Over the past couple of months I have been flung into a lot of change. Change in my career, changes in my personal life and even some loss due to the transitional period.
It seems that every couple of years, this happens to me. At first, I am usually stunned, shocked and then on the defense. Obviously those are natural reactions to finding out you lost some money, a job, or some people you trusted let you down. After the initial feelings pass, my cycle usually includes a kind of mild-depression. Not the type of severe depression where I want to kill myself or anything like that but a mild depression knowing that what I had been working for didn’t quite pan out and that I had been let down by a couple people I liked and respected in business. More importantly Im dealing with the reality that, like that like it or not, change is definitely coming and the depression comes from knowing the type of undertaking that will ensue to get things back on track again. I have always like this model as I think it describes what I go through quite well.
All to many times I have fallen in to the trap of this mild depression when things aren’t going the way that I want them to go. It’s sneaky, one day your on top of the world and then boom you get knocked on your ass, and then while you are in the process of getting back up to finish the fight, you get the floor pulled out from below only to find yourself surrounded by shit! At this point getting up seems harder, but in actuality the act of “getting up” or fighting through adversity is a learned behavior, and when it’s dark, and there are no visible friends to help you back up, it is that 2nd nature resilience that will save your life, and get you through the hard times quicker.
Let me give you an example.
Most of the people who know me or I have been friends with over the years never saw me or experienced me before I got sober from drugs and alcohol at the age of 16. Before that point in my life I was a bad dude. I lied, cheated, stole and manipulated my way through life. Some people laugh at this comparing themselves at 16 years old to the story I begin to tell them thinking to themselves, “how bad could you really have been?” Well, the specifics themselves are a whole different story for another blog post and if your really interested, pick up my first book The Rich Kid Syndrome. The point is that you don’t get sober at the age of 16 years old because your mom caught you smoking pot one or two times. I got sober because I had severely screwed up my life and was taking everyone down with me to the tune of 5 felonies, 3 misdemeanors, 3 high-schools, 3 rehabs and 2 drug over-doses and all before the ripe young age of 17.
When people experience me now, envisioning a person with a wrap-sheet like I just described is not something that comes to their mind, and for that I am grateful because that it exactly what I am going for. In fact nothing makes me happier than when I have to convince someone that I was actually that bad because that person’s experience with me is so contrary to how I used to live. It is simply a tribute to how much I have really changed, and God knows I have come a long way.
At that time in my life I was plagued with demons and such a warped view of the world. I was very nihilistic and had no spiritual sense so things like Karma or good will never registered as being a way to live ones life. I liked the idea of Anarchy and just living in the moment. I believed that when you died your body just stops and life as you know it stops the way a TV shuts off when power it down.
When you look at the world through this kind of terministic lens, there is no point to do anything but have fun and just try to feel good as much as possible, and that was exactly what I did and I did it at the expense of everyone who came in to contact with me.
This all changed when I was 16, after barley missing death for a second time, I had a spiritual experience and for the first time in my life had the realization that I may have been wrong about how I viewed the world. Yes I was broken, and yes at that time I was deeply depressed, but for the first time I actually felt hope that maybe, just maybe I was put on this earth to do more than just get high and feel good all of the time.
The next feeling I experienced was fear because a want to do something different is nothing with out some kind of game plan or strategy, and I knew that if I stayed around my old town I would be sucked back in to vortex of my addictions and bad influences. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was going through the process for the first time that would forever re-enforce my ability to bounce back after sustaining sever loss and change in my life.
The following two years I lived in a “all-boys” recovery house. This was a crash course for me in the areas tolerance, patience, conflict resolution, resourcefulness and survival. Most of the guys who went through this place didn’t make it. In fact the program was so intense that guys would literally break down and cry. It wasn’t physically hard like a boot-camp per say, but it was psychologically terrorizing to the people who would not go along with the program. The deal was that we followed a set list of rules, or we could leave. No grey area, black and white. During my tenure in the recovery house, and I was introduced to a 12-step program and met my first mentor, my character was built, and from those experiences I learned how to bend and fold with what ever life through at me, but I still struggled with me depression.
Thinking that there was something really wrong with me I went back and fourth with the idea of seeking professional help. In the end I found that when I was doing something I loved that was positive and up-lifting I felt great and the depression never seem to come back, but when things fell apart, I would fall back in to it. I needed a better way to deal with it than just allowing it weeks to take it’s course. Basically like medicine for the common cold, although a cold is incurable, their are remedies that help make you more comfortable while your body naturally fights it off. I believe that depression is the same way, and even though that may not be the case for everyone, I think most people are mis-diagnosed and put on medications way before they have exercised every natural option at their disposal. The bottom line is that we can’t be happy all of the time, and life will knock you the F$%^#-out sometimes, but being happy as much as possible and limiting the times I am unhappy to the shortest amount of time possible has been the key to my success. The depression has to run it’s course through you, after a couple days, week or two at the most, you should be naturally feeling a little better, if not, much like the cold, you should go seek some professional help maybe.
As I wrote in the beginning of this blog, I am struggling with some things myself so I though why not share my process and my experience with the world so I can help out some people who may be going through the same thing. So for the next 30 days I will be blogging about my transformation. (it’s 30 days because of the length of the program)
So if your going through some hard stuff yourself, you may want to grab a pen and start righting this down because you can do this to jump-start your life and try to snap yourself out of that funk. My process may not cure your completely, but I promise you that if you follow it everyday to the dot, you will feel 1000% better from where you are right now starting off.
Step 1. – Acceptance – Accept what is happening to you, stop fighting it, you lost this one, it didn’t work out, boo-hoo, it’s in the past.
Step 2. – Ask For Help – If your a prideful person like me, you will struggle with this but I always go through this process because people who really care about you want to help you, and if you don’t ask them, they can’t help. No one is invincible, your not fooling anyone, if they are close enough to you they know you are going through some stuff. One more point here, make sure to only ask people you really look up to and respect for help.
Step 3 – Take the Advice – Once you have been given the help and new opportunities present them self, TAKE THE HELP.
Step 4 – Get Humble – Maybe it’s not the glorious job you thought it would be, maybe it just sucks, well it’s only temporary, and I would rather have income and a shit job in between the times Im looking for a better job.
Step 5 – Get out there – Anything is better than you sitting in your house starring at the wall sending 1000 resumes out to online job posts. Even if your just doing your hobbies, go meet people and talk to people about what your going through especially if your in a career transition, this will help you get hired and keep your head out of your ass.
Step 6 – Game Plan – For me it consists of what I am doing daily to better my Mind, Body, Soul, and Pocketbook. Also What I am committing to giving up in my life that is not serving me (including people) and what I am committing to do everyday to better my situation.
****Here is the worksheet that I made that I use.
Step 7 – Honor those Around You – During this time, the ones who are still around you even though things are falling apart are probably your best friends and family. Let them know that you appreciate everything they do for you, the support and for being there for you in your time of need.
Step 8 – When it gets better, pay it forward – Remember that what ever you are going through will pass. It will stop hurting and things will eventually get better. So when the do and someone comes to you in a time of need, remember what the people close to you did to help you, kind of like what I am doing right now sharing this process with you, they listened, advised, and counseled, so now it’s your turn to go do the same.
Here is a fun quote
“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe.”
Here is an awesome clip to help give you some motivation and feel good.