Why Transition Periods Are Stupid

I got a new apartment.

I had a long list of reasons why I was excited to move in. I couldn’t wait to start experiencing all of them.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a real experience without hitting some roadblocks.

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Moving requires a transition period. You’re adjusting to a new living environment. This means a change in your daily routine, plus figuring out where the closest places are in your neighborhood to run errands. Granted, a quick google search will help. But then there are other factors you may not have considered.

Here were some of mine:

-Technical difficulties of every kind: Broken internet. Workout DVDs wouldn’t play on my laptop. Printer wouldn’t work. Cellphone was constantly freezing.

-Realizing all the things I needed to buy: Everything from trash barrels to a shower curtain. This would take time….and money. Speaking of which…

-Moving costs money. Renting a truck, putting gas in your friends’ car who was nice enough to let you borrow it, putting gas in the truck that you rented…it all adds up.

I very quickly hit a point where all I could see were negatives.

After going through my “Woe is me,” “All I can see are negatives,” “Did I seriously just break my coffee pot?” phase, I remembered some cool tricks I got from personal development.

Despite the transition, I really didn’t have a serious problem. I had finally got my own apartment. It’s exactly where I want to live for exactly the amount I want to be paying. I’m even closer to public transportation. My “problems” weren’t real life problems.

Even if I did have a problem, all of these things were temporary. I was going to get internet again. I’d be getting more paychecks soon. I could seriously go to Walgreens and buy a new coffee pot (which I did, begrudgingly). All of these were just a temporary inconveniences, and would eventually lead to an awesome 2015.

Hell, forget about the rest of the year. It’s only been a week.

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Internet is great. New printer is on the way. Solved my DVD issue. And finances? Working on it 🙂 But I did snag two phone interviews, attended two commercial auditions, plus got two unexpected paychecks.

Last week I thought I’d still be broke with no internet and no way to get my work done without going to Starbucks. I couldn’t see the other end of the tunnel.

Our struggles are temporary. Some last longer than others. But as long as you remain positive that you can and will get through them, you’ll be fine.

Of course, it helps when your Patriots win the Superbowl too.

Patriots

We were a little excited. Thanks for my 1522 friends for hosting! 

Stay positive. Keep going.

And, of course, GO PATS!

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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.

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.

Going Through A Dark Place

During times of heartbreak, loss, and struggle, it’s easy to think we have to feel depressed. Often we’ll resort to the mindset of “I don’t deserve to be happy.” This is merely the beginning of a slippery slope towards a dark place.

The good news is we don’t have to go there. We can choose to focus our energies elsewhere. It’s not easy, but it’s doable if you put your mind to it.

The following are some of my favorite mindset tricks towards staying positive:

Can’t Change It

A lot of the time, we focus on the “what if.” What if this hadn’t happened? What if they had done something differently? What if I had done something differently? This puts us in a state of lack. When you’re living in lack, you’re focusing solely on the negatives. It leads to many more and drives us towards that dark place.

Unfortunately, you can’t change the past. What you can do is focus on where to go from here.

Open Yourself To Positives

If your situation is really dark, it’s easy to think there are no positives. That’s understandable. There are so many clouds of negativity that it’s hard to see through them. But maybe you don’t have to. Instead, what if you look around them?

Start looking for the positives no matter how bad the situation might be. Simply being open to this concept will allow you to see wonderful things around you that you weren’t aware of before.  Finding just one will make your situation incredibly less painful.

A Brighter Future

Trying to envision what the future looks like is hard enough. It’s twice as hard when going through a struggle. Dark times can make us stronger. We learn from these experiences and grow in an incredibly powerful way. The next time we encounter something similar, we’ll be better prepared. More importantly, we’ll be able to help others who may be less experienced.

Why I’m Sharing This

Earlier this week, I learned my longest childhood friend, David Kendricken, passed away. He was twenty five years old. I was devastated when I learned the news. It nearly put me in a dark place myself. Instead, I decided to apply everything I learned from personal development.

Let me clarify: This doesn’t make our situation “okay.” It means we’re accepting the “can’t change it” mentality and allowing ourselves to get through in a positive way. Some of the positives I’m choosing to focus are seeing some friends who knew Dave very well. Perhaps I’ll make more friends this week whom I wouldn’t have met otherwise. We can preserve his memory by sharing stories. (I got plenty 🙂 )

For those of you who knew and loved Dave, please keep the following in mind:

Forgive yourself for how you’re feeling right now. Especially if you’re feeling any kind of depression or guilt. You’re human. And if you were friends with Dave, you’re probably a damn good one too.

Be open to finding those positives. We’re not trying to be perfect. In fact, f**k being perfect. I hate that word. Just try to find one. See what happens.

Dave, you were a hell of a guy. I always knew you were. But looking at all of the love on your facebook page tells me that plenty of others knew that too. While this situation isn’t ideal, I see so much love from your friends and family that I can’t help but feel it too. Thanks for spreading that to all of us.

Love ya, “son.”

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What I learned from David Ortiz

When you’re forced to make a big, stressful decision, how does that make you feel? (Don’t say stressed. I already gave you that word. You can’t use it.)

…okay fine you can use it. But why does it make you feel stressed?

I was chatting with a friend recently. I don’t want this person to get embarrassed, so we’ll just call him David Ortiz. When chatting with my good friend David Ortiz, I learned he was going through a rough patch with his significant other. I asked the usual questions: “Are you okay?” “What’s going through your mind?” “Should I even be asking questions because, honestly, I didn’t stop and think this might be not something youwant to talk about?” And so on and so forth. But my friend was surprisingly calm about the situation. (He is David Ortiz, after all). He said he had chatted with several people who had also gone through relationship struggles. He walked off from these conversations (Get it? Walk off?) with a similar theme : “One way or the other, everything is going to be alright.” What I loved about David Ortiz’s thought process is that he wasn’t thinking about the struggle he was going through. He was thinking about what’s ahead. And he was absolutely right to do this.

(Not that I would ever doubt David Ortiz.)

Whenever we’re in situations similar to David’s, we focus on the struggle. We think about the rough transition period and sometimes even obsess over how rough this struggle will be. 

Why do this to ourselves? Next time you’re in a stressful situation, let’s try and use the calm we see in David Ortiz. Are you going to think about how much the transition period is going to suck?  Or will you focus on how this eventually will make you a better, happier person? (If it helps, most of these transition periods are temporary. We’ll eventually settle into our new situation/environment). If all else fails, try remembering David’s message: One way or the other, everything is going to be alright.

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Photo credit: Facebook.com/DavidOrtiz

I’m a pretty lucky guy to be friends with David Ortiz.

…okay I’ll stop now. Have a great weekend, friends! 

PS – If you haven’t heard, we’re going to #MakeSomeonesDay – again! I’m raising $100 to leave as a tip for a lucky server at one of my favorite restaurants in two weeks. Check it out (or message me for details).