“Oh man I wonder how it’s going to do…I hope it profits…I’ll know by tonight…just shut up and don’t think about it…how’s it going to do…”
My brain looped and looped on this as soon as I woke up that day, and accelerated as I went through my morning meditation and drove to work. All I could focus on, whether consciously forming words about it or not, was how it was going to do.
My advertising campaign set to launch that very morning
For months, I had obsessed over a new marketing campaign for an internet business of mine. I pushed most of my savings into it, spending thousands of dollars on a contractor who came highly recommended for his ability to bring in customers.
The whole experience had been outside my comfort zone. I desperately wanted it to work, and had never handed someone else control of the marketing. But I also understood the value of outside expertise. So each time I felt gnawing fear in my gut, I pressed through it…and spent more money.
Today was the acid test. Would it pay off?
Or would I be stuck in my sign-spinning job for many, many more months?
That morning, I showed up for work and introduced myself to a new buyer. As I shifted around my bags, trying to shake hands, I dropped a full plastic water jug and it exploded all over the floor.
From there, my day remained relatively unpleasant.
A Zen mindset is to wait without expectation. That day, I waited with obsessive expectation and yearning for something to happen. My brain was like a whining dog, barely containing itself by the door, praying to be let outside. For hours.
I just wanted the day to be over so I could drive home, get on my computer, and check the stats of the ad campaign. Then I would know for sure how it was going.
Finally, the time came.
I drove home, parked at my way-too-expensive-for-me apartment, went up the elevator, scampered inside, fired up my computer, and logged onto my online software for tracking my business
I had spent a little under a thousand dollars for the advertisement. Based on its deployment schedule, I was hoping to make back most of that within a day.
I tapped on some keys…and clicked to open the page that would display the numbers. And I was greeted with…
I slouched in my chair, slowly slid off onto the floor, and curled into the fetal position
After a couple minutes, I attempted to rise, dry heaved, and remained on the floor.
Soon I became too physically exhausted to feel so distraught, so I got up and walked like a zombie to bed. I was scheduled for work the next day, and needed some sleep.
The next morning, I awoke, went through the same morning meditation, and drove to work.
Along the way I pondered how I thought of this event as such a monumental “litmus test.” I felt chained to my job, forced into menial labor for eternity.
Then a shift took place
I don’t remember the exact dialogue, but this is how I began questioning myself:
“Nate, are you going to let this stop you?”
“So this is just a bump in the road, right?”
“One that you’ll look back on years from now, and remember fondly as the time you were in the thick of struggle, working your way out to eventually succeed?”
“So why not feel that way right now? Why not take pride in it, and even enjoy yourself in a perverse way?”
I had to admit… I had a point. And, my mood shifted. I decided to feel okay in the moment, and even relish the setback.
It’s been a while since I’ve thought about that morning
And, typing this now, I have to smile and admit… it came true. Not just a little bit, but 100% true. Of course, the turnaround didn’t happen overnight.
In fact, just a week later, I tested out another ad. This time, one created by me. The results were dramatically different… and lead to a very strange outcome. I’ll write about that next.