Rachelle Hawes – Founder of The Positive Mindset Challenge

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Rachelle Hawes

YOU CAN LISTEN TO OUR CHAT WITH RACHELLE HAWES BY CLICKING HERE.

Good Change

We just love meeting other people, making positive changes out there and doing really good things and we just love to be inspired at Good Change. Rachelle Hawes is a perfect example of that. Rachelle faced significantly tough times in her life and it was during one particularly challenging period that she realized her mindset needed a really sharp shift to the positive. She just threw herself into a huge amount of research in study into all the different areas of personal development and all aspects of mental well being. Rachelle is a creator and she has created an amazing online program called the Positive Mindset Challenge. We are very excited to have Rachelle share with us her knowledge of the Reticular Activating System (or RAS).

Rachelle, firstly, tell us a little bit about your background. We're just really inspired to hear what your background is and how you got to where you are today. 

Rachelle Hawes

Oh absolutely. So, I grew up in the Waikato. When I left school I went to Hamilton and studied Travel, Business and Management and started off working in the travel industry. My husband and I, we got married and headed over to London to live, working in Finance and IT and traveling a whole lot. 

So, life was pretty amazing, pretty great and everything was sort of working for us. Everything was on our side and we came home and then it was time to have kids.  We had three kids within 18 months. 

It’s fair to say that life took quite a dramatic shift from the previous years, and I didn't realize it at the time, but I got myself into a negative mindset pattern of ‘I don't have enough hours in the day to get everything done’. As it turns out that it played out in my life exactly as I was thinking it would, and it became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everywhere I looked around, all I could see was things to do. The pile of washing, the dishes, you know, the mess and it became quite stressful and not such a great time. 

I mean, I look back now and the videos we've got, the kids are awesome, so I definitely must have enjoyed it in there somewhere but at one point my husband turned to me and he said “well, it's really nice to see you smile” and I thought “what? What do you mean? Aren’t I smiling all the time?” and he said “you haven't smiled in quite a long time” And I was like “oh wow”. It was quite a pivotal moment for me. 

We’d had all these amazing years and I had lost the joy of the moment or the happiness, and so that started me on a huge mindset learning curve really. I thought this is not how life is supposed to be. This is not how I've been living my life. I don't want to live my life like this.  And I just threw myself into a massive amount of study and exploration into the mind and how the mind works and how things play out in our lives and that's really got to me to where I am today. 

Good Change

It's so funny, I just think it's something that so many of us can relate to. Stine and I have both got three little kids and we've all been through the whole journey of bringing up children. 

And gosh, yeah, I just always looked at you, Rachelle and you seem like such a happy, upbeat positive person. So, to think that you've been through the same journey that we've all been. 

The human mind is such an incredible thing and the way our brain sifts and sorts through so many pieces of information. I think when I was researching this topic, I read it's something like 2 trillion pieces of information are thrown into our brain every day and to have to try and sift and sort through all of that and get to the core of what you know and what's going to send you down a positive path is such an incredible thing? Can you tell us a little bit about how you climbed out of the place you were in by doing this?

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely. So, our brains are absolutely phenomenal and we only use, as we know, just such a tiny portion of them. But we've got some pretty incredible functions in our brains. So, every day we go through in our day and we process so many different pieces of information.  As you were saying, several trillion pieces of information are around us, and if we were to take all these bits and pieces of information we would be overwhelmed. So, that's where our Reticular Activating System comes in. It's a bunch of nerves in our brain stem and what it does is it filters out most of what you see around you and only lets the important information get through, which is quite phenomenal. But how it decides what information to get through is based on your thoughts and your beliefs, which is incredible. 

So, when you actually realize that it's your thoughts and your beliefs that have a massive impact on what is happening in your life, it suddenly frees you a little bit from thinking things just happen to you and this is my life and this is my lot and this is all I can do and this is what I've been born with or this is what's around me and this is all that I can do. It frees you from all those limiting believes and allows you to think beyond that and think actually it is within my power to change things in my life. So, you Reticular Activating System filters out most of what you see and just shows you the things that relate to your thoughts and your beliefs. And that's so important to know. So, if you are going through your day thinking I'm too busy like I was or there's not enough hours in the day or times are hard right now or I can't do this or I'm no good at speeches or I'm no good at this or we don't have a lot of money or any of these negative thoughts like I can't start my day without my morning coffee. Any of these beliefs and thoughts that go through your mind, when you look around you'll see the things that relate to those thoughts. OK, so you won't necessarily see the good things that are going on around you, you'll just see the things that reaffirm what you're thinking. And when you see those things, you’ll think I thought that and now I can see it so it must be true and it starts to become a belief and it will start to play out in your life as a self-fulfilling prophecy. It will start to come true in your life, so it's the whole process,  a whole cycle. So, if you can deliberately change what you're thinking (and this is not something you can do super easily necessarily) but if you think about it and try and practice as much as you can, you can do it. So, change what you're thinking and turn everything into the positive instead of the negative. 

So instead of thinking of things in a negative terminology, you turn them around and think of the opposite positive thought instead, thinking about what you do want. 

So sure, times might be hard right now, but you could rephrase it to say I'm looking forward to better times ahead. This too will pass, there's exciting things ahead, exciting things are going to happen. 

I've got plenty of time in my day. And a little bit of it is ‘faking it till you're making it’ for sure. 

Because you might say I've got plenty of time in my day and you think, oh heck, no, I don't. 

But, the more that you say these things and concentrate on them and repeat them, the more it will play out in your life, and you'll start to free yourself from the burdens that were holding you down and you'll start to shift things in your life to move forward into more and more positive things. 

You'll see more positive things around you. You’ll start to expect more positive things and they'll start to play out in that better away. It's quite phenomenal. 

Good Change

It almost sounds like sounds like magic. So what would you say, Rachelle, would you say to someone could you maybe write down your perfect day? And, then say this is what my perfect day looks like and then just read that over and over?

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely. And there's a lot of power in writing down what you want because it's all very well having those thoughts going around and around in your head. But when you actually like you say, focus those thoughts and write them down and think about how you want your day to go, all of a sudden, you're making it really, really clear to yourself about how you want things to go and that straight away has several activating things in your body so it straightaway gets your body thinking OK, you want this?  Right, I'm going to tune in to getting this for you, and I'm going to recognize the signs. I'm going to recognize the people. I'm going to see the opportunities that will bring all those things to help them pan out that way in your day. So, absolutely start your day in the best way by being really clear with your intentions. And this goes for any part of your life. 

Good Change

So you would say every morning or evening before you go to bed you set your intent and you do that every day. 

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely

Good Change

And you do that everyday?

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely.

Good Change

Amazing.

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely. You can also set your intent by talking to yourself in the mirror, and it's quite a confronting thing to do to start with. It's a really good thing, especially for teenage girls to do. Females  - we’re a complex species. They have a lot of self-doubts and they go through quite a time of not being so confident in themselves and you can do some really positive self-talk in the mirror saying to yourself:

“I love you”, which is a massive thing to try and say to yourself in the mirror because we all go Oh no,

but I don't like this, and I don't like that or you're too this or this.  To get past that and get through that and say some really good positive things to yourself in the mirror is super empowering and it puts your mindset in that great space. 

So, likewise with writing it down, it's really empowering, and it makes massive shifts in your life it makes huge shifts in your mind, in your demeanor and how you think and how you feel and how you act every day and then that plays out in your life in amazing ways.

Good Change

And I think it's really empowering when you think to yourself “I am the only one that is in control. 

I'm the only one that's in control of me”. You know, a lot of people rely on their husbands or whoever else out there to make them happy but if you say to yourself, I'm the only one that's in control and I set my intent and I make this positive stuff happen it's a really amazing mindset to have. I'm wondering if from a child’s perspective or teaching or educating children, how do you go about actually teaching children about the Reticular Activation System? 

Rachelle Hawes

Kids as sponges. It is such a great thing to teach your kids, from day dot, start right at the beginning because they they're just totally learning from you all the time. So, I've done this with my kids for years and years since the beginning or since I knew about this. Anytime they'd come home and say anything negative like I don't like this, I'm no good at this, I'd say OK, we don't talk about it in the negative, turn it around and talk about it as you want it.

And so I'm not talking about brushing over the negative feelings or anything like that. And obviously those feelings are real and we have a few minutes of discussing that, but then very quickly turn it into saying OK, I get that you feel like that. How do we make this better and we make this better by now turning that into positive. What do you want? OK, you think you're not very good at that subject? OK, so I'm getting better at that subject. How can you get better at that subject? What can you do to get better at that subject? Let's focus on that. So, it's teaching them from a young age just as quickly as possible. 

Flip the negative around into the positive.  And kids get really good at this and they hold you accountable for it too.  I still have days where something negative will happen or we get down about something or upset about something. 

And my boys will remind ME now which is really cool. They'll say “Mum, no it's not helping”. 

It’s like the learner teaching the teacher.

Good Change

 And it's lovely though, because you know they'll be able to pass it on to their children and their children's children. 

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely, so your kids are sponges and it's interesting because definitely with children everyone has different walks of life, right? And your past has definitely shaped you to where you are today 100% and you can't change your past. However, your future starts right now, like today, and you can 100% change your future. Your future does not have to one iota reflect your past. That's a decision that you make, so you draw a line in the sand and say right today, no matter what's happened to me, I'm not going to hold on to those things anymore. I'm not going to cling onto the pains of the past and let that define me as a person, or let that influence my future. Enough! They've hurt me enough. Whatever reason, whatever is in the past is in the past. From today on I'm making my own future. I'm going to do it my way. I'm going to do things the way that I'd like to see my life going forward and so it's super empowering and freeing to realize that it is in your hands. It's not in the hands of your partner. It's not up to them to make you happy. It's not up to your boss to make you happy, your workmates to make you happy or your kids to make you happy. It's completely up to you to make you happy and that's completely in your control.

Good Change

It really strikes a chord hearing that. It gives you the feeling of freedom. Like you going to grow wings and fly.

This would resonate with so many people, I think. You know that power and the magic that you can actually create your perfect day if you want to, you work with so many children. Just the help you can provide. What do you see out there is the main thing that people come to you asking for help about?

Rachelle Hawes

Yes, so our world has changed so much as we all know. So, there's the obvious things that have changed like the Internet is now there, so we're totally inundated with information at our fingertips. 

Social media is now there and so everyone is constantly reminded of what they're missing out on. 

You know all the friends or people they know that are doing these amazing things and they're not doing them on that particular day. One of the things I'm really noticing is a disconnect in two different areas -within friendship groups because, especially within teenagers, because before they just had each other, now they've got a device as well that comes into the relationship and so that changes the dynamics of the relationship a little bit and makes it not quite so connecting. The conversation stops, then all of a sudden you can turn to your device for that little distraction and the other disconnect is within families because with parents working. Life so busy. There are so many things going on. You have less time with your kids then perhaps we used to and so there is a little bit of disconnect within families. 

A little bit of less time for conversations and things, so I'd really recommend taking time to stop and connect and making that a priority. 

Good Change

I think that whole round the dinner table conversation in the evening is just so important. 

That's when we have our best chats. You know, like you just get to cover off so many topics with the kids and you know with that speed of life and general a lot of families don't get to sit around the table anymore. 

Rachelle Hawes

That's right, that's right, and it's such a neat time just to talk. 

Think back over your day, you know what was the good things that happened during your day? 

What were the not so good things that happened during your day and how can we change things up so that those negative things don't happen so much? Or what could we have done better? Or what are the things that we want to celebrate today? 

You know what did you do today that was really kind? Or what did you see someone do today that was really kind? What happened in your day that was funny? You know there's so many cool things that we can just chat about around the dinner table, and I mean all kids go through these stages.  I've got teenagers now. They go through these stages where they're more flowing with conversation and less flowing with conversation and it's totally fine. You just find different ways to bring that out in them, or even just spending time with them without conversation. You're still there with them. You can still connect. 

Good Change

Yeah, amazing. It's frightening going into this whole world with children and you know the challenges that we've got navigate are just outrageous, and especially with the whole device thing going on.

Rachelle Hawes

Yeah, yeah, absolutely true. 

Good Change

And we need to set the example as well with time on phones.

Rachelle Hawes

Exactly yeah, especially in front of our kids and they pull you up about it too. 
They say mum hop off your phone now and you're like, yeah, good point. 

Good Change

Absolutely it was such a simple pure life we lived back in ‘our generation’!
I was talking to my daughter and the car this morning. I was talking about this topic actually and she's only eight, but we were talking about conscious and subconscious. You know, you've got all these things that are happening right now that are sitting in your conscious and you know they're happening, but there's all that stuff that you've just mentioned coming off the Internet and negative stuff just being thrown at you in all directions and it's sitting in your subconscious and affecting you but you don't realize it's affecting you. The build up of that negativity is just so energy draining and toxic. 

Rachelle Hawes

It is absolutely huge. It's so toxic and it's all the little pieces of information, negative information that add up to something really big. And that's why there’s five year olds suffering with anxiety now and you can see it playing out. You've got the news on at home in the background,  you don't think they're listening, but they're soaking it all in. They're taking it all in and all those little pieces definitely add up and make a huge difference. 

So, the more that you can keep that negative news or negative thoughts and energy out of your life then it’s definitely better for the kids. The subconscious mind is quite amazing.

Good Change

And I think connecting to nature as well. Getting kids out into the wild and connecting with animals and nature for me, the kids that are so receptive to that.

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely. There's something quite incredible about nature. It's almost like where we're meant to be as human beings. I mean, we are nature, and so going back to connect with nature is just so freeing. 

Good Change

And I'm just thinking that I think there will be a lot of people out there who will probably be nodding and recognizing a lot of things you're saying about being stuck in a rut or feeling overwhelmed, and a lot of people might even also be aware that they aren’t in control of their lives but don't know how to control it?  What are the best tools to use?

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely. So, the first thing is definitely to become aware of your thoughts, actually notice what you're thinking and how that is playing out in your life. So that's the first big key take away from today is now go through your day and think about yeah, what is that record playing over and over again in your head? What's it saying to you and how is that playing out in your life and think about that in your kids too.  What's going on in their minds that you hear coming out of their mouths all the time that's repeating and going over and over again. 

So, my second take away would be to literally stop complaining about and thinking about and talking about what you don't want and what you don't like. 

Literally stop.  Enough! And change it around into the positive and so I know this is not the easiest thing to do, absolutely, and so that's why I've created this challenge to teach you lots of ways to. 

do it, but just literally every time you pop into a negative thought, just think to yourself, OK, no, I'm going to turn that into the positive. How can I turn that into a positive? I'm going to think about what I want and do this with your kids also. Teach them and say right kids from now on we're going to look on the bright side. We're going to talk and think about good things and we're going to help that play out in our life and how exciting to watch that change. How you all feel, how you all think, how you all act. Because your brain’s actually designed to work at its best when it's happy and we haven't actually covered this today, but I'll quickly touch on it.  Your brain is literally designed to work in its best when it's positive. So, your memory, your creativity, your intelligence, your ability to problem solve and brainstorm and come up with awesome new ideas, all those things are significantly enhanced when you're feeling good and when you're feeling positive and significantly shut down when you're feeling negative or stressed or worried. So, you'll find just by changing your thoughts that all of a sudden you're on fire,  you can do things so much more efficiently, you come up with the best ideas, you can brainstorm great new ways of doing things, you can think and see new opportunities. Confucius says when you're positive you see opportunities instead of obstacles. 

And that's literally the way the brain works.

Our third take away today would be to reconnect. Reconnect with your partner, reconnect with your kids. Just take those extra few minutes and look them in the eye and give them your attention and slow down and just take that time to reconnect with them and also with yourself. 

Good Change

Yeah it's funny, isn't it? They say that all your children really want is your time. 

Rachelle Hawes

Absolutely, that's all they really want. I mean, you're off working hard all day to provide them with things and clothing and food and all these things. All they really want is your time and your love and your attention. 

Good Change

I find even if I'm in the kitchen with one of the kids, and I actually crouch down to talk to them, so they are more at the level (I mean they're getting taller now), just sort of at their level and they feel like I'm really connected to them, it just makes all the difference. 

Rachelle Hawes

Those simple little things make all the difference. 

Good Change

Rachelle, thank you so much for such an insightful chat.

Rachelle Hawes

Oh, it's an absolute pleasure. It's so neat being here with you two lovely ladies. So, thank you so much. 

For more information on Positive Mindset Challenge you can click here

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