When Steven and I first started 2HelpfulGuys, we didn’t have a vision. We didn’t even have an idea.
We knew we wanted to help people in some way. We wanted to impact peoples’ lives through our articles and cheesy videos.
We couldn’t start anything until we had a great name behind us. We sat there for hours trying to come up with one.
Steven and I stared at my laptop screen, then back at each other, then back at the laptop screen. We were shouting out random synonyms for the words like ‘happy’ and ‘life’ and ‘positive.’
Nothing really stuck, except us. We were stuck.
Be honest now, how often do you sabotage yourself?
For most people, it’s almost daily. We have dreams at night that make us ponder incredible possibilities for the future. But as the morning sun rises we let our dreams die in the daylight.
We wake up and carry on with our monotonous lives because of self-sabotage. We’re afraid of what might be. We’re afraid of our seemingly impossible challenges.
We stay in our secure little 9-5 bubbles, despite the endless unhappiness.
Self-sabotage ruins our dreams, and in turn, us.
When Steven and I ask people why they don’t pursue their dreams, we receive the same three excuses. It is the same excuses that we once had when we started 2HelpfulGuys.
1) I don’t know how?
No one begins an endeavour knowing exactly how to do it. Everything is one giant trial and error process.
We filmed out first YouTube video on my terrible laptop camera. It barely worked and when it did, I couldn’t find the file. Worse, when we tried to upload it, the video didn’t work.
‘This file is the wrong format.’ Those words still haunt my dreams.
Through all the struggles, we figured it out. How? There’s one word that opens up our entire world.
If you can’t find it on Google, find a free book on Amazon. If it’s not on Amazon, find a volunteer on Meetup.com. Information is more accessible now than any other point in history, and most of it is completely free.
Use it to your advantage and learn all the applicable skills you need to further your dream.
The Internet is a beautiful place filled with useful information, if we can just tear ourselves away from Facebook, memes and cat pictures.
2) There just isn’t enough time in the day
I’m sure we can all agree that we share the same amount of time in any given day. No one has developed a magical potion or time machine that changes it.
This comes down to priorities. This comes to down to personal motivation and sheer diligence. If you have a goal, dedicate time each day to complete it.
Schedule time every single day and don’t end the day without furthering yourself in some small, even insignificant, way.
If you can move closer to your goal by just 1% each week through reading, writing or learning, you’ll be more than halfway by the end of the year.
That’s doable, right? One measly percent?
3) I need ______ to be successful
Fill in the blank.
Everyone believes they lack something important before they can reach their dream. Whether it is money, knowledge or any other blank in our personal book of excuses, we are more than comfortable abusing it.
In truth, there isn’t anything lacking. All you need is you. You are more than enough. Everything great started with one person. It took one person to come up with an idea and build something great.
Only then, did people notice and start to help.
Following your dreams requires only your complete and undivided attention and effort. Without you, nothing is possible.
So today and every day, take the plunge. Cast away your excuses and start to take action.
Let us use all the free resources possible, manage our time better, and believe in our abilities.
And, as far as being stuck on the name, it didn’t matter.
I’ve been writing consistently for just about a year now.
At first, writing was just a cathartic exercise to help me express myself and feel relief from the things I struggled with. In all honesty my first post was about a woman that I liked and how I didn’t feel good enough for her.
I started writing at a time when I felt like I had no one to talk to. I know that I have many people in my life that care about me, but I didn’t want to change the image they saw of me.
So I wrote everything down online, and for a long time no one paid attention. I didn’t mind that.
But eventually people started relating to my stories. I always tried to put a positive spin on everything and focus on solutions to these struggles, instead of the endless negatives that came with them.
Fast forward a year and 2HelpfulGuys has released our first book.
“Not So F.A.Q.: Common Questions, Uncommonly Asked.”
It is a compilation of questions Leroy and I receive on a daily basis. Some are the most common questions about confidence and health etc., and some are more specific questions that strike a chord within us.
In this book I wrote my answers as if the asker and I were sitting outside looking at the stars in deep conversation.
I answered with my heart and put my own experiences with these struggles out there for them to relate.
Although I was answering one person, this conversation would not be for their eyes alone, and that scared me. Not only was I revealing myself to anyone who would care to look, but people would be paying for these insights.
I’m not good at asking people for money. With this book I’ve had a really hard time asking people if they’d like to buy, simply because I want to share this message with everyone without strings attached.
But the problem is that I want this to be my career. I want so desperately to have the resources to continue to spread our messages and help the people we resonate with.
Leroy and I at 2HelpfulGuys have dreams so big that they would surely be laughed at, but we have a deep routed attraction towards these dreams and the good that they will accomplish.
Even with this in mind, I still have a hard time asking people if they want to buy our book.
This made me worry.
I didn’t know if I was good enough, after all, I’m still a work in progress. I’m not perfect and I’ve never been perfect. I’ve often felt like I’ve been worse than most people out there.
But someone left a review to our book that made me realize that all of this worrying and fear was unwarranted. One specific thing that they said struck a chord with me.
“This book is inspiring because the authors pull back the polished masks folks wear and show the teeming process that is happening underneath. The reader is invited to actively think along with the answers being presented, and instead of being the last word on the subject, the answers that the authors give are more like a jumping off place.”
I don’t have all the answers, and I would never try to say that I am better than anyone else. I am still going through the process of improving myself every single day, and this reader understood that.
I was so worried that people would expect our answers to be a one stop cure to everything that they struggle with, but the truth is, we can only offer each other a new path to journey; a new perspective and new tools to carry with us in our growth.
Writing these articles week after week, working through my problems with you and hearing your insights has helped me to grow in ways I could never have imagined.
So I’m writing this post for you, our readers, as a thank you for giving us the opportunity to grow with you.
I’ve written about my fears, my dreams, and my mistakes, and every time we have helped each other work through these difficulties.
With our growing popularity I have often become tempted to leave out the blood, sweat and tears from my stories for the fear that people will think I am not a worthy teacher.
But as always you have shown me that these struggles are what connect us. We all go through tough times, it is what makes us human.
So thank you for teaching me every day, for growing with me and for accepting me as I am, at my highest and at my lowest.
I will continue to serve you to the best of my ability, and maybe one day in the future we will sit underneath the stars and have those beautifully deep conversations about the trials we’ve struggled through and the dreams we yearn for.
I completely forgot to write an article for today. I woke up this morning, wrote for something else and midway through the day, I realized it was Wednesday. I failed.
I hate feeling like my writing is rushed because I like to think and really feel my writing. So instead, I thought I going to post a question from our recent book.
“Wait, what? You wrote a book?” –Everyone
Recently, Steven and I wrote a book called “Not So Frequently Asked Questions.” If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because clearly we’re just writers and failed at marketing. We were so focused on the content and quality of the book that we forgot to build anticipation. Here is one question from our new book:
“How do I stop internalizing failure and beating myself up? I have this problem. I internalize everything! If I fail at something even if I worked hard at it and even if some things were out of my control, I get really down on myself for a long time. As this happens I doubt my capabilities, motivation, intelligence etc. and blame myself for every failure in my life. I try to not be like this but it’s just in my nature.” – Angela
I’ve personally failed at a lot of things throughout my short life. I’ve failed school courses, businesses, writing, and worst of all, people. I’ve gotten down on myself. It’s hard to pick up and start something knowing all my past failures.
But through all my failures, there is always one thing that stands out. Failures are just another facet of life. Everyone fails. The majority of people, including myself, share your position, so take comfort in that.
There are a few things that I’ve figured out along the way to stop internalizing my failures. It begins and ends with your perspective. If you change the way you perceive failure, you alter how it impacts you.
Failure is okay
You can learn valuable life lessons from every failure. Without them, there wouldn’t be lessons and without lessons, there wouldn’t be successes. Don’t let your defeats be in vain. Learn, progress and strive for something better.
I’ve realized that failures are significantly more common than successes. Life is a series of disappointments peppered with miniature successes. Even the most accomplished person has had more failures than successes.
There’s so much we can learn from our defeats. The moment we see them as opportunities rather than embarrassments, we no longer fear encountering them. Welcome your failures with open arms. Appreciate your failures for what they are: an integral part of building a better you.
Don’t be afraid of disappointment
It is interesting that failure is something everyone experiences; yet most people are afraid of it. They are afraid of screwing up or disappointing someone, or worse, themselves. Sometimes I am afraid too, but we have to rise above these fears.
If you play it safe and stay in your comfort zone, your life will be a basket full of regrets. You will have more regrets about things you didn’t do rather than things you did and failed at. You will regret not allowing yourself to fail more.
When I started working out, I was timid. I was afraid of what people might think. I couldn’t get over the hump of the judgmental stares. I limited myself to certain activities to avoid ridicule.
I was afraid to try new things because people would laugh if I failed. In most cases, your failures only matter to you. In the brevity of human life, failure does not matter.
Failure is necessary in order to succeed
You must fail consistently, for long periods of time. Falling flat on your face is the best motivator. When we started the YouTube channel, I failed consistently. I still fail consistently. Steven is a good actor and compared to him, I’m a peanut.
I made the same mistakes over and over again. I couldn’t wrap my head around certain lines. My bloopers were almost endless as I struggled to achieve a few good takes.
But as I made the same mistakes repeatedly, I slowly learned. Through failures you slowly gain and hone abilities, one at a time. Use each failure as a plank of wood; eventually building a bridge that leads to your goals.
We often get wrapped up in past thinking. The thoughts hinder us from reaching our full potential. It is a barrier designed to prevent you from achieving great things. It prevents you from moving forward.
I hold on to certain aspects of the past, which prevents me from progressing. But in the end, never doubt your capabilities and never doubt the power of failure.
This is just one question out of the nineteen others in the book. I consider my goal achieved if I can help just one person. The value in this book will bring me closer to that goal, but more importantly, it will help you.
I’m sorry again. I promise I will make it up to all of you next week with something spectacular. Until then,
When I was young I wanted to have an impact on the world.
I went through different stages of how I would want to accomplish this task. While going through my blood disorder I wanted to become a doctor, after that I wanted to be in a famous band, and after that I wanted to do something in politics.
I dreamed of changing the world, but I could barely get a handle on my own life and the world that surrounds me, never mind the world at large.
With the coming of the new year I finally feel like I have positioned myself to impact the world on a scale far past anything I have done in the past.
In my dreams I always imagined this point arriving much sooner, but I had a lot of lessons to learn up to this point. Changing the world may seem out of reach, but you can slowly pull yourself towards this goal if you know where to start.
So, here is the behind the scenes. This is the part of changing the world that no one ever talks about. The stages that you must go through that never get the spotlight, the glamour, or the glitz.
Change Your Inner World.
Before you can have any real impact on the world, you must first create your own foundation of excellence within.
When Leroy and I were heavily interested in politics, we got as far as creating an organization called “EFFP: Education For Freedom and Prosperity.” It was a huge milestone for us and I was excited.
The problem was that even though I had all of this ambition, I had no solid foundation within myself. I was sand, not a rock. With the slightest change in the winds of fate I would be distracted, blown this way and that way.
If I had a bad day, a problem with a friend, or a lack of energy I would make no progress that day and possibly fall into a spiral that could take days or weeks to get out of.
If you want to change the world you have to start with yourself. You can’t solve anyone else’s problems if you are still losing the battle against your own.
If you can build a strong foundation within yourself, you will be able to walk your path towards changing the world without worrying about the next situation that is going to derail you from your goals.
Change Your Environment.
I moved out of my parents house recently. I didn’t realize just how much of an effect that environment had on me until after I had left.
The house was very messy so I stayed in my room. It was tiny and I felt very claustrophobic. Other problems arose and it become unbearable to stay there. It weighed on my mind where ever I went, even when I was at work I felt the residual stress.
Your environment is so important if you want to change the world. If you can’t focus because of mess, negative people, or a bad workplace then you will end up unable to help anyone while trapped in your own problems.
Remember, if you don’t have a solid foundation, you will be too subject-able to the winds of fate and you won’t make it very far down your path to changing the world.
Surround yourself with things that motivate and excite you. Write down to-do lists and keep them where you will see them every day.
If your surrounding environment is set up properly, even when you have a bad day it will not last long. Everything around you will help you to see why you are on the path that you are on, and encourage you to push through any difficulties.
You should be surrounded by things that make you happy, your goals, and good people.
Once you have changed your inner world and your environment, you will be ready to change the world at large. You will be able to move forward with full focus and truly make a difference.
It’s taken me years to learn those lessons and I’ve spent the last two years dedicated to creating the best version of myself that will best serve the world.
You can’t fight the good fight if you are losing personal battles. Change yourself, then you will change the world.
I’ve never met most of my heroes, mentors, or anyone I look up to. I have only seen them on the other side of my computer screen or in the pages of their books.
Creative and ambitious people are hard to come by in real life. Without ever seeing this type of person face to face, it’s easy to understand why a lot of people don’t believe it’s possible to turn their ideas into reality. You think “I’ve never met anyone who has done it, so what are my chances?”
Well, I recently got the opportunity to meet someone who has shown me that we don’t just have to admire the stars, we can reach out and grab them.
Dori the Giant. A small girl with BIG ambition.
When she agreed to an interview I was ecstatic. This was someone who had been in newspapers, worked with major corporations, been featured in art exhibits, spear headed community projects, and done more freelance work than I could imagine. She had truly put time into her craft, pursued her passions and continually marched towards a life of fulfillment and meaning.
During this interview and subsequent conversations I learned what the reality of accomplishing your dreams can look like, the good, the bad, the ugly, and how to get through it all.
Here are the 8 things I learned from Dori the Giant.
1) Find ANY excuse to be creative.
This was a subject that she touched upon often throughout our conversation.
“I was going into a class called “Creative photography” and the teacher warned me that it was very technical and not creative even in the slightest, but I would find ways to be creative in my assignments.”
This theme is pervasive throughout Dori’s work. She turns the everyday, into the extraordinary.
People aren’t going to approach you randomly and give you reasons to be creative or try something new.
You have to take every excuse you can find and turn it into an avenue for creativity, whether it has a purpose or whether it’s just for fun. Even if it’s just for fun, you are going to be learning new things along the way that will improve your skills and increase your confidence.
2) Look at things from every angle.
One thing that I noticed is that she never tied her self down to one perspective on a subject. Every time we spoke about an idea or project, she always looked at it from high, low, left, right and everywhere in between.
This wasn’t just a way of approaching creativity though, it seemed to be her way of approaching life.
“…It has it’s pros and cons. That’s sort of like my motto and I often start off my conversations like that. I think my friends get mad because I say it so often, but it opens up the conversation to both perspectives so I like it.”
The ability to step back and look at something from all angles is one of the most resourceful traits someone can incorporate into their personality.
Forcing yourself to look at all sides can be the key to finding the silver lining in any bad situation. If you get fired, you won’t only think about the stresses of finding a new job and how embarrassed you are, you will also think about all the time you have now to pursue your dreams.
3) Surround yourself with creative and support people.
“For the past four years I’ve slowly been trying to collect a decent circle of creative friends, or friends who believe really strongly in my art. It makes all the difference. Gotta keep ’em close and pay it forward.”
They say you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with. If the people you surround yourself with don’t believe in you, how can you believe in yourself?
Surrounding yourself with other ambitious people will give you the boost you need when you run out of steam. You want friends that you can go to for advice, tips, and support.
There are plenty of studies that show the effects that people close to you can have on your habits and mentality. I remember reading one study showing that someone could gain healthy habits and lose weight just by being around other fit people. Never discount the effect that your environment has on you.
If all of your friends are negative, it can be hard to stay positive. If they are all lazy, you will have difficulty being motivated. When you meet someone who has qualities that you admire, try to engage more with that person and those qualities will cultivate in yourself.
This brings us to the next thing I learned from Dori.
4) Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or help others.
Asking for help from other people seems to be a part of Dori the Giant’s natural process when turning her more unbelievable ideas into a reality.
“Even if I have the time and money and motivation for a project, I often don’t know where to begin. I usually start with Google searches and move onto videos and eventually I start to e-mail people asking questions.”
But you can’t always just take, sometimes you have to give as well.
“Often, people don’t like to just give away their most valuable information, especially when it comes to a method of art that is bringing in money or making them distinctively different. I know I’m the same way – I wouldn’t give away my best secrets to just anyone! It’s always good to offer something in return, even if it’s just dinner!”
You’d be surprised how helpful people will be if you just ask. I convinced Dori to come out to this interview by offering her coffee. She was so nice that when we met up she wanted to buy me coffee. This spirit of give and take will help you to develop those oh-so important connections you will need if you plan on making your stake in this world.
But don’t focus all of your attention on making connections.
“Connections are everything, and even though everybody wants all these great connections, you should also focus on your own assets and turn YOURSELF into a connection that other people will want to have.”
5) Learn what makes you tick and use it to your advantage.
When I asked Dori what she had done in the past to improve her situation, she had an answer that was just as creative and unique as she is.
“I got a lava lamp and it helped. Seriously. It helped with motivation. One thing I’ve found that motivates me are the little details of my environment and my comfort: mood lights, lamps, candles, scents, the right music, chocolate, and of course Facebook chat. Everybody is different so I suggest everyone experiments with their own inherent/stubborn psychological routines. Get to know yourself and be your own friend.”
When you are trying to find out what motivates you, gets you in the creative mood, or helps you overcome obstacles you should remember that everyone has different preferences towards rewards, inspirations, motivations, triggers, and routines.
A trick I use to figure out what will invigorate me and what will suck the energy out of me is my “Invigorate/Debilitate T-Chart.” I write down everything I do throughout the week and split it into these two categories. It helps me put into perspective exactly what I can add or cut from my life to increase motivation.
You can try my method or come up with one that works for you because, hey, we are all different!
6) It’s okay to have a down day as long as you don’t beat yourself up.
When I asked her “Have you ever had periods in your life where you lost the creative “Spark” or inspiration? How did you overcome them?” she gave me an answer that you might not expect.
“Oh yeah, many, many times! To be honest, I rarely ever “overcome” it in the sense of fighting it. I overcome it in the sense of simply accepting it and spending my slump days playing video games, going out, watching some movies/shows and trying NOT to stress about how unproductive I’m being. Eventually my brain resets and goes “Hey, I feel like myself again! Let’s do some art!” And you know what? Often I come back feeling even more motivated – which is another reason I don’t hesitate to just let myself have down days (and enjoy them!).”
If you are in a slump and you spend the whole day feeling guilty about it, you will end the night depressed and disappointed. That in turn can turn into a cycle, negativity begets more negativity.
So how do you break the cycle? Realize that off days are impossible to avoid completely, and use them as an opportunity to take your mind off of things! Maybe your brain is trying to give you a hint saying “You’ve been working to hard, I need a break!”
The next time you have an off day, enjoy yourself and let go of the guilt.
7) Don’t fear change, it’s a good thing.
“The only thing about me that doesn’t change is how much I always change.”
If I said to you that in fifteen years your life was going to be the exact same as it is right now, same friends, same job, same living space… would that make you happy?
I’m guessing that hypothetical situation would be depressing.
If that is the case, then why do so many people fear change? Staying the same is far more depressing than even the worst outcomes of change. We were made to grow and explore, so get out there and get rid of your fear of change.
8) Get off your butt and do it before someone else does.
If you have a passion, an idea, or a goal you had better get out there now and start working on it. One of the things that Dori left me with was the very true statement that if you don’t do it, and soon, someone else will.
“…maybe by the time I get the money someone else will have thought of it too and created it, and that’s just how it is. Original ideas need to be executed quickly – you don’t wanna look like a copycat.”
I know you have something that you’ve been thinking about doing for a long time now but for some reason, (lack of money, lack of motivation, lack of confidence) you haven’t gone out there and done it. Well take this as your cue. It’s time.
You may not see people in your everyday life that inspire you, but I hope this has inspired you.
If you want to start down the path to creativity, fulfillment and ambition you have to do something, or anything; because well… her GIF says it all.