Isn’t it easier to look back on things in your past and see things more clearly? I look back at my days as a contractor and it’s amazing how clear things are becoming about the many problems I had to overcome and the biggest problem was me.
I was living on caffeine. I needed a couple of cups of coffee before 10 a.m. just to get me going. Then, I’d need even more caffeine in the way of soda for lunch and even more later to keep me running past my mid-afternoon crash.
Finally, I needed more coffee (the caffeinated stuff) to get me through the remainder of the long nights at work. All of which was bad enough but I was also a nonstop eating machine. At first, when I was young, I could sort of get away with it because I was burning it up. But all the bad habits I was putting into place in my early 20s were waiting to catch me by the time I hit 30. I was wired and I had a middle-aged belly to boot.
One of the stupid things I did in this crazy madness of the never-ending work and feeding cycle was to skip meals because I was too busy!
Skipping meals usually occurred when I’d be out running service calls during the wild crush of the heating season startup. I’d be out there late into the night drinking caffeine and eating at every fast food joint in NYC.
What’s sick is I actually thought it was fun to catch up with my brother, Richie (who also had been out working late into the night), at one of the million great diners we loved. The real fun was when we’d order just about everything on the menu.
Do you know how big the menu is at a diner in the greater NYC area?
Didn’t matter if it was midnight…and all too often it was.
I don’t know about Richie but I later came to see that what I was really eating was my stress. What was strange is I ate to make up for missing meals during the day. That just fueled my desire to make up for it because I deserved it!
That was many moons ago and 40+ pounds as well.
My knees and back were already aching by the time I hit my 30s. Sad to say but it was only because I was the boss’s kid (FYI, you’re always the boss’s kid no matter how old you get to be in a family business) that I would expend the energy it took to drag my fat body out of the basement and into my truck to get the meters, tools and parts I needed to get the job done right.
Finally, I’d make it home and I’d fall asleep exhausted at 2 a.m. and awake to start the whole destructive cycle again at 5 a.m.
By the time I reached 40, I realized something had to change and I wished it was the world and not me. I had finally learned that it wouldn’t change and I needed to address my own types of addictions.
Only from this state of mind could I be ready to address the real sources of my addictions to work, overeating and caffeine. It’s still a struggle but my life has taken a turn for the better with my willingness to take personal responsibility for what I did and didn’t let happen to me. I got to the primary source of my troubles and that was stress emanating from feelings of being less than successful and letting people down at any given moment on any given day.
So what do you need to get through your grueling day - coffee, cigarettes, overeating or something even more destructive?
Don’t despair, whatever it is. There is help out there but you must take the first and most important step to change this cycle. Accept responsibility, stop blaming the world for what you don’t have or what is going wrong, and then seek out professionals and groups designed to provide the specific type of support you need.
Do this and watch your life and your business improve.