Be an example. You don’t have control over others and you can’t make someone change. However, you can be a guiding light and offer an example of being. Talk about things that make you feel good rather than obsess over what you can’t control.
As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Heather Hakes.
Heather Hakes is a Mindset Coach, speaker, and author of Take the Leap. She has been featured on numerous podcasts and published in Voyage Denver as well as Women Who Empower and Inspire. Heather has reached tens of thousands through her international podcast, Mind Over Matter.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
I did what we’re conditioned to do — go to college, get a degree, climb the corporate ladder and then retire and live a good life. For me, it was unfulfilling and felt empty. After a decade following societal norms, I took a huge leap of faith and quit my stable job to pursue my passion of living life on my terms.
I now know what it means to jump and let the net appear. After I gave my notice, I was awarded a six-figure payout and spent the next 2.5 years traveling the world, publishing my first book and launched my podcast. I realized my dream since I was a little girl to be a teacher, it just happens to be in a very different avenue than K-12.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
It’s been quite a journey. I’m most grateful for all of the people I’ve been able to connect with through online programs, in person seminars and through my podcast. I love having deep intimate conversations about infinite possibilities — and we all have access to this.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Your people should come first. From my experience, employees don’t feel appreciated or respected. It’s just as easy to get another job as it is to fill a spot. I highly recommend investing in your employees and want them to grow with your company.
Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
SO many good books out there! One of my all time favorites is The Alchemist. This fictional book has so many golden nuggets, my favorite line is: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. It’s our personal legend.”
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?
Being mindful means being present. It’s so easy to get caught up in the past or becoming anxious for the future. In reality, the only moment we have is now. It’s about being intentional with your thoughts and focus.
This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?
An easy practice to understand being mindful is meditation. There are various ways in which you can do this. Sitting upright, laying down or even a moving meditation — like walking. The benefits you will experience are feelings of peace and zen. It’s hard to explain but the feeling and calmness it brings is what brings people back to making meditation a daily practice.
Being mindful also helps to quiet the internal chaos. It will help to create clarity and ease and more than likely, provide answers to problems you may be experiencing.
Finally, emotional benefits include raising your vibration. Simply put, if you were feeling sad, angry, impatient or other negative emotions, becoming mindful raises your vibration to feelings of joy, gratitude and happiness.
Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
- Focus on what you can control. — There will always be obstacles and challenges in your life. The key is to create an internal environment (your beliefs, emotions, focus) that can’t be controlled by the external (such as the news media). Stay informed but don’t fall prey to fear mongering.
- Be mindful of what you’re consuming. — What you consume, consumes you. If you’re constantly listening to, talking about and focused on what’s not working and how bad it is, you’ll get more of it. Choose what you allow in.
- Create time and space to connect within. — Morning routines are a great way to be intentional with your day. Spend time in silence and get daily movement to get your energy moving. This is about creating your life by design rather than by default.
- Become an observer of your thoughts. — Not everything you think is true. When you become aware of and observe your thoughts, you can take back your power and control. Filter out what’s not serving you and amplify what is.
- Spend your free time reading or learning rather than binging on Netflix or scrolling through social media. — Now is the time to better yourself. To focus on your mindset and overall well being. Take an online course, join a mastermind or book club and fill your free time with content that makes you feel good.
From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
- Be an example. You don’t have control over others and you can’t make someone change. However, you can be a guiding light and offer an example of being. Talk about things that make you feel good rather than obsess over what you can’t control.
- Share inspiring articles. Choose to focus on the good and you’ll find more good.
- Join or create a mastermind. You’ve heard it before, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Spend time with people who are learning and growing.
- Change the focus. Talking about problems gives more energy to problems. Instead, talk about solutions or what you can do differently to relieve feelings of anxiousness.
- Get outside. Move daily. Wherever your attention goes, energy flows.
What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?
Find a mentor or coach! Try meditation. There are plenty of free apps or online resources to help you get started. And, between Google and YouTube there is so much free content on the topic and endless possibilities to become more mindful.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
I have so many! Regarding being mindful, my favorite is:
You can eat the kale, do the yoga and drink the alkaline water, but if you don’t deal with the stuff going on in your head, you’re still unhealthy.
Remember, all change begins from within. Your internal reality creates your external reality, not the other way around! Take your power back and focus on what you can control — YOU!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Meditation. You can do it anytime, anywhere and it costs absolutely nothing! No excuses! Creating the space and time to relax your analytical mind, will bring you peace and joy that you seek.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
@heather.hakes on Instagram
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!