How many times throughout the week do we play the “If Only” game?Think: If only I had a higher budget, I could afford that apartment/car/clothing/etc. If only I had a tech team, I could crush the online game. If only I looked like that, I could avoid feeling like this. If Onlys hold us in a loop of constant longing; constantly believing that our happiness is way far out of reach.
Positive affirmations don’t cut it without a solid base to make them work. And for most of us, it’s marathon-level difficult to “affirmation” our way out of a feeling like worthlessness, shame, or lack that cuts super deep. If Onlys can get us feeling downer than down, and at their worst, stop us from taking any proactive action in our lives.
This episode is all about how to move PAST the If Onlys and get back on a proactive path that’s also pragmatic for where you are in this very moment.
This episode of the WANTcast is sponsored by FabFitFun, the seasonal subscription box that truly delivers. Use code WANT for $10 off your first box ($39.99, such a steal!) at http://www.fabfitfun.com
If you liked this show, make sure to sign up at womenagainstnegativetalk.com for weekly WANT tips, tools, and resources to shift around your negative self talk patterns. Be sure to subscribe in itunes and leave a five-star review if you’re feeling it, so that iTunes knows to get it into people’s ears AND so that future guests can get excited when I approach them to be on the pod. All that stuff helps the algorythms and goes a long way, plus, I love knowing what you’re enjoying and why, so I can give you more of it!
Do you ever feel like everyone else is running circles around you while you’re walking through quicksand toward success?
If you’re like me, you’re probably nodding your head vigorously, right? I thought so. Whether it’s business success, achieving that ever-elusive “healthy lifestyle,” or making an impact in the world, the pressure to perform is real.
A lot of times I find myself all tied up in mixed messages: one day someone’s telling me to do what works for me, the next day they’re telling me a $500 supplement is the answer to all my problems. One day I’m encouraged to go slow and steady, the next I’m being sold a recipe for overnight success. My life naturally ebbs and flows – sometimes I’m in periods of fast growth and rapid success, but most of the time it’s about those small shifts or baby steps.
So when websites, blogs, celebrities, influencers, etc etc etc etc tell me one thing but show me another, it can begin to feel like there’s this pressure to keep up. Especially in the “health and wellness” space.
The one site I have always turned to for no-bs advice that actually works for me and respects who I am isGreatist. It’s a website and media company that truly talks the walk and walks the talk of living a healthy, happy life in a realistic, authentic, true-to-you way. Have a little too much to drink this weekend? That’s cool, we’ll help you feel better. No time for a workout today – like, really, no time? Don’t stress about it. Having trouble at work or making friends as an adult? We feel you. Greatist never judges, has always “been there too,” and never pretends like we need to overhaul our life to make it what we want it to be.
I’ve been die-hard obsessed with Greatist since they launched in 2011 – you’ll hear more about why in today’s episode. I know a lot of brands say they’re all about balance and staying true to yourself…but Greatist is one of the only ones that actually means what they say. It’s not about being the healthiest all the time, it’s about being healthy-ish. And as today’s WANTcast guest told me, it’s not about being the greatest all the time. It’s about working on greatness like an artist works on art. It’s about being a great-ist.
Derek Flanzraich is an entrepreneur on a mission to give everyone a healthyish attitude. He is the CEO & Founder of Greatist, a next-generation media startup working to make healthy living cool and build the first truly trusted healthy living brand for this generation. Derek’s been building brands and organizations that last since his dog-walking business at 10 years old, so he knows a thing or two about what it takes to create something with long-term value and meaning.
I love our conversation so much. In this episode, Derek and I talk about building a brand that lasts, taking hits and making compromises, and the gaping hole in the health and wellness industry that led Derek to found Greatist. We also talk about the state of masculinity, the future of gender neutrality, the three things anyone can do to live a “healthy-ish” life, and why health and wellness can’t just begin and end with food or exercise.
We had a blast together – he is truly a WANT Man through and through. So down to earth, so genuine, and so the embodiment of this brand he’s created. I mean, anyone that can play Drake-related games with me and not think I’m a crazy person is an A+ human being in my book. Don’t ask. Just take a listen.
Like this episode? Shoot me a comment below, leave a review on iTunes (the more reviews, the more Derek’s message is spread), share it on Facebook, tweet it out on Twitter, or post it on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #WANTcast, #womenagainstnegativetalk, and/or #WANTyourself!
Your freedom is always there; it’s always just a choice away.
It’s a choice disguised in different jobs, different scenarios, different ways of seeing the world
In working clothes, in workout clothes, in the people you’re with and the hours you spend plowing or sauntering or dragging through your day; it’s all your choice…
Your freedom is unstoppable, un-steal-able, unshakable and unmovable. It’s that thing you carry around with you in your pocket, that little gem or stone or twig you found outside that bends in a funny way that you look at or touch and remember, Yep, this is who I am, This is what I stand for.
It’s about inspiration; it’s about being inspired where-ever you go. It’s about relying on no one but yourself to create this for you, relying on yourself to Be the change and Be the moment and Be that person who doesn’t just sit in fear waiting for someone else to make the move.
It’s about every place being a possible home, every person being a possible vessel, and every dollar being trivial if every possible moment is monumental.
It’s about knowing your value and trusting that value in a way even the harshest of words or coldest of beings or darkest-most-gloom-filled-mornings-that-last-through-3-p-m-and-beyond could not shift.
It’s about knowing your thoughts, knowing your heart, and knowing that no one knows you better than you know yourself. You have the final say, you have the last word, you have the brilliant ideas and YOU have the voice that matters.
It’s about what you love being a part of you at all times.
In all ways, in all days.
Life is yours for the taking if you know what to ask.
Is this real?
Is this true?
Is this fear speaking, or is it faith?
You get to decide what is real, you get to decide what is true.
YOU get to choose, the fear or the faith.
You get the wild. You get the free. You get the You.
It’s about the way the darkest darks lead to the brightest lights, the storm and the sunshine, the flowers and the weeds.
It’s about how one cannot exist without the other.
There is no right time. It’s all the right time.
It’s about happy.
It’s about now.
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I stared at him from across the table, oh-so-movie-perfectly as our apathetic diner waitress doled out our 6pm omelette and breakfast burrito. Two days and fourteen apartments later, round one of our search for the “perfect” NYC pad was closing out with a lackluster finish. As life-long West Coasters, my boyfriend and I knew looking for a home in New York would be different…we just didn’t realize how different.
How many times throughout the week do we play the “If Only” game? If only I had a higher budget, I could afford that apartment. If only I had a tech team, I could crush the online game. If only I looked like that, I could avoid feeling like this. If Onlys (which I’ll refer to as IOs from here on out) hold us in a loop of constant longing, constantly believing that our happiness is way far out of reach.
It doesn’t help that we live in a consumer culture that’s basically alive and thriving because of IOs. If only you were richer? Welp, if you pay your dues to our organization, we’ll help you make millions in a month! If only you were thinner? Here, try this branded diet and you’ll drop down to your slimmest size ever.
I know that positive affirmations alone – think looking at yourself in the mirror and saying I Am Abundant! I Am Beautiful! – work fab for some people. But me? I’m not one of them. I can definitely fake the “fake it ’till you make it,” but I’ve found that even if I do start to believe I Am Abundant or I Am Beautiful, then a crappy day hits and I’m right back where I started. Because for me, positive affirmations don’t cut it without a solid base to make them work. And for most of us, it’s Ironman-level difficult to “affirmation” our way out of a feeling like worthlessness, shame, or lack that cuts super deep.
And so when our fourteen-apartment blitz ended forty-eight hours after landing at JFK with maybe one or two “ok options” to speak for the experience, all the “Our place is out there!”s we’d both been spouting off to one another (coupled with our morning obsession with ritual of checking StreetEasy over jazz music and a cup of coffee) didn’t feel so affirmative whilst sitting at that diner emotionally depleted and physically exhausted.
I realized that I had been completely ignoring a concept I implement in the rest of my life, that I somehow thought I could cast aside in this “dream experience”: Circumstantial Happiness.
Circumstantial happiness is recognizing your situational limits and then asking yourself how you can be as happy, content, fulfilled, or successful with the cards you’ve been dealt.
To be clear: circumstantial happiness is NOT settling, and it’s not NOT striving. It’s believing and knowing that there *is* another step out there on the grand staircase of life, but right now you’re just learning how to climb this one. You’re working within a very specific circumstance (hence the name), and that circumstance is not going to change any time soon. How can you not only make the very best of it, but more importantly, how can you reach the very top of that stair step so that when the next one comes about, you will be ready?
Creating WANT, and constantly working on ways to make it bolder, braver, and better has been a huge practice in aiming for circumstantial happiness. I’ve got my long-term goals for WANT, sure – but currently, the work is pretty much on me. I have no tech team, I have no PR rep. I’ve got consultants who’ve answered (or asked) the hard questions, sound engineer friends (holla, Roger and Chris!) who’ve helped with the pod, and bawse like-minded women who have been more than generous with their advice and support (three cheers for women uplifting other women; we’re all in this together). But when it comes down to implementing the code, making the page, writing the post, all that jazz? It’s on me. And I am so glad it is.
Sometimes it’s easy to feed the IO beast – usually when I think about all I could do with a semblance of a budget. What if I could afford a WANT team – even an assistant? What if I was a master photographer or expert coder and could bang out work in half the time? What if I had PR help or knew blah blah blah blah blah? Ooof, just typing it all out feels toxic. BECAUSE IT IS. Living in the IOs doesn’t just stunt our growth, it acts to reinforce the heinously poisonous notion that we’re always being left behind.
Because this is my now – being scrappy, bootstrapping, relying on the kindness of community and the power of perseverance – I am learning important lessons about what I will and will not tolerate. I am learning about how many or few fcks I give about any given moment, and how each move can either be a choice to wait and stay complacent or move and be proactive. And by aiming for circumstantial happiness over and over – gaining the fullest amount of joy possible in the now – eventually it just becomes regular old happiness.
When you find yourself tempted by the IOs of your situation, ask yourself:
• HOW CAN I MAXIMIZE MY HAPPINESS WITHIN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE?
• WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES I’M WILLING TO TACKLE IN ORDER TO MAXIMIZE MY HAPPINESS WITHIN THIS CIRCUMSTANCE?
• IF BIG-PICTURE GOALS WERE NOT IN THE PICTURE AND ALL I HAD WAS THE NOW – WHAT ARE THE CHOICES THAT WOULD MAKE ME PROUD OF MYSELF AND/OR THE WORK I AM DOING?
“I definitely want to move to New York. And I definitely want to move with you – right now. I think we just need to make a shift in our thinking.”
And so we pivoted. Instead of dwelling on the IOs of what we were wishing for, we started to brainstorm about our circumstantial happiness: the reality we can work within. So we’ve got a set budget. How can we maximize our happiness within that budget? (Top priorities: space feels cozy, neighborhood feels vibrant) What will be a fun challenge to work with in order to maximize that happiness? (Small square footage, certain appliances AWOL) If we ended up staying in this space for a while, what would make us proud to call it home? (Snazzy location, super-personal decor, a nook to sit and stare out the window whilst listening to jazz music and drinking our coffee…sans StreetEasy)
Now? We’re psyched. We’ve shifted the area in which we’re looking, and we’ve shifted our mindset about what it means to find a home. Yes, home is wherever we are together – but realistically, home is a space that feels cozy, in a neighborhood that feels vibrant, with personal touches that make it a place we want to come back to at the end of the day. It makes me laugh that I even got so extreme as to make it an all-or-nothing situation – I wasn’t even seeing that we already had it all, we were just looking in a different direction.
Eventually, circumstantial happiness becomes regular happiness. And it happens way sooner than you’d think – until you realize that you’re now on the next step of the staircase, and there’s a whole new set of circumstances to offer you more happiness than you thought possible.
manhattan, i’m prepared for you.
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