Knowing When To Quit (A Personal Story)

This article is dedicated to anyone who’s ever had a dream, totally gone for it and failed. It may be true that there’s no such thing as failure, only lessons; but in the moment, when your dreams feel crushed, those words sting more than they are helpful. Especially when pursuing your passion often means that you’ve already taken a risk few will understand and/or support, including those closest to you. It takes courage, tenacity and fierce will to go beyond daydreaming and into the actual building process.  And the more time, effort and heart you pour in, the more you become emotionally and financially invested – so when it all comes crashing down, it can be devastating.

While on the plane to Los Angeles last night, I realized that even though sharing my story still feels a bit painfully raw, my experience might resonate with, inspire and hopefully empower some of you.  So here goes.  My inspiration to launch an indoor cycling studio (a la SoulCycle) came in 2012, when I moved to Paris and noticed there was nothing similar, and that this could positively change lives.  At the time, I was also hard at work on a few music projects and was focused on releasing a personal EP.  Music and fitness have always been connected for me; as a singer-songwriter, I’ve had an on/off “side hustle” as a running coach throughout my entire music career because: 1) sharing my passion with others makes me incredibly happy and 2) having an additional source of income in an unstable career has been important.

photo: Jia Wertz

Fast forward to early 2013, when some major disappointments prompted me to leave my music manager (based in New York), to consciously step back from music, and to be “all in” in bringing the indoor cycling studio to Paris.  I spent three months back in New York studying, became certified to teach in London, located and secured the best out-of-the-box coaching talent in Paris and searched for an ideal space. Over my next two and a half years in Paris, this project (full of highs and lows) consumed me until the mid-July afternoon when I decided to make a change.

Rather than bore you with the details, I’d like to focus on the moment when I decided – without a doubt – that this project was over.  Most of my journey I’d kept private, thankfully, aside from a few vague posts on social media about ‘something coming soon to Paris’. (When my initial co-founder, one of Paris’ most known fitness coaches and bloggers, literally stole my work and was working with another company preparing their launch simultaneously, I learned that being too open and trusting is not always a good thing!) So, sharing the news for me meant telling my investors, closest friends and family.  Some understood and most didn’t, but I didn’t doubt my decision. I knew I needed to step away to re-build myself and that I would ultimately launch something even more meaningful and powerful (even though at the time I wasn’t sure what it would be).

Like you, I’m no quitter. But there’s a tremendous difference between giving up and reaching a point of clarity. Not everyone needs to understand and surely they won’t, so don’t expect them to.  Walking away is so f*cking hard and doing it without support is even harder, but if this is what you feel deep in your gut – trust it. My hope in sharing this with you is to empower – or even just remind you – to give your instinct and self-awareness the credit they deserve.  Leaving something you love because it no longer fulfills you doesn’t mean your journey is over or that you’ve lost – in fact, it’s quite the opposite; freeing yourself from something that continually causes you more harm than good is incredibly liberating.  And when you’re ready to open yourself to new possibilities, new doors will open to you.  I guarantee it.

photo: Jia Wertz

For me, closing this door inspired the launch of NoBubblegum six weeks later and led me to create something even more connective and meaningfully awesome than I could have known a year ago (TBA). Most of us recognize gratitude is an essential key to happiness. Almost as important, I believe, is living in our truth and facing it head on (especially when it’s painfully difficult). You can live the life you dream of; it won’t be easy and it’s not supposed to be, but it’s always worth it.  And you are always worth it.  Trust your journey, trust yourself and never give up on going for what you want.  Even when it changes.

 

The Painful Truth We All Must Learn

I’m forcing myself to write this article before I begin second-guessing myself and before my mind wanders back to politics (both of these things will inevitably have happened by the time you read this).  This piece is dedicated to all the hustlers, artists, entrepreneurs and dream-builders out there who have experienced that exasperating feeling of, “WTF.  I know I’m exceptional at what I’m doing – or the concept I created is phenomenal (or something similar), so why am I not moving forward fast enough?”

No one wants to talk about or acknowledge the event you spent weeks preparing for, when only a few people showed up — or when a potentially life-changing opportunity that seemed like a sure thing suddenly doesn’t pan out.  As an artist, a rollercoaster ride of career highs and lows is pretty much expected; and when I read about and speak with entrepreneurs from many fields, there are clear similarities.  To makes matters worse, it’s during our most challenging times that many of us learn that some of our nearest and dearest aren’t able to provide the emotional support and assurance we need (and even worse: that look of pity).

The most important thing to remember is that most people just don’t get it.  And that’s okay.  As hard as it is to let yourself down and to be let down by those you love, we need to remind ourselves of the wise words of Anaïs Nin: “We don’t see the world as it is.  We see the world as we are.”  I’m willing to bet that the same friends and family members who aren’t able to be there for you the way you hoped have been less than courageous in their own lives, making it harder for them to relate.  Don’t take it personally because it’s no one’s fault (this took me years to learn).  Rest assured, you will find other sources of support that will broaden your life in new and exciting ways.  Meanwhile, remember that many of life’s greatest success stories begin with failure and heartbreak and overcoming obstacles is a surefire way to develop extraordinary resilience, grit and inner strength.

My personal belief is that in these situations it’s very important to allow yourself to feel that sh*t deeply and process it.  Do whatever you need to do to express yourself and to experience a sense of release and relief – whether it’s journaling, working out or spending time with friends and family.  Trust your instincts when it comes to self-care.  Then, when you’re ready, consciously decide to remove the negative cloud you felt hanging over you and clear it from your system.  Stand in your light and own it.  I realize these words may sound a bit hokey, but I’ve personally experienced the powerful result of consciously choosing to transform a let down into something positive and I know it works.  Owning your feelings, your successes and your failures is incredibly empowering.

You are your greatest asset.  When we experience any type of struggle, we are forced to deeply connect with our most authentic self (whether we want to or not).  We need to make sure that even while we’re feeling down, we are still fully aware of the fact that we are our greatest asset.  And our greatness can’t be measured or changed by the result of an event, a failure or a success – but by how we live each day, how we respond to challenges, how we treat other people and how we move forward.  When we lead with our hearts and trust ourselves at a core level, there is no limit to our happiness and success.

Song For This Moment: “Remember Me”  by Daley & Jessie J :: unrelated lyrics but this song has a kickass and empowering quality that just works.

Related Articles:

The 5 Best Ways To Build Resiliency, article in Experience Life.

Get Gritty and Win“, article in NoBubblegum.

62 Business Leaders Answer What Does Success Mean To You?“, article in Under 30 CEO.

Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

I’ve always considered myself a pretty confident person, so when I recently discovered I’ve been limiting my success it shook me.  Even to admit it makes me uneasy because I’m embarrassed it’s taken this long to realize.  I’ve been hustling with heart (and hustling hard) for many years without enough self-belief that I can do better than just okay, and that I’m worthy of doing better than just okay (my heart sinks while typing).  On the surface, my major life decisions suggest otherwise; I’ve consistently prioritized passion and happiness over stability, pursuing a career in music without a plan, connections, money or emotional support from family (this was heart-crushing during my twenties) – not to mention major student loan debt.  My creative journey has always felt like a blessing and even when things have been tough, my desire, ability and need to connect have outweighed my fear and self-doubt.  To a point.  I’ve still managed not to notice as my subconscious (emotional) mind continues to masterfully impose boundaries to protect me from too much success.  My details and reasons aren’t important here though; the reason I’m sharing this is because my pattern of self-sabotage isn’t unique – it’s practically universal.

 

credit: Flavia Raddavero

So many of us  limit our potential for happiness, wellness, success and love by either consciously accepting and expecting less of ourselves and/or others, or by getting so caught up with life that we don’t notice it’s happening.  The irony in my situation is that I feel sooopassionate about connecting with, supporting and uplifting others.  It’s the reason I write and perform music, launched NoBubblegum and created  TNL 58‘ — so how could I be holding myself back? Anyway (sigh).

I hope this article sparks a few of you to look inward and explore your patterns of behavior;  if you recognize a self-sabotaging tendency (or two) that’s a pivotal first step.  Once we decide we’re ready and determined to do the work, we can absolutely make positive changes that will expand us in beautiful and powerful ways.  I’m personally committed to this and would love you to join me in stepping into your next level.  To start, see if any of the tendencies below resonate with you.

4 Common Self-sabotage Themes:

  • Procrastination & Inaction.Delaying or not doing what you need and even wantto do; feeling unable to move forward even when exciting opportunities present themselves; dreaming about doing something for months and years without acting on it.
  • Worrying Too Much.  Being afraid of what others will think of you if you fail or succeed; doubting yourself even though you know you’re super talented; needing to be liked by everyone (even people you don’t appreciate).
  • Feeling and Accepting Less.Allowing others to speak down or talk over you; taking others’ words to heart too much.  Accepting less than you’re worth in job compensation and neglecting to ask for what you want and deserve.
  • Lashing Out in Anger. Being aggressive rather than assertive with others in order to injure rather than heal and build strong relationships.

credit: Marcelo Matarazzo

 

What You Can Do About it:

Recognize it. Self-sabotage happens when your subconscious (emotional) mind and your logical mind are at odds with one another; for example, showing up 30 minutes late to a job interview for a position you really want or not responding to emails or phone calls offering you a fabulous new opportunity.  Even positive change is hard and requires work and courage; many coaches and therapists agree that we need to be uncomfortable to grow and expand.  Positive change can be terrifying and self-sabotage is our subconscious’ way of handling fear.  Become aware of your tendencies so you can “catch yourself” and turn things around.

Kindness.  If you feel ashamed about past self-sabotaging behavior, acknowledge it and then decide to release these negative feelings.  Experiencing self-doubt and regret simply make us human; it doesn’t mean we need to allow these feelings to overtake us and linger indefinitely.  Self-compassion is a must for moving forward. Much of our behavior as adults has to do with our early life experiences, so try and observe yourself from the outside and consider what advice you might give to someone else in your situation.

Accountability. Meanwhile, seek out a trusted and supportive friend and share what you’ve recognized in your behavior.  Ask this person to (kindly and honestly) hold you accountable when they recognize your behavior is leaning back toward self-sabotage.  Be extremely selective and intentional with whom you share this stuff.  Your heart is platinum and you’ve got to protect it.  (Side note: your accountability partner doesn’t need to be a close friend; a mentor or therapist may be extremely helpful.)

Explore Why:  Shifting away from self-sabotage requires deep personal commitment and continual dedication.  Whether it’s a professional issue (like imposter syndrome) or a pattern of behavior in your relationships (check out this insightful article) this will take time – and that’s okay.  Be patient with yourself and recognize that each positive step is significant and valuable.  Celebrate your progress and forgive yourself when you slip.  Above all, always remember that you are worth the work.

Listen to this Article here:


* Song for this Moment:acoustic cover of Michael Jackson’s classic, “Man in the Mirror”, performed by James Morrison.

Related Links:

How To Stop Self-Sabotaging“, article inVICE. 

“Beating Self-Sabotage”, article in Mind Tools.

“The Five Types of Imposter Syndrome and How To Beat Them”,article inFast Company.

“Am I Sabotaging My Relationship?”, article in Elite Daily.

 

Do It: Positive.

If you’re reading this, you most likely already know how important it is to have a positive outlook on life.  You know that being optimistic and believing in yourself and your future greatly increase your ability to reach goals, and make you a happier and more likeable person.   However, it’s not just about how you think.  It’s about you actand how you react. Because life is anything but a straight line; it’s full of ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns.  Your ability to adapt and to remain open to new possibilities is as important as maintaining a positive mindset — and arguably more so.

Here’s an example that may hit home.  In a recent study, around 80% of people reported themselves to be unhappy in their jobs, clear proof of just how difficult even positive change is.  Despite knowing we could be happier, most of us aren’t willing to face the challenge of starting something new, of walking away from what we know and feels secure.  So instead of working to create our future, we allow fear, self-doubt and others’ opinions to dictate our next move. (It’s frighteningly easy to continue living in a bubble of complacency when everyone around you seems to be doing the same thing.)  A positive attitude will help you manage life, but it won’t improve your life from good to great: that requires positive doing.

 

happily ever afterWe dare you to take things to the next level. To be courageous.  To empower yourself.  We believe in the importance of surrounding yourself with people who inspire you at a core level and make you a stronger, better and more confident person — who contribute to your happiness, and encourage you to work hard and be resilient.  People who get it. And you’ll naturally reciprocate, so everybody wins.  Whether your goal is to train for a 5K or your first marathon, to find a new job, to start a new company or to become a single parent by choice — whateverit is — it’s valid.  There are no rules.  This is just about going for what you want rather than convincing yourself you’re okay with being unfulfilled.

 

5 Steps Of Positive Doing:

1/ Set Goals.  Contrary to some of what we’ve seen published recently, we still believe goal-setting is a good thing when done right.  What do you want?  Think about it. Acknowledge it. Respect it.

2/ Ask yourself Why.  Think about why you want to achieve this particular goal. Your response should be quick and obvious to you.  Most likely, it will have something to do with feeling good about yourself or feeling accomplished.  It has to come back to something that will make youhappy.

3/ If Things Don’t Work Out.  This one is critical and may take time to consider, depending on your goal. Be honest with yourself: are you able and willing to handle the disappointment if things don’t turn out the way you want?  How will you respond if this happens?You need to be prepared to deal with the possibility of things going awry. This may not sound particularly helpful in the moment, but it’s comforting to know that many of life’s most beautiful and interesting doors open as a result of some sort of failure.  Not saying this should be your primary focus, but you need to be aware of this possibility.  Not everything is up to you, but how you respond is.

positive doing4/ Plan and Visualize.   Work on an action plan to achieve your goals.  Be realistic and simplify things as much as possible.  Write it down and put it somewhere safe.  Consult someone you trust and who believes in you.  Having the support of a loved one can make all the difference in helping us feel supported and accountable as we work toward our goals. However, you don’t need to tell the world; keep your energy and your circle tight on this one.  Before you sleep at night or first thing in the morning (or whenever you have a few moments to yourself) visualize yourself realizing the goal you’re passionate about.  Believe in this.

5/ Own It.  You’re ready.  You’ve considered the obstacles and are prepared to be resilient, knowing life may throw you some punches along the way (especially if your goal is very challenging). And that’s okay. Throughout your path, if you find yourself struggling to the point where you’re having trouble sticking to your plan stay flexible.  You may not believe in a Plan B or C (and we respect your determination!) but sometimes life opens up a Plan W or Q that’s even more incredible than your Plan A. Don’t be too single-focused to miss out on an unexpected opportunity.  Your positive attitude, actions and reactions will ensure your success. 

* Song To Get You in The Mood: “How Hard I Try”

“How Hard I Try”, by filous and featuring James Hershey.

A song about holding on to what matters and going after what you want. Now, go get it!

 

Related Links:

“How to Find and Do Work You Love”, Scott Dismore: https://youtu.be/jpe-LKn-4gM

Article about Passion:  “The P Word”

Article about Grit: “Get Gritty And Win”

How To Get Unstuck (featuring Dr. Laura Miranda)

I recently sat down with passionate fitness entrepreneur, physical therapist and coach Dr. Laura Miranda in New York to discuss strategies on how to get unstuck when we fall into negative patterns. Whether it’s losing motivation for your workout routine or neglecting some another aspect your self-care, Laura shares many insightful tips that will help you shift back to your strongest, most high-vibing self.

Among many other tips, we discussed the importance of positive connection, self-awareness and self-compassion.  Here is an inspiring excerpt from our conversation.

Connect on instagram: @drlauramiranda

Get inspired at www.drlauramiranda.com

 

 

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