5 kick ass reasons why stopping drinking will make you a freaking super hero

Not all of us have a drinking problem and it’s fine if you just want a glass or two at the end of a hard day. That’s your choice as a fully grown human being. I did have a bit of a problem so stopping completely was a must but I’ve noticed so many differences in myself since stopping that I now realise they would be applicable to everyone. I could make a list so long you will be reading until next June so I’ve kept this one to five of the best. Here goes:

Number One – You wake up with a clear head

This one is probably the most obvious. No headaches or fuzzy brains means that you can work harder in the day and get more done. It used to take me an hour or two to start functioning in the morning and now I bounce out of bed so that also gives me an extra couple of hours per day that are productive.

Number Two – You make better decisions

Because you have a clearer mind you are far less likely to make dumb choices. In my work day I can think more quickly and concentrate for longer. Not having a fluffy brain makes a world of difference to how much work you are able to produce.

But more importantly than that, you can’t make dumb decisions while drunk. How many times have you woken up and had to look at your phone to check that you haven’t drunk dialled an ex or emailed your boss to tell him exactly what you think about him? I’ve got into so much trouble over the years because my tongue loosened up quite a bit once I’d had a drink or two.

Number Three – Your motivations change

When you are drinking too much your brain is hungry for everything that it can get hold of that is addictive and unfortunately money is one of the most potent drugs out there. This means that as an addict you are far more likely to be chasing the money at the expense of everything else. Happiness and friendships fall by the wayside as you try to get that next elusive bonus or promotion.

Once you sober up and your perspective on life starts to change you start to have other ideas about what’s important when it comes to earning a living. The big houses and fancy cars look less attractive and bigger causes take on a more important role. I decided to go part time and although I earn far less money I get to spend time with the family and being outside in nature. I’m far happier now because my sober brain has allowed me to take a step back and really look at what is important to me and to stop worrying so much about what society says I should be doing.

Number Four – You stop self-sabotaging

This is really a form of low self confidence. I didn’t believe in myself so whenever I was starting to do well I would drive myself into a ditch to stop the good things from happening. I knew that I couldn’t handle the responsibilities that came with the good things so it was easier to just trash it myself and then blame everyone else around me.

It helps that I now know what I want in life so the choices I make are far less scary. I can still be ambitious and take risks, but now I do it in areas that I feel passionate about. For example, I’d no longer consider going for a management position at work but I’d be quite happy to spread my wings by helping at the youth group at church, putting my face on Youtube or signing up for an ultramarathon. They’re all difficult things but they are a world away from what I was trying to do while drunk and rather lost.

Number Five – You become a nicer person

When you stop drinking you realise that there is a whole world out there and, shockingly, you are not at the centre of it! When you spend every evening sitting on your sofa drinking wine and eating Cheetos, you forget that there are things going on outside.

Put down the drink and you can start to volunteer at your local food bank or night shelter. You start to become aware of the issues that are going on in your community and when you start to get your confidence back you realise that you can help and you can make a difference. This is the single most empowering thing you can discover as a human being; that you can make a positive difference in someone else’s life.

One of the most important elements of the twelve step programme that helps so many addicts is that of service. To be of service to your community is so empowering and fulfilling. And if you’re starting a business you will be starting it on the right foot if you are thinking outside of yourself.

So, by all means have a drink, but next time you pick up that glass of Chardonnay consider whether you really need it and think whether there is anything better that you could be doing with your time. And of course, as always, just make sure to be a really nice person.

The power of saying “I don’t know”

When I was in my twenties I was perfect. Or at least I thought I was in my own head. I could do no wrong and if anyone questioned me or my actions I would go into meltdown. And guess what? I failed miserably at almost everything I did. There were a few flukes where things went really well but a lot of the time I was languishing in my own self pity while outwardly telling the world that I was the most knowledgeable person on the planet.

Anyone who has been reading the past posts on this blog will know that I’ve had trouble with addictions in the past and one of the big character defects that you see time and time again in addicts is that they can’t see the error of their own ways. Why else would they drink themselves to near death and financial ruin?

However, when we get better we have the advantage of being able to see things from two very different perspectives and I’m glad that I was so steadfastly adamant that I had it all right because now I know that that is impossible to achieve and it’s laughable to think that you can get anywhere in anything without a little help from those around you. It’s no coincidence that all athletes say that they couldn’t have won their gold medal without their families and their coaches. It really is true. Without that support they’d still be jogging round the park with the rest of us.

So saying “I need help” or “I don’t know” or “can you tell me how?” is anything but the weakness that I first thought it was. It means that you are able to use a whole heap of resources and information and advice that comes your way from just asking. Think of the time and energy that will save by just asking the question!

This is precisely why it’s important to find a mentor or a group of people that you trust who can guide you and support you in difficult times. If it is just you weathering the storm on your own then there is nowhere near as much chance of success. Taking it back to what I’ve learnt from getting sober I know that it is near impossible to do that on your own. People who are the most successful are those that have a sponsor and go to meetings so that they have a huge network of people to call on when they’re having a bad day.

My argument against telling people that I didn’t know the answer was that it would make me look stupid. Actually I’ve learnt that when you are open about the fact that you have flaws and holes in your knowledge, it makes you appear just a little bit vulnerable and quite a lot more likeable. Nobody likes a smart ass, especially when they are just talking a load of rubbish. If people are going to buy into your ideas and your visions then they have to see you as a human being that has hopes and dreams and feelings just like them.

The worst thing that you can do when you don’t know, is to pretend that you do and I’ve learned that the hard way (trust me on that one!). You just look like a fool because you’ll always be found out. Even if you’re doing your first Saturday job in a clothes store, if someone asks you a question that you don’t know the answer to, go get the manager. A customer would rather wait and get the right information!

Having said all this, I would put up a word of warning and say that you should always arm yourself with as much knowledge as you can. If you keep saying ‘I don’t know’ people will start to think that you don’t know your stuff. You’ll just have so much more confidence going into a situation if you are fully prepared and you can back up what you are saying with examples, even if they are just examples that are personal to you.

So go out there and practice. You might find that you learn more than you expected and you branch out and meet new and interesting people just by saying that you don’t know the answer to a question. The doors that it could open are infinite. Whole communities have been built on wanting to learn more about a subject and you could be at the heart of it. To me, that sounds like a really fun and exciting place to be.

How to find your passion and does it really matter?

So many people go into business or start some kind of new project solely with the aim of having big numbers. This could be numbers of views, clicks, likes or most notably, money. We live in a society where our very worth is determined by numbers and it’s so easy to slip into the mindset that it is the only thing that matters.

But if you are going to do something, day in and day out, then you’d better be sure that you really enjoy it and that you are passionate about the thing that you are filling your time with. After all, numbers will give you that initial high that comes with finding something that you are good at, but can it actually last?

There are things that we are specifically gifted with and it is so important that you really start to explore what your thing is before you commit to going into business yourself. There are so many opportunities out there in the world and so there is bound to be SOMETHING that will resonate with you. If you try and go after somebody else’s dream then it’s more than likely you will run out of steam before very long. I, for example, am bloody terrible at selling but I love to teach and to write. So what’s the point in me even trying to go into a sales position? I have been tempted with the promise of money before and gone into a sales role that was totally unsuitable for me. As could be expected, I didn’t make a single sale and I bombed out of the job after just 11 weeks. It’s funny to look back on now, but it was a horrid experience to go through and if I can save just one person from making the same mistake then I think I may have done my work in this post.

Your passion in life should not be influenced by numbers in the slightest because your passion is the thing that sets your heart on fire. You know you’ve found it if you can feel that burning desire for it every time you talk about it. And the truth is that even the most unprofitable of subject matters can become good ideas if you have drive behind it and can frame it in a way that will make others feel the same way. For example, somebody who has a passion for pole vault may not have a big captive audience but if you look at the athletics community in general and then the sporting community too, you already have a huge amount of people who could be at least open to your message about pole vault. Pretty crap example, I know, but you understand where I’m coming from.

I think that the way to find your passion is to remember what you loved as a kid. When we become adults we get bogged down with worries about how other people view us and how we are going to pay our bills. When we are kids we can really find the joy in things we like with none of these worries holding us down. Try to picture what it was that brought you to life as a kid and that’s probably a good starting place. Of course, tastes change but you will find that if you were an arty person as a kid, you’re probably still an arty person as an adult; you’ve just forgotten about it because you’re too busy working for some knob in an industry you don’t have any interest in.

You also need to start reading and watching as much material as you can about business and start getting ideas about what you could do. Also, talk to as many people as possible because you’ll be surprised by what is out there. There are probably a tonne of things that you’d enjoy doing that you didn’t even realise where profitable jobs. “What do you do for work?” is one of the first questions I ask anyone I meet and I am often surprised by their answers.

But above all, passion will give you the drive to keep going. There are so many failed ventures out there and so many dreams that are just given up on and a lot of it is because people have run out of steam. If you have a passion for something you are far more likely to find other avenues and routes to success. Not many entrepreneurs get success on their first rodeo and the reason they pick themselves up and have another go is because they really, genuinely love what they do.

And remember that business isn’t just about selling something. I would have given up a long time ago if that was the case. I’m quiet and I want to inspire other people who a bit introverted and just want to be ‘nice’. I don’t want to be the ball-breaker that everyone is scared of and is all about the sell, sell, sell! We can all club together and support each other and there are lots of ideas out there that rest on this kind of foundation. So think about what you are good at, what you enjoy and what your vision is for a world that you want to live in. That’s a great place to start and you’ll probably end up surprising yourself a bit in the process.

Do I need a mentor and where do I find one?

From a very early age we find our way in life by finding somebody to follow and learn from. Whether that be a teacher or a parent or somebody else, there is always someone that we latch onto and copy. We look to them for help and advice and they stop us from veering way off track. But as an adult it’s much harder to find somebody to help us along. We are also left wondering whether or not it’s even necessary to have a mentor.

In my opinion I think that it’s vital to have someone there to lead us. In business and writing and blogging there are so many complexities that it’s almost impossible to navigate your way to the top without the guidance of at least one person. Even if there are some things that you are fabulous at, there will be elements that you will find harder to get to grips with. For example, you may be a great leader and motivator but rubbish at the numbers side of things. In this case, doesn’t it make sense to look up to people who are great in that area?

Mentors can also become close friends and can offer really great emotional support. Some of the women that I have welcomed into my circle have become great confidants and it’s always nice to have a person to go to if you need a good cry over a cup of coffee.

You do want somebody to guide you who you have a good relationship with, but you also need to have a lot of respect for them because you have to be able to trust their instincts and their advice. You have to be sure that they have your best interest in heart so always be careful who you go putting your undivided trust in.

There are some huge advantages to having a close relationship to your mentor but I don’t think that you should worry if you can’t find someone right off the bat. There are so many mentors to be found through books and youtube videos and other blogs. Read books like Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg to get you pumped up to be a powerful woman in business. Look up to these people who have already carved out a place for themselves at the very top of their fields. You never know when you might be there yourself and others will be reading your words in the hope of finding some divine inspiration!

If you are determined to find actual people who you can interact with personally then it’s all about gaining contacts and the only way to do that is to network. Tell people that you have started a business or blog and connect with others who are doing the same thing. These people who are in the trenches with you are the ones that can support you and promote you and you can do the same for them. You can swap tips and warn each other of potential pitfalls and the bigger your network the more chance you have of speaking to the RIGHT person at the RIGHT time.

So, please consider getting somebody in your life that you can look up to because it will push you on to greater things. Business is not really about selling but about connecting and if you can do that really well you’re going to make it big. Go find those special people, listen to them and then pass it on to someone else who needs help just like you did.