Why do I get discouraged so easily?
Sometimes I really hate my life. It's like the cards have been stacked against me from day 1 so why bother, you know? I was never taught about money. I don't have a formal education. I have 4 mouths I have to feed and literally every waking moment of every day there are constant demands for my time and I'm not the one who gets to choose what I do with 90% of it. I choose to make my marriage and children a priority so grinding out 80 hour work weeks until I get where I want to be isn't an option. So what's an extremely busy husband and dad supposed to do to change his circumstances when he only get's 10% of his time to do it in?
Meanwhile, back in the real world...
So yeah, what's new? You either make that sacrifice and grind it out or continue living the way you've been living right? That's what I've always been told at least. The problem is, it's nonsense. So what, I work like a maniac for a few years, get the success I've been chasing and lose my wife and children in the process because they don't stick around while I "sacrifice" them on the altar of money? I don't know where it became a virtue to shirk the responsibility of having a family and behave that way but it's definitely not success to have lots of money, a divorce and kids that hate you let alone even know you.
So what am I getting at here? Here's an example from this last week. I just got a new day job at Microsoft on the Xbox team helping out with some of the art work. Pretty cool. We're also moving into our first actual house (a rental, but still a house) that has a yard! Anyone with 3 year old twin boys will understand the significance there. Both of those are good things. They're also both things that cause high amounts of stress. Two of them at the same time puts tremendous strain on a marriage that already takes a LOT of work to stay healthy as it is AND both of them require a huge amount of focus, attention and time. So what ended up happening is I didn't get a lot of time to invest in building my business and decided that the world was going to end and I'd never reach my goals because *gasp* I took a couple nights off! And I probably won't be able to do a ton over the course of the next several weeks, maybe a month, while we're getting settled into our new home and I'm adjusting to a new job.
Next what played out in my mind was the same script that's run my whole life. Mr. Inferiority popped up and reminded me of the inevitability of me failing at life. (I know, I'm dramatic) *queue violins*
3 Antidotes to Discouragement
I'm an ex-drug and alcohol addict with a criminal history (long story for another time) so I still sometimes react the same way to a death in the family as I do to burning my toast in the morning. I spent lots of years in programs like AA and Celebrate Recovery. I even moved my family down to Arizona to help launch and be the head of a Celebrate Recovery program at a church in Queen Creek. The point is I know a few things about the principles of those programs and have found that those principles transfer very well into LOTS of other areas of life. The benefit to learning these skills is that they lead me to take action immediately because action is the fastest way to make me feel better. And the last thing any one like me wants to do is feel bad for any reason. Here's a list of the top 3:
- Put Yourself Out There - The first and most critical aspect is building a small group of people that I can vent my frustrations to. It's sort of like letting enough steam out of a pressure valve so there isn't an explosion. Like attracts like but nobody will gravitate to me at all if I don't put myself out there in the first place. I'm petrified of rejection so this one was especially difficult for me at first but absolutely essential, nonetheless.
- Reach Out - This is probably the hardest part because even with a group of people in my corner cheering me on, I'm truly gifted in the art of coming up with excuses not to "bother" them with my stuff. Isolation and bottling are textbook no-no's in recovery because the scariest (and arguably most dangerous) place to be is in your own head. Unfortunately there's a huge aspect of American culture that tells you asking for help is a sign of weakness when in fact it's the opposite.
- Be Transparent - Most people are too wrapped up in their own lives to really care that you're baring your soul on the internet. And I don't mean that in a condescending or denigrading way. The fact is, people are far more attracted to brutal honesty than anything. There's really nothing to lose by just being real. Pretentiousness is so easy to see and I don't know about you but I'm repelled by it. And if anyone responds in a negative way to your honesty, no big deal. I focus my time and attention on people who are transparent themselves and want to build me up or provide constructive criticism to help me grow. No time for trolls in my life, how 'bout you?
Just do it!
Try this out. Seriously! It works. It really does. Human beings were created for community and without it we can crumble pretty quickly. Keep in mind that if you're new to this, it's going to probably be extremely uncomfortable at first. That's ok! Like so many who have gone before me have said, trust the process. This is an amazing way to shift your mindset back to where it belongs - on progress, not perfection!
If you have any questions on how to implement these strategies, leave a comment below. Let's start a conversation! Have you already implemented similar strategies in your own life? Let's talk about that too. I'm always on the lookout for way to improve or implement new strategies into my own life!