Recently I’m feeling like I’m behind and failing in life at 33.
Ever since I could remember, I’ve always struggled with the thought of – I’m falling behind. Or I’m a failure at life. What have I really done with my life? Let me explain.
By 18 you finish high school, and then you choose a job or go to college. By 22 you should be settling down with a clear career plan, considering a family, and contributing to your 401k. By 30 you’ll have a comfortable savings, your first home, and your life all figured out.
The truth is I’m 33 now. And I never wanted a home, got burned out with my career as pharmacist, and took a pause on my financial life to grow and start my business. And the family part? I’m definitely NOT on track… never mind getting married anytime soon.
And now that I’m 30, the truth is… sometimes I feel more lost than ever. And I often ask myself… what is the point of all of this?
So in today’s video, I reach out to my therapist and neurohacking coach to see how I can I overcome this feeling of feeling behind in life. You’ll see how things like coaching actually work in real time. And I threw in some skits too to lighten up the mood.
So if you’re going through this as well, this will help you out!
Step 1: Sit with my emotions
I wasn’t taught to “feel” my emotions as kid. Maybe it’s an Asian thing, but when I felt sad, angry, or upset, I got yelled at by my dad.
So eventually when I felt these emotions, I felt guilty because I thought… Normal people shouldn’t be feeling this way. So why am I so fucked up?
And like any habit, I carried these habits into my career as a pharmacist and entrepreneur when I would work with clients.
Often times I would set aside and discard my own needs to cater to the needs of my clients and patients because I felt like… I’m not important. Because my needs aren’t worth it.
And when I would deal with conflict, I would get frustrated and start feeling guilty again because “normal people aren’t supposed to feel this way”.
You know how people say that we tend to pickup and inherit our parents issues?
Something I’ve picked up is “Asian Dad” syndrome, where I say “fuck my feelings” and just go into immediately into solving the issue at hand or people pleasing.
Here’s an example with my recent clients:
- Client / Boss: “I need you to open up your availability to take these sales calls during the weekend ASAP. When can you do it?”
- My inner thoughts: “First -I have plans this weekend. And plus you’re an asshole assuming that I’m going to open my schedule. But if I don’t do it, I’m going to lose this client.”
- What I really say: “That’s not a problem. I’ll open up my schedule.”
But what I found that by not processing my emotions, I built up resentment and reinforced the belief that “my needs are not worth it”.
Real talk – sitting with my emotions is new to me. My therapist reminds me to do it. Instead of jumping on a new client, I’m taking the time to do some self work and reflection to figure out my needs – not my client’s needs.
Part of this deep work includes labeling my emotions, sitting with my emotions, and understanding why I feel the way I do. Of course, eventually you can’t sit in your feelings forever. You need strategy and problem solving comes later.
But the first step to any problem isn’t to fix it. It’s to confide into your emotions and orient yourself so the best solution can be made.
Some resources that I’m loving is this book “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron and Mark Groves “Rediscover Your Wholeness” program. I’ve also been taking Dr. Eugene Choi’s free neurohacking training as well.
Honestly five years ago, I would have told myself to stop being a bitch. Now? While I wouldn’t say I’m happy 24/7, I definitely feel better.
“Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts” – Unknown
Step 2: Seek expert help
A few months ago I hired a therapist, business coach, and a neurohacking coach. It’s helped me a lot because their profession is helping clients, like myself, navigate through similar problems.
But some of my friends ask me – why not just talk to your friends if you need support?
And here’s the thing – I want to let me friends be my friends. The last thing I want to do is burden on my loved ones with my shit.
So anyways I reached out to my neurohacking coach to help me detach myself worth from my work. Cool fact? He’s also a pharmacist.
One of the things that we’re focusing on is being able to separate myself as an observer and change the meaning behind the experience to make a new a decision.
Sound complicated? Let me give you an example my coach and I were working on:
- Belief: Fuck. I lost my client because I’m not good enough.
- Observer: Is this true?
- Me: Hell no.
- Observer: So what’s the truth? And makes you believe this is true?
- Me: I didn’t lose my client because I wasn’t good enough or performance. I lost my client because we were aligned differently on our values like meeting times and cadence.
- New decision: Life happens for me – not against me. Now that I don’t have a client, I can focus on doing the cool shit that I want to do rather than work on shit that I felt forced to do.
After doing this work, I usually feel like lighter, stress free, and often times I have better ideas of what to do next.
Because I can control my decisions, I make better actions, which in turn leads to positive consequences.
“When things change inside you, things change around you.” – Unknown
Step 3: Escape
After going through everything, I just needed to get the fuck out. Planning something to look forward to is actually one of the most therapeutic things you can do for yourself!
So I planned out a last minute weekend escape to one of my favorite cities… Dallas!
Other than the BBQ, I love the vibe of Dallas. Open roads, amazing Asian food (surprisingly), and it has all the California elements.
But more importantly, I visited my close friends in Dallas. What I’ve found was that when I’m going through tough times, it’s more important for me to spend it with my closest friends.
So I hit up my friends to watch the UFC fight, eat AYCE shabu, and explore downtown Dallas for some amazing shots.
Moments like these continue to remind me to realign what really matters to me and why I work so damn hard. And that to spend time with my kickass friends.
“You can rise up from anything. You can completely recreate yourself. All that matters is that you decide today and never look back” – Idil Ahmed
The take away
All these things have made it easier for me, realign with my why and to ask the simple question of – what am I working towards?
The truth is this isn’t my first setback. I’ve gone through worse. But the way I deal with difficult times has evolved.
When I was a teenager, I used write long Xanga rants of how I was upset and about my life. And now I have expert coaches and therapist in my corner… although from time to time I do enjoy the occasional rant on my blog and YouTube channel.
I guess some things never change 😛
If there’s one message that you should get from this long post, it’s this – if you’re going through difficult times, it’s normal.
It’s ok to feel shitty. But just like the good times don’t last, neither do the tough times. Everything is temporary.
What I’ve learned though is not to ignore these feelings, but use my feelings to pull myself to work that aligns me. By feeling out everything, it allows me to think clearly and strategize my next steps.
So I’d love to ask you – when was the last time where you felt like you were failing and what did you do to get over the hurdle?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below!