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How to get outstanding results in miserable conditions
Or at least not completely self-implode
I quit at 3 am. His shrieks finally broke me. For hours, I had tried to comfort him. Now, I fled to the guest room to sleep. As I drifted off, I wondered… Would I have to put Kingston down?
I was already under the gun. I had just begun working on the webinar for the largest project I’ve ever taken on. The stakes were high, and it was on me to deliver. My plan to work through the weekend was thwarted when Kingston lost the ability to walk.
When I first took Kingston to the Pet E.R., he went in bad and came out worse. I had only slept a few fitful hours since, and I was supposed to wait all weekend before the neurosurgeon could see him.
I had been here before with my last German Shepherd, Bryce. Tens of thousands of dollars, countless hours of rehabs and cleaning up messes for, if I’m lucky, a few more years. Bryce didn’t even make it a year.
Was I looking for the easy way out?
To put down Kingston simply so I could get work done, save money on vet bills, and skip the rehab? No. I’d be there for him. But could I do it - or would I collapse?
I talked it over with the Doctor. They’d let me bring him in - at $2,500 per day(!) - until the neurosurgeon could do a $14,500(!) surgery. Thank God I was good at it.
With Kingston checked in, I could throw myself at my work. I tore into the webinar with a vengeance. Every pain, fear, and frustration I felt, I pointed it at my presentation.
It wasn’t easy. At times, I’d cry. Then I’d remember a technique I once knew and say, “I now find myself crying.” Framing it this way helped me accept my plight instead of fighting it. With acceptance, I gained leverage to move through it. Also, “I now find myself…” helps make you present. We often have some event in the past that we attach a story to that overburdens us in the present, robbing us of joy in the now.
I also became militant about feeling vs. am.
Saying “I AM angry” hits harder than “I FEEL angry.” Identifying as something has a finality to it. Feeling it, though, makes it more transient. If I am angry, it’s a character defect. If I feel angry? That’s just a state.
I also stepped hard into the belief that most of the winning is in the showing up. Ideally, you want the best conditions to work your craft. I was broken and exhausted from the get-go. So what did I do? I “chopped wood”. I just showed up and did what I could. I worked at the edges of it - developing this piece here and that piece there, then fit them together.
It was tedious, lacking soul and inspiration. But I could see progress, little by little.
If you want excellence, you must learn to perform under impaired circumstances. Amateurs wait until it’s ideal.
Pros do it with a migraine.
Here is where habits are essential. If you can’t rely on inspiration or even normal conditions, you can ALWAYS fall back on your habits. I had practiced enough at webinars that I knew I could be good even at my worst. As I held onto my habits like a life raft, chipping away at the edges of this webinar, puzzle piecing it together, slowly, my victim mentality wore off.
The “why me?” that kept popping up in my head soon became background noise. I got caught up in the project enough to forget to feel sorry for myself.
When it was all said and done, I delivered my webinar to the best of my ability. As the market took it in and experts who study my webinars watched, they soon started to chime in one after the other. The consensus? “Jason, this is probably the best webinar you’ve ever done.”
If only they knew.
P.S. Kingston’s surgery went well, and he’s back home, happy, and a royal pain in my ass. But I love him. At least, I say that as I spend the first hour of my day dealing with whatever “presents” he leaves behind from the previous nights.
During this ordeal, I am proud to say I still made plenty of time to take care of my children and do something with them almost daily. They were mad that I wasn’t spending as much time with them and more with the dog - but that’s because they love me 🙂
Oh, also - on habits - I only missed one workout this whole time.
P.P.S. I wrote this article partly because I think most success advice loses these slices of life experiences. As accomplished as I am and as confident as I come across in the final product, I suffer from self-doubt, fear, and many other limitations. I make excuses. I play the victim. I whine, cry, and complain. Success is figuring out how to work through these issues more so than overcoming them. Hopefully, this inspires you as you face certain future difficult tasks.
And if nothing else sinks in, I leave you with this - Here’s what Kingston looked like when I picked him up after his surgery: