There are significant moments in your life that can shock your system and jumpstart a personal reassessment. Recently for me it was the loss of my father. While my relationship with him in life was complex and loving, my relationship to him after he passed was clear: it was one of loss, regret and things that were left unspoken.
In the immediate aftermath of his passing I (we all) had the unfortunate beginning of a global pandemic. I fought against the isolation internally and externally drifted further from many around me. I had let my physical self go; my emotions had become convoluted and unclear.
I knew I needed external help, finding it in three key sources that touched different areas of my life. While the learnings are ongoing, deeper and more complex in each area, foundationally there is one great lesson from each ‘teacher’ that is worth sharing for anyone looking to take that first step to finding a path to personal progress and a measure of peace that comes with it.
my relationship to him after he passed was clear: it was one of loss, regret and things that were left unspoken.
The Therapist: “Approach self help from the third person perspective.”
Think about how you talk to your friends or work associates when they present problems. It's easy for us, when we have care or context, to be the voice that can help or support others… but rarely do we apply that to ourselves.
In approaching grief, I ignored myself, to a great detriment. I never stepped out of myself, outside of the stoic facade I had cut from a granite of pain and allowed myself space and time to process loss.
Doing it from ‘outside myself’ - looking outside at Lloyd and examining and supporting him from the perspective of another helped me have a relationship with grief. It helped me overcome personal obstacles and challenge myself, instead of assuming an archetype and narrative that I may have written myself into. There is comfort in defining a system of self (‘That’s just how I am…’) because it leaves thinking and the difficulty of change behind. Approaching from the outside, we can challenge ourselves like we do our friends, family and associates - knowing that obstacle is something we can overcome and will make us a better person.
There is comfort in defining a system of self (‘That’s just how I am…’) because it leaves thinking and the difficulty of change behind.
The Executive Coach: “Maintaining your personal routines will help you achieve your professional goals.”
In our society it’s easy to drop into an ideology of ‘hustle culture’. We’re constantly being yelled at all over and online by ‘over achievers’ who swear by 4-6 hours of sleep and extol the ‘values’ of ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’. Monetizing the ‘abandonment of self’ seems like a tragic symptom of post-pandemic depression, evangelizing a hero-worship towards a practice of trading personal wellness for short-term monetary largesse (if it even happens).
So keep things simple for yourself. Make eight hours of sleep a norm. Make time for three days of working out. Walk for 30 minutes, wherever you can fit it in. Plan your meals - this is your fuel. Greet the sun in the morning, not your cellphone. Work can wait - and when you return to it you will functionally be more present, effective and enthused.
Monetizing the ‘abandonment of self’ seems like a tragic symptom of post-pandemic depression, evangelizing a hero-worship towards a practice of trading personal wellness for short-term monetary largesse (if it even happens).
The Boxing Trainer: “One More Round!”
My boxing coach, like any coach in life, has become a de facto therapist. I could dive deep into applying Boxing, the pugilist art, as a form of philosophy itself but for this I’ll keep things simple.
One More Round with him is usually never just One More Round. When you’re not watching the clock, trusting your coach, that last round can last a lifetime if he lets it. And so your mind-set has to change - you are given One More Round. A last shot to change the momentum, change the result. You have a last shot to get the knock-out. Have the ref wave you off the other guy because there is an instinct in you that doesn’t stop throwing punches no matter how much your muscles feel like they are on fire, your lungs gasping, your legs barely carrying your weight, your vision blurring from the sweat falling about your face. Every extra round is a gift.
When approaching a new day, a new month, a new year, think of it this way: no matter how much you feel like you lost that round, the rounds before it, perhaps the entire ‘fight’... you get this last round to change the narrative.
Every extra round is a gift.
Foundational learnings are universal. We know most of these, and because of that we take them for granted. That is the switch that we can all change. Perhaps dedicated support seems out of reach, however all these learnings and guidance do exist in Books, Podcasts, online, all around us, ultimately just waiting for us to make the decisions to switch our mindset from ‘it will find me’ to ‘I will seek it out’. Step outside yourself and tell yourself what you want to achieve. Establish a routine of good habits for your body to serve your mind. And If you don’t get it today there is a good chance you’ll be given One More Round.
About Lloyd D'Souza:
Lloyd is based in New York, where as a producer and creative leader he has worked with some of the biggest and most successful businesses in marketing and publishing. Lloyd has been a part of teams that have won Cannes Lions (Brand Jordan - Last Shot) and had short films screened at film festivals (Malibu International Film Festival, Barcelona International Film Festival).