“There will be good days and bad, which means that some days I may be cranky and some days really cranky !” – Peter Jennings
Despite all the great things going on in my life, I began feeling a little down in the dumps last week.
That’s not good. For creative folks like me – and for all marketing pros – depression can be a career killer.
When you’re depressed, your energy flees, your focus fuzzes up, your creativity goes AWOL – and if you don’t do something about it (and quick!), your income craters and your reputation and career chase it right down the tubes.
In short, depression is one of the costliest business problems any of us ever deal with!
Conversely, the ability to identify and neutralize depression quickly are two of the most valuable skills any entrepreneur or marketer could possibly acquire. They empower you to add scores more productive and profitable hours, days, and weeks to your year.
In my experience, depression comes from three places…
1. Too many drugs, so little time
When I say “drugs,” I’m referring to my three personal favorites: (1) Grey Goose, (2) Starbucks, and (3) Marlboro Lights.
Once upon a time, I could pretty much party for 48 hours straight and never pay the piper. I could do Friday and Saturday at Sloppy Joe’s, ride the 14 or 15 hours home from Key West, and still show up for work bright and bushy-tailed first thing Monday morning.
These days, not so much. My 54-year-old body demands at least 72 hours to get over a weekend like that. And it puts me through a period of pretty intense chemical mopery before my wife, friends, total strangers, the local constabulary, my lawyer, and my creative muse begin speaking to me again.
Goes without saying: Losing 72 hours of creative time each week would make it nearly impossible for me to continue living the comfortable life to which I’ve become accustomed. And so I’ve been forced into a life of relative abstinence – punctuated, of course, by the occasional not-so-graceful swan dive off the wagon at vacation time.
Caffeine and nicotine are something else altogether. I can’t walk, speak, or think until I’ve had a couple of mugs of Joe in the morning. Problem is, it’s 2:00 p.m. before I know it, and by then, my get-up-and-go has got up and skedaddled.
And of course, it’s even worse if I’m inhaling nicotine – an infamous depressant – with all that coffee.
What’s the solution? The dreaded “M” word: Moderation.
On the plus side, there is a mood-brightening drug I can’t recommend highly enough – one that I absolutely hate getting.
I’m talking about endorphins. You get them by doing exercise: swimming, walking, running, that kind of stuff.
Work out for two weeks in the morning before you go to work, and you’ll be absolutely amazed at how much happier you are, how much more productive you become, and how much more moolah you rake in!
2. Lies your brain tells you
Has some terrible thing happened that gives you the right to be depressed? The promotion you just knew would make you a gazillion bucks flopped flatter than a flapjack? You’re broker than a sailor after shore leave, and the bill collectors are calling non-stop?
Hey – I’ve been there. It sucks.
But it doesn’t mean you have to suffer from depression-related brain-block, too!
The fact is, you get to choose how you feel in response to just about anything that happens to you.
See, everything that happens to you passes through a little “belief filter” in your brain – a conviction you’ve come to hold about yourself and/or the world around you.
These filters can be positive – as in “I’m brilliant,” “I’m a winner,” “I always come out smelling like a rose”…
… or they can be negative – as in “I’m a dope, a fraud,” “I’m a loser,” “Everything I touch turns to crapola.”
Here’s the golden key: Nearly all the belief filters we have are utter nonsense.
The objective truth is, nobody is always a winner or a loser… creative or dull… brilliant or a dunce.
So the next time depression has you creatively hog-tied, try this…
First, identify the negative thought that triggered your lousy mood.
Then, ask yourself, “Is that thought valid?” (99.9% of the time it is not!)
And then ask yourself, “Is the belief filter that triggered that negative thought valid?” (Again: Almost never.)
Finally, ask yourself, “How should I change that belief about myself and/or the world to bring it in line with reality?”
You’ll be amazed at how quickly even the lousiest mood evaporates in the blinding light of the objective truth.
I learned this simple fact of life many years ago – and re-learn it all the time. In fact, you could say it was my guiding principle for launching The Total Package e-zine last year.
The simple fact is, when my focus is on others’ well-being, I’m happier.
Conversely, I notice that when I’m trying to find things that will make me happy – new toys, vacations, etc. – I’m actually less happy.
So where’s your focus? Are you obsessed with your own feelings and the state of your life? If so, there’s a good chance those feelings are not positive ones.
Try doing something to improve someone else’s life today. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your mood lifts![Ed. Note: Clayton Makepeace has spent the last 35 years creating direct-mail, Internet, and print promotions that have sold well over $1 billion worth of products. Plus, as a direct-marketing consultant and copywriter, he’s helped four major direct-marketing firms at least quadruple sales and profits to well over $100 million per year each. Clayton publishes the highly acclaimed e-zine The Total Package (www.makepeacetotalpackage.com) to help business owners and copywriters accelerate their sales and profits. Check it out.
For dozens of goal-setting strategies that can help you bypass stress and other obstacles to your success, sign up for ETR’s Total Success Achievement Program.]