My life has been a series of lessons, without an interval between them to catch my breath or take in the view.
I won’t play the victim story in this blog post (you can search for those using the search bar on the right). There are people who have experienced worse in their lives. I, like you, have experienced a fair share of challenges. And over the last 18 months, these challenges have stacked up, compounded and have been putting on weight, so it’s been hard to get them to leave.
“What do you mean? You can’t have a hard life if you’re helping people work through their shit!?” Some of you say.
Well, that would mean I’m not human. My heart reminds me just how human I am when I decide to jog up a flight of stairs without stretching. So yeah, I’m human.
A couple of months back I decided to take a hiatus from the Genius Institute to dig deep and find some clarity with where I’m taking this company. During that hiatus, life found ways to challenge me in ways I wasn’t prepared and it started to get overwhelming.
It got so overwhelming that I didn’t really get a chance to spend time master planning a map for Your Genius. So overwhelming that I hit a point where I was reconsidering not stepping back into Your Genius at all. Yes, that’s right, I was preparing myself to give up.
The light at the end of the legendary tunnel went out. Darkness followed, then panic, fear and despair all decided to join me and we got cosy.
It got to a point where my problem-solving abilities shut down. The usual issues and obstacles in my own life became too much to deal with. I stopped solving people’s problems and stayed away from taking on more than I could handle. Not to mention all the existential questions that continued to wake me at ugly hours of the morning.
As I started to weed through my problems and join the dots of how I ended up in this place, I began to realise how much of what I had created was built by me. Decisions made in the past and other decisions not made.
The more I made the connections the more I realised what I had done. This led me to a bigger problem – I had to do something about it. Me. No one else. My life is my responsibility and so is yours.
Don’t ever make the mistake that someone else is responsible for you and your life.
Before I knew where the problem was I believed all I needed to do was work out the problem. Then I could act on it and solve it. I was wrong. Finding the problem was hard, taking action and overcoming the mental paralysis was harder.
I was presented with opportunities I would usually just embrace that were leaving me in a space of sleepless indecision. I stopped being social because I was unable to be present with people and I looked like I was somewhere else. I even disconnected from my wife. So much so that when I came to her to voice my problems she looked at me as though I was a stranger. Someone she had never met.
She didn’t understand my fear, my indecision, my paralysis and my anger. To her, it looked like a role swap had happened with her real husband – the man she had spent 9 and a half years building a relationship and life with.
When I saw that look in her eyes. Like she didn’t recognise me and my behaviour, I knew that at some point throughout this period I had stopped being me. I got swept away by the challenges and obstacles that were being thrown at me and was unable to tread water long enough to gasp for a lungful of air.
Then the clincher happened. She told me she was worried I was going to give up and that she’d lose me to my challenges. She was worried that I’d switch off my efforts, my drive and any reason to live. That I’d become an autonomous robot, living out my tax-paying responsibilities and nothing more. Blending into the blob of despair and quiet desperation our developed societies have managed to evolve into.
She was worried that my fears would overrule my desire to live. That was a heavily grounded and reality-shaking moment. When my wife’s belief in me was turning to despair like the last leaf of autumn being blanketed by the cold of winter.
A moment of deep vulnerability for both of us in which only honesty could live. I was no longer allowed to delay and procrastinate. I had to decide – where was I going to go with my life? Was I going to give in to my fear, anxiety and panic or find ways to understand it and let it go?
I chose the latter. For whatever reason, we have this part of ourselves that wants to give up. Sometimes it’s a big part of us and it can feel like giving up is easier than finding a way through it. Then, there’s the whisper “no, not yet” that comes through at that dire moment.
Here’s the thing, it’s those moments of complete despair and hopelessness that you decide what you’re willing to do in order to get where you want.
There’s a quote that goes “The moment you’re ready to give up is usually the moment right before the miracle happens.”
Do you know what the miracle is?
You discover what you’re really made of. And you discover it in a way you wouldn’t have been able to comprehend or intellectualise. You come to know who you really are. A decisive moment in your growth as a human being.
Does knowing this make it any easier to go through all of the above? Shit no! But it does make it worth it. It makes life worth it. What would life be like without these decisive moments we’re dealt?
I’ve certainly had my fair share and each one shaped me. Like punching a block of clay until it begins to look like a masterpiece.
It’s painful and sometimes you think “god this is ugly, where is this going?” Then, when you stand back and take a decent look, you see the masterpiece. You see the order in the chaos. You hear the harmony in the noise. You feel the love in the heartache. You see the truth in the lies.
It’s not your time to give up. Not if I can help it. You will have moments when you’re ready to give up. That’s normal, don’t buy into the illusion that leaders don’t have those days, weeks or months.
Just know – you’re experiencing your despair and your hopelessness for a very specific reason which is crucial for you.
Know that and get up. It’s not over for you. Not now.
Many people die with their music still in them. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.