Sometimes I come across an article which stops me suddenly in my tracks.  What better insight could we benefit from, than from someone who has been immersed in a system as a 'patient', then moved onward to become a Registered Nurse (or facilitator)?

Cortland Pfeffer went from being a psychiatric patient and homeless drug addict to a registered nurse and supervisor at some of the facilities she stayed in.  As you can imagine, along the way, she learned some very valuable life lessons, which are not just applicable to someone at their lowest ebb, but also to anyone looking to change or move forwards - no matter how big or small.

1. If you are naturally different than the majority, you will be labelled  - As humans, we try to fit in with the herd, and when we don't quite fit in to the norm, or people do not understand us, we get branded or labelled, sometimes outcast.  This rises out of fear, ignorance and lack of understanding.  There is of course nothing 'wrong' with the person, they are just different, and do not fall into line with the masses.  Perhaps, it is the masses who really have the issue, by being fearful to show their true identify, and instead, run with the herd.

2. We as a society create mental health and addiction. - Through the structures in place by not perhaps fully supporting those in need of help (perhaps because, unlike a broken leg, we cannot physically see the issue, or in a physical ailment, there is not a quantitative measurable outcome), possibly because the brain is so fantastic, so amazing, that we simply just do not understand it.  To understand how to treat something, we first need to understand the subject  - and that, as proven over the years, is not done by punishment, cruel incarceration, or hitting them with dosages of electric current.  From Cortland's experience, more often than not, the patient gets sicker rather than better!

3. Be true to who you are. - The challenge of change! That long, cruel, challenging path, filled with so much self doubt, obstacles, fear, expectation, habit... There are many books written about every issue along the change path.  Ultimately, once we put aside the mask, the expectation of society and those around us, then we become ourselves.  A great question to ask yourself when you are being puled every which way, becoming consumed by angst and frustration, your integrity being challenged, is "will the person causing these feelings be holding my hand when I am on my death bed?"  if not, let go, don't allow them to influence the rest of your life.  Start the journey of change, of defining yourself and feeling fulfilled.

4. Fear destroys us; and makes others money.  -  We remember negative experiences far stronger than positive, so not only do we tend to doubt ourselves more, but also we are exploited by those who hold fear high in the air for all to see.  The news is packed with fear, which plays on our mind.  Try turning the news off for a week, and see how much better you feel about yourself.

5. Love, acceptance, and truly listening is far more powerful than any advice you can ever give someone.   -  Actively listening, appreciating and not projecting or judging will bring about a far stronger relationship than imposing advice on people. Consign the words 'If I was You' and 'What you should do' to the past - no-one's book of life is the same, and nobody, not even our closest friend, spouse or soulmate have experienced everything we have over the years.

6. Embrace your struggles, they are gifts.  - As the saying goes, a bad meditation is a good mediation (the brain is exercised more), our struggles in life are opportunities to grow.  Think of the biggest challenge you have faced in the last week, and what you learned from it, and how much stronger you now feel.  Like running at 5 am in the rain and wind - I may not enjoy it at the time, but it certainly sets me up for the day.

7. Our subconscious is what drives us. - Rely on your gut instinct.  The powerful part of the brain is not one which we really understand, yet works relentlessly, We all experience the subconscious differently, which is why some people react far more sensitively than others.  By having doubt, shame, and negativity thrust upon us, the self esteem drops  and sub-conscious starts to form different patterns, leading us to believe the negativity.  The great thing is, with support, care, compassion, understanding and interest, we can re-programme the brain again.

8. Who you surround yourself with is one of the most important decisions you will make.  - This is true in both your business and personal life. Surround yourself with positive, generous, healthy people, and you will be inspired by them.  Spend your time with negative, spiteful, ego-driven, people full of their own self importance, and that is what you will become.  Seek out the people you would like to be thought as being like, and spend time with them. It may be a real challenge to leave the party friends behind, but if they were only friends because you went our partying, were they really friends?

9. You must learn to truly love yourself or you will not make it.  Once you know who you really are, your true values, purpose, aims and desires, the key is to love ourselves - to not be swayed or filled with anger by others projections upon us.  To keep moving forward, we have to love ourselves and what we do.  We will attract the right people, and the wrong ones will disappear.

10. Whatever you do, if you do it with love in your heart as your intention, you cannot go wrong. Everyone has their own opinion of what is right and what is fact.  They are of course all right.  The opinion of viewpoint, fact belief to everyone is based on their own experiences, and to them it is right.  To us, it may be crazy, but remember, we do not know every single one of their experiences which has brought them to that conclusion.  What we can do, is to pursue what we do with love, intention and purpose. Others will have differing views, but will not necessarily understand your purpose.

Be the change, and be the best you can be