Imagine having a clear vision for your life and career, backed up by an action plan. And then one day, after a nerve-racking trip to A&E, you realise that you have a brain tumour and your life could end at any moment.
Would you feel motivated to move forwards, or would that stop you in your tracks?
For Becky Imhof, an advanced personal trainer and performance coach, it was the former. After suffering a seizure and two brain tumours, she chose to shift her perspective and focused on a new goal instead.
I recently chatted with Becky on the Goals Do Come True podcast because I wanted to know the thoughts that went through her head after her diagnosis and how she found the motivation to move forward.
She told me that it all stemmed from a remarkable burst of clarity.
All that matters
Becky: “Being at the edge of life put so much into perspective for me. Everything else that I thought mattered in life suddenly lost meaning. In that moment, when it’s just you and only you, all that matters is getting the next breath into your lungs.”
Becky’s near-death experience and the clarity it ignited struck me. As she pointed out, many of the things we set our gaze on in life would immediately lose their meaning once we die. In the end, all that truly matters are the choices we make and how we choose to experience life.
Becky: “Life is so fragile and precious. I realised that what I make of my life and how I spend the time I have is what matters. I’ve had so many amazing moments that I never appreciated or made the most of because I was too distracted. But I realised that it’s a real shame to let a special or precious moment pass simply because of life’s stress. And I thought to myself: I’ve already done that so many times. I’m not doing that anymore.”
Seeing wealth around you
I was really intrigued by Becky’s determination to stop and smell the roses more often, perhaps because I’ve only just had a similar experience. Recently, during my trip to Germany, I tumbled off my motorbike on the highway at 95 miles per hour. I came dangerously close to losing my life, and this brush with death made me determined to slow down and appreciate the finer moments.
I believe that if we stop occasionally to absorb the wealth of experiences available to us, we’ll definitely live a more rewarding and fulfilling life.
Becky’s goal was to experience whatever she had ahead of her with little to no suffering, and she identified three key ways to achieve this:
1) Take control of your experiences by asking questions
Becky: “Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I’d get random thoughts. I then ask myself some questions like: what am I going to do with it? Is this helpful? Do I choose to keep this or replace it with something else? Essentially, I have this whole choice ahead of me, and I can completely decide and design how I’m going to experience life.”
This principle is something I’ve rigidly stuck to all my life, and I equally advise my clients to live by it. Thoughts would always seep into our subconscious minds – whether positive or negative. We simply can’t control it. What we can control, however, is what we choose to do with those thoughts. If it’s a negative thought, is it something within your control? Can you do anything about it? If you can’t, then maybe it’s time to let those thoughts go.
This ties in quite nicely with Becky’s next tip.
2) Create certainty in your thinking
Becky: “I really don’t feel like I’ve been to a lot of dark places because of how I’ve managed my mental state. If you’re the one who’s in control of navigating your thoughts and curating your experience, you can keep your mind in a consistent state of peace. There’s no point fighting reality because it brings suffering, mental anxiety and unnecessary stress. So, take each day at a time and deal with each problem as it comes.”
The big lesson I’ve drawn from this nugget is the power of clear, positive thinking. A friend of mine, Georgia Kirke, the founder of Write Business Results, fell off a climbing wall and shattered her leg in 2020. There was a possibility that she could lose her leg or never walk properly again, but her consultant left her with a key piece of advice: don’t whine and moan about something you can’t do anything about.
And that’s a lesson I’ve carried forward in my life. Don’t overthink or hang on to the future too much. Focus on your present reality and the positivity within it.
3) Embrace gratitude and an optimistic mindset
Becky: “When you start to appreciate the tiny moments, it takes you from a place of lack to a place of abundance. And it just takes your brain on a different pathway. The brain likes to look for evidence that whatever you’re thinking is true. So if you start to think, ‘I have an abundant life, I’m so grateful for this’, you’ll start to find proof of all the things you have. And this is why gratitude works so well. Equally, when you’re in a place of gratitude, you can’t be in any other mindset. You can’t be angry or sad when you’re grateful – it just trumps everything.”
As humans, our brains are capable of much more than we can imagine. However, it only works with whatever we feed it. When you feed it with the right source material, you’ll unlock your true self and an even better way to live.
Are there any thoughts crowding your subconscious and preventing you from living an authentic life? I’d love to hear about them. Drop me a message at email@example.com, and if you’re interested in embarking on a journey of mindset transformation, click here to join The Wealth Tribe.