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.

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

How To Remain A Badass Even When You’re Having A Bad Day.

We all have bad days, they happen because we are human and sometimes life likes to mess with us a little bit; make sure we know we’re still living. The day goes something like this: the alarm doesn’t go off, you call the office to tell them you’ll be 15 minutes late, you get in your car but you remember you chose not to put gas in it last night…sacrificing that time to watch another episode of Shameless on Netflix, now you’re another 20 minutes late, by the time you get to work Stacey has taken credit for the idea you told her about yesterday, and to top it all of you forgot to brush your hair.

Wait, did I mention coffee? Yeah…you didn’t have time to grab a coffee either.

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Now tell me you haven’t had a day like this at least once. It’s so easy in that moment to say f*ck it and write the rest of the day off as a complete disaster, I’m definitely guilty of doing it.

It’s taken me some time, but I’ve learned the difference between having a bad moment or morning, and making it last all day. (cheesy quote alert)

When you really think about it, can you even afford to have a bad day…for the whole day? It just takes up so much time and energy. It’s not really the fact that you might have children, or other people counting on you (although important), it’s the fact that you know you’re stronger than a few bad moments, and surrendering to them would mean letting yourself down.

You remain a badass when…

You can laugh it off and find the humour in an otherwise annoying situation. Why, because everyone would rather be stuck in an elevator with someone who’s calm and can crack a few jokes, instead of someone who’s loud, angry and aggressive. (Replace elevator with office, school, or any general activity in which you partake).

You choose to walk away and master your emotions. One of my biggest shortcomings is not walking away at the right time. If you’re having a bad day because someone keeps pushing your buttons, remember your awesomeness, and choose to walk away. All the fuss usually isn’t worth your time anyway.

You say “f*ck it” and continue on as usual. This strategy has worked well for me in the past. Sometimes there’s not much left you can do, and the minute you say those two magical words, the stress just melts away. The day can start a new!

You practice self-care like a damn pro. Obviously I’m big on this one. After a bad day, I like to remind myself that yes, I’m still a badass, and yes it’s a good idea to continue to take care of myself. Find what self-care looks like for you, a bubble bath, good music, yoga, doing some artwork, boxing; it’s individual to you and what makes you feel good.

You connect with your tribe. My tribe is literally a few good friends and my mom…mostly my mom. It’s the people that you can share anything with, and they always have your best interest at heart. Connect, laugh, cry, share your day and all of it’s bizarre mishaps, I promise you’ll feel better.

You learn from it. So maybe you set two alarms, get a coffee maker that instantly brews at 6am, stay away from telling Stacey anything in the future… whatever it is, you can learn from it and going forward, you will have levelled up your badassery.

You’ve managed to define the word “badass” for yourself and live up to it. Yup, whatever the word badass means to you. Maybe it’s hitting the gym everyday, not letting other’s control your emotions, continuing to hustle, standing up for what you believe in, knowing your worth when other people don’t, speaking up for yourself, having the courage to do what is right. Find what it means for you and live it.

 

Last,

You forgive yourself if you don’t do any one of these things, because having a bad day is okay, and believe it or not you’re still badass. Yeah, it’s not really a trick, it’s amazing if you can manage to succeed at doing all of the above, but if you don’t, take responsibility for your side and know that tomorrow will bring something new, and often better.

YOU are strong, capable, and courageous. Even when you forget to do that one thing… you know, the thing that’s been on your list for the last two weeks and it’s finally caught up to you? Yeah, even then, still a badass.

Keep it up,

Carlee. xx

 

 

True Confessions of A Recovering People Pleaser.

As I write the word recovery, I begin to fear I may be exaggerating, am I really recovering? I’ve come to terms with the fact that saying no is always followed by a wave of guilt, and then a quick change of heart as I push the word “yes” out from my lips, just in time to bring a smile to the hopeful face starring back at me. I suppose the first step to recovering is admitting you have a problem.

Hello, my name is Carlee and I’m a recovering people pleaser. There, I said it. I wonder if you’re supposed to feel a sigh of relief afterwards, instead of what I can only describe as cautious hope mixed with a strange sense of shame.

How did I become this? Who am I afraid of disappointing? Why do I care so much about what other people think of me, that I will abandon all recognition of an independent, confident, self-loving woman?

I’m not going to bore you with tales of an alcoholic father, my own indulgent trips to the mental hospital, the autism diagnosis, the sleepless manic nights followed by weeks of depression, because although I’m sure they contributed, I’m not really sure what caused it. Is it possible you can be a born people pleaser, graced with a docile personality and a sensitive nature? Whatever the reason there’s a few things I need to get off my chest about the relationship between the person deemed “the people pleaser” and the individuals I call “normies”.

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  1. Even though I say I’m fine with the things you’re asking me to do, I’m not, and we both know it. I know, that you know, that I feel pressured… but because you know I’ll say yes, you continue to do it. I am the “go-to” for any shifts that need covering, help with moving, giving rides that are clearly out of my way, and other requests that any normal person would immediately dismiss. Let’s stop pretending and just start calling it for what it is, a cyclical relationship between the classic “user” and “pleaser”.
  2. Please know that if I ever do muster up the courage to say no, that I feel extremely guilty, and the whole experience will start an internal struggle between me feeling positive about standing up for myself, and feeling like complete garbage at the thought of letting someone down.
  3. I’m sorry for all of the times I ignored your text messages or phone calls trying to avoid all possible scenarios where I’d have to utter that two letter word.
  4. Even though I might seem happy to please you now, just know that I will soon become angry and bitter towards myself, and ultimately towards you. This be shown through irritability and sarcastic comments, but it’s more likely that I will continue to internalize everything and just keep a raging resentment burning inside myself. Because, I do try to be at least a little mature, I can recognize the fact that I only have myself to blame, which although it should, doesn’t make me feel any better in the moment.
  5. I will need time to recharge after a day of betraying myself, so again if I cannot be reached once I enter my house, just know that I have become a hermit for the next 24-72 hours. Thanks for understanding.

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Now, for a few deeply shameful confessions before explaining the ways in which I am actively trying to recover.

I once stayed in a relationship for 8 whole months, saw the person every-single-day…all-day-long. Supported their drug addiction while diving into the beginning of my own, spent my entire paycheck on their habit in fact, and then when they broke up with me I apologized! I was younger, more naïve, and hadn’t even come close to knowing what true love was, let alone self-love.

I once drove 2 hours out of my way so that someone could see their boyfriend for half an hour. I still get pissed of at myself for that one. I was new at a job and clearly trying too hard to be accepted.

Every time I order pizza and get it delivered I end up tipping way too much because I did it once and now I don’t want to disappoint them.

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Okay, so how am I actually trying to recover?

By slowing things down. When someone asks me to do something I wait and ask them if I can think about it. I then try to “feel” my way through the situation. Why would I say yes, because I actually wanted too or because I would feel guilty if I didn’t?

I’m also doing a shit-ton of work to build up my self-esteem and begin to actually love myself. It’s a difficult, mentally tough process that involves doing the right things for myself and my body, even if I don’t want too, which is the hardest part. I have to repeat the phrase “self-care isn’t selfish it’s necessary” and remember how good I feel when I actually do take care of myself.

I’ve also tried to surround myself with real supports and people who I know won’t use my people pleasing side, while limiting time with anyone I don’t fully trust at the moment.

Always, a journal is my best-friend in identifying how I’m truly feeling and being able to talk myself through anything and everything.

Like me you’ll find your way through the recovery process, if that’s something you’re willing to do. Life get’s better and there’s a lot less shameful moments committed in the sake of people pleasing. I can actually feel myself getting stronger and caring less about upsetting everyone, which is a pretty sweet side-effect.

I’m here with you.

Stay strong,

Carlee. xo 

 

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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 

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