Have you woken up in the middle of the night, couldn’t fall back to sleep, and are pondering what the fuck you’re doing with your life?
It’s me. Hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.
I think anybody that cares about something meaningful goes through this.
Like are we doing enough?
I don’t know, really. I don’t have the answer. But I have questions I’m asking myself.
What is enough?
Why do I feel I’m always behind?
Is the pressure I’m putting on myself necessary?
The answers come when we’re willing to sit with these uncomfortable and squirmy questions.
I don’t have the answer for you. I barely have the answer for myself, yet.
But the good news is that we are in it together. We all have restless nights and worry that we are not enough. That our life has somehow spun out of control and we aren’t sure what it holds for us next.
All I can say is that we’ve been here before. This isn’t the first time we’ve dealt with these fears, anxieties, stressors, and mental blockades.
But this time it may be the first time we finally become aware of why it’s happening…If we’re willing to answer a few simple questions.
Sit with it for a while. Scribble some notes. Let whatever flows out be what it is. No judgment or editing.
Just pure emotion.
You may not be writing yours at 4:23 am because you can’t sleep but I’d challenge you to carve out just 5 minutes today.
Allow your mind to ponder the reasons why you struggle and where it stems from. Although the answers are difficult to digest they become the start of a new way of thinking.
I closed my eyes for my meditation practice but his time, instead of breath work and centering myself, I tried something different.
I went back to a memory of myself as a teenager and I pulled out a vision of a room in my house during that time of my life. It was an addition we added to the house. There was a couch up against the wall I used to sit on often. I honed in on that spot.
Then, it got a bit weird.
I sat with him. Well, him being me. Although a much younger version.
My current self sitting across from my teenage self.
That young, nieve, scared, confused young man looking back at me.
And we talked.
I told him being scared means you care. It means you believe in what you are doing but haven’t mustered up the courage to act.
I told him that the bridge you have to cross to gain courage is a leap of faith. It’s where confidence builds and strength comes from.
I told him that even at my age, you won’t have all the answers and in fact, many more questions.
We talked about a lot of things.
He even questioned me.
It was sobering.
It made me realize I still have work to do.
Self-reflection is one of the most generous actions we can take for ourselves. We turn inward to learn where we’ve come from and it helps us build the foundation for a better tomorrow.
You may not go deep into your past and talk to your younger self but sitting for a few minutes each day with your eyes closed will help you grow to appreciate the moment.
Give yourself that time to reflect as it’ll compound into something unimaginable.
Can we honestly say to ourselves, “I’m happy today?”
If we can it’s important to understand why? What is happening or has happened where we feel this moment, right now, is a moment of happiness? We can’t repeat it exactly but we can work to replicate it again and again.
The same holds true if the answer is “No”. Why aren’t we happy? What are the contributing factors to unhappiness?
Recognizing these puts us in a position to learn what isn’t serving us and navigate away from it.
Happiness is a feeling, a moment, a benchmark in a time of stress-free living.
Are we willing to do the work to understand how we can create more of this?
Clear And Present HappinessBrian Ondrako2023-01-19T20:29:38-04:00
I used to never want to celebrate my birthday. I was shy and didn’t like the attention. Part of it was growing up a middle child and never feeling like I fit in. Part of it was that I felt awkward and uncomfortable in the limelight.
But there was a part of me that wanted the attention, that craved it because I never felt I had any. It’s a weird paradox.
I was introverted and scared to have attention called upon me in almost any situation but yet I yearned to be heard and for my voice to matter.
But what I didn’t realize back all those years ago (and even until just recently) is that I didn’t need to be heard by others to make me happy. What I actually discovered is that I needed to listen to myself. My innermost thoughts were the voice that was being suppressed all along.
I wasn’t looking for approval from the outside. That’s where I was mistaken. I needed approval internally. Approval that the decisions I was making, the things I wanted to do, and the people I wanted to be around were all my decisions if I just listened to myself.
What I have come to realize and respect is that the only way to discover happiness is we must first discover ourselves. We must be willing to gain acceptance from within before ever looking for outside validation.
We know what we want. We do. We’ve just let “society” do the play calling for us instead of being in the center of the huddle and scripting our own plays.
That’s where the game can change. We are in control of our happiness if we want to be. What we spend time doing, who we spend time with, how our attitude is every day, where we put our energy, and what we know is our “why”.
It’s in our control if we take the time to block out the noise around us and listen inward.
We don’t have to fear the limelight as long as we show up as our true authentic selves and put into the world what is deep inside us and makes us energized and driven toward a life full of happiness.
What we should all fear is suppressing that voice and following the direction of what others think we should do. What others care about. What others are doing.
Because their decisions don’t affect us.
The people who we want to be around the most and who love, support, and respect us are never making it about them. They are only asking us one question, “What do you want?”
Are we prepared to trust our inner voice and answer?
How many times do we look at others and think these sorts of questions…
What’s their life like?
Why are they here?
What led them to this spot?
Are they really happy?
How often do we wonder what others are doing? How often does the curiosity peak?
It’s easy to imagine what others are going through and create stories to make our assumptions seem real.
But how often do we turn those questions back on ourselves?
How often do we pause and question where we are at?
It’s always easier to look away from our situation and judge, critique, and imagine how others’ lives are going.
The harder thing to do is let others live how they live and use that energy to focus on where we are hurting or where we are feeling anxiety and frustration in our current state. It’s hard to look in the mirror and judge the person looking back at us.
But, turning those questions back on ourselves can open up a new dimension of clarity and lead us on a clearer path toward better decisions and better answers to these questions.
Answers that, if we work to change for the better, ultimately make us happier day after day.
I’ve followed Ray Dalio for many years and this is one of his cornerstones to a successful life.
Pain + Reflection = Progress
You need to go through bouts of pain and then add the element of reflection to the mix in order to grow to the next level.
As I pondered this more, I thought about my sales career and the sales professionals I’ve been around. We were always taught, as many in sales are, to find the “pain” with the prospect. Pull out the “pain” and you’ll be able to help them realize where you can help them.
But how many times do we take our own medicine?
A virtual show of hands… How many people have figured out where their “pain” is in their sales process or career and worked hard to improve that area?
I didn’t think so. I’ve been bad in this department as well.
What we found that “works” is solid and we continue to use it over and over. Same pitch. Same play. Same song and dance.
When have we stepped outside that comfort and got really nervous or awkward or silly in order to improve?
Maybe an SDR is struggling to get the right messaging on prospecting calls. When was the last time you did a role play and got really uncomfortable? When was the last time you actually asked a prospect what they thought of your approach? When was the last time…(insert your own curiosity)
Maybe it is someone that gets nervous with large groups in presentations. Instead of continuing down that road, have you considered Improv classes? Toastmasters? Volunteering at an event where you are thrust into speaking in front of people? Again, insert your own question here.
We are really good at getting to the “pain” of our future clients but have an extremely difficult time putting ourselves in that painful situation to improve first.
It sucks but it’s the only way.
My question to leave you with is this…
What one thing can you do this week to feel some pain but know that it will push you forward to new heights?