About Will Aylward

Will helps people around the world to feel more confident, calm, and fulfilled, without them having to fake it. He is the author of Becoming Unstuck: Your Step by Step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Life. Learn more at willaylward.com

There’s More to Life Than Being Busy: Why I Took a Pressure-Free Pause

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another—and ourselves.” ~Jack Kornfield It was a Monday a few weeks ago, 6:00am, and I was taking a morning walk. The only light in sight was the neon yellow glare of the street lamps. My heart was heavy. It was as if someone had cut my chest open while I was asleep and slipped a cannonball inside. My alarm had awoken me at 5:00am, as it had every morning since the start of the year. My shoes crunch-crunched in the snow as I trudged along, ignoring this dull ache in my chest, telling myself “It’s just resistance to being up so early. Keep pushing through; gotta get those 12,000 steps today, Will.” I got to the end of the road, a mere eighty or so meters from my house, and WHOOSH, a wild wave of emotions washed over me, forcing me—jolting me—to stop walking and stand still and silent in the snow. I stood and stood as if I’d fallen asleep upright and frozen to death. This whooshing wave felt like a panic attack. Except it wasn’t. It was this feeling coming from my chest, the one I had tried to ignore. If its first attempt to get my attention was a whisper, this was a shout. And it was shouting in desperation ”LISTEN TO ME, WILL’.’ Without consciously making the decision, I turned and walked home. I’d barely walked for two minutes, not quite the forty-five-minute morning walk I had planned, but something inside of me, I can’t explain what, told me this was long enough for today. Arriving home, I sat down at my desk to give this feeling some attention. My eyes closed. I did my best to give a name to what I was feeling… Was it sadness? Nope. Dissatisfaction? Closer, but not quite. Pressure? Yes, pressure! I was feeling pressured! The next logical question for me was, why? Why was I feeling pressured? The answer was right under my nose, and no, that’s not a metaphor; the answer was literally right under my nose, sitting there on my desk staring up at me. You see, lying there in the center of my desk, scribbled on a piece of paper, was my list of jobs for the day, and it was a long, long list. I’d listed all the action steps I felt I needed to take, I felt I should take, I felt I must take on this day. An intimidating list detailing emails to be sent, words to be written, opportunities to be created. More. More. More. This list was going to keep me occupied almost every waking minute of the day, having me run around like a headless chicken, stuck in doing mode. Sure, there were self-care rituals—meditation, Qi Gong, walks dotted throughout the day—but even these seemed like chores within my strict schedule, just something else to tick off. Supporting [...]

2019-10-01T17:48:31-07:00 By |

How Changing My Words Changed My Life for the Better

“Our words create our world.” ~Rich Litvin I remember when I was about seven years old, shouting spitefully at my mum, ‘’I wish you were dead, I hate you!” Her jaw dropped in disbelief, and I knew my words had hurt her, which made my young heart heavy. I remember being fourteen years old asking my first crush, “H-h-hey, do you fancy going to the cinema with me this weekend? To my surprise, she said yes, which taught me there’s never any harm in asking for what you want. Later this year, I’ll be standing proudly next to my beautiful almost-wife saying the words, “I do.” With those two simple little words, I’ll convey my love and commitment to her. Words are powerful. They have the potential to hurt and destroy and to enhance and create. Since embracing this truth a few years ago, I’ve become more mindful of the words I use. That is, the words I speak and the words I think. Here are four ways I’ve changed my words and as a result changed my life.   1. Swapping “I’ll try” for “I can, and I will.” Back when I felt stuck in life, I was always trying. Trying to lose weight. Trying to get out of debt. Trying to get my life back together. It struck me that, in all the areas of my life I was trying to change, I wasn’t having much success. I then looked at an area of my life I felt fulfilled in: my social life. Partying all weekend every weekend was the perfect escapism I needed. Drinking and partying masked my anxiety, making me forget about my money woes temporarily, and gave me the self-confidence I lacked when sober. Interestingly, when friends asked me if I would be out at the weekend, I never replied, “I’ll try and make it.” No! It was always, “I’ll be there! See you in the club, the first round is on me!” Upon recognizing this pattern, I made a new rule for myself: to swap “I’ll try” with “I can or “I will.” To no surprise, I started seeing improvements in my life. By saying “I can, and I will,” I somehow felt stronger and in control of my destiny. My confidence grew too. I used to say to my gym buddy, “I’ll try to get to the gym on Thursday,” only to cancel last minute (having never really intended to go), and then beat myself up for it. Thinking in terms of “I can/I will” gently forced me to be more decisive. I would then say “I will see you there” or “I will let you know by Tuesday.” If Tuesday came around and another commitment was more of a priority, I could communicate this clearly and without feeling bad for cancelling last minute. Switching from “try” to “can/will” caused me to ask, “What do I want to be committed to?” The word “try” does still have a [...]

2019-08-23T16:03:28-07:00 By |