I Owe You an Apology
by Alex Charfen
If you follow me on social media, I feel like I owe you an apology.
Really, I want to apologize to anyone who has been caught off guard by the abrupt behavioral change I made a month or so ago…
For years I've been very active on Facebook and Instagram. But after my mom and a good friend of mine, Sean Stephenson, both passed away in the same week…something in me changed.
I had a lot of realizations, and my priorities shifted big time.
Right after my mom died, I didn't take time off immediately to grieve. I worked the two weeks in between her passing away and her Memorial.
One – I don't think reality hit me yet, and two – I already had things scheduled I felt the need to show up for.
My team and I went on to host an event for our clients, and following that, I had another event where I had committed to speak. After the events were over, I realized I clearly needed some serious time to process.
So I took three weeks completely off work. Since I started working professionally when I was 16 I have never taken more than a week off from work. It was time.
During these three weeks, I didn't look at anything work-related.
I erased all my social media apps and email from my phone. I minimized my use of technology as much as possible. I just spent three weeks dealing with what had happened. I grieved, reflected, and processed.
I knew I needed the time off because I realized in the two weeks that I was working with everything going on, I was doing two different things…
I was regressing and reactive.
I started getting reactive at the second event I spoke at. I realized by the end of the second event, I was reactive and anxious.
I knew I was regressing because I started to have thoughts, reactive thoughts that I haven't had since my teens and twenties.
Ones that I've already processed in therapy.
I felt like I was moving backward, and if you know anything about me you would know that wasn’t an option.
If I'm honest, I was getting increasingly irritated and frustrated over those two weeks.
And I know that if I'm regressing and reactive, those are clear negative spirals in an entrepreneur's life.
And I will not stay in a negative spiral.
I live for momentum, it’s my oxygen.
I can’t live without it and I absolutely can’t move backward at all cost. Especially consciously move backward, it freaks me out.
I know that’s one of the patterns I can’t get into in life. As soon as I was conscious of what was happening, I pulled the plug.
So I made a massive change and pulled out of everything. What I found in the first week was pretty interesting… my chemical dependence on social media and my phone was so severe that the first day I was off, I found myself going to my phone over 20 times and looking for the social media apps.
This was alarming because it wasn't a conscious choice. It was an addictive behavior I've developed, and it shocked me how often I compulsively picked up my phone and went to where the apps used to be only to remember I had deleted them.
As an entrepreneur who likes to be driving and in control, it is shocking just how little control I had in those moments.
After taking three weeks off, I realized there was no way I could install them back on my phone.
I realized just how much of my focus was being diverted. But more importantly, I realized how much of the dopamine and serotonin that I was getting in my life was coming from looking at apps, seeing the likes and comments.
When really, I need to attach my dopamine, serotonin, and success loops to the metrics in my business.
Now, this isn't a Jerry Maguire moment. I'm not saying opt-out with me. I'm not going to go away from social media.
But I'm going to be publishing considerably less and any time that I do spend will be measured.
In a lot of ways, social media has been amazing for me. I've connected with incredible people.
I've made some friends I would have never made around the world. There have been really huge benefits. But I know the impact I can make if I focus my attention on where it needs to be.
And that's on the clients I serve and the change in the world we're making with them.
The lives we’re impacting mean far much more to me than a like, comment, or share. What I realized by taking time off is that so much of my energy was going towards social media subconsciously.
If I refocus that energy, our team's going to do better. Our clients will do better, and I know I'll do better.
So with that said, I will be minimizing my time on my personal Facebook page.
With the time that I spend on Facebook, I'm going to be focusing my attention and participation on our Business Page. That way, we can publish content with intention and help the people who need us. If you want to join me over there, just click HERE.
Thanks for taking the time to read this long post. I thought you all deserve an explanation for my behavior change, and as always, I want to remain transparent with you.
Thank you for your continued support, and here's to your momentum!