In my next conversation with Noam, he told me:
‘Dan, one of the clients that I was counting has backed out. I only have about 3000$ in the bank right now and I’m afraid that I might soon run out of money. I might not be able to pay you and thus not fulfil my agreement with you.’
At this point, I was very aware I fell behind with my duties and all that was circling my head was: ‘How do I snap out of this?’ so what I replied was:
‘Are you telling me this to motivate me?’
No. I’m telling you this so you know the state of the company. So you can decide on what you want to do.’
We discussed how to make things happen, how to attract clients, what there was to do. I heard it, wrote it down, and thought I’d would handle it later. I had to find a solution and start doing work. I thought about what Noam said about the company, but I wasn’t sure what I could do about it, I knew I would ride it out until the end of our agreement with him. Over the weekend all I managed to do was put together a few articles.
The next week I kept working on the script for the Invisible Path and on Wednesday during my call with Noam he reminded me about the 6 months review we had in two days. I knew there was going to be a serious discussion in the review.
We also reviewed the script for the Invisible Path during that call. Noam said he wasn’t happy about how the verse: ‘Your coward’s most vivid dream.’ sounded:
‘It doesn’t say that you’re a coward direct enough.’
We started reworking it.
‘You’re a coward, no…
But you know, the coward is you, no…
Now you know, you’re the coward, no…
The Coward knows, he is you!’
Those phrases stuck in my head long after the conversation and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was trying to send a message
The day of the 6 months review came. I decided to be completely honest and talk about exactly what I had done and hadn’t done. I was expecting a very harsh conversation and I didn’t really know what to do about it. I was still lost, I still had no idea what exactly I wanted to do and what my path was, what I wanted to do in terms of love life. My mind was a pendulum swinging non-stop.
When we spoke in the 6 months review, Noam was totally Zen about it. There was no reprimand. He told me that what had bothered him most was my reply to when he told me about the state of the company.
‘I thought you might say: What?! Noam no! Let’s do something! What can we do to revive the company?!’
I felt incredibly bad when he told me this. In my head, all that had needed to happen was for me to somehow snap out of where I was and be okay.
Noam then simply conversed about the new doors that could be opened. It was clear that a change was needed. He suggested that I could be a freelancer and sell my services to him.
I thought that was a good idea, but after the conversation, while I felt relieved, I felt no better. I didn’t follow up on that idea, but I did follow a very valuable piece of advice:
‘Take ideas to their extreme. Explore them! Consider all possibilities, even if you know you don’t want to do them, that’s what helps you get clarity over what you really want.’
So that weekend I did just that, about everything. I thought about what I would do if I left Redefine Us, I thought about what would happen if I chose to move back to Malta all of a sudden (it had been on my mind). I stopped stopping myself. I realized that I had been scared of considering ideas. Scared of being wrong, so I just kept myself in an in-between mind state.
What really did it was choosing to go to a party with my brother that weekend. We both got really drunk I remember telling my brother my various paranoid/self-pitying theories about the state of my life right now and he just said:
‘STOP! Stop underestimating yourself! You’ve travelled the world, got to go to Costa Rica and work a great job you’ve earned. Look around you! NO ONE HERE HAS DONE ANYTHING LIKE THAT. And stop talking about work at parties, you’re just learning to manage stress right now, it’s a tough one, I know, but I hope you manage to do it sooner than later.’
He hugged me and for the first time in months I felt a deep appreciation for where I was and what I was doing but most importantly: the people around me. I had completely lost sight of this. For two months I barely enjoyed ANYONE’s company, all I did was talk about managing to work or my choices about women. Jesus. I managed to disconnect from my thoughts and stress. It was incredible. I could hear people again, FEEL them be there with me. I was able to converse again in my natural way, which I had lost. Things felt very present for once and I felt like I was in my natural environment.
I rested all of the next day and on Monday it clicked, I knew what I had to do:
1. Nobody was going to give me anything for free. This life is mine, I need to earn my keep in this world for the things I want to do. So I decided to put the job in a box, and treat it like a job, rather than as the purpose of my life.
2. If I wanted to write, then I’d have to get up earlier and write.
3. If I also wanted to do my dissertation, then I’d have to do more work in the evening.
On that note, I asked Noam to introduce deadlines and for my tasks to be clearer. He thought it was a good solution and it worked, I started doing work.