I've undergone some life changes recently and I wanted to share with you one of the biggest discoveries ever I've had in the past few months that's changed my life. Over the past say five years since my life changing event in 2006, I really haven't been taking care of myself, my health, and my body. I didn't sleep enough. I binged worked. My mood swings up and down. I eat out all the time - I adore decadent delicious food. I love parties, cocktails and wine. ... It was not even four months ago I was going out socializing four to five, sometimes six nights a week - which meant three, four, and sometimes 8 cocktails a night. That many cocktails is usually followed by late night meals with friends... Ai ya. Yea, things caught up with me.
It was about in March where it suddenly occurred to me that the way I was feeling was not normal, not good, not right... I looked at myself and noticed some things that SCREAMED "Help!". I was always complaining about feeling nauseous... I had headaches all the time - and I mean ALL THE TIME. I was a serious Advil addict - I would finish off bottles of Costco sized Advil in months. Advil first thing in the morning, Advil during the day, Advil when I got home from work, Advil before bedtime to dull the pain. My body hurt all the time. My head was pounding. I was numbing the constant pain with alcohol and Advil. This wasn't right. And I'd been ignoring all of my pain for years. Years. Suddenly it hit me, I needed to change my life.
Change my life. Sounds so much easier than it is. It's been hard, but the results, have just been jaw dropping. More details later - the biggest jaw dropping change is this post. For a decade since joining the white collared forces of working America, I had the luxury of having all the soda, milk and fizzing water cans at my fingertips when I went to work. Microsoft, Google, KPMG, T-Mobile, etc... everywhere I went to work, the employees are taken care of (at least their thirst is). I wanted to take advantage of this work perk so I began with a treat of orange soda, Fanta (my gateway soda can). Too much sugar, so I eventually moved to Diet Cokes - crisp, cold, caffeine infused sugar free addicting energizing Diet Coke. OMG. It made my lunch go down so well. It served as a great mid-day refresher. Great with steaming bowls of ramen or a juicy burger. I also self-imagined that it aided in helping me burn more calories (being caffeinated and all). A great pick-me-up with a shot of vodka when out at the bars. Great with a cherry or with a lemon. ... A decade of Diet Cokes. Diet cokes.
Until two months ago, diet cokes were my thing. Constant headaches and Advil were also my thing. ... When I decided I needed to make some changes, I sought the advice of a wellness doctor, named Mimi Jackson. She asked me what I wanted to work on - and I said, I want the nausea, the addiction to Advil and my headaches to stop. She says, headaches? I say, yes, headaches. She says, how long have you had them - I say, hmm at least 10 years or so since I started working. She says, do you drink diet coke? I go, OMG yes, quite often. She says, stop drinking diet coke and anything with the fake sugars.
I did. I stopped drinking Diet Coke right away. Cold turkey. I was so desperate to have all of this madness and pain stop, I listened to her advice, no questions. I have not had a headache or an Advil ever since. Changed my life. My kidneys are probably thanking me and doing cartwheels. The headaches have stopped. Who knew? I started doing some reading on aspartame, asking questions, even spoke to my primary doctor today - there's really something wrong with Aspartame. It's not okay. Diet coke has it - among a bunch of other unsavory chemical substances probably best not to ingest. ... I'm free of Diet Coke now. Crazy thing is I had no idea that it was causing my health so much harm all this time.
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. -- Calvin Coolidge
Cool quote I came across that I thought I'd share with you. Found it inspiring - particularly today. :) Happy Tuesday, friends.
Not sure if I am on the like camp or the dislike camp quite yet on Madeleine but... I'm nearing the like one for now. Haven't shared a TED talk in awhile, so thought I'd share this one. I looked at the plethora of commentary on this YouTube video - and it's amazing at the emotional storm this video created... many obscene words used against her as a woman calling her an "it", hatred against feminism, talks of war crimes, ... next to praises of being an awesome woman. I can't imagine what it's like to be in her shoes. Her message of bringing women to the table in discussions and decisions is strong. Her passion around women helping other women warmed my heart.
Oh, and yea, I've recently decided I fully accept the title of feminist. I am a feminist. I've been very wary of doing that for some time - mainly because I do not believe men and women are equal. We are not the same, we are different emotionally, physically, mentally... but I do believe in the world of women and empowering us to reach our full potential. I believe it's only going to get better for women - as we take on leadership positions, build products and services, and most importantly, help each other. Optimism for our future.
So for the few that have come over to my apartment, know that I am absolutely obsessed with those big Post-it sticky easel pads and have them (the flip chart papers) all over my walls covered with notes, brainstorming, plans, ... And recently, going along with the my current personal theme of spring cleaning and detoxing (what I'm doing now both physically, mentally, externally, and internally) - decided it was time I let go of some of these pieces of paper on my walls. One of my mentors, Tyler, helped me through a difficult time in my life telling me about his past relationship woes and what he did to move on with his life. My ex-fiance had cheated on me and I decided I was not going to give this tragic situation more than a 2 week grieving period. Forced myself to put on my survival gear and hat and continue living. Anyways, one of the exercises he had me do to gather myself back was write down 20 words that represented me, my life, and my future: who am I/or want to be?, what do I want for my life and my future? --> and then list them in order of priority. It completely helped. I have looked at it EVERY DAY for the past five years.... And five years later, it's interesting to see what's happened in my life since - so I thought it was blog-worthy sharing material for you.
Five years later, I feel like a new list of 20 words is needed for me now... well at least some re-prioritization and modification. I've tried and continue to keep my mother/brother as much as I can, a priority. I'd like to move #20 up further on my list - I need help finding peace with a lot of demons (and I feel that those battles will be coming up sooner, rather than later in my life now). I'd like to move #11 up on the list, and maybe rename it to just "Slow Down, Let It Go". ... So my old list, 2006-2011, has served me well. I'm working on my new 20 Words for 2011-2016 now. Try it - I found it helpful for me to look at (sometimes modify/add to) this list every day.
I met with a very sweet Twitter friend of mine the other day for lunch, and it turns out, she's working with an old client group of mine from years ago (though, not the exact same client).... and wow, I looked back at my experience with that team and I shake my head. There were some major learning experiences I took from that. Hmmm... shall I tell you the story of Arry's Worst Two Months as a Consultant or shall I tell you the Lessons Learned by Arry, first?
The Story: Arry's Worst Two Months as a Consultant
Now, I've been a consultant for almost a decade - and I've done pretty well (so far). Hard times as a consultant involve crazy (militant) project managers, insane weekly commutes to various cities, long hours, understaffed teams, hard-to-please clients, and ginormous hurdles on projects. No, these two months I had were THE worst. I was brought back into this group by an old client of mine (let's call her Jane) - her career was on the fast track and it had been a few years since I had worked with her. She had accomplished a lot and now had a hundred person team reporting to her. She brought me on because of my special skill set to work with her newly minted group manager (for fun, let's call him Chester) who now had reports. He was a seemingly nice guy - older, grew up in upstate New York, seemingly introverted... She asked me to help him hone his skills in management, moving his projects forward, and bring collaborative teams/people together. ... Unfortunately for me, Chester did not see me as something he needed nor wanted. Begin ... Arry's very unhappy two months.
Oh gosh, I'd say those were the roughest two months of my consulting career. I cried almost every other day in the bathroom, on the way to work, on the way home from work, ... it was miserable. Trust me - I'm emotional, but rarely do I cry at work (tho, the poor people that saw me in the bathrooms there would probably disagree). I should give you some examples of what it was like. A) To give you an example of how just unprofessional he was: in a meeting where there were people in the room and on conference call, if he disagreed with whomever was speaking on the phone, he'd mute the phone and then say something like, "well, they can all just fuck off." (whilst making a hand gesture similar to that of a man ... jerking off.) B) To give you an example of how seemingly insane he was: I met him for our first one-on-one meeting and gave him my "hello, I'm here to serve you and will do my best for you - these are things our boss, Jane, would like us to make some progress with, ..." to put myself "out there" first. I asked him what he thought... and he looks blankly straight at me and says, "What the fuck's wrong with you?" ... Yea, that's what he said word for word. I even asked him to repeat because I was so shocked. He goes, "you heard me, what the fuck's wrong with you?" ... Not so hot for a first meeting with a new client. Hostile. C) This is probably one of the funniest - but at the time the most humiliating, examples - to show you how just rotten of an asshole he was: two consultants including me, and two clients including Chester, go to lunch. We put our things down at a table and go get our lunches. This table was one of those tables that was a booth-style - four people could sit at it, but two people are on the inside, and two people are on the outside. Consultants put stuff on the inside. Clients put stuff on the outside. Clients got back to table before the consultants did. Client gets up and lets other consultant slide into his seat. Chester ignores me and continues eating his lunch. Yea, not getting up. ... I roll my eyes, shrug, and walk over to another table to eat. Consultant asks the other client to get up again so that he can join me for lunch. ... Yea. Wow. Right? Wow.
Lessons Learned by Arry
There were some major lessons that I learned during those two horrific months. Major lessons. Here they are:
1) Some clients are not worth the trouble - it's okay to fire your client (hopefully your employer will agree and support you)
2) If you come across an asshole client (or situation), if being accommodating ("survival mode") doesn't work, be a super asshole back. ~SUPER~ asshole. Grab the situation by the balls and stand your ground. Take control. Bang louder than him/her. Shout louder than him/her. Do not allow yourself to get run over.
3) It takes a long while to heal from a toxic situation like that - give yourself room to detox afterwards.
4) NEVER EVER EVER EVER let anyone, any boss, any person tell you NOT to make contact with YOUR OWN FRIENDS or contacts or clients. NEVER EVER. Remember, when in ANY abusive relationship, the abuser will isolate the abused from their network. In this situation, I was clearly mandated NOT to make ANY contact with my old client (who was his boss), Jane. BIGGEST REGRET for me.
5) Shit happens. Learn from it. Move on.
Many of you know, if you've been following me on the interwebs for awhile, that I originally started writing about love, relationships, business, technology, women on my start-up blog, http://arryandmina.blogspot.com - but when we started really doing the incorporating, building our site, bringing on a third founding member... it became apparent that if I wanted to write about things more personal in nature, that I needed to 1) not do it on our company blog and 2) go somewhere else - which is why I started this ArryinSeattle site.
In my recent blog post, we are so close, I wrote about the journey we've taken over the past couple of years to pull this company together. Perseverance. Determination. I mean, this has been a serious journey - a marathon that just keeps going and going and the end is nowhere near in sight - and that's ok. Sheesh, I should do a post on all the things we've learned along the way... like for example: 1) cheaper is not better. Cheaper means WAY MORE expensive at the end; 2) it's all about the people - really, that's been the most challenging part about this journey, finding that third co-founder, our CTO Michael was a long one, and now that he's with us, we're never letting him go! (Puahahaha....)... 3) joining forces with another person or few is like marriage: constant consistent work, mutual respect, and faith. We've hit almost every emotion out there I think so far... angst, anger, fear, nervousness, jealousy, happiness, frustration, glee, .... and ... here we are still pushing forward.
My start-up actually went live and launched recently. Broke open a bottle of most lovely champagne at 230AM with dark circles under our eyes, bars of chocolate on the table, laptops and power cords everywhere, ... it's was an amazing feeling. ... Funny, for some reason I thought we'd have a sense of closure on that date, but it was more a feeling of something that was just beginning. We had just given birth to our baby, All Things Wishful - and now the real journey has just begun. We've just released a bunch of new features with version 1.1 - we're pushing to release version 1.2 this week with new images to our library among other really cool features. We're looking to bring on another developer to our small team of six that have been working on the site. CRAZY! I love love love my company - I love love love my co-founders - I love love love our product. We have so much more we want to do with it - more cool stuff coming!!
At the end of it all, we want to provide something that is meaningful and is straight up the truth - sometimes the most thoughtful gift of all is cash. Why go through all the pomp and circumstance of anything else with registering for things you don't need/want, having to return it, the waste in packaging/shipping/time, ... our site is for the modern day person like me and you.
Follow us/me on our journey on Twitter = @WishfulGifts.
Give me a "Like" on Facebook = /AllThingsWishfulInc
Check out the site, tell me what ya think! = AllThingsWishful.com