Dan 2.0 here. As a heads up, you’re about to install some software updates. And it’s going to suck. You’ll go through some struggles, some crises, and some bad luck.
Let me assure you, it’s worth it. Your bad days all occur to make you stronger, more durable, and more mentally conditioned. Let the tears flow, let your frustrations overwhelm you, and pick yourself back up. Keep trying.
Dan 2.0 feels good and I’m looking forward to experiencing Dan 3.0. And, it’s probably going to suck installing the upcoming updates as well.
Paradigm shifts in consciousness come out of nowhere. You live your life the way you do and then one day you notice you’re different. Phases come and go while you adjust to how life shapes your mind every day. More responsibilities and life circumstances mold you to become a wiser individual. Everyone spends childhood eagerly waiting to grow up. And once people truly recognize the responsibilities of adulthood, people complain and become easily frustrated.
Twenty-three months ago, life did not feel fine. In fact, life felt like it was unraveling. Luckily, through intentional effort these last twenty-two months, adulthood feels just fine. This is my story of how I installed my own software update with some tips to help you install yours.
I sat down at my desk and did my usual morning routine. Booted my work programs, looked at my calendar and to-do list, and then plugged away to make January 2nd, 2014 a productive one. However, my mind didn’t feel right. An hour goes by and an unsettling feeling began to intensify.
It felt necessary to take a stroll around the block. Shortness of breath, wide eyes, and a feeling of worthlessness overwhelmed me. My hand reached into my pocket to grab my phone.
Dad: “Hey Dan, how are you?”
Freaked-Out Dan: “Well, Dad. I think I’m having a panic attack.”
Dad: “Okay, just breathe.”
My Quarter-Life Crisis
I felt lost. I felt insignificant. I felt like a putz. I was ashamed of who I was and where I was in life. I felt like the directions I chose throughout my life led me to nothing. No skills. No talents. No worth.
I thought my life would be put together by the age of 28. I was frustrated to feel so lost. I cried over the phone with my dad venting about how I had no idea who I was, what I offered to anyone, and how I couldn’t make sense of my life. He calmed me down and encouraged me to ask my workplace for a shortened workday that day.
A numbed and drained feeling replaced my anxiety as I made my way home. I told my girlfriend that I experienced a severe breakdown and she sympathized but truly didn’t understand the significance until a few days later. She noticed my feelings of worthlessness carried on for days. She was confused and annoyed with some weird decisions I made in an attempt to find order in my life. I applied for a Disney job in China which called for three years of experience in teaching, a requirement I was off by the same three full years. Why, Dan? Why?
The next month went by at a snail’s pace. My “monkey mind” of negative thoughts continued to consume me while I presented the façade of the personality people came to expect. My mind was figuring out this difficult time and I luckily had the support system of my dad, my girlfriend, and a good friend. This good friend nonchalantly encouraged me to do something which would start the Dan 2.0 update.
A Shift Begins
The hand-cuffs of my job restrained me to limited areas where I could innovate, discover, and grow. Compliance is necessary in the financial services industry, of course, but compliance shot down nearly all of my ideas leaving me often feeling defeated.
My good friend told me to start creating my own content. Going through the Policies and Procedures of my firm deterred me from doing this project underneath their umbrella but I found a solution: a personal blog. The compliance department informed me that I could not talk about investments or the financial markets. Sounds great! This blog will focus on personal finances.
The first article was about budgeting techniques, the second article was about insurance, and the third article was going to be great! I decided to interview five inspiring leaders and share their advice on how to achieve success (Read this article here: Learn From Success).
Wow. I learned so much and loved sharing their messages. One of these interviewees was my boss so I had to run this article by our compliance department so we could use his name and the name of the business. The first words I heard from our compliance department were, “We need to escalate this.”
My enthusiasm and excitement were quickly crushed when they told me to shut down my blog. They changed their minds and said I could no longer write about anything regarding finances. My boss stood up for me and we all agreed to let the blog continue only if finances were never discussed. Also, for the yet to be published article, he needed to be listed as “Anonymous.”
I discovered my joy in writing. It felt right to continue the blog even if it didn’t focus on personal finances. A shift began. My mind installed Dan 1.1 because I found something that animated me. What was most important, I found something to continue even when faced with headwinds and road blocks.
Life’s Messiness Gets Easier
Dan 1.1 was grooving. Writing articles, hosting events, and finding ways to improve the blog. A phrase popped into my mind and I knew it was important. Well-Rounded Success presented itself because I chose to focus on my own version of success. The message of success on social media bothered me so I created my own. And this positively changed my life.
I found order and purpose in my life because I discovered what was most important to me. If requests or propositions were made to me and they did not follow the Well-Rounded Success model, I confidently turned them down. As a budding young professional, we get tons of unsolicited advice from everyone and everywhere. Before Well-Rounded Success, I would listen to myriads of advice and take it all to heart because I just wanted to figure out life. Now, with the Well-Rounded Success pillars engrained in my mind, I filter advice and know whether it meshes with me or not.
Well-Rounded Success is part of who I am at this time in my life. I hope it’s a mantra that carries throughout the rest of my life but I can’t speak for Dan 10.0. Chances are this model will be tweaked from time to time as my life progresses.
Well-Rounded Success attracted its first ever believer who is now excited to promote this lifestyle brand to her network. This model positively impacted my life and I’m excited to see it impact others. If you want to give the Well-Rounded Success model a try, organize your own pillars with the below hyperlink so you can bring structure into your own life.
How You Can Gain Confidence
I doubted myself constantly before my quarter-life crisis. My personal doubts have become less and less frequent since then. And, wow, this feels good.
This change is credited to months turned into years of mental conditioning. Give it a try. It sucks and proves to be hard work, but the results are invigorating!
If you don’t know where to start, try out the below list of pointers.
Keep a Gratitude Journal: Write down three aspects or events you are grateful for in a gratitude journal daily. Look for the little things you might have forgotten or taken for granted. This habit will quickly change your perspective.
Develop a Support System: Encouragement goes a long way. Find people who believe in you and spend time with them. These people will ignite your desire to become better. You’ll be excited to prove to your support system, and the world, what you can do.
Deflect Negativity: Don’t let negativity, critiques, and doubts – internal and external – disrupt your current momentum. Be confident that you are pursuing what you need to do so you can create the life you want.
Showcase Your Talents: Find an avenue to display your abilities. There’s no better feeling than being validated that you are doing well.
Pat Yourself on the Back: It takes courage to put yourself out there. Having confidence in yourself is an amazing trait which so many people wish for. Once you begin to feel this feeling, acknowledge your hard work and be proud of who you are becoming.
Pay-It-Forward: Now it’s your turn to help others get to your level. If you see someone floundering, offer help and/or resources. Inspire others to gain their own level of confidence. Chances are someone did this for you.