It’s Friday night, and I’ve realized what has to go down. It’s taken a few months to get to this point, and finally, the crossroad decision is here in all its glory. To do what I don’t want to do is so very hard. Like all of you reading this, all I want is to be happy.
Sometimes this idealistic concept of happiness has a major kink to it. What I’ve learned is that you still have to keep being happy. Don’t get thrown to the ground so easily and beat up. Then to top it off, don’t then beat yourself up, after you have already copped the beating of your life.
In these moments of chaos, sometimes all you can do is look forward to the sunshine. Picture yourself in your happy place with the one’s you love. If you haven’t met that one special person yet then have faith. Everything happens for a reason.
So when the inevitable meltdown happens, you’re going to have to be bold, stand up tall, and face the challenge head on. You’re going to have to develop a laser like focus and try not to let your emotions get to out of control.
Here are 9 life hacks I use when I face a meltdown:
1. Double your meditation routine (or start)
I’m assuming you are already meditating at least a few minutes a day. If you’re not, then you should use your meltdown as a starting point. Meditation is incredibly useful in dealing with tough moments in your life. When the meltdown happens, you need to double your practice.
For me, what that looks like is going from ten minutes a day to twenty. I become even more focused and trust in the process of meditation. I recommend you use it to not only calm your mind but to escape from your head temporarily.
2. Buy some indoor green plants
No, I’m not a hippie! I’ve found that indoor green plants help make you happy, relaxed, and feel creative. They’re often used in places where depression is treated, and they do something to your mind. Indoor plants feel fresh, and they clean the air.
Plants can reduce the room temperature and bring nature right to your bedroom or office. Whenever I write, I always make sure I have at least three green indoor plants next to me. I look for the one’s that are the most beautiful. Green indoor plants also help reset your eyes.
That’s why often the dashboard of your car is lit up with the color green. is soothing for the human body. It takes us back to our natural habitat.
Having indoor plants in your home is one thing, but what I also do is try and go to cafes that have walls of them. Walls of indoor plants are all the rage, and they are popping up everywhere. Also, offices are starting to adopt the same indoor plant craze.
While working, try and park yourself near a few indoor plants. Take some time to admire them once in a while. Use them as a mindfulness trigger.
3. Clean up
During a life meltdown, one of the best things you can do is throw stuff out or give items to charity.
“A dark time in your life is a sign that you need to let go of feelings, thoughts, and physical things”
I did this recently and found things I had held onto for years. Some of those prized possessions were music related, and I donated them to a school music room who now utilize these items daily. The satisfaction you get from seeing others use your unwanted possessions is thrilling.
Redo your creative space at the same time. The place where you work, write, read, etc, can get stale after a while. Sometimes all you need to do is move a few things around, replace certain items, and give the space a real clean.
I had an old, dirty recycling bin in my office that I had had since a kid. I threw it out and bought a new one. Now when I look under my desk, I see something I like.
Part of the cleanup process is also to try having a more minimalist approach. See if you can remove all items from your desk or bedside table. See if having nothing on these flat surfaces makes you feel different. I find that during a meltdown, it’s the best time to become even more minimalist.
Minimalism makes you feel better, and it’s one of the cures to a major meltdown.
4. Go on a long drive somewhere
Driving to the beach or the countryside is very therapeutic. Now I’m biased because I just bought a new car and like to find places to drive it. That said, I still love driving. When things don’t go your way, it’s time to let the natural world take you out of your head.
Let driving take you on a journey to a place you’ve not been for a while. Let driving be a metaphor for your life journey and know that you can always change the route. You control the car just like you control your life. We have so much power, and we don’t even realize it half the time.
5. Let positive people make a difference
Nothing kills the hard times better than positive people. If you’re going through a meltdown, then become obsessed with only being around positive people for a while. Drive for hours if you have to, to get around positive people who have new ideas.
The first thing I did when I experienced my recent meltdown was get into the car and visit the most inspiring people I knew. Being part of Addicted2Success makes this easy for me, but with the Internet, anyone can connect with anyone regardless.
Find the person on LinkedIn who is writing the most uplifting posts and take them to lunch. Approach the motivational speaker after his talk and tell them you want to go to dinner. Whatever happens, become committed to getting near the people that are happy and have more of what you want.
Find the person you want to become once you get through your meltdown and be their best friend. If you do this, you’ll see how quickly things can turn around for you. Never give up!
6. Add “SUPER” to your food
During a meltdown, you emotions, energy, and mental state suffer the most. What you need is a chemical reaction within your body that is going to increase your energy so that your emotions and mental state are not lowered.
The quickest way to do this is by adding superfoods and natural produce to your diet. Go out and try the following:
– Goji Berries
– Coconut oil
At the same time, make sure you are staying well hydrated. Add some lemon and Himalayan salt to your water to add extra energy to your day. Hydration keeps you energized.
7. Take a vacation
Meltdowns can consume our entire life for a given period of time. The way to short-circuit your meltdown is to go on a holiday. It’s a near impossible task to remain in a negative state when you’re in a foreign country.
Make the vacation about some quality alone time for you to take a break. A meltdown is the sign of a new chapter in your life and these chapters are best started with a break. I’m terrible at taking this advice, but when I do, I feel phenomenal. I return home with a new perspective and a different mindset towards my challenges in life.
8. Whack on a podcast
There’s a common theme with the life hacks mentioned in this blog post: a lot of the advice is centered around positivity. It’s almost impossible to have a drawn-out meltdown in your life when everything you hear, see, and taste says positivity.
Podcasts have been a real shining light for me. I’ve learned so many lessons and most of all; I’ve learned the power of conversation. Listening to quality conversations shows you how you can do the same. Conversations are one of the best ways to grow and learn from what you’re observing.
The 3 podcasts to start with are:
The Tim Ferris Show
The School Of Greatness
The James Altucher Show
9. Go for a walk
How can walking possibly be a life hack for overcoming a meltdown? The answer was given to me by a recent Toastmasters speaker. He explained all of the benefits of walking. Some of these include: getting to know your neighborhood, a time to think clearly, free exercise, an increase in energy, a time to listen to audiobooks, etc.
While thinking about the subject of walking, I realized that my transformation in 2011 was directly affected by walking. One of the first things I did was walk around the block late at night. As the days passed, I then started listening to Tony Robbins tapes on my iPod.
It’s only now that I figured out how important walking was to starting this transformational process. It’s difficult to be down in the dumps when you go for a walk regularly. Walking has given me some of the best solutions and clarity of mind that I have ever experienced. Don’t underestimate the power of walking.
If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net
Why You Should Prefer Emails to Phone Calls if You Want to Be More Productive
“Email” and “productivity” rarely go together in a sentence. Emails have been declared as one of our largest time wasters. A McKinsey report stated that people spend around 2.6 hours each day responding to emails. That’s 13 hours a week, 52 hours a month and over 60 days a year! Imagine what you could’ve achieved in 60 days!
Emails also negatively affect our cognitive resources. When we think of responding to them while doing other important tasks, it takes up to 23 minutes and 15 seconds after being disrupted to return to full attention to a current task. Imagine how much our cognition and productivity gets fractured when we get distracted over and over again.
Constant emailing also drains us mentally. And at the end of a day, we realize that we’ve achieved nothing worth mentioning. With a phone call, you can sort issues and solve problems quickly, right? In theory, you’re right. But we live in a practical world where many variables come into play.
Below are three variables that make phone calls adversely affect our productivity, and why emails are a better alternative:
1. Wasting Time
Most “five-minute conversations” can quickly turn into 35-minute calls because people ramble about irrelevant aspects. This derailment, several times a day, severely limits the limited time and energy you have for important tasks.
Emails, on the other hand, force writers to streamline their thoughts and stick to the point. Emails can save you plenty of time and energy because you avoid lengthy phone calls. The constant strife to keep your own emails short and crisp also makes you a clearer thinker, which rewards you in other aspects of your life.
“It’s better to waste money, than it is to waste time. You can always get more money.” – Hal Sparks
2. Inaccurate Responses
An unexpected phone call can catch me caught off guard on a topic. I might respond emotionally or give an answer that doesn’t do justice to what I want to share. In a world dominated by panic buttons and fire-fighting, these don’t just stress me out but the caller as well.
Emails give me flexibility to prepare a coherent response and share it when I’m satisfied. If I feel a surge of emotion, I can sleep over the thought and share a better (more rational) response the next day. Many page-long email responses to emails that upset me have turned into a simple “thank you for your email” the next day.
3. Constant Back-and-Forth
Phone calls often are ineffective to solve business problems. Accounting for multiple people, their views, their timelines… One phone call can quickly turn into three.
Emails are quicker and more effective than even conference calls. They let you communicate with multiple people at the same time. You can share information, assign tasks and give status updates while being as specific as possible.
You must be wondering, “What about back-and-forth emails then? Why do we waste precious time on them?” Yes, email has earned a bad rap. But it’s not because of the medium; it’s because we handle it ineffectively.
A Better Approach to Emailing
For most people, constantly refreshing the inbox is part of the daily to-do list. It keeps them busy and gives them a kick of dopamine – the feel-good chemical.
Ironically, this quest to remain busy makes people compromise on taking action that can move them forward. Using emails prudently, rewards you with plenty of energy and mind space to focus on tasks that truly matter.
Here are three steps that benefited me without succumbing to the side effects of email:
1. Checking Them Less
I check emails just 3 times a day – at 9:30 AM, 12:00 PM, and 4:30 PM. If you don’t have the luxury to do the same, you can start by checking your emails for ten minutes at the end of each hour. Most senders expect a response in a little over an hour. So they won’t mind a slightly delayed response. This gives you 45 undisturbed minutes each hour to work on your core tasks.
2. Responding Quickly
People delay responding to emails at least 37% of the time, which turns finding emails and responding to them into additional tasks that cost time and lead to attention residue. Most emails take under two minutes to respond. When you can respond to an email, do so instead of putting it off. This won’t just put your mind at peace, it’ll also reduce the number of “did-you-see-this” follow-up emails in your inbox.
“I do love email. Wherever possible I try to communicate asynchronously. I’m really good at email.” – Elon Musk
3. The If-Then Technique
The If-Then technique helps you address multiple scenarios at once. For instance, an email that says, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM?” becomes, “Can we meet at 3:00 PM? If not, please advise three other times that work for you.”
This technique is also effective when you want to suggest ideas or provide instructions on alternative steps. For example, “Here’s Plan A. If it doesn’t work, connect with [name] and ask for [specific information]. If you don’t get what you need, inform me.”
I’ll admit. This sounds like more work in the current moment, but it drastically cuts down the number of trail mails, confused correspondences, and fire-fighting instances that occur due to miscommunication.
The If-Then formula is the single most effective technique I’ve learned from The 4-Hour Workweek. All of this doesn’t mean that you abandon phone calls, In fact, it’s better to use the phone for sensitive topics or if an email conversation gets dragged. But remain mindful to not let phone calls waste your time.
If you want to pursue a meaningful life, place a premium on your time. Do things that create time for you to pursue meaningful actions and avoid doing what pulls you away from them. In the knowledge economy, this is the key to success.
Do you prefer email or talking on the phone? Share your thoughts below!
4 Questions You Need to Answer Before You Reach the Level of Success You So Desperately Crave
It’s normal that every person in the world wants to reach success and happiness. Yet, everyone defines both of these things differently. For some, success is making a whole bunch of money while for others this can be to become a good parent. Happiness is defined differently as well. Some people need to own a jet, boat and 3 cars to be truly happy, while others are happy just to be able to wake up in the morning.
It doesn’t matter how you define success and happiness, the truth is, you want to achieve them both. But, to be able to reach success and happiness, you need to answer 4 questions for yourself.
Here are the 4 questions you need to answer before you can achieve success and happiness:
1. Where Are You?
No, not geographically. It doesn’t matter where you live. What matters is where are you in life. Where are you in your way to success and happiness. Let’s say you are lost in the woods. You know exactly where you want to go, but you don’t know where you are. Even a map doesn’t help you with that.
The same is true in life. You may have a goal, but until you truly define where you are in the moment, you can’t move toward this goal. So, step 1 on your way to success and happiness is to define where you are right now.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” – Jim Rohn
2. Where Do You Want to Go?
When you define where you are in life, then you can think of where you want to be.
There’s this saying: When you don´t know your final destination, you´ll end up somewhere you didn’t want to be. Until you don’t know clearly where you want to be in life and who you want to become, your life doesn’t have a true purpose.
Without purpose, there´s no motivation. Without motivation, there´s no energy. And without energy, you´re not living, you´re just existing. I am sure you know someone who looks like a walking corpse everytime you see them. Do you think this person lives a successful and happy life? Most likely not.
So, step 2 on your way to success and happiness is to clearly define your goal. What do you want to accomplish and who do you want to become?
3. Why Do You Want It?
Okay, you know the basics. You know where you are and where you want to be. But, as Rocky Balboa said, “The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows.” And as you already know, life usually doesn’t go according to your plan. There will be hard times and to overcome those and not give up, you need to know WHY you do what you do.
You need to know WHY you want to accomplish your goals. When you answer this for yourself, you don’t struggle so much to motivate yourself. You will be motivated every minute of every day.
So, as a step 3, sit down and think of WHY you want to accomplish your goals. What’s the big purpose?
“We can change our lives. We can do, have, and be exactly what we wish.” – Tony Robbins
4. How Are You Going to Get There?
And finally, how are you going to get there? What’s your plan? You may know where you are, where you want to be and why you want to do it, but until you truly understand how you are going to get there, there won’t be much success and happiness in your life.
For example, you want to become a bodybuilder. You want to do it because you want to have big muscles and you want to look fit. But, you have no idea how to work out, how to build muscle and how to lose fat. Do you think, you´re going to be happy? No. As Tony Robbins says, “true happiness comes from progress.”
To make progress, you need to have a specific plan; how to get from point A (where you are) to point B (where you want to be). So, as a step 4, sit down and make a specific plan for how you’re going to get what you want in life.
In order to reach success and happiness, there are 4 questions you need to answer for yourself. Without answering them, you´re not going to get ahead in life, you´re just bouncing around. Success and happiness never come from just bouncing around in life.
Good news is, that these questions are really simple. It won’t take much time to answer them. Just be aware of where you are and where you want to be. Don´t forget to understand why you are pursuing your dream and finally, how are you going to get what you want.
Answer these 4 simple questions today and you won’t struggle with finding success and happiness in life anymore.
Which one of the above 4 questions resonated most with you and why? Share your thoughts and ideas below!
The Empathetic Heart: How The CHO of VaynerMedia Is Changing The Way We Work
A month after I had joined LinkedIn back in July of 2018, I sent Claude Silver a connection request and began following her content. One day she made a post saying “Ask and you shall receive, what can I do to help you today?”. I commented on that post asking for a 5 minute interview and to my surprise she agreed by asking me to send her a message (I was given a full hour). This was the first example of pure kindness I witnessed from Claude.
The first message you see on Claude’s website is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. That message spoke to me on an emotional level, and I believe it will speak to you too. I wanted to know how she created such an amazing culture, what being a “culture carrier” meant, and how the employees at VaynerMedia have been changed by her work there.
A culture carrier in Claude’s own words is “someone who is aligned with our values, I can’t teach someone to be kind they have to already be kind. The process of developing a culture carrier takes about 6 months. It’s about bringing people together and having strong core values of kindness and empathy.”
Gary Vaynerchuk, co-founder of VaynerMedia, is often referred to as a combination of hustle and heart. With the hiring of Claude and the work she has accomplished within the company, it speaks to the level of empathy that can be felt throughout the entire operation.
Although business can be a challenging, tough, and often cut-throat terrain, by putting employees first and providing honest feedback the company has grown to include offices in New York, Chattanooga, Los Angeles and London, and continues to dominate the market.
Below we’ll see 3 different ways the CHO of VaynerMedia is changing the way people work:
1. By being unafraid to share her own story
Claude has been an influential part of breaking the stigma surrounding vulnerability in the business arena. Not only does she openly share her own story, but she sits down with employees to better understand their vulnerabilities and how to use characteristics that previously would have been considered weaknesses as strengths.
When asked what her biggest adventure to date was she replied “Having Shalom (her daughter). I have had an amazing life, I moved, worked hard, landed an amazing job and fell in love but it didn’t come without its challenges.”
Claude is openly gay and is living proof your sexual orientation doesn’t matter. Nothing matters but your character, your track record, and if you leave people a little better off than before you met them. From Claude, business leaders, employees and entrepreneurs can learn to be more open both on social media and in person, allowing them to build more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level. A deeper connection can mean more leverage but it also means a more lasting impact on the world.
“Everyone has something they can share. I’m not famous. I don’t have anything that would be newsworthy, but I have stories.” – Tafta Johnson Watson
2. Committing to a strong value system
VaynerMedia has some serious values for such a large company and those values are expected to be upheld by every employee and visitor. Values like kindness, empathy, honesty, hustle and the art of not complaining.
With Claude holding the title of Chief Heart Officer, she is the guiding light for others. When recruiting, she says she “takes the time to evaluate an individual’s talents but most importantly their own heart”.
Gary Vaynerchuk is quoted as saying:”To me, there’s no debate that kindness is a strength. And it breaks my heart to know that so many people believe it’s a weakness. So many people are afraid that other people will take advantage of their kindness or make them feel “used.” But the truth is, those who take advantage of your kindness are weak on the inside. Feel bad for them, don’t let them make you feel bad about yourself“.
Both Claude and Gary teach aspiring entrepreneurs that it is okay to live with an open heart and that having the strength to commit to and live with a strong value system, will be a powerful tool during the hustle journey. It also allows you to go to bed at night actually liking the person that you are, nothing will kill a business faster than going to bed at night and hating yourself.
3. Listening with action
As mentioned above Claude’s slogan is: People need people. People need people that listen and then do something. As a woman who wears many hats, she is also an Outward Bound Instructor, taking individuals on amazing adventures in the outdoors.
Taking action on any given day can mean a number of different things but it speaks to her own character and driving force that she is able to not only guide people through the world of office politics but also through the serene and sometimes challenging wilderness.
Claude cultivates an environment of trust by first offering individuals her own trust. It is a huge and vulnerable action that leads to a relationship of love – heart – and productivity. Listening as an action is something that has the power to change an entire organization from an unproductive, toxic environment to one that promotes creativity, passion, inclusion and positivity.
“Relationships are leverage. If you give value to someone else first, you have leverage.” – Gary Vaynerchuk
To get the truest sense of how Claude was changing the way people work, I asked her co-workers to tell me what working alongside Claude has done for them. Here is one of the answers I received:
“During my time working alongside Claude, I’ve really come to appreciate her example of being a good listener. As a society, we tend to praise the power of speaking. But Claude demonstrates on a daily basis that the most important thing everybody wants is to be heard.” – Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Officer VaynerMedia.
I tried looking for images of Claude on her website and I think it speaks to how focused she is on holding space for others, because I couldn’t find a single full sized image of her to use. I googled. Writing this piece has opened me up to evaluate my own values and the way I connect with people in my daily life.
From this article, it is my own hope that entrepreneurs come to the understanding that although tenacity and true grit are really important, the whole of what Claude represents is something to strive towards. The “soft” skills you develop are humongous strengths and to truly impact an entire organization.
What’s the last random act of kindness you did for someone? Share with us below!
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