“I had no idea that being your authentic self could make me as rich as I’ve become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.”
In this episode you’re going to realize we all are short of our ultimate selves, but the very best thing we can do is to be honest and authentic with those around us. Our weaknesses gain strength when we shroud them in secrecy.
NOTE: I’m taking a very brief detour from my series “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself” in order to share with you about a struggle I’ve dealt with over the past few weeks and to explore what I discovered from this situation. I will return to the series in the next episode.
Am I A Fraud?
So many people look to me as a leader in the area of mindset, self-discpline, productivity and personal development. Heck, the very name of my podcast is The Mental Mastery Moment. You’d think the host had mastered his mindset, wouldn’t you?
So how did I end up in a mental “funk” completely void of any ambition or desire to do what I absolutely love doing, encouraging you to be the best you can be in life? How does this change my credibility and does this mean I should just shut down the podcast and go back to quietly learning and growing without sharing?
Let’s start with what happened to me about three weeks ago
Rider Lawn Mowers are VERY Heavy
I love living in South Florida with all of the wonderful tropical life we get to enjoy, but that means we need to experience a good amount of rain to keep everything alive and growing. My house sits on a two and half acre lush tropical lot and I love sitting on my patio (screened from the other abundant life we have here, bugs) and just looking out at how beautiful and green everything looks.
Of course, along with all this wonderful greenery comes a lot of upkeep, which I actually enjoy as well. In fact, I look forward to the three hours it takes me each week to mow all the grass on our property. I see it as an opportunity to just go off by myself and engage in some self-talk, exploring what’s happening in my head. Sometimes I’ll even put on my headphones and fire up Pandora.
We had so much rain over the past couple month, my grass was always wet and not in the best shape for cutting. Finally, one Saturday, about three weeks ago, I saw a break in the wet weather and got out to mow. Unfortunately, even though the grass wasn’t wet, the ground still was and I soon found myself spinning my tires back and forth trying to get out. I was stuck. No big deal, it had happened before and a neighbor helped me move the mower so I could get going again. I figure, I’ll try it myself…
I was bent down with my hands under the mower and I tried to lift it slightly and move it to the side a bit. OUCH! That’s when I felt a strange sensation in the lower left side of my back. It felt like a balloon being blown up and I had a feeling something wasn’t right. As soon as I went to stand up, I knew something wasn’t right. I did something horrible to my back.
To cut to the chase, I ruptured a disc in my back and I was down and down hard. Unfortunately, it hurt to be down, in fact, I couldn’t lay down at all without experiencing an extreme amount of pain. I couldn’t stand upright without even more pain, so I walked hunched over. I couldn’t sit down without leaning forward and this still brought great pain. Laying down probably hurt the most, which left me without any other position to assume. Frustrating, to say the least.
People Who Run the Fastest, Endure Standing Still the Least
I’ve heard stories about elite athlete who go into a state of depression shortly after a major accomplishment such as receiving a Gold Medal or winning a world championship. They’re so used to running and chasing after something, once they’ve caught it, they lose their sense of self-worth and find life has nothing to offer them.
This same thing happens to business owners who are forced to shut down their operations. They suddenly have nothing left to live for and they go into a funk. Even parents experience something similar when their kids grow up and move out on their own. They’re left wondering what purpose they have and if there’s anything they can offer the world around them.
I Quickly Lost My Value
The first couple of days, I fully expected to be down and unable to do a lot, so I didn’t get too bothered. But, by the third and fourth day, I experienced something strange; I started to ignore what I needed to do because thinking about it only frustrated me. I wouldn’t even open Twitter on my phone (something I certainly could do in spite of the pain). I avoided my email application because I knew I’d have to see the needs of others, I’m not able to address.
Subconsciously I bought into the very debilitating mindset of “If I can’t do it to the level I want, I won’t do it at all.” This is something people deal with even when they’re not struggling through an injury. It may be finances, time commitments, family issues, or something else. Some struggle with this when it comes to diet and exercise. They believe, if they can’t do it without a single flaw, they don’t even want to try.
I felt like a complete fraud. Here I was teaching people how to be their best and I couldn’t even get myself to do the bare minimum of what I needed to do. I was a fake and a phoney and I didn’t deserve to have anyone ever give me even a moment of their attention. I kept telling myself this over and over, but never wanting anyone to find out this is how I was feeling.
Shine Light on Your Weaknesses
I knew I had to do something to change my course and I had to do that rather abruptly. That’s when I decided I was going to confess my feelings to others. I started with my wife, which really wasn’t took difficult, after all, we’ve been married for over 25 years and she knows every single one of my faults, including the ones to which I won’t admit. Haha.
Real growth came when I started to share with my peers. This is when the burden of secrecy was lifted off of me and I could breath again. That’s what secrecy does to us, it burdens us and smothers us, keeping us from feeling free.
As soon as I told people, my mindset shifted. It wasn’t a complete shift, but I felt it change. I knew I was doing the right thing and I knew I had to continue down that road. That’s when I went onto the P Desmond Adams Facebook page and shared with you there. I knew I was going to need to share this in podcast episode because I think there is so much I realized and learned, I’d be selfish if I didn’t share it in an effort to protect my own image.
Get Intentional About the Next Step
Even though I was still struggling with pain and the reality that I couldn’t run after my goals at the same pace, I looked for small opportunities to improve and move forward. I picked up a couple of books I hadn’t read in a while and started to put in more good information to encourage myself. I went to some of my favorite podcasts and let them speak to me.
Don’t lay dormant and assume you’ll bounce back at some point. The odds of that happening are very slim, without you putting in the effort to do so. Just like your muscles can atrophy, your mental strength can go through the same thing. You have to do whatever you can do, regardless of how small or insignificant it can seem.
What Happened When I Tried to Meditate
I think meditation is one of the most people tools we have in this world. It’s what connects us to the Infinite creative force in the Universe. Even though I struggled through the meditation, with this constant throbbing pain in my leg demanding my minds attention, I feel it was beneficial. Meditation is about taking yourself inward to a place you normally don’t reside, but it’s also about taking control of your mind and training it to remain focused.
I pulled up my Omharmonics and focused on my breathing (ouch, my leg is throbbing). Darn it, I couldn’t focus. I tried it again: Breath in through my nose, out through me mou… Oh geez, my leg is killing me. I tried again, intentionally relaxing my shoulders, chest and hips, as I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth. Ouch, I couldn’t stay focused for me than about 20 seconds.
I sat there frustrated, but then it dawned on me, meditation exercises our mind to remain focused and that’s exactly what I did. Sure, I only remained focused for about 20 seconds, but for that brief moment, my mind was learning how to overlook the pain and focus. This actually was a success for me, even though it didn’t hit the standard I expected for myself.
How to Take Action
Maybe you’re dealing with something similar right now. You’ve lost a job or you’re going through a horrible break-up and beginning to question your value. You’re so preoccupied with this debate in your mind, you’re not moving in any direction. You’re just stagnant, hoping something will change. It won’t.
Lay out some BABY steps for yourself. Read a book and learn something new or take up a creative hobby just for fun. Do something to put your mind back into engaged action. Spend some time in meditation even if it’s just for little 20 seconds bursts like I was able to do.
It’s critical you don’t create a huge mental hurdle for yourself. Don’t think about all those massive goals you had before, just focus on one small tiny thing you can do right now. Maybe it’s reading 5 pages in a great self-help books, or watching a Ted video on overcoming struggles. Do something that doesn’t take much energy and build upon that. You’ll gain strength through that small action and the next one will be even bigger.