Three Lessons From Cleaning The Cobwebs

giving up my favorite thingsSo I did it. I went a month without eating grains, dairy, or sugar. Yes, that means no wine, too - the hardest part of the whole month. After I made it through the phase of wanting to kill all the people and eat all the food, I discovered a few unexpected things about business, and about me.

I learned when you focus on an area of your life; one I consider a dark corner full of cobwebs, it by default cleans out other areas of your life.

I became aware of the Paleo Whole 30 Challenge through two friends; Suzanne Kaplan and Kate Finlay.  I decided to do it because I wasn't feeling well. In fact, I felt gross. I was tired all the time; and I had the hungries (from October to January). My cravings were out of control and it was all starting to show.

I prepped, I planned, and I did it. And here are my three valuable lessons about cleaning out the yukky corners of life.

Eating a cupcake at 3 p.m. is not the solution to your problems.

Ask yourself this: When has running out at 3 p.m. to get a coffee and a cupcake ever really helped your energy? Perhaps the walk itself helped, but I have never restored energy after putting something in my mouth. It only happens when you're eating the right foods your body wants over a long period of time.

I definitely had days I was hungrier than others, and more tired than others.

My solution to the problem wasn't always the right one. Differentiate between what your heart (or your stomach) says between what your head says, and know when to follow which one. Sometimes you have to test it out.

We notice phases after they end, but we don't recognize phases when we're in them.

I tend to think in terms of permanence. The current state of things is the new current state of things, and so I freak out. Seriously. When I got my period for the first time, I freaked out. I had it in my head that this was a new permanence. That I'd have my period every day for the rest of my life.

So when Day 18 and 19 hit, I was exhausted. I couldn't even walk up the stairs. My first instinct was "screw this, I'm done. I'm going to go shove my face in a plate of scones and donuts." Instead, I made myself wait. I committed to this for 30 days. How hard can that be? Bone broth and sleep and by Day 20, HELLO ENERGY!

My lesson here is to power through it even in times of doubt. If business isn't going well, or a goal you are trying to achieve isn't happening as fast as you'd like it, don't be so quick to give up. It's a phase, dammit - not the new state of permanence. Power through it.

Have faith what you are doing is the right thing and it's going to pay off. The thing is, we really don't know until we're looking back on it. But we won't know unless we invest all of our energy and time into it. Giving up too soon is not the answer.

Motivation and energy spread into all aspects of your life.

So yeah, now I'm zooming. I had to get organized to make these changes fit into my life and it spread by organizing in each department of my life. And somehow I added a whole bunch of new things.

  • I went out skate skiing with my friend last weekend and she couldn't keep up. I could hear her yelling behind me, "I'm going to quit drinking!" Now I'm making her do a 15 K race with me this weekend. (It's usually the other way around in this relationship.)
  • I've been in reactive mode with work with all that is has been happening in my personal life. Now I am tackling new business initiatives and enjoying it. I understand I am currently in a phase. And soon I will be in a holy shit I'm busier than I can handle phase. I've stopped looking at the current state as the new permanent state.
  • I have decided to launch a new project. I am not ready to talk about it yet, but I'm working on the message and the storyboards and as soon as I have even a kernel of something to talk about, I will.
  • We're doing a cookbook. The other night, I thanked Patrick for adjusting his cooking to meet my ridiculous restrictions. He's taken on the challenge like the game show Chopped and using the "basket ingredients" to make dinner, just modifying each plate accordingly. (He realized when I'm happier, he's happier, right?)So we had this idea to finally do a cookbook.  A sort of She's Paleo, He's Not cookbook, and we weren't even (that) drunk! We sat down immediately to get the first recipe down - Blackened Flank Steak on Sweet Potato Hash (for her) and Tacos (for him). He cooks and dictates the recipe to me:
  • He: (Gives me list of ingredients.) First step, blacken the flank steak.
  • Me: How do you do that?
  • He: If they don't know how to do that, they are stupid and can't buy my cookbook.(So that's working out so far.)

Clean out the Cobwebs!

I've tackled a relationship (food) that wasn't working for me and really shed some light on a dark area in my life. It spread out to other aspects and it's been a fun and interesting ride. I also know I might be able to give up my cheese and bread, but please pass me the wine.

PS. Don't get me wrong; I'm not giving this stuff up. I still can't wait to go visit Sweet Revenge in NYC to try the cupcake pictured here. I just cleaned up my unhealthy obsession.

Your dark corner might be something else. What is it? Can you spend a month working on it?