Last week I wrote a post called 8 Things I Know About You and received quite a mixed response. From people calling me out on my offensive language to people calling it the most passionate article they’ve ever read, it was still a post I felt very good about writing.
Shortly after publishing it though, I received an email from a reader who said the following:
“You just pointed out all the things that are wrong with me/us/other people and pissed them all off. Now, what are we supposed to do about it? What solutions do you offer to help change these things about ourselves? Where do we go from here?
You’ve held up a mirror to those deepest darkest fears in our souls. Don’t let us crawl back in under our rocks and hide — encourage us to be proactive in facing those fears head-on, and list ways of doing that (or reiterate what you said in the above paragraphs, such as sharing our emotions in a healthy way, consider alternate employment routes, do something big and new and scary like rock-climbing or starting a new hobby).”
To be honest, I hadn’t thought about actually providing a solution, but rather wanted to call to attention some truth’s in hopes of lighting a fire under your ass.
But without a solution, I have only managed to drive home the fact that your life probably sucks and you’re kind of stuck unless you fix it. Well how the fuck can you fix it if you don’t know what to do?
So I’m going to expand on last week’s post and share some of my ideas on how to break free from some of your limiting beliefs.
This is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to getting your shit together and I certainly don’t have all the answers. But I do have a lot of experience in overcoming all of these issues.
And if you haven’t read the post I’m referencing, it’s probably a good idea to do it now so you know what I’m talking about.
Overcoming Your Deep Dark Fears
1) Being miserable
Being miserable is a state of mind, nothing more. When I was going through the rough years in my marriage (almost all of them), I chose to be miserable. Sure the situation I was in was not good and my life had a great deal of stress, but I looked at everything as a negative.
If I were a more positive person, I could have looked at my situation in a different light. I’m not saying there would have been a different outcome because there wouldn’t have been, but I could have focused on the good things I did have instead of being pissed all the time about how shitty my life was.
Being a positive person takes a great deal of work (for many) and I wasn’t one of them. Since starting my life over (ie. quitting my job+divorcing), I’ve been fortunate to connect with some positive people online (where I spend most of my time).
People like Farnoosh Brock from ProlificLiving.com. Just read any of her posts and you’ll see what I’m talking about. She has gone through a lot to get where she is today and is one of the most positive people I know in the online world.
Another shining example is Shola Richards from ThePositivitySolution.com. I like to read his stuff because he is sincere and honest, but also seems to be truly trying to be the best person he can be. And his positive attitude is something we all can learn from.
I believe that you are who you hang around, so it makes sense to associate yourself with people you want to emulate, not your douchebag college buddies who still think it’s fun to go out drinking and get wasted every other weekend.
I was not around positive people when I was going through my shit and it made things 10X worse. If this is also true in your life, you need to start looking at how to get involved with people who will raise you up, not bring you down.
You also need to start practicing the art of being positive. If your situation isn’t positive, then put positivity into it. If you are struggling, then DO something good.
Go do something positive.
- Pay for a strangers coffee
- Join a church group or a book club
- Start or join a mastermind group
- Start to volunteer somewhere
- Have a conversation with a stranger and take interest in them
- Tell someone you love them
- Give money to a person in need
- Reconnect with a long lost friend
- Find a group of like minded people and figure out how to associate with them
- Call your mother, dammit!
2) Wasted talent
You are probably well aware that you are not using your God given talents and skills to make your life better. Most people work in fields they have little interest in.
When you are using your natural gifts, you will know because you will feel the energy surging through you. You will also find that you excel at them.
If you are in a job that you know doesn’t use your best skills, you don’t have to quit necessarily but here are a few options:
- Find a way to use them in your job. Volunteer for projects that may use them. Look for lateral movement within your company to exploit them.
- Start a side business. Sell shit on eBay if you are a skilled Internet marketer. Start a local event like a 5k for breast cancer if you are a great organizer. Find a few freelance writing gigs if your passion is writing. Start blogging if your strengths are connecting with people and building relationships. There is always a business opportunity for something you are remarkable at. Always.
- Volunteer somewhere you can use them. In 1997, I had just gone through a very personal coaching workshop called Lifespring. In it, I realized that my natural strength was being in the service of others. I had tried so hard to put up a front of being cocky (and a player) that I refused to let myself see my gifts.So I decided to volunteer at a shelter for homeless and abused women. It was an incredible experience and I built relationships with several women who were highly reluctant to trust people (let alone a man). And interestingly enough, I was offered a job, which I took, and had a wonderful experience that taught me a great deal.
3) Your relationship
What can I say that hasn’t already been said in War Of The Roses? Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad.
We all know the divorce stats and they are insanely high. Why? I believe it’s because our legal system makes it easier to get a divorce than it is to get a fishing license. It’s actually so ridiculous, it’s almost comical. Almost.
For me, it was a matter of meeting my ex and our attorneys in some dingy office, answering a few questions under oath, and going about my day. Confirmation came by mail a month later. In all it cost me around $1,000.
What a joke.
Growing up, I told myself when I got married that I would never divorce. I witnessed the bitter divorce of my parents when I was 6 and subsequently harbored a great deal of resentment towards my mother for many years.
But when I was in my marriage, my commitment to myself started to falter. And as the years went on, it became harder and harder to consider the possibility of spending the rest of my life with someone who was so obviously wrong for me.
I honestly believe that divorce is a last resort. And we reached it.
If you are struggling to stay together, you need to ask yourself a few important questions:
- Why are you staying together? If it’s for money only, that’s a bad idea.
- Is your relationship salvageable? Mine wasn’t. We had done too much emotional damage to each other to ever recover from. Maybe yours is different (hopefully).
- Will your life truly be better without your spouse in it?
- Do you still love your spouse?
Seeking help in the form of counseling, therapy, and/or workshops is very important. There is no way you can say you gave it 100% if you haven’t exhausted all possibilities to make it work.
4) Scared to leave your job
This is probably the most prevalent one on my list. The U.S. workforce alone is roughly 120 million people and 70% of them are not happy at work. You do the math.
But people stay in their jobs because they think it’s secure and they are too scared to leave and try something else. These are very real and rational fears. If you didn’t have them, I would say you are reckless and irresponsible.
Up and quitting is not usually the best option, so what can you do if you know you don’t want to work in your current job?
- Stay there and grind it out (bad move)
- Look for another job in the same field (safe move, but still a bad one)
- Get a job in another field, one that you actually like (getting warmer)
- Keep your job and hustle your ass off to build something that can ultimately replace your day job income
- Quit to pursue your passions. This will usually be in the form of starting a new business
Obviously I’m biased towards business but there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s up to you to decide your future.
Personally, I believe the safest option is to create a business for yourself around what you are most passionate about and what you are best at. You need both.
For example, I would love to be a guitarist in a heavy metal band. It would be awesome for me, but I have zero musical ability. It would take me 10 years of non-stop practice to become proficient at it and I still would probably struggle to keep up with those who are naturally gifted at it.
Instead, I use my innate skills of serving others, building relationships, and helping people. My compassion, caring, and teaching abilities are what makes me unique and allows me to do what I love.
If you don’t already know, take the time to figure out what your strongest skills are. Start by taking the free Jung Typology Test, which is similar to the Myers-Briggs.
5) Needing a change
You already know that what you’re doing right now isn’t working. You are burned out, bored, frustrated, and sick and tired of being sick and tired.
So you need a change. Like yesterday.
The first step in change is acknowledging that you do in fact need one. Not just want one, but need one.
If you don’t have a sense of urgency and have an acute pain, you very may well tolerate your situation indefinitely. You must have that sense of immediate need.
The people who consistently say “thank God it’s Friday” or “same shit, different day” don’t have that acute pain. They have a chronic pain that they are now accustomed to and are numb to it. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap.
You also need to know what you want to do instead. Don’t just up and leave your career because you think you might strangle your boss tomorrow. Take the day off to cool down and then take the time to plan out your next step.
I did a lot of research and due diligence before I quit my job to work at a gym. In the end, it made sense, so I did it.
You may not even need a life altering change. You don’t have to leave a great job behind like I did. You don’t have to get divorced like I did. Maybe you just need to get away. Maybe you just need to reevaluate your situation. Maybe you just need to clear your head.
6) Feeling hopeless
If you’re feeling hopeless or near hopeless, I don’t need to tell you how limiting this is for you.
First, do something, anything, that brings you joy. Whether it’s going to a matinee by yourself or going to the driving range and hitting a bucket of balls. Find a sliver of happiness in something. This will help you see that there is life out there.
When I decided to turn my life around, the first thing I did was go running. I had stopped exercising, which had been a big part of my life for years, when I was at my lowest point. So when I decided to make a change, the first thing I did was exercise.
I would suggest you doing some form of exercise as well. Even if you are a beginner, you can do something. Go for a walk, take a hike and enjoy nature or dust off your bike and go for a ride. Trust me, you will feel amazing afterwards (and probably a bit sore).
If you are new to fitness and/or just need a push in the right direction, I can help. 16 years in the fitness business has taught me a few things and I’d be happy to help in any way I can. Contact me directly with questions.
Of course exercise is not the sole answer to feeling hopeless and I could write 3,ooo words on ways to address this in other ways. However, I will share a very powerful article by my friend, Benny Hsu called A Letter to People Who Feel Hopeless About Life, which hits the nail on the head regarding this topic.
My friend Sebastian also shares a lot of insightful thoughts on this topic over at pg4life.com.
7) Life has little meaning
This has nothing to do with your value as a person but rather how to view your contribution to this world and your place in it. If you are feeling unfulfilled, unproductive, unloved, and uncertain, you might have a difficult time thinking about the importance of your life.
You are special. You have gifts.
You can achieve anything you want if you commit to it.
The problem may be that you don’t know what your purpose is. Now I don’t believe that we all have some special purpose that defines us. I believe that we all have different things we can succeed at and certain things that light the fires in our hearts.
Finding your purpose is way too cliche for me to preach about and I don’t think any amount of solitary deep thinking, yoga, meditation, or anything else will allow the universe to open up and send you a message with your one true calling.
You will figure it out, but it does take work. You actually have to think about it, be committed to figuring out what you honestly love doing, and be willing to hone your skills.
My friend Jacob from Sensophy.com is a huge proponent of finding your purpose and living it. He has some great ideas and thought on it and has done far more research into this area that I ever will. One my favorite posts is WTF Should I Do With My Life? and is a must read if you are wanting to explore that area of your life.
8) Feeling selfish for wanting more from life
I can’t say this enough, but life is way too fucking short to spend it doing shit you hate. Period.
Whoever told us that we needed to follow the path that everyone else is on is wrong. Let someone else punch a clock until they’re 70 years old. Let someone else grind out a dead marriage. Let someone else be a martyr and suck it up. Let someone else wake up every morning with nothing to look forward to.
Not me. And not you.
I think the selfish person is the one who allows themselves to live life that way. The selfish person is the significant other who not only doesn’t support their partner, but thinks that personal sacrifice is more important than personal growth.
Ask yourself why you do what you do each day. Is it just to pay the bills and support your family? Is there a specific reason you work where you work? Why are you choosing to play life in such a small way?
Now ask yourself if this is what really makes you happy. There is no reason you cannot provide for your family and do what makes you feel alive. Nowhere does it say that you have to sit in endless meetings listening to things you don’t care about (except your employee handbook). Nowhere does it say that you must tolerate idiotic coworkers or spend 3 hours commuting each day.
So why are you doing it?
Listen, I can’t sit here and preach to you about all the things you should be doing because I spent most of my life doing them. Yes, I’ve made changes, big fucking changes, but it took a great deal of effort to get to where I am now.
I want you to simply recognize that you are worthy of living the life you want. I want you to feel good about starting that blog, starting that business selling Amazon products, or doing something that brings you to life.
Please understand that just because you have financial obligations and a family doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your happiness. You can be happy and take care of all that you need and want to. You can have it all.
Now Get Off Your Fucking Ass
If you’re still reading this, kudos to you! But now comes the hard part.
Doing the work.
It’s time to stop thinking about it and talking about it and start doing shit about it. Everything you do from this day forward will be a direct result of the small step you take today and then tomorrow…
I’m here with you and for you.
Now take that step…