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How to be a mess

Many blog experts advise to publish every week, some even multiple times per week.

I haven’t published a blog post in 11 months.

A bit before that, there was a gap of 16 months between posts.

Over the 6 years of this blog, I’ve published a grand total of 32 posts.

To say that I was inconsistent is an euphemism.

I tried to do well, I tried to follow the experts, I tried one thing and the other, in “business” and in life. But you know what?

I’m a mess.

I’ve spent the better part of last year very focused on my own personal growth, I followed multiple programs. I’ve grown a lot, and given that I value growth, I’m very happy about the internal results.

The external results, not so much.

And that didn’t change the fact that for my birthday, a couple weeks ago, I felt like shit. Now, it’s nothing new, pretty much every year I’m depressed around my birthday.

This year, I felt unappreciated, unloved, unworthy. If I’m not worthy, what is the point of celebrating my birthday, or me? Makes sense, right?

I could have tried to numb the pain (doesn’t work), or simply hide it when it comes, pretend like I’m perfect, or say that I’m not but still hide it when something “wrong” comes up.

I’m very good at seeing what’s not right, with people, systems, business.

Yet, I have no frickin idea what I’m doing.
And that’s okay.

I’ve tried to do.
I’ve tried to figure out what I was meant to do.
I’ve read the books, did the trainings, attended the workshops.

I’ve beaten myself up, and I’ve taken care of myself.

I wanna do a million things, I wanna have an impact, I wanna love and I wanna be loved. I wanna create, I wanna help and I wanna have fun.

And I still don’t know what I want to do… and I’m still a mess.

And that’s still okay.

I realized it’s not about what I do, it’s about who I am, and who I am being.

By truly being me, I can do what matters. I can do what is the essence of me.

I’ve grown a lot along the years, and maybe, just maybe, sharing some of the process, being and showing who I am, might help someone.
Maybe I don’t need to wait and wait and produce the perfect guide or answer or blog post.
Maybe it’s more about showing who I truly am, and let others take whatever might help them or touch them.
Maybe I don’t need to know what I want to do or be sure of what matters most before I take action, or create, or hit publish.

Maybe you don’t either.

Yes, I’m a mess.

So what?

Maybe being truly human means being a mess, sometimes, or all the time.

Whoever I am, I am now.

Welcome to my world, I’m really glad you’re here.

Is it time to jump in?

We make thousands of decisions every day. Whether to go left, or right, what to eat for lunch, whether to work on our resume now or tomorrow, etc. But we also sometimes have to choose how to respond to a job offer on the other side of the country, what to do each day in our relationships with our family, friends or significant others.

Most of these decisions get answered easily, via habits and systems. You try a few different routes from point A to point B, then you know which one to take given the current time and day. A small learning phase, then you refine your choice, and it becomes a habit, no worry or willpower required anymore. You’re an expert at choosing the best itinerary home.

This mechanism of testing, refining and creating habits allows you to make 99% of your decisions without conscious thought.

But what of the big decisions?

Tackling big(ger) decisions

When you’re thinking about a big purchase or a change in your relationship status, whether starting a new one or changing the course of a current one, relying on unconscious behaviors is usually not the best option.
Believing you can make a purely objective decision is kinda foolish (unless you’re a sentient robot, in which case, I’d love to hear from you!).

Some people are controlled by their fears and past experiences and don’t even realize it.
But if you want to make the best decision, then you need to understand how you are influenced by emotions and past behaviors.

Spending money

Let’s say you are considering a big investment, whether it’s an expansion for your business, a training, or hiring a coach to help you reach your goals.

All your past experiences and beliefs about money will come to the surface: Is it worth it? Will I make the most of the situation? Will I be able to get enough return over investment to justify doing it? Will I fail miserably? What if it doesn’t work, will I just be into more debt? Will I get screwed or taken advantage of? Isn’t it better to wait until I’m 100% sure it’s worth it?

All these questions are valid questions. They’re also rooted in fear.
But that fear is part of you and its job is to protect you from dangerous and harmful behaviors. The current situation, in most cases, is fine, as in, you can survive in it (as you have done in the past). But change, oh, change is scary.

When these questions and worries come up, do not try to escape them.
Instead, answer them: It looks like it’s worth it, or I wouldn’t consider it. I’ll do my best to make the most of it. Estimates point to good ROI. Of course, I might fail, but there’s a good chance I’ll succeed, and even if I fail, it’s not gonna be the end of the world. Maybe I’ll have to take more debt, but it will be good debt, that is serving my goal and improving my business. Of course, I might be taken advantage of, but when I make a conscious decision, it’s highly unlikely. There is no way, ever, to be 100% sure of the results of any action that’s worth doing, I probably shouldn’t let it stop me from working towards my dreams.

Answering these fears doesn’t mean that you should do any and all actions that you consider, but it will help you to not be controlled by your emotions.

Getting in bed with someone

Whether it’s literal or not, getting in bed with someone is a commitment that requires exposing yourself and trusting someone else enough to depend on them.

A very similar set of questions will arise, and you will need to address them appropriately.
But while money circulate, can be lost and acquired somewhat easily, a relationship with someone requires stronger commitment, and in many cases will be life-changing.

A little voice inside you might ask “You’re going out with this dumb*ss? Are you crazy? There’s way better out there!” or “You’re paying HOW MUCH for coaching? Who’s this guy? Can’t you simply read a couple books and get off your ass?”. If it’s not the little voice, it might be your friends or colleagues.
Observe these questions, observe the emotions that create them. Fear, fear of failing, fear of disappointment, or simply self-esteem problems. Identify where it comes from, it will help you ease the pressure and make a more informed decision.

In the end, it’s all in your gut

Your gut might tell you to go for it, or it might tell you to pass. The problem is that fear is also in the gut, so it makes it tricky to distinguish fear trying to protect you from failure and disappointment and a genuine feeling that some path is right or wrong for you in your current situation.
I find the trick is to address all possible sources of fear first, be aware of them, clear them with EFT or some other method if possible, and when fear is handled, let whatever emotion underneath to express itself.
Imagine each path in succession.
If you feel an expansion and excitement at possibilities, go for it. If you feel constriction and dread, just say no and move on.

So, is it time for you to say no, or to go all in?
Answer in the comments below.

Stop helping people

Yes, you read me correctly, I believe you should stop trying to help people.
In this time where we look for more help, and we try to give more to those in needs, it’s important to get clear on what we do to help, and especially why we “help”, and how to do it the right way.
Because whether they’re friends, family, colleagues, or whoever it is you’re trying to help, you “helping” them might actually be doing more harm than good.

Why we help people

We help people because we think we know better, we think we can do it better than them, and ultimately, we help because we believe they need our help.
But it’s only one side of the story, the other is that helping makes us feel better. We might feel needed, we might feel we make a difference in the world, and that makes us feel good.
But if doing an action to help actually make us feel better, then maybe, just maybe, we might be helping more for ourselves than for those we “help”.

Why we should help

Helping is good, it makes us feel better, it makes great adventures possible, it creates a sense of belonging and community.
And if someone asks for and needs your help and you feel like giving it, then definitely help. Help without expectation of reciprocity, help because you want to.
And you’ll both be better for it.

Why we shouldn’t help

Sometimes you will want to do something in place of someone else, because they don’t know how to do it, or because you know how to do it better. And they may even ask you to help.
But doing it in their place will result in two things: stagnation and resentment.
Stagnation because you’re robbing the person the opportunity to learn and get better, and in the meantime you’re not working on something that would challenge you, so you’re not learning either.
Resentment because you might feel like you shouldn’t have to do that, and why can’t they do it properly. And from the other side, at one point they will resent the fact that you wouldn’t push them to learn how to do it themselves.

Learning and learning experiences are a huge part of this life on earth, and while we can be taught skills and facts, true learning comes from inside, doing something and experiencing life.

If helping someone means robbing them of the experience of learning, then that’s not helping.

A fine line

Don’t get away from this article thinking that you shouldn’t help homeless people on the streets because otherwise they won’t learn. Basic needs have to be fulfilled, and when someone can’t fulfill them (whether it’s because of physical or emotional trauma), then it’s important to step up and help.
But helping people survive and helping people grow are different things. Sometimes helping means challenging someone. But it’s not enough to say “why don’t you get a job?” or “I challenge you to make a million dollars” to someone living on the streets (or on unemployment for a long time). If they see no possible way to achieve that, then it’s not helping at all, on the contrary, it will increase the feelings of helplessness.

In order to truly help someone, show them a challenge that’s just outside their comfort zone and help them see that they can actually accomplish it.

Next time you want to help someone, make sure you’re helping the right way, and for the right reasons.

Don’t be afraid to stand out

Have you ever felt like you were hiding in the shadows? And if only you could get out there and be recognized?

Does it feel like it’s too difficult?

The drive to blend in

Humans are social creatures. From the beginning of times we’ve been living in tribes.
Without the tribe, you’d have no one to watch your back, and it would likely result in violent death.
While some people think our times are times of selfishness and egocentrism, the truth is, without the infrastructure provided by society, most people would not survive.
We need others for survival. It was true then, it is true now.

If that doesn’t convince you, just look at babies. Without an adult taking care of them, babies would die. And while reliance on others decrease as we age, the limbic brain (responsible for our emotions) still associate being rejected, or outside of our tribe as dangerous or even imminent death.

No wonder we want to blend in. Even if it means hiding who we truly are.

The desire for more

Who doesn’t have big dreams of changing the world?
Being a hero, righting the wrongs, simply making a difference.
No one has ever made a difference by staying hidden.
You may be afraid to be seen, but the truth is you want to. You want to be recognized, you want to achieve your dreams, and you want to make an impact that you can be proud of.

Are you one of us?

Society and tribes have a strong biais towards wanting you to be a team player, sacrificing your desires for the needs of the group. Any hint of wanting to be different or change the way it is will be seen as a threat to the survival of the group.
So the tribe will exert social pressure to prevent you from trying to change the status quo, which prevents you from being all you can be.
If you want to create something different or make an impact on the world, it’s most likely that your tribe (family, colleagues, friends) will resist that. It can be by straight-up telling you you can’t, hitting you on the head, or simply finding flaws in your reasoning or plans in order to “protect you” from disappointment or failure.

Only the bold creates breakthroughs

While society doesn’t like outliers, it needs courageous people to step up, lead and be the change. When you act differently, there will be resistance, but once people realize there is no stopping you, then (and only then), you will start getting followers, being embraced and supported.

But first, you need to stand out, do what matters to you, commit to be the change, whether or not you’re supported. And you will.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
– Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

How can you stand out today?

Be careful what you live for

Have you ever seen a teenager living for music?

He’s easy to spot: walks with his headphones on, sings when no one’s listening, most likely plays an instrument, and has posters of bands all over his walls.

Let’s say you are a person (a parent, a sibling, a friend, a boss, a.. god?) with the power to grant him wishes, it’s easy to know that he’ll want more music in his life (if that’s even possible).

His life is a statement to what he lives and wants. So you simply look at his life and decide to grant him his wish: “here, have more music in your life, enjoy, dear”. What he wants is what he spends his energy on. Pretty straightforward.

Now let’s talk about that friend, the one who’s unhappy, always complaining about his job, or his relationship (or lack thereof) or anything else for that matter. What does he want? More of his unfulfilling life?
You’d probably disagree, he most certainly does not want that. But who are you to judge whether his life choices are good for him or not? After all, he chose to fill his life with complaining and unfulfilling (so he implies) activities and relationships. He chose that, so that’s probably what he wants. “Here, have some more situations to complain about, enjoy, dear”.

Now you may ask why you (or God) would give him more of what he (allegedly) doesn’t want. But emotion just is, it is neutral, there is no absolute. That friend may desire to experience pain, suffering, or feeling a depressing lack of power over his life. Maybe he needs to learn a lesson from the experience, maybe the consequences of not taking actions so that he can really appreciate when he finally does.

Once again, it’s not yours to judge, your only job is to react to what people are expressing. They live for music, give them music, they live for love, give them love, they live for lack of money, give them more lack.

The Law of Attraction says that you attract what you focus on. And it makes sense. Everything is energy, and everything is neutral. You can choose to experience whatever you want. Your means of signaling the Universe (not only God, but also your family and friends) what you want is how you live your life. By focusing on NOT something, you bring up the same energy (and mental concept) as when you focus on that thing. Whether you actually want it or not is irrelevant. By maintaining active the mental construct of that situation, you attract it into your life.

Take the role of an external objective (and completely neutral) observer, what would the observer say you live for? Is it close to what you want your life to be about? If not, how can you change your life to align the observer’s vision to your purpose?

Your life is your greatest act of creation, and each day, you get to paint a few more strokes. So, what do you live really for?