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Tiny Revolutions №98: Punching Out
+ run hard toward anything you want ✨
January flew by and I’ve been all over the place, emotionally.
If we’re using bullshit I’ve posted on Twitter as a barometer, I’ve gone from punchy and whimsical:1
To pensive with a dark edge:
To downright bummed:
And then to snarky asshole!2
It has been, as they say, a journey. I’ve written many times about how when you’re in a dark place it’s hard to believe you’ll ever feel good again, and how the reverse is true as well. These states are strangely amnesiac. But while I’ve gotten good about taking care of myself once I realize I’m not doing well, where I still have work to do is catching myself before I fall so deep in the hole that it becomes a herculean task to climb out.
The culprits lately are a grab bag of my usual Achilles heels — working too much, eating poorly, more screen time than is good for a body — and then an unusually large number of bad things happening to people I love on top of them. The stuff of life.
One of the key things I notice when my mental state is going downhill is that I start to feel physically like I’m crunched up in a ball. Not only is the sensation one of contraction, but emotionally I get crabby and defensive. I notice myself feeling more antagonistic towards others, like they are somehow against me. It’s a small feeling, a little angry person feeling, and it tends to make me even angrier because I don’t like feeling that way! And I get mad at myself — like, damn, bitch, you’ve been down this road too many times, you should know how to avoid it!
But we are always having to begin again, aren’t we?
I’m at my best when I’m feeling expansive, open, and generous — like the universe is conspiring to help me and we’re all in this together. Which generally turns out to be true when I approach things that way. So when I do realize I’m in the wretched, contracted state, I want out and I want out immediately.
My thinking has been influenced lately by, a psychologist and performance coach with an excellent newsletter and a gift for saying insightful things on Twitter without annoying me.
The line “run hard toward anything you want” rattled around in my head during a bout of insomnia a couple of nights ago. When it comes to goal setting I’m more of a “strong intentions loosely held” kind of gal, but she’s 100% right. Some things are worth a full sprint. So that’s something I’m currently pondering.
Dr. Gurner also wrote this post about using difficult emotional states to your advantage. The post is paywalled, but here’s a diagram from it:
This served as a great reminder that being an emotional rollercoaster type of person isn’t inherently a bad thing — just something to be mindful of. I have the option to punch out to propel myself forward instead of punching in to keep myself trapped, which is what I often default to.
The post was also a reminder of how helpful these kinds of perspective shifts can be. Some things are just hard, but so often it’s the story we tell ourselves about them that does the real damage. So yay for coaches (and therapists, and wise friends, and spiritual advisors) who can help us see a different way.
Speaking of coaching! I’ve been having a blast working one-on-one with participants in Foster Season 2, The Art of Modern Writing. Foster is a collective of online writers I’ve been part of for a few years now, and we’ve been slowly building a series of tools and community-driven experiences for improving your writing and expanding your influence.
We’re a motley crew who are united by a desire to defeat the onslaught of content marketing-driven pablum that is flooding the internet with more imaginative stories and diverse voices.
If you’re interested in the business of media, I highly recommend checking out the first edition of our digital magazine: The Media Frontier. It’s a collection of personal reflections and ideas for how we can make internet media work for us instead of against us.
Dan Hunt, Foster's co-founder and writer of, on the power of collaborative storytelling: Dreams of co-creativity.
Rob Hardy, the mastermind behind, on banding together with other creative weirdos to thrive: We're all living on the frontier now as well as a bold vision for the future of digital media: Steal our media strategy.
- on her journey from personal blogger to content marketer and back again: The future of internet media will look like the past.
- on how writing a story about his relationship with his father opened up a new world of possibilities: All we have is our truth.
“Why did most things I read just talk about life as a steady upward climb, when I knew firsthand there were valleys galore among the peaks?”
How about I leave you with a sweet poem before I go?
Thanks for reading, as always! Tell me something in the comments or by hitting reply to this email. See you soon.
p.s. Tiny Revolutions is free to read but if you’d like to support my work, please share this with someone who’d appreciate it, or just like this post!
I’m totally doing this, btw.
This is true, but I didn’t have to be a jerk about it.