Our Most Powerful Tool

After a six-day stint in the Maldives, I headed back to India to meet my British travel buddy, Josh, in the province of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is in the south-eastern part of the country. It’s not considered a popular route for tourists, so we were looking forward to integrating ourselves into the local culture and experiencing a bit more authenticity. Josh and I met at the airport in Chennai and headed south to a small beach town by the name of Mahabalipuram. I still can’t pronounce the name and I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to.

Mahabalipuram is known for its temples that were built by the dynasty. Despite the town being known for this, for me it wasn’t the driving reason to visit. We wanted to find a quiet village where we could spend Christmas and really chill out. Our time there turned into just that!

A big rock and Natasha in Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

We spent the next five days practicing yoga, reading, eating a lot of Nutella banana crepes, wandering the narrow neighbourhood streets, and writing our mantras for 2018. I haven’t told many people this, but instead of New Year’s resolutions, I try to always write a mantra for myself for the year coming. It starts off like this:

In the year 2018, I will…

These mantras have been extremely powerful for me in helping to visualize and accomplish my goals. The details of these mantras are typically attainable given the stage I am currently at in life. If something seems farfetched or unrealistic, I still include it, but I set the accomplishment date to a year beyond the one I am writing for. Throughout the year, I reference this mantra to refocus myself on what is truly a priority. To date, I’ve managed to accomplish close to all the details on these mantras over the past three years – I’m not saying this to sound like an overachiever but to articulate how attainable it is to do something if you simply set your mind to it.

The details within these mantras do not include steps on how to accomplish them. My hope is that my periodic reference to this document will help to keep my priorities top of mind and allow me to be more conscious when it comes to decision making for myself throughout the year.

Sometimes these details are vague or extremely prescriptive. I keep this document private and have written only for myself – although I occasionally share snippets with the people close to me if it applies to them.

For example, some of the details on these mantras over the years have included the following:

• Be generous
• Not worry
• Spend time with people who challenge me intellectually
• Find additional income streams
• Go on great adventures
• Become a certified yoga instructor and practice on a weekly basis

Usually the details that are overarching themes such as “be generous” or “not worry” are added because I want to improve upon these areas or I believe integrating the theme more into my life will help me feel fulfilled. It’s also not to say that I’m planning to “never worry” for instance, but worrying has consumed a lot of my life and I aspire to continuously work on this in order to improve my overall health.

In December, I reflect on what I wrote a year prior before I begin writing the one to come. It’s surprising to me to see the changes in my priorities and focus over the years. Sometimes I don’t even recognize the individual who wrote these. I attribute this to two things: 1. Acquiring greater awareness as the years pass and refocusing myself on the core of what is truly important to me in life. 2. Accepting that life is precious and temporary and things change – even if we don’t want them to.

Natasha in December 2016 on Nacpan Beach, El Nino, Palawan, Philippines

In December 2015, I was sitting alone on Nacpan beach in the Philippines writing my mantra for 2016. I still remember how hot the sun was and warmed every inch of my skin that day. I was using a sarong to cover my head and shoulders, and would run into the ocean every ten minutes to cool off. This was a memorable trip for me because it reaffirmed my desire to one day have the freedom to visit beautiful parts of the world, such as this place in the Philippines, but totally on my own terms and whenever I wanted to. Up until this point, I was restricted with my time and my ability to travel to the other side of the world because I was an employee to a big corporation and I only had two weeks of vacation a year. Plus, my predetermined salary with no bonus limited my potential earned income.

I never imagined that what I wrote on the beach that day would become a reality. I thought I was simply being a dreamer. It felt too unrealistic and opposite to the norm. In that very moment, I wrote the following words…

By November 2018, I will be my own boss. I will be able to work from anywhere in the world, solely from my laptop. I will spend portions of my day giving back to the community.

Internally, even if it didn’t seem this way on the outside, I had too much self-doubt and a lack of confidence to feel I’d actually be able to accomplish this - let alone a year earlier then by the date I had written down. To be honest, the year 2018 felt too soon. Perhaps by 2025 maybe, just maybe, I’d figure out how to do it. Maybe my journey in life was to stay living in my hometown, in a comfy advertising job, move up the professional ladder, get married, and have kids. That’s what we’re told life is supposed to be like – are we not?

I’m not one for surprises but being able to surprise yourself with accomplishing the details on your mantra is a magical feeling. It’s indescribable. When you write something down and say to yourself: “YA RIGHT! That’s not going to happen” and it happens, it just goes to show you that you’re the driver of your life. The “constraints” we feel that are holding us back are just illusions.

I encourage you to write your own mantra for 2018 – even if we’re 22 days into the year. You’ll be surprised with the outcome of this effort when you reflect back on it this time next year.

Today is Monday, January 22nd 2018 and I can officially say I am my own boss. In the past nine months, I have birthed two businesses: Crown + Bliss and Unbound Productions. I’ve created a reality where I’m able to work from the comfort of my laptop anywhere in the world and have enough flexibility to spend a portion of each day giving back to the community. Perhaps the community element wasn’t strong enough in that mantra because as of this coming Wednesday, my co-founder Jayla and I, will launch our outreach division Crown Unite.

The most powerful tool we have is our mind. What we can accomplish is truly limitless if we believe in it… This is probably why my guy friends at home make fun of me and say I’m living in the clouds. But what do I know… I’m just a 26 year old woman who booked a one-way ticket to India.

Natasha Aquin3 Comments