#3SimpleSteps

#3SimpleSteps

Being Successful is Easy

Vhairi Slaven, Drive-Thru Success

At one time in my life, I believed that only certain people could be successful…

…that these people were simply born with gifts and personality traits that I did not have, nor would I ever have them. When I was very young, I wanted to be an actress, and although I did go to a drama class in primary school, ultimately, I gave up on that dream because I believed that I was not attractive enough, and that I was born in a place and in social circumstances that meant it was not possible for me.

I also thought that talent was something you either had or you didn’t, and that I didn’t have it. So I gave up on that dream.

There is something to be said, particularly when children are very young, about the people around them, and whether or not they are encouraged to follow their dreams, and whether or not their families can support them, and that was certainly a factor for me. However, when you look at some of the actresses who have been successful, they have not all had that kind of support.

What they have had is tenacity and grit, and they have stuck to their dreams no matter the support or lack of it, and no matter where they came from. I realise now, that the only thing that stopped me, was a lack of belief and faith in myself. Had I been determined, I would have found people around me (family, friends or otherwise) who would have supported me, and I would have found a way.

successful

I held this belief for quite some time, until my late twenties in fact. I was, however, quite intelligent and managed to get good grades at school despite being a very disillusioned and quite unhappy young girl. I left school and instead of going straight to university, got a job in a call centre in Glasgow.

I realised then that I did actually want to pursue some kind of career in film, and went to college to study communications and media and then university to study cinema and cultural studies. I did well at both, yet when the time came to apply for jobs in the media, I still held on to the same negative beliefs about myself, and thought that all of the jobs were in London and there were so many people who had more talent and more charisma than me, that it was impossible for me to get a job in that field.

I fell into jobs, and even enjoyed them to an extent, but I was aware that I was not doing what I should be doing. I still believed that success was meant for people other than me.

I went along with things for a while – with no real sense of direction, no goals, and no beliefs. I thought for a time that meaning in life could come from love, and didn’t at the time understand that when people talk about love being ‘all you need’ and such, they are not talking about romantic love, but love for yourself, for the people you care about, and for the life that you live.

So I did find romantic love, and had a three-year relationship that taught me that that kind of love was not enough to give me a purpose in life. I was still living like someone who did not believe in anything, and I realised that being loved by a man was not only not enough, but that it actually accentuated all of the feelings of depression, unworthiness and hopelessness that I was experiencing.

I felt like I lay my own self down as though I had removed a cloak to expose all of the darkness and suffering that was inside me. When I was down then, I was more depressed than ever before, and my partner had no idea what to do to help me. I came to the understanding that the lifestyle I was living with that partner was not going to lead to happiness, and I left him. It was a very painful and difficult time for me, but looking back I realise that it was necessary to strip everything away so that I could look at who I really was and what I was doing.

I realised then that I couldn’t continue in life without believing in something, love was not the answer when I had no belief in myself or in my purpose, and I had to search for something that would give me a sense of meaning in life or I was going to self-destruct completely. I cared too much for the people in my life to completely do that, although I felt like it often. So I think during that time, unconsciously, or perhaps in my dark moments, I begged to something, some higher knowledge, whatever it was that was out there, to help me, to show me a way to pull myself out of that way of thinking, to show me where my purpose was. I wanted to believe in something, because irrespective of how rational or not it is, I had to believe in something.

Until this moment, I didn’t realise that I had been asking for something in earnest with no expectation that anything would come, but of course, it did. This was before I understood energy or the universe, or the power of asking. It was my first experience of ASK.

I had been working for a solicitor and was laid off. I took a job with one of the clients in a small village, and immediately I felt a good energy about the place. I met a couple whose ideas would change the way I thought about everything. They were in their 70’s. They had done something called the Silver Course, which was very popular in the eighties. They continually talked about energy and ‘asking the angels”.

I thought they were very eccentric, but the gentleman, Laurie, was very articulate and intelligent, and he was interested in talking about the earth, the universe and why we were all here, so I felt liberated finding someone who was willing to talk to me about these things. My family and friends always made comments about me being too deep, but here I was, sitting in my office in a picturesque village in the country speaking to a seventy year old man about the fact that everything was made of energy, and that it came from some kind of power that we did not understand.

His wife, Dot, often told me to ask the angels for help. I was not sure about this, but I reserved judgement. She gave me a book by Louise Hay called Affirmations to Heal Your Life and this helped me a great deal. I started trying out the ASK thing and would do it with things like asking for a parking space, or asking for the end of the road to be clear of traffic for me to come out, and I was surprised and a little freaked out by how often it worked.

I read The Divine Comedy, just to be sure Christianity was not for me. It’s not – but it was a beautifully written book that taught me I would be with the philosopher’s in hell in Dante’s Inferno. I read another book that I would say changed the way I thought about everything called Joyful Wisdom. It was simple, reasonable and very practical. I read several other books about Buddhism, and decided that I liked the spiritual ideas and practices, but not the rigid religious ceremonies.

I decided at the age of 28 to learn to drive. It was incredibly difficult and was the first big thing I had tried to achieve in years. It took me eight times to pass, and in order to calm my nerves, I tried what I had been reading about in the books about Buddhism: meditating. It calmed me in a way nothing ever had before. I now do it every day.

I began to think differently about things. I began to be more open to different ideas and understandings about life, and I found an understanding of life that I knew would never be confirmed, that sounded irrational, but that I believed in anyway. I had found faith, and it felt like finally I might be able to pull myself out of the slump that I was in. Although I loved the people I was around, I didn’t like the job I was doing.

I knew that I was not doing the right thing. I was not on the right path. The stress and unhappiness with the work I was doing, together with the newfound beliefs and hope I had learned from the people I was around, encouraged me to make the decision to go to Australia. Had I not been introduced to this kind of thought, I would never have believed I could get there, and I would not have had the motivation to save, and the balls to go on my own. I travelled for 2 years and the experience changed the way I saw the earth around me.

I started writing again, and kept a journal the whole time I was travelling. I met two lovely young girls who inspired me to start writing again creatively, and I wrote a novel while I was there.

When I came home, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. It felt like the meaning in life I had been missing. It felt right when I was doing it. Time slipped away as though it didn’t exist. I poured out onto my laptop everything I was thinking and feeling, everything I had learned and now understood about life and I realised that this was my medicine. I also realised that it was something that I could work hard at and that could give me the opportunities to make a living doing something I love, and to travel. I decided to make it my vision to be a paid writer.

Then I started seriously thinking about self-development and about bettering every part of my life. I met a girl I had worked with before I left who was teaching something called the Key. Not long after I got back, I went to one of her Preview events and she told me I should read the founder’s book, Grace. I read it and it explained all of the self-development ideas and practices that I was becoming drawn to in a simple, reasonable and graceful way. I created a vision board. I started writing down what it was I wanted out of life. I wrote it in lists, I wrote stories about it and I drew it in a picture.

I read Jack Cranston’s Principles of Success and did some of the exercises in it. Again, I started writing down the things that I wanted the most. One of the things I wrote down was that I wanted a mentor and to find more people who I could talk to about the things I was really interested in, like energy, self-development, the way the mind works, existence and the Universe. I also wanted to get paid to write and to get more writing experience. I updated my vision board, read out affirmations, and genuinely asked the angels for the things I wanted, in earnest.

The long and short of it is, Aristotle was so right:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

None of the things above would have been possible had I not came to the understanding that I was responsible for my life. That my thoughts and the things I say create a vibration in the energy that my being is made of, and that that energy goes out into the world, sending messages to people and things. It would not have been possible had I not started practising the things that successful people do.

Not long after this, I did the Key weekend course, which yet again cemented the things I believed and gave me a greater understanding of the kinds of things to do to believe you deserve the things you want to achieve.

I had also started my sessions with Jenny, and reading and carrying out the exercises in the book. I am now at the point where I am trying to really clarify what my idea of success is.

On many levels, I now see myself as being successful. I am striving to be the best me I can be, and in a lot of ways, I am very happy with who I am.

The first part of going on this journey is understanding that you can change your life. You have that power. You are responsible for the frequency your energy is vibrating at, and when you use that energy while you are working on achieving your goals, you cannot help but achieve them. As you go along, you may find that like me, your visions become bigger and bigger.

That in itself is no bad thing, because it makes all of the smaller things you felt incapable of achieving before much more within your reach. You have to start with an understanding that you have the means within yourself to achieve what you want. Then you have to decide what it is that you want.

So to give you something to start with, here is what success looks like to me…

EXERCISE 1 – WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU

1. It means doing creative work that I love, that inspires people and that creates me enough wealth to be able to travel freely and have a permanent base in Scotland.

2. I am living a varied life. I am in touch with a lot of like-minded people. I have lots of projects on the go.

3. I feel inspired, motivated and energetic. I am vibrating on an energy that is magnetic to other people. I am proud and happy with myself. I am constantly amazed by all of the wonderful things that are happening in my life.

4. I look glowing. I have healthy skin, hair and teeth. I am physically fit and slim. I have a unique style. I am confident in my skin.

5. I am wearing funky, trendy clothes. I look clean and smart, but edgy. I am colourful. I have time to shop in lots of great vintage stores and find unusual things that other people wouldn’t wear, but can carry it off.

6. Together with me is my sister, my friends Abbie and Lisa. Also with me is my future partner and my champion. My co-writer, Jenny is celebrating our wealth and success with her family. My parents are watching me, huge smiles on their faces. Dot and Laurie are also watching and smiling. I have a big group of friends and supporters in the people in the NHS I have met, the EVA group, ex-colleagues, the Key People.

My idea of what success is changes a lot.

It depends on what I am feeling at the time. I have changed my idea of success several times since writing this the first time. There are a lot of elements to my life that I would love to be successful, and many that I think are. I want to have loving relationships with my friends and family and I feel like I do.

I want to feel physically healthy and fit and I feel that right now. I want to have a successful career doing something creative and I want to publish books (and if you are reading this, this is happening too). I want to own my own home. I want to have the freedom and money to travel regularly.

EXERCISE 2 – LEARN TO CELEBRATE YOURSELF

Things I like about myself

• I embrace my weirdness.
• I am brave.
• I am compassionate.
• I have a big heart.
• I am someone who champions other people.
• I question everything.
• I am aware.
• I am open to new ideas.
• I have my own style.
• I am curious.
• I am fun.
• I am silly.
• I like people.
• I always finish the things I have started.
• I always try to do what I say I will do.
• I have integrity.
• I have passion.
• I am honest.
• I am humble.
• I am non-judgemental.
• I don’t care about the perceptions of me that people who don’t know me have.
• I am open to feedback and eager to learn.

Things I don’t like about myself

• I can be self-conscious.
• I can be defensive.
• I don’t take criticism well.
• I let other people make me feel embarrassed about my beliefs.
• I am too hard on myself.
• I let negative people affect my own energy.
• I doubt my talent and my intelligence sometimes.

Things I am proud of

• The way I have forgiven everyone who has hurt me.
• The way I have taught myself to be strong even though I am so sensitive.
• The fact that I have the courage to dream big and to dare!
• How far I have come in terms of my confidence, my self-belief, my fitness, the way I look, my career.
• My sister and how far she has come.

Things I wish I could change

• I would like to never care about whether people think my beliefs are stupid or crazy.
• I would like to go to the next level of self-belief and believe that I can be great.
• I would like to be kinder to myself.
• I would like to be more daring.
• I would like to stop doubting whether I am doing the right things with my life.
• I wish I could make my sister feel more confident.
• I wish my parents could be happy.
• I wish I had money to help the people around me.
• I wish I had enough money to buy my own house.

Some of my achievements

• Getting a short story published.
• Sharing my writing with other people.
• Creating my own website.
• Finishing a novel.
• Running a half-marathon.
• Getting to a size 10 and staying a size 10.
• Doing a headstand.
• Doing crow.
• Getting movie reviews published.
• Getting a university degree.
• Getting a Communications job that involves writing.
• Going to Australia.
• Travelling on my own.
• Sky-diving.

Things I have started and not finished

• My first novel
• Drive-through success
• Miss Jane
• Freelance film journalism – need to submit to magazines
• A brief history of time
• Join Ayr Writer’s Club
• The Comms job

Thanks for reading,

Vhairi xx

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