In 13 days, I’ll celebrate my one-year entrepreneur-a-versary.
I am really, stupendously, riotously proud of myself.
My business is bangin’, my clients are beyond compare, and the personal transformations I’ve rollicked through over the past 12 months have been nothing short of astounding. Growth, baby. Lessons. Vision. Fantasies = enacted. Income = tripled (hey there, Recession. How’s it hanging?). And a plan for the future that aligns with my true strengths.
I didn’t always feel like this.
In fact, 15 months ago (and change) I was one sick, sad puppy. I’d handed in my 9-to-5 notice, and knew my bi-weekly paycheck had a termination date. I had a couple months of savings in the bank, a vague vision for a personal branding business, a few small freelance projects on the docket … and an overbearing sense of impending doom. Well, not quite true. I had no doubt that I’d succeed — at whatever the heck I was doing — eventually. But I knew that the immediate future would be bleak. Like, sobbing-in-the-ladies-bathroom-stealing-free-pizza-from-the-lunch-room-maxing-out-my-credit-cards bleak. And I was committed to the temporary bleakness. I believed — with all my heart — that it was the awkward birth canal to freedom.
Now, a life lived ferociously is bound to include more than a few awkward birth canals. Grotesque break-ups. Nasty business splits. Clients that go A.W.O.L. “Brilliant” choices that bomb. Bad hair. Despair. And every degree of misery in between.
My approach? When life sucks, don’t pretend that it doesn’t — but make sure the suckiness has a limited shelf life. And while you’re crawling towards the shiny neon light at the end of the disco tunnel, LIVE a little, for heaven’s sake. ‘Cause it’s universally impossible for everything to suck. Somewhere, somehow, someone is grinning. So there.
33 Ways To Survive When Everything Sucks
Get (playfully) dismal. Write down your worst-case scenario. And revel in it.
Get some healthy perspective. (Helloo, Japan. And helloo to you, too, New Zealand.)
Rally the troops. Who are your FUCK YEAH friends? Who are your True Believers? Tell them what you’re up to, and get some rah-rah coffee dates on the books.
Go slow. Protect your sanity. Slow down to a snail’s pace. Slash every non-urgent to-do off your list. Empty your calendar.
Take an email hiatus. Drop offline. We’ll miss you, but we’ll be waiting with high-fives when you get back.
Symbols & tokens. Would a heart-shaped moonstone serve as a visual reminder to speak with compassion? Would a sapphire engagement ring remind you of your commitment to radical self-love? Would a miniature light saber on your desk inspire you to use the force, Luke? Select a sacred image or item that confirms your commitment to possibility. Hold it. Wear it. Keep it close.
Traditions & Rituals. Rowdy transitions, funks & slumps are a swell time to forge new traditions & rituals. How ’bout a 1-woman Sunday Night book club? Or a nightly 5-minute Gregorian chant break?
Alternative enhancement. If circumstances beyond your control make it impossible to move from the city you loathe, or quit the job you detest, or launch the website you want — right this second — focus on alternative enhancement. Experiment with raw food. Master the art of calligraphy. Learn an impressive parlor trick. Pour your energy into a sector of your life that you CAN enhance, and let the positive rush of achievement flood the rest of your universe.
School yourself. High-impact education is so readily available, it’s staggering. Buying a Mac computer? For $99, you’re entitled to free 1-on-1 training at your local Apple store–for a year. Master iMovie, Garageband, Pages, and every other app under the Mactastic sun. Or see if your city has an Experimental College, where anyone can take — or teach — free classes. No EXCO in your ‘hood? Start one, professor.
Start hanging with your heroes. Who do you think is crazy-sexy-cool? Start popping up in their sight line. Leave a comment.
Take a course. Write a testimonial. Make a date.
Ramp up the gratitude. Write long-overdue (or better yet, pre-emptive) thank you notes.
Dangle a carrot. Right now, I’m dangling a media-free trip to Scotland (summer 2012, baby!) in front of my nose. In times of duress, I repeat my 3-word mantra: “Glasgow. Unplug. Gaelic.”
Write a letter to your future-self. Tuck it at the back of your Filofax. And do not open till Christmas.
Buy some glittery eyeliner. Ladies, this applies to you, too.
Enforce a mandatory disco break. During my final weeks of 9-to-5-ing, I blasted Tina Turner through my headphones from dawn till dusk. And occasionally, I “treated” my co-workers to some hot cubicle krumping action. (I didn’t get fired. It was too late for that.)
Clear your calendar, in the name of self-care. Do you really wanna go to that potluck? Maybe you just want to sleep. And maybe you should.
Get a penpal. Or! Take a cue from my brilliant sister-in-law Marisa Kuney and get yourself a snackpal. She and her bestie send parcels of gourmet treats (like luxury popcorn and burnt caramel sauce) to one another. Nothing like the prospect of edible treats in the mail to brighten your mood!
Check in with an old mentor. Get some guru-on-the-mountain time.
Write a fan letter. Or! Record a quick message and attach the mp3 to an email. It’s a fan letter … made audible!
Indulge in a heady, senseless crush. Need I go on … ?
Get witchy with it. Whether or not you “believe” in astrology, Tarot, runes or auras is beside the point. Being witnessed by a master intuitive is a powerful experience. Witchy men (and women) have a gift for seeing patterns (and solutions) that elude us, in times of stress.
Go on a money-saving bender. My BFF and I cheekily refer to this as the Austerity Program (or AP, for short). Can you use everything in your fridge, like an Iron Chef, before heading to the grocery store? Can you read every book on your shelf, before buying a new DVD set? Can you refrain from buying ANYTHING for a year, like Shopaholly?
Try lucid dreaming. And keep a dream journal.
Leetle treats. Create a weekly treat-budget — $5, $25 or $50 — and spend it on things (or better yet — experiences) that make you smile. Luxury donuts. ’80s movies. Shiny baubles. Museum passes.
Trip out on textiles. Take pleasure in simple, animal pleasures. DAMN that faux-fur pillowcase feels goooood! Holy SNAP those flannel sheets are niiiiiice!
Write yourself a new job title. Maybe you’re a “Group Wrangler & Functional Muse” (like Dyana Valentine). Or maybe you’re an “Interface Radical” (like Amy Hoy). Or an “International Playgirl” (like Gala Darling).
Get carded. Between jobs / genders / vocational identities? Get some personal calling cards printed by Moo. No job title or office line required. Just your name (or a nom de plume) and an email address or phone number. Et voilà!
Redesign your morning routine. Regardless of whether you’re a crack-of-dawn-er or a sleep-till-noon-er, the first hour of your day sets the tone for the rest of your rambles. Goddess Leonie’s How To Be A Morning Goddess e-book is a fun romp through 20 women’s morning routines, including Gwen Bell, SARK, and, uh, me.
Drink sparkling San Pelligrino H2O straight from the bottle, and pretend you’re a EuroTrash hobo.
Watch Leonard Cohen: Live in London. Start to finish. Sob. Rewind. Again.
You’re gonna be fine, kiddo.