Posts Tagged ‘stress’

IMG_7618.JPG4 years ago I made the decision that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired being a Negative Nancy and being down in the dumps constantly. 6 months of a deep depression where I had lost almost 70 pounds due to stress and anxiety, unable to complete sentences because my mind would not allow me to choose the right words in fear of saying something wrong, weeks upon weeks of insomnia in which even if I was able to fall asleep, I’d wake up in the middle of the night with sweat-soaked pillows….a point in my life I wouldn’t wish upon ANYBODY, but I know people who are in my life currently are at.

What I realized that day was that I had not only the ability to choose thoughts that empowered me, but the responsibility to do so….not only for myself, but for people in my life that DEPENDED on me. In a world that pumps us full of negative information from the TV, the Internet, the radio, the check-out lane gossip magazines to the people in our lives that thrive on neighborhood gossip…I CHOSE to inoculate myself with the teachings of Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar….and I still have the bookmark folder on my internet browser I titled “cognitive development” to prove and remind me of it. I chose not to live being dependent on anti-depressants or anti-anxiety pills for the rest of my life….and instead chose to take full responsibility for my life and the happenings in it and chose to be bigger than my problems by RE-WIRING and RE-TRAINING my brain. Personal development is the exercise your brain needs…just like those squats you do for your butt. No personal development and your brain atrophies.

Worry is a useless emotion…once you understand just what it is. If you’re going to THINK about a future event, you might as well think positively about it and fill that time reading or listening to things that empower you…not by listening to the voice in your head that continues to scare you.

My Christmas wish is for everyone who is currently suffering from depression to take steps to start to re-train their brain. Your past does not equal the future….and nobody’s opinion of you equals your reality. Each and every one of us has the ability to make today the first day of the rest of our life….and make it the BEST of our life.

God bless.

20140622-153922-56362590.jpgYou know what I’m talking about. Your friends post constantly, like clockwork, each and every Sunday night about it. The old “back to reality” in the morning. Mine was so bad when four years ago when I worked as a software sales manager that it started right when I left the office on Friday night; because I knew, like clockwork, as sure as the sky was blue, that the Monday morning alarm clock would be going off again…signaling the beginning of a long, stressful work week.

If you love your job these days, you’re lucky. Most these days aren’t in your position. A lot of people are working at jobs that they are clearly overqualified for and underpaid. A ton more actually love their job but despise the fact that they are financially shackled to it. Meaning…if disaster were to strike, if tragedy were to present themselves, they’d have no other way to support themselves and their family. Because they know of no other way to do that, they continue on doing the only thing they know.

That’s exactly where I was four years ago this month. June of 2010 was when the decline of my job and the increase of the unhappiness set in. I began questioning if my hard work and the stress was worth it. Sure, I made money, but more time and effort were demanded of me in return for less and less money. This is when I had my first thoughts of leaving. But because I knew of no other way…I stayed.

What happens when we love our jobs but begin experiencing this type of resentment for it is because we realize that we’d rather be doing something ELSE with our TIME. Whether it be spending more time with our family, spending time on vacation, seeing the world, giving back more to the community, whatever our dreams may be….we’d rather be doing THAT than exchanging time in our life for dollars in our wallet. But because we stay so busy with our JOBS, we hardly have any time to devote to our DREAMS.

I believe that God out dreams in our heart not to torment us, but for us to have at least one bit of intrinsic motivation to go for them. For us to have some type of gauge to let us know – and that gauge most often shows us through depression, unhappiness, uneasiness, stress – that what we’re doing isn’t bringing us any closer to what we want.

How would it feel for you to not have to wake up to an alarm each Monday morning? To still be able to provide whole-heartedly for your family, not just financially, but with the most important currency there is, TIME? To be able to serve others, something that most of us are conditioned not to do because we’re so worried about taking care of ourselves first?

Whatever it is you want to do, take a step towards it. Don’t wait. Take steps TODAY. Like Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” MLK once said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

If you are currently looking and are open to a concept that will get you not only in the right direction, but to your destination, click on the “Work With Rich” tab above.

depressedAt times, we may get into a state where we just feel stuck. A state where no matter how positive our outlook is, the blows keep on coming. It can get exhausting. The truth is, none of us are immune from problems. Life happens to everyone, it’s how we react to life that will determine the quality of it. Easier said than done, I know. Car break down at the most inopportune time? You’re working overtime busting your butt trying to pay the bills but they don’t seem like they’re going anywhere, possibly even getting worse? It’s easy to want to feel like no matter what you do, it’s not worth it.

This post is not to cram some positive thinking hodge podge down your throat. I’m not going to do that because I know that no matter what I say to you about telling you to do something or to think something, it’s not going to work. I will however challenge you to think differently. I will challenge you to think about the process, the process moving from a current struggle in your life THROUGH it to where you want to be. It’s to get you UN-STUCK.

So why do some people achieve success and why do others seem to get stuck? Why do some people quit trying to achieve a goal while others achieve them so easily? Why do people quit in the face of adversity? The number one reason why people quit doing the things they want is simply because they fear being uncomfortable. They don’t understand that there is going to be some sweat equity involved. They don’t understand that in order to have something you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done. Most people are simply afraid to step out of their comfort zone. Also, successful people (I’m referring to successful people as those that have achieved what they’ve set out to) have adopted a framework, a process that makes the goal real and achievable.

Loving-Couple-Photography-19The first thing you can do is to create a compelling future for the thing that you want to do. This is simply a reason, a feeling that is generated by the action that you want to create. This should be a statement that actually draws you TOWARDS the goal, not keeps you where you’re at. If you want to lose weight you shouldn’t say, “I want to lose weight because I’m fat.” Can you feel how big of a drag that is? There’s no compelling future there, only a compelling thought that you want to go plant your ass back on the couch! Instead, ask yourself how would it feel for you to lose weight? What would it look like to you? How would your spouse feel about you losing weight? How would you feel about the way your spouse feels about you losing weight? Would you feel happy? Would you feel more energetic? Would you be more hopeful? See how this creates positive emotion inside you and how it generates excitement for you to act? A lot different than the opposite, right?

Secondly, MATCH AND MODEL. Find the tools that will get you to where you want to go. Seek advice from people who have done what you want to do. If you want to lose weight, obviously you’d want to get a gym membership and maybe even enlist the help of a personal trainer…at the very least, learn different exercises and how the machines work, talk to a nutritionist and learn about what to eat and what to stay away from. Find people who have done what you want to do and do what they’ve done. Now, if the personal trainer and the nutritionist are overweight and out of shape, should you listen to them? Probably not!!! If you want advice about how to have a healthy relationship, should you take advice from people who have had multiple divorces? Probably not! Find someone that has what you want. Find out WHAT they did to achieve those results. Do EXACTLY what they did to get those results, and guess what. You’ll achieve the very same results. This example may be a little outdated since most refrigerators these days come standard with ice-makers, but we all remember filling up ice cube trays and throwing them in the freezer, right? Think about how UNCONSCIOUS we were at doing that. Did we ever stop and think one time, “I dunno…maybe this time it may not work…” NO! Of course not! A long time ago, someone discovered that if you have temperatures that are less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit, you can create ice cubes by putting water in this little plastic contraption with little dividers in it that look like squares!

There is one more aspect, and that is the freedom of, or acting despite inner conflict. If you have a compelling future, if you have the tools and have found who to match and model, but you don’t believe you deserve the success you may achieve, do you think you’ll be motivated to achieve it? If you have a compelling future and have the tools and found someone to match and model, but you still don’t believe you can achieve it, do you think you will? Probably not. It is ESSENTIAL for one to be free of personal conflict. You must believe you deserve and you must believe that you can. OR, find a mentor, a close friend that will push you so that you can borrow THEIR belief in you until you develop it yourself. This is acting despite inner conflict. Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” Back to the compelling future! Is your goal more important that the pain you may experience or the fear that you’re experiencing now? It should be. There may be other inner conflicts one may experience as well. This could be resentment of others, regret for past actions/choices, guilt for previous actions/choices, among others. I’ll agree with you…just those three last conflicts I listed are tough to overcome. They require deep soul-searching. The good news is that you can DECIDE to live your life differently starting TODAY that you have up until now. YOUR PAST DOES NOT DICTATE YOUR FUTURE.

I’m a Christian. I’m not here to push my beliefs on you, but it’s where I draw a considerable amount of my strength from. My beliefs are my beliefs. I believe that we were created in God’s image. I believe that we were created with greatness and we all have God-given abilities to do anything we want to do. Its just up to us to learn where to find them and how to use them. I also believe that God wants us to live in abundance. Not just in terms of abundance of money, but abundance of health, abundance of love, abundance of friendships, abundance of DREAMS! I believe that God put dreams in our heart not to torment us, but so that we pursue them! Our dreams are most often our purpose! A lot of people will say that what they have currently in their life is good enough. It could be a great marriage, healthy children, a secure job…that’s all fine. That’s okay. But appreciation for what you have is different than a dream that is untapped. Remember when you were a child, an adolescent. We all spoke with conviction about how we thought our lives would look like later in life. We were CERTAIN. Remember it. What did you tell your parents your life would look like? What did you tell your friends you would be doing? Is that the way life is looking for you currently? Most often with most people it isn’t. This creates an inner conflict. Achievement of our dreams is where one finds personal fulfillment. Pursuing your dream gives others permission to achieve theirs! One of the greatest speakers of our time Mr. Les Brown once said, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.” You’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve when you act with faith, belief, and conviction of your dreams.

“The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t are both right. Which one are you?” – Henry Ford

If you are currently seeking answers, if you are currently looking for a way for you to get “un-stuck” via a proven system for success, please read my story about how I turned my Mess Into A Message.

In a follow up to my last post, I stumbled upon one of my favorite discussions of Les Brown. I had first seen this over a year ago.

We all may not know what we want to do in life, what our goals are, what are dreams are….but we all know when we get that icky feeling deep down inside when we’re doing something that we KNOW isn’t what we want to do. In this video, Les talks about how we need to stop playing it safe. He says, “If you go through life being casual, you’ll end up a casuality.” You see, my passion in life has sprung out of the lowest low of my life. I know first hand what work-related stress can do to someone physically and mentally. Stress is the number one cause for heart disease, which in fact, is the number one cause of death amongst Americans today. Life is too short to creep through life…find your passion and pursue it wholeheartedly. It can actually EXTEND your life.

“The majority of people suffer their first major heart attack on Monday morning, between 8 am and 9 am, people getting ready to go to jobs that they don’t like. Jobs that are making them sick. You see, when you’re not pursuing your goal, you are literally comitting spiritual suicide. When you have some goal out here that you’re stretching for and reaching for that takes you out of your comfort zone, you’ll find out some talents and abilities that you didn’t know you had!” -Les Brown

From 20SomethingFinance:

We, as Americans, work too many hours. If you don’t believe so, check out the following data points that compare us to our peers around the world.

American Work-Life Balance
■According to the Center for American Progress on the topic of work and family life balance, “in 1960, only 20 percent of mothers worked. Today, 70 percent of American children live in households where all adults are employed.” I don’t care who stays home and who works in terms of gender (work opportunity equality for all – it’s a family choice). Either way, when all adults are working (single or with a partner), that’s a huge hit to the American family and free-time in the American household.
■The U.S. is the ONLY country in the Americas without a national paid parental leave benefit. The average is over 12 weeks of paid leave anywhere other than Europe and over 20 weeks in Europe.
■Zero industrialized nations are without a mandatory option for new parents to take parental leave. That is, except for the United States.

American Average Work Hours:
■At least 134 countries have laws setting the maximum length of the work week; the U.S. does not.


In the U.S., 85.8 percent of males and 66.5 percent of females work more than 40 hours per week.

■According to the ILO, “Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers.”
■Using data by the U.S. BLS, the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950. One way to look at that is that it should only take one-quarter the work hours, or 11 hours per week, to afford the same standard of living as a worker in 1950 (or our standard of living should be 4 times higher). Is that the case? Obviously not. Someone is profiting, it’s just not the average American worker.

American Paid Vacation Time & Sick Time:
■There is not a federal law requiring paid sick days in the United States.
■The U.S. remains the only industrialized country in the world that has no legally mandated annual leave.
■In every country included except Canada and Japan (and the U.S., which averages 13 days/per year), workers get at least 20 paid vacation days. In France and Finland, they get 30 – an entire month off, paid, every year.
■Then there’s this depressing graph on average paid vacation time in industrialized countries:

The Impact of Too Much Work

I’m not telling you to work less hours. If you genuinely love what you do and are doing it for the right reasons, you are more than entitled to spend all of your waking hours plugging away.

But for many of us, more work leads to more stress and a lower quality of life. Without time to unwind, take care of your home, spend time with loved ones, enjoy our hobbies, connect with friends, and generally live a more balance life. Stress is the #1 cause of health problems – mentally and physically. And there are few things that stress us out on a consistent basis like work does, especially when it takes away from all of the other things that life has to offer.

Americans are the Outliers

And if all of this data tells anything, it’s that we are the outliers, not the norm. Why are we the outliers?
■Our companies fairly ruthlessly let people go. We want to keep our jobs and not be a ‘low performer’ compared to others.
■The decline of the union has led to less paid time off and other leave benefits.
■Cultural value of money over everything else. We love money, we want more of it, and we think money can buy happiness. And the more we work, the more we get paid.
■It’s been drilled in our heads that we are lazy compared to emerging market counterpart workers in India, Mexico, China, and other parts of Asia. Who isn’t? And what is our mental image of the work environments in those locales? To validate those fears, our jobs are being outsourced to the cheap labor in those countries. In reality, the U.S. is still the world leader in productivity per person.
■Our legislative branch of the government (on both sides of the aisle) has been bought and as a result has shied away from passing laws that protect workers that every other industrialized nation has passed.
■We generally don’t fight for our working rights. We take what is given to us.

What we All Need to Remember

What we all need to remind ourselves is that it doesn’t have to be this way.
■It’s OK to ask to move to fewer hours at work.
■It’s OK to take a week-long vacation if we need to. (Book your vacation at High Five Travel!!!
■It’s OK to ask to work from home.
■It’s OK to take a month of unpaid leave while you raise a child.
■It’s OK… you get the idea.

Don’t let life pass you by in the name of fear, circumstance, greed, or misguided hopes. Sometimes you just need to draw a line in the sand and say “enough is enough”.