Saving the World, One Stomach at a Time!

Did you ever feel that panicky feeling of needing a bathroom NOW after eating something that disagreed with you?

Pardon my potty humor, but I think this scene from Brides Maids i the universal symbol for bathroom urgency.
Pardon my potty humor, but is think this scene from Brides Maids i the universal symbol for bathroom urgency.

 

Well, I’m far too aware of the fact that there are people in this world who go through this every single day, seemingly for no reason.

Imagine, sitting there, minding your own business while looking for cat videos on YouTube and BOOM! It’s on!

Next thing you know, you’re running down the hall with your pants down like that scene from Dumb and Dumber where Lloyd poured an entire bottle of laxative in Harry’s drink!

Pardon my "potty humor" again, but this scene from Dumb and Dumber is burned into my brain forever.
Pardon my “potty humor” again, but this scene from Dumb and Dumber is burned into my brain forever.

I’m happy that I don’t personally have this issue but my sister Kate Watson, a registered Dietician in the state of Washington and more importantly, an INFP, has had digestive issues for over 20 years.

She has truly suffered from the pain and paranoia of not knowing if there was a near-by restroom.

I must warn you that I’m simplifying the problems a bit. It’s not just an urgent need to go. It’s also gas, bloating, nausea, constipation and other things. If you’re like me , you’ve experienced all of those things at one time or other and they’re NOT FUN! So imagine these poor souls who go through it each day.

Luckily for Kate, she went to school to become a dietician. So she had the tools and the skills to research and find medically-proven solutions.

Cut It Out…
Something I believe to be true is that you have to abstain from certain things to realize how bad they are for you. Just pick a vice and quit for a month to see what I mean. I’ve done it completely with alcohol and then on-and-off with caffeine and various foods.

Kate’s biggest win was along those lines. She found something called the “Low-FODMAPs Diet,” which is a highly restrictive diet where you have to eliminate certain types of carbohydrates from your diet (very common items cause digestive issues in people with food sensitivities – think of lactose intolerance PLUS gluten intolerance and throw a bunch of other common foods you love in, just to add insult to injury).

It’s not an easy protocol, but it’s better than being in agony and constant discomfort.

Finding her Mission…
Something I’ve been advising INFPs on for a long time is finding a mission or a higher calling. This is how you go from a mundane, meaningless, crappy job to something you love.

Well, Kate recently decided to devote her life to helping people with digestive issues. She was working in a dialysis unit and felt huge meaning in what she was doing, but patients died occasionally and as you can imagine, constant death takes its toll on sensitive people like us.

So she quit her day job to start her own private practice as a dietician.

Then, in an unexpected turn of fate a few months ago, her husband Jesse Watson (also an INFP) lost his job and they decided that instead of returning to their Corporate jobs out of fear, they would kick it into high-gear and join forces to do something meaningful for the world.

They launched a website called The Watson Center a few weeks later, which helps people with IBS and digestive issues to make dietary and emotional changes.

Kate and Jesse Watson are saving the world with a FODMAPS-free protein bar and food line
Kate and Jesse Watson are saving the world with a FODMAPS-free protein bar and food line

Through their work at The Watson Center, they discovered a common problem that people on the Low-FODMAPS Diet have; namely, not being able to buy food that they can actually eat at the store (nearly every packaged food has FODMAPs, so the people on this diet usually have to cook for themselves every single night). It’s very frustrating not to have the convenience of the pre-packaged foods that the rest of the world takes for granted.

But that’s where Kate and Jesse, in all their INFP glory, found themselves NEEDING to help people (remember what I said about being a super hero and needing to help people?)

They spent months designing and testing a ready-to-eat protein bar that is Low in FODMAPs, so that people who need to be super conscious of what they eat can have something when they’re running late or just too tired to cook!

Nicer Foods is raising money to create its first FODMAPS-free protein bar
Nicer Foods is raising money to create its first FODMAPS-free protein bar

The Mission Has Grown… Fast!
Early last week, Kate and Jesse launched a KickStarter campaign to allow them to make Low-FODMAP Protein Bars. This will be the first available protein bar in the US.

Their goal is to raise $12,000 USD by the end of November to allow them to ramp up production, create additional flavors and expand their capabilities.

This really excites the hell out of me because I’ve seen them go from desk-ridden wage-slaves like me to entrepreneurs in a matter of months. AND, more importantly, they’re doing something that will legitimately help others.

Why Can’t You be an Entrepreneur Again?
Call me side-track Sally , but I wanted to mention this. The number of INFPs who say “I can’t start a business, I’m terrible with numbers,” or “I need the security of an office job” really upsets me because those people are currently miserable in their jobs!

And what’s more, INFPs are hugely creative and idealistic, two traits that when combined, create a nuclear reactor-powered idea machine that can create solutions for the World’s problems! It’s just the FEAR and self-doubts that keeps us bound to our crappy jobs! More on this in coming weeks…

Ok, back to the story…

Approximately 10%-15% of the US population suffers from IBS and/or digestive issues.

With that many people suffering, you very likely know someone who would benefit from this.

It might be someone you love who’s too embarrassed to tell anyone else about it (fun fact, this is one of those problems that sensitive people like you and I get and our doctors treat us like idiots and tell us there’s “nothing wrong with us” when we actually get up the nerve to tell them, like when my doctor told me there was no such thing as anti-depressant withdrawal 10 years ago despite feeling like I was dying, going through heroine withdrawal and pointing out the numerous Internet posts about people feeling like their brains were being “zapped”. When your doctor makes you feel like you’re crazy, you tend to start doubting yourself and being generally embarrassed about the problem).

...says my doctor as my arm is resting on the floor, separated from my body
…says my doctor as my arm is resting on the floor, separated from my body

Sharing on Facebook Opened my Eyes

I truly believe that you know someone who is suffering from digestive issues, whether you realize it or not. I really want to help my sister and her husband find and help these people. But as I’ve said, they’re probably in hiding because these issues are embarrassing to start with. Then they have doctors who try to medicate the problems away or tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about.

So I want to ask you to do something that would benefit those people. Would you share a link on Facebook and/or Twitter for Kate and Jesse’s KickStarter campaign?

I know this can be a little uncomfortable for some people, but when I shared it on Facebook, I realized just how helpful this could be to people. A handful of people liked it and two of my friends posted that it would help them!

I didn’t even know that the first guy who commented had digestive issues and would benefit from this.

The second guy who commented used to be my roommate. He has Chron’s Disease, has had multiple surgeries on his stomach and intestines and was in constant agony, with occasional episodes where he was bed-ridden for a few days. It really broke my heart that I couldn’t help him.

Just knowing that this protein bar may be something that can ease his suffering a bit brought tears to my eyes. Literally.

I felt that feeling that I’m constantly chasing – the feeling that I actually helped people. Isn’t that what we’re all looking for anyway?

If you would consider sharing the link and/or donating, I would love you long time and I’m quite certain your silently suffering friends would be grateful for showing them a new tool to have at their disposal.

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to say, I wrote this up. Feel free to copy, paste and edit as you like: “This protein bar is being developed for people with stomach issues. They say 10-15% of the US population has stomach issues, so I started thinking it might be helpful to people I know http://nicerfoods.com/kickstarter ”

Part of saving the world is taking action. Another part is starting small enough to be able to achieve results. We can save the world with this project; one stomach at a time. I hope you’ll help.

Thanks so much!

Saving the World: the True Meaning of INFP

photo credit: DoctorTongs via photopin cc

photo credit: DoctorTongs via photopin cc

We are the INFP, the super sensitive.

We can hear what others can’t hear. We can see what others can’t see. We can feel what others can’t – or won’t – feel!

We are the happiness seekers, truth tellers and listeners. We dig through the dirt of our minds, battle our skeletons and toil in our emotions so that eventually, we have a million lifetimes worth of knowledge, a connection to our souls and hearts so deep that others can’t compare.

And so we eventually take that knowledge, spin it around and learn how to convey our findings to the rest of the world so that we can prevent the decay and downfall of our fellow man.

And dammit, it doesn’t come without it’s burdens! We experience the pain of depression, the agony of self-doubt and that ever present feeling of being totally and completely stuck – shackled to a world that we don’t understand and that doesn’t seem to understand us either!

We fight that world, we fight with our egos and we say:

“God dammit, the world doesn’t seem to care about me, why should I care about it?!?”

Because we simply have to. That is infused in our souls. We can be as negative, as cranky or as pained as we want.

Our egos can make us do crazy shit like drugs, drink our minds into quiet states and pretend we don’t care.

But we do. We really do. Now more than ever. And we always will.

Let’s find ways to make the world a better place for everyone and fight our inner critics. Let’s tell the inner critics to go to hell and speak up anyway. Let’s show the world what we see. Let’s show them the potential of the world around us. Let’s show them a perfect world and get them to help us create it!

Are you with me? Comment below and let me know!

RIP Robin Williams

robinWilliams

 

I am, to say the least, very sad as I read the news about Robin Williams passing away.

I’m not sure if he’s an INFP or not. But one thing’s for sure, he was himself.

And as INFPs, we struggle to be ourselves, yet fit in.

This man took what was given to him and made millions of people happy over the course of his 63 years on Earth. Isn’t that what INFPs were put here to do?

Unfortunately, being unique does seem to come with a price. He had his dark side, his drug abuse, alcoholism and depression. Ugh, I know them well.

I watched his most recent comedy, The Crazy Ones. I could tell he put a lot of his heart into it. I could tell he put a lot of him into it. And when it was cancelled I could just think about how much it must have sucked to have it cancelled.

Alas, my friends. We put ourselves out there. We wear our hearts on our sleeves, almost literally. We must nurture our hearts and be careful not to let toxic thoughts into our minds.

Surround yourself with positivity. Be a good person. Entertain your friends and the world with your true, goofy nature. And don’t let bad things like this stop you from living. Please stay strong and safe.

I love you INFPs!

Teach English Abroad

One of my regular readers, Eomer sent me a link to this TEFL Taster which is a short tutorial on what Teaching Abroad is all about.

This is probably something suited toward recent college grads or soon-to-be grads.

This is a great idea for INFPs because you’d be helping people, you’d be the expert so they’d come to you for help and you’d get to travel, which is something everyone should do more of, especially after graduating college.

Check it out!

 

Introducing my new Blog, Smash Perception

If you’ve been obsessed with success and money as much as I have been, you’ll know it’s a bit elusive. You hit a ceiling and things start slowing down.

Many times, it’s purely your own thoughts, fears and anxieties that hold you back.

I’ve started a new blog to examine the various roadblocks that keep us from achieving success and I hope you’ll join me by visiting and signing up for my mailing list.

Click Here to visit SmashPerception.com

 

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“It Beats Working in an Office”

We had a friend doing construction on our house this weekend. She used to work at a design firm but quit to become a contractor. I asked if she likes the company she works for and she said “it beats the office.” Yeah.

I want to be somewhere, doing something too. I want to use my body instead of having my muscles atrophying. I want to swing a hammer and lift things. I want to let my body do what it was used for.

It reminded me of Office Space:

Remember how Peter felt when he was finally free?

It also reminded me of some Macklemore lyrics from the song Jimmy Iovine. It’s a fictional account of sneaking into a record label where he’s going to demand a contract at gun-point. He gets upstairs and can’t believe the reality of what is essentially office life, even at an “artistic business” (paradox?):

“But it’s weird,
It’s like this room I walked into is unusual
Thought it would be shining and beautiful
Thought it would be alive and like musical
But it feels like someone died, it’s got the vibe of a funeral
There’s numbers on a chalkboard
CDs boxed in cardboard
Artists that flopped, that got dropped and never got to be sophomores
Graphic designers are sitting around
Waiting for albums that never come out
Complainin’ that they have nobody in house
Wonderin’ what they make art for”

At the end of the song, he ends up turning down the contract because he realizes record labels rip off the artists. The last line of the song is

“I’d rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting fucked.”

If only I knew then what I know now :)

What do you think of office life? How would you describe it to someone who’s never had an office job?

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How to Make Better Decisions

In my 20’s, I found myself making really bad decisions with my life. My emotions were ruling me and I couldn’t figure out why everything sucked so much.

I was drinking heavily, getting together with insane women and going to work 3 hours late. I found myself eating chocolate and drinking tons of coffee to stay awake. Then I bought a car that I couldn’t afford.

Suddenly I found myself unable to sleep and having heart palpitations at night. I went to the doctor and he put me on anti-anxiety medication. Things were pretty much… “a shit.”

So I decided I needed to examine the decisions I was making in my life. I did a very simple exercise that helped me get clear about what I was deciding to do and why I was making the decision. That gave me the insight to make better decisions in the future.

Here’s what I did. First, I started by writing down every big decision I had made in recent months. I then wrote why I made the decision and what the outcome was.

Then, I told myself

“NO DECISION MAKING UNTIL I WRITE IT DOWN!

I would write the options I had and why I was choosing a particular option.
I would then allow myself to actually make the decision and not beat myself up over the outcome.

We MUST make decisions! We cannot let ourselves get paralyzed by too many options or fear of the unknown.

The final step of this process was putting time on my schedule every month to revisit decisions and evaluate how they worked out in retrospect. I would see my bad decisions and why I chose to make them. I would see my good decisions and I would see why I chose to make them.

Eventually this gave me a great deal of clarity about what kind of thinking got me into trouble and which types of decisions I needed help with.

If you’re having trouble deciding on a career, try to strengthen your decision making skills using this method.

Whatever you do, make a decision. If you never make a decision, you will be stuck forever and unable to move forward. Break free from your fear!

What decisions are you delaying?

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What Would Help You Most?

I admit it, I’m sometimes clueless as to what my audience wants to see on this site. You probably stumbled upon this site while doing career research. But did you get anywhere? Have you made any real progress? Have you taken any actions toward taking charge of your life? If not, I’m not doing my job. I want you to become a person who takes action and sculpts the kind of life that you’re truly happy about; not someone who starts a hundred things and finishes none. I want you to see that you CAN be that person and that becoming that person will bring you success and happiness. So I ask you, what do you need help with? What specific issues are you having in relation to your career search or some other area of your life?

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What Would You Tell Little You About Your Career?

If I could tell younger, more naive Mike anything about working with computers for a living, it would be these things:

  1. You will not just be working with computers, you’ll be working with people.
  2. You will be annoyed by people and their demands far more than you will actually code.
  3. A summary of how I feel about my job: “Get it done yesterday.”
  4. I get paid well and that’s awesome. It’s the single perk.
  5. Learn to spend time helping people hands on, right now (there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer, even if you don’t believe it – ask mom). This will show you what you really want to do.
  6. Working for a Coporation is like a Hell unparalleled by any experience you have had to date. It is a feeling of using all of your energy to restrict and repress your emotions and potential.
  7. 99% of the jobs you can EASILY find are in Corporations, so be aware that you’ll need to work to get a good job elsewhere. By work, I mean talk to people, ask people for advice, ask questions, show people what you’re capable of. Yes, you’ll have to actually talk to people.
  8. You will someday start a business and it would be helpful to you if you a) take a business class or two and b) choose a major in which you can actually give a shit. This major can give you the basis for your business later. For instance, if I were a music major, I can start a business teaching people music or helping musicians with marketing themselves online.
  9. You might not have enough skill or the portfolio to be a musician. And that’s ok. There are a million things you can do with your ears. Like audio engineering at a recording studio or engineering for a Broadway musical.
  10. Research potential careers. That is, talk to people who do those things. What do they think about that field. Do they like it? Why? Why not? Will you like those same things? Will you dislike those same things? Find some common ground with the person so you can compare experiences and understand if their likes and dislikes will be the same for you.
  11. Money is important, yes. But it’s not the only thing. Try to be a little uncomfortable in your daily life and try surviving on less.
  12. Start a band immediately. Express yourself and see how much you love performing, despite the fear holding you back.

To my adult readers, what would you say to the younger you?

 

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What to do When You F*cking. Hate. Your. Career!

I have “f*cking hated” my job(s) more times than I care to admit. This was especially true after the birth of each of my sons, when I wanted to be home helping my wife and holding their tiny bodies.

It was also true when I had the most boring job in the world where I found myself becoming a person I didn’t actually like.

And it becomes true every time I get a new business idea and decide that the idea is far more important and fulfilling than my actual career.

Take a deep breath. No, really.
If you’re going to survive this job without an ulcer, you need to take a step back and take a deep breath. Or 20.

Unfortunately, you are dependent upon your job. You need the money and they don’t pay you to slack off and fantasize about business ideas all day long. The longer you slack off, the higher the chance they’ll notice and the better the chance you’ll get kicked to the curb.

When you start talking about “hating” things and what you “want” or supposedly “need”, that’s not you. That’s your ego and you need to deflate that fucker fast! The easiest way to do that is to take some deep breaths. Center yourself. Understand that your job needs to come first while you’re at work (if you can get your work done in half the time, I’ll give you the rest of the day to slack off).

Next, Make a Choice
What are you going to do about this shitty job you’re stuck in? You’re a smart guy (or girl), you’re educated and you don’t particularly like being miserable every day, do you? You have to make a decision here. You can start looking for a new job or you can decide to change careers.

If you’ve only been at one job in your field or you’ve been doing the same job for more than 3 years, you should consider looking for a new job. Quitting is terrifying and liberating at the same time, but it’s also easier than switching careers.

Is this the Right Career for You?
There comes a time when you realize you don’t hate your f*cking Job, you hate your f*cking CAREER! And that is a bigger problem for people who need their income and work in high-paying industries.

I went to work one day and said “I f*cking HATE I.T.(my field)!!!” And that was it. I launched this site and started searching and trying to figure out what the hell I could do with my life.

“How do you escape?”
“How can you match the salary?”
“How can you get paid well without taking on so much stress?”
“Do I really have to go back to school??”

So many questions! I went into this productivity coma while day dreaming and researching, but ultimately I felt completely trapped.

At the same time, my wife started a catering company. I saw that she struggled with the basics like web design, marketing and keeping the books so I started helping. I found myself completely consumed in it. I found a passion!

The only problem was that I wanted to control the company. I wanted to come up with the vision, optimize the way we did things and think about the long term strategies.

My wife just wanted to use it as a platform to getting a job cooking professionally and wouldn’t give up any control to me. But it served a purpose for both of us. It got her into a kitchen and made me realize what I want to do:

“I want to be an entrepreneur who helps people create businesses and blow past the subconscious limitations that keep them from success.”

It took me many months to fully realize that and put it into words, but once I found it, I found meaning, I found hope and I believe that I found a way out of Corporate Hell.