Can You Learn to Live the Dream?

10 Mar 2013

We hit the coaching couch to find out whether perfecting your life is as simple as letting go of old insecurities...

Admission time: I’m a worrier, always have been. My mum’s a worrier, and my grandmother too, so it’s probably in my genes. It drives my husband mad, but hey ho, what can you do?
A lot, according to Dubai-based life coach, Shana Kad, who specialises in tearing up the internal rule books we live our lives by. According to Shana, defining ourselves by characteristics which don’t assist us in our day to day lives is not only pointless, it’s inaccurate too.

For rather than our characteristics being genetic or hard wired, much of the time they’re learned by example, installed in us at such a young age that we begin to define ourselves by them. And when they stop working for us, we forget to upgrade. In short, it’s like trying to live your life today using Windows 3 software.

Internal upgrade
“The one thing we all have in common is that we have dreams of how we’d like our lives to be. The difference between the people who are successful in achieving them and those who aren’t is that the successful believe it’s possible,” says Shana.

It may sound far-fetched initially, but how many times have you prevented yourself from doing something you wanted to do, or that would have been beneficial to you, because you were afraid to?

The idea that work has to be hard work, or that you can’t make money doing what you love, is so ingrained in so many of us, that we can’t see it for what it is – a belief rather than a fact. Ask a successful entrepreneur about work and they’ll likely have a very different attitude to the one you are holding.

So just how much easier would life be if we were able to turn those ideas on their heads? If you believed it was impossible to fail if you made your ultimate love the focus of your working life, you’d be more likely to take the plunge, no? If you believed that life was fair and that you really would get out what you put in, wouldn’t you embark on each day with a fresh spring in your step?

This is the change Shana aims to achieve in her clients when they embark on the Personal Breakthrough Journey, an intensive 12-hour programme which combines neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), visualisation and a method known as timeline therapy to rid you of your limiting beliefs. By the end, you should be equipped with the tools and thought processes you need to be able to the make the most of your life.

When you believe...
There’s no doubt about it, NLP is a strange thing to the uninitiated, aiming as it does to bypass your conscious mind (the tip of a rather large iceberg in terms of our active mind) and address your subconscious directly. The initial instinct is to fight it, but it’s truly baffling the way your subconscious quickly takes over. And you know what? It really does know you better than you actually know yourself.

While you may second guess your subconscious’ responses, you’d be surprised how strange your own insecurities will seem to you once you’ve reconsidered them in this new way.

In my case, it quickly becomes clear that while, as a child, I learned from watching the adults around me worry, as an adult myself, my worries are at risk of holding me back. Did I achieve anything by lying awake for nights on end panicking about whether I was making the right decision moving to Dubai? No, I did not. I moved anyway, but the process would have been a great deal more pleasurable if I’d been able to see it as an adventure rather than a terror.
Do I want my own future offspring to learn from my example, that change is something to worry about or fear? Of course I don’t

Thankfully, after exploring the roots of my anxiety through timeline therapy, my behaviour seems so incredibly daft it’s embarrassing to see it in print.

Light bulb moment
It’s not easy to admit that you’ve been doing yourself a gross disservice all your life. And yet after one session with Shana, I have to admit that I am not a worrier by nature, rather, by choice. No ifs, no buts – stopping worrying is my responsibility. And my, if it doesn’t feel good to let it go.
As well as being a worrier, I’d have defined myself as a cynic. For me, life coaching was for people who wanted to talk about themselves a lot. It was navel gazing for people with more time on their hands than me.

How wrong I was. Of course, there are many types of coaching and many types of people. Navel gazing may be exactly what some need.

For me, a matter of fact, can do and sympathy free approach enabled me to take a logical look at my – really pretty enviable – life and see where I was failing to make the most of it. No more sleepless nights worrying about the day I never saw. Nowadays, I’m too excited about the future to bother...

Are YOUR beliefs limiting you?
• “Work is meant to be difficult - it’s WORK.”
 • “I have to wait my turn and pay my DUES.”
 • “SUCCESS is hard.”
 • “Life is UNFAIR, that’s just the way it is”

How would you change if you were to turn those rules on their heads?
 • “Work is meant to be FUN.”
 • “I can make MONEY doing what I love.”
 • “I can work and live ANY way I want to.”
 • “I can have everything I WANT and NEED.”

The Personal Breakthrough Journey with Shana Kad costs Dhs10,000, while coaching costs from Dhs650 per hour. VIVA readers who book an appointment before April 15 will receive two hours for the price of one. For more information, visit

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