By Casey Grey
Everyday we are bombarded with "other people" doing " better and more interesting" stuff than us.
We see pictures and videos of people flexing their muscles, showing off their bodies, going on exciting adventures, laying by the beach, driving expensive cars, wearing the best clothing, having fun with their friends and family and so forth.
Everybody is living a better life than us...
So it seems...
I can't speak for others but I will speak for myself.
Life is fucking hard.
It's a rollercoaster of ups and downs, twists and turns and loop-the-loops and it breaks down often unless it's maintained properly...
I often have days where I question myself and what I'm doing. I wonder what it's all for. If the pain is worth it.
And I always come back around to YES.
Here's the thing. I'm not afraid of hard. I welcome it. I enjoy the challenge. Nobody ever talks about the easy times, we talk about the hard times. The hard times shape us into who we are. We grow from them. We learn from them. We are who we are because of them.
Life is not about getting rid of the hard times. It's about embracing them.
One of the most powerful things I do to help with this (the maintenance of the rollercoaster) is meditation.
Am I an expert in meditation? No. However I have personally experienced the power of taking time for myself to just sit and be with my thoughts.
This is one of the reasons I was so excited to get Jasmine Moore on the Podcast.
Listen to her story of how she went from Science to Bodybuilding to Meditation and Energy Healing. Every single chapter in her life has served her and she pulls from those experiences as she continues along her own life journey.
It's not about getting rid of the chaos. It's about finding the peace within the chaos.
I have a bad habit...
I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew.
I put more food on my plate than I need to eat.
I take on more responsibilities than I "should".
I put more tasks on my plate than I have time for in a day.
I set my goals higher than I usually hit.
I always believe I can do more.
Is that a "bad" habit or is it making me better?
Okay maybe more food than I need could be a bad habit...
For the other items though, is it bad to be striving for more?
Let's say I was at the gym and I set my goal to do 10 reps because I knew I could do it. I would feel good when I hit 10 because I accomplished my goal.
But what if I set my goal at 25? I likely won't hit 25 but I may get to 15. That's a lot better than 10 but I didn't accomplish my goal.
It hurts my ego but makes me stronger.
I'm not sure which option is better, however, I do know we all have more potential within us. We just need to figure out how to release it.
Remember, as Henry Ford was quoted saying:
"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right."
In music, for someone like me who is far from a musician, I mostly listen to the notes.
I listen to the rhythm, the different instruments and the words of the song.
But one of the most powerful things that can happen within a song is a pause.
The pause resets your focus. If you were drifting or losing interest, the pause gets your attention more than any of the notes could have.
Then BOOM! You're back into it and loving it.
In life and in business, we feel that there's more value in the hustle (the notes of the songs) and we forget the power of the pause.
If you think you don't have time to pause, you need the pause more than ever.
If you read yesterday's post, Listen for the Signs, you know I was not feeling that great.
As the morning went on, I felt worse and worse. It was definitely more than just an allergy.
I ended up in bed that afternoon and stayed there until 7:00am this morning.
The one thing I often overlook is sleep. I know it's important but I always push myself beyond the limits.
And then I pay for it...
If you are going to push the limits, be prepared for the potential consequences.
Right now it feels like my head is going to explode.
I'm pretty sure it's a ragweed allergy...
But why do I have the allergy?
Is my body too acidic?
Is the ragweed the tipping point?
It's frustrating because I don't put many acidic things into my body... Coffee is my vice though...
Coffee... Sorry... You have to go this week...
Listen for the signs... Our bodies are always talking to us...
I believe that work/life balance is terrible goal to have.
My life is never balanced nor do I expect it to be.
Some weeks I need to focus more on work.
Some weeks I need to focus more on family.
Some weeks I need to focus more on myself.
They never get my equal attention to be perfectly balanced.
What I do believe in is a quote I recently read in Ray's Dalio's book, Principles: Life and Work.
"Make your passion and your work one and the same and do it with people you want to be with."
It's not about balancing life and work. It's about bringing them together.
Work at a job that you don't like or a job where you don't get along with your co-workers and you'll work more than you'll live (in most cases it's 5 days a week).
Do what you love with people you enjoy being with and you'll never work a day in your life.
Here's something to think about...
If you're working for the weekends, something is wrong.
For myself, I love Mondays!
What if I just accepted where I am right now?
I am married to a beautiful, intelligent woman. Together we have a healthy son. I'm healthy and active. We live in a nice home. I love my work. I have my 1977 Westfalia. I have a pickup truck and a nice car when I need it. I have friends and family who I love and who love me.
Life is great!
The thing is that I know that growth is my top need. I need to see and feel growth in order to be fulfilled.
Or do I?
Maybe I've just been conditioned this way...
Maybe there's a better way to be...
Can I have acceptance and growth at the same time?
If I accept where I am today, does that mean I won't grow tomorrow?
Perhaps the acceptance is part of the growth...
When I accept what is, will that open me up to accept what will be?
I'm willing to find out.
If you've been following my social media lately, you are aware that I have been having issues with my 1977 VW Van. It's been in and out of the shop for the last month.
(I wrote about the last time it went into the shop on my blog post titled Great Customers.)
Yesterday I picked it up for the fourth time and, knock on wood, it's running better than it ever has since I purchased it.
Throughout the last month as people would ask about it, I would let them know it's back in the shop. They would ask what was wrong and I would explain some of the issues I was having. In some cases people would start offering their opinions as to what was wrong with it.
Personally, I love cars but I'm not a mechanic. I don't play one on the internet and I don't pretend to be one in real life. I leave that stuff to the experts.
Construction, I know.
But even within construction, there are many aspects that I don't know to the level of some of the experts I work with.
Electrical, I leave to the electrician.
Plumbing, I leave to the plumber.
HVAC, I leave to the mechanical team.
Engineering, I leave to the engineers.
That being said, I have been building and renovating homes for 16 years now so I know more about all aspects of construction than most. In addition, my team and I have been a part of every single Certified Passive House in Ottawa except for one so we especially know more about building energy efficient homes than most people in the industry let alone the general population.
But, there are still people who believe they know better. People who have done a renovation to one of their houses in the past or people who have helped their dad renovate their home when they were growing up, for example.
Does this mean I won't listen to what they have to say? Absolutely not. I may learn something new. However, the weight their opinion carries over my experience or the opinion from one of my team members or expert sub-trades is much less.
For my van, did I listen to people's opinions as to what they thought the issue was? Sure! But I did not believe their opinion over the opinion of my mechanic who had been working on VW Vans for 35 years.
Everybody has an opinion but not everybody is an expert.
The next time you are looking for an opinion or giving your opinion, remember, there is a difference between an "opinion" and an "expert opinion".
I enjoy puzzles.
I never did many puzzles growing up but my mom would always have a puzzle going on the dining room table. Every morning when I would come down, she would be in the dining room enjoying her coffee and working on her puzzle.
The process is fun. Organizing the pieces, testing pieces, moving pieces, testing again and so forth. It's rewarding when you finally figure it out because you have put so much time into it!
In my mom's case there was likely some frustration as well when she realized that she was missing one piece at the end which was likely hidden somewhere by my brother, Marshall :)
To some extent in can be meditative. Focusing is what meditation helps with and working on puzzles forces you to focus the mind.
Within a business there are many puzzles to be figured out and they are never ending. Marketing is one of them.
(Perhaps this is one of the reasons I enjoy business so much...)
With the internet and all the information out there, online marketing is something that can help your business grow but it's like one of those 5,000 piece puzzles my mom used to work on...
The available platforms and targets are endless. Facebook, instagram, Linkedin and Google are the obvious go-to platforms but which one is best for your business?
Who are you targeting? What is their age? Are they male or female? What are they interested in? Where do they live?
Then, what is your ad like? Do you use a video or a picture? What is the video or picture about? What is the title of the ad? What is the copy of the ad? What goes on the landing page?
This is just the beginning of the puzzle. This is the organization. This is where you figure out what pieces go where. What works and what does not. You test, test and test again until you figure out what gives you the best return.
If people are not clicking, why are they not clicking? Do you have the wrong interests? Or the wrong demographic? Or the wrong location? Perhaps the headline is not getting their attention? Perhaps the pictures or video is not grabbing them?
If people are clicking, why are they clicking? Can we find more people like them?
And when they do click, are they purchasing? If not, why did they stop? They were obviously interested...
As you can see, this is no simple task (and perhaps less meditative than the puzzle I mentioned earlier...)
We think that we can run our own ad campaign so we put something together with no real thought, choose some options that we "think" will work and then spend a few bucks. Then we wonder why we didn't sell anything and we say "online marketing does not work!"
Personally, I see value in online marketing (done right) for YOUNION Mediation Studio.
The goal, to get people into the space because I know their lives will be transformed.
By not doing everything we can to get people in the door, we are doing them a disservice.
That is why we brought on Riaz Sidi of Sidi.io to help us.
And that is why we also had to have Riaz on Lean In with Casey Grey to share his story what he's helping us with.
Even if you don't need marketing for anything, Riaz has an exciting story which brought him to where he is today. As a bonus, he's pretty funny too ;)
If you are stressed out about your marketing, your two solutions are here!
YOUNION Mediation Studio and Sidi.io
Have you ever thought about the act of "punishing" somebody?
It may not be something that comes up consciously with adults but it is something that often comes up with kids.
When kids do something "bad" parents feel they need to punish them. They give them a "timeout" or ground them or send them to their room.
When punishing a kid (or anybody for that matter), what is the goal?
The goal is likely to teach them a lesson. But what does that mean? What are you trying to teach them?
You're likely trying to teach them that they should not do that thing they just did which is considered "bad".
The first question that should be asked, however, is "did they know that what they were doing was bad?"
If they did not, then what is punishing them going to teach them?
Perhaps they won't want to tell you things in the future at risk of being punished. Perhaps they'll start hiding things from you. Or perhaps they start doing these things to get reactions out of you just to get your attention.
One thing is for sure, we are not born "bad". We do not come out thinking "I'm going to do bad things in life." We learn our behaviours.
On the other hand, If they did know it was bad, then why did they do it?
Yesterday, my son, Sullivan, was playing outside with a friend as I prepared dinner. They were playing with the hose which I said was okay for them to do.
When I came out into the garage to get Sullivan for dinner, the ceiling was dripping with water...
Needless to say, I was quite upset.
In the past, my temper would have got the best of me. This time, I feel I did pretty good. Yes, I slammed a stool down on the garage floor but after that I got a grip and all these questions started running through my head.
Sullivan had decided that he was going to turn the sprinkler on in the garage. Have I specifically told Sullivan not to put the sprinkler on in the garage? No. But I know he's smarter than this so I dug a little deeper.
Casey: "Sullivan, why did you think it would be a good idea to turn the sprinkler on in the garage?"
Sullivan: "I don't know."
Casey: "Did you think I would be happy about this?"
Casey: "What were you trying to do?"
Sullivan: "I don't know."
Casey: "Were you trying to make your friend laugh?"
Sullivan: "He did laugh."
I almost started to laugh at this response but I'm a parent in this situation and I had to keep my disappointed face on, right?
As we talked through what happened and I asked questions, I could tell that Sullivan was feeling bad about what he did. He said sorry as well as "Daddy, I want to do something for you but I'm not sure what."
So now we come to the punishment stage. Do I give him a timeout or ground him?
I did not do either. The punishment is done. He feels terrible about disappointing daddy.
After dinner, we went out to the garage and we dried everything up and started running fans. Then it was bathtime and there was no argument from Sullivan.
We ended the evening on a good note because going to bed in a shitty state is not good for anybody.
Not only was this a good lesson for Sullivan (ie. don't disrespect other people's property to make people laugh or look cool), it was a good lesson for me.
I felt terrible about making my son feel terrible.
Luckily, I have a very smart wife and she reminded me that it's not our job as parents to take away our kids pain, as much as we want to.
It's our job to teach them. To mold them into the best human beings we possibly can.
When you're a kid, disappointing your parents is a terrible feeling. And Sullivan knew I was disappointed in the decision he made. He learned his lesson.
On the flip side, knowing that your parents are proud of you is an even more powerful feeling. Yes, sometimes our kids "need a lesson".
But more often than not, they just need know their mommy and daddy our proud of them. And I'm definitely proud of my little guy.