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Spinning My Wheels: Breaking out of the 'two steps forward, one step back' loop

April 11, 2024

Have you ever felt like your dreams are bigger than your means? That has been my life, honestly. I’ve always wanted to excel where people told me I would fail. I wanted to pursue passions that were difficult in the extreme, or careers where success was improbable. After all, what is life if we can’t manifest our best hopes and dreams, right?

I just had one problem – a constant loop of “two steps forward and one step back.”  My dreams were always bigger than what seemed possible, but despite hard work, I felt held back.

When I was in my twenties, I had all the time and energy in the world (and more than a touch of stubbornness and determination). I’d just keep working harder whenever I faced a blockage. I’d try to find new solutions. But as I got into my late thirties, this pattern was beginning to get depressing. Two steps forward, one step back. Constantly. I’d be on the brink of a breakthrough, and then there would be a storm of some sort, and I’d find myself back at square one. 

It happened with family. It happened with relationships. It happened with business. – all of which hit me like a punch to the gut. Big success followed by big heartache, let-downs and the big inevitable questions: “What’s wrong with me? Am I just doomed? Why am I constantly being revisited by drama and trauma? Is there any point to trying?” 

It was like being on a rubber band, making some progress, only to snap back. There had to be a way through it, right? 

I’m a problem solver by nature. Show me a mountain, and I’ll want to move it. But this constant loop caused me to realise I needed to go inward. I needed to go on a journey of self-discovery and healing, trying every method, from meditation to therapy, to figure out how to break out of the loop. But the more I dug into the past, the more problems surfaced.

"If someone's prettier, that's God's creation; if they excel more, that's my creation." Maissoun, my mother

With this quote ringing in my ears, I began to take on the journey of healing. It became my mantra, steering me through life's challenges as I aimed for ambitious goals. I went to courses, retreats, and silent meditation weeks, watched endless documentaries, and listened to books. You name it, I tried it. Therapy, meditation, introspection, long periods of silence. You should see the list of books I went through and the TED talks I watched. I was hungry for the answer. No amount of energy or expense was too much.

Why, then, did I feel like each new modality left me with a bigger revelation of how messed up things were or how much needed fixing?

No matter how hard I worked or what I tried, it felt like something was still holding me back. It was not a glass ceiling. If it were, I would have broken through it. It felt more like I was tied by a rubber band that would only allow me to run so far - a temporary feeling of growth - before snapping me back to where I started.

Einstein once said, “You can’t solve a problem using the same logic that created it.” So, I began to ask an important question…

What’s wrong with the self-help industry? 

I realized a flaw in the self-help industry - it completely focuses on either future success or past healing. But life isn't that simple; it's a mix of challenges and growth. It's not “either/or”. We have moments of great pain mixed in with moments of great joy, and we don’t just neatly move from one thing to another; the emotions, habits and learned responses cling to us and we rarely take the time to scrutinize these and ask what helps and what hinders.

Don’t get me wrong – I learned so much on my healing journey. But there was something missing. A new approach was needed – one that could allow a move forward as we healed. A sort of pregnant pause before launching into the fresh new chapter of life. 

This realization led to the creation of The Slingshot Method, a practical approach that combines healing the past with mastering the mindset.

Slingshot isn't a one-time fix but an ongoing process of stepping back to heal the past and propelling forward to master the mindset. It's about finding a balance, like the ebb and flow of life. It moves us out of the constant, frustrating loop and into a more positive space: one where we can intentionally pause, embrace the metaphorical rubber band and use it to propel ourselves forward. 

I think of it as a sort of alchemy, where I learned to take stock of every obstacle and trauma that had presented itself and ask, “How did my response aid me in that moment? How can I learn from this? How can I turn this into mastery?” This way, I was not despising my past, but looking at it with new eyes, letting it’s hold over me loosen and then allowing myself to ascend new heights of personal and professional mastery. 

Becoming a Life Alchemist

Dr John Demartini is famous for saying, "I am the master of my destiny, not a victim of my history." This became my motto and the logic behind developing The Slingshot Method. Developing this process allowed me and the people I coached to shift internal struggles, reduce procrastination, and even appreciate past challenges.

Imagine that: no longer despising and running from the past, but saying, “You know what, I know what I learned in that moment. I have gratitude.” It’s empowering. Freeing. 

Don’t get me wrong. Life had its setbacks, especially during the pandemic!  I remember not being able to get back to my father’s deathbed because the Covid pandemic had shut the borders. He lay in an ICU in Dubai while I was in Australia, as the very illness that took his life stopped me from getting there in time to say goodbye. 

Grief came for me in all the ways it does when you lose someone with whom you shared a complicated but profound bond. And it did so while Covid seemed to be crippling the world in so many ways. But revisiting the Slingshot method doubled my business, secured virtual speaking engagements, and improved my health. 

I’m not telling you this to brag. I’m telling you this to show I’ve walked the talk. This guide isn't just about personal success; it's about sharing a simple, effective approach for anyone feeling like an underdog.

The Slingshot method is a tool for instant results, helping release the past and master the mindset. My goal is to cut through the noise of self-help and offer a practical guide for those seeking transformation.

If you are seeking personal transformation, mindset mastery – or both – then you are in the right place. Join me on this journey. Slingshot your way into the future. Become a master of your destiny not a victim of your history! I’m here to guide you and cheer you on all the way!

Moustafa Hamwi

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Moustafa Hamwi - Keynote Speaker, Coach, Author