Learning to Bet on Myself
For the past few weeks, I have wrestled with my tendency to invite excess busy-ness and chaos into my life. I have talked about this in therapy, meditated on it and even wrote a fucking blog post about it (https://www.whatthefkamidoing.com/post/over-booking-my-life). This has been a life-long pattern that looks like this: 1) have chaos and work my ass off just to barely keep my head above water, 2) slowly start to resolve items and issues resulting in decreased chaos, 3) eventually achieve something that feels like peace and contentment, 4) immediately decide that "since things are chill right now," I can handle one additional commitment, 5) repeat step four until it turns into step one again, 6) wash, rinse, repeat ad nauseum...
Well, last week, while talking about this shit with my therapist, I had an insight. At the risk of committing hubris, I will not claim that anything is totally different now, but I will say that I now have some new perspective that was previously (if not conveniently) ignored.
Throughout my adult life, I have heard successful people talk about the importance of "betting on themselves." Highly critical of "play-it-safe" lifestyles featuring an uninspired job that offers a predictable income and minimal vacation time, they advocate for going all-in on themselves and creating a life of limitless abundance. To be clear, I'm not talking about some bullshit, get-rich-quick Ponzi-type fuckery. Every single person that I have ever heard wax poetic about this life approach has been very clear that it requires a shit-ton of work. It's just work that you get to do on your timetable and the fruits of your labor benefit you, not your employer. Reaping the benefits of my own hard work has always appealed to me, as I tend to be a crazy hard worker. For some reason (in fact, several reasons), I have never taken the plunge - until now.
I know I have skill sets that can benefit others while affording me freedom and independence. Aside from having a PhD in psychology and a decade's worth of experience as a psychologist, I am a certified personal trainer (and have been since 1997). I have a bachelor's degree in marketing and public relations, and have served as a company grade officer in the U.S. Air Force. I was a fitness manager for one of the largest health-club chains in the world, and I am currently studying for a credential in financial counseling and pursuing a degree in culinary arts. I am equipped to help folks with everything from advancing their careers to getting in shape to cooking healthy meals. So, what stops me? Here are a few of my greatest hits:
It's safer to have a steady income from an employer than it is to depend on an uncertain income from your own business;
I'm just too busy. I'll work on writing a book or starting a business when things slow down;
I need to have the business/book better planned out before I start working on it;
and the mother of them all...Why would anyone want to listen to what I have to say?
Of course, these excuses are all bullshit, but they are a particularly tricky flavor of bullshit because they all contain an iota of truth. This iota of truth is like a lure in a trap. It lures me into believing the excuse, thus falling in the trap which leaves me doing the exact same shit I did yesterday. The status quo is protected and nothing changes.
Examining each excuse individually, here is how they break down:
Yes, it is much safer to have a steady income than it is to stare down the uncertainty of self-employment. This is true. What is also true is that in everything from government to business, freedom entails WAY more risk than safety. What's more, the safety for which we trade our freedom is a fucking illusion. Tell me bad shit doesn't still happen to people who opt for safety. You know what doesn't happen for those folks? The best shit!! Yes, there is safety in a predictable bi-monthly paycheck (assuming you don't get laid off or company does not go under), but there is also a very finite cap on how much you can ever earn, and there are very rigid limits around how can structure your work day, work week, career path, etc. Everything is a trade off.
If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I am too busy to work on my own shit because incessantly fill my life with busy-ness that has nothing to do with what matters most to me. Of course, I'm too fucking busy. That's totally true. That said, in a recent episode of my podcast ( https://open.spotify.com/episode/4IHGDPVh6sUVHcvsSsYL56 ), guest Chad Edward Myers discussed how he turned a corner in his happiness and wellbeing by structuring his life around three ideas: doing the thing that best benefits his body, the thing that best benefits his intellect, and the thing that best benefits his spirit. In true Bruce Lee/Ip Man fashion, he did away with everything unessential. Consider me jealous as fuck.
I have a business plan written. In fact, I have several business plans written - for several business. There aspects of each about which I remain a little uncertain or unclear. Optimally, I would have those details all hammered out before pulling the trigger, but every successful entrepreneur I have ever listened to has noted instances in which she/he had to learn or innovate on the fly. It might be great to have every detail in place before undertaking a venture, but that's a little like waiting for the perfect time to begin working out. Between work, family obligations, bad weather, and an A-Team marathon on television, waiting is the recipe for remaining a couch potato.
This last motherfucker gets to me on a whole different level. On the one hand, the world is full of experts and gurus. Why the fuck would anyone want to listen to me. On the other hand, people listen to those other experts and gurus. I'm at least as qualified as most of them. Why not listen to me? When I get down to brass tacks, though, I don't believe that people would, or even should, listen to me because I am some sort of expert or bullshit guru. I said what I said. Deal with it. I suspect that my appeal for a certain audience will be in my self-doubt. My authenticity and my willingness to be vulnerable about fears, insecurities, and failures despite having a litany of credentials and continuing to work on more. My education has provided me with a sometimes beautiful, sometimes brutal (I call it brutiful - a phrase I once coined to describe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) mirror through which I can observe my own thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Being a tattooed biker with a PhD who is willing to be authentic and human, and share my successes, failures, fears and triumphs is why a certain population might want to listen to me. I know that this is my selling point - what makes me unique and potentially interesting. The problem is that it is not my voice asking why anyone would ever listen to me. It's a voice from my past. A voice that told me daily - no shit, daily - that I was either a "worthless piece of shit" or a "stupid fucking idiot." Don't misunderstand, nobody says that shit to me anymore, but I heard it so often that it now lives in my grey matter, rent free. I hate that voice. I hate that, in its absence, I still give it power by replaying on a continuous fucking loop. I work on it. I do a lot of therapy, a lot of journaling, a lot of meditation, etc. It's getting better, but maybe finally betting on myself and following my bliss might be the final eviction notice that eliminates that fucking voice from my head permanently. I certainly hope so.
It is my most sincere hope that everyone reading this musters the courage to take a leap of faith and bet on themselves. It does not need to be in your professional life. It could be in your relationship, in your leisure time and activities, in your health and wellbeing, or in your financial life. Just bet on yourself. If it doesn't go well, get up, brush yourself off, and bet on yourself. Like Dr. Strange trying bargain with Dormammu, just keep trying until you figure it out. If need be, get a coach or therapist or financial advisor, or whatever the fuck. Whatever you do, do not let old voices still have power over how you live. It's a mistake, and the clock is ticking.
Thank you so much for reading. Please subscribe, comment and share this blog with your friends. If you have any interest in my other projects, you can listen to my podcast here: https://open.spotify.com/show/6zkm9EkUb7vJ96dhXXWV2r , or watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVqRlRBm87GgSsR62amKz7A . My website for mindset, executive, financial, and fitness coaching can be reached here: https://www.growthandthriving.com/ . I love you all. Keep growing until you're thriving.