causes the individual to question one, or the other, or all systems, in order to seek a truer understanding of themselves and/or the world around them.

A further personal conflict arises when an individual believes that they must commit to just one system, therefore first, integration helps us acknowledge and accept that each system coexist. Then, the process guides them on utilizing the positive aspects of each and develop from the negative aspects of each to reduce harm and difficulty in life. Thus, successfully integrating the alternative system(s) into the primary one; helping you develop a new equilibrium if you will.

For example, say you spend most of your life believing that if you go to school, study hard and get a really good education, that you’ll secure a good job with lots of benefits. A job that will provide you with a lot of money, give your life purpose and meaning, and allow you to live happy and fulfilled. Let’s call this your primary system, the one you've spent most of your life investing in.

Then, let’s say you meet someone who proves to you that there is an alternative way to achieve happiness and fulfillment, a way that doesn’t rely on money perhaps. They have now presented you with another system, and your belief in their system now causes you to question your primary one. So, you find yourself feeling unsettled because you have a belief in two systems that are causing you personal conflict, because you’re unsure of the direction moving forward:

  • Do you dismiss your primary system? To which you’ve already invested most of your life into.
  • Do you dismiss the alternative system? Which you also believe in and is personally desirable.
  • Which system is better for you? As they both seem to offer personal benefits.
  • Which direction should you take? As each system causes distrust and uncertainty upon the other.
  • What if that person is wrong or was misguided?
  • What if you’re wrong and have been misguided?
  • How do you decide?

It’s like these systems are people who have both positive and negative influences on you, and integration is the process of evaluation and reflection to establish who is most beneficial to you, and when. Like who you can turn to for motivation when you need it most, and who can help you maintain your responsibilities, and who will inspire confidence, and so on. Integration enables you to give each system purpose, and by doing so it works to reduce a lot of inner conflict.

I like to refer to integration as finding a healthy balance, or middle, by merging very distinct life experiences into a mindful one. After all, it’s our experiences and beliefs that shape and navigate our identities, and we shouldn't dismiss parts of who we are just because it doesn't fit with a certain life model. Perhaps, you could consider my integration service as helping you develop your very own life model to live by. A safe process that allows you to accept and explore each system openly, to understand and utilize them, and encourages you to be your best self, and to live your best life.

Our minds are designed to think openly and without restriction, and when we shape our lives to the minds design, we realize our human potential.

If you wish to learn more about my integration services, please email: info@vancitylifecoach.com. To learn more about the role of psychedelic in the treatment of mental health, check out the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, (MAPS).

Disclaimer: Please note that VanCity Life Coach Inc. does not condone the use of illicit drugs. It is recommended that drug use, of any kind, be under the observation/recommendation of a licensed professional, and in accordance with the law.

The Personal Development Cycle

The Personal Development Cycle

The Personal Development Cycle

I’m unsure if you feel it too, but there is a lot of positive energy in the air and I hope all of you are taking a moment to soak it all in. Perhaps it’s because we’re all happy to see the back of 2016, (I don’t think we need another recap of last years events), and that this year represents a fresh new start. However, I can't help but be aware of the fact that we’ve done this before. We start a new year eager and hungry for change, only to settle into old habits and complacent behaviours when it gets too hard.

If 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that we can no longer sit and wait for positive change to come knocking on our doors, we actually have to invest the effort and energy to drive our lives forward, in the direction we want them to go. Fortunately, we can kick start positive change by investing time in personal development, and it doesn't have to be a daunting task either, for personal development works as a cycle that functions in both directions, and we can start wherever we feel most comfortable:

Develop an awareness before committing to an investment.

First off, let’s change our attitude to the way we see the world, because realistically it isn't all that bad. It may seem that way because of our access to information, but that's the force behind change, awareness. For example, we have less racial inequality now than we did 5 years ago, although there is still a ways to go, we’re closer to equal rights for all than we ever have been before #blacklivesmatter. We’re also becoming aware of global elitism, and how a small group of people seem to impact the wellbeing of our everyday lives, both home and away. We’ve become so aware of our ignorance, because we’ve made ignorant decisions fueled by anger and frustration; #brexit #trump2016. Yet still, that’s the beauty of awareness, it makes us curious about things that were once not so clear, and feeding that curiosity inspires us to become even more aware.

As an additional note, even though my personal opinions were so against certain political directions, we must never forget that we’re in this together. We all desire the same emotional experiences in life and unfortunately, these desires can be manipulated and used against us if we’re not aware. If we’re shown something that we truly desire, associated alongside something that seems to get it for us, a lack of awareness can really fool us into believing the association to be true #propaganda #advertising. Therefore, it’s important that we develop an awareness and increase our knowledge and understanding of something before committing to it. We have access to the world's knowledge at our fingertips, it’s time we all realise how lucky we are and make use of it. Let’s collectively become aware of the world that surrounds us, by first becoming more self-aware. Let’s look for, access and accept the truth wherever it resides, and then drive change.

Learn to face and embrace your truth.

The best advice I’ve ever given, can ever give and I believe I will ever give, is to be true to yourself and live honestly. Until we face our inner truth, life will not move in the direction of our truest desires. As mentioned earlier, we are all striving for the same emotional experiences in life and these experiences will not be felt earnestly, unless we’re living true to who we are and how we feel.

Furthermore, our purpose in life becomes ever more apparent when we live by this philosophy. Distractions also become less of a bother and emotional restrictions, like anxiety and depression, start declining. I wrote a personal post not too long ago titled ‘Live Life with Integrity’ and mentioned how I was liberated from a lot of fear and anxiety, just by accepting my truth and sharing it with the world. It set me free to explore life in order to uncover my purpose, to trust it and then stand by it. Living true to ourselves enables us to get on with, and pursue the lives we want to build, and encourages us to make life the best experience possible.

Becoming more aware really does help us connect to and enter this stage of truth, because we soon realize what truly matters in life; we soon become aware of the benefits of living more honestly, not only for ourselves, but for our relationships too. Becoming aware of poverty and war for example, like our brothers and sisters from Syria fleeing their homes for their lives, should make us appreciate the opportunities we have available to us, and inspire us to drop the insecurities that restrict us from pursuing them.

On the other hand, as we start accepting truth we slowly start becoming aware of the things that we’re not so clear before. I personally realized that I was choosing to hold onto fear and that I could’ve let go a lot sooner, had I sooner accepted my truth. It really opened up my mind and made me aware of a world full of opportunity, it made me feel confident to explore curiosity, because I became curious about the things I had once feared and avoided.

Get comfortable exploring curiosity.

Exploring curiosity is one thing that can really propel personal growth and development. Just as children grow and learn by being curious, we must hold onto this quality for the entire duration of our lives. Life is meant to be explored and being curious is the best way, perhaps the only way to explore it completely.

Our awareness increases as we’re curious, becuase we learn more about ourselves, about our capabilities and also about the world around us. Curiosity is life’s teacher and can really help us answer so many unanswered questions, and it helps us to develop confidence and strengthens self-belief. For example, I had a client who was unemployed and believed she was uninteresting and that no one would ever be inspired by her, a belief based purely off of perception. So, I signed her up for a volunteer program she had always been curious about, but never pursued because of her belief. I only encouraged her to feed her curiosity and the rest she developed naturally, today you should see how her identity shines. She never realized how much she actually had to offer people. She was able redefine her personality traits from what she dubbed as “passive” and “timid”, to comforting, supportive, open-minded and kind. Now she’s putting herself through school and carving out a career as a Nutritionist.

We develop confidence whenever we push the boundaries of comfort, and as we expand our comfort zones, we hold onto the confidence we develop. Confidence is all about ownership so as you can imagine, the more confident we become the more sense it makes to live life more openly and honestly, and really take ownership of our own lives. Lastly, we realize that life is much more fruitful and exciting when we’re constantly engaging with something that’s fresh and new.

That old saying ‘live each day like it’s your last’ seems so limiting to life experience to me, so I say, live each day like it’s your first! Make each day a brand new day to get excited about, be aware, be true and be curious, and don’t live another day in vain.

Happy New Year!