So, what is the book that will change your life?
It’s a big claim for me to say that this is the book that will change your life, so let me ask you some questions. Have you ever felt completely stuck, like everyone around you was getting ahead in life but you? Have you felt like the biggest loser, because you cannot quite get your life together? Sometimes the day to day can be more exhausting than large life events. And, yet, here you are trying to change your life. Have you ever felt like this?
Yeah, me too.
Enter the book
I read a lot, it helps for me to feel a little less insane to hear other people going through the same things that I am. When you are an entrepreneur, or frankly someone doing something out of the norm, life gets a little bumpier. Everyone and their mom has an opinion on what you need to be doing or how you should be doing it. Experience that enough times and it is no surprise that we have seen a spike in anti depressants and anti anxiety meds.
So, what is this book about? Here is the summary:
In Furiously Happy, number-one New York Times best-selling author Jenny Lawson explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea.
But terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.
You might be asking, “Ryan, why are you writing about this?! You’re a business guy, this is weird!”. Fair question, but it’s not weird, it’s essential. I focus on digital marketing and coaching. This is the coaching side of things. People have mental illnesses, it’s a thing. Those same people also work in companies (crazy, right). So, we are going to talk about it. And who are you, the internet police? Calm it down. Unless you are the internet police, in which case, I offer you this picture in apology.
What is so great about this book
For whatever reason, people do not want to talk about feelings. It’s like a plague that we all try to avoid for one reason: it makes us feel things. On top of that, those feelings are not always good. But, they are essential, they make us human and they foster connection and a sense of community with the right people. And that is what Jenny has done with this book.
She has made it okay for us to:
- Have a mental illness
- Talk about mental illness
- Laugh at mental illness
- Be human
In this day and age, everything is filtered, cropped, flipped, edited and posted as if it happened organically. News flash: we all look like crap when we wake up in the morning, nobody looks pretty scrubbing a toilet and orange is not always the new black.
Jenny makes it okay to be weird, to be fucked up and to not apologize for it.
Oh, and she is friends with Brene Brown, who gave us this gem:
Is mental illness really that big of a deal
Yeah, it sure is. The more I meet founders and entrepreneurs, the more I realize how many of us are fighting a battle with mental illness every single day.
- Someone with anxiety can be a great project manager because they are so obsessed with controlling all details to make sure nothing goes wrong
- Depression could cause someone to work incredibly hard because they know tomorrow they might not be able to get out of bed
- Someone with agoraphobia can be a great virtual assistant because they get to feel like the contributed without leaving their house
The list goes on.
Not convinced? Let’s try something else. If you’re here, I assume you have some measure of respect for who I am and what I do. I come across as the happiest person in the world, I have an a drive that cannot be extinguished and I’m whip smart. All of those are true (or at least people have told me that and honestly they could be lying, so who knows).
Here is something that is also true: I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and it has almost destroyed my life more times than I can count.
My mental illness
You may be thinking, “Oh, so you need things really clean, that is not so bad”. That is the normal thought and it is mostly inaccurate.
Everyone’s mental illness is different, here are real examples of what mine has caused me to do:
- Work 70 hour weeks at some jobs because my OCD told me I would be fired if I did not
- Lock myself in countless bathroom stalls because no one liked me and by locking the stall door they would be happier
- Throw up at my own birthday gathering because I don’t actually have friends and the people there hated me and the only way to fix it was by vomiting
- Sabotage very healthy relationships because they were “not right” and I was miserable (when I was quite happy)
- Lock my car exactly two times, three if it is a bad day
- 6 years of therapy
That is what OCD is actually like for me. This video does a great job of talking about the specifics of OCD, if you are interested.
How Jenny’s book helps
The entire book is about Jenny’s struggle and real life examples that seem absurd until you realize that they are real. And, it is one of the funniest collection of stories I have every read in my gosh darn life.
It makes being a freak okay and better yet it encourages it. We do not need more filters, we do not need better angles, what we need is authenticity and to start being real with one another.
Sometimes life sucks and that is okay, we all need someone to talk to.
P.s. if this resonated with you and you feel you could benefit from coaching, shoot me an email.