Shannon L. Alder, a wise and inspirational author, once said, “One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others want you to be rather than just being yourself.”
This stands true for all of us. Even the strongest of people have a breaking point; but, a breakdown is not the end. Every breakdown comes with a thousand blessings. For every setback that we experience, we have two choices: We could breakdown and we can dive, or we could rise up and we can thrive.
My guest on today’s episode is my dear friend, Chris Lee. For over 30 years, Chris has been traveling the world leading seminars and workshops for over a million people. He empowers his audience by teaching them the art of living an abundant, extraordinary, and successful life.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have felt overwhelmed and may have even faced an emotional, physical, or financial breakdown. When we are overwhelmed, it is hard to get clarity to be able to focus on the direction in which we should go next. Today, Chris and I discuss seven main strategies for handling a breakdown and turning it into a breakthrough so that you can experience peace and freedom.
“The planet is going through an overwhelming amount of stress…changes and curveballs. So it’s important to [show some light to people]. A breakdown … is when life throws you a curveball and [when things don’t go our way] … [haven’t many of us already experienced this?] I think these seven keys…show [us] a simple way to navigate through breakdowns and turn them into breakthroughs.” – Chris Lee
Chris has been featured in over 15 episodes for The School of Greatness, and I am always excited to have him back to share his wealth of knowledge with us. Today is no exception — we are going to talk about some amazing things.
Chris is a pioneer in emotional intelligence and has spent many years leading powerful leadership seminars around the world. He has trained and developed people at the top of their games like Olympic athletes, Fortune 500 business leaders, celebrities, and individuals with a desire to elevate themselves. Chris Lee also serves as a collaborator on TV and radio shows for Univision and The Fox Network.
As a life coach and a motivational speaker, Chris has been helping people figure out how to handle and heal trauma and how to deal with tough situations in their lives. He has supported people through some of their most tragic moments and has assisted them in finding peace and balance.
Chris has also authored a best-selling book, Transform Your Life: 10 Principles of Abundance and Prosperity. In his book, Chris discloses the life-transforming principles of abundance and prosperity, which he also covers in his highly acclaimed seminars and workshops. I would definitely recommend you read this to learn what Chris has discovered in his journey working with others to heal from trauma.
Chris and I covered a lot of material in this episode, and I highly recommend you listen with a pencil and paper to take notes as we go. We start by diving into what a breakdown actually is, and how to come out of it thriving on the other side. Chris has seven “keys” that can take you from denial to survival and ultimately, to forgiveness and healing.
I am so excited for you all to learn from Chris Lee today. The pandemic has boosted the probability of many of us suffering from a massive breakdown, and breakdowns often lead us to a tipping point. Chris feels that a reaction is what turns a small breakdown into a massive one and it eventually snowballs with you finding yourself in the midst of a tidal wave of sorts.
“[Have you ever] asked yourselves ‘how did I get here’? The COVID pandemic has amplified a lot of existing breakdowns — [in our finances, relationships, health, politics] and it has just created an environment for massive breakdowns and reactions. [Most people when faced with a breakdown] sugarcoat it and slide it under the rug, and distract themselves by focusing on something else.” – Chris Lee
Sometimes when people have breakdowns, they feel bad and beat themselves up, or they judge and lash out at someones else and start blaming others for their problems, both of which are not right. The pandemic has pushed a lot of people into a panic, and with the new year, now is a good opportunity to reframe your breakdown and learn from it.
Chris tells us that the first step is to accept and acknowledge that you are having a breakdown. By doing this, you gain power over it. Living in denial drains your energy, but accepting your breakdown empowers you to do something about the situation.
“What you resist, persists. So by accepting that you have a breakdown, you [now] gain the energetic power to do something about it versus pretending that it’s not even there. But by being in denial and [acting like everything is ok], [the pressure] catches up with you. So the first key is to accept [and] acknowledge the breakdown, … and once you [do that], you have the power to [overcome] it.” – Chris Lee
Because of our conditioning, it is so hard to accept things that we don’t like. Most of us blame someone else for it, like our parents, our kids, our wives, and girlfriends, or the government. When you are blaming others, which is easy to do, it just gets you off the hook from taking any responsibility for it.
Chris brought up a hard-hitting example of when he was sexually abused. How could he take responsibility for something that was not his fault? Abuse is something so unjust — how can a victim possibly take accountability for someone causing them harm? Chris asked himself, how could the situation be interpreted in a way that empowers him?
“[Blame and responsibility are often confused with each other]. I blamed myself for years, [but I wasn’t at fault, and I chose to take the responsibility] to process it in a way that empowers me. I chose an interpretation that still matters, … and I got my power back. So, by choosing interpretations that empower you, you allow yourself to move forward.” – Chris Lee
What happens when we don’t take responsibility for things that happen to us? Chris says that you can never move on from it.
“You become defined by the event. … The event is neutral …we are the ones who attach the meaning and significance to it. [From] a spiritual standpoint, the spirit is bigger than the ego and body… [which means] that no one can really touch you. … There is no power in [being a] victim…[because this mindset makes us suffer]…and we just keep repeating the same things over and over, and we remain stuck.” – Chris Lee
We can’t control how other people act, but we can take control of ourselves and take responsibility for our lives. Or, as Chris says, “Grab the bull by its horns.” When you take responsibility, you are powerful. And, with the right tools — sleep, fitness, and stress management techniques — you are unstoppable. It is important for you to manage your stress, and have the power to control, relax, and recharge anywhere.
Blocking your emotions, stuffing them inside you, and not expressing them in a healthy way, can lead to an implosion. Through his workshops, Chris provides a safe space for people to process their emotions.
“There are two main [unhealthy emotions which are hard to process]…[guilt and resentment]. [Guilt is all about] anger and self-hate. It is [like] cancer…[it can destroy relationships, your career, your life]. While anger towards other people … [leads to an implosion of unresolved emotions, and may even cause disease]. So, processing emotion is one of my favorite things to coach. … Acknowledge how you are feeling.” – Chris Lee
One healthy way to tackle guilt and resentment is through journaling, which is a very energetic experience. Another way of processing your emotions is by calling and talking to someone —not complaining, but communicating. A few other healthy ways are listening to music, watching movies, meditating, playing a sport, focusing on fitness, painting, or coding. Find a hobby that lets you exercise your creative side and express what brings you joy.
We often find ourselves deeply affected by words. Someone else’s anger or disappointment may at times push us into misery. But it is important to set certain boundaries to ward off negative emotions and energy, in turn giving way to light and positivity.
“[Sometimes we allow]…our minds to interpret words in a deceiving or demeaning or a disempowering way.…[And if we react, then we are being a victim of those words]. … [But you can control how you respond because you have the power to interpret [someone’s words in an empowering way]. … You need to let go of the emotion around it.” – Chris Lee
Make a decision today to let go. Let go of those unhealthy emotions and make space for healthy emotions to replace them.
Do you know why forgiveness is so important? Forgiveness is a conscious decision to let go of negative energy. Holding a grudge or ill-will towards someone is very draining and exhausting.
“When I forgive, I am free. … If I am upset with someone and don’t forgive them, they have my power. So by forgiving someone, I create positive energy, and this is the energy that we need to create our dreams, to accomplish our mission, and to make a difference in the world. … I forgave the person who sexually abused me, I forgave my dad who left us when I was six…and I continue to forgive every day. … The opposite of guilt and resentment is self-forgiveness and forgiving others. … Forgiveness is key for transforming any breakdown into a breakthrough.” – Chris Lee
By not practicing forgiveness we keep ourselves trapped in a self-imposed prison. Forgiveness can really turn things around for you. Chris has so much energy and passion, and he owes it to the power of forgiveness. Even when he has a breakdown, he isolates it, acknowledges it, and accepts it, and looks for opportunities that will further fuel his growth. In the end, it is all about practice and commitment, he says.
Chris stresses the importance of having a mindful intention and a commitment to let go of the past, which eventually helps you in emerging stronger after a breakdown. It’s something he’s learned through experience.
“There was a friend whom I gave everything to, helped in their career…and that person eventually betrayed me and stole my stuff. [This] triggered me in a huge way, [and I felt worthless and taken advantage of]. … That person had made their choice, …[but] how could I see a blessing here? Well, the blessing was that I gave them the tools [which helped them in becoming successful]. … [So I made a commitment, and forgave them because that energy is life-saving].” – Chris Lee
Intention and commitment go hand-in-hand. An intention could be focused on anything — health, relationships, mindfulness, career, or finances. Creating a plan of action makes charting out and achieving your intention even easier.
Chris emphasizes the need to write a plan of action and to identify the resources around you to build a support system.
“So what’s the new action…[(including new interpretations and a renewed attitude)] going to be? It could be to see your life in a positive way, or letting go of the old triggers, or trusting your partner. … [You need an action plan and you also need to identify the resources and the support that you need in achieving your goal].” – Chris Lee
Having the right support system is absolutely critical. Even with a solid action plan, it can be hard to follow through with it without a team —something I like to call a ‘personal advisory board’. Your personal advisory board should be people who you trust to support you, inspire you, and hold you accountable to your goals: a fitness partner, a friend, a business colleague, anyone you respect.
“Success has [a lot] to do with taking action and having a team [or a support system to hold you accountable]. This is why it is important to have coaches and mentors [(which could even be a friend or a family member)], [and having your own tribe].” – Chris Lee
This mindset, the right team behind you, and the discipline and practice will go a long way in helping you to overcome your breakdowns and achieving the success that you truly deserve. And when you do reach that next level of achievement, don’t forget to celebrate it.
We often don’t celebrate our accomplishments, big or small. And, by not celebrating our victories, we inadvertently minimize or invalidate those successes.
“[By not acknowledging our accomplishment,] we are not giving it credit…but it is important to take out the time [to celebrate….This is something that we can all do — [create] a list of the top five things that you have accomplished in your life, something that you are proud of. [And in this way, you can celebrate your results, this gives a push to your self-esteem]….[Whenever you] accomplish something, do something nice for yourself, give yourself a gift, treat yourself, take a vacation, or a massage, [but do something nice for yourself and celebrate your accomplishments].” – Chris Lee
Even if you don’t reach your ultimate goal, you should go back to the first key and accept and acknowledge that you didn’t accomplish something. In this case, the blessing is the journey and what it has taught you.
Living in guilt and resentment takes us into a downward spiral. But, by letting things, go we enable ourselves to jump back right into living our dreams and creating numerous possibilities. At the end of the day, breakdowns are actually blessings in disguise —it’s just about how we choose to view and perceive them.
“There was a scene [in the Peter Pan movie] where he was trying to fly, but he kept crashing, and getting frustrated, having a breakdown. His life coach Tinkerbell…tells him that if he wanted to fly, then he must think happy thoughts….[And as soon as Peter made the shift in his mindset], he started flying….[So, you have got to have faith and trust the process].” – Chris Lee
Transform your fear into your faith. To think positively, you need to create a story of an opportunity and imagine the great things that could happen when you reclaim your narrative. Surround yourself with those who support and uplift you. Live a meaningful life, with a positive mindset and with the belief that anything is possible.
I want you to ask yourself, “What is the one thing that creates the most emotion for me?” Focus on just one thing, write it down, and then circle it. And then think and make a list of people in your life, who can support you. This is just the start to embarking on the Seven Keys to Thriving After a Breakdown journey, and I hope it gives you the power to turn your breakdowns into breakthroughs.
For more tips and advice on getting through these difficult times, follow Chris on Instagram, @chrisleemotivator. I also highly recommend that you check out his workshops — they will change your life.
I want to express my gratitude to Chris for taking the time to stop by The School of Greatness, and I want to acknowledge him for being an incredible coach and mentor to so many people. And this is going to help a lot of people undergoing a massive breakdown in their lives.
Guys, I want to give you the chance of winning a $25 Amazon Gift Card. All you need to do is to fill out this questionnaire, which will just take a few minutes, and it will help me greatly in trying to improve your experience, and in helping you.
Lastly, I want to leave you with this quote from Charles Bukowski. “If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.” It is so important for people to fill their cup first, uplift themselves, and then radiate that energy into other people who need it.
Friends, join me on Episode 1049 of The School of Greatness to learn about the seven steps to help you thrive after a breakdown, with the inspiring Chris Lee.