Today, I’m delighted to share my interview with Alex Blackwell, author of Saying Yes to Change: 10 Timeless Life Lessons for Creating Positive Change. I admire Alex as a person who is fully committed to authenticity and integrity.
Would you like to change, but don’t know how? Or maybe you have felt frustrated by roadblocks you’ve met on the way.
In Saying Yes to Change, Alex shows us how to successfully face our self-defeating patterns and personal demons and replace them with love, joy, confidence, and faith. It’s a simple yet complete road map.
However, Saying Yes to Change does not offer superficial “quick-fix” methods. Alex has tasted the ups and downs on the road of transformation. So you can count on him for a seasoned and mature perspective.
At the same time you will feel encouraged. As I read along, I had a vivid sense that Alex was right there with me, offering a loving hand, understanding heart, sound advice, and a manageable, systematic approach. His sage advice can help you transform life-long emotional habits and even heal your deepest wounds.
Healing Our Deepest Pain
Change did not come easily for Alex. He lived in a state of deep pain for the lion’s share of his life. Low self esteem, shame, feelings of unworthiness, unhappiness, and anger all bubbled briskly beneath his exterior efforts to succeed in life. The kind of stuff most people want to hide, push aside, or forget until its almost too late.
Over focused on himself and fixated on getting ahead, Alex ultimately met his own version of personal disaster. It took hitting bottom to wake-up. With nowhere to turn, Alex was forced to take an honest look at himself and begin to slowly Say Yes to Change.
Now, committed to helping others, Alex has funneled all his hard-earned wisdom and practical insight into this essential guide for embracing change and becoming the person you are truly meant to be. There is a sense of clarity, optimism, encouragement, hope, and empowerment that exudes from the pages of this book. I hope you will taste these qualities in my interview with Alex.
Interview: Alex Blackwell on Saying Yes to Change
Sandra: Alex, one of the underlying messages of your book is that, “You cannot change or heal what you do not acknowledge.” At the same time, you note that many of us live predominantly on automatic, driven by unconscious messages and patterns implanted very early in our life. We may not even be aware of the force behind our actions or even fully recognize our suffering.
Do we have to wait until disaster strikes to wake up and change? What suggestions do you have for an “early warning system”, for recognizing the turbulence that lies below the surface of our mind before it blows up in our face?
Alex: Powerful question Sandra, thank you for asking it.
I don’t believe we need to wait for disaster to strike. There’s a better choice – paying attention to our inner voice, our inner wisdom along the way. When we feel the nudge to become aware of our actions or surroundings, we need to listen.
For example, when our “gut” tells us we need to spend more time with our loves ones, find a new job or leave a relationship, it’s usually right. By ignoring what we know to be true, the situation can cascade out of control until facing a disaster is inevitable. But by responding to the messages our inner voice is sending, and then responding appropriately, we can take better advantage of our “early warning system.”
Sandra: In the chapter Live Beyond Your Skin, you advise us to, “Allow love to happen naturally. If it goes away, don’t grasp it so tightly as to damage its spirit.” I’m personally exploring the idea of “healthy” attachment. I would love to hear your thoughts on healthy attachment. What does it look like? How can we love fully but in a “non-sticky” way?
Alex: Sandra, I only have my 27-year marriage on which to base my answer, so here goes…
Mary Beth and I encourage each other to live a full, rich live outside of our marriage. I have my writing and blog and she has her therapeutic counseling practice. We kiss goodbye early in the morning and on some days we don’t reunite until 9 or 9:30 last night. But when we do, we listen attentively to one other and then enjoy the moments we have left in the day.
Simply put, we have personal goals while at the same time having goals for our marriage. We are two people who have made the conscious choice to share a life that isn’t necessarily dependent on what we do as individuals.
Sandra: The level of vulnerability you express throughout your book seems challenging for most of us, but especially uncommon for men. Do you have a special message you would like to share for men in particular as to how accessing one’s vulnerability can enhance and empower their lives? How can they counter the conditioning they’ve received to avoid showing vulnerability?
Alex: It’s about being real.
To your point, most men (and I resist stereotypes, so apologies in advance) believe the best approach is not to show emotions; real strength is to remain stoic, some men believe.
But I would suggest there’s a cost for keeping our feelings inside. It keeps others from seeing who we really are and what we need. By being vulnerable we are being real; and when we are authentic, others are more likely to draw closer to us. Our relationships improve and a sense of happiness grows.
The first step is to unclench the firm grasp you have on your heart by lifting up one finger. Allow someone to touch your heart. If that feels comfortable and safe, then remove another finger and so on until your heart is being shared freely.
In your interview with Zeenat Syal, you said that writing this book was far easier for you than promoting it. Do you have any tips for us in how to engage in marketing and promotion in an authentic and heart-centered way as opposed to a hardcore approach with the usual hype and pressure?
Alex: For me it’s about staying within myself and not doing something that isn’t aligned with my core values, or brand.
For example, I’ve been approached by a Joint Venture company that told me they would send an email about my book to thousands of email recipients if I sent emails to my subscriber list on products they promote. I couldn’t do this because I’ve never used, or intended to use, any of these products.
So, I will keep spreading my book’s message organically and by kind, supportive bloggers like you Sandra!
Sandra: You describe your blog, The Bridgemaker, as “an honestly written lifestyle blog dedicated to relying on faith, sharing the amazing power of love, and walking the simple paths to positive change.” As a successful blogger and mentor for bloggers and writers, can you share a few of your most important secrets for growing a popular blog with integrity?
Alex: Sandra, these three tips come to mind:
- Write about what you know, and then write with passion.
- Do something every day that will grow your blog: write a post, share content on social media, leave a comment on another blog, submit a guest post, etc.
- Never give up. Blogging is a journey. Be sure to connect with like-minded people who want to share the journey with you and them motivate and encourage each other to keep going!
Sandra: Where can people find your book?
Alex: You can buy Saying Yes to Change: 10 Timeless Life Lessons for Creating Positive Change through Amazon. You have three options:
- Download the Amazon Kindle Edition right now. Did you know you don’t need a Kindle to read the Kindle version? You can use your computer, iPad, iPhone or other mobile device – just select your preferred delivery method in the right-hand sidebar on the Amazon page.
- Order the paperback edition.
- Grab the Nook Book on Barnes&Noble.com.
Sandra: Thank you, Alex. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book. Most importantly, I was impressed with the clear, accessible, and step-by-step presentation. Saying Yes to Change is a book I can recommend without hesitation.
Win a Free Copy of Saying Yes to Change: 10 Timeless Life Lessons for Creating Positive Change
Alex has generously offered a complimentary copy of his book “Saying Yes to Change!” to be given away to one of the readers here at Always Well Within. To participate, leave a comment telling us about how you have said yes to change no later than Saturday, May 5th.
Are you reading by email? Just click here so you can leave a comment, and take part in this wonderful giveaway!
[Note: If you have trouble commenting due to the new WordPress.com commenting policy here’s the secret: use a fake email along with your real name and blog url. Then you will receive a link back to your blog from your name. Thanks for your patience.]
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