I am on a sleep rampage.
Yesterday, I made the decision to defend my sleep with the ferocity of a mother grizzly protecting her cubs.
This has been percolating for some time.
Years ago, when I loaded trucks for a living, I discovered a good night’s sleep could make the difference between a 12-hour shift of exhilarating challenges…
… and 14 hours of soul-crushing labor.
The lesson stuck with me, but my challenges with sleep shifted along with my lifestyle.
I needed another wake-up call. And I got one in the form of slogging through several nights in a row, where I’d drift off around 11PM, only to awaken around 2AM… and remain that way.
I’d try to relax back to sleep… get up and take melatonin and some relaxing herbs… and found the only “solution” was to get some reading done. Not because it helped me sleep – reading was merely a way to make use of the time.
Around 6AM, close to when I was going to get up anyway, I’d finally drift in and out of a funk… and then grudgingly start my day.
Because of my exercise and meditation habits, I could actually function like this for a while.
But there’s a big difference between feeling just fine, and working through the dulling blanket of exhaustion tainting every little moment…
… and pulsating with creative energy and relishing your life.
I chose the latter.
So I had a problem to solve. Because of my wired mind at night, I figured cortisol was gushing through me when it wasn’t meant to. Or I had a drop in blood sugar (a frequent cause of suddenly waking up around 2-3AM). I decided to experiment with my evening meal. Then I wondered if the nootropics I began recently taking, were at fault. In fact, I figured the latter was the answer.
Nope. Something else was ruining my sleep, and I’ll reveal that in a moment.
Finally, after another night with only two or maybe three hours of sleep, I happened to be facilitating a MasterMind meeting with some fellow entrepreneurs. I brought up my sleep problem. One of my guests suggested something that I figured wasn’t the answer… but I was willing to try.
She was right.
Before I reveal the answer, here are the actions I took before finally having my breakthrough.
That wasn’t enough.
Here’s what I was missing:
In the past, I’d have a morning cup of coffee, and then another after lunch. Usually around 2PM. Sometimes closer to 3PM. This wasn’t a problem before. However, through testing, I’ve discovered this afternoon cup of coffee contributed to me waking up around 2-3AM. Per my friend’s suggestion, I eliminated the afternoon coffee.
It worked. I’ve more-or-less slept through the night since then.
And now that I’m feeling the difference (and fondly remembering all the days I began well-rested) I’m on a rampage.
What I’m doing now:
Because of this sleep improvement, I’m also testing an increase in my workout schedule. I used to do HIIT training with three days of rest in between sessions. I’m reducing that to two.
Long-term, I’m moving closer to nature and away from the city.
But wherever I end up… if you find me and I’m sleeping… don’t wake me up!
UPDATE On 2-4-17:
I was wrong.
After a couple more days of restricting my caffeine intake, and failing to sleep through the night, I realized late-day caffeine was not the culprit. After consulting with someone, I tested something else:
For several days, I cut off all eating after 2PM. My sleep immediately improved and has remained that way. Even when I drink coffee up to 2PM. So now I’m testing the waters to see if I can eat certain foods later in the day. Either way, I’m thrilled I found the answer and am enjoying the benefits of more restful sleep.
You’re sitting at a networking event, waiting for your turn as people introduces themselves one by one.
“Hey everyone, I’m…” someone begins.
They describe who they are and what they do. You catch bits and pieces. Most of it you barely remember, because you’re too busy wondering what to do when it’s your turn…
“What’s the right thing to say?”
“I feel like such a beginner compared to these people.”
“I hope I can impress everyone.”
“I hope I can meet the right people.”
If you’re at a networking event or conference and your top priority is to learn and meet great people who can help take you to the next level… there’s a certain 10-word phrase you need to try at least once.
Because it works like magic
(On the other hand, if you’re #1 goal is to win some clients, avoid this phrase. It’s also not for when you’re at a meeting for a company that employs you, unless it has a certain culture. You’ll see why in a moment.)
This magic 10-word phrase accomplishes many things simultaneously. Its magic power is derived from subtle communication, the true difference-maker (especially when it comes to becoming wealthy, attracting the opposite sex with uncanny ability, and living a charmed life).
Okay, so let’s imagine this phrase in action…
Finally, the person to your left introduces himself, and you hardly hear what he says because you’re focusing on how you’re going to speak next (another mistake, but we’ll work on that later).
Then, the room grows quiet and eyes shift to you.
In the past, you were nervous and unsure
But today… you’re doing your best to hold back your Cheshire Cat grin because you know everyone in this room is about to love you.
You take a deep, dramatic breath in and say:
“My name’s… and…” then the phrase, “… I’m here to get my head out of my ass.”
(Then a little pause if there’s a reaction.)
“Okay, here’s what I mean…”
Then talk about your business, or whatever the focus of the meeting is. Describe what you want to accomplish. List out the roadblocks you’re experiencing, including the solutions you’ve tried. Add a little about how it’s been making you feel. Then your call-to-action. Say you’d love some advice and to meet some great people who could help.
If this seems like a ridiculous way to begin an introduction, then let’s go over the subtle communication:
Keep in mind, this works both ways. If you get a negative reaction, this is valuable feedback. But not necessarily against you. Instead, it probably means your group contains a bunch of overbearing, stick-up-their-ass, arrogant people. Not the kind you want to hang around unless you’re fishing for clients.
One thing’s for sure when you use this 10-word magic phrase…
You will stand out
Everyone else in the room just tried to put their best foot forward. You, on the other hand, gave everyone a jolt of pleasure with your humor, and showed them what a great person you are, instead of telling them.
Which helps, because hardly anyone listens or remembers facts, anyway.
This idea isn’t original with me – I’ve seen very successful businessmen deploy it. One approached some office staff during a meeting, stood there, and simply said, “My incompetent ass.”
After getting a laugh, and a request for more details, he revealed he needed help connecting to the WIFI. They did it for him.
Another man helping run a $50,000,000-per-year business introduced himself in a high-level meeting by saying, “We want to suck less.” Two years later, they’re up to $120,000,000 per annum, so he’s no fool.
Try it out, and marvel at how eager people are to contribute to a head-ass-removal procedure.
The night before writing this, I shared this story with a fellow Denver entrepreneur. He said it sparked something in him, and asked I write about it.
So now I share with you…
Nine years ago, I sold a DVD course on how to get in shape with a certain kind of yoga.
As the business took off, I made sure every single customer received an email sixty days after their purchase, asking how things were going. It’s an easy way to collect feedback and valuable testimonials.
They began pouring in. I lost track of how many I received…
… but there’s one I’ll never forget
A man wrote in to say he’d gotten rid of his joint pain, and even dropped 20 pounds in just a couple months.
This message initiated a dialogue in my head… one I’ve repeated to myself many times since.
“Nate, are there any shortages of products on weight loss, out there?”
“No, there are probably thousands, maybe tens of thousands in total.”
“Are there any shortages of quality weight loss products, out there?”
“Well, there are definitely far fewer. But still, in total, there are plenty.”
“And yet… this man wasn’t able to successfully lose 20 pounds like he wanted, until he used the course you happened to sell.”
“Is it because the yoga course has proprietary, groundbreaking secrets on burning fat?”
“No, in fact weight loss isn’t even its focus.”
“Exactly. Here’s what I think is going on here. This man… in this time and space existence… was, in a sense, waiting to buy this specific product. Because for whatever reason it resonated with him at the right time, in the right place, in the right way, for him to finally get on track and lose weight. The information he gleaned in all his previous decades of learning, did not get the job done. Instead, the breakthrough occurred when YOU helped him. And, if you hadn’t sold him that product, he might still be 20 pounds overweight and suffering health problems as a result.”
Since then, I’ve considered the ripple effects. I also understood this wasn’t true for just me. It is for everyone, including YOU.
There are thousands… if not millions… of people out there, suffering with a specific malady. They need help with their health. Or their relationships. Or their finance. Or they just need a simple pick-me-up.
They need YOUR help
Because, for whatever reason, the help you can deliver – and ONLY you can deliver – is the perfect match for them to finally snuff out their suffering.
That’s not all…
For these thousands, or millions of people… nobody else but you can help them.
And if you don’t… you’re letting them down.
Every day you put this off, you’re forcing them to wait. Who knows how they might be suffering in the meantime.
I used to believe this dynamic applied only to men and women who want to write books, give talks, or sell products. But last night I realized it’s any kind of communication or exchange. Even nonverbal. You don’t have to be a writer or even a business owner.
Just someone who feels worthy to deliver, and improve the world.
Consider this a dash of negative motivation to help you feel worthy
This has nothing to do with your message being better than everyone else’s. It’s because your message is PERFECT for the right people it needs to reach.
There’s much more to embodying this idea than simply understanding it intellectually. Embodiment of an idea requires cultivation. Part of this blog’s purpose is to give due diligence to as many facets of cultivation as I have experience in.
If any of this resonates with you, I invite you to keep reading.
Maybe a story or tidbit of advice contained in these pages… for whatever reason… will ignite something wonderful inside you.
If so, I’m honored to have written it.
Because I wrote it for you.
“Where is he?! I called him so early… now it’s too late to get a taxi… too late to get a ride… and I’m stuck.”
I paced back and forth on the street corner, glaring at the traffic, demanding for my car to show up.
The night before, I emailed the company’s owner and said my car would be repaired and ready, so I could drive over. Immediately after making the plans, I had an unsettling feeling. I knew it was a bad idea to promise anything before my car was back in my possession. But it had been almost a week… with several false starts… and delaying things yet again felt just as painful an option.
The plan was to meet the owner at 3PM. I asked my mechanic to deliver my car at 1PM, giving me plenty of time to get to the head office.
At 11:30AM, he called to say he’d be a little late
Okay, fine. That’s why I factored in some extra time.
1PM came and went. No sign of him.
I called. No answer.
Finally I got ahold of him… to learn he was stuck in traffic. Just a couple miles away.
So, I paced back and forth, seething. Why couldn’t he communicate better? Why did everything always get done later than the estimate? And why the heck did I plan things like this? Because ultimately, I set this in motion.
I didn’t have the owner’s number, so I called a co-worker to try to relay a message, but she was dealing with a customer and quickly hung up on me.
Amidst my frantic thoughts, a more useful one came through:
“Well, if gratitude works so well, let’s use it,” I figured.
So I began repeating to myself, “thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou-”
And I looked up to see my mechanic driving right in front of me, in my car.
I hopped in and called my supervisor to say I was on my way, but would be a little late.
“Don’t bother,” he said, “Owner’s super-busy today and said he can’t do a meeting.”
Unbelievable. All that struggle… for nothing.
Later, I did a little “debriefing” and recognized behavior I could improve. There’s a clear difference between swift action, and pushing things out of desperation. I engaged in the latter.
Getting upset only intensified the forces against what I wanted
I also discovered that my co-worker didn’t mean to hang up on me out of spite. She was simply focused on her customer. Yet, I took note how the Universe had given me a taste of my own medicine.
But, hey, at least I finally got my car back. The mechanic couldn’t find a gold-colored hood at the junkyard to match my car, so he had asked me if I wanted black or silver. Of course, I chose silver.
A couple days later, I set out to the main office again. Driving the exact same route. Passing the scene of my accident was slightly surreal, and I was extra-cautious the second time around.
Finally making it to the office… was even more surreal. I looked around, amazed that this mythical meeting was finally going to happen.
I had given myself plenty of time to get there, so I used the extra half-hour to talk with some fellow co-workers. Then, I sauntered over to the main office. There, I ended up sitting on the waiting-room couch for maybe 20 minutes, as the owner talked on the phone while pacing around.
Dave was in his late thirties, 300 pounds, and sported a girlfriend 15 years younger
He always won their daily shouting matches. His family was from Georgia, he grew up in Florida, and he moved to Colorado for one reason: To build an empire of gold-buying stores.
Finally, he waltzed over to me and said, “Okay, come on in.”
We sat down at his desk and he asked me to talk about some of my marketing ideas. About 30 seconds into my spiel, he got another call.
It was from an employee in the store, who was negotiating with a customer. He listened to the various kinds of gold and silver items the customer brought in… ran the calculations in his head… quoted a price… then got a call from another employee in another store… then put her on hold to take a call about a 100-ounce bar of silver that might be fake.
He juggled these calls, and more, for over 15 minutes while I sat there, marveling at the workload
At no point did he display a single speck of frustration, overwhelm, or annoyance. He simply took call after call, doing almost all the math in his head, and then finally meandered over to the adjoining store to look at the silver bar himself. Dave still couldn’t figure out it if were fake.
He bought it anyway. Then he showed it to me, saying, “I’ll still have to test it out to see if it’s real… but it looks pretty cool!”
That was Dave in a nutshell.
Making money was a game to him, and he loved to play. Whether it was teaming up with a few friends to beat opponents in online poker for money (back when that was legal stateside) … buying and selling stuff on eBay… or owning multiple strip clubs… if he could figure out a way to make money, he belly-flopped right into the opportunity. But permeating his “I don’t care” attitude about absolutely everything… was a very sharp, meticulous business mind.
And a strong gut instinct
That day, he demonstrated how much he went by it, and promoted me on the spot to do marketing for the company full-time. Starting the next day.
My days of sign-spinning were over (at least… that’s what I thought…)
However, on my very first day of this new job, I’d realize the importance of “be careful what you wish for.”