As soon as I heard about the tornado that decimated my hometown of Joplin Missouri I booked an immediate one-way flight to go and help. I spent a couple weeks there working long days on recovery efforts, and since I returned to California last week, I’ve been in what I can only describe as a state of depression.
All I can think about is what I saw there, the people my brother and I helped and got to know, how much I miss my family and how I want to help more. When I was there, I must have been in shock, running on adrenaline, or focused on helping people so much that I never slowed down to analyze how I felt inside.
Well now I’ve been back a week and it has all sunk in. I’ve never experienced any level of depression. I’ve been pretty much impervious to anything that could bring me down over the years and I’m constantly motivated to be better, to do more, and to inspire others. But this event has me feeling smaller than I’ve ever felt.
I know you don’t want to hear about all of this. In fact I want to warn you that if you’re looking for a business building tip in this post, you should stop reading now. I know you want fitness marketing strategies from me, and the weekly motivation that I provide, and the guy who always seems to be happy. I want that guy too! lol
I’ve spent the last week testing different things. I’ve meditated, but it’s impossible for me not to think about all that I saw. I’ve gone to the movies twice and I’ve read 2 fiction books…I never read fiction books but I thought that losing myself in the characters of a book and escaping my own reality might help. It didn’t. I’m not a religious person, but even if I was, I feel that asking for help for myself seems pretty selfish when so many others are experiencing REAL suffering. I’ve worked out every day, I tried acupuncture for the first time ever, got a massage, and various attempts to adjust the physical side, hoping that it would have a positive effect on the mental side. Nope.
I’ve even felt that getting back to work and into my normal routine would be best, but then I think about all the people in Joplin who can’t get back into their routine. Their house is gone, their job is gone, their cars are gone, they’ve lost a child or a parent or a friend.
They will be spending weekends for the next several years rebuilding their lives and their friends and family’s lives. It will be a long time before they know “normal” again and I almost feel selfish that I HAVE THE OPTION of getting back into my routine.
Talking about my issue with someone is probably not a bad idea, but I’m not really one to talk about my issues with others, and to be honest, I don’t really have anyone in my life that I’m comfortable talking in detail about this stuff.
It’s not that I don’t have people in my life who care and who would listen; it’s because in every relationship I have with friends, family, etc, I am the Rock of the relationship. I don’t fall, I don’t falter, I’m always positive and I’m always the one THEY come to when they’re having issues. It’s never the other way around, because I don’t have issues. (didn’t have issues)
But I know now that when someone is hurting, or going through a rough patch, I’ll NEVER again tell them “don’t worry because it can always be worse”. What I’ve found through this experience is that you need to dig really deep, identify and embrace the pain of whatever you’re feeling at that moment, and focus on the hurt and where it’s coming from.
That’s what I’ve done these past couple days and that has been the difference maker. I spent several hours watching videos and looking at pictures of the devastation online (I couldn’t bring myself to take a single picture while I was there), I’ve cried more in the past two weeks than I have in my entire life. And I’ve found that by NOT ignoring the pain, but rather embracing the pain and letting it burn deep, has helped me feel empowered to start my real life again.
So I decided that my next step this morning would be to just start writing. Perhaps admitting to the world that I am weak is my way of also convincing myself that I too can feel helpless and that it’s okay. And to be honest with you, just in the 20 minutes that I’ve been writing this, I can feel my mind clearing, my posture straightening, my spirit improving.
So I guess if there is a lesson in all of my rambling, it’s that you should always remember that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. (Confucius) … or another quote I’ve always liked by author unknown “Take the first step, no more, no less, and the next will be revealed”. I can already tell the motivation this is going to bring me is more powerful than anything I’ve ever experienced. (Though I’m not quite there yet…it’s coming)
So I encourage you that when you are hurting, or anxious, or scared, or depressed, don’t ignore it. Dwell on it and let it burn. It’s going to take you to depths you didn’t even know existed and feel pain you didn’t know was possible. To ignore the issue or to busy yourself with other things so you don’t think about it isn’t the answer. Because I’m certain that hiding the issue is only going to make it come back even worse later.
Be in the moment, feel the extreme emotions, and you’ll learn more about yourself and your resolve than you ever thought possible. That’s what I’ve found and that’s the lesson I hope you can take from this.
If you are from Joplin, and you are reading this. I encourage you to feel the hurt, to feel scared, to feel helpless. Because someday soon, you’re going to know the place where you never want to be again and you will only have one direction to go…Up.
If you’re not in Joplin, but have something else nagging at you or some pain that you’re covering up, or fear of failure or anxiety about your business or money or relationships. Embrace the feeling. The more time you waste not doing this is…well…more time wasted! Turns out we have a limited amount of time on this earth, so the sooner you embrace your issue, overcome it and move on, the more you can enjoy the rest of your life.
I also want you to think about people in your life that you know are hurting. Don’t tell them it’s going to be okay. Don’t tell them not to worry about it. Tell them it might NOT be okay and that they need to worry about it. They may think you’re crazy, but I firmly believe that the mental health of a person is most optimal when they truly know themselves, good and bad, and can look at themselves, and their issues, and why they feel the way they feel without trying to cover anything up. It’s the people who deny their issues or ignore their issues who end up with the most emotional problems later in life. Of course this is just my theory, but I have a feeling you’ve nodded your head more than once while reading this.
My heart goes out to the people of Joplin. I’m very thankful that my immediate circle of friends and family were for the most part unaffected. They are all alive…some are without houses and possessions, but who cares. They’re alive. So many others are not.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to donate to help Joplin, I have set up a donation form where you can donate $30. I’m personally matching all donations. We’re nearing $10,000 total at this point and I encourage you to give. I don’t know what the money is going to go toward yet, but it will be meaningful and I will make sure it goes to the most powerful cause I can find. The link to donate is www.tinyurl.com/donatetojoplin . If you own a fitness business, my team has agreed to give you a month of business coaching if you’ll donate $100 at www.tinyurl.com/helpmyhometown.
If you’ve read this far…Thank you…
If you have $30 to spare, please make your donation at www.tinyurl.com/donatetojoplin . If you own a fitness business, please give $100. As incentive, not only am I matching your donation, but my team has offered to give you a month of business coaching by donating at the fitbiz donation form at www.tinyurl.com/helpmyhometown.
If you want to make a donation smaller or larger than that, please call Whitney at 1-888-475-6061
Thank you so much for your help.