3 Healthy Ways To Get Yourself Out Of That Damn Rut

It’s been more than a month since I wrote last.

For someone who typically writes each day and posts numerous times a week, this is not good.

Why so much time between posts you ask?  Well, it’s been quite a ride (or fall, shall I say) down and it’s taken me a while to find which way is up.  Things have gotten pretty difficult and I admit I have taken them to heart.

If you are like me you wear your heart on your sleeve.  (what the hell does that saying even mean… heart on sleeve, it’s just weird?)  Your emotions are at the center of your being, and you live and die by how “your world” is going at that current moment.  It’s a blessing and a curse – when things are going great you are a whip to be around, but when times get tough you just shut down.

I learned a lot about myself recently and hope I can work on how I operate during tough times going forward because for such a positive guy it sucks to find yourself so down, so stuck in a rut.

A tweet the other day struck me.  It said something to the extend of “only you can inflict and create your prison.  We are prisoners to our thoughts and emotions.  You have all the power in the world to change them and your circumstances.”  

It seemed more powerful when I read it but I think you get the point.  We are responsible for what we are thinking, feeling and how we react to the world around us.  We can get mad or just get up and get moving again.  It’s amazing how this realization gets lost in the craziness of the world, one which seems to be getting crazier by the month.  As we become overwhelmed with grief and frustration we often forget that it is us, ourselves, who actually create the response of stress and feelings of frustration.  Yes, something against your will or want might have happened in the world but it is actually your response to what just happen that results in negative feelings and emotions.  Extended for a period of time, this negative energy and emotion can build up and start to tear you apart inside.   It’s a crappy feeling for sure.

If you see where I am going you might notice I am starting to describe the first signs of depression.  Why am I talking about this on a blog meant for entrepreneurs and techies?  I touch on this because no matter who you are, if you are not careful you will find yourself tumbling down a path directly towards depression.

I recently identified these patterns in myself and here’s what I have done to keep me going and start my climb back to better places.

Identify something Centering to hold on to.

For some time my profession actually revolved around it but for my entire life  health and fitness has always been a cornerstone.  No matter my circumstances, I am committed to remain in top shape.  It centers me.  It allows me to go into a mode of top performance – against myself – toward overcoming challenges and achieving success.  Everyday.  Or a few times a week at least.  Doesn’t matter if it’s just a simple workout, it feels great to accomplish something as simple as physical exertion and intense movement.  I am not OCD about my physique, a bodybuilder or a crazy powerlifter.  I am just a healthy individual that uses health and fitness to gauge how I am doing internally.

Interestingly, internal health is directly reflected externally by our weight and body size.  I could have allowed stress to get the best of me, decided I was too busy or too lazy to continue staying active, and lost my edge.  I would have started to get pudgy and gain weight, requiring me to buy new clothes, spend more money and adding more frustration to my already over-stress-filled world.  The unfortunate reality of this would be I continue to lose confidence and the downward spiral would only accelerate… toward.. I don’t know what.

Knowing myself all too well, this reality would be devastating.  Health is not only a very important aspect of life, it is how I personally feel “energetic”, “confident”, “young” and “normal”.   It’s all I have known for my 30+ years of life.  I don’t want to lose those and maintaining a consistent commitment to exercise just 30 minutes, 3 times per week has kept me in solid shape and helped maintain what confidence I have left.

When you find yourself flailing around and losing control in your life, find what you can to hold on to and help keep you feeling “normal”.

Identify just one thing that needs to change

As a founder you give up a lot, but most likely you will give up financial stability to pursue your goals.  Not only is it frustrating, it can become very stressful and result in increasingly insurmountable challenges.  This is definitely what has happened to me and for a time there I did not know what was actually happening or what to do about it.  It feels something like the moment when one fire starts over here, another one starts over there and before you know it you are caught in a forest fire with no way out.  The one main fire started a rage of other fires that started to engulf my life.

The best thing to do is identify just one thing – presumably the biggest and most drastic fire in your life – and only worry about improving that one thing.  Figure out what needs to be done and how to go about making positive changes, then do it.  For me, it’s simply finding a way to support myself until my own company can.   Make a commitment to change the circumstance, no matter how difficult it might be.  Don’t worry about all the other distractions or issues, they will only get in the way of changing the ONE thing that needs to be changed.  It may seem like elementary advice but you will be surprised at how effective it is.  Once you have accomplished the task, now look toward the other challenging issues in your life and choose the next thing to improve.

Trust me, this approach is the only way out of impossible circumstances.

Remember what it was like to be a kid

I have spent more time than normal around my young nephews recently and I noticed something about children I admit I am extremely jealous over.   As you watch young children you will notice they will be laughing, smiling, playing, running, screaming, crying and back to laughing again – all in about five minutes time.  Although young kids cry too much for my liking, within five minutes they seem to forget what they were crying about and they go back to having a great time playing and laughing.  Young children are the most resilient human beings on the planet, intuitively understanding things always work out for the best.

I have no idea why but as adults we somehow lost this ability to look at the big picture and forget we were “devastated” just 5 minutes ago.

And this is a tragedy.  Realize there would not be such a thing as depression if we retained the same “short attention span” characteristic young children posses.

I urge you to go back to being a child inside, find things you can be truly excited about and enjoy the moment for what it is.  When something goes wrong, give it the respect it deserves for a short moment, and then forget about it.  Move on to the next shiny toy and smiling face.  Because with all the tragedies and crap happening in this world our own happiness is all we have, and it’s directly under your control.  Worrying about what happened 5 or 10 minutes ago only hurts yourself.

So that’s my Happy New Year go kick ass in 2013 speech.  It’s good to be back.

Do These 4 things To kick Ass As An Influencer

Why are certain people more influential than others.  Were they born that way?  Are they smarter than you or me?  Do they know something others don’t?  I am not sure there’s just one correct answer but after spending the summer doing more of the below activities, I have a better idea what happens as your influence expands around the world.

The image below illustrates the ladder of participation in any medium.  We all are one of these at any certain time; Creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators,and inactives.  Obviously, the higher one can get (and stay) on the ladder, the larger their influence will be with all the others.

Here’s how to kick ass as an influencer:

Influencers Read

Influencers read incessantly.  They have a yearning to always know the latest news and insider perspective.  They access the best publications to get a keen grasp on the the industry.  Through constant monitoring, like an ear to the railroad tracks, one can get a feel for shifts in technology – seismic or slight as they may be.  With an industry such as the technology space, things change daily and keeping up on the changes can be the difference between a first mover advantage and last to the party.  Reading also sharpens the mind and helps with comprehension while expanding the knowledge base.  Why would’t anyone want to do that?

Influencers Write

What does one do with all that knowledge and information they are collecting each day?  Write about it!  Although reading and mentally organizing vasts amounts of information helps to increase personal bandwidth, putting thoughts together on screen in a cohesive manner only adds to personal comprehension of abstract concepts.  Like an artist who throws various colors together to bring a painting to life, to each of us writing can be a piece of art that takes upon a life of its own.  Each person has within them a unique perspective of the world, and writing provides a pedistal to stand in which we organize thoughts and inform others.

Influencers Publish

Writing your thoughts on a word doc is a start but it will not lead to becoming influential, you need a platform for publication.  Blogging has become mainstream and it is quite easy to establish your own blog/site in which you can publish your words.  This seems to be the biggest hurdle for most to overcome, as it can be overwhelming and intimidating to put yourself out there with little place to hide.  Yet, that is the whole point…  Creating authentic words, infusing a unique personality, adding to it a spice of your own creativity is what people crave most in today’s media.  Most people don’t want another also-ran, bland, vanilla reporter regurgitating the facts of todays news that can be found on a hundred other sites around the web.  They want uniqueness.  They want personality.  They want to feel as if they know you as a blogger, writer or executive.  They want to feel close and connected to someone influential.  Trust me, they want to be inspired, so click ‘publish’.

Influencers Distribute

Once published, influencers understand the only way their words are going to reach the masses of people is if they can get to where they are.  Using the popular social platforms to their advantage, they get to work on spreading the information far and wide.  Creating titiles with Twitter in mind – with each tweet of the post the Title becomes the default twitter message – will only magnify the spread of each article.  Also, major publications are now allowing outside contributors (like myself) to harness their platform and add to the editorial strength of the brand.  Any influencer knows they need to be where the masses of people are in order for them to find you and your words.  Hop on the train before it’s too late!  Finding the appropriate avenues of distribution will lead to a growing number of eager readers.

As you can see, all it takes for someone to massively improve their influence is read quality content, write good content, actually publish the words and distribute it to a wide audience.  Those are 4 quick ways one can kick ass as an influencer.