How To Recover From A Funk

For a while, I got a little bit disconnected from Simplifilm. My throughput dropped off, and I was busy but rarely truly productive. Over this past weekend I’ve come around and gotten though it. I wasn’t exactly depressed, but I was certainly disorganized and I was certainly disconnected.

This meant that things didn’t get handled, starting with sales and spilling in all sorts of areas. It was probably due to moving from being a practitioner of sales to a sales manager. I think.

But things were harder than they had to be. I dropped a few balls, and I didn’t have what I usually have – the ability to see things and drive the nail all. the. way. in.

I woke up tired and went to bed worried. I can’t share that worry with anyone because what good does it do? A man must walk alone.  And these are first world problems.

Brad Feld talks a lot about Depression.

Again – not quite saying I was depressed, but overwhelmed. And what’s the damned difference anyway?

It was something like his 80/20 rule, Brad mentions here. At Simplifilm, I’m the guy that writes the checks, collects, writes the business…handles payroll there was some sort of balance that got lost.  I was in administrivia mode mostly because I’d just moved the office and moved my house after being literally on the road for 3 months. I always had overhang because we had to surf the payables since revenue growth was falling behind.  Writing a check to a vendor is important and necessary, and it takes time. But truly, it doesn’t make our company better.

That stuff needed to happen but still, things slipped:

  • I regained 20 of 50 pounds that I lost.  The gain was ridiculously fast (10 of it at Disneyland in a day, it seems).
  • Simplifilm’s revenues stagnated (didn’t go backwards, but we added staff and expected another big pop that didn’t happen).
  • I became churlish.
  • Paperwork backed up.
  • My own sales went from 4 per month to 2.

This was all borne of being busy with stuff, not knowing my role, moving around for a summer.

We  also hired a sales staff, making my role less defined.

I fought hard to be hands off and to let them win or lose, I basically took 3 months to figure out what we have, personnel wise, and how to win with them, and I think I have a pretty good setup now (finally).  My role as chief hustler morphed a little bit and the part of the job (the hunt) that I will forever love was taken away from me. I didn’t want to trample my new salespeople.

So this is where I was left.  I was still functioning, but I wasn’t functioning at a level that would make Simplifilm enduring success that I dream of. It was a quarter of treading water. Of just sort of being there.

Like they say in wall street: a bunch of “one time charges,” but look, everything is a one time event. The ipad, iphone, etc. are all one off events.

Right now I put a good week in and I’ve ad a really peaceful weekend of getting caught up.  No, I’m not all the way caught up but I feel like things are manageable. So here’s what I did (and what you can do).

  • Reconnect with your profession.  Mine is selling. Everything else is something I mostly dabble at. I had been away, and so I had to go sell stuff. I did. I sold this trailer.  It took hustle and creativity to sell: I had 3 different entities invest in it, but it was a huge opportunity for us. Your takeaway: If you’re a designer, design. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a coder, code.  You will feel in control when you’re doing something cool and good. Do your job.
  • Pay attention to your health.  When everything is right, I’m working out I’m eating correctly. I do this and it brings me energy. When I’m off I’m letting my middle get fatter and saying ‘next time, next time, next time.’  I feel like I’ve regained a lot of lost fitness in 2 weeks. I’m not all the way back but I feel good.
  • Read more.  Reading is good practice, and reading an hour a day (at least) is better than crushing candy or whatever. It lets you think and participate without having to create. Yet it still provokes you imagination, and transports you and, and, and, and and…
  • Don’t underestimate externalities: I underestimated how much time I’d need to recover from a summer away, from moving my residence. It took me a week or so to find the new normal. 
  • Learn a skill: the first 20 hours is an exceptional book. I’m learning Photoshop. I’ve worked on this stuff
  • Feel grateful: The root of depression – as far as I am concerned- is self absorption. I was feeling overwhelmed, OMG I have to chase things down.
  • Make a new friend: Doesn’t matter where they rank, there’s something good about talking to new people, something that allows you to describe & present the current version of your best self.
  • Drop some tasks I’m going to die with stuff in my inbox. I’m going to die with a notice from the state of Pennsylvania that I have to comply with in 30 days.  OR whatever.  There is a lot I don’t have to do.
  • Finish. Just. One. Part. Of. One. Thing: This is hard, way harder than you think, but finishing something, making a promise to yourself and others then keeping it is a big deal.  It’s a start, and it’s the way away from a poor situation.
  • Focus on daily deliverables.  I’ll write for 30 minutes. I’ll make 5 sales calls. I’ll write 2 queries each day for 5 days.  This is where I turned it around, when I had some. I wanted to have a day that ended with work I can perform.
I’m sure there are other ways of beating back a funk. I’m sure that there are other things to do that make it possible to be in it, but this is what it takes me. 
I feel good now. I feel like I can get after it. I got a lot done over the last two weeks and I really have confidence coming through this year.
What about you? If you know how to overcome a funk – email me


The Vest


Play it near the vest.

For years, I’ve told people everything I’m going to do.

I’ve had ridiculous sales plans that are dependent on me doing unpleasant things for four or five hours a day.

I’ve telegraphed every move and I’ve had a litany of failure at times.

Now, i’ve changed my mind a bit.  I’m playing things closer to the vest.

It’s working out.

How well, we’ll let you know momentarily.


Let’s say you do something great, for one day.

Let’s say you put forth maximum effort for one day, and had one of those times that you just were working fluidly, productively and zealously.

We’ll revisit our gym metaphor. Let’s say you went to the gym, and lit up your soul. You did it with passion, ferocity and intensity.

You seared your lungs, and you did just about every rep right. You let it all out, and you left with nothing more to give.

You are proud. Rightly so. You’ve won the day. You’ve answered the bell. The best part of your soul has commanded the unruly pile of meat that is your body to do its bidding.

More days like this, and it won’t be long before you have the form you want. To reach your goals.

You deserve a reward, don’t you? You deserve something for the work you put in, because you’ve reached a goal. You need a treat to stay motivated.


What, then, do you get for having made it? For having lived in congruence with the best part of you?


Here’s the reward for you–and I think it’s very, very nice.

You get another day to feel this proud and good. More motions like this. More euphoria. You get another day to beat back the inevitable decay of life, and you get another day to walk the earth like an unstoppable bad-ass.

You get to have more trust and faith in yourself, and more confidence, and even integrity.

What Is Intensity Without Consistency

Do we know any pleasure that’s better than that? Is a day off better than feeling unstoppable? Will we derail ourselves from our goals by justifying a trip to Krispy Kreme?

There’s nothing better than leaving it all out there.

The other part of the equation is this: if you don’t leave it all out there, if you flake out tomorrow, then you get to undo what went right today.

If, tomorrow, you skip the gym to bask in the good feeling and justify it with a good day, you’ve undone the good day, and you’ve surrendered your gains.

The only way to change something is to hammer. away. consistently.

You don’t hit a goal with a sprint, you hit a goal by moving in the same direction relentlessly.

When we have a great day, the only answer is another great day. We’ve proven we can, and we have to protect the work that we just did by doing it again, tomorrow.

More coming soon.

Get To

Another idea:

Instead of thinking that we ‘have to’ do things, let’s focus on the notion that we get to do things.

Being put upon is the de facto motif in the human existence.

But what if we changed that?  What if we controlled our thoughts?

I was talking to Heather yesterday about my own failure to get to the gym as often as I wanted.  Because it feels like a chore, I’ve not gone as much as I could.  Because I have dreaded it.  Man, I have to go to the gym.  Sucks.

We rebel against that.  Our inner two-year old kicks in. We say, “you’re not the boss of me.”  So instead of going to the gym, doing our work, we do what we want.  It’s hard to shake entitlementality.

What if…

…instead of acting as if it was something I “had” to do, something I was burdened to do…

….I treated everything that I do as a privilege.  Everything.  From paying bills (I get to support my family) to going to the gyms (I get to get rid of my front-butt).   What if I changed the way I thought of each activity….to an opportunity in lieu of a burden?

Then: what if I didn’t expect pleasure.  What if I “got to” go to the gym, and considered it a privilege?  What if I trained myself where I “got to” enjoy the opportunity to help a client, to carry water, or to shovel snow?  What if I got to do things instead of had to?

If mentally, I wasn’t stuck presuming or focusing on my own pleasure, would I be test about the predictable and mundane things that try and sap our focus?

Would I be stoppable?

Now, I know that most of my readers will say things like “Chris, you can’t always feel this way.”  No arguments here. “Chris, this is purely puerile Pollyanna pablum.”   Possibly.

When we treat something as an opportunity, a privilege  we get a bounce in our step.  We lose the drudgery.  When we try to snap back to this mode, I can see it as a wonderful thing.

I love my kids, a lot, and they’re damned lucky because they can be annoying.  But in lieu of “I have to put up with Jack/Change a Diaper,” what if it was all “I get to.”

What if we put more and more of our activities under that umbrella?

“Oh, boy, I get to go to the grocery store and get some food for our family!”

is stronger than

“Oh, man, I have to go to the grocery store in the cold, driving rain, this sucks,” which makes you defeated before you start.

So that’s saying, when you decide on what tasks need to be accomplished, enhance the link between their completion and your joy.  “I get to finish X,Y or Z” is more powerful–by far–than saying “I have to do X, Y or Z”.

When we think this way–a secondary consequence is that we are generally happier.  It feels better to be doing something you relish than doing some tedious chore.

The applications:

What chores are predictable that you don’t like? How can you re-frame them (oh, boy I get to finish the laundry).

How do you know you’re doing what you should be doing–and what is part of your nature?

How will you feel when you see things as choices and loving privs, rather than bad things?