A month ago, I received an email titled “I am giving up” from a young woman. She was an aspiring life coach and had a huge money problem she was dealing with.
The young lady tried everything to get out of the situation and was even prepared to sleep in her car. There was one problem though: she had a daughter.
Things got so bad that she was even considering becoming a stripper to make some money fast but it was eating away at her on the inside because this very idea went against her ethics and values.
She felt she could never be a life coach again if she became a stripper, because the thought of helping other women after she had put her ass in lots of guys’ faces (this is what she actually said) was far too painful for her.
Becoming a stripper to fix her money problem would simultaneously kill her dream of becoming a life coach.
After she told me this story, she wanted my advice. ‘What should I do Tim?” she said to me in the email.
I really wanted to help her.
I gave her this advice even though it sounds brutal and somewhat harsh:
I told her “Sometimes We Have To Eat Garbage For A While Before We Can Rise Up Again.”
Here’s how to eat garbage for a while so that you can rise up again:
Take a job you may not love.
Life is not all rainbows and butterflies (forgot who said that but it’s true). There will be times when your life goes off track and you could lose your job, all your money or even your partner. It’s messed up and we all go through it.
The answer is not to go against all of your values, so you feel even more worthless. The advice I gave though goes against every self-help book and motivational quote you’ve ever read including #LoveYourWork
If you fall down, sometimes you have to eat garbage for a while and if it’s a financial crisis, then that could mean doing a job or work you hate.
When my business dreams collapsed in 2011, I took a call center job that I hated with every bone in my body. I took the job because it rebuilt my confidence and taught me how to sell again.
I learned how the big bad corporate world worked and I became incredibly disciplined. I even learned how to love a woman again which sounds corny, but it’s true.
I ate the worst kind of garbage you could possibly eat and I tried to enjoy every moment of it. I then saved up enough money to attend a Tony Robbins event and that was the catalyst for my transformation.
Superman didn’t come and save me like you see in the movies. I had to save myself and that involved doing something I didn’t like. There are more lessons in the stuff you hate than you may realize. Embrace it.
Work on a side hustle at the same time.
The first point is horribly wrong unless you couple it with a side hustle. Eating garbage and having no way out of it is putting yourself through unnecessary torture that you may not recover from.
The rope marks could scar you for life without a side hustle.
My side hustle started out as personal development which eventually led me to begin blogging. Without this side hustle, the time where I had to eat garbage would have been unbearable.
Every day while I worked a job I hated, I looked forward to the small amounts of spare time I had so that I could work on my side hustle. In the first week of this difficult job, I outsold the other staff and hit 200% of my sales target.
“I achieved 200% of my sales target because I was determined to outperform so I could gain the privileges that came with it — more time and more freedom”
Instead of being micromanaged, I got the chance to watch Ted Talks with my people leader and strategize about the future of the business.
The side hustle then became much bigger later on and now it fuels everything I do. I’m obsessed with everyone finding a side hustle, so they have something to motivate them at least some of the time.
Eating garbage is where GRIT is built.
I never used to have an “anything is possible” mindset. The grit I have was built from having to eat garbage for a while.
“I knew that if I could make it through the muddy waters of not following my passion, I could do anything”
The harsh part of life taught me how to fend for myself and overcome my own demons, so I could rise up again out of the ashes. Grit does not come from your comfort zone.
Grit is found in the biggest and boldest of challenges where you have to use every ounce of your strength to come out alive.
The young woman that emailed me is working on developing the same personality trait. This work is what will make her an exceptional life coach.
You’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do.
Eating garbage is short term and if you have a financial problem or something that just won’t go away, you’ve got to tackle it head on. Complaining about your situation and telling yourself the odds are stacked against you won’t help.
When you see eating garbage as short term, you develop the mindset that will help you break through.
There’s no magic cure.
I told the young lady that emailed me to eat garbage for a while (I was nicer than that, don’t worry) and do what she has to do to earn some money (without breaking her values). This battle is short-term and that’s how we all have to see it.
Think about a situation that is worse than yours.
Speaking of eating garbage, one of my mentors reached out to me and told me they had been demoted. They no longer had people underneath them and they were forced into something they didn’t love as much.
I told my mentor the same thing: we all have to eat garbage sometimes.
That advice was then followed up with my story of going from business owner to a call center operator. I then told him the story of a mutual friend who had gone from a high flying job to a nobody that was ignored.
He put up with that for three years and then eventually someone saw what I saw in him, and he was given a very senior role in another company.
Your situation may suck big time but getting some perspective and hearing about others who’ve had to eat garbage is a refreshing way (refreshing and brown stuff in the same sentence?) to overcome the negativity you’ll experience .
Understand that no one stays at the top of anything forever.
You could be the richest person in the world today. Eventually, you’ll be knocked off the top spot.
You could be the fastest 100m sprinter in the world. Tomorrow, or eventually, someone will be faster than you. The simple fact is that no one is permanently at the top of their game.
“All of us will fall from grace at some point”
What I’ve learned is that falling from grace and eating garbage for a while is how you rise up again. You can’t rise up if you haven’t fallen down before.
The deep, dark problem you think you’re facing will pass- it always does eventually. This is not the time to make a dumb decision, ask for sympathy or complain.
It’s time to eat garbage for a while and put in the work. Earn the right to get what you want by starting again at the bottom. That’s how you rise up again.
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