A nightmare for 1.5 years, making me best I ever been.
I don’t usually write, I’m a web developer, I write code. But recent period in my life inspired my to do more writing as I always wanted to try. And leave a reference for myself, and anyone who might find this interesting about all the emotions and paths I had to go through over last 18 months.
So I thought writing this article is the best way to mark this moment.
Today I reflected on my last period career wise. I realized that since 2015 May, I was horrible service provider, irresponsible, totally unreliable and unhappy in general.
That was literally the hardest and most challenging period of my life so far. And also totally amazing. At least looking from todays perspective.
I happened to be in a bar with my best colleague over the years. After full day of working and executing on new challenges and projects, we were having a drink and discussing past and the future, when out of nowhere I was thinking about the project we started a year ago. And then felt devastation inside of me. But not for current moment. It was about the period that was really dark. In many ways. I barely saw a daylight, I barely had good emotions and none of the times I had fun while doing the work I used to love.
But over that year. Besides letting down many people, failing to keep up with deadlines and expectations. I have completed some of the biggest and most interesting projects in my life.
You always listen to all that popular motivational people on social media nowadays. Go out there, do your best, hustle, keep improving. But sometimes it doesn’t help. In my situation nothing and no one could get me motivated.
Everyday felt like stress, pain, failure. You work for 3 days in a row, try to keep a normal day rhythm, stuff doesn’t improve. Even more inconvenient things falls onto my plate.
My response to this — barricade myself from outside people. All of them. Clients, family, friends. Stay at home, play video games until 6AM, wake up 3PM, check your inbox, everyone is angry. Go to a bar. Have more drinks than you should.
Try to get yourself together, do that for another 3 days, try to calm the storm. Even doing every task and even replying to email (not to talk about sitting down and working for multiple hours to solve the issue, email was about) — feels like going up a really steep hill with a bike. All the weight of your body, dragging you down.
I was feeling bad, because I loved my work, I felt like I want to improve and that stagnation in the only thing I’m good at made me to feel even worse.
That was my daily/weekly/monthly routine for 18 months. I’ve tried to set myself many rules and give myself a lot of promises. Nothing helped. I would carry on for a few weeks, maybe in deceptive better mental-shape and increased productivity, but in the end I would comeback to the same thing like before.
It may contain some uncomfortable home truths.
So one major reason I hired a performance coach here in LA was to kill procrastination and to balance myself after the five years of abuse I put myself through to make it to America.
She got me exercising every day
She got me eating less meat and sugar, improving my diet
She got me drinking more water
She got me taking all the supplements
She got me taking cold showers every morning (Disclaimer: ‘This is a LOT easier to do in LA than in London!)
We did childhood regression and looked at a lifetime of shame, stress, fear, and pain
I was still procrastinating
I brought this to her “How is this possible?”
I’ll never get her reply
“If you’re not doing what you actually want to do, it doesn’t matter what I teach you, your body will resist you doing it”
This hit me
I had to re-evaluate all the projects I’m working on
Focusing on what I actually liked doing/can sit 10 hours on a laptop doing
For other things, it’s an hour of procrastination over a ten-minute task“
This got me thinking about why I can’t do a good job, why I can’t be good at what I do, as I used to be.
I’ve realised that 2/3 of the stuff I was trying to do wasn’t stuff I enjoy doing. I was feeling guilty for working on the 1/3 of things I was feeling happy doing. So I tried to do the “unpleasant” projects, but that got me in the loop of not focusing enough, not solving problems on time (as in software development, sometimes it’s impossible to define how much time it will take you to solve one specific thing). And by the time I ended up coping with all the stuff on the bad side, the projects I wanted to work, was so delayed that I was feeling pressure and stress (No-one was blaming me, but I was feeling guilty in front of myself) from people I was working with and the pleasant stuff became a toxic tasks in my head. (Yeah I know, I repeated stuff 4 times in this paragraph, whatever I just want to finish this piece).
No routine, not healthy diet or exercise was helping. Because I was focusing on all the bad things.
I learned that working on things you enjoy first and not feeling guilty for doing what gives you satisfaction, inspires you so much more to go through all the boring, stupid, annoying issues, tasks and projects much more easily. And makes you to think much more while taking on any possible activity, if that’s the thing you want to put your focus on, is that going to give you enthusiasm and inner-drive to work your ass off. All this experience made me to learn, that size of the budget or name of the client does not matter if you don’t feel that this is the thing you want to do ( I have 35€ in my bank account at this very moment, but it’s so much better than having 3500€ a year ago — Yes, I’m bad at saving anyways :D).
Project were failing, I was making progress. Sometimes. It was making a devastating effect on my mental state. Over that period I’ve completed and worked on biggest and best projects and most talented people I’ve ever did. It was damaging but somehow positive outcome in the end, looking from todays perspective.
Coming out of 2 of the best months in my life, I would say that all these experiences was hardest, most rewarding and so far most important in my career and life (I see my work and craft as my passion and hobby, so improving, executing and doing good is very important to me). I gained so much practical skills and soft skills at the same time, even I was looking down on myself while I was there, but I feel, that I had to go through that to come to these conclusions.
And many things fell into right places at the right time to embrace the calm and happiness I have for now. Surrounding yourself in activities, that gives you positive attitude, being around people who are passionate and embracing their craft and learning from your mistakes is so much more important, than big check.
if you can’t do what you can embrace, in that case , no motivational video, no life-coach or inspiring quote on your wall won’t inspire you for long term goals. And sometimes, when it’s not going your way and you seem like you’re fighting every step you try to make. Do something you love* and use that satisfaction to inspire you to go through those bumps who come along the way.
- In terms of your work — not playing video games with your friends.
I can’t wait to capitalize on everything I’ve gained and be much better in professional and personal manner. I’m planing to do more of stories, so really looking forward to hear your feedback about this. Don’t judge me too hard. It’s first piece I ever published online.