Don’t You Worry About What People Think About You?
NO. END OF STORY. THANKS FOR STOPPING BY.
I’m kidding, but not really–let me explain.
A while back my wife asked me, “Do you ever think or care about what people think about you considering all of the things you’ve tried and failed at?”
I thought about it… “Well, I wish those things would’ve worked out, or put simply…that I would have stuck with them a little longer to see where they went, but no. Definitely not.”
Lets take a step back. When I was in my early twenties, I created a t-shirt line called Sologood. It was about standing out and just being yourself.
It was to signify that when we are true to ourselves and know who we are then we are best able to go out into the world and have the most impact and be most happy.
Well, I got back from my deployment and in the nine months after returning home I managed to be sober for three days total. This doesn’t include the three days I was held in the county jail until being released on a signature bond for my DUI and felony fleeing charge.
With that I knew something needed to change, so after serving some time for my fleeing charge, which was reduced to a misdemeanor and paying fines I was fortunate enough to be deployed a second time.
When I say fortunate, I truly mean it.
On my second deployment I, by nature of deployments, remained sober. It helped, but upon coming home I somewhat slipped back into my old ways.
Then, I luckily met the lady who I would eventually marry. She showed me it was possible to have fun in the absence of alcohol, because I honest to goodness wasn’t sure that was the case anymore.
Over the next few years we moved away and began starting our own family. It quickly became apparent that I had a lot of work to do in order to overcome the damage I had done to myself over the past years, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
I was an addict, but I couldn’t admit it, until I eventually did. With that truth in mind, I set out on a journey to abstain from alcohol for an entire year.
Year one, I failed less than two weeks in. “Okay, I’ll only drink when we got out and when we go home.” I told myself and my then fiancé.
“I used to care what people thought about me until I realized that people’s opinions don’t pay my bills.”
— UNKNOWN (VARIOUS SOURCES)
Upon going home for our wedding shower, I got belligerently drunk and I’ll s[are the nasty details, but my wife seriously doubted for the first time whether or not I was the man she wanted to spend the rest of her life with.
We worked through our problems. I went to see a counselor and when I felt I was healthy enough for it, my wife began coming with me.
FIGURING OUT HOW TO FILL MY TIME WITH MORE PRODUCTIVE TASKS.
It was during this time I remembered Sologood. I had built a decent amount of interest with my friends when I had began talking about it so why not try to bring it back to life.
I soon realized I had no idea what it took to start and run a t-shirt brand. I was still lost in all aspects of life, and as quickly as I had rekindled the brand, it sputtered to a screeching halt.
Shortly before I shut it down for good I had done a give away for 10 free shirts and just left people hanging. I felt like an idiot, a failure, and a phony.
I realized I just wasn’t in the spot to follow through on this. There were too many bad memories tied to Sologood and I couldn’t keep it going.
This alone would have been enough to force someone to give up on their hopes and dreams of there being more to life than, “just a job,” but I refused.
It was no more than a year later and I was running full steam ahead on my next project, a podcast called I Am The Average. It was about a quote I had heard on my journey back to my true self that goes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” by Jim Rohn.
I realized the absolute truth to this and really saw it as the secret to life. Anything you want in life can be attained through your relationships; people who challenge you, build you up and encourage you to do your best.
I had it up and running and even interviewed some pretty big name people about their journey to success and how their relationships helped or hurt them along the way.
However, it wouldn’t be long before I would realize that there was something about this whole podcasting gig that wasn’t for me.
I STILL WASN’T READY TO GIVE UP.
Here I sit…
- Failing two years in a row at trying to abstain from drinking alcohol
- Failing two times at trying to start and run a clothing brand
- Failing at being a podcaster
- Nearly failing in my marriage
What was I to do? Give up all together and just settle for a job I knew I would hate, but would “pay the bills.”
It was now 2015. My wife and I had our first child on the way and I was still without a clue in the world as to what I would do for a career, or even for the next year or two.
It had become a pattern that anytime I tried something new I was certain to fail, or give up within a few months time. Was it even worth it to keep going any more?
Yet, as the thought of working for someone else ran through my mind I felt the severe pain of that thought.
I was pressured by family and had doubts from friends whenever I told them what I was up to. I would get laughed at, and scoffed at when I said what I had been up to. I couldn’t blame them, but I knew that I would eventually make it.
Desperate to change our financial situation I applied to and was accepted for a military job in Virginia.
We moved there in July, 2016 and shortly after getting settled in something I’ll never forget happened.
My wife and I were lying in bed talking about my struggles to find and stick with something I would truly love and bring fulfillment to my life.
She said, “You should write a book.”
“Well…what do I have to offer people?” I said as I doubted that my story had any real value to others.
“Who cares, just start writing and see where it takes you.” my wife replied
“Yeah, I guess.” I said with thoughts that I would get 10–15 pages in and realize that it just wasn’t for me again.
Fast forward to present day and tomorrow with be the third time of speaking with my publisher on the phone. I ended up handwriting just shy of 300 pages in a 5x8 notebook.
What started out as 5 pages written out on a Monday before I went to work quickly turned into 26 pages, then 72 pages and then 165, until I eventually had 276 pages of my life’s story over the past 5 years written out and ready to type up and share with the world.
Within that (roughly) five year time frame I failed at more things than some people do throughout their life.
Although I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted, I knew what I didn’t want, and that was spending 40+ hours a week working for someone else only to take home the same exact amount week after week.
Yes, knowing what you want is a priority, but knowing what you don’t want will help guide you along the way. When you become clear on what you don’t want, you begin to pick away at the possibilities for your life until you find the one that sticks.
In the end, it’s your life and if your willing to give up on what you want most so easily than I can’t help you. In my deepest darkest times, hope was the only thing that allowed me to keep going. Once you lose hope, you’re finished.
AS LONG AS YOU DON’T QUIT YOU STILL HAVE A CHANCE.
That’s all it really comes down to. Keep pushing towards the life that you truly desire. Once you’ve found genuine happiness, you’ve won.
I don’t know…maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’ll ever be content with my life. I’m always striving to do better, be more, and grow daily. I don’t always succeed, but I’m always trying.
On your journey do what’s best for you. If you ever have a family, do what’s best for them. No matter what, if you refuse to care about what others think about you, then you’re destined to keep working towards a life you love.