A proven 4-step process to help you rise from the ashes.
Two things are true about life.
No. 1: It will knock you down.
No. 2: You can choose to get back up.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill
I’ve had periods in life where I took more hits than an average cow carcass in a Rocky Balboa movie.
My business lost 90% of its revenue. My childhood trauma resurfaced. My ex told me she wanted to move in together and marry me, then left without an explanation. All within a year. It knocked the air out of my lungs like taking a bowling ball to the stomach.
Surprise, overwhelm, anxiety, bitterness, desperation, anger, fear – I knew them all too well.
The shit life throws at you is bad by itself, but what makes it ten times worse is not knowing how to shovel it.
When you lack a clear path forward, you don’t see a way out. Your fears keep telling you it will stay like this forever. And if you don’t do something, it will.
But do you know what’s funny?
Today, I’m grateful for all that happened because it made me grow massively.
With a clear path ahead and the right mindset, you’ll be able to rebuild yourself – stronger, wiser, better, and happier.
Step #1: Achieve True Acceptance
Acceptance comes before change.
After my ex broke up with me, it took me almost two years to make it part of my reality. Until then, I was still hooked on the old relationship.
I thought I could’ve done more, would never find someone like her again, and blamed myself for everything that happened – the whole nine yards.
This meant I wasted insane amounts of time and energy ruminating about the past. I turned down beautiful women who wanted to connect with me. My hands were full with old stories, so I had no space for new ones.
Rationally, I understood what happened, but true acceptance doesn’t happen on a rational level – it happens on an emotional, spiritual, and energetical one.
“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it.” — Michael J. Fox
The ego will shut you off from your emotions to protect you. But this creates an inner conflict. One part will want to stay down in the ditch, the other will want you to climb out.
Allow yourself to feel. Make the painful realizations. Don’t run from the uncomfortable emotions, don’t numb them, don’t smoke or drink them away.
Sit with them instead, experience the frustration, and bawl your eyes out. Allow yourself to feel down and experience the dark places.
If you’re neck-deep in shit, accept it fully.
Everything else is lying to yourself.
Step #2: Accept The Invitation
When my client went bankrupt, they owed me over $6000.
I’ll never see a penny of that money I earned with hard and honest work.
I cursed. I got angry – first with them, then with myself. I slipped into a victim mindset, asking why this happened to me.
In essence, I did what we all do every day – I assigned a label to an event before knowing its full consequences.
When you look at our language, you’ll realize how dominant either/or thinking is. Good or bad. Hot or cold. Up or down. Love or hate. Bright or dark. We create this duality, every day.
But this means we often jump to conclusions prematurely.
The client who couldn’t pay me turned out to be the much-needed kick in the butt that forced me to change my business. A year later, I operate on another level, doing work I enjoy much more for a bigger paycheck.
This change was worth way more than $6000.
When I realized this, I also realized the event hadn’t changed at all – I did.
“When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what the storm is all about.” — Haruki Murakami
Nothing is good or bad per se. It’s what you make of it. All of it is part of your path.
The tough stretches are life’s way of saying, “You’re strong enough, you’ve got so much more ahead of you, you can live up to your full potential.” I know you don’t want shit to hit the fan. You want to live in peace.
But that’s not how life works.
The sucker punches are part of it, whether we like it or not.
Ask yourself the following:
- “What growth can come of this?”
- “What baggage does this allow me to let go of?”
The sooner you accept life’s invitation, the better.
Step #3: Overcome Your Ego
A few years ago, I read a sentence from popular self-help blogger Mark Manson that now lives rent-free in my mind.
“Not everything’s your fault, but everything is your responsibility.”
It wasn’t my fault that my client went bankrupt.
It wasn’t my fault that the guy I’d been friends with for years started flirting with my girl.
It wasn’t my fault a reckless driver hit me while cycling and sent me flying through the air like a tent in a hurricane.
But it was my responsibility to learn from it.
When life hits you in the nuts, you feel powerless.
You lose control. Things happen you don’t want to happen and you can’t do anything about it. Taking responsibility gives you that power back.
But learning from your mistakes requires you to let go of the ego.
You’ll have to realize what you did wrong, what toxic patterns you engaged in, and what you contributed to the situation.
A simple reframe is to see mistakes as something admirable, something that causes growth.
I often ask myself, “If for each mistake and learning I can identify, I get one bonus point – how many can I find?”
Don’t self-loathe or set unrealistic expectations. Don’t blame yourself for what happened. Just take responsibility.
You have the choice and the ability to do better next time.
Realize how powerful that makes you.
Step #4: Rebuild The Right Way
I recently asked my friend a stupid simple question.
“How do you build a house?”
After some laughs, we got our German, efficiency-focused minds together.
“You first dig a hole, then build a sturdy foundation in it.”
The good news is if you want to rebuild yourself, life already dug the hole for you. All that’s left for you is to put in the basic structures.
When you hit rock bottom, the smallest goal can seem like a massive mountain you have no idea how to climb. I used to work 10-hour days, hit the gym, and read daily. After my business lost most of its revenue, I had trouble getting out of bed and brushing my teeth.
But small steps build momentum.
Instead of trying to do everything at once again, I pushed myself to research one article, do one minute of meditation, and leave the house once per day.
“Standardize before you optimize.” – James Clear
The wheel started turning again and got faster with every little effort.
Most people think you rise to the sky magically after life knocks you down.
But the climb is tough and you’re exhausted.
Focus on the basics. Stack the small wins. Get moving.
Build the right foundation and everything else will come on top easily.
Summary To Help You Rise From The Ashes Quickly
Hard times are rarely fun.
They’re messy. They’re painful. They bring you to your limits.
But they also have a silver lining.
Like a forest fire, they destroy everything– but leave the soil full of nutrients and plants ready to regrow.
Life gives you hard times because you’re strong enough to make it through them. And with a little guidance and perspective, you will.
- Practice true acceptance on an emotional, spiritual, and energetical level.
- Accept life’s invitation to grow and realize what good can come of it.
- Let go of your ego so you can see your mistakes clearly and learn from them.
- Rebuild yourself by focusing on the basics and building momentum step by step.
“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” — Ernest Hemingway