Because When I Grocery Shop I Only Buy Condiments.

At 27 years old I find myself in the grocery store trying to buy food for the week ahead. It seems easy enough, everyone around me is doing it with ease.

The thing is, every time I get home I find myself stocking my fridge full of condiments. Ketchup, pickles, olives, ranch dressing…

Ask me why, someone as intellectual as I, is not able to grasp the concept of simple adult tasks. Basic common sense seems to elude me.

Along with the lack of such skills, I also have a hard time with change, building friendships and managing my moods.

I’ve been diagnosed with both high-functioning autism and bipolar disorder. It has been a wild ride.

A hilariously wild ride.

When I do get home and begin putting things away in the fridge, I realize exactly what I’ve done and every time I vow to do better.

On the good days I end up buying bread and can usually fix together some kind of sandwich.

So.

Now, finally after much debate back and forth between my ego, my pride and my fragile sense of self… I have decided to ask for help from the professionals that deal with this sort of thing.

This sort of living.

Impulsive on the seat of your pants, feeling everything so completely, loving, and hating, and dancing in the kitchen in your underwear at 3am, sort of living.

Was it difficult?

Yes, it took me at least 10 years to ask for the help I needed. To admit to myself that I couldn’t do certain things on my own. To admit to myself that I just didn’t seem to measure up to what a normal adult was supposed to be. That maybe, I didn’t fit into the box society wanted a productive member to fit so slenderly into.

It took me 10 years to remove the pressure I put on myself. The pressure to make my parents, my partner, my community proud.

I very slowly came to realize that the only person I was really hurting by pretending, was myself.

And, that any healthy person who loved me would understand. They would simply have to, and if they didn’t … well, that really didn’t matter anymore. What mattered is if I felt good.

What mattered, is if I felt safe in my own mind.

What mattered, is if I was living in a way that made me proud of myself.

Which brought me here, at the age of 27 asking for help to understand my own mental illness. With help buying groceries and making a list of priorities. Help with cementing a real routine, getting on the proper medications and finding the proper outlets.

Will I still buy a lot of condiments?

Probably.

But, now I’ll be that much closer to actually buying something to put them on as well.

—– seriously.

It’s not romanticizing mental illness. It’s trying to let you know all the small little things that happen.

All the good, the bad, the weird.

So that maybe if you are out there struggling you don’t feel so alone. That man, is a beautiful thing.

Keep living — keep growing — keep dancing in the kitchen at 3am.

You’re worth every minute of recovery and triumph and connecting.

 

Love to you all,

Carlee.

 

— you are loved. you are worthy. you are blessed. —

 

Why Customer Service Is Just A Sh*tty Sales Job.

I’m talking about low pay customer service jobs here. I currently moonlight as a coffee shop girl and let me tell you, it’s not as easy as it looks.

First off, last night we had to call the cops because some gentleman was jerking off in the parking lot.

Second, you are there to serve so you are pretty much acting the whole time unless someone you genuinely like comes into the store.

That’s not really a bad thing, but having had a brief “real” sales job at a newspaper previously (before it went out of business, hello social media) this job feels a LOT like sales, minus the great pay and incentives.

Here’s Why:

  1. You are to have a smile on your face at all times and greet everyone with an overzealous hello. *This one makes people’s day, especially in the morning… so it’s a positive*
  2. If you’re good at your job you will remember their order, name, kid’s names, work, hobbies, kid’s hobbies, dogs name.
  3. Up sell. Up sell. Up sell.
  4. Look nice. Arrive early. Do your best every, single, day.
  5. If you’re lucky — or cursed (depending which way you look at it) you’ll have opportunities to advance up the ranks. Head barista, shift supervisor, assistant manager, with about a .10 cent raise.
  6. You’ll laugh a lot, or cry a lot, but you’ll never fail to meet interesting people along the way.
  7. You will definitely get yelled at and talked down too should something go wrong and you piss the wrong customer off.
  8. If you are aware, you’ll gain valuable skills… mostly the ability to smile back at someone who is screaming their order at you asking for “less foam”.

 

Is it worth it in the end?

Of course.

Let’s not knock anyone for earning an honest wage, but let’s call it for what it is at the same time.

The reason for this post?

Dude, someone was jerking off in the parking lot…and we are earning minimum wage to make them a coffee.

Onward and upward my friends. This is just a shoutout to the men and women in customer service and the real sh*t they have to put up with. It’s okay to love the job and it’s okay to use it as a stepping stone as well.

From the bottom of my heart, I see you out there working away and I salute you.

Love always,

Carlee.

Finding Support In Unconventional Places

Maybe unconventional is the wrong word in today’s social media fuelled society, but I wanted to share with you something I have found to be true in my own life.

Sometimes we start businesses, or go to school, or try out for a sports team, and we look for support from friends and family. It can be really nice when you get that support. It’s an amazing feeling when you have your tribe cheering you on from the sidelines, but what happens when you don’t? What happens when you thought you’d have support but everyone is simply too busy, tired, or uninterested?

My own family is not very supportive when it comes to entrepreneurial ventures or anything too risky really. I have watched as they paid for services from another business when I offered the exact same thing at mine. That’s okay, everyone has their own preference.

What I’m getting at is that when you don’t have that close knit support system where do you turn?

I found my tribe online and I’m not ashamed of it. I use LinkedIn almost everyday and the connections I have made there are some of the strongest relationships I’ve had in my life. They have withstood months of me battling depression, trying new ideas, and taking a 3 month social media break. My online tribe is who I turn too when I want to talk open and honestly about ANYTHING.

It is okay to find support in unconventional places especially when you feel you aren’t receiving it within your friend or family circle. It is okay.

That’s it. This is the whole blog post today.

I just wanted to share in case anyone else out there has experienced the same thing.

We are all in this together.

 

Love to you all,

Carlee.

Gossip Is Not A Form Of Connection

I just read Lauren Evarts Instagram post about emotional intelligence and the last indicator of EQ was that those who have emotional intelligence do not view gossip as a way of connecting.  

THAT has to be one of the best things I’ve ever read. I’m going to be straight up honest with you, for a long time that’s exactly how I connected with people, especially other women. Gossip was just an accepted form of communication amongst high school girls and even later in office settings.

Wherever I have worked it hasn’t mattered the age or gender of the person there has always been gossip.

The truth about gossip though is that it never comes from someone who is on their A game. When you are the one giving out the gossip you immediately put yourself at a disadvantage. You are showing weakness and plain bad character.

Kim_pic.jpg

Why is gossip so bad? 

Aside from ruining someones reputation or day, you will NEVER be able to build a relationship of trust from gossip. Immediately it puts you in a place of distrust and any relationship built with it will have no solid foundation.

Your leverage is gone, you have no credibility and you are choosing to communicate with literally the lowest form of communication there is. Why would anyone want that?

We all saw the movie Mean Girls and it was called Mean Girls for a reason. The movie might have been okay to watch but in real life everyone just thinks you’re a bitch.

Positive, successful people all share traits of kindness, empathy, and optimism. Truly successful people help each other to succeed and give positive feedback. It is necessary to be truthful and straightforward and sometimes that’s going to mean saying something abrupt, but it will never be deliberately gossiping or spreading falsehoods about someone else to get ahead.

To close this short, but important piece I will say anyone who is striving for more in life will do themselves a huge favour by focusing on engaging – thought provoking – inspiring conversations and cutting the gossip out completely.  When you go to sleep at night at least this way you will feel good about who you are as a human being and so will many others.

Carlee Lloyd

*Connect with me on LinkedIn, seriously it’s awesome over there.

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.

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