They say when you hit rock bottom, the only way is up. And Alexandria Maria is living proof of not only this, but that you can turn breakdowns into breakthroughs.
On the surface, Alexandria seemed to have it all, with a high-flying career as a finance broker. Yet underneath, she was struggling. So much so, she needed to be signed-off work.
Yet little did she know her silver lining was just around the corner, and during this mental health break, Alexandria realised how unhappy she was with the life she had created.
Rather than go back to her job and force herself to paint on a smile, she ripped up the rule book and decided to create her own path as a business mentor and mindset coach.
Using her personal experience as a breakdown survivor and knowledge from the corporate world, Alexandria is now on a mission to reignite the spark within thousands of women to reconnect them with their true desires and make their dream life and career their reality.
Speaking about her rollercoaster journey, Alexandria revealed why she made her leap of faith and kickstarted The SoulFul Start-up to help others.
Alexandria said: “The moment of breakdown can feel overwhelming, like all is lost. The very act of rebuilding at this time can feel too much to think about. It’s a feeling I know well.
“But what if I told you that these personal setbacks could be the very fuel that fires you towards a truer version of success, a version of success that works uniquely for you.”
She continued: “Having explored the theme of breakdowns, I’ve concluded that a breakdown is often the result of continuous misalignment.
“Like a pressure cooker, this misalignment grows and builds until we cannot hold it in anymore. We often describe this moment as ‘falling apart’.”
Yet it is this very sensation of ‘falling apart’ that is necessary when using setback as ammunition for success as Alexandria says we need to unravel in order to rebuild from the ground up.
But when you’re spinning a zillion plates, how do you know which ones to drop?
Here, Alexandria explains her five top tips to help you regain your power.
1) Redefine failure
Often, we see failure as black and white; we either achieved the goal, or we didn’t. We leave little room for the shades of grey that more accurately represents ‘achieving’ what we set out to achieve. When we can redefine failure as an opportunity for growth and for learning, we can shift the perception of a setback into a chance to come back stronger.
This springs to mind the hero’s journey, with the hero going off to experience something new (an adventure), experiencing challenges which leads to a lesson being learned, which in turn creates a fresh awareness that ultimately leads to transformation on their ‘return’.
How could you redefine the setback you have experienced as an opportunity for growth? Is there a key lesson you have learned you can apply next time? This is something I teach my business mentoring clients to do, as it applies to business specific setbacks too.
2) Use it as an opportunity for rediscovery / uncover the gifts
When we first experience disappointment at experiencing a setback, the last thing we want to do is look for the gifts in the experience. Often, we need to experience and process our own emotions around what has happened before we can do this.
But once we can uncover the gifts, we can turn a setback into a realignment. For example, our experience of a setback may reveal to us that we need to implement firmer boundaries, or perhaps it may reveal to us that the path we are on is no longer in alignment with our desires.
When I experienced my breakdown, I realised the corporate career I had been working so hard for and aiming towards was out of alignment with my desires to feel a sense of freedom, purpose, and creativity. Essentially, it revealed to me that I wanted to work for myself.
3) Redefine success
Experiencing a personal setback can be an incredible opportunity to redefine the very idea of success in itself. As I moved from corporate to establishing my own business, my notions of success shifted, to be less about a ‘title’, a promotion, outward accolade, or monetary compensation to be more about fulfilment, happiness, opportunity, and freedom.
In uncovering this, I discovered that many of my perceived ‘setbacks’ had been in relation to outcomes I didn’t truly desire, but that I felt were approved by society’s standards.
How do you define your success currently? Does this match up with your values? By identifying any discord and redefining success, you can shift focus onto your true desires.
4) Identify your part in the outcome
Taking radical responsibility can be scary, but also deeply fulfilling. Instead of falling ‘victim’ to external circumstances, we can be empowered to shift the results we create.
By identifying your part in the creation of the setback itself, you can identify where you hold the power to create new outcomes, becoming primed for greater success.
5) Channel your energy into transformation
Just as the phoenix rises from the ashes, you can use the discomfort you experience around your setback and channel this into your next level of success. I experienced this within my business fairly recently. When planning our next move abroad, we realised that in order for it to happen, we would need to come up with a large amount of cash in the business and fairly quickly.
My business was little over a year old and I was proud of the six-figure revenue we had created, but the notion of generating $100k (£73k) in 30 days felt like a huge set back, a challenge I surely couldn’t match. I felt frustrated, disappointed and angry, but instead of letting these emotions wear me down, I channelled them into fuel to spur me on to new growth, to explore new limits.
Within 30 days I had achieved the target, in fact, we exceeded it. How can you channel your energy into transformation? Into new levels of success?
To take that 180° you’ve been dreaming of, click here: Alexandria Maria.