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The Importance of Having a Breakdown, AKA “What Happened to the Annual Review”


What can I say about the Annual Review process that I’ve completed without fail for more than a decade?

This year, I gave up on it and walked away.

Well, not quite—that would be an exaggeration. But to be fully honest (and we shall return to this phrase again), I had a hard time facing it. Eventually I was able to make some progress, which I’ll note below, but the overall sense was one of sadness.

Last year was hard, too. And there have been other hard years. This time, however, felt nearly insurmountable.

A challenge became a struggle. The struggle became a crisis, and the crisis became, well, something that approaches a total breakdown.

More on that in a bit too. For now, here are the two principles I’ve been looking to as guideposts:

“A crisis represents an appetite for growth that hasn’t found another way of expressing itself. Many people, after a horrific few months or years of breakdown, will say: ‘I don’t know how I’d ever have gotten well if I hadn’t fallen ill.’” –The Book of Life


“When we make a decision, whether it’s good or bad, at least it’s motion. That motion is what moves us forward. Ironically, whether that motion is in the right or wrong direction, at least it’s giving us some better visibility of the terrain around us and helping us learn.” –Scott Belsky

In other words: you didn’t ask for this thing, but maybe you need it. And for the best odds of success, choose the direction you feel is best even if you’re not certain, and then hit the trail.


So First, a Word on Breakdowns

Clinical depression and anxiety are hard to explain to people who haven’t experienced them. It’s not just being sad or feeling worried.

When you’re in a depressed state, you can’t usually see a way out. You don’t believe it will ever get better. You can’t just tell yourself, “Self, get it together.”

Nothing feels soothing. The only thing that brings relief is forgetting about it, which happens once in a while for a brief period of time. But then you remember that you’re sad, whether circumstantially or just as a state of being. And when you remember, you go straight back to ground zero.

This isn’t merely an observation from afar, of course. I’ve been feeling this way for quite some time now. And then, at a point when I thought it was getting better, it got much worse. Damn. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

Here’s another argument from the same article I referenced above:

“In the midst of a breakdown, we often wonder whether we have gone mad. We have not. We’re behaving oddly no doubt, but beneath the surface agitation, we are on a hidden yet logical search for health. We haven’t become ill; we were ill already. Our crisis, if we can get through it, is an attempt to dislodge us from a toxic status quo and an insistent call to rebuild our lives on a more authentic and sincere basis.”

It might be nice to avoid the process of becoming so broken, but call me if you figure that out.

Anyway, in recent seasons this has been my state of being on more days than not. I’m somewhat functional but I’m also unwell. Some of it is circumstantial and some of it isn’t. It’s all a jumbled mess that I’m trying to figure out.

Speaking of being authentic and sincere, lately I’ve realized that I’ve missed some key opportunities to demonstrate both of those attributes.

For someone who built a brand around non-conformity, I’ve cared a lot—way too much—about what other people think of me. For someone who encourages people to make big changes, I’ve delayed or postponed my own for too long.

I’m correcting those mistakes now, and guess what? It feels good! Even in the midst of the other storm clouds, taking major steps in the bravery department has helped significantly. I’ll continue in this direction, trusting the process even if some parts of it remain uncertain.

Until then, what do you call the time between the breakdown and the “getting well” part? I think you call it the wilderness. That’s where I’m at now, wandering about and looking for the off-ramp.


And Then, the Review

This was my state of being going into the Annual Review. Despite its name, the review is much more about the future than the past. I typically spend about 20% of the time looking back at the year that’s ending, and 80% focused on various goals and a theme for the next year.

This time, though, I couldn’t get past the first part. In fact, I withdrew every time I tried to approach it. When I considered accomplishments, they seemed insignificant in comparison to the failures.

Even when I understood that I couldn’t have changed some or another particular circumstance, I still fixated on what felt like utter defeat.

Avoiding the past and looking ahead to the future was also hard, since one year is connected to another. For the first four days of the weeklong trip, I had a hard time even thinking about goals—an odd experience for someone who’s otherwise highly-motivated to identify objectives and work toward accomplishing them.

In the end I did manage to set some goals, both personal and work-wise. At this point I can’t say too much about the personal goals—all in due time, I hope.

But for now…


In the Midst of This, I Still Have Work to Do

I realize that several parts of this report may not sound that encouraging. I think that’s where authenticity and sincerity come in—I wouldn’t be honest if I listed achievements and various work projects without providing more of the story. Still, I should also provide some balance. I’m not just sitting around moping all the time—I have work to do. And the work is good!

Publishing a podcast episode every single day in 2017 has been a wonderfully purposeful goal for me. So purposeful, in fact, that I’ve decided to do it all over again in 2018.

1. 365 More Stories of People Creating Freedom

Season II of Side Hustle School debuts on January 1, 2018.

You can listen in Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, or wherever you usually listen to podcasts. You can also subscribe directly on the site.

I’m excited to build on what we started this year. Expect more improvements, more listener contributions, and, naturally, more crazy stories. For example, the first two weeks alone will feature (among others):

  • Accountant Earns $233,751 Reselling Items He Buys at Walmart
  • Designer Earns Extra $5,000/month Posting Logos on Instagram
  • How to Make Extra Money Using Merch by Amazon
  • Finance Professionals Go Gorillas for Bamboo Fiber Socks

And so many more… it’s gonna be good.

2. Side Hustle Society: My First Training Program in Several Years Basically Forever

When I launched Side Hustle School in January 2017, I said that a training program and online community was “coming soon.” Well, it was technically on the way, but not exactly soon.

Guess what: it’s now actually on the way! I spent much of my Annual Review trip working on content and structure for the course. I’m looking forward to sharing it with whoever’s interested—perhaps even you.

It’s called Side Hustle Society, and it launches on January 9, 2017… whether I’m ready or not. Watch this space. 🙂

3. An All-New Project That I’ll Talk About at Some Point

I’m taking on a new editorial project, and it will be different from everyone I’ve done before. But first I’ll go into a cave and make it happen, and I don’t think I’ll say much more about it until it’s very close to being ready to go.

4. WDS 2018 (#8!)

Every year since 2011, I’ve welcomed a group of friends and explorers to a global gathering called World Domination Summit. 2018 will be year 8, and we plan to build on the theme of “Team Everybody” that we started this summer.

This definitely isn’t a solo project: I’m fortunate to work with a wonderful team on making this happen. Never been before? Well, save the dates! WDS 2018 will take place from June 26-July 2, and I’d love to see you there.



On the Possibility of Lights Appearing in Tunnels

These projects and duties serve as anchors. They don’t provide complete comfort, but they do give me something to keep my mind on while I’m trying to find my way.

Every day I know I have to make the show—or as I prefer to say, every day I get to make the show. I really do enjoy it. Being able to write books and speak to audiences is a “job” that I never take for granted. Even when I’m sad, I know for sure that work-wise I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.

Is work a distraction? I concede that it could be, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I’m actively doing everything I can to care for myself and get well, but that’s not really a full-time job. I also know that what I do in the career space matters, and that feels good. I just want to be better off otherwise.

So for now and for next year: connection and relationships will matter more than ever.

Travel will continue but more purposefully. The calendar will be clearer to allow for more possibility. And most of all, I’ll be making a big change even if I don’t have complete confidence in the outcome.

One thing I know for sure: 2018 will be very different. It has to be. And so it will.

To new beginnings,


Chris Guillebeau

P.S. I really will be okay eventually, so you don’t need to worry. I just wanted to provide an honest report instead of trying to pretend the shadows that are blocking my view don’t exist. And maybe in the end, the shadows prove the existence of the sunshine.

Images: Clark, Oliver, Austin, Braden, Andreas

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About Darren Webb

Hello & Welcome to my blog. My name is Darren Webb and i'm on a magical successful journey and also helping others have a more stress free relaxed life. I truly hope that you find a lot of useful information on my blog and that it helps you through your life. Please feel free to contact me at any time.

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10 Things to Avoid Before Going to Bed

You're reading 10 Things to Avoid Before Going to Bed, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

After working for the whole day, running from one place to another, handling boss and irritating colleagues, the only thing which can make your day is a good sleep. But good sleep doesn’t mean lying in bed for 9 hours and still feeling exhausted after waking up. A good sleep means that even after taking 6 hours of sleep, you should feel recharged again to work for the whole day.
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1. Alcohol
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2. Mobile Phone
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3. Caffeine
Caffeine stays in our body for almost 10-12 hours and even a small cup of coffee contains at least 80 to 120 milligrams of caffeine. And you must be aware of the working of caffeine in our body and how the employees of late night shift consume it for staying awake. So avoid consuming any type of caffeine before going to bed.

4. Chocolate
If you are a sweet tooth then consuming chocolate after dinner as a dessert might sound like a very good idea but you should know that even chocolate contains a significant amount of caffeine and especially dark chocolate. So replace your idea of consuming dark chocolate with any other dessert which will not keep your eyes wide open even at midnight.

5. Big Meal
Devouring a big meal before going to bed can also disrupt your sleep. The reason behind this is after taking a big meal, your metabolism has to kick in and that can affect your sleep. It can also lead to gastroesophageal reflux diseases, weight gain, and other serious bad effects on your body.

6. Lots of water
Drinking water is very much necessary throughout the day but if you have completed the quota of your water consumption in a day, then there is no need to drink a jug full of water before going to sleep - it will result in unnecessary trips to the bathroom which obviously disrupt your sleep.

7. Wrong food
Including foods like a cheesecake in your everyday dessert sounds very delicious but you should know that, food products which are high in saturated fat and sugar are a major cause of disrupted sleep.

8. Smoke
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9. Exercise
Just like drinking water, exercise is also very much necessary for keeping you in shape and good health but doing it just before bed allows your-feel good hormones to get active and thus it can also affect your sleep.

10. Bath
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A good sleep is as necessary as food, air and water are for the body and brain. So, if you want to sleep properly throughout the night, without feeling exhausted for the whole day, then you should always avoid the above-mentioned things before going to bed.


Saurabh Gupta is a technical content writer at Cloudwalks His area of expertise includes software, cloud computing, cybersecurity and life lessons.

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You're reading From the Experts: 6 Tips to Stay Motivated, Anytime, Anywhere., originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you're enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

We all have our own moments of doubt, distress, and complete laziness. But what usually determines someone`s success or failure is your ability to stay motivated especially during their toughest times.  I`ve worked on this topic for years and below are some of the things you can do to stay motivated.

1. Work Your Negative Thoughts Out
Tony Robbins was right when he said the difference between you and success is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself. These limiting beliefs are keeping you in doubt and the only way to stay motivated is by exposing them to journaling and expressive writing. Studies have found that those who completed four weekly journaling sessions for eight weeks were less worried and more motivated, than those who didn`t.

2. Remove Performance Barriers
Tim Ferris has a simple learning technique that works like magic. Whenever you`re about to learn a skill or do something new, take some time to list all your reasons to quit.

Your goal, after identifying these barriers, is to complete the first five sessions of whatever you want to practice. Why five? Because that`s what your brain needs to create wirings for new habits.

3. Do Less of The Things That Aren`t Aligned With Your Goals
Sales mogul, Grant Cardone once shared a story about someone who worked with him at McDonald`s. Unlike Cardone who was only there for the money, this guy was super pumped to go to work. Why?Because his goal was to learn everything about the business and open his own McDonald`s franchises. Soon Cardone was fired and that dude went on to achieve his dream.

4. Create Necessity
Brendan Bouchard once asked a client, an Olympic sprinter, who he thought was going to win the race. And the man replied, “I will get on the guy who gets down at the blocks, looks at the finish line and says ‘I`ve got to do this for my mom."

This is the power of WHY. Whenever you lack motivation, ask yourself why, or for whom, do you want to reach that goal. If you keep digging, you`ll always find something worth working hard for.

5. It`s like a bath
“People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar
You usually hear people saying, “I don`t feel motivated to chase my goals.” Well, maybe if you write them long enough you`ll eventually feel pumped to go after them.

You must commit to writing your goals at least once a day, every day regardless of how good or bad you feel because, at the end of the day, the quality of your life will come down to what you`ve chosen to pay attention to. So you`d better pay attention to something worthy.

When listing your goals, write down whatever makes you pumped. If “I`m making my first million before my 25th birthday” doesn`t motivate you, then think about listing all the things that you want to buy, or experience, when you make your first million. A trip to Italy, a courtside seat in a Lakers` game, spending X amount of dollars guilt-free…etc.

Forget about what others tell you goals should be, as long as the ones you`ve chosen make you feel excited then you`re good to go.

6. Get a Quick Jump on the Day

It`s much easier to change feelings with action that to do it the other way around. Why? Because you have more control over actions than over feelings. As William James once said, "By regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling."
If there`s one nugget I want to leave you with then let this be it: Productivity comes before motivation and not the other way around. This is why you must start the day with a bang regardless of whether you`re an early bird or a night owl.

The quicker you start the day with a victory, the more motivated you`ll feel during the rest of it. So cut Facebook, meaningless texting or T.V., and focus all your efforts on getting something done.

Any sort of productivity, no matter how small. Just remember that once the ball starts rolling you`ll feel motivated to get more done. An object in motion will stay in motion, so sayeth the law.

Marwan Jamal is a fitness and health blogger at and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym, and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

You've read From the Experts: 6 Tips to Stay Motivated, Anytime, Anywhere., originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you've enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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