Tips for recovering from a difficult year

How the worst year of your life can lead to something better

I have had many fun and frustrating experiences in my forty-one years on this planet. I had moments of surreal fun and times when I thought about quitting everything. I can tell you with confidence that 2016 was the worst year of my life.

I am an entrepreneur. For four years of my entrepreneurial journey, business consulting has been my main source of income. It was exciting to fly to unique countries around the world and form teams. I was paid well, the work was hard, the companies covered my travels, and I met a lot of interesting people.

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2015 was a year of change. My longtime marriage was over, I technically didn’t live anywhere, and my relationships with my friends and family members began to crumble. I felt lonely, so I focused on work.

In 2015, I consulted a company in Panama. This extended contract kept me in the country for six months. On this long consulting journey, I met someone who worked for the company I was consulting. It was the worst time mentally and emotionally to start a relationship, but I fell hard. For someone who grew up in a deeply religious home and didn’t date (at all), I had no experience, and this person saw me coming from a mile away.

At the end of the consulting contract, we agreed that I would travel to Medellin, Colombia, and spend time “developing” our relationship.


Lose myself


Medellin is a beautiful city, Colombia is a unique country, but it was toxic for me. The sweet person I had met and developed a friendship with in Panama disappeared almost as soon as we crossed the border.

Instead of renting accommodation, I stayed with this person and his family. Requests for “help” were few but turned into red flag level requests for money. A few hundred dollars to pay for the food. A few thousand dollars to fix where we all lived (but no such repairs were made). Thousands of dollars on new clothes that had to be designer for some reason. And then the most frustrating and embarrassing moment was when I agreed to buy a house together in Medellin.

I was thinking of buying and owning a house in a country where I didn’t understand anything. The house was bought, but what I didn’t know at the time was that I was signing meaningless documents — everything was signed and put in that person’s name.

I know what you’re thinking because I felt the same way thinking back on the situation – what an idiot. But a line in one of my favorite movies (The Bourne Ultimatum) says, “You can’t judge decisions made in real time; they’re rarely perfect.”

I came to the end of 2016 – after over a year of being financially drained, emotionally battered and physically complacent – ​​I was broken, broke and desperate. I had $26 to my name. I had no connection or association with my family and friends, and had nearly torpedoed my business.

Finding the strength to overcome my situation seemed impossible, but I did. I used every ounce of strength I had left to finally muster up the courage to end the toxic relationship and cut this person. I bought a one-way ticket to Florida with credit card points – I barely had enough money to pay the $3.15 for point redemption taxes.

I slept on a Facebook friend’s couch for a month and worked out my next steps. Every time I think of what Edgar and his family did for me during one of the most difficult times of my life, I crumble. He showed me what real human love is. I left Edgar’s house determined to change my life and overcome my terrible situation. I’ve arrived at a much better place and haven’t looked back since those days at the end of 2016. I’m writing this article from Lisbon, Portugal as a full-time traveler and digital nomad. My business has been rebuilt. I lost weight, repaired my relationships with family and friends, and spent time learning to love myself.

After healing, my friendship with an amazing woman turned into something more. We just celebrated our third wedding anniversary in London, enjoying slower but meaningful European experiences. We have traveled all over Europe and will be arriving in at least eight countries in 2022.

Every circumstance in life offers lessons and difficult times can be overcome. Here are three important steps to help you overcome your challenges and live your best life despite what feels like the end.


1. Raise your standards and enhance your self-esteem


One of the biggest lessons I learned was that my standards weren’t high enough. Raising your standards means setting the limits of what you allow in your life. My limits were low, making it easy for me to give in to things I shouldn’t have had.

Having a high value of your value mentally puts you in a position where you can deny anything that feels out of alignment. If you want to overcome or avoid difficult circumstances, raise your standards. Determine what you will allow and what you will not allow.

Megha Bradley is a life-transforming strategist who helps ambitious people who are ready to push beyond their upper limits so they can thrive in all areas of life. She holds an Associate’s degree in Behavioral Sociology, is a Certified Advanced ThetaHealing® Facilitator and Instructor, and has been a Life Coach since 2015.

“It is essential that people learn to distinguish between what is theirs and what is someone else’s belief or projection so that they can focus on solution-based choices and limitations. who respect their well-being. A “bad” year often produces the pressure to transform and distill habits, relationships, and situations that may have actually been poor or toxic; so it frees up space for amazing things to pop up,” says Bradley.


2. Understand that you are not going to win the lottery – you are the winning lottery ticket


During some of my toughest times, I was playing the lottery. Now, my goal is not to judge anyone who plays the lottery, but I realized that I was not going to win the jackpot to overcome my situation.

I came to understand that I was the winning lottery ticket; I had everything I needed to overcome the circumstances – I just needed to get to work.

You are strong and unique. You have everything within you to overcome your difficult circumstances, and access to the internet and technology offers ways to accomplish anything. You may or may not win the lottery, but it’s more important to understand that you need to be the winning lottery ticket by taking action to achieve your growth goals.


3. Focus on small, consistent steps that lead to sustainable growth


Life is not a movie. There will be no scene change where everything will work out automatically. To overcome difficult circumstances in your life, you need to take focused daily action to move forward.

Don’t look at all the things you need to do to accomplish, and don’t get overwhelmed by where you are right now, because that can defeat you. Instead, think about the small steps you need to take each day and make a plan. Focus on what needs to happen next versus anything that needs to change.

Dr. Leslie Rogers is a psychologist and host of Mental Health Talk, a web series focused on promoting mental health and wellbeing. She holds a doctorate in psychology (PsyD) from Argosy University and is a former intelligence analyst and employee assistance coordinator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Becoming aware of one’s (habitual) thoughts and behaviors that interfere with mental growth are important aspects of change. Learning to love yourself through perceived failures, congratulating yourself on any accomplishments, and taking regular self-care are just some of the ways to promote positive views about the future. Remember that we control many aspects of our lives; we just have to believe it. If we believe we are in control, even in the face of unexpected or sudden illnesses or even death, failures, rejections, and so on… our faith in ourselves and the ability to integrate positive stories ultimately lead to healing,” says Rogers.

It starts with the belief that you can overcome, then it requires the action of overcoming.


Your story


My life is not perfect and there are still many areas for improvement, but I can tell you that I am no longer in a dark place. After realizing that I had the power to overcome my situation, I got to work and the work continues.

Your past does not define your future. Your mistakes don’t have to be your identity; you determine who you are and how you present yourself in the future. You can overcome any circumstance you want if you are willing to work for it.

Use the “worst” year of your life as education and inspiration to become the best version of yourself.

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