Yeah, my Type-A personality is on fleek with a capital “F” these days. And let me tell ya, it ain’t good! Many nights, I lay awake unable to sleep because my mind is racing 50 million miles a minute thinking about all I want to get done the next day. I’ve been an insomniac for over 20 years, but sometimes it flares up and is so bad, I can literally go for three or four days without sleep.
When I’m working like this is one of those times. “Yeah, yeah, yeah, Yuwanda. So what’s the point? What does that have to do with the title of this post?,” you may be thinking. In a word … focus. Or in a phrase, “The power of focusing.”
“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”~Qui-Gon to Anakin, Star Wars Episode I
Lately, I’ve been thinking about and doing a lot of reading on new age stuff. I guess it’s the whole getting older thing, trying to figure out your life purpose, yadda, yadda, yadda. One of the things I’ve been doing that I’ve found extremely helpful is repeating a mantra.
I have a specific goal in mind that I want to achieve by the beginning of the year. It’s a goal I’ve had “in the back of my mind” for years. And I’ve worked intermittently towards it, frustrated that I haven’t had the breakthrough that I feel I should have had by now.
How Repeating a Mantra Affects the Brain & Can Help You Achieve Freelance Success
But since I’ve been repeating my mantra, I’ll be damned if I haven’t made more progress in the last couple of weeks than I have in the last couple of years. And I think it’s because repeating that mantra helps me to stay focused. Science is now backing this up.
For thousands of years, yogis have stressed the value of chanting mantra in stabilizing and clearing the mind, leading one to deeper spiritual awakening and awareness. Modern neuroscience is now beginning to discover the relationship between the way words are used and the impact on the functioning of the mind.
When we hear, speak, chant or even think a mantra, the frontal lobes of our brain “light up” and the nerve endings fire up. There is increased flow of oxygen and blood. These frontal lobes are responsible for thought, learning, perception, and emotion.
FYI, did you know that one definition of “mantra” is a “sacred message or text, charm, spell, counsel?” Another more in-depth explanation defines mantra in the following manner.
Mantra comes from two Sanskrit words: man meaning mind; and tra meaning vehicle or instrument – a tool to transport the mind from a state of activity to one of stillness and silence.
Hmmm, no wonder they can be so powerful. Following are a few other things I’ve noticed about repeating a mantra that can help you achieve freelance success.
1. It keeps your dreams front and center
When I came up with my mantra – and it’s literally just one phrase (12 words to be exact), it was literally to “put out in the universe” as one of my girlfriends is fond of saying, what you want.
I thought about what it would mean to my life to achieve this goal – how life would be different. Now, I’m extremely content with life the way it is – let’s be clear about that. I have it pretty darned good.
But there are some things that will shift when this goal is achieved. Repeating my mantra keeps those goals and dreams alive all the time.
How many times per day do I repeat my mantra? It’s not conscious, as in, I have to repeat it every hour. But I find my mind goes to it on its own. It may be 5 times some days, or 20 times others. Sometimes I think that when I’m straying away from my goal, my subconscious calls on my mantra to remind me to snap back to it.
Freelancing Tip: If you want to start a freelance writing career and haven’t taken the leap for whatever reason, come up with a mantra to get you going on it. It can be as simple as, “I will land my first freelance writing client within the next 60 days.”
By saying that, you’ll start to take action to make that happen, eg, pulling together writing samples, getting a website, setting your rates, etc.
2. It will help you push through barriers
I’ve been procrastinating on achieving this goal because every time I get to a certain point, the work becomes overwhelming and confusing – there are so many steps – so I put it to the side; always with the intention of coming back to it, but never doing it.
Repeating my mantra has helped me push through blockades. I’m never the type to flat out give up on something. What I do is trick myself into thinking I’m not giving up by doing something else, eg, turning my attention to another project.
You see, that way, I’m not “giving up” or “quitting,” I’m just diverting my attention to another oh-so-important project. And the other projects are important – but the thing I’ve learned about myself is, that’s a steaming crock of poop!
You’re giving up Yuwanda Black, without saying you’re giving up. The worse lies you tell are the lies you tell yourself.
Repeating my mantra keeps me focused enough to stop lying to myself and to go over, under and around barriers. I read the following and had what Oprah called an “aha moment.”
… focus is the most important determination of whether you’ll achieve a goal or stick to creating a new habit. Not self-discipline, not rewards, not sheer willpower, not even motivation (also an important ingredient, however). If you can maintain your focus on a goal or habit, you will more often than not achieve that goal or create that habit.
Are you kidding me? Focus beats out self-discipline, willpower and motivation. GTFOH!
What lies have you possibly been telling yourself? Having a mantra can help you stop it, and break through whatever barriers you’ve erected to keep you from freelance success.
3. It will keep you in a positive space
When you come up with a mantra, 9 times out of 10 (unless you’re some type of masochistic), it’s to achieve a positive goal. Repeating my mantra keeps me focused on my goal, which bring to mind all the positives I want out of life. I’m a naturally happy person. I’ve become just a tad bit happier by repeating a mantra.
Exercise: Imagine what starting a freelance writing business will mean for your life. Create a mantra around that. I’m willing to bet dollars to doughnuts you’ll not only be much more focused, but your happy quotient will increase too! 🙂
4. It gives you clarity
Another thing I’ve learned about being focused is this …
Do not get attached to the outcome or goal, but rather use it as your driving force and see where your actions take you.
Since I started saying my mantra, things have not unfolded exactly as I thought. Opportunities have come my way that I didn’t expect that are helping me achieve my goal in ways that I couldn’t have foreseen.
I think this is what one of my very good girlfriends – who is an extreme “spiritualist” – would refer to as “the universe helping me achieve my goal now that I’m very clear about what it is.”
Yep … repeating a mantra gives you clarity like you wouldn’t believe!
5. It’s friggin’ works!
This is the last thing I noticed about repeating a mantra. This s**t works! No wonder new agey, hippie types are so friggin’ happy and positive and full of rays of lights (that apparently nobody else can see – LOL!).
Seriously, I’ve never NOT been a believer in this type of stuff. I just never practiced it. But when I happened upon some readings about how effective repeating a mantra can be, my thinking was, “All I have to do is repeat a phrase. That’s it.” It was so simple and didn’t take any time at all, I thought, “Why not give it a try? I mean really, what did I have to lose?”
Try it … and let me know how it works for you.
Conclusion: Mantra + A Plan + Focus + Hard Work = Freelance Success
This is now my success formula. I’ve become a convert. I’ve always believed that you can achieve anything you put your mind to. But when I realized that I wasn’t achieving this one dream I’d set my mind to about five or six years ago, I thought, “What’s up with that Yuwanda?” As an aside, yeah, I talk to myself a lot. “Why aren’t you further along this path to success?”
I started breaking it down and to make a long story short, it was because I put a lot on my plate and I’m not focused enough. Nowadays, I’m all about simplifying. Focusing on one task at a time. Not trying to do one million things at once.
“If you want to start a freelance writing career, get focused. Create a mantra.”
Write it out and stick it on the side of your laptop; in the message that pops up on your phone when you power it on; on your bathroom mirror so you can see it while you’re brushing your teeth first thing in the morning – put it everywhere.
Soon, you won’t need a visual reminder. Your subconscious mind will take over and call it up when you’re straying off track. You’ll find yourself more focused than ever on your freelancing dream. And if what you think is what you are … well, you get the picture.
Learn more about how to stay focused.
Here’s to your (soon to be realized) freelance success!
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