8th October 2020

Breaking free to discover my true potential

8th June, 2019

Paul Carter

I felt trapped. The cord round my neck and legs getting tighter as I struggled to break free. I wanted to switch off the pain but salvation was out of reach. Lost in the darkness, I fell and cursed my existence. There was nothing but silence…until the cursing began.

All I wanted to do was de-stress with a YouTube mindfulness video. Unfortunately, my sofa was too far from the plug socket. I tied myself in knots with the power cable, headphones and mouse. I couldn’t see what I was doing because I turned off the lights. And before I could get all mindful, I had to endure a smug nobody by a swimming pool advertising his rags to riches story.

I kept hitting skip, skip, skip, but I must have died and become a ghost as my sense of touch vanished. Pop ups everywhere: virus protection, emails, low battery. It was relentless. Unable to untangle myself and struggling for breath, the only two thoughts running through my head were would I be found dead next to the Daily Mail, and why are all mindfulness voiceovers by softly-spoken Australians.

Suddenly another voice gave me hope. It was Whoopi Goldberg: “It's your mind, you idiot. It's all in the mind. The problem is you think you're still real, that you're standin' on the floor, that you're wearin' those clothes. You don't even have a body anymore. It's all up here. You wanna move things, you gotta use your mind. You gotta focus! You hear what I'm saying?”

I listened and believed, breaking free from my cords of captivity to breathe. I discovered my new laptop does not have touch screen technology. All that fury for no reward. It may have been the blue light of the laptop illuminating the room, but like Patrick Swayze in the 1990 film Ghost, I had a spiritual awakening.

I turn 40 in a year. My career and job satisfaction are integral to enjoying my golden years. The decade where my earning potential should peak to reflect my creativity, strategic thinking and individualism.

In the era of storytellers, mindfulness is important as it allows me to be the author of my journey to success.

The Leadership Labdescribes mindfulness as “paying attention to ourselves, being aware of the present and avoiding self-deception. It’s recognising that thoughts are thoughts and not beliefs.”

·     Thinking I’m amazing doesn’t make me amazing. I have to prove it by delivering results and making a visible difference. But what is my unique selling point?

·     Despite many failures and confrontations, nothing has stopped me chasing success and happiness. But do I know what victory looks like?

·      I want to be a maverick; but in reality, I’m a nice guy who likes peace and quiet, so how can I sell my vision and stand out from the crowd?

·     Am I a company man or an individual who works for a company?

A lot of questions to answer, but it’s my curiosity and appetite for self-improvement that make me who I am. I have to feel I am making progress in my life to tune in to mindfulness sessions and feel the benefits.

Hopefully, the advancement of augmented reality will allow me to explore the dreamscape of my unconsciousness to discover the true potential of my mind.

To continue the Ghost analogy, I need to complete my mission and build a future for my family before I step into the light. Although I may opt for a cryogenic chamber with the same mind and a new body, as once I’ve tasted success I will want more of it.

“Ditto” I hear you say as everyone wants to live a meaningful life and leave a legacy, but only a few of us can.


To find out more about combating negative thinking listen to Liz Fosslien (co-author of No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work and How They Help Us Succeed) on this  Eat Sleep Work Repeat podcast Mental Health & Emotions - practical ways of fixing work

Paul Carter

Paul Carter is a Senior HR Consultant at Civil Service Employee Policy in London. He has worked in HR for five years after spending 10 years in communications and committee management. He is CIPD qualified and writes HR blogs to encourage debate on how to make the world of work a better place. Writing and running help him manage his mental health and he is determined to raise awareness of what living with Pure OCD is like. He is always interested in meeting new people and exploring new opportunities.

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