I lost $9 million while I was on the set of the pilot of “Billions” season one, long before it became the huge hit it would be.
It was fascinating watching the shoot. I asked the director a ton of questions, the actors, the writers, etc.
I love to learn. And I love to see creativity in process.
I loved watching the actors shake to get ready for a scene. I loved how the director shot the same shot 10 times just to get the angle correct, while one car pulled out of a parking lot, inches from another expensive car pulling in (a metaphor for the risks the characters take).
I loved seeing the pleasure on the faces of my friends, the writers, as their vision was coming to life.
In the middle of the shoot, I got a call. Emergency Board meeting! I owned $9 million of the company.
I got excited! Maybe we were sold. Maybe my life was going to change.
It did, but in the opposite way.
Without going into the details: Bad stuff happened with one of the top shareholders of the company. The bank was calling in it’s loan. Everything was over.
That day, the bank kicked everyone out, locked the doors, and sold off every part of this billion-dollar revenue company to other customers of the bank.
Everyone won except us. Except me. I lost big.
I had seven hours left to go before the shoot was over and we were in the middle of nowhere.
Plus, I was terrified. Am I going to go broke? I’m going to go broke! My heart was beating so fast. I felt like I was going to throw up and cry.
But I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t follow my own advice.
I wanted to watch creativity in action. I wanted to watch the shoot. And I didn’t want to let something horrible pull me down.
You bounce back by eating well, sleeping well, exercising.
This was a big lesson: Don’t be around the wrong people. You bounce back by ONLY being around the right people. Toxic people ALWAYS bring me down.
You bounce back by having 10 ideas a day, exercising the creativity muscle until you glow with creativity every moment of the day.
You bounce back by NO time traveling. Don’t travel to the past where your regrets live. Don’t’ travel to the future where your fears live.
Lessons learned only live in the present. Satisfaction with life only lives right now, not in the future or past.
This is the only way I’ve ever been able to bounce back from a clusterf***.
I was scared. I was even terrified. A mountainside had fallen on me.
I had to almost hypnotize myself. I had to say, “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.” To prove to myself that my own writing wasn’t just self-help BS like everything else. Blech!
A year later, I told one of the writers what happened. He said, “What? We couldn’t even tell. You were asking questions all day.”
My writing is the last branch on the tree for me… before I fall.
I don’t want to fall. I don’t want to fail.
I remember that day for the fun I had. And I remember that day because I passed my own test.
I focused on what was in front of me. Damian Lewis playing a billionaire. My friends creating. Directors shooting. Actors acting. I learned so much and I was happy.
I followed my advice. I reinvented myself. I chose myself. Again. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I do.
The more I practice choosing myself, the easier it will hopefully be each time.
The books I write are love notes to my future self. They are bedtime stories for an older me.
Write the book that is a love note to your future self.
James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of rawpixel.
“Wow,” he said before pausing and staring at me for a moment. “You have quite the story.”
“Yeah,” I smiled realizing what I’d just shared, “it’s been a wild ride.”
Sometimes I forget.
Sometimes I forget exactly how much I’ve walked through in just the last several years since my loss. I forget because I keep facing forward. I keep asking myself what needs to happen next in order for me to live my life as deeply aligned and fully expressed as possible. I keep leaning into the work and healing that’s right in front of me.
Sometimes though, I remember.
And inside of that remembering I’m knocked flat on my ass all over again. Because I’m reminded that some things about me no longer work like they used to. Because sometimes the simplest aspects of day-to-day life still spin me into anxiety and panic. Because I’m still afraid of experiences that are meant to be good and beautiful and all things lovely.
You think you’re good. You think you’ve healed and moved on. You think that maybe, just maybe, you can be a person in the world again the way you were before. But something reminds you that you can’t, at least not yet, and with that reminder comes the remembering of why.
It’s just what happens as you find your footing in the aftermath of what’s hard and what hurts. From the things that broke you clean in two, leaving bumps and bruises on that deep soul level… in places you don’t always know exist until you brush against them at just the right angle.
Feel your feelings, let yourself be frustrated even, but don’t stop moving. This kind of healing isn’t linear, which makes it easy to question whether or not you’re making any progress at all… but you are, as long as you keep feeling, keep moving, keep navigating your way through.
Each and every time.
You’ve got this.
Stephenie Zamora is an author and life coach, business and marketing strategist, and founder of CallOfTheVoid.tv., where she merges the worlds of personal development, energy healing, intuitive coaching, writing, and mixed media art to help individuals rise up and come back from the darkest, hardest chapters of life. She guides her clients through the challenging process of re-orienting to their lives, relationships, and work in a way that’s fully aligned with who they’ve become in the aftermath of loss, trauma, depression, and big life changes. After struggling with PTSD, grief, and anxiety from a sudden and traumatic loss, she navigated her own difficult healing journey, and has set out to help others find the purpose of their own path using The Hero’s Journey as a framework. She is also the founder of Stephenie Zamora Media, the author of Awesome Life Tips®, creator of Journey Mapping Sessions, and is currently working on a second book, Unravel. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, Yahoo Shine, Elite Daily, Positively Positive, and many other publications over the years. Connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or at www.CallOfTheVoid.tv.
Image courtesy of Joe Gardner.
We went to New York for some festive shopping…and took a trip down memory lane. We lived in New York for a few years and with as many years away, the City was still as familiar as ever.
NYC is my favourite city in the world actually. It has an energy like nowhere else somehow. But New York has personal significance for me too. Some of my most life-changing decisions have been made there.
I decided to look away from my 15-year tour of duty in PR on the Brooklyn Bridge. Both our children celebrated their first birthdays in New York too. I have many memories of those days my arms felt locked onto a stroller as we went ‘everywhere’ and ‘did everything’ on our NY bucket list. And some that weren’t. I can still recite the displays at Intrepid!
Now the son who so enjoyed that annual pass to Intrepid is taller than me, and my ‘baby’ … right on target, is very pre-teen.
I walked around this city I feel so bonded with, seeing visions of my past self as I turned corners everywhere. And had big feelings as I struggled to find my own answer to this question.
Until something happened and I was forced to press pause.
The boys had been to see an American Football game. Not exciting to us girls, we had opted instead for Fifth Avenue girls’ time.
The heavens opened that day as I think they only do in New York. Picture this. Open stadium. Drenched to their bones. For hours. And hours. And then some. The plastic ponchos they resorted to, not up to the job. Cue the flu that would take us down, one-by-one during our long-awaited trip back to NYC.
Awful timing obviously. But here’s why, as counter-intuitive as it sounds, that same trip was restorative.
The enforced pressing of ‘pause’ that came with the flu was thoroughly therapeutic. I dosed up and carried on doing most of the things we were there for…until there was no choice but to give in to a few hours in bed. On pause. And so this special week went along with the pendulum swinging from doing, to on pause/reflecting, then pressing play again.
It was disorienting. Confusing even. I kept glimpsing the Past Me, with such power it felt more like being transported back into those memories. Times that felt disjointed from Me Now and I struggled to reconcile how everything was so different. But I was the same. Wasn’t I?
I sat in bed too many times thinking around this and it turned into a very circular dialogue between me, myself and I. On-pause. Until the clever flu meds worked their magic for the next outing and the ‘doing’ distracted nicely.
But those enforced pauses were oddly therapeutic too. I wouldn’t have put those breaks in of my own accord, but it turns out I needed to protect pockets of time to think hard about how Past Me related to Me Now, and step back so I could see how the past had influenced what happened next. And process how I felt about that, now I was looking back.
If you look nostalgia up in the New Oxford Dictionary it tells you it is ‘sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past’. I certainly feel like I experienced that.
But there’s more to nostalgia than its definition.
Experts say we use nostalgia a bit like a homeostatic device. A bit like the heating mechanism that keeps our homes at our preferred temperature setting, nostalgia helps restore balance to our self-continuity when it’s threatened.
Because feeling a discontinuity of self is psychologically uncomfortable, and in the way of thriving at the best of times. And at times of career or life transitions, such as moving country, changing jobs or the identity-shift that comes with being a new parent, will trigger ineffective coping.
This risk of poor coping explains why the perception of yourself stretching back to your past and extending into the imagined future is so important. It’s why we reminisce and why it’s important to look back as well as forwards.
Especially at this time of year, when the tendency is to be immersed in the now and extend it to look forwards – setting intentions designed to drive us forward in our career or life.
Here’s the health warning. When we get overly immersed in extending our present, we resist change despite setting intentions. Because we are compelled to protect a stable sense of self. That keeps us as we are right now. There’s even evidence that we will actively mute good feelings if low self-esteem means that brings better continuity. Think about what that means at times your sense of who you are has been rocked to the core by a job loss or relationship break-up.
Photo credit: Max Hansion
In New York that week, I learned the power of pressing pause long enough to look back. So far back it felt like having glimpses of a different me, not just a different time. I even remember imagining my as-yet-unknown Career two.
The irony wasn’t lost on me that an article I wrote recently about how to tell people you’ve been fired was published while we were in Central Park, among memories of pushing my one-year-old on the swings, preoccupied as I struggled to recalibrate from the redundancy that meant I could be over there for a month. I remember feeling conflicted about that opportunity as I grieved for a Lost Me and grappled with what I wanted to happen next.
I made promises to myself that I would start a different chapter…something that mattered to me…after my Family Chapter… And this was how I saw the link between that past self with what unfolded after that. So clear in hindsight, that I had already found meaning. Slowly I noticed. Then did something meaningful with that. Until years of studying and retraining later, Career two has become the coaching I live and breathe today.
Back from Central Park, on pause again, I reflected how far I’ve come from that place – being so unsure of what next, but so certain I needed ‘it’.
I was shocked to realise I felt grateful for those hard experiences. And felt nourished remembering my New York past, despite the unfulfilling fog I know I walked around in at times. And especially for how it all combined into a meaning-making system I didn’t recognise at the time, but that shaped my What Next.
So, put yourself on pause.
Recruit those memory systems and make them work for you too.
Unpacking the insights between your Past and your Now will help shape What Next, and drive the behaviours you need to get there.
Do you think you’re the same person, from one year, or decade, to the next? Are obvious changes within, aligned or misaligned with what you do in your everyday? Please share in the comments.
Helen Hanison is an executive coach. She helps professionals at a career crossroads to make a plan aligning work that they love with the life they want to lead. Then act on it. If you feel ready to talk first steps, email her here. She can also be found online at on her blog and on Facebook. If you would value some guidance with this process of using nostalgia to help work out What Next, I have put together a (free) PDF with the 5 important questions you need to make meaning from your memories and provoke thought about that. Just click here for the PDF and it will be sent.
Image courtesy of Joe Yates.
The post Forced to Press Pause in the City That Never Sleeps appeared first on Positively Positive.
Over a hundred years ago in the town of Berditchev, there lived the saintly Rabbi Levi Yitzchak. One day he ordered the town crier to come to him.
“What is your wish?” he asked the rabbi.
“Go to every storekeeper and shopkeeper in the market place,” Levi Yitzchak commanded. “Tell them to close their business and assemble in the town square, for I have an announcement to make.”
“But, Master,” exclaimed the town crier, “today is market day and this is the busiest hour. Could you not postpone your announcement?”
“No,’” he replied. “Go and tell them that Levi Yitzchak has an important proclamation. It cannot wait a day or even an hour. They must halt their trading, close their shops, and come to the town square at once.”
The town crier reluctantly left to do the rabbi’s bidding. He stopped at every store and every shop and told the people that the holy rabbi had ordered them to come to the town square for an announcement of great significance. Grumbling at the ill-timed disruption, but with their curiosity piqued, the people obeyed the command, shut their stores and gathered in the town square.
There is a God in the world! A colleague of mine has sermonized that “given the fractured world we inhabit and the frenetic lives we lead, we often need reminding. But there is a God in the world, revealed in our yearning to do what is right and good; in gratitude for all that is beautiful in our lives beyond our ability to control or create, and in our courage to persevere through life’s inescapable sorrows.”
God given strength resides in each of us…and in those around us. Fred Rogers, remembered in the wonderful film “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” told a favorite story from the Special Olympics:
“For the 100 yard dash. nine contestants.assembled at the starting line and at the sound of the gun took off. But not long afterward, one boy stumbled and fell…hurt his knee and began to cry. The other eight children heard him…slowed down and kissed the boy, and said.’This’ll make it better.” The boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their hands together, and walked to the finish line.”
The world is full of people ready to say, “I will hold your hand if you let me.” The nineteenth-century holy man understood: “Human beings are God’s language,” he taught.
But what of those moments, a rabbi taught, when our own strength fails, and darkness conceals those hands reaching out to help us? Then, especially, we must remember Levi Yitzchak’s pronouncement: “There is a God in the world.”
THERE IS A GOD IN THE WORLD, AND NO ONE IS ALONE.
Rabbi Hirshel Jaffe, a cancer survivor, is a motivational/inspirational speaker on the theme NEVER GIVE UP! He authored “Why Me? Why Anyone?” which chronicles his rescue from leukemia and his spiritual triumph over despair. Known as “The Running Rabbi” for competing in the NY Marathon, he received the “Award of Courage” from President Ronald Reagan in a White House ceremony. Rabbi Jaffe was one of the clergy who visited the American hostages in Iran to offer them comfort and hope and was asked by the President to greet them at the White House upon their return. He received an honorary Doctorate from his seminary for “his work with the sick, and his noble influence upon all people. You can follow him on Facebook.
Image courtesy of J’Waye Covington.
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