“I’ve got everything I need and I’m still not happy. What’s wrong with me?”
Have you ever asked yourself that question?
Me too. Which sounds funny coming from a paraplegic.
But it’s true!
I can do a mental inventory of my life at any given moment - dream job as a motivational speaker, Paralympic medal hanging on the wall, I live in a beautiful city, have great friends - and realize that I’ve got it pretty good.
But it’s easy to forget.
Recently a friend reached out to me. He was struggling on the inside, even though he appeared to have it all it looking at his “outside”...
...and he still wasn’t happy.
Because he had created circumstances that he could control, but chose not to...
He had solid finances, but no idea how it all worked
He worried about “small stuff” that wasn’t going right - like the landscaper not showing up on time - instead of focussing on the things going well in the day
He had a nagging feeling this was the wrong approach, but lacked the will to do something about it
...and the cycle of guilt and self-recrimination kept churning.
Sure, worrying about finances is pretty common. I struggled for years...
I was terrible with my money all through my 20s...even carried nearly $30K in debt. The only reason I could pay it off at 23 was the insurance claim when I was paralyzed in a motocross accident. How sad, right?
I made a few investments with the remainder of my pay-out, bought some real estate and had enough income rolling in to keep me afloat during my run-up to the Olympics as part of Canada’s Sledge Hockey team.
Then, during the transition into life after sport, as I tried to build the Sledge Hockey Experience, I blew $20K, sold a house, remortgaged another. I’ve been living without a paycheck for nearly three years to make the business survive.
So...who cares, Kevin?
1) Grab the bull by the horns. Take control.
After my accident in 2006 my insecurity around money got worse, and it had an impact on my relationships. It got worse because I refused to address the problem.
I was choosing to not control the things that were controlling my happiness.
I learned the sooner I was willing to dive into the problem and address the issue, the sooner my self-confidence would come back.
And yours will, too.
Here’s how it happened:
I decided to form an advisory board for my team-building and keynote speaking business (I wrote more about asking the right questions in this post.)
Then it hit me: I had to prepare for the first meeting and I had to know what I was talking about…
Embarrassing fact: I had no clue!!! I’d somehow stayed afloat (barely) for three years without a clue how my finances were managed, tracked...nothing!!!
I decided to dig in to the spread sheets. Three hours and a humbling 90-minute call to my accountant later I realized I was just scratching the surface of my understanding.
Thursday afternoon turned into Friday night and I was down the rabbit hole of my business finances!
It was exhausting, and I had to ask lots of “dumb” questions, but it felt great to get a handle on this pivotal part of my business...I was taking control!
Whatever that “block” to your happiness might be, do yourself a favour and face it head-on. Tackle that insecurity with a conscious choice to take control. Don’t let the insecurity control you.
Don’t wait until life forces you to deal with your situation, like it did with me, when my relationship collapsed and my business got to the “do or die” stage...
Then celebrate your success!
2) Pat yourself on the back!
Self-esteem is an elusive ingredient in everyone’s emotional make-up. I get it.
After my accident, though, I had to learn an “attitude of gratitude”. I learned that the little victories were reasons to celebrate during my recovery and comeback.
Why don’t you celebrate the “little victories” in your daily life? They all add up to a big sum of experiences that prove you’re taking control of your situation.
Better yet, start a journal to record your little victories.
I thought journals were a waste of time until I dove in and started writing. Now it’s part of my daily routine. Check out this story from my Five Minute Journal.
Yes, going to the bathroom was a victory. Ask someone else with a spinal cord injury, they’ll agree!
Focus on the things that are going well and build on them. And tackle the things that aren’t going well with the knowledge that - for the most part - you are in control.
3) Take responsibility.
Nothing will change unless you change your mindset.
Your problems will exist until you admit there’s a problem you can solve.
Here’s the tough part: you have to be the one to reach out, ask for help and take action. Trust me, the solutions are right in front of you.
Every single day we have an opportunity to rewrite our own script. We have the opportunity to Be the Hero of Our Own Movie.
So, here’s your challenge:
Everyday choose to take control.
Everyday choose to do the hard thing.
Everyday choose to try figuring things out.
Everyday work on being a better person than you were yesterday, and know that in order to make happiness last, you have to accept responsibility for your own life.
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