When I was in high school I had extreme acne problems, I was overweight, and to add insult to injury I played the tuba in band class. One wouldn’t exactly call me popular. Unfortunately in high-school the kids who aren’t very popular get bullied by the more popular kids. (who are really just assholes who never end up growing up and spend the rest of their lives working in a factory so they can pay child support for the kid they had from banging a girl in the bathroom of a college house party.) Anyway, you get the point, I got bullied. Although my social life was overall pretty sh*t, one thing I did have going for me was a good looking girlfriend.
Lisa was her name, she was a 90 pound typical blonde hair blue eyes kinda girl. Lisa and I got together around the end of grade 9, and we ended up staying together throughout or entire high school career. I thought for sure I was going to marry her one day, as everyone does with their first real relationship. But little did I know a year later I’d be playing beer pong with 2/3 of the guys she was banging on the side.
When I graduated high school my father offered for me to live at his condo so he could go live with his new girlfriend. Obviously I said yes and quickly moved lisa in with me. At that point I thought life couldn’t get any better! I had a good girlfriend, I was living on my own, I had a solid high paying job and a $20k truck sitting in the parking lot. I was genuinely happy! That all changed real f*cking quick. Lisa and I began to argue more and more, turns out moving in together was a little harder than expected. She was looking at colleges close to our home, but because of our recent relationship problems I told her she should go to college a few hours away to “really get the college experience.” She did just that.
The day I dropped Lisa off at college I sat in my truck and cried like a baby. I knew I would miss her, and honestly I was surprised. I thought it would be easy for me to drop her off. Hell I was a free man now! I had everything going for me!
On the long drive home I quickly changed my tone from missing her to “I’m a free man! Think of all the cool shit I can do!” That mindset didn’t last for long. When I got back home it was rough, it sunk in that I left my small town girlfriend in a big city college with a bunch of the same kind of horny douchebags that bullied me in high school… but I pushed through it. I began to diet and workout religiously, I wanted to make sure each and every time Lisa saw me she would be impressed with my progress. I was literally starving myself, the only “food” that I’d allow to enter my body was smoothies of veggies and water along with pure, non fatty protein i.e dry chicken breast. It worked out pretty good, I dropped a good 10 pounds within the first week.
At this point Lisa had been gone for what seemed an eternity, in reality maybe 2 weeks. By now she had made a good amount of friends and had started to go out to the typical college house parties. Lisa and I were never big partiers. I’d go to the odd bonfire with my buddies here and there, but besides that her and I never even drank. This was a whole new side of her that I had never seen, and it scared the shit out of me.
The mind hates things that aren’t familiar because familiarity keeps us safe.
Lisa seemed to be finding less and less time for me so I decided to go see her. Looking back I don’t know if I was really going to see her, or the competition. Either way I decided to make the long trip to her college to spend the weekend. I brought flowers and other gifts along with me. I remember trying to look like the best boyfriend ever for not just her, but her roommates too. I thought that if I acted like I was the cutest most loving boyfriend there was, then her roommates would be much more likely to back me up if she started to become unfaithful. I know now that girl code is a little stronger than I thought.
When I visited her I met all the guys and girls she had told me so many stories about. I had a good time with her, seeing her again made me miss her 10x more when I went home. I started to visited her nearly every weekend leading up until her reading week in October. When lisa came back for reading week she was different. She was no longer the annoyingly clingy girlfriend she once was, in fact, she didn’t want anything to do with me. You know the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” that was for sure the case here. I wanted that annoying clinginess that made me ship her off to college in the first place to come back. Instead I found myself fighting for attention with her phone and her college friends she was texting.
One of the nights Lisa was back I remember getting a peak of her phone and seeing a “goodnight <3” text from one of the guys she had been texting. I should have known then that something was up, but I pushed it aside. Lisa told me it was nothing, she said “it’s just how he talks! He’s like that with everyone!” I had no reason not to believe her, I mean we had been together for years! I trusted Lisa, my insecurities would shine through more often than I’d like to admit… but deep down I trusted her.
When a traumatic experience happens in your life your mind tends to block it out, otherwise known as voluntary memory suppression.
Near the end of Lisa’s week long visit something happened, I can’t remember for the life of me how the topic came up, but I do remember the exact words she told me when she admitted she had been cheating on me. I’m no expert when it comes to relationships, but “Hayden I’ve sucked (insert guy name here) dick more times than I can count on my hands and toes” isn’t exactly how you let someone down easy.
That is the day my first real depression started. I had never known real depression before that, spite my unpopularity in high school I was still an overly positive person. By this time in my life my parents had divorced, and my grandfather had passed soon after. Yet this breakup dragged me deeper into depression than I had ever gone. Lisa went back to college, and I remained at my empty condo. I can remember going to work each day and just having the thought of her on-top of another guy haunting me throughout the day. I’d go to the gym and nearly break down in tears lifting weights because the mental pain I was going through was just too much. I honest to god thought I’d never date again; A feeling similar to a white girl who drinks too much then swears she’ll never drink again only to get blackout a week later.
I got back together with Lisa a few months later. Turns out the fuck boy she was cheating on me with was really nothing but a fuck boy… who knew! She left the college she was attending and transferred to one closer to home. She wanted to prove that she was loyal and committed to me. I felt ashamed of myself for forgiving her. My friends and family made it very clear that they shared just as much shame in me as I did with myself. I dated her for another 6 or so months before ending the relationship. I wasn’t able to forgive her for what happened.
I’d love to tell you that this relationship didn’t fuck me up and that it made me a better person, but that would be an outright lie. It has now been 3 years since Lisa and I broke up, yet I still find myself battling insecurities and scars left by that high-school relationship. I still get nervous when my current girlfriend wants to go out with her friends, I still feel the need to look over her shoulder when an unfamiliar name pops up on the screen, I still have issues. But they sure as hell aren’t as bad as they used to be. With each relationship I’ve had, the good and the bad ones, I have slowly gotten better. Although I got cheated on in relationships after the one with Lisa, I still choose to date. I continue to try to find someone to spend my life with although every single sexual relationship I’ve ever had has failed.
Think of it, what’s the gold standard for most relationships? A happy marriage, right? If that is the standard in which you measure the success of all of your past relationships on, then you have failed in 100% of your previous relationships. Now we can bring that same standard into business. Let’s say you will only consider your business to be successful when you hit $100,000 in revenue. Even if you hit $99,999.99 you would still feel disappointed. This is because of the standard you set for yourself.
I could have easily stopped dating after Lisa, I mean it would make sense wouldn’t it? I’d never get hurt again, I could be a free man, I technically would never fail because I never tried. Unfortunately for us humans don’t exactly work like that. We are hardwired to mate and reproduce. No matter how many times we get hurt in relationships we always go back. Now imagine if we had those same instincts for business? Imagine if no matter how many times we failed a business we got back up and tried again…
The world is full of wanna-be entrepreneurs who give up after a few tries starting a business. I received hundreds of DM’s a month in regards to people complaining they are unable to get their Social Media Marketing Agency off the ground, yet they have only tried going out to get clients a handful of times! Businesses, like relationships, take consistent failures in order to create something special. In every failed business there is a lesson to be learned, it’s up to you to learn from that lesson and apply it to your next business. I have learned so much from the businesses I have failed in the past, as I will continue to learn from the businesses I fail in the future. The key is that I learn from those mistakes and try my absolute hardest to not make them again. The exact same concept applies to relationships, every relationship you fail is just going to make the next one even better… so long as you learn from it.
Another key factor that comes into play is taking blame. It’s too easy to blame the business model, or the course you took, or the other person in the relationship. It’s hard as f*ck to blame yourself. I bet you listened to that story about Lisa and I and thought, well clearly Lisa is the one to blame here, she’s the one who cheated! Yes, she did cheat, and yes she does take the blame for the relationship ending the way it did. The truth is that I had nearly just as much blame in the collapse of the relationship as she did. Had I not pushed her to go far away for college she would have never had the opportunity to meet the guys she cheated on me with. Had I shown her more love and affection before she had gone she likely wouldn’t have wanted to find someone new. I’m not excusing what she did, nor am I saying I could have stopped her. I am simply trying to point out that I understand m faults in the relationship. Just like I understand my faults in my past businesses.
Both my businesses and relationships are better than ever because I am able to accept what I am doing wrong. It may not be right away, it could take hours or weeks before I realize I’m being an asshole. But when I do come to that realization I am able to accept it, learn from it, apologize, and move on. This self realization has made myself a much better person. No one likes an asshole who thinks he’s always right, and businesses are way more likely to fail if someone can’t take their head out of their ass to realize they are the ones f*cking it up.
Our past can either haunt us, or make us better. Luckily we have the choice of which one we want it to be.
Now go take some time to really think about the last fight you had with your boo, or maybe the reasons why your business is failing. Write down everything that you did wrong and how you feel as if you could have done it differently. Apologize for being an asshole and move on.
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