So long 2018 and thanks for the kick in the pants - Topher Gentry Photography

So long 2018! Thanks for the Kick in the Pants!

I think normally I would just be like the rest and share a meme or two deducing what an undeniable shit storm 2018 was at times. Maybe the meme of Chris Farley violently tumbling down a hill, or the infomercial one where everyone is dramatically dropping armfuls of household goods…I am sure you will see them around. 2018 kicked some major ass. Good and bad. Some great. Some terrible. That also means it taught us some major lessons. No matter what we are all going through, have been through, or have yet to endure, we have lessons to take from it. Looking through that pair of glasses has really changed my perspective on things. I have never really been one for New Year’s resolutions. I have been kind of anti-resolution to this point. I mean… I quit smoking cigarettes on 12/29/2015 and felt a little chip on my shoulder that I did it before the deadline lol. I don’t know if there was something in the water or 2018 was just that much of a pivot point in my life, but… this year I want to do things differently.

For the first time in my life, I can say that I willingly plan to fail. [ dramatic pause ] Yes I plan TO COMPLETELY FUCK SOME SHIT UP! I know you guys don’t know me on a subatomic level for anything, but trust me when I say I always (emphasis on always) set myself up to fail almost everything I set out to do. I will start strong and with a passion to rival anyone, but when that first failure shows up… I’m not ok with it. It completely knocks me flat on my ass and sucks all the wind from my sails. The failure uppercut ultimately leads to me bailing on whatever it was I set out to accomplish. It’s not a healthy habit! This constant start-stop thing was seriously draining! Draining for me,. Draining for my wife. I am sure it was draining on anyone who had to hear me try to make reason of all this, out-loud. The second half of 2018 was spent trying to figure “me” out because of it. I still have a way to go, but I have learned more this year than probably in my whole life. Does that seem as crazy as it sounds when I just read that back to me? It does sound crazy to me, but that also makes me feel better because I know it is true. I have really dug deep this year, and I am stoked to see how much further I can go. I am even more stoked that I made it through the year pretty much unscathed and learned some pretty invaluable lessons despite getting runover by the 2018 struggle wagon.

As some of you may remember, my family and I were planning to relocate to Portland in late February of 2018. It was a done deal. We had started packing, had a couple of house options lined up, and I had a bad ass marketing position with great pay and even better benefits for my family ready and waiting. We even made the choice to have Antoinette leave her job in January to have enough time to be totally ready for the move. It was to be an absolutely amazing opportunity for my family.

The job itself was in the cannabis industry. The short version of it is we were developing and selling commercial warehouse space primarily to new canna-business owners.. Prior to that February, business was booming. I was traveling, getting bonuses, making billboards and working with magazines and radio shows that wanted to tell our story. One morning I get a notification on my phone that Oregon would stop issuing licenses to produce marijuana immediately and indefinitely due to over inflation of product in the Oregon market. In other words, there was so much weed in Oregon that they had to stop allowing others to grow it or it would kill the market. See, all the weed in Oregon had to stay in Oregon. They can't distribute over state lines so when there is a surplus, there is nowhere for it to go. Growers are forced to sell it at ridiculously cheap prices which damages the market as a whole. If you haven’t picked up on it by now… when the licenses stopped, my job was pretty quick to follow. My hours started falling off faster and faster; to the point where I was flat broke and trying to find a way to make sure my kid was without food. Granted my family would never let that happen, and I am insanely grateful for that! It is still my responsibility to provide for my family, and I had to start from scratch and find out how to do that. Well, in this scramble to provide, some valuable lessons were learned.

First off, I was so under prepared to start over that I almost didn’t even know where to start. All of my plans to that point were based on the 6 figure job I was headed to. Not the $0 figure job I was left with. I started scrambling like a chicken with its head cut off. Do I start hustling my photography? Start taking insurance classes and become an insurance agent? Do I go back to selling cars(which I can’t fucking stand btw)? Do I try and start an e-commerce company to start making money on the side? Well, my answer to all of those was yes. I weakly tried all of those things and more. Now, maybe if I had seen one of those options out, it would be paying dividends by now. I imagine it would, but I will never know. I was so disoriented and in such a panic that every time I started down one of those roads, the second things started getting rocky… I was out! I was looking for a quick fix. I've come to learn since then that there are no quick fixes and I am grateful for that. I needed a way to get my family out of this whole that I felt I put them in, and fast. Soon I was worrying about my wife leaving me, never being able to provide for my family again, and being a catastrophic failure to everyone who knew me. I am not surprised I battled and lost against gaining weight last year lol. I was in a bad way for sure.

Undeniably, I had some dark times in 2018. More so than I ever let anyone in on. Things weren’t going to hot there for a minute. Especially in the area of making money. In a very odd twist of fate, I ended up taking a commision only sales job with an alarm company. This is not something I have ever done in my life. Not having a base pay has always terrified me. You would think that especially with everything else going on in my life and how broke I was, taking a chance on something that could potentially flop and cost me money wouldn’t be the smartest move I have ever had made. Well, I made it and it was the best move I made all year. I put myself in a position where I had no other choices but to make it work. I had scrambled for 6 solid months and barely made enough to keep my mouth out of the water. Our savings was just about gone, and tensions were in the stratosphere. I made the choice that I was going to stick this out no matter how rocky the road got. And boy did it get shaky haha! The wheels felt like they were gonners about 6 weeks in, but I kept my head down and pushed through. That is precisely when the magic started happening. I sold an alarm to my future business coach. She is who I really have to thank for slapping the shitty perspective glasses off my face. I sold alarms to some really influential clients and just kept selling! I managed to get my family out of the whole in a few short months and am currently working that savings account back up. I still have a ways to go but knowing I did that makes me feel like a king! It also proved to me that I have to be ok with shit getting shaky, messing up, being bad at things! I messed up until I got it. Now I did it, got through it and can do it again. If I just do that over and over, then that seems like a real simple recipe to success.

I think in all this is just part of growing up, right? We are constantly trying to figure ourselves out and adapt to the ever changing world around us. We all get dealt shitty hands at times. What defines us is not only how we react to them but what we do proactively to be ready for them. Educating ourselves, self development, being self aware and learning to be ok with completely blowing it! I know for me I can keep letting failure kick me out of the game or learn how to be ok with it, and learn to use it to my advantage. If you are constantly reacting to shitty moments in your life and taking breathers in between the next shit storm and so on… that’s all you will ever do. Just perpetual bullshit. One thing after another. Even being proactive, you may never be ready for what life throws at and get knocked flat on your ass. At least this way, you will have a fighting chance of getting back up. That is the way I see it. I could be wrong. If it turns out I am wrong… well, I am gonna keep working to figure it out!

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