This podcast is for anyone wanting more control of their life, having too much stress, not feeling in control, not having the time, energy or resources to do what they want. It will help you get you more time, energy and resources, allow you to do what you want, reduce your stress.
The podcast is a series of how to's, observations, and information that provides tangible doable solutions to your lack of time, your out of control schedule and your scrambling to find the energy to cope with your day to day life.
Unlike standard "life coaching" and self help stuff,this podcast will actually give you tangible action items you can do that will give you what you want - time energy and resources, and reduce stress.
Based on the http://www.AlchemyFor.Life concept. Articles at http://www.Alchemyfor.life/balancecoaching/
If you'd like to be part of the call in podcast, send an email to email@example.com, with your full name and a short description of your question regarding balance.
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Depression is portable
I want to share two things with you.
Depression is portable
Unlike what we see in movies and in image searches for “depression” someone who is depressed isn’t necessarily going to sit in a darkened room with their face in their hands for hours. They may not stay in bed all day. They may simply carry this with them, wherever they go, in whatever they do. Because it is portable.
You’ve heard me speak of how I’ve noticed that the happiest people seem to know “what zero is.” On a scale of 0 to 10 of how horrible or great life has been, those that have actually seen zero know what it is. it’s not a hangnail, or traffic, or something like that. It’s something really bad, and so they get that they are having a 7 today, and will probably have a 5, 6 or even 8 tomorrow.
However, these are those that, due to circumstances, occurrences or bad luck just seem to be skating along at a 2, or even a 1. At least that’s how they feel. They interact with others, show up at their job, take care of themselves—but the joy is elusive. They are stuck at the 2 or 1. It may not be a question of money, or power, or health. It’s simply an emptiness and a lack of validation*.
If you don’t quite know what i am talking about, then let me give you a glimpse. Imagine a bad day that you’ve had. You are drained. You’ve given your all to everything and everyone in your life, and it changes nothing. You have no energy, and the thought of “tomorrow is another day” just doesn’t occur, because yesterday it was not. It was the same. You’ve probably had a day or two like that. But what if every day is like that? That’s the baseline of a 2 or a 1.
I am not diagnosing anyone. I am not going through the seven or nine types of depression that are spoken of in the annals of psychology. I’m simply painting a picture for you.
People that are in this place in life are not going to pick up the phone and call you and say, “Hey Greg, I feel pretty down and empty and have felt that way for some time. Let’s talk about it at length!”
They may send you a text, or chat with you normally and when they ask you how you are they may secretly hope that when you return the question they can finally tell you how they feel, and you will listen, and something magical will happen. But it probably won’t. Why? Because they need you to ask them. The ball is in your court and you don’t even know it.
So if you are doing well, is there someone in your life that you haven’t heard from? is there someone who just answers “OK” and then turns the conversation back to you? Is it your friend from college? Or your kid? or even your husband?
Do me a favor and just think about that.
If you are one of the people I have described above who is just going along in life with your Every Day as a 2 or a 1, then know that someone may be aware of it. Someone just might reach out, and hopefully with this podcast you just might get a call now. I’m trying.
Take care of yourselves, and others.
*If you read The Status game II you know of the infinite importance of that word. If you haven’t read it, maybe you should.
I’m Sorry Dave
Did you lie to the program?
Everyone lies, cheats and steals
Wow is that offensive, but it’s true. It’s to what degree you do it that makes the difference.
* Ever been pulled over for speeding?* Ever played a board game that you wanted to end sooner than later? * Ever find an item in your groceries that you weren’t charged for? How about a pen in your purse from work?
Think about the above as we proceed.
When you make laws you try to make them to benefit as many people as possible. You make them logical to get a job done in a way that also prevents the aforementioned things above. I’ve made many many laws. Am I a legislator. No, and never ask me that again. But I do make laws, and so do you. You surround yourself with them. I’ve made many laws, because I’ve designed systems that work really well, and more often than not these systems are based on another set of programmatic laws I created – code. #NERD
So when you create a program or a set of laws, sometimes things don’t work. The real problem arises when you try to fix a system and you can’t find the problem… What happens when there’s a problem because the user isn’t telling you what they really did? What if you buy a widget on Amazon and you find you can’t afford it, but instead of just saying that you say it doesn’t work? The coding dude can’t fix the program, and the company on Amazon gets bad reviews for no reason. And maybe they go out of business.
You’ve heard the story of the tightrope between two buildings, 80 stories up. There’s $100, $500, $1,000, $100,000 on the other side. Nope nope nope. Even for a million you’re not going to cross that treacherous tightrope.
Your 10 year old son is on the other side. OK I cross it.
We all have guiding principles. I’m not suggesting we don’t, but to what degree do you not follow them…?
Imagine that you apply the same lying, cheating, stealing with your relationships, your clients, your family. You’re always working through the program of those relationships.
If you lie to the program you won’t get the results it was designed to give you. And if it only gives you the results you want because you lied, then it’s pretty certain you’ll do it again. It worked the last time—just lie to avoid the conflict, or to manipulate the program to give the results you want.
What could possibly go wrong?
Well, in 2001 Hal 9000 ended up killing everyone. And in your world it’s just going to make things more complicated, push your true self away, and that person in the mirror is going to be harder and harder to look at.
Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive
That was Sir Walter Scott in 1808. It’s a great phrase, because it sums up that it’s not only bad idea, but it sure creates a lot of f**king work for you (and others). I’ve often said I’m too lazy to lie. Maybe that’s humility, maybe it’s just the boring truth.
The parameters of reality
As I say in The Status Game II – Life is a game and I’m just showing you the board. Cool huh? I’m not telling you how to run your life,
The Middle – A nice place to visit but you wouldn’t want to live there
It’s a nice place to visit, but… What is the middle? Well, let me use it as a window to see something you normally wouldn’t.
The Bell Curve
You’ve probably heard of this, yes? Teachers sometimes grade ‘on a curve.’ I first learned about it many years ago playing Dungeons and Dragons. #NERD. It’s about probability, in which the majority of the stuff happens in the middle, the excellence and the really bad stuff are concentrated on either end. Thus the middle. But we are not talking about that.
Creatives who have to write an article, a book, or create a painting, etc. can sometimes get stuck. They sometimes have to just do something else, because all the staring at the blank sheet of paper ain’t gonna produce anything. They go ‘play’ and then hopefully they can return to ‘work.’ You do the same when you take a break.
Multitasking can sometimes be the middle
I am not going to say multitasking is a bad thing, but in can be. As I have said in Multitasking and the glue that holds it together there is an aspect that requires you to spend more energy, and become less productive. That’s not good, but it’s not exactly what we are talking about. Listen to that podcast to learn even more. So what am I talking about?
Here’s the thing: if you are trying to work and play at the same time you have shoved yourself into the middle.
I’m talking about trying do live in the space between where you feel good about working, and feel good about playing, and then you end up feeling bad about both. I expand on this greatly in the podcast.
Commiting to playing
Commiting to playing is just as important as committing to working. When you overlap them, via eating at your desk, etc., then you are living in the middle.
Visiting is nice though
Short visits to the middle can be nice. it can be a way to hold things together, to overlap, and to feel some comfort when you need it. But don’t live there. If you make a commitment to one thing, it makes you value the other.
Listen to the podcast to get the complete picture.
* Do you live in the middle? Did you find that you did after listening?* What is your middle in life?* Did you learn to avoid it, and if so, how?* Am I wrong about the middle?
Who you are and what you do
Tell me who you are and what you do
This is how I start every interview I do on my show, and it’s turned into something that is universally applicable. It’s a deceptively simple question.
The Persona and the Job
Think about the printer guy, the waitress, the mailman, the cashier. Those are all jobs, not people. When people have a strong and identifiable what you do, people tend to think of you that way. It also applies when you deal with customers. They are “Joe Ferguson” who is a standard customer. Or Mr. Williams from ABC company who orders 2k worth of product on average. But that’s not really helpful. if you knew who they were and not just what they do, you may know that Mr. Williams would actually order 12k worth of product if he could trust you for other products. But you don’t know that because you haven’t gained his additional trust because you don’t care about who he is—even though both of you have a son in boot camp at the same time. Because you didn’t ask.
Ask yourself the same question
Imagine that I am interviewing you and I ask you “Tell us who you are and what you do.” No, this is NOT your elevator speech. Nope. There’s no personality in that because it is intentionally devoid of anything like that because it is supposed to be hard hitting and “to the point.” So how would you answer that? It’s not about your name, but it starts with your name. Go to the bathroom mirror, look into your eyes and ask yourself, “Who are you?”
“Fine, I’ll do it myself.” – Thanos when he realized he had to go get all the stones himself
OK. So you don’t want to do this right now. But you will have to, because it’s in your brain. I guarantee that you will have to do that because you’re going to think about this until you do it. But to make you feel better I will do it right now. And this is not in the podcast, so if you don’t want to know who I am, then you can skip this and just listen to the recording.
OK Mark, tell me who you are and what you do?
I’m Mark Bradford. I’ve had an interesting life, the last of eight children who grew up literally as an accident, five years after the last kid. It was a very poor upbringing and not at all a happy or healthy childhood. It taught me how not to parent, how not to give up, and how not to close my mind.
I’ve worked as an IT person because I’m very good at that. Fifteen or more years ago I went out on my own as a tech and web development person. I went through an unusual divorce and ended up dealing with that, my children’s sanity, and trying to stay in business. I ended up with them full time. In taking them to a psychologist to make sure they were OK, it was brought to my attention in no uncertain terms that I was doing a wonderful job for them, but doing absolutely nothing for me.
Balance. That’s when balance hit me like a cartoon piano. So I founded Alchemy for Life, figured out what life was made of, and that’s where Time, Energy and Resources™ came from. I went out to create a coaching system (both as a procedural system and literally a programmatic system on line (remember: web developer). I then built a dating site after being put through the scammy wringer of online dating (you did know that match, Chemistry, Tinder and 18+ others are all owned by the same company?). I then wrote two books and a card game about how we all connect, one about spirituality and then finally one about the whol...
Lifelong Learners and Lying
Are you a “lifelong learner?” do you know anyone who calls themselves that? Oh, you do? What do you think of them and that statement? Are they?
What do I mean “are they?”
Well, what did they learn…? What are they learning? Does that seem unfair? Is your (or their) reaction one of indignance? Or maybe confusion.
Isn’t it good enough that I am the lifelong learner? I don’t have to justify or log the things I learned or am learning.
I’m not asking for you or them to justify. It’s just this: I like words. They are important to me. See Buzzwords: Don’t make my brain hurt for more. I feel that saying you are a lifelong learner is a really easy virtue signal these days. If you’re bold enough to ask just one follow up question as I have, “Well what are you learning?” then it becomes a problem.
If you’re going to school or college and someone asks what you are studying and you reply, “Oh well everything, I’m a lifelong learner.” And you then follow up with when they will graduate and they say “Never, I’m a lifelong learner.” Um…
If you want to be a lifelong learner I think there are three things you need to put TIme, Energy and Resources into:
You have to admit you don’t know
You’re willing to admit (at least to yourself) that you don’t have a clue about a certain subject. THis is harder than you think for a lot of people. It’s so much easier to say you “get” something when you don’t. So much less to answer then. And then there’s that annoying thing of people trying to teach you. Plus you don’t feel like you’re not good enough. You know, you’re in the group, on the team.
You have to truly be open to learning
An interest in this kind of learning can come out of nowhere. I’m not a “The Secret” kind of person but if you are not open to it you may miss it. THis includes no poo-pooing your friend when they bring up a new/unusual subject.
You have to commit Time, Energy and Resources
Being committed requires at the minimum the Time and Energy to research and learn. And it may involve Resources if its a course, or the materials are something you have to purchase. Youtube and google are great, but you sometimes get what you pay for. On The Balance Sheet™ I created, my clients get to list things on a learning column. It’s quite an eye opener and we recognize that a person’s finite time, energy and resources can only be spent on so much. If you’re learning a new skill then that’s time you’re not sitting on the couch watching TV, or getting that extra hour of sleep.
Clicking of tongues,
The Four Conversation Methods
There are a lot of people talking about conversations, no pun intended. The curious thing is for something that’s such an integral part of our existence—something we use every day in many forms—we don’t seem to be doing it right.
At least according to the experts.
We all know how to converse don’t we? I mean, we can’t all be that far off?
A while back one of my podcast interviews really stood out. See, one of the descriptions I hear more often than not is that my interviews are actually conversations. The Amazing Lucas actually said the experience was cordial. He clearly felt comfortable and enjoyed a friendly atmosphere (at least that’s the definition of cordial).
But that one chat last year was different. It was not a conversation.
I try to make each podcast a conversation even when it’s just me and you.
“Well how can you make it a conversation when it’s just you talking Mark?” you may ask.
To which I reply, “I just did.” See? Isn’t that crazy? It’s just me talking but you have a voice. And it’s that voice I keep alive during interviews, and it’s that same voice that was missing from the interview.
“OMG I don’t want to be lectured that I’m not conversing properly, or not listening or something uncomfortable like that!”
Right? That’s your reaction to what we are about to talk about. And that’s normal. Imagine being told you are ‘driving wrong’ and have to drive ‘differently’ from now on. “Um…no.”
That’s how I felt when I first started thinking about conversations, and hearing word’s like ‘mindful’ and ‘third person.’
Four kinds of conversations
So let me break it down for you into the four kinds of conversations you can have with someone. Let’s start with the ‘worst’ to the ‘best.’ Keep in mind there is nothing wrong with any of these. They all have their place in day to day life and it’s important that you explore them all. Note that these are my categorizations, and my terms. If you disagree then you are not disagreeing with Big Conversation™ but instead with me. The opposite is also true.
OK OK, shut up listen. / Is it my turn to talk?
Have you ever had a conversation with someone in which they were practically watching your mouth and waiting for it to close? They weren’t listening to you except for the cue for them to talk, which is to say it’s that point in which you take a breath. There are never any follow up questions and any response is typically on how what you said has an analog in their life.
“Oh that happened to me once.” “Yeah I’ve seen that too.” “Oh I’ve had worse and I remember…”
You will see this on nervous first dates, or with salespeople trying to appear interested in your life, or by bosses and HR people who have no business doing either. You can spot this a mile away and you just internally roll your eyes as you suffer through it—waiting for their eventual point.
If someone is over eight years old,
Mark, Had your Podcast sent to me by a friend. It was a great listen and very insightful. Keep up the good work!
Love what you do
Great podcast, I can tell you speak from the heart and share your personal passion!
I discovered your podcast after your interview with Scott Adams. I do enjoy it, and I liked the quirky 12 days of Christmas.
I am not much help with spreading the word. I’m very atomized in my world and don’t share much outside of my own head. I also listen to way too many podcasts, so I didn’t get too concerned when you missed a month. I do appreciate the length and the fact that they come out on a weekend! I usually listen to them more promptly than many on my queue.
Of all the podcasts I listen to, this is my first review. Some of those jokers have told me to rate and review literally 100s of times. You are the first—congratulations, I guess. I hope to hear more content in the future and finish all of the back catalog.
To anyone randomly stumbling on my review, give it a listen, or 5 or 10. It will make you think, sometimes from a different angle and that’s always a good thing.