How I got ripped open and came back to life:
My biggest takeaways from The Bridge Experience + Extreme Leadership and how you can apply them to your own life
Three weeks ago I travelled to Brisbane, Australia to attend what I can describe today as the most transformative and life-changing immersive workshops I have ever participated in.
Designed and led by Alexi Panos and Preston Smiles (google them, they are epic), supported by an amazing team of coaches/guardians, The Bridge Experience and Extreme Leadership — respectively a two-day and a three-day workshops — shook me to my core and annihilated my ego.
I will not share any details on the curriculums of these workshops — because I do recommend that each and every single one of you looking to have a quantum leap in terms of personal growth attend — however I will leave you with my biggest takeaways, which, I am sure will probably make you a little bit uncomfortable. This is a great sign and you will understand why.
1) How you do ANYTHING is how you do EVERYTHING
How do you act and what do you do when no one is watching? We all have our secrets how we do the smallest things is a reflection of how we do everything else in our life.
See how you always wait until the next moment, until it really is full and it stinks to take the bin out? Is there any other area of your life where you are also waiting to do things until the very very last minute or until it’s too late? It’s like consistently buying unripe bananas and avocados and ending up eating them when they become brown (totally me haha). Yes waiting for the “right moment” and always pushing things to the last minute and then ending up being super effective and productive — BUT — AT WHAT COST?
Or maybe you are the type of person who lets other people choose which restaurant to go to, or which food to order for you in that restaurant. Do you wait for other people to make decisions for you in your business or in your personal life? Are you perpetually giving your power away?
Or maybe you are that person who is nice to everyone and beats their dog, their wife or their kids behind closed doors. This will transpire and show up in all other areas of your life. Pay attention.
As soon as I got introduced to this concept I started to see it all. The picture of my life and how I do things, all the small things in my daily life that I feel shitty about with when I don’t do them.
For example making my bed in the morning is something that I have to do consistently because it gives me a sense of accomplishment that I will carry out throughout my day. But sometimes I leave my room in disaster because “I don’t have the time” to make my bed and put my dirty clothes in my laundry basket before I leave. What can it show about me that relates to other areas of my life? Starting something and not being consistent with it for example. Letting laziness or excuses get the best of me and my good habits. Self-sabotaging. And so on… Crazy how seemingly unrelated things are in fact very related.
2) Your life is your feedback…
…And feedback is your friend. Everything, yes I say EVERYTHING you see and experience in your life at the moment is the result of what you have manifested, on a conscious, or unconscious or even soul level. Your life is your greatest feedback. You don’t necessarily need friends or external people for that. Simply your life can help you make a reality check. You need to take full responsibility for everything that is present. Life doesn’t happen to you but through you. You are a powerful creator and the only one responsible if you are not aligned or fulfilled. By being aware and taking full responsibility, you can then start to operate change to build a different reality.
Start by replacing “Why is this happening to me (again)? with “What is this trying to teach me”. This is a game changer. For example, you keep attracting the exact same toxic love partnerships. Or you have that habit of consistently being late and missing out on beautiful moments, or you always are the one never getting the promotion but doing all the work. Is this unfortunate or can you do something about it? Have a look and take the time to assess all areas of your life now. What are the habits, the things you do that are of disservice to you and your highest potential?
Mine was to always start relationships with emotionally unavailable men because I only focused on their potential and was super keen to do all the work to reveal this potential — when actually — first it was not fair for me to want to change someone who wasn’t ready/willing to do so, second, I would be the one complaining and suffering because of this gap and then blame the other person, third, I would never get what I truly desire: a deep, loving, healthy union which gives both partners a sense of fulfillment and growth.
By consciously choosing to say no to this former pattern of mine, I say yes to more aligned people entering my field and level up my standards to improve my experience. No expectations, no disappointment. This is like a muscle, you need to use it regularly to create a new experience. Commit consistently.
3) The time is NOW, Every NOW is a new moment
When I will have money, I will be happy. When I am more prepared, I will apply for this new job. When I will have more time, I will start going to the gym. When the time is right… bla bla bla.
What is stopping you from doing the things you feel attracted to do, the things you feel deeply in you would make you grow? What are the bullshit excuses that are burning the bridge between you and the expression of your full potential?
Every moment is a new opportunity. You are just procrastinating on your life because you are scared. Your ego is scared of change and needs you to remain in this small tiny little box called comfort zone. You see, the magic happens OUTSIDE of your comfort zone. The magic happens when you stretch yourself and decide to take the lid of that box to see what is outside. The unknown. The comfort zone is where dreams go to die. Literally.
I used to have this tendency of over-analysing, self-doubting and being a perfectionist so that when I created something, I had to do it making sure it was the perfect time for that thing to be perfect as well. Now, when I feel I want to do something, I try my best to do it straight away to avoid my over-analysing diminisher figuring out all the worst case scenari and stopping me from ACTING on my wish. This happened every time I was about to undergo a massive growth in my life. It took me eight months to release my first t-shirt because it wasn’t perfect enough. Until I decided to let go and then the whole process started flowing so well.
If you haven’t reached your goal, don’t let it slip. Try again in 5 minutes, in an hour, tomorrow, but don’t just settle. Try and try and try again. You will pat yourself on the back for continuously showing up for yourself.
4) Intention - Reasons + Aligned Committed Action = Results
When you first have that idea, that spark, how do you feel in your body? How do you feel in your heart? Do you feel you are expanding?
How about when you let that idea, that spark down by putting it into a box at the very back of your mind like you would do with old photos and love letters from ex-boyfriends? What are you telling yourself at that moment? Are you finding reasons to justify your lack of action towards this idea, this dream, this goal? Did your dog eat your paper so you couldn’t give it in time to your teacher?
Intentions + Reasons = Procrastination. You can find all the excuses, all the reasons of the world to stop you from moving forward with this initial spark of inspiration. Reasons are your best allies to procrastinate and your worst enemies to manifest.
When you discount all reasons and excuses not to move forward but instead replace them with an Aligned Committed Action, you get results. An aligned committed action is the scariest action possible, the one that has you at your edge. The one that is making you really nervous and makes your heart skip three beats.
Imagine you are scared of heights (like me) and want to solve this issue. What will you do to try to tame and overcome this fear? Will you a) avoid all situations where your fear is triggered and just have a really restricted life not jumping into glass elevators or even escalators? Not doing ziplining in Costa Rica? Avoiding going to beautiful Massada in Israel? Or Table Mountain in Cape Town? Or up the Eiffel Tower in Paris?
Or will you b) Stretch yourself and decide to reconnect with your full power by facing those blocks and starting straight by skydiving and see what to do next until you are comfortable and free from this paralysing fear?
Spectators find reasons, players generate results. This leads to my next learning.
5) Player versus Spectator
Are you the one on the football field trying to win the game or are you the one sitting on the bench desperately waiting for someone else to notice you and invite you on the field? Are you skilled, confident, team player or are you shrunk, judgmental, bitter, doubtful? Are you threatened by other people’s success or are you inspired by it?
Often times when we are spectators instead of actors in some areas of our life we tend to resent people who actually are actors in those same areas. Because resentment is our own shame projected onto other people. Sounds familiar? This is well hidden into some kind of justification, trying to find what these same people are doing wrong, their weaknesses when in reality we are the ones who should look under our rug and see what is stopping us from acting. It is easier sometimes to let life happen and not play an active part in it.
What are you in all areas of your life? Are you that open successful actor or the whinge small spectator? In your relationships? In your work? In your finances? In your health? In your family? In your spirituality? In your growth? It’s time to hop on that field and get that ball.
6) Stop robbing people of the joy of giving
Why are we so scared and so programmed not to receive? We might think that we are capable of receiving but try walking on the street and asking a stranger for money to pay for your coffee? How does your body feel at this one thought? Do you feel the anxiety and embarrassment kicking in? Followed by the guilt of thinking “I can afford to pay for my own coffee”. Or maybe you are the type of person that always says “Oh I didn’t need you to buy me this”, “Oh you shouldn’t have come with flowers”.
Why? Why does receiving make you feel so uncomfortable and you are not even conscious of it?
Now put yourself in the other role. Do you like making people you love feel special and buying them gifts? Does it make you feel good and does it open your heart? Just witness next time you don’t fully accept a gift. Be aware and change your language. Rewind and just say “thank you, I really appreciate it”.
Saying NO to small things like these is saying NO to abundance. Not allowing yourself to receive in one area of your life is, as I mentioned in takeaway #1 applied in all areas. Not allowing love to come in, not allowing yourself to get this well-deserved promotion, etc. Truth is, people love to give and by saying no to receiving, you are robbing them from the true joy of giving.
7) If you don’t ask, you won’t receive
This one is linked to the previous takeaway except it’s active and not passive.
“Ask and you shall receive”. Do you remember that story of the man who was praying to God/The Universe all his life asking to win the lottery without anything ever happening. And when he passed away he asked God: “Why didn’t you make me win the lottery? I prayed for it every single day!” And God to reply: “Yes you did, but you never bought a ticket son!”. Isn’t it ironic?!
People do not have the capacity to read our minds (well some of us actually do). It is our responsibility to step up and be ready to ask for what we want in life, to verbalise what our needs are. This is meeting the Universe or someone else you would like to receive something from halfway.
Imagine you would like to join an online programme but you don’t have the financial capacities right now. What will you do? Will you just abandon this idea and forget about it just because of the financial aspect? Or will you try to contact the programme curator to know if payment plans are available, if they have early bird discount or even if there is a possibility to give you a special deal. Do you try to generate that money by stretching yourself (not financially) but being creative and giving your all to reach your goal?
There are millions of ways to receive when we simply ASK. Most of us have a huge difficulty asking because we are programmed to accept and not question or negotiate, when actually on the other side, people are happy to accommodate us, or perform acts of kindness.
How could we know if we never go beyond the fence of fear? Try it out. Go and ask for what you need right now and see the results.
8) Put YOURSELF FIRST
Are you the one who always leaves the last piece of pie to the other person despite the fact that you are craving for it and still hungry? Are you the one never wanting to “bother” so never asking for anything and just accepting what is given to you, feeling already lucky to receive anything. You are probably then also always the one who puts other people’s needs before your own because you don’t respect, love, or value yourself enough. “What will they think of my if I do something for myself?” “If I say no to them to say yes to myself?”
They will get over it. You cannot be of service to others if you are not of service to yourself first.
Welcome to self-love 101 my dear friend. You cannot give from an empty cup. You are meant to fill up your cup first and always give from the overflow. Yes yes. Don’t sacrifice yourself for the good of all. No one will remember you for that. Instead, try to inspire others to do the same and see how much high-vibes are generated in the process. Not feeling drained but energised, more present, more aligned, more giving when doing so. Pure blessing.
9) The more something threatens your identity, the more you avoid it
That little voice inside your head which tells you that this is good for you, this isn’t based on subconscious programming. Your socio-economical background for example.
How many times I have heard thing like “Rich get richer, poor get poorer”, “money doesn’t grow on trees” or “making too much money is bad”, “I can’t afford it”, “I will never be able to buy myself this or that”…. Sure if this is your money blueprint, you are never ever going to be wealthy unless you decide to take action and be willing to create yourself a new blueprint that lifts up your abundance ceiling.
It’s not about being wealthy. It’s about expanding, it’s about creating new possibilities for yourself, possibilities that make you take your own path and not the path of your parents or ancestors, or group of friends, colleagues, neighbours.
It is saying YES to yourself and NO to the deep conditioning that is the fence stopping you from reaching your full potential and greatness. It is not fearing the gap between your past and your future.
This example can be applied to dating: “She is way out of my league”, “He is too good looking for me”, “We are not from the same world”… And you probably know a person in your life who always manages to date people who are “out of their league”.
Separation is the enemy of growth. Shift your perspective and try to see what are your edges in all areas of your life. The things that make your ego become powerless because you choose to go exactly where you are not meant to go and to do exactly what you are not meant to be doing.
Third finger dear E.G.O. You are welcome to be a passenger in my car and encouraged to shut the fuck up. And no, you will not hold onto the steering wheel of my life.
10) Who you say you are, consciously and unconsciously, you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to prove
Beautiful, lovely, useful, life-saving masks. We all have them. We all have these interchangeable identities that we use in our lives all the time. The kind person to be a good child to our parents. The smart one at work to make sure we are valued. The party starter with our friends to make everyone feel like they can’t have fun without us. The outsider to not face the risk of being judged and rejected. The drama queen always ready to put on a theatre show for anything happening in his or her life. Or even the attention-seeking martyr, always with a health issue or with something going wrong in their life because of fate or bad luck.
The thing is with these masks, they can seem to be useful in some situations but they are blocking you from taping into your essence. They are stopping you from allowing your truth to shine. And they are keeping you in a safe container to avoid any form of growth.
Wearing a mask may seem comfortable but is it really serving you? Are you using those masks or are these masks using you? What is the opposite of the identity you are using? What if you were to use this new identity for a day and see how you feel?
My masks are the spiritual one, the practical/responsible and the good girl. But I can totally be the outsider, the rebel, the martyr or the drama queen depending on the situation in my life. Play with these identities but do not let them own you and you forgetting who you are. Disattachment is the key here.
11) Leadership is unreasonable
You make a way out of no way and the result is your life in reference to #2. Do you want to play small or all in? Do you think that the greatest leaders in this world are putting their responsibilities on hold when they feel like not showing up? Are you fighting for possibilities or limitations?
Being a leader is taking full responsibility for your dreams, for your thoughts, for your actions. Being a leader is being dropped in. Being a leader is being the embodiment of openness, awareness, focus, connection, authenticity, alignment and vision. Being a leader means being totally unreasonable to stretch yourself so much that you accomplish miracles.
Shoot for the starts and land on the moon (yes I changed that saying because the stars are technically further away than the moon. Perfectionist me.). Imagine the craziest biggest thing that you could manifest. You got it? Well, expand that to ten times more magical than what is was in your mind the first time. This is your goal leader.
12) Your EDGE is your KEY
Think of one area of your life that brings you the most discomfort. Know that that is where you are ripe for growth. Truth. Resistance is greater right before the seed is about to crack the container.
What is your edge? It’s that unbearable point where you get triggered. By someone, by a situation, by your fears. This is the exact thing that you need to work on right now and that will lead to a real expansion of yourself and of your soul.
I felt triggered and on edge for many reasons during the total of 5 days intensive workshop. Triggered by the loud voices and people taking so much space, people speaking to say things that I didn’t find relevant. People being violent and self-centred. But also irritated by people playing the shy card and paralysed to the point of standing up without speaking. All of these were actual reflections of what I hold within me that I do not want to look at and acknowledge. Either because I do it too or because I have the same potential but do not exploit it to make it a reality.
What are you irritated by? What do you feel really makes you lose your sh**? Dig there because this is exactly where the breakdown can lead you to your breakthrough.
I remember every time Preston was talking about drugs during the whole weekend and making fun out of it, explaining that you don’t need mushrooms or LSD when you have breathwork made me want to seriously punch him in the face. I was visualising myself slapping him (sorry Preston). When we finally got to the breathwork exercise I started to have an anxiety attack (or movement as Alexi & P call it, because it’s only movement until you name it fyi).
My biggest fear is to not be in control of my body after having experienced a few bad trips due to drugs when I was younger and an out of body experience during a regression a couple of years ago that traumatised me so much that I had stopped meditating and was avoiding any related type of experience. I was so scared to not be able to bring myself back and to be in between two worlds. For those of you who know the effects of breathwork, well, it is powerful.
I realised at that moment that I didn’t trust anyone in that room, and that in reality I didn’t trust myself and my own power. This was my breakthrough. I reconnected with my power and overcame my biggest fear. And after that, I went to the Brisbane Ferris wheel high on dopamine with my buddy Ben to challenge myself even further and overcome my fear of heights.
I am not yet cured of the second but having managed to face the first one always stays in my mind for when I need to face my fears again. I did breathwork and came back by myself, I am powerful. And so are you. Amen.
If you wish to know more about The Bridge and Extreme, this is the way: https://www.bridgeexperience.com/
More about Alexi: https://alexipanos.com/
More about Preston: https://prestonsmiles.com/
If this article moved you, shook you or intrigued you or if you wish to send me some love: firstname.lastname@example.org