What Attempted Suicide Taught Me About Living & Thriving In Business

I had been in bed for 3 consecutive days only getting up to relieve myself and grab more alcohol from the fridge. After the third day the liquor was getting scarce and I was left with my own thoughts. I had moved away from my family for a man. Adventure, excitement and  love were all things I thought would be speeding into my life, just as I sped down the highway away from everything I once knew. After only a few short months it was apparent that I had made a gross misjudgment of the situation…it had been a long standing joke that I lived with “rose-colored glasses” and this time was no exception.

 

I had been an alcoholic since the age of fifteen. The moment I had taken my first drink I felt alive, more alive than I had ever felt before and any self-conscious  limiting beliefs seemed to melt away. I felt invincible. Of course, that too only lasted for a brief moment before the drink took over my life and consumed my every thought. Naturally, as any alcoholic would, I found a partner that wouldn’t be turned off by the whiskey glass glued to my right hand.

 

On the morning of my attempt the air felt heavy and I couldn’t stop crying. It felt as if years worth of emotions were coming to the surface and spilling over the top uncontrollably. Trying to explain depression to someone who doesn’t have it is challenging, if you haven’t experienced it there’s no way to truly grasp the feeling. It is like an emptiness,  the most empty feeling you could possibly imagine, there is no happiness or joy or positivity. A void as dark and grim as any monster in any fairy-tale we read as children.

 

The details of the event aren’t at all spectacular, in fact for something as pivotal as suicide they are actually quite boring. I thought taking an entire bottle of acetaminophen would do the trick but I was only able to get a handful of them down before resting for what I thought was only a few moments…  hours later I awoke to myself vomiting all over the bed. I was cold, achy and felt like I couldn’t move. The goodbye letter I had written before lay crumpled into the sheets, dripping of guilt and shame and “I love you’s”.

 

To make what could be an incredibly long and tumultuous story into a nice little article, I’ll move right along in telling you later that evening I checked myself into the Woodstock General Hospital – Psychiatric Ward. I was given an exquisite psychiatrist and stayed there for three weeks in a small room, like the movies go it had four white walls and a window that overlooked the dumpster.

 

So, what did I learn from this experience that can be transferred to business? What did one of the lowest points in my life teach me about living authentically?

 

  1. Knowing what you stand for is easier than knowing “who you are”

 

I fell into the trap of trying to “find” myself instead of just sitting down and figuring out who I wanted to be and what my values were. Not having those things narrowed down made me open to making unwise decisions like moving across the province of Ontario in pursuit of love. The business world is full of strong personalities and unless you know exactly what it is you stand for, unless you have a solid set of values and a strong conviction to those values, you’re going to get pushed around. I had to take the time to ask myself “okay, who do I admire, how did they become so successful, and what values do they have?”. The people I most admire hold values of kindness, consistency, authenticity, compassion and work ethic. It was then a matter of holding myself to a higher standard than before and emulating those values in my own life.

 

  1. Everybody has a story, everybody is trying to make it.

 

Rich Cardona, CEO of Flybys Media, actually said this to me a few months ago and I immediately remembered the moment I too came to this realization. “Everyone’s just trying to make it. I’m trying to make it, you’re trying to make it, Claude is trying to make it” he said.

 

It’s true, it’s so very true. Even Steve Babcock, Chief Creative Office of VaynerMedia posted on his Instagram yesterday: “want your life”, meaning everyone admires all of these amazing people, everyone wishes they could be someone else…but someone out there is wishing for your life. YES, this is another “be grateful for what you have” paragraph, but until you truly grasp what that means you’re going to be so deeply unfulfilled that nothing will ever be good enough. That emptiness I spoke of previously will consume you and you’ll be fighting to hold onto any amount of happiness from any direction (drugs, alcohol, food, porn) until you are simply depleted.

 

Alternatively because everyone is simply trying to make something of themselves in this world, we can be a little kinder, judge less, thank often and help whenever we can. Be kinder to yourself too, someone out there sees you hustling, grinding, putting in the effort and if you just keep going despite any setback things will come together for you.

 

  1. Strength comes from within. You were probably born with it, you just didn’t know it.

 

Can you think of a time when you were strong? Perhaps as a child when you stood up to a bully or found the courage to do something daring. Perhaps it was a few weeks ago when you overcame fear and spoke to someone new for the first time in months. Whatever the case, you probably realize you have had moments of being strong for quite some time. It wasn’t until after I had overcome addiction that I realized no one is weak, no one who is actually trying for something greater is a weak person. We all have strength, true grit, determination. How we put that determination into action is what matters. Many successful individuals have the burning desire to win…they feel it in their bellies, the fire consumes them so greatly that it is all they can think about. Their nature and fierce will makes them strong enough to overcome any obstacle in their path. And so this too brings us to the realization that strength cannot be from any outside source, to truly stay consistent in our strength it must come from that vulnerable and fierce place within.

 

Mark Metry, host of Humans 2.0 Podcast spoke with me yesterday and said “We all have the Humans 2.0 Version inside of us at all times, it’s just a matter of accessing it. I can look back in my own life and see moments where I was that version 2.0 as a young child. At 6 years old I would collect and trade baseball cards and Pokemon cards, and that’s how I got money to buy food because I didn’t want to ask my parents for money, we were very poor.”

 

You can come back from the lowest point in your life and make something out of it. You can inspire other people and create a lasting change in the world around you. And if nothing else, you always have a cool story to tell.

As my friend Wayne Mcleod once said “Don’t forget, everyone likes a comeback story”.

 

Carlee Lloyd.

 

F*ck What You Thought Was A Yoga Body

Shocker, another yoga post. Although, I suppose this piece could also be titled “summer body” or “perfect” body.

The truth is I wasted way too many years not attending a yoga class because of the way I thought I had to look before stepping through the doors. I thought I didnt belong because I had love handles and I had been loved myself with good food, which meant I had gained weight.

It was at the most crucial time in my life, when I really could have used yoga the most, that I felt too self-concious to walk through the door.

Also, I want to just stop here and say that I’m not hating on anyone for having a beautiful fit body, all I’m saying is that having one isn’t a prerequisite to attending yoga or even becoming an experienced yogi.

If you want better health that’s amazing. My favourite way to achieve that is holistically, by eating well, moving, and doing something for the mind. Meditation and yoga both have been scientifically proven to help depression, anxiety and mood stability.

If you do or don’t look like an Instagram model theres nothing wrong with that. Social media and society have both told us if we look different there must be something wrong.

Like Elizabeth says in Eat Pray Love “Let me ask you something, in all the years you’ve undressed in front of a man has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever gotten up and walked out? No! Because he doesn’t care, he’s with a naked woman. He just won the lottery.”

Again here, not saying your perception of yourself should be based on what anyone else thinks of you whether they are a man or a woman.

181b7a3aa4716ef38e229a355d908ff7

Back to the yoga. The practice of yoga is for you, for how you feel during and after, for the things it allows you to work through. Yoga is a way of life, a way of love – forgiveness – peace – non-judgement.. and acceptance. Mostly acceptance that we are human.

So with of of our human-ness we must just let go of whatever we thought was the yoga body and come to realize every body is a yoga body.

Don’t let anything stop you from trying something, from seeking inner peace, from practicing self-care. It’s not about flexibility…it’s about the experience.

The only way to transcend suffering is together.

Love,

Carlee.

Remember: You are Loved. You are Worthy. You are Blessed.

IMG_20190328_082734_584

How To Get Sh*t Done With Depression – Procrastination and Waves of Self-Doubt

Honestly, I’ve been sitting at the computer for half an hour wondering what the title for this piece should be. I finally figured I’d just write it out, you could read it, and hopefully the title that I finally chose would be appropriate.

What I REALLY want to talk about is a mixture of things…but mostly how to still get shit done when you’re dealing with depression – procrastination  and self-doubt.

0-10.jpeg

A vortex of compromising traits that make it highly probable that the next 24 hours will be wasted. The past 30 days have been proof, if to no-one else but myself, of the fact that you can still accomplish a hell of a lot and feel good most of the time.

So, let’s say you lay in bed until 11am… most entrepreneur “gurus” online would say that is HORRIBLE  and you’re  never going to accomplish your goals by laying in bed on a Saturday morning. Maybe that’s true, but maybe you also get these strange waves of self-doubt and it takes you a while to kick your own ass into gear. Maybe though, you can make up for it in the remaining hours of the day by connecting with people or working on your projects or simply taking a day to yourself because we all need to recharge.

And maybe your body just honestly needed the rest, and your mind will thank you for it.

How then can you be successful with depression – procrastination – and waves of self-doubt?

Personally, I’m on this journey myself. It takes some trial and error and lots of forgiveness but it is possible to succeed. It takes huge amounts of self-care and self-awareness. You need to be able to recognize when you’re actually tired or if it is your unwelcome friend depression coming to say hello.

Procrastination is the real kicker, especially when you run a business that other people depend on. I used to tell myself and sometimes still find myself saying “I work best under pressure”. This may feel true…but I’m not fully convinced. What truly saved me was Mel Robbins 5 second rule.  You basically trick your brain into action and stop the thinking process. You count down 5-4-3-2-1 and then without thinking immediately just get up and do what you are supposed to be doing. It works, it really does, even if I have to take 15 seconds and count down 3 times before I get up… it works.

dbc1e629548ac5592c9d78453a48ccbe.jpg

Now for self-doubt. This guy likes to come around whenever I don’t get a sale the first time around or share a post on social media that doesn’t get as much feedback as I had hoped for. The trick of the whole thing is not to care about what other people think and to just produce content and move from one sale to the next, but when you are alone your mind can sometimes play tricks on you… and try to tell you that you’re worse at your job than you really are. Self-doubt has never been effectively managed for me by anything else other than three things: yoga – good people – and inspiration.

^^ It can look more like: self -care, relationships – mindfulness.

You will find as you go along your journey, your life will fill up with different – wonderful things and when times like this arise, when things get a little bit hard and these three try to creep back in… you will have created a safety net within yourself. You will have learned that you are better, worthy, beautiful, intelligent and able to conquer the gnawing thought of wasting the day.

It takes practice, as does anything in life.

And my dear, I’m here to tell you, I’ve been practicing for quite some time. You’re not alone.

 

Love always,

Carlee

181b7a3aa4716ef38e229a355d908ff7.jpg

 

Let’s Get Real About Depression and Entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs, the business savvy hustlers of the world, are human too. We need sleep, food, water and believe it or not, downtime. When we think of entrepreneurship, we don’t think of depression or mental illness. Depression mild or severe, can really happen to any of us either because of life circumstance, a moment of loss, or a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Entrepreneurship can be a daunting task, full of hardship, failure and detours. The weak do not choose this path. Anyone who has chosen to be an entrepreneur and is succeeding or in the process, is a strong individual. The whole “profession” takes a shit-ton of personal development. It makes you look at every area of your life and improve it, to better yourself beyond what you think is capable in the moment.

006f46d32ae245e17a6b7268d821fdf3.png

Depression is something that might be taboo in the world of entrepreneurship, because it might symbolize the opposite of the image we have created for it.

But, there are hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs currently living with depression that have thriving successful businesses.

41218097_675564219493701_1411020005117526016_n

To manage my own mindset during a period of depression is perhaps one of the most challenging things I’ve had to do…. although rehab was also challenging, shoutout to Grant Cardone who publicly speaks about his addiction issues and how they changed his life, now he’s a multi-millionaire. It’s challenging because you feel, depressed, you don’t want to get up, you don’t want to shower, you don’t want to do anything. It might last a day or a few weeks and you don’t want other people to notice, especially your team… what would they think of you?

Entrepreneurship in a way helped me with my own depression. Starting or running a business means you are responsible for your own success or failure. Each day I know that if I don’t do anything, my blog and writing career will vanish.

Being unafraid to be open about what you’re experiencing with your team creates a better relationship. Your team needs to be able to understand where you’re coming from and why. The strength to speak your truth beyond the fear of rejection or judgement will build authenticity, a culture of trust and pure communication, and bring you liberation.

You don’t have to be perfect or on all the time. This business thing takes a lot, like a LOT of hard work. Don’t ever be afraid to share your personal journey, and don’t ever feel bad for taking care of yourself first. My gosh!

There are plenty of us out here working, building and growing that have depression or another form of mental illness. Don’t let it hold you back.

I truly believe the only way to end stigma, shame, feelings of guilt, is to shed light on the topics that need to be talked about the most.

You CAN succeed as an entrepreneur with depression.

I’d love to connect and grow with you.

 

Love you all,

Carlee.

 

Not Letting Your Anxiety F*ck You Over & Getting The Courage To SPEAK UP!

Anxiety is the unwelcomed and uninvited third wheel in every one of my relationships. It doesn’t matter if I’m with friends, family, my lover or my co-workers, there it is… always making me second guess myself. I have mastered the art of being socially awkward, and I always carry a book in my bag so I can pull it out and hide my face in it, avoiding any possible social interaction.

Anxiety has this weird way of making you think you have all these other problems. Before I was diagnosed with anxiety I didn’t even know it could present itself as physical symptoms. Stomach aches, headaches, shallow breathing, panic attacks that feel like heart attacks, irritability and nit picking, are just a few manifestations of anxiety. Normal chores like grocery shopping become overwhelming; when I get to the cash register my throat begins to feel like I’m choking and I pull my debit card out in advance so I don’t waste the cashier’s time.

Friendships are complicated and life becomes this daily fight for survival against an invisible enemy. Anxiety has a way of making you stay home whenever a friend has asked you out to lunch. Anxiety has single handedly convinced me that I am legitimately dying on numerous occasions, only to realize that it’s my own mind playing tricks on me.

If anxiety were a person it would be the snarky teenage girl who likes to screw with people’s emotions, just because she can. I started thinking about how many times my anxiety had actually screwed me over and how I had let it stop me from trying some really cool things, and potentially meeting some really interesting people. When is enough, enough?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I feel like the more each one of us that suffers from anxiety continues to suffer in silence, standing there feeling like you can’t breath while the cashier asks you if you want a bag, then we will never find the community we so desperately need. My anxiety seems to lessen when I “call the bitch out” for what it is. When I’m able recognize my symptoms as being anxiety and work through it, I feel like I can function. It’s only when I don’t recognize it or choose not too that my symptoms become unbearable, and I find myself in the emergency room telling a nice newly graduated doctor that I’m dying, “I know it”.

Speaking up about anxiety means having no shame in the fact that it’s real and believe it or not a HUGE percentage of everyone around us suffers from some level of it. Once we start actually talking about it without the fear of judgement, we can connect and start to heal, which totally sounds awesome.

Getting the courage to speak up for yourself under any circumstance is tough if you suffer from “the invisible enemy”. Saying the word “No” takes some serious effort. It’s not easy, but standing up for yourself while consumed with anxiety is possible. Chances are there are people out there that will take advantage of the fact that you have a hard time saying no, but think about how good it’s going to feel when they can’t do that anymore.

For all of the times we’ve had our hearts start beating out of our chests over making a phone call, or felt like hiding instead of answer the door…. we’re still strong and beautiful and powerful people. I’m here for you, let’s connect.

Carlee. xoxo 

47685742_723051934744929_4035846193840914432_n

 

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Mental Health, Success and Not Going Crazy.

As many of you already know I suffer from mental illness, one that allows me to be a semi-functioning human being…most of the time.  There are weeks where I feel completely fine, I’m productive, not as moody, able to handle things that come my way. Then, there are other weeks…weeks where I am angry, irritable, tired, and feel like staying in bed all day.

Success does not happen in spite of mental illness, for many of us it happens with it, sometimes because of it. Last month I felt happy and focused, working around 25 hours a week with good pay. This allowed me to write, blog and network for about 20 hours a week at home. I felt totally balanced. A week ago my brain betrayed me and I became convinced that I needed more; more money, more things, more education, that I could now pay for with all of my extra money. That week I worked 65 hours, felt exhausted, stressed, miserable and didn’t write anything.

With Alexis Ohanian talking about hustle porn (entrepreneurs telling everyone the key is to work more and sleep less) I felt a great sense of admiration for his views. First, because for some of us with mental illness this philosophy works, we are full of energy, vision and ideas; and for the rest of us sacrificing sleep and self-care makes our illness unmanageable.

Jenny Lawson, author of Furiously Happy, is a prime example of the fact that having a mental illness does not mean sacrificing success. If you’ve read her book you also know she practices self-care, admits fully to the often dysfunctional aspects of illness and uses a lot of humour to work through it. She openly admits to taking five years to write the book, something that a lot of us can relate too. Creativity can come with stereotypes, like having a mental illness, being an alcoholic and being a hopeless romantic. Call me a blazing torch of stereotypical representation by checking off every damn box.

In the age of “The Hustle” it’s easy to get lost in it all, as you hear messages of 100-hour work weeks and tales of sleep deprived break throughs. It’s easy to feel self-conscious about the work that you’re doing. It’s easy to feel as though the hours you put in, the work that you’re doing will never be enough, how could it be? When you come at it from the perspective of “out working everyone around you”, you will always be running.

My perspective today, is quite simple but does take some effort to master. Find a good balance between the work that you do and the rest of your life. Put in the hours that feel comfortable, manageable, productive. Keep up with the trends if you feel so inclined, read the stories, look at the LinkedIn profiles for the sake of networking. As for all the rest, forget about it. Forget what Margaret is doing with her novel, or what Peter is doing with his blog. Focus on you, on what you’re doing and on doing it well. Hell, if any part of what I’ve just said doesn’t feel right to you…change it. Its your life; you’ve got to live with it.

Self-care isn’t selfish, it’s a necessary management system. Losing to our mental illness in order to “win” isn’t the answer, it will never be the answer.

Love to you all,

Carlee.

57a87f38450385761291d6bff7d5a06f.jpg