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How I coped with work overload #003

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In this #PressForward podcast episode we speak to Paul Lacey.

Paul is a WordPress agency owner based in the UK.

Over the last couple of years Paul has had issues with taking on too much work and then feeling unable to complete his tasks. In a six month period his family hit a crisis which changed all of their lives.

In that short period one successful business was sold off in order to redress the balance and restore some time into their lives.

It was not as simple as that though as Paul then found it harder to complete his work than ever before.

Paul sought help from this local doctor and this gave him some positive results.

It’s a fascinating story which I’m sure many of us can identify with.

Interviewed by Nathan Wrigley.

Featured on this podcast:

Paul Lacey

Paul Lacey

Web Strategy Expert & WordPress Designer / Developer. Co-founder and CEO at The Dickiebirds Studio.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

Nathan Wrigley: 00:00 Welcome to episode three of the PressForward podcast. This is your first experience of this new podcast and we’d like to extend a warm welcome to you and we hope that you find the stories that you’ll be hearing in the weeks to come to be pegged, informative and useful. The PressForward podcast is brought to you by WP and UP charity in the WordPress space with a mission to support our community. Our help is freely [email protected] or you can call plus +44(0)20 3322 1080. This support is available for all sorts of reasons. It might be that you’d like assistance with your business, your skills, or possibly with your mental or physical health, whatever the reason might be. Please feel free to reach out. Often we don’t like to admit to ourselves that we need support. We sometimes carry on and hope that things will just go away if we ignore them or just work harder. Nathan Wrigley: 01:22 Admitting to ourselves that we’d like support is one thing, but admitting it to others can be another greater challenge. One of the aims of this podcast is to bring you stories from the community, from people who’ve been through this process before. They’ve come to realize that speaking to someone about what they’re going through can help. These stories can be very personal, but they shine a light on subjects all too often left in the dark. Perhaps some of the areas that we cover this week or something that you can identify with, you might be facing the same set of events. Of course, it might not be you. It could be someone that you know, a friend, a relation, a colleague. The point is that by sharing these stories and shining a light on them, we make you aware that it’s okay to open up and maybe even seek out some support from WP and UP. To give you some context about WP and UP, we’ve already provided nearly 800 hours of mentorship and over 3,300 hours have been donated by the many people who are now volunteering for WP and UP. So we’re very serious about supporting the WordPress community and we’re just getting started. Nathan Wrigley: 02:43 If you’d like to help WP and UP financially, then please visit WP and UP dot org forward slash give. If you would like to get involved in WP and UP, then please visit WP and UP .org /contact or look for the social links in the footer of the website for WP and UP to carry out its important work. We need your support. That could be just listening to this podcast or perhaps donating your time or money. Individual donations can be made at wpandaarp.org forward slash give sponsorship is also an option and sponsoring the WPN up podcast is a great thing to do. You’ll be supporting the important work that we’re undertaking and you will also be featured on this podcast. Nathan Wrigley: 03:37 Just like this, the PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green Geeks offers an awesome managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security, and scalability while being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website, backed by 24 seven experts support and we thank Green Geeks for their support of the PressForward podcast. Nathan Wrigley: 04:29 The previous episodes of this podcast featured two stories from different people. As the podcast is new, we’re experimenting with the format and seeing what works best. With that in mind today we’re going to be hearing from just one person and that person is Paul. He’s a WordPress agency owner who was an interesting story to tell last year. There was a time when there were too many things going on at once in his life. Some of them were related to home and others to his agency. Paul was becoming overloaded with all of the tasks that were mounting up and he was finding it hard to get jobs completed. He speaks about mental bandwidth and how he became saturated. He needed to explore new ways of making sure that he restored a sustainable approach to his work whilst making time for his family life. So this is a trigger warning that we will be talking about anxiety, stress, and recovery. If you are impacted by this subject, you can skip this section, which is roughly 30 minutes in length. I started by asking Paul if he thought his story was unique. Oh, if he thought that there might be lots of people taking on too much work. Paul Lacey: 05:50 So the thing I’d want to say, first of all, well this story that I want to refer to is that I don’t think that I’m anything special in this scenario. I don’t think that, uh, I’ve got like a, I had a situation that was any more difficult to deal with them then a lot of people do. I think that, you know, the thing I’m going to talk about today is actually really, really common and it’s kind of a story really about, uh, mental bandwidth. It’s, uh, making sure that you’ve got mental bandwidth some times to deal with crisis that can happen in your life and how they can affect your business, your mental health and, and everything and the people around you. Nathan Wrigley: 06:30 I’d not really heard the term mental bandwidth before, but I took a guess that it might mean how much you could realistically take on before you started to become overwhelmed and began to lose focus. I imagined it like somebody juggling balls. This person could cope with a few, but as soon as there were too many, you don’t just drop one, you drop all of them and the juggling completely stops. So I asked Paul if this is what he was thinking too. Paul Lacey: 07:03 Yeah. So imagine you know you’re running, you know, let’s say let’s say you run an agency like I do and you are juggling lots of balls. You probably already juggling too many balls then you should be because it’s just a, it’s just the way that seems. That seems to go a for a lot of us who aren’t trained in ways of managing our time really, really super efficiently and learning how to say no and all that sort of stuff. So you were already, you’ve got a certain amount of plates that you can spend and then you know, and then imagine that you are literally spinning a bunch of plates with sticks and plates on the top of them and then a three year old or something just comes into your, the area where you’re trying to spend these plates and starts knocking them all over. You didn’t really account for that happening, you know, it was your, as you were spinning all these plates. So it’s kind of like how would you deal with that and you probably haven’t got away to deal with it and all those plates are going to get smashed on the floor. So, so mental bandwidth to me is, is kind of like something that I realized I hadn’t got enough of to deal with a crisis that happened in my family. And then to also try and cope with things with the business. At the same time, Nathan Wrigley: 08:15 I think that it’s likely that most of us have experienced something like this at some point, too many tasks and not enough time or energy to get them done jumping forwards. I wanted to get a sense of whether or not Paul was able to get a grip of this, whether he has a defined way of ensuring that this does not happen again. Paul Lacey: 08:36 Yeah, it’s easier said than done because you know, we all going to these, you know, running businesses or whether it’s you’re in a job or whatever it is that you’re doing. We’ve lots of optimism. We’re hoping for the best and we are taking risks and all that sort of stuff. So I think it’s, it’s easy for me to say that in hindsight after going a tough period where I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to deal with everything, super easy for me to deal with that in hindsight. And that’s why, you know, in a way it’s something that I’d like to share with other people. Big said that they don’t end up thinking about it in hindsight, you know, so they’ve got a little bit more preparation for these sort of things that can go wrong and do go wrong in life because life just chucks curve balls at you all the time. Paul Lacey: 09:19 Some of them you can deal with and some of them knock the thing, the off the stumps and there’s nothing you do, you’re out. So that’s what I wanted to talk about today. A particular situation that happened to me and it’s still in, it still has an effect now. 2000 what we in 2019 now, I don’t even know what year it is anymore. So to kind of briefly talk about what happened. End of 2016 things are going quite well. Um, in our family, two kids, and I’m married to my wife Lindsey. We’ve got two businesses. One is my web design business, which is, you know, a small consultancy, just me and some associates and my wife has got a party planning business, uh, selling hen parties and that sort of stuff. And uh, just to kind of fast forward six months, fast forward six months is my 39th birthday and we’ve shut down my wife’s business. Paul Lacey: 10:06 We’ve drained most of our savings that we were putting aside for a house deposit. And I’m finding myself in the GPS room, desperate for how confused shellshocked and barely able to string a sentence together when, when asked the simple question, so what can I do for you ball? And then, you know, so it’s kind of what, what can go wrong in, in six months. That goes from a point where every news kind of okay to two year in a complete crisis. You families in a crisis, your businesses in trouble in just six months. So January, 2017 we have a kind of sudden family crisis, and I’ll get into too much detail, but it was something distressing first of all, as a family river in our household. And I think it’s, you know, it’s lots of families have this kind of crisis within their household. And that’s the point that this isn’t like a rarity. Paul Lacey: 10:58 You know, if you’ve got kids, you’re probably going to have some crisis at some point, you know, whether it’s someone, you know, it can be just someone breaking their arm or something like that or you know, having their own problems, whatever. Or you know, a child being air low or whatever, you know, you’re going to have some kind of crisis’s and you pro in your life, they’re going to come at some point. Sadly they tend to do that. Just to sort of say right now, the situation two years on from that is way better. So I just want to get that in that, you know, we’re doing a lot better now and we’ve managing this crisis pretty well. But for the first two months of when this kicked in, things got pretty serious pretty quickly. We had to shut down my wife’s business because it was impossible for us to be both working. Paul Lacey: 11:44 And it was, she was really struggling with her own kind of time to manage her own customers and you know, so while there’s a family crisis getting on, she’s got all of our customers on a, on a case, you know, giving her a lot of hassle and, and you know, they’re not happy they’re there. They’re buying a product that is pretty commoditized. You know, hen parties, they’re not going to kind of talk to talk to her like we talked to our clients in our web design businesses and stuff. It’s, it’s a very impersonal relationship. So we decided to, we decided we need to shut that business down so that we can create a bit of space to help, you know, within the family unit what we need to do. And that’s a very disappointing thing for her as well. That’s a really, you know, that’s, that affects her mental health. Paul Lacey: 12:28 Cause it, you feel like you’ve failed and you’ve done something like that. You’ve built up a business where a number of years and suddenly you just, you just simply can’t deal with it. And you know, someone could stand outside of that, of that room and watch and say it’s the right thing to do is you know what, don’t worry about it. You need to do this for your family and whatnot. But when you’re in the middle of that you can’t help but feel feelings of failure. So we were both feeling, you know, failure on that part. Her especially. So we’ve also then just lost half of our income, which wasn’t ideal. The next couple of months we burned through all of our savings and we have, you know, and we’re having a super tough time of it. Things start actually getting better after about three months of this, we are getting help from civil authorities and there’s a plan in place and we’re not, we’re not feeling like we’re on our own things. Paul Lacey: 13:16 We’re on the up in terms of they weren’t going continually downhill. So we get to a June time and things are a lot better. Okay. So yeah, we spent most of our money and we haven’t got much money and stuff, but things are a lot better and we find in ourselves not in constant crisis mode. But what happened at that point was kind of like a shell shock kind of situation. Say I think that when you’re in the middle of a crisis, a lot of people can deal with it while it’s happening. So you know, if you’re in a, if you’re in a war or something, I guess, you know, people are shooting at you, you’re going to be in survival married and your instincts are kicking in and there’s a lot of adrenalin running and stuff like that. And then you know, and then when you come out of that situation, the aftereffects of, of that hit you. Paul Lacey: 14:04 And that’s actually what happened to me in June. Found myself unable to, my business was still suffering because I couldn’t finish work. I was so distracted and all my mental energy had gone. I was absolutely exhausted all the time. I couldn’t finish work. We’d only got one income. And if you don’t finish work and if you run a web agency, you don’t get paid. I found myself in a kind of secondary crisis and I honestly think this must be a really common thing cause I’ve talked to other people about it, but you go through the crisis, you think you okay, you put all the ball up and then the wall comes down when you start to relax a little bit. And that’s when it’s the same as when you, you know, you kind of go on holiday, you work really hard, you go on holiday and then you immediately get the flu. Paul Lacey: 14:47 Cause your defenses have come down and you know, same kind of thing. So that’s, that’s where I ended up. And how I ended up being the doctors is day before my birthday. I was watching some WP elevation one oh one ways to elevate your business through the eyes on Youtube. I was just sitting in bed with my laptop working and watching these videos. And then a video would Mike Millen incomes on cause it’s just going through a playlist and I didn’t really know Mike at that point. I know him a little bit now obviously and stuff, but I didn’t really know he was, I just knew he was a coach of dopey elevation and it was a video that he’d done for mental health week of that year. And he talked about his own mental health journey and I watch this video and I suddenly had the realization that I was absolutely not okay. Paul Lacey: 15:36 It was one of those moments where I was just sitting, you know, watching youtube and then suddenly there was tears in my eyes and it was just absolute exhaustion. Just poured out. Just complete exhaustion is day before my birthday. Fortunately I made a decision on that day based on what Mike said in the video to go and seek some help. I felt awful on that day because I had a real realization, the things he was saying, how the realization of how bad I’d been. Well, I felt bad, you know, as a five or an a and a husband to my family because I’d been so intensely focused on dealing with this crisis and then trying to recover my business. After that, I realized my personality had just disappeared. You know, the, the jolly all had disappeared, you know, it was, there was a jolly Paul on social media. Paul Lacey: 16:28 You could see me on Facebook and I’d be all happy and whatnot and posting videos and saying funny comments and pasting gifts and talking to my friends online. But that was, that was where I was escaping to in my family life. I become a really withdrawn, not a very fun person to be around. Angry, easy, flip out of my children if they’d done something wrong, you know, even if they hadn’t done something wrong, if a client had upset me, they’d take the blame, you know, wasn’t really communicating with my wife very well. And it all hit me watching that video that I’m, I’m heading for ruined business. Maybe even a divorce if I don’t sort this out, I need to sort something out. I need to make some action. So that’s when I took myself to the doctor, went to the doctor on my birthday. Paul Lacey: 17:13 It was the day after and the doctor was like, so how can I help people? And that was it. Just the flood gates opened. I don’t think I even, I don’t think he even understood what I said cause I didn’t even understand what I said. But uh, that’s, that’s when it went to the doctors. And what actually happened then was the doctor asked me, he said, and he was really nice and he said, what do you think we can do to help you? And He, and he acknowledged, he said, look, you’ve told me what’s happened. You’ve taken some knocks. You’d not suppose to take these knocks and you’re not supposed to have to take those knocks and absorb them all by yourself. You’ve taken this on yourself, you’ve taken all this responsibility and you’re trying to absorb it all yourself and you’re not sharing it with anybody. Paul Lacey: 18:00 It didn’t actually say that, but that’s how I interpreted what he said. He said a much shorter version of that. He said, you’ve taken a lot of knocks and you need a break. I said, how can I help you? And I’d known from some people that I knew that, uh, in, in my situation it wasn’t, I’m not very, what’s the word? If you leave me to my own devices, I probably won’t go to the gym. For instance. I won’t practice mindfulness. And less than one is that again, practice mindfulness right now. I will just quickly go back to whatever it was before. Now I’ll go home, hey, hey Lindsey, my wife, you know, hey doc spoke to the doctor. He said it need to be more chilled out about this, blah, blah, blah. Yep, Yep, Yep. I’m going to do that. And then within two days I’ll be shouting at everyone again and upset and you know, wanting to walk away from businesses and whatnot. Paul Lacey: 18:45 So I just said to him, look, I think, I think I need some medication. He agreed and prescribed me some, some medication that helps. Uh, just rebalance the, the negative effects of the chemicals that being stressed and anxious, angry puts into your system. And, and, and then you take a while to come down from that. So when you were, you know, got stress anger and it’s all compounding like that and you’re also self loving because you were aware of what you’re doing to have people, you rather that you’ve been an absolute, you know, and not very nice person. It just keeps coming. The, the negative chemicals are going in and isn’t it all the, all the stuff, you know, the endorphins, the good stuff is getting drained, it’s getting absorbed super quickly and it’s not there. So I had some medication that just slowly just helped to correct the complete imbalance as a result of the kind of catch 22 a vicious circle of, of being stressed, anxious, self loathing, all that stuff. Paul Lacey: 19:45 The more that goes in a vicious circle, the more bad chemicals that get produced. So I ended up having some medication that basically helped fight the imbalance within you so that you could start fighting your problems, your stress, your anxiety, the business problems on a more, even on a more fair fight level. And that worked for me. That’s not the solution for everybody. You know, I’ve heard one of your other episodes and it wasn’t a solution for someone else. They, they went down a different route when they had some problems. But for me that was, you know, a good solution for someone as, as terrible at kind of following through with, you know, advice over than just take popping a pill every day. But just doing that just put me on the right track. It, it made me aware, it reminded me every day that there was something I was working towards rather than forgetting about it quickly and going back to my old habits and they worked as well, you know, and two years later when we’re, you know, almost two years later and I’m on my last pack at the moment, I’m on the pack of pills. Paul Lacey: 20:54 That is when you were on the way out of taking them. So it’s like the safety one where you know, you’re just taking them so that you don’t get some unwelcome, uh, side effects of taking, you know, coming off those sorts of things because you’ve, your body’s been used to them for such a long time, so you’re kind of replacing your natural happiness and your natural ability to think positively about things, you know. So, uh, but when you’re in a crisis, the ability to just say, oh, it’s all fine. I was just going to, you know, just always look on the bright side of life types of, it’s just not there. It’s not there. So that’s, that’s what happened. And you know, we, uh, we’re talking about doing this podcast on Facebook the other day and, uh, so I mentioned to you that kind of what we’re talking about, it brought it all the, it brought back two years of kind of flashback. Paul Lacey: 21:41 I just had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to apologize to my family. They, you know, so in an, apologize Lindsay, I was in floods of tears. This was yesterday. Was it? Or the day before? I don’t know like a couple of days ago, but actually it was a, it was a realization that I have come through the other side of this and making that decision, you know, two years ago on my birthday, the uh, my business recovered. We did some amazing things in, you know, we started to new agency Dickie Birds. We did some amazing things with some good brands in WordPress and yeah, cool things happen. Basically. Cool things happen that didn’t happen and we’re never going to happen when I was in a negative, such a negative, angry frame of mind, you know? So the, the message really is that these small things, these things that feel like you can deal with them, you’ve got to be absolutely honest with yourself. Paul Lacey: 22:35 You know, if you talk to someone that you know and say, am I dealing with this? Okay. If they tell you that you’re not, then listen to that. You know, it might feel that the, that the, that it’s not something you want to hear because you’ve got work to do then, but it’s not going to get better by itself in most cases. You, if you want to find the old version of yourself that you remember being the happy chirpy person, then you’ve got to do a little bit of work towards that and um, that can just be going and speaking to someone. So that’s, that’s the, that’s the, uh, the round trip of the story. Uh, in terms of my personal side of things, Nathan Wrigley: 23:14 Going back to the start of Paul’s story, you may remember that it wasn’t just him in the middle of all of this, his whole family were involved. I wanted to know if there was any recognition at the time that a head of steam was building up. It’s all too easy to take the approach that it’s best just to soldier on and everything will be okay. So were there any warning signs that with hindsight it could have been good to recognize? Paul Lacey: 23:43 My wife was much better at these sorts of things. And so, you know, she’s, she’s much better at adapting her mindset than I am. And I knew it was happening, but I ignored it. I just totally ignored it. And in fact, I was in complete denial about it. And to put on top of it. My pride got in the way. You know, I really thought that I could handle this all this pressure and I could deal with it and it was going to be okay and I kind of wanted it. I wanted to take that responsibility. You know, it was kind of the so called man of the family, you know, it’s just that male pride thing kicking in. You know, I’m not going to quote it, but I think if anyone’s seen pulp fiction is what Marcellus Wallace tells Bruce Willis, Bruce Willis, this character to do about pride, you know, and it can get in your way because it can be embarrassing. Paul Lacey: 24:32 You know, you look around and you think you see, you know your friends or you’re kind of old school friends or people around you or just people you walk pass in the in the street and they look like their lives are going fantastic and you don’t have a clue what’s going on in their lives quite honestly. And it might not be getting fantastic and you shouldn’t feel good about that as well. But you start just looking at, you know, and feeling like it’s a failure and sometimes the best way to you feels like you can deal with the failures to just pretend that failure isn’t there. And the biggest failure I made was just just not being honest with myself, you know, just not being honest with yourself and being honest with the signs that were clearly there. But it was not how is not having a good time. Paul Lacey: 25:13 And I was, and as a result of me not dealing with it, I was making life much worse for my family and my friends. And Yeah, I actually want to apologize to all my friends. I’m not talking about WordPress friends on Facebook and stuff because they didn’t really notice, you know, they wouldn’t have noticed because my online, my online version of me was different. It’s, you know, the, it’s the optimistic side and stuff. But I’ve got friends who I just disappeared. I’ve disappeared for two years from some of my friends and my family have disappeared from some of my family for two years. I’ve got, you know, members of my family who ask me for help with websites and stuff like that and I just blanked them. I just disappeared and avoided them. You know, I’ve got friends who are still sending me messages, you know, do you want to come out? Paul Lacey: 25:59 I’m supposed to be going out tomorrow evening. Um, you know, I know I’m not, but they’re still asking me, thankfully, you know, to come out and they’ll never listen to this, but I feel, I feel sorry about that. I wasn’t able to, to get my, to get myself my own help quicker so that I wasn’t, you know, having a negative effect on so many relationships around me. I’m super lucky because I think that I can just rebuild those relationships with those trends and just be honest with them and tell them, you realize, you realize that damage you can do to yourself if you don’t, don’t spot signs and, and, and do something about it. Nathan Wrigley: 26:36 I notice that Paul drew a distinction between his real world friends and his online friends from Facebook and social platforms. Paul thought that is online friends would not be able to tell that he was facing a tough time because he was only displaying an unrealistic representation of himself. Increasingly these social platforms and makeup, our real friends, whether we’ve met them or not, I started to wonder if we’re all guilty of posting only the things that we want other people to see only the very best of ourselves. If we’re all doing this, then it can appear that the world is just made of success. There is no fee or to be seen anywhere and all of our friends are constantly doing better than we are. I asked Paul if he thought this was a problem. Paul Lacey: 27:27 The social media side of things was kind of like the comfort to me because I was April doing some, you know what you call it, giving back stuff. I was helping people online sharing as much as I could and it was a rabbit hole to go down online in social media because I was getting positive feedback. Whereas in most other areas in my life I wasn’t getting much positive feedback or I’ll probably was, but I wasn’t. I wasn’t taking notice of it now I was, you know, you’re looking, you’re looking in the wrong places sometimes. But in that time, I mean, I know, I know for a fact that over the last two years my online profile is improved. You know, I’ve, I’ve got a bit of an online profile and a few people know who I am and stuff like that and you get invited to some things and some doors open. Paul Lacey: 28:10 But that’s exactly what you said, that I think that some people probably come across some of my sort of content where I’ve been online and podcasts where it’s talking about user experience or, or WordPress things or whatever it might be that I’ve spoken about online and podcasts and videos and whatnot. I think that I’ve got it absolutely nailed, you know, and they’re like, you know, I’d love to have an agency like Paul’s got, you know, and that seems he’s really got it now. He knows what he’s talking about and stuff. But that’s the thing, you know, this is what people see. And even if you don’t try and make them believe something, they will see the positive side in, in what’s going on. You know, they will see the highlight reels because everyone looks for the highlight reels online. And the truth is that’s not what it was like at all. You know, I have got a good, I’ve got a good agency. By no means is it, you know, killing it. It’s not, we’re not kind of like leading the way on how to run an agency or anything like that. No, not as all. But you know, and, and that is one of the dangers is that, you know, someone can, I would never want someone to feel bad about themselves comparing them, their own company to, to my company and the work that we do. Nathan Wrigley: 29:23 Paul mentioned earlier that after he had begun to recover, he entered a phase in which he was unable to complete his work. I wanted to know more about this. What did he mean? That he could not finish projects that he’d started? Paul Lacey: 29:40 I, it was a compound issue of a number of things. I think in the middle of the crisis that I just found a lot of ways to distract myself, whether that was, you know, things online, you know, in, in the world of WordPress and stuff like that. Anything to distract and, you know, just take away the, um, the, the facing the reality of things. So I figured out the whole, I’d picked up some terrible habits. It’s kind of like I got such a high level of adrenaline every day through trying to, you know, you know, US trying to, um, be prepared for anything any day because things were, you know, could could spin on its axis on a day and go really terribly wrong. And then the next day could be really good and then you’d feel like you’re getting the right direction. And then, you know, the family crisis would literally spin up within a few minutes and it would all be, you know, an all the plans had gone wrong. Paul Lacey: 30:38 I think that you end up prepared for things that aren’t happening. So you know, things, things are on the up and you’re in this constant expectation that something’s gonna go wrong any moment. You know, I think it’s, you know, a bit like when you kind of walk down a dark alleyway, you can’t see anyone, there’s no one around, but you kind of aware, so you’re on, you’re on the edge and you’re ready for action ready to run or fight or whatever it might be. So I think, I think you can end up after a situation like this, we’ve almost permanently state a state of fight or flight even when nothing’s going on. And I think that’s what most people associate with anxiety and anxiety attacks and stuff like that. So not so much stress, but I kind of, the default setting of everyday when you wake up is anxious and you don’t even know what it’s about. Paul Lacey: 31:29 It’s just that your, your, your body has become so expecting that something’s going to kick off today, that you ready for it. And that is an exhausting thing to deal with, you know? So I remember Jim Galliano said this great guy. Uh, he said, you know, whatever it is that you’re focusing on all the time, that’s where your energy goes. So I wasn’t focusing, you know, subconsciously I wasn’t focusing on trying to get my work done. I was subconsciously focused on a hope. Nothing goes wrong today and we don’t go back to how it was two months ago. And then, and then combine that with the bad habits you’ve, you’ve kind of put in place to distract yourself from, you know, the stuff that’s going wrong and everything and then you find that you just got no energy left to finish the work. You’ve got no energy left to come up with the good ideas. Paul Lacey: 32:16 You definitely haven’t gotten the energy to come up with like a, you know, a strategy that that puts milestones in a project that makes it go nice and efficiently from the beginning to the end. You just a, you’re just chipping away, you’ve got all the wrong tools in your mind, you mind has got all the wrong tools to get the job done. So I think that’s what it is. It’s a mixture of post trauma. I guess it’s kind of a version of post traumatic stress. I don’t know if that’s the official version, but that’s, that’s how it fails. post trauma, stress and anxiety. Nathan Wrigley: 32:49 Getting back to the central thread of what Paul had been talking about, I wanted to know if he had found something that had alleviated this from happening again, perhaps a system at work or a new way of dealing with his family. Paul Lacey: 33:04 It’s work in progress or say that if someone, if, if my wife was listening to this, you’d be like, at this point, Paul, don’t lie because the lie would be, I’ve done this, this, this and this and everything’s cool, but actually I’m a sort of one step at a time sort of person and the first thing, like I said, was the initial help was the medication. For me, that was what basically just leveled the playing field and allowed me to actually start doing anything sensible in any sort of direction. So that, that, that was the first step I found. I would get a lot of satisfaction and a lot of feeling of wellbeing from trying to give back to the community. So I try and spin negatives into positives and, and stuff. Uh, you know, if we can donate some money to something or if we can do some work for free for someone that we think is a, you know, a good cause or that kind of thing, or we can, you know, we can see someone struggling with something and I don’t want to help them, you know, or, uh, just sharing, just sharing. Paul Lacey: 34:07 Even if it’s stuff, you know, like this, you know, I get a lot of satisfaction from trying to help others with the mistakes that I’ve made or the, or the things that I’ve done. Right. You know, a lot of the time it’s the mistakes. That’s something that I’m just going to continue to do, create content, talk about stuff that I think is worthwhile sharing. Uh, look for opportunities to, to help, uh, charitable causes when we can from time to time. The benefits of, of when stuff goes wrong and your clients are not happy with you because you’re not doing a good job for them as you normally are, of knowing that you have still got something that is of great value, is very, very, um, soothing. So while everything is going wrong, you, you helped someone today. So it wasn’t all bad. You know, someone had a problem, you help them with it. Paul Lacey: 34:59 It might, you know, you saved them five hours of frustration by just writing a quick comment on Facebook or you made a video and someone watched it and that, so on. Some people sent some comments saying how amazingly helpful it was, or you went on a podcast, whatever, and someone said they really enjoyed it and it helps change the mindset that is so fantastic to fall back on those moments when you feel like you’re not offering anything to the world, you know, in that, what’s the point? What am I doing here? That’s something that I advise to anyone have an abundance mindset. Uh, we are in an industry where that exists. You know, we’re not, we’re not in an industry. We’re not in the uh, um, pharmaceuticals where we know we can’t really share the amazing discovery I made today cause that’s not gonna work. Paul Lacey: 35:46 You know, you’re going to end up sued or something like that in our industry. We can share stuff and we can share our best skills and yeah, that might end up, it’s very unlikely, but one day my end up that you end up losing a job to someone who learned your skill and beat you to beat you to a project. But I think it’s unlikely. So yeah, the giving back and the mental bandwidth thing is the key thing to me. It’s, you know, I realized that the way I was running my business was not sustainable being the being just one person trying to grow and do more and more and more and then take on, you know, recurring income. Everyone wants recurring income, but that’s recurring support as well. If that’s recurring time that you keep giving to people, you know, recurring problems that will keep appearing in your inbox. Paul Lacey: 36:28 And so during that time I did get reenergized and me and my old business partner, Peter Reformed out old agency, so I’d previously been running as WP blue plan and we decided to reset up our agency, the Dickie Birds Studio, and the idea was to start combining a few different people’s skills together to share the burden of earning the money and to expand on what we could offer without having to basically just try and stretch one person’s capacity or the time. And like I say, we haven’t got that nailed yet, but we’re going in the right direction. We’re building a small but loyal and good team and I’m still super busy all the time, but I haven’t, it’s not all on me anymore. Nathan Wrigley: 37:25 The PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. 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Nathan Wrigley