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Breakthrough to Freedom: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Life You Love

Breakthrough to Freedom: The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Life You Love
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 Annie Berryhill, MLB Sis, mother & Lifestyle Strategist, just released her new book, “Breakthrough to Freedom”. Written to be a guide to living your life on purpose, this book will instruct you on how to get unstuck, live life by design (not by default), and how to be who you were created to be in the world with the time you’ve been given. Formed around the word “FREEDOM”, Annie breaks down the steps to becoming free: Form and Focus on Your Dream; Reveal and Resolve Your Hurdles; Embrace Your Design; Evaluate Your Values, Experience, and Skills; Determine Your Direction; Organize A Plan; Move and Take Action. Annie generously shared Chapter 1 of her book with us below, outlining how to Form Your Dream.

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“Wanting something is not enough. You must
hunger for it. Your motivation must be absolutely
compelling in order to overcome the obstacles that
will invariably come your way.”
Les Brown

In each of us we house a dream, or two, or twenty. Too often those dreams and grand plans are locked away in a prison of confusion, fear, and disconnection. As children, we dream easily, and our minds and hearts create ideas that make our hearts and souls sing. Regardless of whether they happen, it is normal for a child to dream of things to come, or things they want to become.

When do we lose our ability to dream or connect with our dream and BELIEVE in our dream? What causes us to lose touch and hope that the things implanted in us, the things that will make us ridiculously happy are simply impossible to consider? Why do they just fade away or somehow get pushed back so far that they seem like they were never a part of us at all? Childhood is so short, and soon enough responsibilities, expectations, and the influence of others serve to dissuade, distract, or disconnect us from those dreams. We instead start to believe the statements from others (often based in their fears, coincidentally). Phrases like, “That’s a great idea, but that will never work,” or “But you can’t make a living doing that,” or “Wow, that’s great, and you’d be good at it, but it’s so competitive!”

I started singing early. My mom played piano, so my voice was trained by singing along to old standards from her youth. I moved on to do every vocal music group that was offered at my high school. I loved it, and I especially loved collaborating with other voices to make music that I alone could not. I applied for and was honored with scholarships for music, which was very exciting.

As I approached decision time for college, in my heart nothing would have been more wonderful then to major in music. I knew that I was not the best in the world, but I knew I was smart and motivated and loved the environment of it. But the Dream Stealers (well-meaning people, usually) came along and doused their doubt on the fire of my dreams. They spoke words like “hard,” “competitive,” “a hard way to make a living,” “not a practical major.” Subsequently, as those words sunk into my soul, I allowed them to sway my decision about majoring in music, putting my dream to bed for many years, and as much as I knew, for the rest of my life.

Funny enough, the major I ended up choosing, physical therapy, elicited similar words and ideas. And as it all sunk in, I just gave up on college altogether and instead attended a trade school before getting married. I truly regret listening to the doubts of others. Dreams need protection, fertilizer, hope, and positivity in order to grow. We need to fiercely protect them from the dream stealers of the world.

If you missed out on some dreams earlier in life, the goal of this chapter is to put you in touch with that place where all your unrealized dreams reside, which are waiting for you to find and connect to them. Some of them will seem silly or far surpassed by your reality. Still others wait to be realized. But the best ones are the ones you haven’t even discovered or embraced yet. Those dreams are the ones that this chapter will dig out and shine some light on, bringing a refreshed sense of excitement and joy to your life.

Identifying and Flushing Out Our Blurry Dreams

How does somebody go about recognizing a desire or dream? Some people struggle with even thinking that they deserve or can achieve a dream. But make no mistake, you were born for a specific purpose, and most of the time our dreams align with our purposes. Find one, and you are likely to find the other. Can you make it happen? Of course you can…you just need help getting started.

——————– Step 1 ——————–

Look at the following topics. Under each of them jot down something that’s related. Is your dream hidden in what you dream of having or doing related to one of these topics?

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Take a few minutes to go through this list and ask yourself the following questions:

• What do I want to leave as my legacy?
• What do I care about so much it hurts?
• What desire have I been ignoring or denying?
• What does everyone ask me to stop talking about?
• What do I crave or need more of?
• What causes me to take action quickly and effectively?
• What do I want to do out of pure love?
• What pain do I know I have the cure for?
• Where or how can I spread joy and happiness?
• Which of my talents would I most love to spend time using and for whom?

This is just a partial list, but going through the exercise will spark additional things for you to consider. Start a journal and write down your answers, maybe even indicating by star rankings which are more important than others. You have just taken the first step to identifying your dream.

The Difference Between Surface and Deep Dreams and Desires

It seems in life that hierarchies exist for just about everything. And so it goes with dreams. Some dreams are things we really wish we could have, then there are the other types of dreams and desires that you know you absolutely must not leave this earth without accomplishing or living.

So the next step is to list all the dreams and ideas that you have written down and write them in order of importance. Start with the less motivating ones at the top, down to the really, really non-negotiable dreams toward the bottom of the list. Now you are on the road to clarity! Isn’t it fun to know that you still have dreams inside of you and that there is still time to go after what you want?

What’s often true is that some of the more surface dreams are actually precursors or baby steps into our bigger dreams, so they are NOT to be discounted at all! You can choose any level of dream on your list to move toward through the process I will lay out. The benefit is that if you are able to achieve a more surface dream at first, your confidence and belief in your ability to grab ahold of any of them will increase a ton!

Moving Beyond Security, Ego, and Being Comfortable

So, you have allowed yourself to wander into the dream chamber of your soul, and it is exciting! Things are becoming clear; you’re filled with a new sense of hope and possibility.

And then BOOM!!!…it hits.

You know what it is—it’s hit you a million times before, and it’s always as you are on the cusp of change. It’s FEAR. Nothing stirs up fear like going out on a limb and imagining something more for your life. It’s as if the world between your ears gets an emergency message to send out a warning in constant waves to prevent you from moving forward.

The world between your ears—your brain, thoughts, and beliefs—is controlled by the sneaky guy called EGO. Now ego is not a totally bad thing. It’s the part of you that keeps you in your safety zone so you don’t make a bad decision or put yourself in a bad spot. That is the ego’s job, and the ego is a tireless protector of your collective sameness.

No one achieved full greatness and discovered their purpose and passion while staying under the covers in their pajamas their whole life. Isn’t that the most accurate illustration of comfort and safety you could imagine? That is where the ego wants to keep you.

The other things that want to hold you back are the people in your life. Those people, even those who love you dearly, often speak through their egos to your ego to plead with you, in a variety of ways, to “stay safe and the same or something bad could happen!” They want you to stay the same so their lives will stay the same, with you in the same place we’ve always been! So not only do you have your own thoughts and mindset working against you, family and friends are also conspiring, it seems, to slow the pursuit of your dreams. Yikes! That is a mighty battle to wage!

There is a story I read about some monkeys who were being studied in a research lab (sad, I know). They put the group of monkeys together at one time. In the center of their habitat, there was a climbable pole. At the top of that pole, the scientists placed a banana. Monkeys being monkeys, they all clamored to become the prize-winning primate. This went on for a few weeks. Then, suddenly, when the monkeys began climbing the pole, the scientists would spray them with a water hose to deter their ascent. After a few times of getting doused, the monkeys were convinced it was not safe to climb the pole no matter what the reward.

Here’s the most interesting thing that happened; The scientists would rotate out a monkey at a time and replaced him with a monkey who had never been in that habitat and had no knowledge about the pole, the banana, and the water situation. As soon as the monkey spotted the banana-prize, he started to make his way up the pole. The existing monkeys screeched and hollered and grabbed him before he could climb too high because they wanted to protect him from the danger and threat of the hose down they’d seen or experienced before. Over the course of a few months, each original monkey had been rotated, and the new monkeys had all been clearly warned of the danger. Eventually the habitat was occupied by not a single original member that had ever been sprayed with the hose, yet every single monkey refused to climb the pole to get the banana, all because some monkey in some past time was squirted and it was just normal to fear the pole and not risk safety for the prize.

I will never forget that story because it is so much like how our society works. Most people, doing what they believe is a kind thing, will deter the dreamers from pursuing the prize set before them! Unfortunately there are very few people who are truly confident in pursuing their dreams and who will do so even when faced with tremendous risk. These are the same people who are the biggest advocates of others going after their dreams. They are the types of people you need to surround yourself with going forward. They will insulate you from doubters and remind you to stay the course, even when it’s scary, dark, unknown, or uncharted.

Conditional Hierarchy

Have you ever heard of the phrase “conditional hierarchy”? Ha, maybe you have not because I think I’ve coined it, and I don’t run in big intellectual circles! But it’s really based on some ideas that spun off of Gay Hendrick’s book, The Big Leap.

What this means is, we spend the greatest amount of time in the least growth-benefitting condition. In this illustration, you can see that the tip of the triangle is names “Genius” and the largest area, almost a base if you will, is labeled “comfort.”

I am a big fan of pajamas, snuggly blankets, and book reading, but existing in that safe state is not going to sell books, connect me to people, or take me to my upper limits.

BreakthroughTriangle

When you look at each of these levels, which ones do you think you spend the majority of your time working in and/ or pursuing? It’s important to ask yourself, is the condition in which I am choosing to spend my time that which will get me to the place I need to be operating from in order to live my dream?

Before you answer, let me just list my definition of each of these to help you to understand what you are assigning to yourself:

• Comfort: The place of least resistance, demand, stress, striving. The easiest place to be, usually is your default place to go when super stressed or overwhelmed.

• Competence: This level is all about doing the bare minimums. You slide under the radar, working to get your assignments completed without evoking attention, either positive or negative. In other words, just getting by day by day.

• Confidence: You’ve got a bit of swagger in your step. You welcome compliments because you know you are able to produce something of quality. People will see this posture on you and will be led to assign you additional attention, responsibility, and accolades. You know you have something special and live like that.

• Excellence: At this level, you have competence and confidence, but those have proven to be insufficient for your purpose. In this zone, it is something more, a 6th gear. Your priorities are about creating surpassing quality (not perfectionism) and doing things to the very best of your abilities.

• Genius: This is the X-factor—the special something that when you are in it, nothing excites, energizes, and drives you more. When other people enter in a place where your genius is shining and at work, they easily get swept up into it, and sparks fly; creations occur; creativity, productivity and solutions are abundant.

——————– Action Step ——————–

Looking over the definitions, using 100 percent as a pool to draw time from, label each section according to how much time you spent in each condition over the last week, month, quarter, or year. The key is to know this, because the closer to the top you spend your time and energy, the more life satisfaction and living the dream you will be experiencing.

Form Your Dream

——————– Action Step ——————–

How do you take the discovery of the dream and start to make it tangible so that you don’t just hold it in your far-off-in-the-future musings, but start to create a concrete picture of all that dream entails.

It’s quite simple…you just create it! In order to go down a road never travelled, you must create the vision of what the destination looks like and is like. I like to do this for a time frame of one, five, or seven years in the future.

Here is how you do it:

1. Create a day in your life on that future date. I recommend putting this down on paper as you go through the creative process.

2. Pick a date, including the year.

3. Write down everything in the present tense as if you are writing in a journal today about today. Use present tense verbs like “I am,” “I see,” “It smells like,” etc.

4. Start by going through your senses and write about what you are experiencing on this day.

5. As you are writing about that, be sure to include the emotions you feel (or want to feel) about the scene you are experiencing. Use words that reinforce the feelings you experience as you watch this day unfold.

6. Write it all down. You must look at it frequently and make additions and edits as you become clearer about it. The dream will come closer to you and seem to have more reality to it the more time you spend creating it and visiting it.

Once you have read through but also done these action steps, you probably will have a pretty strong and clear idea of what you want and an excited and hopeful feeling, too! But you want your dreams to be more than far-away hopes; you want them to become real. How will a dream take root unless you give it fertile soil and the materials it needs to sustain and grow? That’s why we visit, reread, and keep connected with the dream we wrote down…so we build it by feeding it and never letting it be far from us.

Freedom

This last part goes back to the whole reason you are reading this book, to break through from hindrances and create freedom. Freedom is many things, and is vastly different for everyone. Freedom is a feeling, and freedom is a tangible, real thing. Ask yourself right now:

1. What does freedom feel like? What does life look like when you’re living freely?

2. What tangible proof or thing will give proof of finding freedom?

You have to be crystal clear about this, and that is why the tangible and the emotional aspects all contribute to the equation. Freedom is not a pipe dream. I know many people who have been set free from ill-health, bad relationships, financial distress, and substandard personal happiness and satisfaction!

But understand, it is the work that each of us has to do. You can use the assistance of others along the way, but no one wants the exact freedoms you desire, no one walks in your shoes every day, and no one else can do the important work it will take to get there, so for all those reasons, NO ONE will be as motivated to pursue the things you want than YOU will.

Pearls start as a grain of sand, diamonds begin from carbon under pressure, and so you, too, will have to go through some challenges to clear the road to your desires. That is what the next chapter is for, to help you move past the things that tend to trip you up and keep you stuck in the status quo.

To read more, order your copy of Breakthrough to Freedom here.

Connect with the Breakthrough to Freedom Companion Workbook here.

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Annie Berryhill Annie Berryhill is a wife, mom, woman of faith and professionally, a Lifestyle Strategist. Her passion is partnering with people who want to live their lives on purpose. Drawing on her experiences as an MLB wife, mother to a previously deployed Marine, and a son with a chronic disease, she knows what is feels like to be lost in her own life and how to find her purpose within crazy, stressful, unpredictable circumstances. With a background in fitness and nutrition coaching, Annie's style is to strategically craft a personalized plan to discover her clients strengths, gifts, passions and talents and activate them in their plan to find and live out their purpose. She is the author and co-author of several motivation books in business, self-development, entrepreneurship and health. Annie is also host to The People on Purpose Show, a podcast that is available on ITunes.