DiscoverThe Personal Excellence PodcastHow To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More
How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More

How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More

Update: 2017-03-22


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Hey everyone! Last week, I asked you to send in your questions. Over the weekend, I compiled and answered YOUR awesome questions, including questions on confidence, decision making, enlightenment, and how to be a coach.

In this episode of The Personal Excellence Podcast, I talk about

  • How to know you’re making progress when you’re not seeing results [00:47 ]

  • Using success easter eggs to track your progress [01:51 ]

  • What to do if you’re not getting any results at all [02:57 ]

  • How to make a decision and avoid disappointing someone [04:30 ]

  • How to know if you have reached enlightenment [06:57 ]

  • My feeling of disillusionment in the past year [08:36 ]

  • Your roadmap for your consciousness growth [09:56 ]

  • How to be a coach — My tips for you [11:45 ]

  • Why coaching courses are merely 0.01% of the equation to be a successful coach [13:08 ]

  • How to be confident [16:06 ]

  • The ONE thing that’s most important in life – Career? Health? [19:45 ]

  • How to be organized and the calendar system I use [22:02 ]

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How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More [Transcript]

Welcome to The Personal Excellence Podcast. The show that’s all about helping you be your best self and live your best life. Now, your host, Celestine Chua!

Celestine Chua: Hey everyone! Welcome to the Personal Excellence Podcast Episode 11. This is Celestine Chua from

A few days ago, I sent out an e-mail via the newsletter asking you guys to send me your questions so I can answer them on the podcast. For those of you who are not on the newsletter, do join — it’s at I send updates and messages that I don’t post on the blog.

So, some of you guys have sent in your questions and I’m super excited to answer them. Well, let’s get started!

How to know if you are making progress

“Greetings to you Celes. I want to ask: Sometimes I think I’m doing everything, more than I’m supposed to do to be successful. But it seems like things are not working well for me. My question is: For the goals that you are working towards, how do you know there’s progress? How do you see progress in everything that you do? Thanks.” — Anonymous

This is an excellent question. So how do you know when you are making progress on something you are working on?

I wrote a post before on the 21-day incubation period and I’m going to be sharing links to all these articles I’m talking about in the show notes, so you guys can click to read more. So I wrote this post before on the 21-day incubation period and essentially, for many of our goals, especially for large goals that take a long period to achieve, sometimes it can feel like we are putting in all this effort but we don’t see any progress or results. We wonder: Are we on the right track or are we not? Is something happening?

My recommendation is to know how to spot what I call “success easter eggs.” That would be indicators telling you, “Hey, you’re on the right track and you are doing things right. As long as you do more of this, you will reach the right place.”

What are the kinds of success easter eggs to look out for? It depends on your goal. You should set milestones and little check markers to let you know that you are moving to the right place.

Say you want to start a business. Success easter eggs could be:

  • You getting that first customer

  • You getting positive feedback from the customers, the few customers you have served, telling you how great your service or your product was and how they would definitely recommend it to other people

So when you start getting this kind of feedback, you know that you’re moving on the right track. And you want to identify the things helping you achieve these results, and to continue these actions and amplify them.

If you’re not getting any kind of results at all, like after you set certain success easter eggs and milestones and you are not achieving them after a certain period of work, it’s good to stop and troubleshoot. Understand what is going on, why there are no results at all — basically do an audit to understand what’s working, what’s not working.

So take a step back and think about:

  • What’s the situation right now? What is the goal I want to achieve?

  • Where am I right now versus this goal?

  • What have I been doing? What’s working what’s not working?

  • Maybe identify certain people who have achieved the results you want. What can you learn from them?

By reviewing and learning from your mistakes or the things that you’re not doing well or that’s not working at all, and experimenting with new things, there will be a point when you see those first signs of success. It has to be. Because let’s say that first batch of actions that you took, they are not working, they’re not bringing you to where you want to be.

Then, by elimination and by learning from your role models and success figures in the industry, it will be a matter of time before you get closer to what you want to be and achieve that.

How to avoid disappointing someone

“Hi Celes. This is Sandra from Israel. I would like to ask a question: How to deal with a situation where you want to make a choice, but you avoid choosing what you want because you don’t want to disappoint somebody else. It’s very important and I’m sure you’ll have a good answer. Thank you.” — Sandra, Israel

Hey Sandra, this is an excellent question.

So it seems there are two conflicting factors involved here. First, you want to do what you want. Obviously, all of us should always do what we want. Secondly, you wish to avoid disappointment.

It seems like you’re talking about a decision here that if you do what you want, you may disappoint someone. On the other hand, if you don’t do what you want, you will avoid the disappointment of that person, but someone’s got to be disappointed, isn’t it? And that person is going to be you.

This is where you know my stance — I’m always talking on the blog to follow your heart. Obviously we don’t want to live our lives irresponsibly and not take into consideration people’s feelings.

I don’t know the specifics of your situation but I would recommend to talk to this person involved. If you don’t want to disappoint this person, I’m pretty sure this person must be quite important to you, right?

So talk to him/her. Let him/her know what’s on your mind, this dilemma that you’re in. Because either path is not ideal. I am not going to be recommending either path. When we are in a conflicting situation where there are opposing forces, my recommendation is always to look for that better path. That path where all key needs can be met. This requires us to break out of the confines we are in, to involve other parties, and to have a discussion so that we can find that better option.

So I wish you the best Sandra and let me know how things go, okay? Talk to this person and let him/her know what’s on your mind, this dilemma that you’re in. And just share with him/her, and see what you guys can work out.

How to know if you have reached enlightenment

“Hi Celes, I’m Luis from Portugal. I wanted to ask you about something that we’ve talked about a long time ago in The Personal Excellence Forums. We were talking about meditation and you told me you had the goal to reach enlightenment in a certain timeframe. At that time I challenged you on your ability to measure that. But over the years, I found that some traditions do present ways to measure enlightenment.

So my question is this: Did you ever reach that goal? If yes, how did you know when you were there? And if not, do you have a better idea of what it will look or feel like? Thank you for your time and for the great material over the years. Bye bye.” — Luis, Portugal

Hey Luis. That’s an excellent question. To answer you right off the bat, no I’m not at a stage of enlightenment yet. I still face many struggles, many problems, issues, and things that I’m just working through. I see all of that as part of this journey of life, working through these problems.

If I could just clarify what I think I was trying to say at that point, I see enlightenment as the end goal for myself and for any human really. That our journey in life is to grow in consciousness and as with any journey, there will be milestone checkers or end destination that we have in mind. Because of that, naturally, that would lead us to a certain end point and this endpoint of consciousness would be enlightenment.

So I think that was what I was trying to say. Just to set things straight, I wasn’t trying to be crazy or funny by saying that my goal in life is to reach enlightenment and I’m all wise and monkish and all.

It’s interesting that you’re asking this question especially when one of my recent posts is on disillusionment. I was talking about how disillusioned I’ve been feeling in the past couple of years, seeing all these different things around the world, the issues. It also really made me think about how our journey in life doesn’t really end until we elevate everybody around us. Not just in our immediate vicinity but all around us in the world.

This is why I don’t think anyone can truly say that they’re enlightened until everybody on earth is enlightened, if it makes sense? Because all of us are interrelated. Just as we are inside this universe, I also think that the universe is inside us and everything in reality is a part of us.

So I feel that it is our responsibility to grow and as we grow, to lift everyone around us up.

This then brings us to your question which is: How do we know how we are progressing towards the end goal of enlightenment? And that’s an excellent question. I have an article on the map of consciousness [Update: The article is now offline; you can read more about the map in the book Power vs. Force]. It is a scale developed by David Hawkins to measure consciousness.

  • It starts from lower levels of Shame, Guilt, Apathy, Grief, and then moving up to Fear, Desire, Anger.

  • It goes to the midpoint which is Courage.

  • The other half of the scale consists of love-based levels like Willingness, Acceptance, Love, Joy, Peace, and the highest level is Enlightenment.

So this entire scale is split into two big categories. The first one consists of fear-based levels, and what David Hawkins referred to as the segment of “Force.” The other one is “Power,” which consists of love-based levels.

“Force” because in those levels, people tend to use force to solve problems. For example: Punishment, war, violence, anger, repression, forcing people to do certain things. Whereas the second segment is on “Power” and “Power” meaning rather than using implicit or physical force to get people to act a certain way, you’re using “Power,” say bringing out the best in people.

I definitely recommend reading the article. I write in more detail on the difference between each level. A lot of readers have found this scale very helpful and I recommend using this as a personal growth / consciousness roadmap to track where you are right now in your consciousness development, and to give you an idea of what’s ahead and the milestones, the end goal to move towards.

How to be a coach

“I would like to be a coach like you. Can you be my mentor?” — Adelynn, Singapore

Hey Adelynn! That’s fantastic that you want to be a coach. If I may, let me rephrase your question to “How can I be a coach?” And this is a question that I get very often.

The first thing that I’d recommend is to go for some coaching courses. This is the assumption that you are starting from scratch, from ground level and you’re looking to be a coach. Make skill development and developing your expertise that first priority.

There are certain people who think about coaching as this nice profession and they just jump in and call themselves a coach — which is fine because there’s nothing wrong with calling someone a coach. As long as we are helping people, that itself is coaching. But some people see it as, Okay, I call myself a coach and I start charging people several hundred dollars an hour for coaching.

To me that is a wrong way to approach it. Firstly, it is very important that we focus on building our skills. This may or may not be through courses. It can simply helping people, doing pro-bono coaching, seeking out people around us to work with them on their goals. And coaching courses would be one aspect of skill development.

At the same time, and this is something that I tell all my clients, don’t get lost in this whole phase of taking coaching courses. Because to be honest, the skill building aspect of being a coach is like 0.1% or 1% of the entire equation of having a successful coaching career.

There’s a huge 99% or 99.9% which is on other things altogether. This includes knowing how to position yourself, knowing how to differentiate yourself from the zillions of coaches out there, knowing how to set up a business, manage a business and actually market your business and make it known, and knowing how to develop your skill in that area where you want to help others.

For example some people want to be a relationship coach. Some people want to be a health coach. Some people want to be a life coach. Even within life coaching, there are many different segments. Some people focus on spiritual coaching, some focus on productivity coaching, some would be on life purpose and finding your direction and passion. So it is important to get clear on that.

In short, set your eyes on the final goal which is helping people and supporting them in their life journey. Identify the steps to do that.

So first, skill development. Check out certain courses. Here I want to give a caveat. Do not fall into the trap — there are certain courses out there that present themselves as this, “Join my course and you’ll become a hugely successful coach and learn 5 figures per month.” Don’t fall for those. No matter how good a course is, taking that course is only 0.1% of the entire equation.

Next, learning about business basics, marketing basics. This can be from reading books, reading blogs. So much free information online today. Unless someone has actually dug into all this free information online and thoroughly researched and read every single blog, I don’t think people should be pumping in four-figure sums on courses that claim to give you magic bullet results.

Next would be setting a plan. What are the first steps of success? Identifying the first group of people you can approach and just coach for free as part of building your credentials, building your testimonials. And then moving forward from there.

I’m going to be linking to several articles in the show notes that may help. It includes Are Coaching Courses Necessary To Be a Coach?, my Successful Businesses Interview Series, and my How To Pursue Your Passion series. That is a huge series of articles I’ve written over the years on the various steps that I went through in pursuing my passion and that will be inside the show notes as well. Do check them out. There are many tips to get you started.

How to be more confident in yourself

“Hi, I’m really glad that I found this website. I found it by coincidence today. I’m 16 years old. I’m from Egypt.

My problem is that I’m not really confident. I show that I’m really confident but deep inside I’m not. I feel that I’m not pretty. Everyone tells me that I’m pretty but I don’t feel that at all. Consequently, I don’t feel confident when dealing with the other gender because I don’t feel attractive enough and I can’t open a good conversation.

Also, I feel bad that I have not reached anywhere in my life. I know that I’m still 16 years old, I’m still young. But my colleagues have achieved really fantastic things so I feel I’m not sufficient. I’m not really confident. And I feel… I’m fed up because of this personality.” — Anonymous, Egypt

Hey thank you so much for sharing your question. It sounds to me that you are very hard on yourself and I can totally understand that.

When I was younger, there were definitely moments of insecurity and just this phase of figuring yourself. And with school bullying, societal pressures, all these images on magazine covers, and guys comparing girls by their looks, it’s very hard a teenager to come fully into his/her own when there are all these erroneous, negative, and low-consciousness forces in play.

Today with the Internet, it doesn’t help at all because now there’s what, there’s Instagram — which is fine as a tool but it seems to be more commonly used to present ostentatious material goods or to flaunt certain lifestyles today.

What I recommend is to recognize yourself as this unique human being on Earth while acknowledging there are seven billion people out there who are all individuals. All of us are individuals in our own path, living and working to be our best self, without comparison to anyone else.

And it is very very important to recognize that. Because let’s say you live in a society that’s very much about conforming and being part of a larger group, especially so in Asian countries, it is very easy to lose your identity. And I think most people do not even recognize themselves as this unique person independent of a group.

Now it is important to recognize our role in society, our role in communities, all of these are important. But do not lose sight of the fact that you are one human being with your unique individual identity. That is my one biggest advice on confidence. Because oftentimes when we lose confidence is when we start comparing ourselves with other people and wonder, Why am I not like that? Why am I not like this?

Here I would recommend to read two posts: One post is on how to be confident and another post is on how to stop comparing. Definitely read both of them. I share more tips inside on how to do that.

The one thing that’s the most important in life

“What is the only thing which matters most in our life? Is it relationship? Is it job? What is the one thing which is very important in life? The most important thing.” — Hitesh, India

This is an interesting question from Hitesh, which is, “What is the one thing that matters the most in life?” My answer is, it really depends on yourself Hitesh. For certain people, relationships matter more. For certain people, career matters more.

I would say there is no one thing that is the most important. In my Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program, I have the life wheel. The life wheel is this self-development tool that gives you an overview of the key areas of your life. Some of these areas include Career, Love, Family, Health, Finance. There is no one thing that is the most important because let’s say we do not have our Health, nothing else matters. Even if we have the best Career in the world and all the Money in the world, it doesn’t matter if we don’t have our Health.

Relationships itself is also very important. But if one just focuses on Relationships all the time and then neglects their own passions, their Career which should ideally be an extension of that passion, eventually they will also feel a backlash in other areas.

So to me, all these areas are very important, and it’s important to recognize them. Using the life wheel is excellent to measure your progress in each of these areas and to move forward in the areas that you feel you are not doing so well in, while pushing yourself in the areas that you’re doing well, so that you do even better.

Check out my life wheel article that I will be sharing in the show notes. For those of you who don’t have my 30DLBL program, check it out. It is a 30-day program with 30 different tasks all designed to help you move your life to a better place.

How to be organized

Last but not least, we have our last question from Melissa.

“Hello. I have a tremendous amount of trouble keeping organized. I have a home business and I see a lot of people on a daily basis. It’s quite embarrassing. I can’t find things, I’m just unorganized. My name is Melissa. I’m from Winchester California. Thank you so much.” — Melissa, California

Aww I’m really sorry to hear about your situation Melissa. I can understand because we live in an age where there’s just so much information that it can be hard to keep things organized.

Simplicity is the key. Come up with a simple, easy-to-follow system to sort your files, to keep track of your to-dos, and to know what you need to do next. Even though I’m a very organized person, last year, I realized I needed to take serious time out to organize my computer. There were just so many things, like different versions of a project, different versions of a file, raw files of podcast, raw files of courses.

So I spent quite a few weeks deleting files that I had not looked at in forever. And coming out with an intuitive folder structure that I could easily click and find what I need. It’s very important to have a structured system that you can easily follow and you know where the things are. It’s the same for you. Set aside the time to properly reorganize and sort out your folders, your files.

For appointments, I use Google Calendar. It can be synced with your smartphone. You can specify whether you want it to remind you before each appointment. Every day, just making that your go-to page. Create a calendar for different purposes, such as social appointments and another one for work meetings.

For example, I have different mini-calendars. One is for Appointments, where I have to go out and meet people. Another one for Courses/Coaching and I have it in a different color. Then another sub-calendar for Family in a different calendar. You can toggle them on and off so when you click each calendar, it disappears from the immediate view.

This way you would never miss a deadline because it’s all there. If there’s something that’s important, then put it in the calendar as an appointment. If there’s something that is urgent but you can’t get to right away, put it in your calendar as well. Have your calendar open as a browser tab so that you can refer to it regularly. To know what’s next, what you need to do and so on.

Closing Note

So that’s it! Thank you so much for sending in the questions. It’s really been a blast for me to hear your voices and answer your questions. I hope you have found my answers useful in some way.

If you find The Personal Excellence Podcast helpful, I would truly appreciate if you could just take a few minutes of your time to write a review on iTunes and you can do that at

Thank you so much guys for listening. Really look forward to connecting with you in the next article and the podcast. Bye guys!

EndnoteThanks for listening to The Personal Excellence Podcast! For more tips on how to live your best life, visit

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(Image: Nantawat Chotsuwan)









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How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More

How To Know When You’re Making Progress, Journey of Enlightenment, And More

Celestine Chua