You will find no satire in this post, nor will you find any marketing knowledge. All you will find is an expression of gratitude for life itself.
I am going to author this blog post, but it will be penned reluctantly.
The reluctantly part stems from the fact that as of this writing, I feel like a hypocrite. I want to inspire people to see the joys of the world, and lead them towards a finish line that is full of excitements, riches and an abundance of self celebration! But I’m not sure if what I am writing is factual, or merely a chemical reaction due to the fact that I am taking an anti-depressant.
I’ve been taking “happy pills” for the better part of six months now. My choice to become medicated was made for me the day I started experiencing thoughts of suicide.
I was in a rut. My life changed the day that I decided to separate from the military, and leave the comfortable lifestyle which I had known for over a decade. As much as I lusted after my impending freedom, I knew that my new life as a civilian would be chock full of lessons and hardships. And for a person whom I like to dub as “unemployable” it was even more arduous and unrelenting. You see, I don’t do well with direction. I’ve always had this out of reach itch to be my own boss. Every job that I held prior to joining the military, would last a maximum of six months before I would either get myself fired or flat-out quit. I grew tired of the grind that would ultimately lead me nowhere. I always took pride in the fact that I adopted new skills quickly, and once I felt I had mastered an assigned task, I would sabotage any chance of success because I couldn’t see myself doing that job long-term.
That’s why I punched out of the military after over a decade of honorable service. I just couldn’t be the #3 or #2 guy on the totem pole.
I needed to be in charge!
So after enjoying one short-lived employment opportunity as a civilian, I decided to start-up Bent Business Marketing. Talk about a risky move! I had a wife, two children, a yellow lab named Danni, and a crap ton of bills.
Was I insane?
I would be lying if the thought didn’t cross my mind a few times. Especially, after everyone felt compelled to express their concern for my lack of recognition for my “husbandly duties.” For awhile, I listened to the naysayers, and I contemplated quitting several times. When the money wasn’t rolling in, and we were receiving state aid, I began to view myself as a failure. Despite all of the encouragement I was receiving from my wife, I drifted into a dark hole filled with nothing but self-doubt.
That’s when I thought it was time to end it all. Not just my dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur, but my entire life on this planet we call Earth.
I had hit rock bottom. My wife recognized my transformation, and was smart enough to force it into conversation. As much as I wanted to push her away, and take my own advice, I chose to yield to her wishes, and sought out help from a professional. They put me on a low dose anti-depressant. At first, I didn’t notice a change, and my life seemed to be careening out of control at the same rate it was the week prior.
But then everything started to slow down. And during this downshift, I was able to refocus my thoughts towards the things in life which made me happy.
Now I will be honest…
I DID NOT TRUST MYSELF TO BE HAPPY.
Similar to how one reacts after their home is broken into, I took extra precautions to safeguard this newly found feeling of happiness.
#1 Surround Yourself With Positive People
If your best friend has a crappy attitude, be sure to tell him or her to leave you alone for a while. It could be your brother, sister, mother or father, but the best thing you can do, is distance yourself from the “Debbie Downers,” and intentionally surround yourself with the most outrageously positive people you know. I strategically placed this step in the #1 position, because, in my opinion, nothing will drag you down faster than bad company.
No pill in the world can change your surroundings! That task rest solely upon your shoulders.
#2 Avoid Watching the News
This step usually receives some harsh criticism, but in today’s world, bad news sells! Similar to today’s events, April 15th 2013, when several explosions occurred along the finish line during the Boston Marathon, the television will be full of nothing but sadness, anger and frustration. If you are already battling those thoughts, why submit yourself to an additional two-dimensional onslaught! It’s great to stay abreast on current events, but you are in control of your life, and right now, you need to keep your eyes on the road.
#3 Force Yourself to Learn Something New
A skill, hobby, instrument, whatever, but make sure it’s something you’ve never done before. I don’t want you to be a novice from the start! This needs to be an act that is complete alien to your abilities. For me, it was going to church. This is not a message for you to start attending Sunday service, but I found the concept of going to church terrifying! I was not raised in a family which attended services regularly, and due to some troubling experiences with death at a young age, I never really grasped the whole idea that I was being watched over. So that was how I challenged myself. I focused on maximizing the most of my time, and after noticing how happy it had made my wife, I was rewarded in abundance 😉
#4 Make A Scene and Stand-out In the Crowd
I’m not talking about throwing a fit because your wife said no to a trip down to the IMAX theater on opening night of Iron Man 3 (which will be awesome!), I’m talking about becoming the tolerable life of the party! I say tolerable, because there is a huge difference between the guy that acts a fool, and the guy that just wants everyone to enjoy themselves and loosen up. If you’ve ever attended an event where I am present, you will notice quickly that I’m usually not hard to find. I love to yell, give high-fives and hoot and howl when someone is recognized for their outstanding achievements. You see that effort works in two ways, it allows me to calm down and relax, but also gets me noticed. For a guy in the business of marketing, it’s always a great idea to be quickly noticed!
So I want you all to “chillax!” Have fun with life and enjoy your surroundings.
#5 Strive to Help Others Before Helping Yourself
You can have anything in the world you want if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar
Good ole` Zig knew what he was talking about! Nothing will inject a stronger sense of accomplishment than performing a selfless act that betters the life of someone other than your self. I started actively looking for ways I could help people. And since then, I’ve been overwhelmed by the sheer abundance of positive and unforeseen occurrences in my life! Because of my desire to help people out, I’ve been giving away my closely guarded marketing secrets in the side aisles of Hy-Vee, and others have been sure to tell me to tighten my lip, and strive for a paycheck. But here’s how I see it: three-quarters of the stuff I’m telling people will not be remembered when they sit down to implant my tactics. And if they do recall that last 25%, and they take action to better their business, well then, that’s just plain awesome!
I’m not concerned about my cut. That will surface when I need it most. But in the meantime, I’m going to be smiling from ear to ear when I run into that persona again along the produce aisle, and they excitedly tell me how they’ve noticed a difference in their business after performing my suggested strategies.
And that makes me happy.
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I can express myself whenever I feel the need.
You can too! ~Andy
photo credit: tastygoldfish via photopin ccphoto credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc