In other news, there seems to have been a drastic change of plans. For my blog, life, location, and state of mind. For starters, I’ve decided to keep the ‘personal’ portion of my blog alive and public. I’ll make another category for click-bait, I mean, articles. I’ve been reading some incredible blogs lately. And the ones that make the most impact aren’t top-10 lists compiled from other top-10 lists. Instead, they’re the people who take the time and effort to put their heart on their blog – sincerity is rare these days. Even more rare is the discipline of being genuine.
For years, the tagline for my site has been “Committed to success through integrity and innovation” and I have to admit, I have lacked a bit of integrity in some capacities. I’ve put more of a focus on writing about the lessons I’ve learned from my experiences, rather than what those particular experiences are – as they’re often quite personal to me. My purpose in writing is to journal my life as I live it. When I read my blogs, I can see the ‘prompts’ and know exactly what hidden message/meaning lies in the words. I’d like to enlighten others a bit.
I’ll say this without mincing it, this year has been the most difficult year of my life. For the sake of brevity, I’ll address one challenge per blog. In this case, it has been financial challenges.
I’ve read several blogs of those who have turned the corner, financially, and felt comfortable to speak about their financial hardship from the comfort of their newly-acquired financial come-up. Often, people wait to talk about these topics because they want to be damn sure they’re ‘over’ and able to be viewed as a learning lesson. Well, I’m on the upswing of getting things back to normal. However, I’m still feeling a major pain point. My bank account hasn’t had more dollars than this blog has words for nearly six months. Here’s a [link] for you nosy investigators. It’s the reason my beloved “Plaatmobile” had been inoperable since December. Thus, the influx of Lyft/Uber rides .
The point of sharing this is to show a different side of Aaron Plaat than I’ve been presenting. It isn’t that I wanted to hide the difficulty I’ve been through; I simply didn’t find it relevant to share, as I’m not going to be the asshole displaying portfolio screenshots when my circumstances change.
Similar to an article I read about a ‘riches to rags’ IT professional, I also lost several of my anchor clients last year and rapidly depleted my savings after pursuing several projects that never yielded a dime.
To be frank – although I prefer to be Aaron – my mind wasn’t in the right place last year. If I could do it all over – I would. However, that’s not reality.
I’ve struggled for several years to ‘be myself’ in several capacities. In many cases, it was a response to parts of me that were deeply wounded and I thought that by masking my pain, it would simply fade. That wasn’t the case. It’s more like a poison. Ultimately, there was another part of me that felt disingenuous for lacking transparency in the financial challenges I’ve battered through this year.
In some ways, I pressed in to this financial pain. I had very little passion for the place my entrepreneurial career landed in, and I read a book called You2 (link) which introduced me to the idea of making a ‘quantum leap’ in my life with the story of a fly that was unable to free itself from behind a closed window. No matter how many times it rammed itself against the window, it would never break free. Instead, it simply had to turn around and fly out the open back door – effortlessly.
Reading this book, I knew the author spoke the truth. Thus, I made a conscious effort to make this 180° change in my life. I wanted all new ingredients to cook the ‘meal’ that is my life/finances. Thus, I stepped into several opportunities that were different than my previous ones. Different doesn’t equate to a quantum leap. And I fizzled away countless hours, dollars, and effort on projects that fell flat.
Again, quantum leap…new ingredients. I knew it was possible but didn’t know how to ‘make’ it happen, which is exactly the problem. I was trying to force purpose into people, projects, and places that weren’t the right fit.
The bills piled up. That’s an understatement. My biggest fear was being late on my rent, because I spend time talking with the office staff at our apartment complex semi-daily in the mornings. I was embarrassed beyond belief; afraid of judgemental eyes, public shaming (that’s for you, Mark) and the entire invisible audience of my peers somehow abandoning me because I couldn’t afford to spend $300 at the bar anymore – or $3.
I’m about to say some scary words here – hang tight.
However, what I noticed is that the ‘shaming’ I feared would happen was nowhere to be found at all. If anything, those closest to me reached out and showed love to me. From putting groceries in my fridge to paying disconnected utility bills, my needs were met in the moments where my mind at its most turbulent. Hower, my mind was still not at ease, resulting in an anxiety/panic attack that could have easily sent me to the hospital. It was as if all of the pressure decided to peak in a single morning and take control of my body. Many entrepreneurs suffer from depression/anxiety/imposter-syndrome, and do very little to speak about these battles. There’s the fear that you’ll lose customers/market share if you aren’t a picture of perfection. I certainly felt this way.
That situation was exactly what I needed to have a reality check that I was deeply hurting. The morning it happened – I was afraid to call friends/family for help. “I can handle this” I thought. Something in me said that the moment you’re afraid to ask for help is the moment you need it most. I picked up the phone. Several hours later, I emerged from my closet and felt as if life had given me a fresh start, though I was utterly exhausted.
I had to admit there was a deep-rooted problem that required help and discipline to fix. I began meditating regularly, educating myself on breaking technology/industries, and began to “sink” my negative thoughts with tokens of gratitude. Everywhere. Even my shower has dry erase quotes written on the tile. I needed to see these reminders everywhere I looked.
“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles.”
The above quote has been my phone wallpaper for several weeks. And I’ve begun to see these ‘miracles’ pop up all over my life – to be covered in an upcoming blog.
At this point in my life, things truly have turned the corner. I discovered what my ‘quantum leap’ looks like, and am pursuing these passions fully.
While this story is still in the making, I felt it important to share. Several close friends have shared with me that the positivity I project can seem artificial, as I appear to “not struggle” or “feel” the burdens associated with the times. They are absolutely right, which is why I penned this blog.
My response is that the joy I have is sincere and heartfelt, because I continue to see growth and reversals in the turbulence. People, places, and memories that I deemed ‘ bad’ have consistently turned around and become sweet victories that were paid for in full.
I see my own life as something new and pliable; to be forged and steered in any direction my mind chooses to go. Because of the compassion others poured on me, I’m able to exponentially share with others. Because of the trials, my definition of ‘success’ changed from something that can be deposited in a bank to something I carry in my heart.
Now that I’ve cemented my foundational values in place, everything else has begun to come together – in a similar manner to the fly turning around and flying freely out the back door.
We can only soar as high as we’re willing to fall.
My heart is full of gratitude, conversations with laughter, and my relationships are deeply rooted in love.
Blessed beyond belief. Genuinely loved and appreciated. New sources of income. Opportunities on the horizon. I’m beyond rich in every aspect of my life.
Next Blog: Everyday Miracles