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Finding Your Authentic Voice – Part 2

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I found myself experiencing something between severe distraction and debilitating confusion. The angst I felt was with me to some degree all day and every day… 

 

Large Cracks in the Foundation

My marriage took a beating during that time due to my self-absorbed ways. In addition, I had subconsciously been blaming my wife for holding me back when she was just asking obvious questions. My decision to push my passion down was on me and nobody else. I was the only one to blame.

I certainly wasn’t as present as I should have been in my kids lives. I don’t mean that I was a deadbeat dad but there is a big difference between physical presence and engagement. I was simply too distraught and self-consumed to be the kind of father my kids deserved. While I’ve learned the therapeutic effects of letting go of guilt, I still have pangs of it when I think about those days.

The Crash

And my mental state just kept getting worse. Ultimately, I went through a period of rather deep depression. I was still able to “work” if you want to call it that. I would paint on my game face before I left for work but then I’d collapse on the couch when I got home, exhausted from the strain of having to wear a mask all day. If you’ve been through real depression, you know it’s not fun to put it mildly. It’s like an incredibly viscous liquid that seeps into your flesh and bones, clouding your outlook, and colouring the world in grey. Daily tasks that seem routine to a healthy person become overwhelmingly difficult. And it feels permanent. That’s the worst part. You feel as if you can never escape. It’s the worst thing I have ever felt in my life and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

In short, I was a hot mess. I was one of those people that I have affectionately dubbed “train zombies”…you know those people on the train with dead eyes, mouth slightly agape, not quite asleep and not quite awake. And with a little time and reflection, I’ve come to realize that suppressing my passion was at the core of it all. It certainly wasn’t responsible for everything that ailed me. But I believe it was a constant albatross in my life, preventing me from moving forward and rather ironically, it was keeping me from getting anywhere close to my true potential.

A Raw Conversation

My business partner in the financial advisory practice was a very decent and highly intelligent guy. I wasn’t fooling anyone and certainly not him. He knew my heart just wasn’t in the business any longer. Instead of blaming myself for not feeling something I just wasn’t going to feel, and in the process wasting time and money, I should have admitted to myself long before I did that I needed to leave. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. It just was….Instead, I retreated to the comfortable, fearful place until it was painfully obvious that we needed to part ways. We had a raw conversation one September morning and within a month I had sold my portion of the practice to my partner.

Somehow, I made it through. I knew on that sunny September day that I simply had to break the repetitive pattern. The only way to do that was to take a terror-inducing leap of faith. And so I FINALLY did.

Incremental Leaps of Faith

Looking back, I’m honestly not sure how I lived for so long with such a hole in my heart. If it wasn’t for the support of some truly incredible and supportive people close to me, I’m not sure I would have. But I’m confident I’m on the right path now. I know that in my soul. And even though I can’t see the entire staircase, I’m committed to continually taking incremental leaps of faith.

The Power of Resolve

I have already failed several times at initiatives I thought were made of pure gold. I have already had close friends and strong business-people advise me to find something a little more stable. Even my wife, though fiercely and unfailingly supportive, would still feel more comfortable if I had a regular paycheque.

Their words still have an effect. I’m no robot. In fact, to my detriment at times, I’m a pretty serious empath. But while I acknowledge their concern, I’m no longer flitting about like a feather in the wind, reacting to other people’s beliefs. I know my road now. It’s not for everyone but this one’s for me. In short, I feel whole. And that shit is worth a lot!

Over to You

OK, enough about me. The real question  on your minds is likely either a) How do you prevent this from happening to you? and/or b) If you know in your heart that you’re less than fulfilled, how do you find your path to fulfillment?

Lessons Learned the Hard Way

I don’t profess to have all the answers but I can tell you that it seems my destiny to have to learn everything the hard way. So. While nobody is ever going to give you a manual on this stuff, I’ll give you 5 lessons that I’ve – unfortunately for me but fortunately for you – had to learn the old-fashioned way.

Next week…Lesson One – Own Your Station in Life

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Brent C. Wagner