How To Better Your Negative Situation

This is for anyone in a dark situation. We’ll call it a tunnel.

Dark Tunnel

When we’re in the tunnel, we can’t always see the other side. This happens when we’re looking for work, short on money, or in an unpleasant living environment. As more and more negatives start to pile on, we tend do a couple of things:

We focus on more negatives: It’s the easy and comfortable thing to do. Yet it tends to make our situation worse, not better.

We seek out instant gratification: While having a short break is sometimes necessary, it’s important we don’t stay there too long. Many of us go on this break, then stay there. This is nothing more than just an extended vacation in our dark tunnel. Unless we start making an effort to get out, we’re just setting ourselves up to be unhappy in the long run.

So how do we get out?

After you’ve taken your (short) break to ease your mind, here are a few steps I recommend:

1) Accept responsibility for your circumstances

The easy thing to do is to play the victim mentality and blame someone or something other than ourselves. Regardless of any crazy and unexpected circumstances that may have occurred, it’s important to realize that you are the reason for where you are today. Accept responsibility for what’s happened. Don’t kick yourself. Just stop making excuses and blaming others. Once you own up to your situation, you’ll realize you have the power to change things and get yourself back on track.

2) Make an action plan

This is going to vary based on what’s going on. Keep in mind you might be digging yourself out of a deep hole. This could take time. Don’t worry about making it perfect. If you do, you’ll just keep putting it off. Just start. You can try starting from the finish line and then working backwards if that helps. Just make sure it gives you some specific steps to get to your final destination.

If necessary, ask a friend for help. Or hire someone . Whatever you do, do not blame them if they are unresponsive or unavailable. Doing this releases our power to control our circumstances. The goal is to get out. The more we blame, the longer we’re stuck in the tunnel.

3) Stay consistent

It’s easy to belittle those tiny steps starting out, such as making an action plan. “What difference does it make? I’ll still be in my same situation tomorrow.” Making the plan actually puts you further ahead than you think. It ignites a flame of hope. Hope is a very powerful tool. It’s contagious and will reveal both confidence and answers – which are hard to see when it’s dark out.

This only works if you’re consistent. If you’re not, you won’t see any progress. Then you’ll really get frustrated and want to quit. Which keeps us in the tunnel. We don’t want that.

As you go about this, keep finding ways for to keep yourself motivated and sane. Just make sure it doesn’t turn into that extended vacation in instant gratification land. You need to be prepped and ready to go as soon as the break is over.

If you’re in that tunnel now, get up off the couch.  Make that plan right. Then….relax. You’ve just taken your first step. You can sleep tonight knowing that you took a moved forward towards the other end of the tunnel.

Light Tunnel

Best part: Doing this helps the tunnel seem a little bit brighter.

Go get ’em.

3 Steps You Can Take To Constantly Feel Stressed and Cranky

Let me guess: When you’re in a bad mood, you want to stay in a bad mood. Forget about all the good things going on. There are wayyyy too many bad things, right? And forget about all those people trying to help. They definitely don’t understand. Am I right?

Sh!

Of course I’m right. You’re reading my blog. That means you think the way I think. When I’m in a bad mood, I like to stay this way for a good three to six hours (at least). I’ve gotten pretty good at this. And because I’m a nice person, I’d like to share with you how to stay in this bad mood in three simple steps:

1) Spend hours focusing on all the negatives in your life that you can’t control.

Two weeks ago I was panicking. I was waiting on several paychecks that weren’t showing up as quick as I wanted them to. Each time I arrived to an empty mailbox, I got angry and upset.

I’ll say that again: I was letting my mail carrier be the determining factor over whether or not I went to bed happy. Should you find yourself in a similar situation, congratulations! You’ve accomplished step one and may proceed.

2) Spend tonight focusing on all of the things you didn’t get done today.

Remember that time you woke up thinking about how great today was going to be? You had a list of things you were ready to knock out. Once they got done, you’d feel accomplished and awesome.

…that was this morning. You got one of them done. Maybe two. WOW. That’s a failure if I ever heard of one.

I’ve done this more times than I can count this month. “Today sucked. I suck. And tomorrow will probably suck too. Guess there’s nothing left to do except sit and sulk for another hour before I go to bed.”

(If and only if you have mastered the “sit and sulk” concept, may you proceed to step three.)

3) Avoid any and all steps – especially baby steps that will eventually lead to bigger ones – that could better your situation.

Don’t make a list. Don’t clear off your desk. Don’t check your calendar and find that one window tomorrow where you know you can be productive. That’s the opposite of what we want. Rather, focus on the money you don’t have. Focus on the time you don’t have. Focus on the jobs you haven’t gotten. Anything that could better your situation right now means you failed, and steps one and two were all for nothing.

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STAY ANGRY! (Don’t look at smiling Graham. He’s not angry….neither is Jason M Hammond who took this photo….)

….Though I suppose it wouldn’t be fair unless we at least glanced at the other side of things.

Know that Courtney Rioux I keep mentioning? If you go to her website at www.courtneyriouxcoaching.com, you’ll find you can both sign up for her blog, plus receive a free thirty minute audio titled, “How to Be Happy No Matter What Life Throws at You.” (But definitely don’t listen to this if you want to master all three steps I just mentioned.)

I’m paraphrasing here – there’s an example Courtney gives of someone getting upset as they realize they forgot their wallet at Starbucks. Because they’re so frustrated, they don’t even notice the person behind him in line offering to pay for their coffee.

My question to you is this: What positives are you missing because you’re too busy focusing on how “good” it feels being stressed and cranky?

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I had NO idea that guy behind me was there. (Though I’m sure photographer Dan Patton from reelchicago.com did….)

We’re not perfect. We’re going to “fail” with our agendas and our emotions. But we don’t need to beat ourselves up each time it happens. There’s always going to be positives around us, even if we can’t see them.
Start looking for them today.

The Perfect Moment Doesn’t Exist

You know that thing you keep saying you’ll do? That one step you could take that could change your life? The process might  take  time, effort, and hard freaking work. But it would ultimately benefit you in the long run. You know that thing?

Why haven’t you done it yet?

Here’s the most common answer: It’s just not the right time.

“I’m too busy right now. I’ll start when things settle down.”

“I don’t have enough money right now. I’ll start in a couple of months when things should be better financially.”

“I’m going to wait until the beginning of the (week/month/year). That feels like a better time to start.”

You guys. We need to stop.

asunder

Like, seriously.

Let’s break these down.

“I’m too busy.” Think back to a month ago. We had the holidays, end of the year projects to complete, trips to plan, and oh-so-many parties to go to. Most of us were putting things off then and planning to do them now in January. Do you still find yourself using the “too busy” excuse this month?

Life isn’t going to stop giving you more things to do. Is February really going to be any different?

“I just can’t afford it right now.”  I think I’ve used this excuse more than any of these. I can’t afford to go to the gym. I can’t afford to eat healthy. I can’t afford this acting related expense. Once I did put money into both my acting career and my health (two of my highest priorities), my accomplishments increased.

Paying more for headshots led to more auditions and gigs. Paying over a hundred dollars for a workout program and meal plan led to me being the health-nut I never thought I’d be. Which then lead me to being more confident in auditions. It all pays off. And usually, we only have to pay for it once.

Even though we might be in a tough spot financially, we tend to use that same amount of money – sometimes in smaller increments – in other areas instead. These usually are fun activities that don’t move us forward. Don’t get me wrong. It’s important to have time for social activities. But when they constantly come at the expense of our goals…is it worth it?

“I’ll start on Monday.” This one is the worst. We think we’re taking action by giving ourselves a future date to start. Really we’re just procrastinating by using a number on a calendar.  It’s toxic. It’s going to keep you from being your best self as long as you allow it to. That’s just not fair.

So. What can we do about this?

Instead of focusing on all of the reasons that taking action will be inconvenient now, consider how this temporary change will set you up for success for the rest of your life.

CAFM

It’s time for YOU to take action! (Thanks to Ben Gonzales for the pic!)

-Need to start exercising? Sure, the transition to a healthy lifestyle is tough. But stay consistent and a year from now you’ll be a master. Which leads you to being healthy for the rest of your life.

-Want to take an awesome, expensive acting class? Sure, that could lead to picking up more shifts and going out less for the rest of the month. Yet the skills you learn and the relationships you build could benefit your entire career.

When we focus on how amazing our future is going to be, we create less stress on the temporary inconveniences the action may cause.

Then again, you can just keep putting that task off. That’s okay too. I mean, you’re okay with staying in your current situation for the rest of your life…..right?

Renchini

WRONG!!! 

Go get ‘em, friends. Stop waiting for the perfect moment. Be the amazing person that you know you’re capable of being.

Be a Victor – Not a Victim

The only thing better than when life is going good is when life is going great. Sometimes you’re booking jobs left and right, earning enough income to quit your survival job, and all you can focus on is flowers, sunshine, and the thought of puppies. (Who doesn’t love pupples?)

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes life throws you curveballs. Not just one curveball. Several curveballs. In fact, after the eighth curveball, you can’t even focus on the plethora of good things going on in your life. Sure, you’ve done enough personal development to realize that you’re choosing to see the negatives over the positives. But when there are SO MANY FREAKING CURVEBALLS, seeing just one positive becomes a chore.

It’s been a rough few days for me. I feel like I’ve been seeing nothing but curveballs. And there is a plethora of wine in my apartment that looks incredibly lonely.

… but I’m not touching the wine. Eric Thomas would be disappointed in me.

TGIM

Check Eric Thomas out on facebook

Eric is a motivational speaker and published author. He has his PhD and is inspiring people every day. Though he certainly had his share of curveballs: He was a high school dropout. He even lived on the streets for a period of time. He hit rock bottom. But today he’s on top of the world.

Eric Thomas

Or go here to read some of his quotes!

I’ve made a point to listen to one of Eric’s “Thank God It’s Monday” videos every day. Here’s what I’ve gotten from them:

1) You are not a victim. When things aren’t going well, we tend to fall into the victim’s mentality. This is when we think about how much things suck, as opposed to what we can do to fix them. It’s an easy trap to fall into, but it’s tricky to get out. Take responsibility for what happened. Focus on what you can do to make your situation better. Taking small, simple steps will make you feel a whole lot better than a bottle of wine ever will.

(Champagne, of course, is another story..)

2) Your situation is temporary. When Eric was homeless, he knew that he wasn’t going to be homeless forever. When we start to focus on how things inevitably are going to be okay, we start to feel a little better about our current situation. Sometimes it even leads to ideas on how to fix things.

Regardless of your circumstances, remember that you’re not a victim. You’re a victor. Now go make the rest of your life the best of your life.

Then watch this video. Then call me. We’ll order some champagne.