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Maki Moussavi: “Purge Negativity, Transcend Fear and Take Action!”

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From the outside, they seem to have it all. Beautiful home, great marriage, super kids, wonderful career. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving, buried by unhappiness or gratification that is never realized.

Shawnee, Kansas, author, transformational coach, wife and mom Maki Moussavi is one of those who appeared to have it all, yet contentment eluded her. Her corporate career was booming, putting her on a solid, successful path. Marriage was firm; kids were great. But gradually she reached her critical mass. Something inside her soul was missing.

“I worked in a company where you had the flexibility to change roles over time, and I followed that path, landing the ideal role that I believed I always wanted. But it was the worst that I had ever felt. I thought it was a mid-life crisis,” recalled Maki. “I had done everything I had been taught to do. I couldn’t understand why I had this life that looked great on paper, but I really didn’t feel like I had a whole lot.”

The Beginning of Self-Knowledge
While others might fret and struggle or, worse, cover their disappointment with empty smiles and half-hearted conversations, Maki took this point in her life as an awakening. However, the reception from others in her life was unsupportive. “My family and friends thought I was crazy because they didn’t understand the problem,” shared Maki. “I’d woken up to the fact that this definition of what success meant wasn’t right for me, even though I had received these messages about success from our culture and my family. But I thought, maybe this is not what success looks like for me.”

As a woman, Maki knows the struggles. “Supermoms” are supposed to be the ideal females strive to become. But in their attempts to do it all, they’ve left behind their own priorities and self-worth. Maki says people are “programmed” much in the same way a computer is programmed. Culture feeds in a perception of the life we should lead, and we believe what we’re taught. The stereotype is deeply ingrained through verbal or emotional reinforcement over and over again.

“My experience has been that most women are stuck, and most of them don’t recognize that’s the issue. I thought something was wrong with me, that I was damaged in some way, until I started doing the work of my own journey, when I discovered I was trying to fit myself into somebody else’s box of success,” commented Maki. “How many women are running themselves ragged doing what they think is the right thing? They’re following a plan with this checklist, and if I don’t have the boxes checked, I might not be worthy.”

“What’s in your head?”
Her journey to become “unstuck” took about five years. She devoured books in the self-help genre and looked deep within herself for self-evaluation, awareness and what she wanted from life. “Many times, we consume information but never do the work that’s given. Just reading about it isn’t doing something about it,” noted Maki. “I took a journal with me and wrote down everything I was thinking. I got in touch with my mental chatter. How much of my day was filled with negative thoughts? How much of my time was tied to thoughts of where I fell short and more tied to external validation?”

After long discussions with her husband, she walked away from her lucrative corporate career and the financial security it offered. She hired a life coach as a guide and started on a new path. “Yes, my husband freaked out a little bit. He was concerned about me leaving my job and my financial stability, so he wasn’t excited about it,” she recalled. “He thought there might be another answer. I told him, ‘I love you and I understand where you’re coming from but I’m not going to stay in this situation because it makes you feel comfortable.’ If your partner is invested in your relationship they will come along for the changes when they see you’re serious.”

Armed with knowledge, experience and a new sense of self-worth, Maki created her own plan for women and men to break through their learned cycles. She composed the book, The High Achievers Guide: Transform Your Success Mindset and Begin the Quest to Fulfillment, which she claims will take your life to the next level, coaching you through four major themes and activities of “deep work.”

Clarifying your limiting beliefs and the outdated mindset that has been holding you back. “This gets you out of autopilot mode and aware of what you’re saying to yourself inside your mind,” she noted. “It’s about discovering what you’re tolerating and where you are keeping yourself limited through your own thoughts or replaying what others have said to you.”

Identifying the external or internal factors that drive you. “Identify what you’re doing and choosing and why,” Maki advised. “Are you being driven by what you want and what works for you, or checking the boxes of what others think you should be doing? Ask yourself, ‘Are my own internal beliefs driving me or is the external world driving me?’ This step helps you better process those thoughts and be aware of them.”

Making space for the new, updated mindset that will take you to the next level. “For many women, the ‘space’ in our heads is taken up by guilty feelings that we’re not good enough. We’ve placed ourselves in this box that leaves us feeling tired and put upon. In order to make space for new things to come in, you must purge the negativity from your mental and emotional perspectives to create something different,” she stated. “It’s okay to experience fear throughout this process. Even if the changes you’re making are positive, it may be scary to think old associations and relationships will fall away from you. You have to make space in your life for what you want rather than what you’re tolerating.”

Showing you how to take inspired action and commit to the vision you have created for your life. “No more reactivity, ladies, and no more waiting on ‘what’s meant to be.’ Get clear on what you want and then take the steps to make it happen,” Maki added. “When you start to worry about ‘how’ to do something, you can quickly shut yourself down. Instead, take a baby step in the right direction; take the action that’s clear to you right now. Have a clear vision of where you want to go and how you want to feel and let the ‘how’
reveal itself.”

Now, there are a lot of self-help books on the market to purchase, all with multiple new claims to find happiness or achievement. But Maki claims that The High Achievers Guide is unique due to the way it integrates the two major facets of its readers. “I see it as an intersection of personal and professional development. It’s about the Type A personality and specifically how to interrupt the achievement cycle to find fulfillment,” she explained. “Many books in the self-help genre are created by people who are creative or entrepreneurial. This is written for those who may be less naturally open to risk and want more.”

Successfully Looking Outward
Not only can Maki’s philosophy help the individual, but when the focus is brought back on the individual and improvements realized, the vision then can grow to include others who are not so privileged. “We’re fortunate in this country because for many of us basic survival isn’t our issue, but we live as if that’s all we’re doing. 

“We’re surviving rather than truly thriving. I urge you to find fulfillment in your life and help others who truly are in survival mode,” she commented. “Many women live with low personal expectations but high standards for living up to the expectations of others. We need to raise the bar. Don’t live a cookie-cutter version of what the world thinks your life should look like. When you’re miserable, you can’t see past yourself. When you’re not miserable, you can look beyond yourself and see those in need.”

Maki also notes that when women find extra time on their hands, they tend to take care of things on their to-do list rather than taking time for themselves. She advises keeping a list of five things you’d enjoy doing for yourself that aren’t about seeing to responsibilities, but rather taking some self-care time. When your time does open up, you can choose one of those items from your list.

“It’s important that you learn self-prioritization. You’re taught to take care of your family and your career rather than pouring time and energy into yourself. Your inner voice will tell you you’re selfish and you will worry what people may think instead of focusing on what you need,” Maki remarked. “If you have children, remember that they are watching you. Your children will learn from the dynamic that you’re creating and will carry it forward. Do you want your children to grow up and do what you’re doing? Set a great example for them now to use in their adult life.”