I get a lot emails and questions from my readers about how to obtain mental toughness during a life crises. Unfortunately, I’ve been getting some requests about how to deal with life when one just got laid off or fired. Nothing sucks more in life when you are suddenly jobless, especially when you have a family and kids to take care of. I been through this situation is the past and I know how grueling it can be on you psychologically and the drain it can put on between you and your family. It was just an awful time in my life and one my darkest periods where I felt like a complete failure. I’m usually an upbeat person, but during this time when I was constantly getting rejected from potential new employees, I went into a deep self-destructive depression. My mind was ravaged with negativity and just bad thoughts about everything. I was so full of frustration and anger, I wanted to lash out on my ex-boss and those new businesses that wouldn’t bring me for at least an interview. When I had nobody to direct my hate to, I inwardly pointed all the bottled up pain I was feeling towards myself.
Thinking back on that period, I’m very lucky to be here in one piece. Being unemployed for months took a serious toll on me. It was a major low point that I barely got through. Thank god I had my training with mental toughness or I wouldn’t have made it through the daily hell that seemed to get worse every day.
I know many of you are going through this as well. I wish I had a simple answer for all of you, but I don’t. It will be very rough and bleak. The feeling of despair will seem never ending, especially when you find yourself staring at the same crappy job listing on Craigslist day after day with no new leads. Nothing will piss you off more when you can’t even get an interview for the job that you know you are perfect for. When things don’t go your way, the frustration and bills will pile up to the point that you just can’t take it anymore. When you get to this point, it will be hard for you not to be mad at the world. That’s when you start thinking of stupid things like hurting others or yourself. I hope none of you will get to this point of violent thoughts, but if you do, you must catch yourself immediately. You must pull yourself together and force yourself to be resilient.
It won’t be easy, but if people like me were able to get through this challenging period of being unemployed and broke for months, you can do it too. When you are jobless and hungry, you really don’t have a choice. You either learn to persevere or you don’t survive. By persevering, I mean dealing with the rejections while remaining aggressive as you seek employment. You have to learn to go on, no matter how bad the job market is. This is the persevering that I’m talking about.
I by no means, am talking about giving up and learning how to live on the streets, eating out of garbage cans and stealing food. This sort of perseverance is a last resort and let’s prevents this homeless lifestyle from happening to any of you. The perseverance I am preaching about is to never give up on yourself on finding a decent job that pays you what you deserve. It will be hard, but you must never lose your belief in yourself.
This is where the mental toughness training is crucial. Not only for dealing with the anguish and stress from being unemployed, but for giving you the inner strengthen and will to go, especially when things aren’t going well. If you have already been doing CrossFit or the WODs in this mental toughness program, fate is on your side. You have a head start with developing this vital survival skill of handling and overcoming real life obstacles. Could you imagine dealing with being let go of your job if you never did this sort of high intensity training before? It would have a thousand times harder. Now you must apply what you are learning from the WODs to your personal life.
What you will face in the upcoming weeks and months is the essence of mental toughness training. You can’t learn it any better than from the agonizing and mentally draining experience that you will be up against. No book or DVD will teach you how to be mentally tough than the emotional misery and financial strain of overcoming being jobless. The only other experience more powerful than teaching you how to become mentally strong is being told you have less than 6 months to live. Both are miserable and a threat to your life. However, with this mental toughness training, you will learn to change your perspective of any negative situation to a positive learning experience. When you can do this, you will feel a sense of gratitude from this shitty predicament that you are currently in. In time, you will be thankful for being broke and unemployed as it will teach you the inner strength that only tough people have. I know this sort of thankfulness is hard to conceive when you are feeling this down, so for now let’s just concentrate on getting you back to work. The goal is not only get not only to get a job, but a better one that one that you just lost.
(To be continued)
Today’s CrossFit WOD:
Run 400 meter and rest exactly 2 minutes between each run.
Out of all the WODs in CrossFit, I consider this 400 meter cycle WOD to be one of the hardest ones ever. Even rougher than “Fran” or “Murph.” The first couple of runs may seem like a piece of cake, but by the third one, the fire in your lungs and legs is near unbearable. Your lungs are so expanded it literally feels as if your insides are going to blow up. It such an awful experience making this WOD one of the best teachers in teaching you how to activate your will when having to deal with a shitty experience like getting fired or let go from a job.
I’ve been in these shoes and hope you at least have some sort of savings account. When I got my pink slip, I had zero bucks in my savings. If this sounds like you, the upcoming weeks and months will be very difficult. What pulled me through the misery was my strong will. Honestly, if I didn’t have a will that refused to quit, I don’t know how I could have survive those stressful months where I relied on my credit cards with the exuberant interest rates. I was able to make it through several days without much food in my belly only because my will to go on was much stronger than my hunger.
This “never say die” will is exactly what you need to get through this painful WOD. When two minutes are up, you won’t have any desire or energy to go on and do another fucken 400 meter run, but with a strong will, you will somehow be able to go on. When you’re not even halfway with finishing your run, your legs will be shot, but somehow you’ll find a reservoir of energy and strength in you that you didn’t knew existed. Instead of giving up, you go on. Again, this burst of life is a result of a stubborn will that refuses to quit.
This is the same will you are honing in on when you are done with the WOD and go back to the computer to continue your job search. When you are down to your last pennies and haven’t heard back from any of your leads, you’ll need a powerful will to get you through the depressing moments. As bad as it will get, a strong will can always lift your spirits and frame of mind. Seriously. Being poor and jobless is a fucked up combination. When you get so down and angry at the unfairness of the world, you can’t help but to to think really self-destructive thoughts. In order to override these bad thoughts, you got to have a defiant will that won’t let you give up on yourself.
My iron will is what lead me to not only find a job, but a better one than that shit hole that I got canned from.
Having a will that won’t quit will get you back to work again and more importantly, prevent you from going nuts during this stressful time of your life.
Scaled back version of this WOD –
1. Rest as much time as needed between each 400m runs.
1. Run 200m runs instead of 400m runs.
Suitable substitutions for this WOD –
1. Run one minute and thirty seconds on a treadmill instead. Walking or running in place for a minute are also acceptable substitutions