Understanding what’s in the way of reaching your potential
There are a few certainties to being human.
Death is one. Taxes another.
And shit. Everyone has shit.
Now, I mean this both in the literal sense, of course; everyone has an arsehole, everyone will shit. And in the metaphorical sense.
No one becomes an adult human without having some form of private challenge, doubt or shame; they struggled with it at some point in time, or constantly.
An interesting and mature human cannot get through life without something to challenge us to outgrow our younger selves.
It takes many forms; insecurity, fear, doubt overthinking, harsh inner voice, frustrating patterns of sabotage or laziness, debilitating preoccupation with being judged, rejected, or not loved, misdirected beliefs about ourselves and our worthiness, or money and success, or love and relationships – or deep in the psyche of many men, some shit around being man enough.
Yeah – shit comes in all shapes, sizes and shades of brown.
But like the literal shit we have – which has to come out and be cleaned up – our metaphorical shit cannot be stuffed away never to see the light of day just because we label it gross and would rather not deal with it.
We’d perhaps like that – to keep it private and flush it down a dark, dank shithole, or better still, just keep it stuffed deep down inside so we can’t be ridiculed or judged or stuck in the same places with the same results because of it.
Holding shit in – literal or metaphorical – only makes a bigger mess eventually.
What is ‘your shit’?
The challenge for so many men, of course, lands squarely here: we never learnt how to deal with our shit, let alone recognise it when it’s making a mess of itself all over our lives.
Yet, as men, we’re expected to just excel at life and become successful; lots of money, great job, house, partner and relationship, muscles ideally – but athletic definitely, big cock if possible, and the ability to handle all of life’s demands, dramas, and douchebags with ease – no sweat. A walk in the park, mate!
Confidence oozes out of you. Excellence, you piss it.
Bond. James Fucking Bond, you must be.
If this is what your life should look like for you to just feel an inch of ”I have my shit together” – Can you say ‘GIANT mountain of expectation’?
In that expectation (and the expectations we set ourselves) is (some of) your shit.
Or maybe that’s not your shit.
Maybe yours sits in the fear of failure, of never getting started, of wasting life, of never being loved, of being rejected (again), of being just like your father, of only being average, of screwing up your relationship, of committing to the wrong thing, of not being a success, of not being smart enough – of not being enough.
These examples generally speak to a depth of fear or feeling that we tend to keep private. The kind that we push away to the darkest corners of our psyche and, (to bastardise a quote by Colin Wilson) through the kind of stoic ignorance of a cow standing in the rain, don’t explore despite the nudges life gives us to do just that.
Or, quite simply, we let it play out in our heads on repeat almost like a theme song for our lives that only we know about.
This could all come from things in our past, either through personal experience, the constant consumption of a message or narrative given to us by family, culture, or media, or a belief system that we hold about ourselves that has a particular fear, insecurity, or behaviour pattern interrupting a much smoother and more ‘shit together’ life.
Whatever your shit is, the fact that you’re reading this indicates you know on some level that it’s lurking in the shadows (or maybe plastered on your forehead) and that you need to own it and address it.
And until we do, it will keep shitting on your life.
Symptoms over causes
Here comes an important distinction. In the above exploration of your potential shit is a list of deeper and perhaps more underlying fears and operating systems. What you won’t see in that is a bunch of the consequences of letting those things run your life.
In my experience in working with everyday men, this is a mistake many make. We see the frustrating results, the sabotaging behaviour that keeps repeating, the shit feeling that seems heavily present, and we think this is our shit. It’s not. It’s the manifested consequences of our shit pulling the strings below the surface.
I mean, it is part of your shit, but it’s not it.
We live in a world where we have an addiction to chasing quick fixes to deeper problems. This also plays out when it comes to trying to get our shit together. We experience a pain, discomfort, hurt, or shitty situation and we simply want that to end without looking at what may have caused it.
For this work – for you to truly get your shit together, we must acknowledge the consequences (symptoms) and then work on both changing those while we also address the causes sitting beneath.
Consequences come in many forms and feelings, such as
- You keep making the same mistakes and it’s increasingly frustrating each time.
- You set high expectations of yourself that you often don’t meet and go into self-beat-up mode.
- You procrastinate. Often
- You’re Mr. nice Guy; can’t say no, avoid conflict, always play peacekeeper, try to be everything for everyone (and not enough for yourself).
- You never seem to be able to do the things you know are good for you.
- You’re constantly too busy for life and feel guilty if you relax.
- You’re stuck in your head; over-thinking, over-analysing, ruminating on worst-case scenarios and on what other people think of you.
- You constantly chase the approval and validation of others.
- You feel stuck, lost, floating, unclear, alone, isolated, like no one gets you.
- You work hard to succeed, get the relationship, the house but none of it is making you feel any better.
- You get stuck seeking perfection, trying to fix everything.
- You’ve tried doing it alone but it hasn’t worked (because fuck asking for help, right?).
- You avoid, numb, or distract yourself from feeling most emotions – for so long now it just feels normal – but you know there is more in life to feel and experience and it shits you.
- Perhaps you simply continually feel like your life should be more sorted by now.
- Or maybe you’re constantly in debt, your relationships keep ending, you choose unavailable people all the time, your work sucks, you have body issues, you lack willpower and discipline, etc etc etc.
Those are what might be playing out in your life and inside your head. This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the reality of some of these consequences in our relationships and lives. For example where a lot of the above can – and often does – lead is:
- Poor and struggling mental and emotional health, immense feelings of disconnection and loneliness, suicidal ideations,
- Poor job satisfaction, intense work stress and time/energy mismanagement
- Poor relationship to money, debt, financial stress and hardship
- Relationship breakdown, divorce, separation from children (custody battles, and separation of the family unit
- Anger issues, physical violence, abuse, assault, arrest, jail, prison, criminal records
Yeah, those are some potential heavy costs.
And here’s the thing I haven’t mentioned yet, which is so common among men – we often need something to feel like a rock bottom of sorts before we will even admit to having shit to work on, let alone doing something about it.
Herein lies the crux of a lot of shit for men – why it comes about and why we can’t get it together; we have learnt that to have shit and ask for help is weakness. While this all takes on wildly different manifestations and consequences for every man, sitting at the core of it is this idea we have perpetuated that men need to be the successful, capable hero who not only doesn’t have shit but spends his time fixing and solving everyone else’s.
So we do. Or at least, we attempt to. We become the fixers and solvers. We try and fix our partners’ shit when all they want is for us to listen. We try and solve someone else’s discomfort just so we don’t have to feel any ourselves.
And in all of this, we keep piling up our own shit – heartbreak, conflict in relationships, job dissatisfaction, body issues, anxious overthinking, you name it – and keep it stuffed away – because you’re a man and you shouldn’t have, let alone share, any shit of your own.
It becomes a self-perpetuating shit machine.
What piles on top of this is this thing that happens in our brains. If the pain and discomfort of what we experience with our shit aren’t bad enough for us to do anything about, we won’t do anything. And often the longer we experience that, the more we just accept it, so the pain reduces in a relative sense, while the pain of doing something about it increases.
This, and not being clear on a captivating reason to do anything about it. If I don’t have a motivating cause to take on the discomfort I feel changing will involve, then I won’t.
Getting your shit together
Name it. All of it.
I invite you to reflect on not only what your shit might be but also what you can connect to that might be in the way of you exploring it, sharing it, lightening the load of it, and gradually moving past and overcoming it.
Are there stories you have about what you’re allowed to feel? Stories and beliefs in you or that you’ve inherited or picked up along the way about who you should be and anything outside of that ideal has to be hidden or buried?
Once you’ve done this and continued to explore the origins and depths of your shit to better understand it, as well as a level of acceptance that you have shit and that’s ok, you can flip it on its head.
That has two elements:
- What would having your shit together – or being on the other side of that shit – look like to you? Detail it. Paint a picture that pulls you towards creating this reality, that motivates you to act in ways that move towards it.
- What shit can work you on right now to clear, clean up and wipe from causing a mess in your life? Make it simple, make it doable. Build momentum, show yourself you can work on shit.
This is an ongoing thing. Because let’s be brutally honest here; no one has their shit entirely sorted.
Every human, despite what their Instagram feed might portray, has shit. You, me, and that seemingly perfect-life influencer you follow (are influenced by).
Life changes. Along that journey, we gather shit that must be addressed.
Importantly though, getting your shit together isn’t about creating a perfect problem-free life. It’s about harnessing the willingness to face and own your shit while building the problem-solving skills to navigate it with ease.
What we can do with determined, clear, purposeful discernment is build and live a life, not void of shit, but with our shit well and truly under our thumb, not the other way around.
If you want a rich and fulfilling life, you must OWN your shit, otherwise, it will own you.
Your shit – unattended – will continue to be a stinky dark stain on the potential that is your life.
That is until we get to know it, until we change the relationship to it, build the skills to overcome it, and in doing so – get it (somewhat) together.
So, if you think you have the determination to do this – This is what my BRAND NEW course GYST 101 – Get Your Shit Together will do for you – giving you the tools to understand, own, and overcome your shit now and in the future.
In just 21 days you will build the foundations of an expert shit-handler. You’ll make your shit make sense, learn how to stop sabotaging yourself, and be able to step into your potential.
It would be easy for me to create a course of 6 weeks, or longer – to really do longer-term work on your shit, but here’s the kicker – for most men our shit is the thing stopping us from working on our shit.
The more barriers to starting the less likely we are to starting.
So, GYST is 3 weeks – a 21-day push to make a monumental difference in your life.
You can apply yourself for three weeks, right?
It starts TWO DAYS from the time you purchase and enrol. It is complete with videos, emails, guided workbooks, and support with me in your corner. To learn more about it and sign up, visit the site here: https://mikecampbell.com.au/get-your-shit-together