This is part one of a multi-part series. Please subscribe to get free updates if you haven’t already.
Personal development saved my life, but not without some side effects. In college, I had been in a troubled relationship for a couple years and when it finally ended, I was overwhelmed with depression. I found that by focusing on the positive, making new friends, and trying new things, I pulled myself out (with a little help from a therapist who had more of a Life Coaching style). I surprised myself with my charisma and extroversion, having always been a geeky intellectual kid. But then I graduated, moved halfway across the country, and had to start over…in the Real World.
As a Philosophy B.A. and an anti-corporate, environmental activist, I wasn’t exactly well-prepared for the job market. I had worked at the Help Desk in college so I found a job doing tech support. While I was good at the work, I found the corporate environment stifling to say the least (I watched “Office Space” over 50 times during this period). One day I got sick with something awful. So weak I could hardly get out of bed for two weeks, I neglected to tell anyone—including my employer—and lost my job in the process. (I’m convinced now that my unconscious decided to quit for me since I couldn’t muster up the courage to do so consciously.)
I fell into a terrible depression. A friend of mine loaned me some of Tony Robbins’ tapes (Personal Power II) and I threw myself in wholeheartedly. On tape one, Robbins describes his own depression and how he overcame it by controlling his focus and physiology, as I had done in college but with far more enthusiasm. I listened to all 30 days worth of tapes in less than 2 weeks. I got myself pumped up, made a huge list of goals, and did every exercise and homework assignment. I suppose this is the point in the story where I’m supposed to say that my life totally turned around and now I’m a massive success, but it didn’t quite work that way…. (more…)