This is a special guest post by my friend Nicole Barrett, one of my funniest and wisest friends ever. You can check out her interview piece by clicking here. We were catching up on life and she ended up giving me some of the most brilliant, most actionable, most on-point advice about my life. Better than any other advice I’ve ever had in my life, hands down.
So, with her permission, I decided to post the parts of our conversation that were highly illuminating to me personally.
The way it started was that I was talking about my personal situation and how after being let go from my previous job and 3 months of hopeless search for work I was able to find an entry-level job with low pay and how I’m currently thinking of that whole part of my life. That’s when my friend Nicol just reminded me of something really important; to see and celebrate the wins.
“That’s good! Try to see the wins when you have wins bro! Can you find the wins? Please find the wins.” —Nicol Barrett
This little piece of advice is really underrated especially when one’s going through rough times. It’s easy for the things that are not going so well to drown out the small wins and make them seem insignificant.
Small wins, big wins, mid-size wins… it doesn’t matter. In the immortal words of Vin Diesel in “The Fast And The Furious”: “Ask any racer, any real racer… it don’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning’s winning.”
So, yeah, Nikki B… you got that right… celebrating any win is the only way to go in life.
This is definitely a #NoteToSelf moment for me, especially since life isn’t exactly running smoothly for me in many departments. As I was telling Nikki: “I’m definitely going through a low point in my life and I’m dragging myself through the mud every single night with regrets, rehashing mistakes, lost opportunities, my lack of courage, and my really bad decision-making.”
Nicol, who somehow noticed a pattern with me that I seem to share with some of her other friends, had to set me straight with her no-nonsense attitude. The following is what she had to say.
“There’s so much pride with you guys. So I know how much ego is involved and machoism. It’s bullshit, you guys just need to fucking learn from it and try to get more balance. The whole key for me and what I always try to tell [my friends] is you got to get more balance in your life. You know, like, stop making bad decisions because of XYZ, or I grew up like this, or my father or whatever situation, or this is the way it’s always happened or I’ve always reacted and I used to be worse, etc. None of those are good excuses. There has to be a balance and I think you can find that.
And yeah, rehashing mistakes is a big thing that I keep finding with you guys. And… cut it out!
Because I get it! Hold yourself accountable, be responsible, BUT… learn from it!
How many times do you need to hear that?
Learn from it, learn from it… learn from it!
That is the let go. That is the thing that lets you—that allows you—to move on today, tomorrow, and whenever moment you can find, to breath, to wake up and say: Alright, that happened—*phew*—today is a new day, for example, and I have to start with the positive attitude.
And instead of saying I’m tired, say I’m strong!
Instead of saying I fucked up, say I HAVE to learn from this.
If you can’t learn from it, and it’s a total fuck up, or an embarrassment, or whatever—embarrassment is like my middle name this week, LOL— then, fuck it! You know, like take your time to process it and then fucking take a step, and then take the next step, and take the next step… that’s never gonna go away. That’s applicable in every situation.
So rehashing mistakes is: Not… Good… For… You!
It’s not good for you. Cut it the fuck out. Stop fucking looking back. If you wanna look back and see how many times you’ve done it, Great! And how your family lineage, and how your father used to be, and how you’re repeating those things, well that’s fucking wonderful. Do it! Pardon all the Fucks, sorry.
So, yeah, and in that case, you don’t have lost opportunities. And with that comes courage, frankly—you said “my lack of courage and bad decision making.”
So, when you do, reset yourself if you’re able to, and I’m not saying: ‘I don’t have those switches, (you know especially emotionally) I don’t have them, other people do,’ but I’m just trying to say some things that are useful right now.
And that is wake up and smile and try again. Keep just trying again. Like Nike said ‘Just do it!’
So, there has to be a point of just putting that heaviness down, of the bad decisions, and picking up something lighter which is: I’m gonna try to make a fucking difference today and do something good for myself… To CHANGE IT. Thank you very much, you can write that down and use it wherever you’d like to.”
Nobody who is really awesome is really feeling like they’re good at life unless they’re faking it. I found that most people that feel like they’re good at life are people who say things like ‘just fake it till you make it!’ and stuff like that and that’s all rubbish.
So, just let that go and just take one step and another step at a time. That is what fucking matters, Ok?
Take one step and another step. Things happen when you do it.
Let me try to make the end of this short and sweet from my perspective. I’ve just been taking steps, a little step and a little step and a little step, and researching, and sending emails, and reaching out, and talking to people, and just doing whatever the fuck I could do, and I’ve been getting somewhere. I’ve been having a couple of meetings in the last few weeks, an interview, […] and today I’ve done some Jiujitsu training, […] and also some mountain climbing, and rappelling, and [other things where I might have even the tiniest of experience].
I’m just trying to put this in perspective just to make this short. Let’s just say I have the tiniest experience [in something] and then I was able to reach out [to people] because I took steps along the way, with no intention of going in that direction at all, but somehow because I took steps everywhere in my field.
I take a little step, wherever it is, researching, talking to the guy at the ATM who’s wearing an outfit and I ask ‘Are you guys hiring? Are you guys trained, because I’m an instructor, etc? And he said, no, not really, we’re a small company, and I said, well, I’ll look you guys up anyway. And I did anyway and then something came of it, and I had a whole interview. Hey! you see what I’m talking about? […] I’m just saying that I take steps all the time and little things happen. Those little things I took, may turn out to be my whole fucking job in the future. Just add those little things to my CV, I don’t have to be an expert, […] I don’t have to be a blackbelt.
And it’s happening! I mean, things are moving, and I’m grateful for that. So, all I got to say at the end of this message is: Take a fucking step, every day. And after you take that step, take another step. and then just keep taking your steps.
I dunno how many times I’ve gotta say this to people. It is the most profound thing that has helped me in my life.
So, just to keep you motivated brother, you’ve gotta take steps, you’ve gotta do your homework, you’ve gotta work a little bit every day, even if it doesn’t look like it’s anything, even if you’ve looked there before, fucking look again, keep reaching out, just get yourself, you know, just take steps towards where you wanna go.
And I’m not saying have hope!
I’m not saying speak it into existence. I find all that to be Bullshit!
I’m saying, Do… Some… Things! Every Day! To get to where you wanna go.
And the negativity, it might be with you, but you gotta put it aside, and focus on ‘What I CAN Do!’
Then, you could get back to your negative thoughts if you want to! If that’s what you wanna do!
Whatever you wanna do in your off-time try your best to stay positive. But, for me it’s very difficult, then I get exhausted I just try my best to sleep. That’s the great thing, that I get to sleep and then when I wake up it’s the whole fucking nightmare again, BUT… I still gotta do what I gotta do! And I do it!
That’s the difference between me and somebody who’s not gonna make it.
That’s the difference between me and somebody who’s gonna say this is what I deserve, but they don’t got it.
This is the difference between me and the other person who might have more experience than me but they didn’t take those steps.
And they remember that. People remember how they met you. When I had that interview, the whole company, or the top guys, came around and sat around the table, […] and I had a whole interview with the top dogs. All because I decided to talk to a guy at an ATM. You see what I’m talking about? Take steps brother, that’s what I’m getting at. Take steps every day, and inquire, inquire every day.”
I loved this little piece of advice so much that I decided to transcribe it and post it to my blog for future reference whenever I feel low on motivational fuel or whenever lose sight of the right perspective towards navigating life.
And it’s all true. I do remember the very first time I ever talked with Nicol and how we became friends, and I remember how that making new connections, networking, making new friends, taking steps, making moves, and going forward no matter the actual results you are seeing back is a conscious decision that you have to make with intention and determination.
That’s the difference between a brave person who is going to make it and the person who doesn’t understand how the game of life gets played for the win.
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