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Why Your Life is Fucked Up

I got home around 11PM from a play on Sunday night. In the taxi home, I wrote a note on my iPhone: “Why Your Life is Fucked Up.”

When I came inside, I did the life stuff that needed doing and opened my computer and wrote this post. At first, I thought it was something I just needed to get out of my system – something I call a Permanent Draft. This morning, I changed my mind. It was a “publish.”

I’m a woman who’s fucked up her life in more ways than I can count. I just got to thinking why the things in my life that are fucked stay fucked or ultimately get to the illuminated status of “unfucked.” In my business, I unfuck things for brands and businesses. So why is it so hard to do for my own life? In 42 years, I’ve gotten better at it (you can read about that here). I still have my kryptonite, but hell, I have more days where I feel like both of the fucking Wonder Twins than I do a quivering pile of shit. So, if you happen to be in a place where you think your life is fucked up, these are probably the reasons. They’re my kryptonite. Maybe you’ll recognize some of your own.

You put yourself last. Repeatedly. Consistently.

Because someone else is more important. The kids, the spouse, the job, the parents, the boss, the party, the wedding, the boy/girlfriend…if you can come up with some sort of reason to put yourself anything but first, I’ll believe whatever it is. I lived multiple decades of my life in every position except first. At age 42, that’s a brutal truth to own. And there’s a huge possibility that your life is fucked up because you’ve lost your you. I get it. You thought it was the honorable and selfless move to put everyone and everything else before you and you bought into the lie of, “That’s just what <insert role here> do.” Well, it’s not. We all compromise and make the occasional sacrifice – this is what we do for those we love. But if you finish less than first more often than not, then you’re not doing right by the people you love and love you in return. You’re being a doormat. And you deserve to be the most important person in every relationship you’re in. And no, this isn’t about telling your kids or spouse or lover or boss to fuck straight off. It’s about asking yourself where you finish and how often and what you’re going to do to make yourself a priority. You’re worth fuckall to everyone if your YOU isn’t taken care of.

You don’t tell people you appreciate them.

On Sunday last week (or is it this week? I have no idea.), I got two completely random messages from friends telling me that they appreciate me. My first response? “What the hell prompted that?” So, I asked the first one what the hell. His response was simple. “A friend of mine last night reminded me that we should really value and appreciate people in our lives who are helping us enjoy our lives. Perhaps in your words, the people you would give more than zero fucks for.” I instantly felt like an asshole. Why are we suspect when people tell us that they appreciate us? We don’t say it often enough. What sucks is that when we do say it, half (more than half) the time we don’t mean it and it’s no more than a gesture. Platitudes. Wasted air. A back alley plastic surgery attempt at being human. So when my second friend (yes, I’m graced with at least two) told me later that evening that he appreciated me, I smiled. And I told him I appreciated him, too. Because I do. Because we don’t make memories alone. We make them with other people. And if your life is feeling fucked up, think about the people you appreciate. Then tell them that in just that many words. And mean it, for fuck’s sake. Because life happens and so does death and regret is an asshole you don’t need because you already have the one you were born with.

You’re afraid of getting your heart broken.

No one walks out the front door of the house in the morning and says, “Wooooooooo! I’m gonna get the shit kicked out of me by love today.” Well, except for that smartass kid in Love, Actually who fell in love with the amazing little girl who could rock the daylights out of “All I Want for Christmas is You.” I digress. No one looks forward to getting his or her heart broken. But if you let that fear keep you from ever trying to make a connection with another human being, that would be a huge reason your life is fucked up. Maybe you got it broken once and it hurt something awful, like sriracha sauce on road rash kind of hurt. You told yourself that there was no way you could live through that again. So you haven’t. And you won’t. You sabotage yourself at every turn and hold every new potential love you meet responsible for the mistakes of a love (or several) past. Here’s a tip from a gal who’s had her heart broken countless times and in more pieces than she ever imagined possible: love hurts. Not because it’s malicious. Love is never, ever malicious. Love hurts because you’ve ripped open your chest and told someone else he or she can reach in and hold your lifeline in his or her hands. You’re vulnerable. And sometimes we hurt those who love. Lots of times, it works out okay and we emerge stronger. Sorry but glad it all happened. And sometimes, we break so completely that they call in a search and rescue squad for the pieces. But if you’re afraid to get your heart broken, there’s someone out in the world ready to love you and all you’re doing is denying that person the joy of loving you. That’s a dick move.

You think “perfect” exists.

It doesn’t. Get over it. You’re fucked up and I’m fucked up. What’s perfect is when we can surround ourselves with who appreciate our brand of fucked up so we can wake up every day and be exactly who we are. How the hell are the other freaks going to find you if you don’t let your freak flag fly? Life gets fucked up when we get attached to some unobtainable definition of perfection and we can’t stop and until we get it. There is at least one thing in your life right now that is perfect(ly fucked up). Name it. Love it. Own it. It’s your mess. And it’s fucking perfect.

You can’t accept a compliment.

Have you ever been given a compliment and immediately launched into a Tolstoy-length explanation of why that person’s estimation is incorrect? You. Asshole. Shut up and take the fucking compliment. It’s a compliment. Someone is praising you. All that is required is the utterance of two simple words: thank you. Say thank you and shut up. Maybe you think you don’t deserve compliments or your parents or some other figure told you/taught you that it’s not humble to accept a kindness. Fuck that and fuck it in the neck with a purple plastic goldfish. Say thank you when someone compliments you. Mean it. And who knows – you might actually start to believe what people are saying about you. You know, all those wonderful things people are saying about you. The bottom line is this: When you talk back a compliment, you’re calling the person who gave it to you an asshole. I think we all know who the real asshole is in this situation. Which makes me wonder why MS Word’s spell checker can’t autocorrect me when I type “assshole.”

You’ve become a victim to your story.

You get what you believe you deserve. Period. If you believe that you aren’t worthy of happiness, financial success, love, or respect, I guarantee that you won’t find any of those things showing up in your life. We all have this shitty, worn cassette tape playing in our brains (and for those of you who are too young to remember cassette tapes, I…I just can’t.) that contains our story. How many times are you going to play that thing and then hit the rewind button so it’s ready to play again when shit doesn’t go the way you want? Odds are your life is fucked up in part because you don’t believe you’re worthy of the things you want most. When I was a financial advisor (yes, I used to manage people’s money for a living), there was one phrase that applies just as much now as it did then: Past performance is not indicative of future results. Unfuck your life a little bit each day and treat yourself as if you deserve and are worthy of the things and feelings you lack. The victim role is over-cast, never played well, and never (ever) wins the Oscar.

You allow the wrong people to determine your worth.

Your life is probably fucked up because you’ve made your heart and soul less important than the opinions of others. If there is one thing I ask you to do, and today, it is to force your need for approval (and decision by committee) to die a fiery and painful death. Your gut is all the measure you need. Listen to it. Turn up the volume. Stop building a life based on the changing tides of the whims of the masses. You are the only one who’s going to give yourself permission to be the person you want to become. You are the only one who is going to love yourself enough so that you can fully love another. You already have worth – tremendous worth. But no one except you can make you own that.

You’ve rented a storage unit for your bullshit (and you keep paying the rent).

Yeah, you do. And if I walked into it, here’s what I’d see written on the sides of the boxes (because it’s the same shit that’s in MY storage unit): Guys I Keep Dating, Lies I Keep Telling Myself, Things That Hurt Me That I Keep Doing, Things I Don’t Deserve, Shit a Guy Said to Me Once That I’ll Never Forget, Things I Can’t Do. Need I go on? Go back to the line about being a victim to your story. Want to unfuck your life? Try cleaning out your storage unit. In fact, cancel the lease on that motherfucker and get yourself something real niiiiiize instead.

You confuse being polite with being kind.

If there were one word I would universally eradicate from the behavioral lexicon of the human race, it would be “polite.” Many of us were raised to be polite and I believe polite should go shit in a hat. When you’re polite, you’re being false. Dishonest. We’d go a long way towards unfucking things if we’d quit it with the polite and turn up the volume on kindness. You know, words we mean shared with other human beings who have feelings just like we do. We forget polite (or we remember it in a not-so-good way). Kindness is enduring. And the bitch of it is – it’s just as easy to be kind as it is to be polite and you’ll only be remembered for being one of those.

You think living and business are two separate things.

I meet a metric shit ton of people who think life and work exist in silos. They don’t. If they did, we wouldn’t have bullshit myths like “work-life balance” floating around (see below). What you do to earn a living shapes who you are while you’re earning it. For 17 years, I worked. Jesus on a skateboard, did I work and I did everything from dancing around an amusement park as Daffy Duck in Houston’s 98 degree summers to making absurd sums of money working for a 24-year-old sociopathic narcissist in the real estate industry. I was an asshole doing the latter. Ecstatic doing the former. Find something you love in the way you earn your living. Build a living doing what you love and with people you love working with. Life’s too short to spend with assholes who don’t value you, your ideas, and your worth. Life’s also way too fucking short to waste it thinking your life and business aren’t forever married in a (un)holy union and if one is fucked, the other probably has a lot to do with the level of fucked-ness.

You buy into the myth of work-life balance.

Yes. Somewhere there’s a scale with life on one side and work on the other. Except there’s not. There’s never been a scale and there’s never been a balance. Some days, it’s all we can do to drag ass to a meeting, kids to school, ourselves to the coffee machine and others, a day full of bliss flies by and you fall onto your pillow happy and madly in love with the life you live. When you find that you have more of the former than the latter, you are the problem. When you fix your YOU problem, you’ll have more of the latter. Work to live. Because you love it. Living to work leaves nothing behind except the people you need and love most.

Jesus. That’s a long list. A lot of words. If you TL;DR’d out mid-way, I didn’t judge. But if all of this stuff in my first 41 years taught me anything, it’s that I’m the reason my life is fucked up. Always. And I’m the only one who can change that.

So, go forth. Unfuck yourself. Not all at once (I. Can’t. Even.). A little bit each day. And while we’ll never be completely unfucked, we just might find a day where we find the list of things that are fucked to be much, much shorter than those that are good.

And those, my friends – those are the good days. You deserve more of them. Don’t you?

or, for the SFW crowd…

Hard Truths, Day 33: You’re Fucked Up

This post is the continuation of an insane series I did in December of 2014, which was 30 posts in 30 days to celebrate my 42nd birthday. Because I’m old. And it’s awesome. You can read the whole series here if you’re stranded in an airport or in a desert with WiFi connectivity.

You’re fucked up.

And this post is a love letter.

This week, I’ve spent four of the most grueling days of my life immersed in my first week of acting conservatory. The first four of 100 days. Twelve hours so far of 300. This morning, I woke with 96 more days and 288 more hours of grueling laid out before me, taunting me.

Are you strong enough?

How many more times will you break?

Are you going to cry again, cry baby?

What, can’t walk? Legs sore? Oh, waaaaaaahhhhhhh.

You’re fat.

You’re old. Holy shit are you old! Have you noticed how old you are?

You’re not nearly as pretty as she is.

You’re a fucking idiot for trying to do this. You know that right?

Every one of those thoughts ran through my head not just this morning, but every morning this week and on some days, more times than I can count.

On top of it all, I’ve been accosted by all of those thoughts and feelings and general messiness and I’ve still spent five hours every day working with clients and running my business.

Working in the aftermath of the physical and emotional shitstorm I put myself through every day between the hours of 10AM and 1PM (Central — like it matters).

So first, to hell with anyone who thinks that acting is easy work. Shitty acting is easy. Acting that people are glad they paid to witness? That’s the shit.

Shitty/The Shit — big difference.

Anywhoo.

Hard Truths 33 fucked up

Today’s Hard Truth is about how fucked up you are.

Because you are.

You’re not perfect and it’s about good and goddamn time you owned that.

Because I’m fucked up, too.

I am one not-so-massive, 5’4 (okay, I’m really 5’3 but I’ve been telling people I’m 5’4 for so long that I believe the lie and it’s only an inch and when I wear heels, I’m 5’8 with heels and hair so just back off and let me have this one), pile of fucked up.

My eyes are a bit too close. I have a scar on my right cheek from where I had a mole removed. The area underneath my eyes is hollowing out a bit because I’m on the other side of 40 (which many days feels like the wrong side). I’m 18 16 19  14  12  15 pounds heavier than I was in 2005 and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t remind myself of that. My parents are divorced and I’ve never even known what an idyllic, Norman Rockwell family looks like and when I see them, all I can do is stare in disbelief because I think they must be staying together for the kids which makes me feel like a judgy asshole. My mom is my best friend and my dad is my dad and all I can do is love him for who he is instead of who I wish he could be because he’s never going to be that man. I eat my feelings. On the bad days, I drink them. Alcohol and I don’t particularly get along, though for years, I convinced myself I was a sport drinker despite every shred of day-after evidence proving otherwise. I’m pretty sure my brother wants nothing to do with be and we haven’t spoken in a few years and that hurts me because he’s the only brother I have but I can’t make him into anyone he’s not and nor can I force a relationship. My relationship with money would be sent to jail because I abuse it like Ike on Tina and expect it to keep loving me after the fact. The IRS hates me and the people I trusted to handle my business money have fucked it up so bad that there was more than a fleeting moment last October where I was ready to shutter this whole “business” thing and go make you a goddamned latte every morning for the rest of eternity. I wonder if I’ll ever find love again and with every date that implodes after going so well or even not (when I walk away or even run screaming), I think who the hell is going to look at this woman who’s made up of all of the above and fall in love with her?

And after I ask, I’m convinced the answer is no one.

My friends, I am fucked up.

But the good news is, so are you.

We’re all fucked up.

We’re messy.

And we don’t want people to see this Pigpen cloud of messiness that follows us around every day. Somewhere along the way, we decided that every day is School Picture Day and we have to walk around wearing the clothes someone else picked out for us with hair held in place by a curious combination of mom spit and gel and smile for the cameras…

when what we really want to see is the hair out of place.

The collar turned-up on one side.

The button on your blouse — you know, the one right across your tits — unbuttoned when it shouldn’t be.

We want to hear that other assholes just like us who have decided to run their own business run into the same stupid problems (time and again) that we do. Because we’re all assholes to think that this crazy thing called running a business isn’t crazy.

We want to catch that early morning glimpse of the hair falling across her sleepy, un-made-up face while she snores that princess-like snore she doesn’t know she snores.

That moment where you’re watching UP! and his eyes get glassy with Man-Tears inside the first ten minutes of the movie and you catch it out of the corner of your eye but you don’t dare turn your head because you know he’s going to get up and grab a beer if you do.

MESSY.

Fucked up.

We are all fucked up.

So, here’s to you, my fellow fucked up beings.

You don’t have to be perfect all of the time. In fact, I’d much prefer it if you were anything but.

Show me your scars and I’ll show you mine. We’ll laugh and cringe about how we got them.

Dare to let me see you. And dare to feel what it feels like to be seen. I know it’s scary. But is it scarier than the prospect of never being seen and having to live the weighty lie called “Who You Want People to See” versus the non-quotation-laden Who You Are?

Be fucked up. Only chefs fall in love with Teflon. And Teflon isn’t going to be there holding your hand to the last sweet breath.

Teflon doesn’t pay the bills (unless you operate a Teflon factory — is that even a thing?).

Telfon doesn’t win the pitch, get the second date, or share a dollar with man holding a sign on the corner while you drive by in your climate-controlled car.

Teflon doesn’t make anyone feel anything. It all just slides right off.

We’re humans. Shit sticks to us. Changes us. So let it and quit trying to sabotage your beautiful fucked-upness.

We all have a laundry list of questions we ask ourselves, designed to sabotage every ask we dare make for what we want.

What questions do you ask yourself?

My list is up top. So I suppose I should answer them.

Are you strong enough?

Fuck yes. Because my Level 5 is someone else’s 11 and nothing’s killed me yet.

How many more times will you break?

As many as it takes. And I’ll never pretend that breaking is a bad thing. Because breaks cause scars and scar tissue is one tough motherfucker that will get me through what needs getting through.

Are you going to cry again, cry baby?

Yep. While some people might think I need a Swear Jar, I’d make more money with a Cry Jar. This could be my retirement plan. I laugh-cry. I cry-cry. I cry to relax. I cry at yoga (mostly because I hate yoga). I’m a crier. WOOOOO!

What, can’t walk? Legs sore? Oh, waaaaaaahhhhhhh.

Oh, did you just learn that what you thought was your 10 really wasn’t your 10? Keep running. Keep pushing. That pain is there to remind you that your body outlasted your brain. Appreciate the fuck out of that pain.

You’re fat.

No, you’re not. You wear a size 6 so quit being a bitch to yourself.

You’re old. Holy shit are you old! Have you noticed how old you are?

Seriously? Shut. Up. And every time you dare say this to yourself, look at these two badass ladies. This one (born in 1934) and this one ALSO born in 1934. You’d be lucky to be “old” like these brave broads.

You’re not nearly as pretty as she is.

Erika — you’re pretty from the moment you wake up in the morning until you fall asleep at night and all through the night. And your face isn’t what makes you pretty. The brain and heart behind the face ARE.

You’re a fucking idiot for trying to do this. You know that right?

Yep. I’m a total fucking idiot and the good news is — I’m comfortable being an idiot. So, come at me, bro.  Tell me I can’t. Tell me I’m too this or that or not enough of something else and I will come back at you like a wildebeast hopped up on a 12-pack of Mountain Dew and prove you wrong, every time. Tell me I’m an idiot. Because that says more about you and what you think you’re capable of than it does about me and my talent.

You’re fucked up.

I’m fucked up.

And the day you stop focusing on how fucked up you are and start owning how messy you are…

that’s the day shit starts to happen.

It’s also the day you just might start to fall in love with who you are instead of trying so hard to show the world the person you want the world to see.

I love you.

Love,

My ever-so-fucked-up, incredibly messy, unpretty yet beautiful ME

or, if you’re brave:

 

Hard Truths, Day 29: Are You Being Interesting?

Hard Truths 29

This post is 29th in a series of 30 posts I’m writing called 41 Years in 30 Days to celebrate my 42nd birthday (which was December 10th). First, tell me I don’t look my age and then read the entire post series here.

Last night, I dreamt that I was walking down the sidewalk in some nondescript suburban neighborhood (the giveaway? YARDS). I saw a giant, poofy red heart with white legs (natch) walking down a neighbor’s front walk. It was carrying a notebook.

When I woke, I thought two things:

  1. Maybe the past 28 days of these posts have been one of the first things I’ve done to truly honor my heart.
  2. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken two weed gummy bears before bed.

Maybe both. Who the fuck knows. Point being, I woke up today knowing exactly what I wanted to write about — and it wasn’t even my idea.

When you subscribe to this blog, you get a final welcome email. At the bottom, there’s a PS inviting you to email me about a business challenge you’re having.

Yesterday, someone did. And my immediate response was, “Brilliant idea.”

This person asked about staying interested in things because interest was fleeting and seemed to bounce from one thing to the next.

So the final two hard truths are about interest and being interesting.

Today — let’s talk about being interesting.

The hard truth is this: if you’re trying to be interesting, you’re not.

You’re just not.

Trying to be interesting is the struggle of those who lack confidence. In themselves. In what they’ve created. In what they find important. In whom they like or even dare to love.

And what I’ve figured out in the past 41 years is this: all the times I’ve tried to be interesting were the times where I feared I wasn’t enough so I had to make up some shit to layer on top of my ME because the ME underneath couldn’t possibly be of any import to any living soul so BRING ON THE STUNT MONKEYS because that shit gets clicks.

And then someone sees what you’re doing. Calls you out on it. And then you hurt more than you did before when you just felt like you weren’t enough. So now, not only did you get caught with the STUNT MONKEYS, you still feel like you’re not enough.

Double fucking ego whammy.

In the past month, writing these posts has done a few things for my ever-so-fragile-ego and I-can’t-possibly-be-enough self:

  • I’ve stopped thinking so hard. Christ, if you knew what I went through when I stared at my blog, thinking I hadn’t written anything in awhile and people are waiting and christfuck, why can’t I conjure up something interesting to say?
  • There’s a reason I can’t write. When I spend my time thinking, “Christfuck, why can’t I think of anything interesting to say?” — whatever I ultimately say isn’t going to be interesting at all.
  • I’ve realized that my ridiculous, messy, unpretty life…is enough. There’s been nothing I’ve posted since December 1st that’s been hard to write. Difficult to admit? Yes. Hard to write? No. Because I can’t be anyone except exactly who I am. And I’m a mess. Just like you’re a mess. You’re one big ass, fucking glorious and vastly unpretty mess. Which makes you gorgeous.

In a world filled with celebrity and shiny and whose marriage is going to last more than 72 days and who wore what to which awards and what’s the latest scandal…we idolize “shiny.” We’ve been duped into believing that there are those who live prettier, better lives than we live.

But they don’t.

Maybe they live life with more money. In a bigger house. With kids we thought we’d have and lovers that didn’t die. Running businesses that make more money than ours does or goign to parties that we can only dream of being invited to.

But those people…the ones with the seemingly more interesting lives…aren’t any more interesting than you. Their lives aren’t better.

The difference? We’ve only been invited in to see the shiny parts.

Which is why we try to be interesting. We forget that we have shiny parts and that “those people” have shitty parts.

So, my friends…that’s why I share my shitty parts.

I want you to know that I have an ever-so-fragile-ego and live with an I-can’t-possibly-be-enough self.

I want you to know it’s a struggle — a daily one — to feel as if I’m enough.

I want you to know that for every amazing month my business has financially that there are plenty that make me shit my pants, wondering how everything and every one is going to get paid.

I want you to know that to be 42 and looking for love and being open to love yet swinging and missing repeatedly while seeing friends finding love and geting married and raising families SUCKS but I refuse to give up and devolve into a festering spinster with a prediliction for daytime soap operas and Hot Pockets. Which gives me hope that he’s out there because I refuse to let the Hot Pockets take hold.

I want you to know that it hurts when some hateful asshat takes a dump in the comments on my blog or through my contact form or leaves a shitty comment on my TEDx talk on YouTube. Because it’s personal. And I do care what people think, if only for a moment until I realize that those people hate themselves more than they hate me.

I want you to know that I laugh a lot. And I cry a lot. And if it weren’t for the laughter and my friends and all of the goodness I’ve found in this world, I’d have dropped a live toaster into a full bathtub long ago. Which would probably make someone laugh.

But most of all, I want you to know that what you perceive as your shitty parts are really the loveliest parts of all.

They’re the human parts — the parts that break hearts and bring on smiles. They’re the feelings behind every great photo you’ve ever taken and the moments you’ll remember always even when there’s no photo to remind you.

Those parts…are interesting.

And you can’t make them up. You can’t manufacture them in some meticulously detailed business plan.

They just are. Because the shitty parts and the shiny parts come together to make your YOU.

And darlin’ — YOU are interesting. 

The shiny parts fade, which is why tabloids have to come out weekly to manufacture new shiny parts.

You, my dear, are the lead character in a novel — written by the only hand that could possibly write it and with no editor.

And lemme tell ya — it’s one helluva interesting story.

 

 

 

 

Hard Truths, Day 28: Sometimes Shit Doesn’t Work

 

This post is number 28 of 30 in a series I’m wriing called 41 Years in 30 Days. Aren’t you glad it’s coming to an end? Well, if you’re new and have some catching up to do, make a Bloody Mary, dispense with that hangover, and catch up on all the posts on New Years Day right here.

After today, there will be two more posts in this series until I hit #30.

This makes me a bit sad. Like, I-still-have-turkey-but-I’m-out-of-gravy kind of sad.

I’ve spent the better part of the last two years in a serious place of writer’s block, thinking that I had little to say. Wondering where I’m at and what I want, finding the occasional case of Keyboard Flu and vomiting words on the screen (sometimes well received, others…well, it was like this).

And what I’ve realized is that I have a lot to say, and less of it is bullshit than I previously thought.

This month alone has brought me over 3000 new email subscribers (holyshitwhaaaaaaat?!), and all because I did for myself what I do for my clients each day: I took the filter off and said what needed saying — less concerned with the propriety and phrasing of things than the feelings themselves.

Which is why today’s hard truth is about shit not working — and how sometimes, it just doesn’t and how it’s my responsibility to do something about it.

For going on eight years now, I’ve been the captain of my own business ship. I began as a copywriter back in the day, delighted that anyone was paying me anything to help them better tell the story that needed telling. That evolved into overall marketing and realizing I had a knack for not just telling a brand’s story and making people sit up and pay attention, but helping smart folks figure out more.

Like, where they want their business to go. And who they want along for the ride.

Like, building teams to get that shit done.

Like, connecting them with the people who can get that shit done for them. WITH them.

Y’know — shit like that.

I get a massive ladyboner when I see other people succeed. I get off on working with people vulnerable enough to say what scares them and admit what they truly want so that they can finally reach out and grasp what’s been waiting for them all along:

Hard Truths 28

What they want.

And I’ve made a fan-fucking-tastic living working with these people. More importantly, they’ve made a fan-fucking-tastic living even more fantastic by working with me.

I’m grateful.

Which is why I had to have a serious come-to-Jesus-the-dishwasher moment a few months ago with myself about my business.

Because something wasn’t working.

So, I called up the A-Team — my mentors. Erin, Joseph, and Aliza keep me sane when the insanity that helps me get shit done goes way too insane to be productive.

When my insanity starts to think things are a good idea that really aren’t.

When my insanity becomes less productive and more destructive.

(Maybe you have an insantiy like this, too.)

While it was a tough conversation, here’s the redux:

People came to know me for this in-your-face business advice. From Entrepreneur Magazine to OPEN Forum and my blog, folks loved it and latched onto it. And that was an incredble gift — to be able to attract new clients by sharing what I thought about this crazyfuck thing called business.

When I moved to Chicago a year ago, however, I began talking more about the personal stuff (god forbid). Comedy, performing, why I’m here and what I hope to do more of in the future (performing, making people laugh, being a paid jackass and loving every minute of it).

And people forgot that I was running a business.

Which I still am, goddammit. And it’s 100% my fault that people forgot about that.

Because as much as I hate to admit it, some people don’t want to read about my life. They just want to make their business better. And I had a serious as a Red Rider BB in my eye problem on my hands. Especially when people started saying stuff like:

When you used to do consulting, did you…?? (WTF – I still do consulting)

When you used to run your Mastermind program…?? (WTF – I still take clients)

When you used to do business strategy…?? (WTF – yes, I still do business strategy!)

That’s a problem.

And so, I’m fixing it.

A few years ago, I brought my business and my ME under one roof: erikanapoletano.com. Because to me, business is the business of living and that includes earning a living and living the life you earn. It worked for quite awhile but it’s not working anymore.

Which is why I’m launching something.

A destination for crazy-ass businessfolk like you and me to get together and get shit done.

This website will be Erika. My life, my creative pursuits. My podcast (coming soon!), my nutty videos (also coming soon!), and my writing.

But if you want to get shit done, you’ll be meeting me here:

 

UnstuckLife-Horiz

 

It’s the destination for restless brands and the people brave enough to lead them.

It launches January 14, 2015.

And you’re invited.

Just click on that logo (or here) and share your email address with me on that page. I’ll let you know when the project goes live so your can-do business attitude can duck into the janitor’s closet with a bottle of bubbly and my get-shit-done mindset and make out like it’s 23 minutes until our parents pick us up from the school dance.

Because sometimes shit doesn’t work.

You can’t tell people WHERE or HOW they have to meet you. You have to listen.

You have to ask the hard questions and get advice you don’t necessarily want to hear but need to hear.

Sometimes how you saw things playing out isn’t the best way. Because fuck “right,” right?

There isn’t a single Olympic athlete who ever did things the RIGHT way.

They did things the BEST way. They took every ounce of training and practice and wrapped it into one package called THIS and then they took THIS and used it to break “right” beyond all recognition to create the BEST.

Which is why they’re Olympians. And why we’re watching them on TV.

When shit’s not working, it’s the Universe telling you, “Hey — asshole. You going to keep doing this? If so, lemme know how that’s working out for you. I have an idea if you want to listen.”

Amazing things happen if you listen.

And for me, it’s realizing that it’s sometimes hard to get to the business behind a gal who creates fictional animals like a Doucheapotamus. Sometimes people don’t want to wade through your life to find solutions that will matter for theirs.

I get it.

So, I’m building a place for the business folk — for you and me — to get shit done together. A place to get your stuck UNstuck.

Because an unstuck LIFE is what you and your business deserve.

And hey — if you’re not into the biz side of things, that’s totally cool. Keep hanging, laughing and feeling with me here. The laughing and feeling isn’t going away over on unstuck.LIFE, either.

It’s just going to have a room of its own, like a redheaded stepchild.

In fact, it IS a redheaded stepchild. Mine.

So today, maybe ask yourself what isn’t working. And sit down with some people you trust to figure out why. And if you want to talk with me about why shit might not be working, I’d love to hear from you. I’m pretty damn decent at asking tough questions and removing heads from asses (including my head from my own).

It’s brave to ask what’s wrong when something isn’t working. Questions like that save marriages, relationships, businesses…and every now and then, lives.

Ask. Not everything works — because not everything is supposed to work.

Hard Truths, Day 27: It’s Okay to be Scared

This post is part of a nearly-complete series called 41 Years in 30 Days to celebrate my 42nd birthday (which was on December 10). If you’re stuck in a blizzard, you can read the entire series here.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been scared.

Terrified, in fact.

Through Thanksgiving and Christmas and all of the Hanukkah days in between and no leading up to the turn of a New Year, I am scared.

And I’m not ready to tell you why.

Because it might be nothing. It might be everything.

Needless to say, I’m scared.

Hard Truths 27

And today’s hard truth is that it’s okay to be scared — even though we’d be made to think otherwise.

Through high school and college, we’re scared of mid-terms and finals. We’re scared that the studying won’t be anough. That we won’t get the job or be good enough or feel we’re good enough yet still not be for some reason and no one will ever tell us why.

Then we step into corporate America and from that moment on, it’s completely uncool to be scared. Show weakness. Emotion that’s anything other than Wolf of Wall Street or even Michael Douglas in Wall Street. Fear makes you soft. Not worthy of respect. Shun-worthy. A “pussy” (which is a shitty insult because I have one and it’s spectacular and much hardier than a aset of highly exposed balls).

Being scared — having fear — becomes the enemy.

And isn’t it funny that we’ll pay $10-$16 to walk into a movie theatre and feel something but we won’t do it for free with the opportunities we’re given every day?

But it’s okay to be scared. And it’s especially okay to unburden everything (I did this back in 2012 and funny — the same things still scare me for the most part). When you get that fear out of your head and heart into the world, you’ll find much of it isn’t as scary as you once thought.

Because you can see it — see it for what it is. Feelings.

They’re all just feelings, these things that scare us.

And when we share what scares us, we can find others who are scared by the same things. We realize we’re not alone. Sometimes, we find help that we didn’t even realize we needed or wanted. And other times, it just feels fan-fucking-tastic to take a step forward without all this weight we’ve been travling under when we’ve kept all this shit that scares us under wraps.

So, it’s okay to be scared. Pefectly okay.

And I wished I’d known it sooner in my 41 year path than I did. But knowing it, I’m better for it.

And lighter. Imagine what would happen if we were all so brave each day to say what scares us and then actually take the brave step and do something about it — let it sit or make a plan.

Either way, fear works better when it’s out in the open where we can see it. It does fuckall when it’s bottled up inside.

Hard Truths, Day 26: Don’t Forget the Kid

This post in the 26th in a series of 30 that I’m writing called 41 Years in 30 Days. If you’re stuck at an airport, you can read the entire series here.

I make no apologies for being a 42-year-old 9-year old.

This was evident on Christmas day when I was at the movies with friends. See, there’s this intro at Regal Cinemas that involves a train thing going up a roller coaster where the tracks are made of film. So, at that point, I put my hands up in the air like you would if you were on a real roller coaster and as soon as it hits the top of the track?

Baby, I ride. I let the track twist and turn, swaying me and my arms from side to side.

Generally, much to the embarrassment of my companions. On Thursday, however, two fo my friends joined in. And I could give three fine as frog’s ass hair fucks who in that theatre was staring.

I was having fun.

That’s why today’s hard truth is a reminder about your inner kid.

Hard Truths 26

Don’t forget that kid.

When’s the last time you:

  • fingerpainted
  • blew the fuzz off a dandelion
  • did a raspberry with your lips
  • stuck out your tongue
  • went to a petting zoo
  • played with a hula hoop
  • stared up at the stars in the sky and saw if you could count them all
  • hugged a stuffed animal
  • skipped down the street (did this last night)
  • spun yourself around until you got dizzy and fell down in the grass
  • watched a cartoon that didn’t star a guy named Bob or Archer (hint: same guy)
  • ate too much candy corn?

When?

Today, take your kid out. He or she has been not-so-patiently waiting and you’ve just been too busy to pay attention.

And here’s a tip: life is always going to be busy.

We make time for what (and who) matters.

And that kid of yours? Worth making time for. Mine’s a fun gal. Full of spunk and mischief. And I like her. She teaches me something new every day and remind me about so many things I’d love but have become too busy as an adult to remember.

So, invite your inner kid out to play. Who knows? You just might find that you like him and start inviting him out to play more often. The best part about finding your kid as an adult is that you can take him everywhere and never be charged an extra admission fee.