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Surrender (so that you can try harder)
Your Gumption in October
It’s Sunday again, and life is weird but interesting.
If my bank account could see the richness I have in conversations, the knowledge I have from books and people, the laughs that I share with friends, the joy I have in adventures, and the gumption I feel for writing and coaching, then my CPA would be much happier with me than he is this year.
Every time I get an email from my beloved accountant I know it's gonna be bad. It's like getting called into the Principle’s office, he's not interested in how my day went or how my novel is going. We’re not going to discuss Jungian psychology, The Middle East, SF politics, gender wars or Dostoevsky.
When I get en email from Darren, it is always about me having to fucking pay someone money. Usually the IRS…but hardly limited to them. He is very empathetic and always says: I know this is frustrating but…you owe someone X thousand dollars, followed by an explanation that does not make any sense. He the apologizes for the fact that it doesn’t make sense. Darren is super polite like that. Darren does not make the rules after all.
Over the past few months I -very much like the rest of the world- have been struggling in the inflation and money department. It feels like everyone wants money from me and not as many are willing to give me some.
The finances of my life have been weighing on me.
Paying rent in SF while trying to launch a business and publish a book feels like playing the game of Life on the super-freaky-hard level. I have never been in such tight spots before. I have never done this trick without a safety net.
This is unchartered territory of Spookyville for me and it's not even Halloween yet! 🎃👻
Over this past year - after crawling out of the dark trenches of Divorceland (how much I have crawled out of it is arguable) - I have found the gumption to relentlessly pitch hospitals my data literacy and anti-fragile health trainings for doctors, re-launched my functional and mental health coaching practice and finished the fourth draft of my novel.
Phew. Feels exhausting to even say all of that in one sentence.
It sounds like a lot but none of it helped my bank account recover. As a matter of fact, they all required money, time and energy to pull off. I spent the last 6 months cringing at big potential partnerships falling through after weeks of calls, having my coaching offer rejected and going back to the drawing board, and seeing people struggle to finish reading my novel.
Unfortunately, I have no happy ending for you today.
How am I doing so much and yet 'achieving' so little?
The amount of shame is immense.
How did I get myself here?
I find myself resenting a list of people and events from my past that could be culprits.
Ahh…projection…thank God it exists.
Otherwise I would have to see how I am 100% responsible for everything that happens to me.
Those that abused me…I let them.
Those that abandoned me…I pushed them.
Those that feel intimidated by me…I threatened them.
Those that do not understand me…I confused them.
If only this truth would make anything easier.
This year leaves me in the nice gooey comfort of my lonely thoughts of bitterness and resentment, afraid of new relationships and feeling impotent financially. #bestyearever #2023reasonstogiveupandmovetokenya
As a result of focusing on money in a constricted way, I ultimately struggled to continue creating and being healthy.
It's a see-saw effect I'm acutely aware of now.
It was Surrender O’clock.
I decided to go off script. (Mom: I am sorry but my life decisions are going to seem even more ridiculous. I know you are still trying to figure out why I left medicine. Below are a few more things that will sound even weirder and your poor brain will not accept them.)
Last month I stopped the bleeding of my life, health and creativity and:
💸 Stopped paying rent, went back to semi-nomadic life, and put my apartment on Airbnb till the end of the year (making a little margin).
🐕🦺 Applied for dog sitting gigs to keep me in the Bay Area and will be living in people's homes and taking care of their dogs till the end of the year (dogs are the ones who will be taking care of me 🤫)
🧘♂️ Got accepted for a Vipassna 10 day silent retreat in November to hopefully see what is lurking at the edge of my brain and keeping me in resentment and fear.
✍️ Joined a Saturday writing workshop to continue working on my novel at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts.
🏃♂️🏃♀️🏃 Exercised with friends to get back on the good habits easier. It's working.
🙅♂️ Said No to things that I can't offer/afford and stopped wasting my time on those who do not appreciate/respect it.
👀 Stopped trying to find new clients and focused my energy on giving the ones I have now an exceptional experience.
I do not recommend these to anyone of course. Please stay in your job and apartments and do not attempt this at home.
For me, these actions helped me find new winds in my sails without demanding certain outcomes from life. This creates a whole new world for me where I can operate under different rules.
These actions allow me to surrender and this does not mean giving up in any way. Quite the contrary, I'm finding that the more I surrender the more I can double down on my commitments to myself.
This act of surrendering shows me that there is always one more move on the chess board of life. Otherwise we get stuck trying to do something that does not want to happen.
My marriage, Getting a regular 9-5 job, and being stable in my apartment did not want to happen no matter how hard I tried to do all 3 over the past few years.
Once I stopped obsessing about solving the wrong problem (paying obscene amounts that I do not have for rent or working hard on a marriage that is not working or applying for jobs I do not want), I now have the mental space to tackle the right problems (growing the business, serving my clients, and publishing my book, be with the right partner).
I've converted an obstacle (rent) to an opportunity (Airbnb income) and that relieved some pressure for me to feel like I'm moving forward.
With even this slightest forward movement, my health and creativity improved again (or require less effort) because I have the energy for them now (aka no longer sinking in my own despair).
I now feel sufficiently gumptionized to finish this year strong and continue working towards my goals of being healthy, publishing a book and growing a functional and mental health practice in San Francisco.
Lastly, I got invited to give a talk in Baltimore where I write you this update from today. It is a 45 min talk for hospital leaders about how to build data programs for doctors and nurses.
Wish me luck. I guess today’s ending is not so bad.
I am grateful for this blog and for you reading all the way through.
I hope November is more abundant, but I know I will find a way to survive it if it isn’t.
May you remember how strong you are throughout this week.
If you enjoyed this please ❤️ this post in substack it helps a lot (click the heart in the email and sign in)
Also if you feel like it, please, please, please let me know in the comments about all or any of the following:
- When is a time that you came close to giving up? What kept you going?
- If you run a business how the hell do you do it and remain lively? Also how do you find your clients? How did you find your FIRST good client?
- How do you bounce back to health when you fall off the bandwagon of life?
- How did you surrender recently? What was the impact of surrendering?
PS: Reply to this email if you are interested in six week health programs that I will completely customize for you, and will coach you on maneuvering your turbulent brain using Internal Family Systems, daily customized content and data tracking via a mobile app.
I’ll take good care of you and will help you get through your tough times. Learn More.
This month (the next 3 Sundays) I bring you:
A great new Gumpcast episode on how stories can save our lives with the Superhuman Dr. Gautam Gulati.
A comprehensive essay on hydration that will make you rethink your relationship to water.
And..I'll be hosting another virtual event where we meditate together and discuss cool intellectual things.
🙏🏽October Gratitude 🙏🏽
Books I Am Reading this month
What are you reading this month?