How to know when it’s time to hit the reset button on life, and when you should change everything and do something else.
In this video coaching newsletter, I discuss an email from a viewer who lives and works in China. He says he is feeling burnt out and like he is no longer growing in his job. He’s contemplating leaving China and traveling for three to six months to get his mojo back until he figures out what he wants to do next.
He also has a girlfriend who requires a lot of his time, and he’s wondering what he should do about his relationship with her. He asks my opinion on when is the right time to hit the reset button on life and do something differently. My comments are in bold italics like this below in the body of his email.
He’s trying to figure out, when is the right time to hit the reset button on your life. And these are things I talk about extensively in my book, Mastering Yourself — all the different things I’ve gone through in my life with careers I’ve had or businesses, being in business with other people and how your life tends to change. Because it’s something that we’re all faced with on a continuous basis throughout life.
We’re always reassessing where we’re at. Are we happy with our job? Are we happy with the peer group of friends that we have? Are we happy with our significant other? Do we enjoy the city that we live in? Obviously, over the last year people are finding out that living in some of these cities isn’t a great idea, and they’re starting to move out to more rural areas. What’s interesting is when you get pressured in life and a lot of things come at you and you start to feel overwhelmed, you start to question, “How much am I really enjoying this? How much am I really enjoying the way I’ve got my life set up?”
So, the guy brings up some good points, and I’ve been through this a number of times in life. It’s not like you get out of college, you figure out what you’re going to do, and that’s all you’re going to do for the rest of your life. You may think that’s what you want when you’re younger, and then as you go through life and you get experience, you get to see what you like, what you don’t like and what you want to do differently. Some things you keep, maybe modify, and it’s a continuous process. It’s like, you’re always reinventing yourself. You’re always trying to learn and to grow.
Our six human needs are certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, spiritual growth and contribution. And so, whether we realize it or not, whether we’re aware of those six human needs or not, we’re always trying to meet them. And oftentimes we’re trying to meet those needs in very dysfunctional ways. So, our need for variety is we’ve got to have constant change, constantly have new things come into our life, new stimuli. But that kind of conflicts sometimes with our need for certainty, because certainty is a knowing that we’re going to pay our bills, we’re going to have a roof over our head. We’re going to have food on our plates, money in our bank account, certain people are going to love us on a continuous basis.
Significance is all about “I’m important, I matter, my contributions to the world matter.” Because obviously, if you don’t feel like your life matters or your contributions matter, then you’re going to feel like something’s missing. Obviously, love and connection with significant others, friends, family, kids is a very important need. Spiritual growth, we have to feel like we’re spiritually growing and evolving and learning.
And then the sixth human need, which is interesting, when we focus on our sixth human need of contribution, that’s contributing to other people. By doing things for other people, contributing to other people’s lives, we’re actually able to fulfill all those other needs. So, a big part of understanding who we are, what we want, where we’re going is also understanding those six human needs and how it affects how we actually show up in life and what we do or fail to do.
So what’s interesting about this is when you look at the average person, you assume they go to college and they graduate somewhere around twenty. Me personally, I was on the seven-year plan, but I’m not a doctor. I didn’t graduate until I was twenty-five. So, you figure twenty-five years to become a full adult, get on your own where you’re not on your parents dole, you’re not getting money or support from your parents anymore. You’re paying your own bills, paying your rent, you’ve got your own car payment. Maybe you have a house by then, but you’re completely, technically an adult.
And then, you figure that same period of time of actually living as an adult, and then, boom! Now you’re my age. So, if you think about it, it’s two and a half decades to kind of grow up and get on your own, and then two and a half decades of living as adult. And now, you’re fifty years old. It goes by really fast. And so, what you recognize, especially I see now, is that I’m so thankful that I was so hard working when I was younger. I was I was aggressive, and I was hungry, and I was always trying new things. And that enables you to try a bunch of different things, learn, figure out what you like, what you don’t like. And also, the important thing is, it helps you gain experience and master things. And that experience gives you wisdom, and that wisdom informs your future decisions.
That’s why you see people that just screw around in their twenties and thirties, and they get to their mid-thirties and they’re like, “Okay, now I really need to get serious about life.” Well, you just missed out on a decade and a half of great living and great potential experience you could have gained. And when you look at the average person, it’s typically twenty-seven, twenty-eight. That’s when their dreams all start dying. That’s when reality hits them, the reality of life, that things are hard, things take a long time.
And since we want to have that feeling of peace in our lives, a lot of decisions we make really revolve around avoiding pain and not so much around gaining pleasure. So, people look at going for their goals and their dreams as potential pain, potential rejection, looking silly in front of other people, and so they don’t do anything. But yet, the time is passing by and you’re losing those years. So, you want to use your time wisely, and you want to be efficient at it and gain as much experience, and become as competent and as skilled at as many things as you can and growing your reserve of knowledge as early as you can in life.
And then you get to a point where you are my age, being fifty-one now, is that I have all of this life experience of living, and having great friends, and having a great life, having a great personal life, and now I can pick and choose what I want to do, what projects I want to invest my time in. So, you’ve got to use your time wisely. And quite frankly, most people don’t. And what’s sad is most people get into their late twenties and early thirties, and their dreams are dead. They’ve given up on themselves. And then what happens?
Like I was talking about in yesterday’s video, it’s like 74% of Americans are overweight or obese. It’s not just because the food sucks, which it does, but it’s like, there’s no excitement, there’s no interest. All you’ve got to do is go out and look at all the people walking around or go sit in a restaurant and watch the couples that are sitting there. Half of the time, they’re on their phones and not really paying attention to each other, and they don’t even look like they’re having a good time. That’s sad, but that’s reality. And we’re surrounded by people that that is their choice in life.
And so, if you’re a high achiever like I am, and I assume if you’re watching this video, you’re a high achiever and you want more for your life, you want to reach your full potential. You don’t want to just give up when you get into your late twenties and your early thirties, like most people have. I mean, it’s really sad. And then you see the toll that it takes on them. Like, when I look at all the people I went to high school with, how they look, how they’ve turned out, and almost a hundred percent of them don’t take care of themselves. It’s like they’ve got one foot in the grave. And that’s a tragedy, but that’s what happens to most people.
So, you want to set yourself apart, because you want to experience everything. But in order to experience everything, you’ve got to take care of your body. You’ve got to have good people around you that have similar goals, similar values, because if you’re the only person in your peer group that’s trying to reach your full potential and everybody else has already given up on life, they’re going to be working overtime, whether they realize it or not, to sandbag your dreams and get you to make the same decisions that they have, which actually validates their decisions. And as you get older, it gets harder and harder to escape that.
I’m a big fan of your work. You actually did a video from my email last year titled “A Huge Turnaround.” I’ve been living in China 3 years but have a very limited social life and feel I’m reaching the threshold for how much I can still grow in my job. It doesn’t feel right to live here anymore and feels like the right time to reset.
Well, you should trust that feeling, but you also don’t want to just go out and just blow up your life and say, “Well, I’m going to figure it out later down the road.” You’ve always got to know your downside risk in these things. And I wrote about this extensively in “Mastering Yourself,” because I’ve done it both ways. I’ve had the big corporate job, just quit cold turkey and decided I was going to buy, fix and sell single family homes in real estate for a profit. Even though I knew how to build, there were so many things in the industry I had no clue about. But I figured, I’ll figure it out along the way, and it worked out and I wrote about why it worked out.
But the second time around when I hit the reset button in my life, when I was thirty-five, thirty-six, I decided to become a life coach. I mean, that was like a complete reset, because everything takes so long. You’ve heard me talk about it before. You’ve got to figure, it’s a minimum of a decade to really become good at something. Whether it’s starting a business or a career, you’ve got to figure ten years minimum to become competent at it.
And when I look at when I got out of real estate in 2006, I was thirty-six. And so, at that point, that had been eighteen years of my life that I was moving in that direction — construction, real estate, mortgage industry, buying and fixing and selling things in real estate. That was my whole life. And then at thirty-six, “Hey, I’m going to become a full time life coach now,” something that was a hobby to help myself and later helped my employees reach their full potential and do great in sales. “Now, I’m hitting the reset and starting over. I’m going to start writing books.”
And so, now I’m basically at year fifteen of doing that. And I was having lunch with an old buddy of mine last week, and because I’m really successful in his eyes, he’s like, “How do you feel success-wise?” I know I’m a successful guy, but honestly, at this point in my life, I thought when I was younger I’d be a lot further along. But those are the consequences of blowing up your life, because it takes time.
Nobody goes and hits reset or they’re eighteen years old, and they decide I’m going to do this, and then two or three years later they’re a multi-multimillionaire and they’ve got everything they ever wanted within a few short years. It just doesn’t work that way. There may be some exceptions to the rule of that, but when you look at any great success, especially the successes that we eventually hear about, you don’t see the decade or two that it took that person to get there.
So, you also have to be very careful when you blow up your life that you know your downside risk. Like in my case, I completely stopped working in the industry that I was in, so my whole source of income went away. And then I was strictly living off of the capital that I had from liquidating all of my assets in real estate and personal assets. So, you’ve got to think about these things, because a lot of people get upset, they get mad, they quit their job and they’ve got a couple hundred dollars in the bank.
If you’ve got a couple of million in the bank, a couple hundred thousand in the bank, you’ve got more time on your hands, you have more options. But you’ve got to think of these things, especially as you’re getting older. The goal is you want to be acquiring wealth and investing that money, so that money can make money for you while you sleep. Lots of things to consider. So, the idea is you want to take measured risks. You want to do it in as balanced a way as possible.
I am intense with my work, in that I like to focus very intently and push myself very hard, but then I need time to re-energize alone. Focusing intently at work, living abroad, maintaining family and friend connections back home, and having a girlfriend on top of that, it can be really hard to balance and allocate my energy and stress levels properly.
Maybe you’re working too much. Maybe you’re working in a job that is not the best for you. Maybe working for a different company is something you should consider. For me, I was ready to get out of the industry and do something completely different when I was thirty-six. But in your case, maybe it’s a lateral move in this particular company where you can do something else where you’re not so stressed. Or maybe it’s going and working for a different company, or maybe you have more people working with you or for you that you can delegate things to that you don’t want to do. And that way you’re able to focus on doing things you really love and really enjoy.
That’s something that’s also very important, is that when you’re working for yourself or you’re working for other people, especially if you’re in a management position, is that you can delegate away things that you don’t really enjoy to other people who are good at it. That’s something else you need to consider. Maybe part of your career, your job, what you do, it’s just disorganized and you’re doing a lot of things you don’t enjoy. So, figure out the things you love to do.
Again, I go through that process in “Mastering Yourself,” and then I find other people to delegate that to or hire them. The idea is, especially in business, you want to surround yourself by people who love the things that you’re not really that into. And then that way, you can delegate those things away to somebody that just gets off on it and you can focus only on doing the things that bring you the most fun, the most joy, the most fulfillment.
It’s all about optimizing your career, optimizing your life. I mean, at the end of the day, that’s what self-reliance is. It’s about optimizing your personal and your professional life, so most of what you’re doing is fun and enjoyable. I mean, the reality is there’s always things that you’re not going to enjoy doing that you’re going to have to do. Things come out of the blue and you have to fix it, you have to solve it. And if there’s nobody to delegate it to, well, the buck stops with you.
You know the feminine and how much they love attention, and I often think I’m blowing my girlfriend off when I need time out to re-energize or need to re-balance, (one example is if she stays over on a weekend but I’ve had a long week, and on the weekend morning I just want to do my own thing). I often feel I can’t give her as much of my time and attention as she wants. From reading your book I know this is a good place to be, but I do find it really difficult to maintain the appropriate energy levels when I’m doing so much. When you’re there, you’ve got to be there and fully present.
Yeah, maybe you need to look at reorganizing your life. Like I was saying, maybe you’re working too much. Maybe there’s things you’re doing at work that you don’t really need to be doing that you can delegate to somebody else. And if that’s not possible, maybe there’s another company that has a similar job that’s maybe a little better organized and has a better support staff, a better group of people that you can delegate those things away to, so you can get some of your time back. Because that’s one of the things I’m seeing, a lot of being overwhelmed here.
I’m burnt out, and am thinking now if I leave China, I will need 3-6 months out traveling or doing a retreat or volunteering just to get that energy back properly and also realign spiritually.
It just depends on where you’re at. If you know you’re a hundred percent certain you don’t want to live in China anymore, and you’re a hundred percent certain you don’t want to work for this company, or maybe you don’t want to do the same things you’re doing, then yeah, I’d say get out of there. Go travel for a few months, not work, not do anything, just enjoy your your life, if you’ve got the financial resources to do that. Obviously, if you’ve got fifty bucks in your bank account it’s not a good idea, because then you’re going to be all stressed out about money and paying your bills.
It would be great to hear your thoughts just about what you think I should prioritize here. Mission and purpose is pointing to me leaving China and take the time out to re-energize, but I imagine my relationship could suffer by doing that.
Well, that’s assuming she can’t go with you. What if she could go with you? And if she could go with you, would you want her to go with you? That’s the important thing. You’ve got to figure that out. Maybe you go and you take a couple of months and you travel, see how you feel, see if you really miss your girlfriend or not. It’s like, right now you’re stressed out and you’re feeling overwhelmed. And when you feel overwhelmed, you’re feeling pain. People will do more to avoid pain than they’ll do to gain pleasure.
So, when you feel overwhelmed, you’re naturally going to want to move towards things that will bring you more peace, more ease, more delight. And like I said, it may be part of just having a disorganized life — not enough free time for yourself, not enough days off on the weekend or during the week when you can just chill, have time for yourself, but also have time for your girl.
I massively appreciate your work, and a Teespring mug will be my first purchase when I am in a country that can get these deliveries, ha!
So, those are the things that I would I would concentrate on it. But like I said, if you’re a hundred percent convinced that you’re done with China, you’re done with the company you’re working for, you don’t want to do the job anymore, then yeah, hit the reset button. But you’ve got to figure, how are you going to pay your bills? The best way to go about these things is to line up something new before you leave, because then you’re then you’re eating your capital that you have to pay your normal bills, because now you no longer have a cash flow.
Unless, of course, you maybe have got dividend paying stocks. Maybe you’ve got a small business on the side, or maybe you invested equity in a company that’s bringing you a profit. Or maybe you’re invested in crypto and you made a lot of money in crypto, and you don’t have to work if you don’t want to. These are all things that you need to consider. Bottom line, whenever you do anything in life, you’ve always got to know, first question, “What is my downside risk if I do these things?” and you’ve got to figure it out.
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Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“Problems are a sign of life and that you’ve still got more to do, be and create as part of your life path. The only constant in life is change and the reality that nothing is going to stay the same forever. As we grow and master things that were once hard and difficult, we see new challenges, quests and goals on the horizon to embark on so we can master them too. In nature, when something stops growing, it starts dying and is eliminated. That’s a great metaphor for how we should live our lives. To always be growing, improving, learning and trying to become more, so we can reach our full potential and have the victory of a life well lived.” ~ Coach Corey Wayne
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