Two steps back, Five steps forward

I moved to Florida last June to experience new opportunity and start building a network with purpose. Hopefully figuring out what I wanted along the way, then actually starting to live it. I had a good friend here I had known for 15+ years that I met playing hockey in Canada and thought it would also be great to really develop our friendship. Plus, who wouldn’t want to live in a beautiful area while figuring out what they want? Not even a month after moving to Florida, I went on a planned vacation/ hockey reunion back to Banff, where I met a girl and developed a serious relationship. We didn’t intend on it happening, but sometimes things just do. Six months later however, she’d broken up with me and I discovered that my friend in Florida was actually a toxic situation.

I’d had many conversations and disagreements with my friend in the area where I was criticized for what I was doing, and they kept saying to me that they thought I was trying to do everything by myself. What was failing to be recognized was the deterioration of our relationship every time I saw them. Their hurtful comments about my divorce, their unkind and unsupportive opinion of my personal development journey and constant criticism were the red flags that caused me to put space between us. Something well documented in my journaling process. They interpreted my distance as my trying to make it here alone. In reality, I was looking for ways to connect with people so I could start to create the ideal life that I wanted.

Relocation to Florida was not starting as planned. It was just me and luckily, my dog.

Now, it’s not like I was going without and miserable the whole time, because…well, it is still Florida. There would be concerts on tour, I had NHL season tickets with the Florida Panthers and my sales territory is right along the ocean. My free time and working hours did have perks to enjoy. But, I was going to be enjoying them alone. I’m fine with being by myself, but I knew that was not how I was going to build my future. I also felt that if I was going to be successful building a life of any value, it was not going to be done by myself. John Heywood said the quote, “Many hands make light work.” I was shorthanded but determined to not to be by myself.

I felt like I just needed to stick to the mindset I was developing and be in the moment back in January. Sad and alone, it felt like I didn’t make any steps forward, even after physically moving 1,750 miles. I felt like I came all the way down here and had no clue what direction to go or what to do. So, I told myself, I could spend a month and feel like crap. Feel sad that my relationship ended at 12:30 am on January 1st. But genuinely be present and feel whatever emotions in the moment I’m in, knowing it was only going to be temporary. I had read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle a couple months before and that really helped give direction and understanding of how I could be present and in the moment.

My first decision to turn around my experience here was focusing on my personal development process. I began reading “The Plant Paradox” by Steven R. Gundry, focusing on my health and diet.  I later read “Live It!” by Jairek Robbins to get perspective on achieving “success by living with purpose.” I was introduced to both by podcasts I was listening to at the time.  I even began re-listening to some of my favorite podcasts about starting over, such as an early Art of Charm episode titled, “Moving to a New Town.”

I also really dove into journaling. I would write down what I felt in detail in every area. From my relationship ending and how fair or unfair I thought things were to how hopeful I was for the future when I thought there was possibility that we would stay together. I’d write about if we stayed together, what I thought that meant and also what it meant if we broke up. I figured it’d be best to look at the best case and worst-case scenarios and be fine with whichever could become my reality. A very helpful process. When things didn’t work out, I waited two weeks to tell my “good friend.” Looking back, I knew the writing was on the wall for us too and was not looking forward their negativity, as I was already hurting. I did eventually tell him how things went down, and he suggested we grab a drink to talk more about it. Two days later, we ended up having another major disagreement about the breakup and my personal journey and I’d had enough. I was done feeling like I was always being put down by them journaling on January 14th, “I need a better support system in Florida. If anyone ever tried to make me feel worse about myself and my journey, it’s [him].” It didn’t’ make sense to me to have to defend why I moved across the country to build a better life for myself every time we were together. I was constantly explaining to someone who did not comprehend why I would want something more for myself than what I had. I still love him and wish them the best, but our relationship, if there was going to be anything left of it in the future, needed us to stop speaking immediately.

Around the same time, I was also reviewing my 2017 calendar where I tracked my personal development process results and reflected on my progress. Asking myself, what if? “What if I doubled my efforts to exercise, read, write more, or ate healthier? What kind of life would I be living if I was the man that completed this challenge?” Then, I dedicated that in 2018 I would find out. To begin that process, I began creating two lists. They were, Five Things I learned in 2017 and Five Things I am Proud of from 2017. You are what you focus on, right? Looking more at what had gone well versus what was wrong was an important change for me mid-January. I also started to take the creation of a morning routine more seriously, hearing about it initially from Hal Elrod and his Miracle Morning, and now reading about it in “Live it!” By the 23rdof January, I was writing journal entries like, “You know how life goes. You can want what you want and it’s going to give you something you didn’t expect. I just need to keep on preparing myself. Be a good person consistently. My opportunity will come. What it is or where it will be, that I only find out once I’m there. And then it’ll seem like luck.” Focusing on the process, I slowly but surely was coming around. I started looking forward to getting around other people and started planning to attend events I really wanted to see.  Justin Timberlake and the Daytona 500 made the top of my list and gave me something exciting to look forward to. As I got to the 28thof January, I was finally ready to set up a Meetup.com profile and committed to meeting people with common interests in the area.

Looking back at how the year started for the last two weeks, I feel proud to be where I am. Sometimes a fresh start begins with heartache and a difficult choice. I chose to continue moving forward with a bigger picture in mind instead of playing the victim card and blaming others. If there’s one thing we can control, it is our response to what happens to us. January 2018 started with change finding me, and for 31 days, I focused on what my response would be. My preparation for what I wanted to happen in February was starting to come together. I wanted out of my apartment and was ready to build on my next step. I moved to Florida for change to happen in my life and February 1st, 2018 I would find myself repeating the phrase, “action cures fear.”

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