beachShe awoke in a pool of blood.

Wake-up calls come in different forms: a health crisis, a car accident, a relationship breakdown… I’ve had 2 big wake up calls – the first one – a head on car accident (the message: listen to my body, surrender to my vulnerability). The second was being sacked from working as an architect 25 years ago (the message: listen to my heart, do what I love).

Of course not all wake up calls come as a ‘Mack Truck’. Life is always sending us little omens – hints and pointers to guide us – maybe this article could be one of those for you 🙂 . If we ignore the message then often a subtle sense of uneasiness arises. Then things start to feel like hard work and then if we doggedly continue on things begin to go wrong: accidents, illness, conflict… Gradually the intensity builds until we can not ignore the situation any longer.

Whatever form a wake-up call comes in, its purpose is to snap us out of a trance, a way of thinking or living or a situation that is no longer serving us. Wake-up calls are life’s’ way of serving us. Nudging us back on track so we can find happiness and success.

Wake-up calls happened when something has to change, when a shift is required. Maybe we’ve been too narrow, too attached to the past, too dogged, too blinkered, too scared to consider other possibilities, too headstrong, too out of touch with our heart – our inner guidance. We know when we are off track and are out of balance because things feel like hard work, a big struggle, we feel tired and grumpy.

It wasn’t until Arianna Huffington (rated in the top 20 most powerful women in the world) awoke in a pool of blood after collapsing from exhaustion, hitting her head on the desk as she slumped to the floor, that she realised her definition of success was too narrow.

Wake-up calls tend to be embarrassing. They humble us (break us out of our rigid way of being) and get us to stop and do a retake – step back and gain a wider perspective on how we are living and what is important in our life.

With so many pressures on us these days it is easy to lose perspective and get out of balance: working hard, paying the bills, looking after the kids, rushing around trying to get everything done – the pace of life certainly has increased: days, weeks and months seem to flash by.

In an order for us to get everything done we use our willpower to override our feelings and make things happen. We don’t take time to slow down and be present with what we are feeling. We don’t want to.

Feelings are messy things that take time to be with. However, if we don’t take the time to feel our feelings we become detached, disconnected. Our feelings are what keep us present and connected. Our feelings link us to our inner guidance, our passion and our relationship with others.

It’s just too easy these days to get out of touch with our inner guidance and when we do focus gets too narrow and we get out of balance. So often we spend our time attending to what is urgent and not what is important. It can feel like we’re so busy paddling the boat that we don’t have time to look where we are going.

It is important to regularly take time out and reflect on our life, priorities and the direction we’re going in.

And there is no better time than at the start of the year to take stock on your life.

But how do you get on track and things into balance?

Listen to your heart.

Science is now confirming the age-old wisdom that tells us that our heart is intelligent. That following your heart is not just an expression, it is about listening to and acting on the inner guidance your heart is giving you. Your heart has brain neurons that process information. In fact studies indicate that twice as much information passes from your heart to your brain than from your brain to your heart. This suggests that your heart is actually informing your brain. We know that the heart is formed and begins to function in the foetus has before the brain. The research is indicating that your feelings arise prior to your thoughts, and can be a deeper, more trustworthy source of guidance in your life.

The tender voice of your heart is always available to guide you. It’s a gentle voice that calls you back when you are off track.

The problem is, if you are out of touch with your heart, you’re not going to get the message. The more out of touch with your heart’s voice you are, the easier it is to be (and stay) off track. Conversely, the more in touch you are with your heart the quicker you pick up on the call – the more uncomfortable you feel – and the sooner you ‘course correct’ – get back on track: speak up about something that doesn’t feel right, stop doing something that doesn’t feel good and start doing what’s good for you: get a massage, go for a walk, take a rest, eat something nutritious, start exploring new career options, organise some quality time with your partner (go for a coffee at a cafe), spend more time with your family, to something that fun…

When you are plugged into your heart (present and connected) your heart will not only guide you moment to moment to stay on track in your life, it will also keep you in balance by guiding you to pay attention to what needs adjusting. It will help you to make sure you attend to what’s really important in your life. When you listen to and act on your hearts’ messages you don’t need the big ‘Mack Truck’ wake up calls – you live with less drama and more enjoy and ease.

When you live from your heart you will achieve what I call ‘Genuine Success’.

Genuine success is about thriving in life: being at your best, creating a life you truly love and enjoying your life to the fullest.

There are three aspects of Genuine Success:

  1. Living a balanced and sustainable life based on being whole in your self (nurturing our needs).
  2. Living a quality life: based on creating financial freedom without compromising your health, relationships or happiness.
  3. Living a life that makes a meaningful contribution to the world based on being and expressing who you are.

When you listen to your heart you will be able to stay focused on what is important in a world that is full of bright shiny objects tugging for your attention. You will experience a sense of flow and ease because you are congruent with your deepest values and desires. You will be proactive about addressing the uncomfortable situations that are calling for change.


Here are some tips to creating Genuine Success so you can thrive:

1.Stop and be in stillness and quietness (getting out into nature can be helpful)

2. Look inside – connect to your heart (you can download a free five-minute Heart Centring from my website:

3. Listen to and trust your heart’s guidance (you may hear the voice but you have to follow it)

4. Ask yourself: Am I paying enough attention to my:

  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Relationships
  • Wealth
  • Lifestyle
  • Self-expression
  • Spiritual growth

Do you need to make some changes?

5. Be Courageous – step forward and take action to do the things that you know in your heart are right – even if they are scary (they often are!). Remember: You are only going to find inner peace, happiness and contentment by living the life YOU are meant to live – avoiding your truth, is just prolonging your suffering.

6. Cultivate Gratitude – What you focus on expands. Make time each day to give thanks for all the good things in your life: good health, freedom, wealth, people who love you, opportunities you have and most of all: the gift of being alive in this present moment!

7. Be Generous – What you put out comes back multiplied. Find a way to give something meaningful away: a smile, a random act of kindness, share your unique gifts and talents in the world…

8. Follow your bliss – do what you love. When you are happy you bring more happiness into the world. You bring joy to those in your life. Doing what you love could be the kindest thing you can do for others!

And Finally…

Your life is only going to bring you happiness and success when you take charge of it. When you be the captain of your own ship, take the helm and steer it where you want to go. Your heart is your never failing compass that is always available to guide you.

Now, it’s up to you to take command. Good luck.

May you thrive in 2016!

Kind Regards,

Nicholas de Castella

ballonsIf you would like to spend a day with me exploring how you can thrive in 2016 then you’re in luck. On January 31 I am hosting a 1 day seminar on how to thrive in 2016. You can attend in person or online. Click here for more information.