Category Feeling Better About Life

Failure and Starting my Life Again!

I deserved this one for sure - Teach me for being Lazy!

I deserved this one for sure – Teach me for being Lazy!

I died once and it hurt.  I can promise you I won’t do that again.

26 years old and on a 6-Figure Income as a high-end Senior Marketing Manager.  I had it all, the money, the reputation, managed a team of 14 people, $8,000,000+ Marketing Budget.  Tons of friends and well known.

29 years old and on $15 / Hour working 25 hours per week selling Health Products in a shopping mall.  I had nothing, was heavily in credit card debt and my personal life was in ruins.  No friends and laughed at.

35 years old and on a 6-Figure Income and Life far better than anything prior.  I have it all, friends, fulfilment and the daily opportunity to really help people that need it.  Tons of friends who actually care about me.

When I reflect back on this and why it all happened – one thing really resonates with me with the benefit of hindsight.  Even though I did some long hours in my 20’s, I really got lazy, took my success for granted and during the GFC (and after making a stack of bad choices myself) I successfully destroyed my life over a period of a few months.  I was very lucky to retain my health, but money, friends, families, investments – all gone and I came to Sydney to start my life again.

The thing that got to me was by the age of 30, I had been retrenched 3 x times and pre-GFC my Corporate Skills were worth $150 – 200K / Year.  Post-GFC I was lucky to get $70K / Year – assuming one could find a job.  This was personally devastating and eventually I thought “I must become a Marketing Consultant” and found that Small Businesses were actually valuing my skills.

The problem was, after years of failure I was mentally drained and I had no friends or anyone supporting me.  During one long night, I was searching for “Business Networking” and came across this concept coming to Australia called “4Networking”.  I sent an email to the address and within 10 minutes I got a response.  I then replied and a man by the name of Grant Dempsey kept immediately replying.  We spoke on the phone that night and the rest was history.

It certainly wasn’t easy, I started with 0 clients and almost no money and I started off as an Operations Assistant.  I did have a weak job to help pay the bills (barely) and I kept going and going.  I remember about 4 months into the network, I got my first paying client (Yes) then at about 6 – 12 months it all took off for me.

When I reflect back on my experience with 4Networking I shudder to think about my alternate life if I didn’t discover it.  As far as I am concerned, I owe my life to 4N in that it was really the only time in my life where as a “Little Guy” I felt like there was a collaborative and caring group of people supporting me.  On a funny note, I almost see my time in 4N as “Redemption” for the slackness of my previous years.

Of course it’s all about making money and success which 4Networking helped me achieve, however to me it’s more about that.  It’s about true fellowship and having the right minded group of objective Entrepreneurs supporting you.  To me, without that – there is no way I would be in the position I am today.

So if you are reading this and part of my journey – thank you, if you haven’t joined 4Networking yet – then you better get along! An awesome community for awesome people.

Thank you again and if you have been down my path, keep looking up I say with positive hard work.  Appreciate you taking the time to read this and have a great one from Edward Zia (P.S. Check out the Awesome Marketing Vault too!).

Looking Ahead beyond Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder!

Edward Zia (myself) and the fine Business Woman Rochelle Prater - with our "Selfie" taken :)

Edward Zia (myself) and the fine Business Woman Rochelle Prater – with our “Selfie” taken

I would like to dedicate this article to one intelligent and progressive business woman by the name of Rochelle Prater.

I also want to thank a top friend of mine Jenny Kuo for helping me out yesterday from my old conditions of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  I had a very long day yesterday and a few events occurred in a row that triggered an a proper attack that lasted for about 45 minutes and impacted me for the rest of the day.

Today I caught up with Rochelle and we were working on a few projects and what pricked up my ears and really took my respect / admiration of her is how she has handled adversity in her life.  We all have had challenges of some way or another and one thing I really was touched by was her view on challenges and stuff that has happened to her.  Compartively, she has survived much more hostile conditions than myself but what amazed me was her top attitude and understanding of it, trying to remember word for word she said:

– “I wouldn’t take back even one experience.  It’s all part of life and made me what I am today”.

This got me thinking on a range of levels including the way I look at things.  I still carry the weight on my shoulders of really stuffing up my life some years ago (I really did) and even though I have had some recent massive victories and retaken what I am lost and more – I still can’t help feeling the burden of previous failures.

I think combined with some of the violence I have witnesses and being in a series of life threatening situations (including being choked and almost dying as a child) it has left an interesting mark on me.  Combined with early 20’s in the Army, having one awesome mother a Police Inspector – even though I am a Marketing Guy, I often get mistakes for a cop when I go into places.

Jenny Kuo and Rochelle are two women that have made a great case for me to really forget my past and move on and accept what has happened in not so much of a stupid / life coach “Spirituality / Abundance” lame manner, but in a pragmatic and logical manner.

So this article is a big thank you to Jenny Kuo for helping me through some times and of course Rochelle Prater from today.  Wish I met both you ladies a long time ago and learned from your amazing strengths.

Thank you from Edward Zia for taking the time to read this and hope you are winning out there in the big wide world!

My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Friends Abandoning Me?

I had some massive trouble with Alcoholism in my 20's!  Quite normal for people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (like me).  Best stay on the wagon :)

I had some massive trouble with Alcoholism in my 20’s! Quite normal for people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (like me). Best stay on the wagon!

When I was growing up from say my mid-teens to very early 20’s, I remember hanging out with this group of “Friends”.  Even though I say the term “Friends” with a level of sarcasm, I think at the start they were actually my friends, but then over time they became clearly my “Friends”.

I was telling this story to a few people lately, Jenny Kuo, Luke Goodman and also to Matt Craig and reflecting on how things change and what happens.  When I was younger, I used to have a group of friends, a “Circle” as you will.  It was Tim, Jodi, Troy, Ben and a few other characters which for the life of me I can’t remember!

We had some good times for sure and in those days, I was always the “Under Confident” one of the lot.  That is, I would be the “Supporter” of the team, always doing what they want  and bending to their will.  I actually had some big “Mental” problems so to speak while I was younger.

I had a few life threatening situations (another story for another time) and got stalked by a drug dealer, shot at, threatened with knives and badly assaulted on several occasions.  I one time got strangled to the point of having very dark marks on my neck for days which I covered up with a scarf so my parents wouldn’t see it (It was winter fortunately!).

Without realizing, as a Teenager I developed a moderate case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (with a heavy bout of Alcoholism  I had to deal with in my late 20’s! (But Again another story for another time).  I then spent thousands later on for a Psychologist who Specializes in Child Abuse and War Veterans.  I remember hearing that I had the emotional scarring of many Vietnam Veterans he saw (because even though I never saw an actual “Battlefield” the extensive beating and threats as a “Teenager” has a greater impact on one’s brain, say compared to being an adult).

Anyway – where was I? Yes, I suffered from heavy emotional problems and as I got better and healthier mentally, my confidence naturally rose.  You probably know where this story is going!  As I got better, I started speaking my own voice and preferences and guess what happened – this disrupted the precedent and order of things and the group started getting irritated with me.  I remember two of the ring leaders, Ben & Tim were putting a lot of pressure on me to “Conform” with the expectations and we started fighting.  Then, while I was busy working away – they turned most of the group against me and I was vilified!

Even though it sounds laughable in hindsight compared to what I am sure you are (and me too) dealing with our lives right now, it was actually quite a painful experience that created a range of Social Problems for me later.  As I was working through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Dealing with my Alcoholism (which is quite normal for people with PTSD).  I also destroyed many great relationships which was completely my fault in fear of getting close to anyone again.

Ben, Tim and the Group really did hurt me in a quite a few ways and in moving on in life – the irony was that a few of them tried adding me on Facebook a few years ago.  It was like “Everything” is just great and nothing happened and they wanted to be buddies.  I even spoke to Ben for a short time, then decided to move on from them. Although I don’t wish any harm to them – certainly didn’t want to connect with them based on what they did to me.

The big thing I have been learning and reflecting on has been “Learning to Trust” again. I have been working with a few clients who have had people abandon them. Be it to relationships breaking down, friends moving on and then feeling paranoid and not being able to get close to anyone again.  In fact, even I have a bit of a guard up when it comes to getting “Too Close” to people.  A certain good friend (you know how I am talking about) has cracked my facade a bit and certainly started helping me in learning to trust again and that sort of thing (this is not a clue “Kenny Juo”).

One thing this has got me reflecting on is that I have some fantastic friends these days.  I do certainly take them for granted sometimes and I am well aware of that weakness of mine and doing my best to really acknowledge and look after them.  I am starting to realize later in life that Real Friends put up with your upsides and downsides!  Yes, you may have fights with people – but you all kiss and make up and move on which is what it’s all about.

So thanks for reading this Post / Diary Entry! I am very happy with the friends I have made these days and lucky to have them around.  Those mean people from my Teen Years – Peehhh! I look forward to ignoring their Facebook Requests in future!

If you are going through a breakup, or a bunch of friends have dumped you – I feel for you! If you are “Alone in the Dark”, like I used to be, please don’t be too lonely.  Have a good giving heart and you will find some great people who return the love & respect you give.

Thanks again for the read and appreciated! I will have to write more articles about the pain of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – it hurts!

Making Sure we Survive in Business and don’t go Back to Work!

The dedication goes to Phillip Raish (Left).  A good friend who started the same time I did!

The dedication goes to Phillip Raish (Left). A good friend who started the same time I did!

I don’t know about you, but one of my big fears in business is say losing it all and having to go back to bloody work in the Corporate Life. In a way (to a point), I think it’s a very good fear to have in that it keeps us honest and really focused on the ball.

For this article, I would like to dedicate it to my Client / Supplier turned friend over time Phillip Raish from Wild FX. He used to be a guy with a Small Printshop and now he is a guy with a bigger Promotional, Signage and Printing Company! He is hiring more staff and is a great example of what is possible.

When I was working with him today, I was reflecting back to our older times. We started business roughly about the same time ago (3 – 4 years) and now our hard work has paid off and we are enjoying our lives and out of “Survival Stage”. We are both dealing with the positive challenges of up-scaling (which is another discussion for another time) and reflecting on the past.

One thing I remember seeing well expressed in one of the 4Networking Manuals (4Networking is this business community we are all part of) is the 4 phases of business growth. I am running off my rusty memory of 8+ months and my own interpretation of each so here goes:

– Survival: Making it month to month in one piece.
– Acceptance: Knowing you don’t have to go back to work and getting used to the new life.
– Growing & Contributing: Achieving your business goals and helping others.
– Actualization: Making it and satisfaction from your achievements!

I think I am in between Acceptance and Growing stage right now as per my friend Phillip. In our reflection on past times in having no money, not being able to afford what we want, upset family members and stress all around – I thought back on the Survival stage and how horrible it was for me, Phillip and many people I work with.

In particular the emotions suck and for me involved:

– Feeling completely worthless.
– Being fearful at the Supermarket before swiping my card for food.
– Having a partner (understandably) upset with me all the time.
– Waking up in the middle of the night in near terror.
– Addictions (in my case food), running rampant!

I don’t want to ever do this again and the thing that I gain from this experience on Survival and what I would say to people doing it like I did includes:

– Work hard but go easy on yourself.
– Watch your addictions, and
– Accept that it’s extremely hard but each day it get’s slightly easier!

To me that’s it, start-up sucks but each day it gets a bit easier! And of course, the challenge although is hard, it is so damn rewarding and fulfilling!

So if survival is your challenge, you aren’t alone! Whether we have met or not, I just wanted to say I feel for you and hang in there! Work hard, but don’t be hard on yourself!  Thanks for reading this and very appreciated!

The Ups and Downs of being a Business Person!

Myself (Edward Zia) and Jenny Kuo, one fine business woman who witnesses my highs and lows often!

Myself (Edward Zia) and Jenny Kuo, one fine business woman who witnesses my highs and lows often!

This blog post I dedicate to the wonderful Jenny Kuo (from Sociable Space). She is this fine business woman who I originally hired to help me with her reputation marketing services over time.  On a funny note, she hired me right back and we have become personal friends over a short period of time.

In working with her on some quite intense projects, in a very short space of time we have both been through some big ups & downs together.  One thing I noticed about business (especially when one is starting up), is that in the early days the “high’s are high” and the “low’s are low”.

That is, many people (including me) felt like death warmed up the most of the time, you get a win and you feel euphoric – then say a bit later you all feel bummed out again not realizing your dreams the way you want!

Many say for business you need a “good mindset” and that I couldn’t agree more! If anything in looking back, technically and skill wise I am beyond question when it comes to marketing – but like many, my own personal mindset was always holding me back.

Without being too general, it was mostly:

– Feeling scared and pessimistic about the future.

– Being freaked out by so called “competition”

– Over-work and exhaustion and then “hitting the wall!”

As I write this article I am in the process of hiring staff to help me out in my business as I have just too much administration which is hurting me.  I work say a full day then have hours of administration when I get home which is just no good.  I have done some crazy hours this week, eaten so much junk food and today I feel like pure heck!

Jenny tends to watch me go through my “overwork” cycles and she always gives good commentary and trying to get me to slow down – she is right, but the problem of when your business is expanding is that you got to keep up the with it!

So the point of this article, I think is the highs and lows of business.  You are well rested, closed a client the day before and you feel awesome! Then the opposite, you lose a client, things are quiet, you are exhausted and physically sick and crash!

In watching Jenny do it, myself doing it, almost all of my clients doing it – and then meeting with clients while they are in the thick of it – it’s given me I think a new maturity on accepting the highs and lows of life! As Ralph Rintoule this fantastic property investor I work with says:

– “In life, S*$T happens, so get used to it!”

Great advice and great maturity! I think my personal experience from all this comes too:

– “You have rough days, rough weeks! But they don’t last forever!”.

So as I work away, I am eating vegetable soup – going to hit bed soon and make sure I am back on my game tomorrow!

Thank you for reading this too – very appreciated and you are welcome to drop me a line at edward@excellenceabove.com.au if you want to connect!

Positive Thinking: Making you feel Negative?

I don't have any problems - I just need to be more Positive!

I don’t have any problems – I just need to be more Positive!

This “Positive Thinking Fad” which really hit it’s peak in the 1990’s (but is still hanging around today) – is not just driving me nuts, has also really hurt some of my clients and the people I work with.

If you aren’t familiar with “Positive Thinking” – taken in it’s extreme form it’s basically “Snuffing” out “Negative Thoughts” with tons of “Positive Thoughts”.  As you can probably figure out, Negative Thoughts can often exist for very good reasons, so this can get you into trouble.

One con is where I have seen “Positive Thinkers” who feel bad, because they are doing something they shouldn’t be doing (i.e. not working hard enough, over-eating, smoking, addictions etc) snuff out their Negative Thoughts.  Those Negative Thoughts are actually very important! If you are over-eating your way to an early diabetes ridden death, then you should feel bad!

This type of delusional behaviour combined with the “Fad” of:

– Oh No! I have a “Negative Thought”!

– It’s bad, quick say something positive!

This can be extremely dangerous in that we can “Judge” ourselves badly for having a “Negative Thought”. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying we should go around the place and be negative – we need an intelligent balance of both! So why do the extremist “Positive Thinkers” generally have an agenda?

Here are some theories:

– Come to our seminar to get involved in our “Positive Thinking Cult” where we help lighten your wallet / purse.

– Don’t “Be Negative” just buy our expensive product and give us a go.

– If you want to be “Positive Like Me” (Douche Bag Hypster on Stage) then buy my products.

Just remember it’s a jungle out there! Don’t judge yourself for having “Negative Thoughts” – more often that not, it’s your sub-conscious mind prompting you to fix something up!

How does “Positive Thinking” Make Failure Harder?

If Your Milk Turns Sour - Don't Be The Pussy Who Drinks it!

If Your Milk Turns Sour - Don't Be The Pussy Who Drinks it!

“Positive Thinking” it it’s extreme form encourages one to just focus on the “Positives” in a given situation (duhh!).

Well that sounds obvious, and in fact – it’s great being Positive right? After all – when we feel positive, we just feel better, things flow better and we are likely to get what we want?

The universe will provide? All that “Financial Freedom” flowing to me in abundance? And oh no – watch out for those evil “Negative Thinkers” out there, who suck and work 9 to 5 everyday for their “Miserable Lives”.

After all, people who work 9 to 5 suck right? They aren’t enlightened like those “Positive Thinkers?” huh?

Interesting concept “Positive Thinkers”! How do you explain why 1/2 the world lives in Poverty? Let me guess – they are the “Negative Thinkers” according to your logic?

When I first arrived in Sydney (after moving up with Hobart) I picked up a contract with a really unethical and well known employer that really has a lot of people out there who aren’t big fans of them.  During this time, I really encountered pretty much the extreme or “Workplace Politics” from all directions.

As things were tough (and I had a lot of sources telling me how great “Positive Thinking” was) I gave it a shot and really applied it in this sense.  Cutting a long story short, by using “Positive Thinking” it made me really inactive, it stopped me considering relevant scenarios and making contingency plans in case I got the sack or something there.

So eventually, my contract ended early, things didn’t play out my way and while I was so busy “Being Positive” I didn’t deal with potential relaties such as being unemployed, or being prepared for tough times.

“Positive Thinking” in this case, got me into a lot of trouble – it didn’t keep me aware of my environment, or preparing for when things go bad.

Using a perishable goods example, it’s a bit like having 1L of Milk and the expiry date just lapses.  A bit of “Realistic Thinking” kicks in saying, hmm – I better do something about it. But then on no, “Positive Thinking” will tell you to ignore that and focus on how great things are, i.e. it came from a cow, it’s in a nice carton.  You then don’t do anything about it – and hey presto, your Milk Goes Sour!

Then you tell a “Positive Thinker” what happened to you and they just say you aren’t “Positive Enough!”.  Failure for many people (including myself) is a very tough thing to deal with, but “Positive Thinking” just makes it harder and worse.

If you are in a sticky situation or something isn’t going your way, please don’t screw up like I did and don’t be a “Positive Thinker” here – please be realistic and do whatever you need to do nice and early.

After All – if your Milk turns sour, don’t be the Pussy who ends up drinking it!

I wish I learnt this stuff 20 years ago!

Why do “Positive Thinkers” Lie To Us About Tough Times?

“Positive Thinkers” Lie to Us – It is really Tough at Times! No matter the Spin!

“Positive Thinkers” lie all the time about tough times.

These people are really unethical and are just trying to con you out of your hard-earned money.

Besides my Formal Studies, I have read lots of books from the so-called “Gurus” on how to “Be Rich”, “Live Your Life” and “Stay Positive”.

One Con, which I picked up is that in all the books you pick off the shelf, they always try and make out how easy it is to make $1,000,000 and achieve the life of your dreams (usually in a time-frame measured by months and not years!).

It’s just and me talking here now – let’s have a frank conversation.  No matter what front we put on, we always have tough times.

We can have problems with our Partners, Children, Money, Business, Work, Sickness and all that.  According to these “Positive Thinkers”:

– You can snap yourself out of it immediately.

– It’s just the “Story you are telling yourself”.

– You need to just “Be Positive”.

Oh great, so my wife has left me – my kids are sick, I am having trouble at work – so if I just tell myself to be happy, I just will be?

Well, that is what many so called “Positive Thinkers” have told me face to face and in their books.  Here is the funny con of it all, with some of these Positive Thinkers I have witnessed first hand and had reported to me second-hand – is that they get as “Negative” as we do, have “Problems” just like us and can’t just “Change” their emotions like they make out they do.

So it’s fair to say that in tough times, just “Being Positive” is a lie.  You have to do a lot more than that, i.e. be patient, be honest, make changes, give yourself time etc.

So why are these “Positive Thinkers” and Authors lying to us? Here are a few questions regarding them:

– Are they lying to us to sell more of their books?

– Are they trying to create a front they are “Larger than Life” so we get conned by them?

– Do they pretend what they know is so powerful, you will go to their seminars and fork out for them?

Come On! We aren’t stupid.  As much as they like to think we are stupid, we are actually not and can question what these people are doing.  “Positive Thinking” just makes them rich at our expense! You and I both know what is really going on here – “Positive Thinkers” lying to us so they can take your money and buy themselves nice cars, holidays and stuff.

Tough Times happen, and they suck! However that is life and it can be tough and can take time to get through things. When you are feeling down, please watch your wallet / purse! That is when these con artists are at their peak!

Arrogance is Way Better than Low-Confidence, Right?

I’m Not Arrogant – You are Just Inferior to Me!

In many people, I have known, including some of my clients, colleagues (and even myself at times) – it can be an easy trap to bounce from extremes of “Low-Confidence” right through to “Arrogance”.

That is, when one has a low view of themselves, they eat away their energy and motivation through always putting themselves down (be it out loud, or just through their own internal dialogue).  After reaching a real low in themselves, they then go and buy something or “Puff” themselves up to convince themselves into being “Confident”.

In watching such swings, unfortunately the “Confidence” may turn into “Arrogance” which is no fun for anyone!

The poor person who felt bad, “Puffs” themself up, then because people think they are “Arrogant” they get treated differently and then they slide back where they were – hence the cycle repeats itself.

In my own youth I did this quite a bit and it wasn’t till much later that I learnt (firstly the hard way then formally) that when we have a “Poor View” of ourselves and a very low Self-Worth – it’s very easy to enter this “Low Confidence / Arrogance” type of swing.

In some of the great people I work with, when you hear them pour out their soul to you -I sometimes almost tear up in terms of feeling how much they either put themselves down or devalue themselves all the time.  That is, regardless of what they achieve, what they do for their families, how hard they work – they are so used to beating themselves up – they instinctively:

– Say bad things to themselves.

– Like All the Time.

Going into what I cover in my previous posts, when one has low self-esteem (or self-value), you are “Ripe for the Picking” by Cults, dodgy MLM Schemes or anything out there with people that intentionally prey on people with low Self-Esteem

Then ironically, when the person with low Self-Esteem is sucked into these environments, they may become “Arrogant” and do an extremely great job of then preying on other people and so forth.

So is being “Arrogant” better than having “Low-Confidence” – well, I don’t think they are opposing in that many of the so called “Arrogant” people I know have big big issues with their Confidence and Self Esteem (whether they admit it or not).  A good cliche example is the “Napoleon Syndrome”.

What I have found is that when we start “Actually Valuing” ourselves and start catching ourselves for doing the right thing – it starts to build our our Self Confidence / Esteem in positive way.  It makes us feel better, improves performance and even more – we don’t end up becoming arrogant.  This is where too much “Positive Thinking” can get you into a lot of trouble!

In fact, my own personal definition of “Arrogance” is:

– The End Result of trying poorly to “Cover Up” low Self Esteem.

I wish I learnt this one 20 years ago!

[Edward’s Comment some years later – I have seen so many arrogant people and humble people make way more money.  It’s a great thing to watch, the right people succeeding in their own Small Businesses through integrity, skill and honest Sales & Marketing Practices!]