Steve Errey shares his story. “I’m Fine, Thanks” is a movie about living an unconventional life. Grab your ticket for the London Premiere here.
In the year 2001 the world stopped turning for me. I didn’t speak for 3 months because I couldn’t understand the thread of conversation. I couldn’t make sense of words on a page, so I couldn’t read anything. Time became elastic – one day would feel like a year and then a week would race by in a heartbeat.
I had a breakdown at a level that I didn’t know was possible, and all for one reason.
I let it happen.
I’ve made many leaps and bounds and shifts and changes since then, and as a coach I’ve learned a heap about what meaningful success is, but it’s only by rolling my sleeves up and getting elbow deep in the muck that I’ve made real change happen. Here’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Get Rid of the Expectations
You can do everything that’s expected of you and end up completely lost. You can tick every box and still be miserable. Why?
Because your expectations don’t amount to a hill o’ beans.
Expectations work at a deep level in your brain, predicting what will happen in given circumstances and creating maps of the world that help guide you and provide your brain with the feeling of security it craves.
They tell you how to successfully fit in. They tell you how to successfully gain approval from others. They tell you how to maintain your status.
But as explored in the documentary feature “I’m Fine, Thanks” (premiering in London this November), these things are only ever about keeping yourself safe and making everyone else happy. Over time they’ll kill any sense of spirit and self you might have started out with.
So get rid of them. You don’t need them.
Bring in What Matters
Things matter to you.
Ignoring those things, judging them, pushing them aside or thinking that they don’t matter will get you into a heap of trouble.
In my case, I completely ignored the fact that creativity, connection and laughter mattered to me, and after a while those things were lost to me. By disconnecting myself from the things that mattered I became disconnected from the world. Ever felt like that?
Ignoring what matters to you will strip you of everything that has meaning.
Whether big or small, epochal or subtle, you don’t have a choice but to honour and express what matters to. Don’t wait.
Leave Complacency Behind
How many times have you answered “I’m Fine” when asked how you’re doing? Yeah, me too.
It’s a rote response that’s part of a larger issue – that we prioritise the appearance of being just “fine thanks” over being happy.
We act like things are fine when we know deep down that something’s wrong, that something’s missing or that something just ain’t right. But we push away those thoughts because we think it’s best to be just fine thank you very much.
I think they call that self-delusion, and it’s everywhere. Film-makers Adam Baker and Grant Peelle saw the same thing and felt the same way, and have lifted the lid on it in their film “I’m Fine, Thanks”. It’s an eye-opener.
So you don’t have to pretend.
You don’t have to act. You don’t have to hide who you are to gain approval for who you think you ought to be.
Get Over Yourself
You can only see the world through your own eyes, so it’s easy to feel like everything’s revolving around you, right?
But consider that there are 7 billion people on this planet now and that no matter who you are, what you are or what you do, there are tens of thousands of other people just like you. Maybe hundreds of thousands. Maybe a couple of million.
Then consider that our planet is almost totally inconsequential when it comes to the scale and majesty of the universe as we understand it. To be in the middle of all that and to continue to take what you think you deserve rather than being of genuine service is self-absorbed in the extreme.
Adding a little humility and grace is essential.
Don’t Blame the 9 to 5
As much as I wanted to blame my job for how things turned out I knew that the 9 to 5 was not the enemy. I was the one who ignored what was happening. I was the one who dismissed every message and feeling that something was up. I was the one who completely forgot that I was capable of changing things.
Sometimes the right thing to do is to get the hell outa there and save yourself. But rather than doing a Chuck Norris out of the window and running to the hills, sometimes there’s a braver choice.
The choice to be better right where you are first
Fighting, struggling or battling with where you are creates conflict, and that conflict makes space for frustration, cynicism, bitterness and anger to flourish. Make your move from that place and you’re just moving your bruised and battered wings from one place to another.
But what if you made a choice to become okay where you are right now, to bring the best of you to what’s right in front of you rather than the worst of you?
What might that change?
Following sold-out screenings in Portland and New York City, the London Premiere of the film “I’m Fine Thanks” is being held in London on November 5th. One night only. Just 80 tickets. Get yours here.