You’ve been through this before

If you are going through something difficult in your life know this:


So I thought I’d come out here to the beach today and shoot a spring video. But as you can see it’s snowing not necessarily optimal conditions. But you know what? Life doesn’t always bring you optimal conditions to do what you want to do. That’s why change is hard.

So today I want to ask you a question. When is a time in your life when you’ve done something really difficult but made it through. For example: maybe you finished an educational program, maybe you changed careers, maybe you lost some weight or transformed your body, maybe you left a toxic relationship, maybe you saved some money.

If you’re a certain age, chances are if you look back far enough you will find some examples of times in your life when you rose up and you conquered and you won despite the challenges.

Seventeen years ago I faced what was probably one of the biggest challenges in my life. I quit smoking. I had smoked for 20 years. Blech! I know. GROSS! I can’t imagine this now but it was different times.

I had tried quitting smoking probably 20 times in those 20 years. I’d tried the patch, I’d tried Zyban, I tried hypnosis, I tried cold turkey,. I tried nicotine gum. You name it, I had tried it and nothing had worked. But I did not give up. I failed at quitting: many, many, many times. And I kept quitting.

And eventually, in April 2002, I finally quit smoking for good by joining a 12 step program. And in that program, I got a little coin that said one hour. And this was for the one hour of my first meeting that I hadn’t had any nicotine. And I held on to that because I knew if I could get through that hour I could get through the next hour and I could get through the next hour and I could get through the next hour.

It wasn’t easy. I had cravings. There were situations that I had to change in my life. A lot of feelings came up It was uncomfortable. But 17 years later I’m still not smoking.

And this week, I was able to look back at that because I had to make another tough decision. I had to let someone in my life go that I was feeling addicted to in a not very healthy way at all. And, letting this person go literally brought up cravings just like when I’d quit smoking. I could feel this need for this person coursing through my veins which was a big red flag that they were not a good person for me in the first place.

But the fact that I had quit smoking prior – I looked at this and I said, you know what, if I can quit smoking I can get through anything. I’ve been through this before. I’ve had this challenge before I albeit with a different substance and a different thing. And I got through it. I succeeded. Looking back at my history has given me the confidence to know that I will succeed this time.

So, if you’re going through a tough time in your life and you want to make a change and it’s seeming so insurmountable and so difficult and so challenging, I want you to look back on your life. Because, as my as one of my mentors Jesse Elder says, you have a long history already of winning. You have already overcome and the fact that you’ve overcome and you’ve risen up and you’ve met challenges before in life means that you can do it again. It’s in you to win. It’s in you to succeed.

Not only that: Future You, the you who is going to be you 10,15, five, however long years from now, maybe even one year, maybe a week from now, needs you to go through this now so when they reach a certain challenge they can look back and say “Yah! Current me overcame.”.

So think about what you’re going through. Think about your past. When have you risen up and overcome a challenge? You’re already a winner. All you need to do is step into it, know it, and succeed.


How to go out when you’d rather hibernate

In Toronto, the little lake in front of my apartment building is frozen solid and all I want to do is crawl under the covers with The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina until spring.

It’s easy to slip into a state of inertia when the thermometer dips. 

But, if you, like me, have dreams bigger than finishing a season on Netflix, you’ve got shit to do.

So how do you take action when you’re feeling as motivated on a sloth on its day off?

You make it easier.

Case in point:

Once upon a time, Carla’s passion was salsa dancing. Spinning around the dance floor once a week gave her an energy boost incomparable to anything else.

As she added a husband, a puppy, and a demanding full-time job to her life, however, she stopped going.

Carla wanted to get back into salsa but with the extra burden of putting on mittens, boots and a parka (yes, this can be a legit burden), she was finding it hard to leave the house after dinner.

Carla knew that once she got to the club, she would have a good time.

It was getting out the door that was the issue. 

To make it easier, I suggested that she listen to Latin music and wear her salsa shoes when making supper to trick her body into thinking it was already doing the thing that she loved.

When she tried this, her energy immediately perked up and her motivation to get to the club increased tenfold.

Carla is now practicing salsa once a week again and loving it.

Action, however small, creates momentum.

And momentum creates energy.

Whether your thing is painting or writing or making balloon animals, if you’re feeling unmotivated, do the easiest thing possible – pick up the brush, write a complete sentence, blow up a balloon.

It doesn’t have to be the best brush, the greatest sentence or the most wiener-dog-like balloon in the world.

If your effort is half-assed even better – allow yourself to suck.

Chances are your lame effort at something you enjoy will still seem impressive to people who don’t have your skills.

Any action is better than no action.

If you are fighting the urge to hibernate, ask yourself this:

What tiny step can I take today toward my goal (even if it’s half-assed)?

Make this question consistent, make your answers easy, and take that tiny action.

Before long, your passion will become a habit, your habits will turn to results, and spring will have sprung again.

Are you missing a sunset?

My friend Nuno radiates a quiet assuredness that comes from living in alignment with his gifts.

He is, among other things, a sculptor, illustrator, tai chi instructor, reiki practitioner and a massive fan of strategy games.

Although he currently supports himself with his passions (many of which he describes as his callings), it wasn’t always like that. Over the years, he’s held a variety of odd jobs.

One of those was as a baggage handler at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.

Now, Nuno is not a big, beefy guy. He’s actually fairly small and slender.

For an artistic soul, you might think lifting heavy loads on a noisy tarmac in the hot sun lifting would be Hell. 

Not for my friend. When I asked him how he liked it, he smiled fondly:

“There were the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises! They were amazing.”

It made me wonder:

How many sunsets and sunrises are we missing because we aren’t doing the exact thing we want right now?

How you are on the way there is how you will be when you arrive.

You might not be living the life of your dreams, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t practice being the type of person who is.

If you want to be self-employed, use your day job to master time management.

If you are a writer, notice the characters and stories all around you.

And if you are an artist, look for the sunsets and sunrises.

Just because you aren’t in your ideal environment doesn’t mean you can’t express small parts of who you are now.  

You might have an exit plan.

You might just be thinking about it.

Or maybe you’ve already left.

Regardless, take a look around.

Are your eyes so focused on the pavement that you are missing the gifts that are already all around you?

Nuno saw the sunset in the most unlikely of places. You can too.