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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Entrepreneurship: The Come Up Is Lonely But It’s Worth It

The honest truth is that entrepreneurship is a lonely process. No-one will care about your business the way that you do and you’ll notice. You’ll be the one staying late and coming in early and the one to pick up the pieces if something goes wrong. It takes a lot of responsibility, determination and pure hustle.

In the beginning it will most likely be you all by your lonesome working as the sales person, the secretary, the designer, the marketer…and whatever other position your business holds. It will be super challenging and guaranteed a little bit scary but when you land your first client or start to see your business grow to include your first employees it will be rewarding.

Entrepreneurship by nature is lonely. Yes, you can still spend time with friends and family and that should definitely be a priority in your life, but no-one will truly feel the emotions of the process as much as you will.

“If you want to be an entrepreneur, it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle. It defines you. Forget about vacations, about going home at 6 PM – last thing at night you’ll send emails, first thing in the morning you’ll read emails, and you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s hugely rewarding as you’re fulfilling something for yourself.” – NIKLAS ZENNSTROM 

In 1994 Jeff Bezos quit his job on wall street to start Amazon out of his parents garage. Back then internet usage was growing at 2,300 percent per year, so Jeff came up with an online marketplace for books and within 60 days he was making $20,000 per week. This isn’t the average story for startups but it is important for two reasons. 1) Jeff took a leap of faith and quit his job to pursue something he believed in with no guarantee it would work. Although his parents did loan him the startup money, no-one cared about the project as much as he did. 2) He started something when it was still relatively unknown and worked extremely hard to do so.

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“Entrepreneurs must be willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time” – JEFF BEZOS

If you’re not okay with being the last stop for any problems than true entrepreneurship isn’t for you. Part of the loneliness comes from knowing that anything that happens, good or bad, falls on you and at the end of the day, it’s up to you to make the heavy hitting decisions and take full responsibility.

The upside of loneliness is that after a long period of time in which people misjudge you, underestimate you, or cheer you on from a distance, you are the one that will see and feel the reward.. and the satisfaction of proving everyone wrong. This won’t happen though without the ability to overcome failure and being able to see the reward.

Entrepreneurship has an amazing upside that comes with being able to live your passion. Waking up everyday and doing what you love is what each of us should want for ourselves. By redefining what life means and creating our own realities we can actually become happier more productive people. To stay happy, keep your priorities in check, know that friends and family are wildly important and that the loneliness you feel now won’t be forever…and it probably doesn’t feel like normal loneliness. It’s a different kind, a hopeful kind, one that holds the silver-lining of success.

“Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life, into capital, so that you can do more of it and move forward with it.” – RICHARD BRANSON

For a long time I’ve known I was meant to work for myself. I never could stand when I had a boss telling me what to do. I understand how that sounds…but it’s the honest truth. Customers are one thing, when they need a product or service and request it a certain way it is your duty as a profession to give them the best you possibly can. That to me still feels like working on my own terms. Having a boss dictate when I could go home, when I had to sweep the floor or never have time to listen to my ideas was just something I couldn’t stand. I had a LOT of different jobs before I realized working for another business just wasn’t for me.

Now that I’m growing my own business I want to be the type of leader someone can openly share ideas with and hopefully feels good about working for. But I’ll also understand when someone is truly an entrepreneur at heart.

Entrepreneurship is scary and tiring and it comes with long hours but it is the only thing that has ever felt right for me and so if you’re reading this and you understand the different type of good-weird-wonderful loneliness I’m talking about, I’m just here to say hi… I understand and I salute you.

 

Carlee.

 

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Can You Make Me Feel? |The Real Power Of Branding|

This might be a short little post about the power of emotion and why it is, at least to me, the only real factor when it comes down to branding. I feel this way because consumers are people, and people, most of them…feel.

The largest determining factor for me when I buy something or connect with someone is always how I feel.

Our emotions fuel every small and large decision we make. I mean, yes rational thinking comes into play, but when you feel strongly for something…sooner or later it’s going to win you over. Emotion is a beautiful thing, it starts relationships, builds communities and brings people together in acts of humanity.

When we begin branding we play around with our colour choices, logo design and tag-line. We have fun thinking of content ideas and mapping out the structure of our business, blog or You-Tube Channel. We take the time to break down our social media pages and make sure they look cute and polished. If for a single minute we forget about who we’re trying to bring value too with our product, service or content then we have done a great disservice to the consumer and to ourselves.

How people feel when they see you, your content, your product, or after they use your service should be the single most important thing in your mind while you are combing through your social media or creating a logo.

Without evoking emotion you cannot create an actual connection with someone…and isn’t that what you want to do after all?

It is wildly important to remember that behind every screen there is a human being. On the other side of that LinkedIn account there is a real human being typing out a real and often emotional response.

Branding the right way means having respect for the human being behind the technology, and truly connecting on that human level.

So how do you create a deeper connection?

Ask questions.

Actually care.

Have empathy for the consumer.

Do your market research.

Support your community 100%.

Give them something worth their time and energy.

Put yourself in their shoes.

Be honest, open, relatable, vulnerable and real.

 

 

 

An Open Letter To Claude Silver

Dear Claude,

I hope you don’t mind the transparent nature of this letter but you have, in no small way, changed the way I look at life. If one person here on this blog or any other platform reads this and it gets straight to the heart of them, then perhaps our vulnerability will be worth it.

You Claude, are an infectious masterpiece. Through osmosis your energy commands those around you to be truer to themselves, perhaps more so than they have been in the entirety of the past decade of their lives.

You have taken risk upon risk and found yourself, with every credit to who you are at your core, stronger than before. You are as Tom Bilyeu so magically talked about in his keynote, anti-fragile. At first I thought you might have seen me, the real me… which would have been quite an incredible thing over the phone don’t you think? Now I know it was more like a mirror. Now I know we all have the capability to be mirrors.

By simply being yourself and living your life you shine so brightly that other people are able to see their true reflections, and I believe moments, epiphanies as some might call them, happen serendipitously for reasons unknown, but when used correctly have the power to change the course of one’s destiny.

Because of you I have become an overzealous fan of giving for the sake of giving, and building others up with the simple reward of seeing them smile. I read Brene Brown’s book on vulnerability, but never have I seen it displayed so openly in one single human being. You have cemented in me the unwavering belief that vulnerability builds real connection and that it is the catalyst for change we all are so desperately seeking. Vulnerability, kindness, empathy… that is the future.

As I write this over a borrowed laptop, coffee in hand, I know that from Canada to the United States you have made a friend in me. Social media has allowed me many truly real connections, and I wonder if the people who are so against it have ever really connected with someone using a platform, or had the chance to speak with someone they greatly admire because of it.

Your content and your message give me hope for the future of work, people and communities because if there are more people like you, which I believe there are, this world has a fighting chance at happiness, and that is a beautiful thing. Here’s to you the optimist, the nature lover, the light that offers reflection, may you forever shine as brightly and as true to yourself as you can. For all you have taught me and all I have yet to learn.

 

Carlee.

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Wild Woman. Fierce Woman.

You are a wild woman. [sorry to the men if you read this, you’re wild too baby] You are fierce like mother-nature, with a heart that only get’s rebuilt stronger and stronger every time it’s broken.

To allow anyone to dull your shine would simply be a disservice to the universe, it so graciously gifted you with this life, this one in a trillion life.

Yes this is an empowerment post and I’m not sorry about it one little bit. Read these words and soak them in, down to the very heart of you.

You are the ancestor of all the Goddesses that came before you

You’ve got brains and beauty and courage that runs from the top of your hair down to the tips of your toes. You are a whole mixture of stars and planets and violent galaxies. You can never take up too much space in a universe that is ever expanding, so I’m asking you, no screw that, I’m telling you…we need you. US… the other women, your tribe, your community here on this spinning globe, we need you.

YOU, wild woman, powerful woman, strong-intelligent-loving woman.

Be the boss babe you were always meant to be and shine-shine-shine.

 

Love to you all so very very much,

 

Carlee.

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