My name is Tim McAuley.
That’s me on the left, with my dad.
In 2018 my dad accidentally taught me a lesson, I wish I’d learn earlier in life.
Embrace the Suck.
Since 2004, I’d been busting my butt trying to improve, and doing some pretty cool things along the way.
But, to be honest, for the most part I was a typical self help junkie.
To sum it up in as few words as possible.
Sometimes, Self-Improvement Is Just Masturbation.
You can pick at threads and unravel a lot trying to figure yourself out.
Truth is, the only thing improve are processes, systems, and habits.
The self is ever changing and adapting: full of all sorts of cognitive biases and bad neural connections.
Figure out how to program and operate the system. There’s no way to intellectualize it, you have to actually do it, we’re all slightly different, but wired very similarly.
That’s the secret.
Figure out your own combo and adjust it at every level.
Get out of your own way.
People get stuck in survival mode for various reasons, and those reasons are part of the past.
Cultivate selective ignorance.
Pretend you don’t know what you’re capable of and what’s hard to do.
Forget you have limitations.
What’s that thing you secretly think… I wish this was different?
Imagine yourself as lost…
….slightly off track…
…inside of you sits a GPS.
Once you discover how to program this GPS, and follow it, you’ll be amazed the differences you create in your experiences.
Sometimes you’ll forget to turn on the GPS and all you do is pull over and turn it back on. And get back on the road.
Press Pause on the story.
Take control of it.
What you actually do is clear your mind and give yourself the space to survey the situation and navigate the next obstacle.
When you press pause, you need to look at your story.
What’s the story is spinning your mind out?
You wouldn’t be on this page if you weren’t spinning in something….
…stuck at a level…
…wanting to break free.
You’re here because you want to get unstuck and upgrade your life.
Understand you’re also wired to crave a sense of belonging.
We are tribal primates who strive for meaning, and hope to impact the world.
Pick your tribe wisely.
Protect and love them with all you have. Serve your tribe and you’ll get more out of life.
What trips most people up is an over active prediction response, and that’s what we’re going to attempt to short circuit and rewire.
There is nothing to fear. It’s all just an illusion. The pain of loss, failure, or looking foolish.
It’s all in your head.
None of that stuff is real.
Imagine being bedridden for a few months at the end of your life.
The pain of regret trumps them all.
But, no worries, because even that’ll be over soon too.
Between now and then let go. Enjoy the ride.
Here’s how that lesson got drilled into my brain cavity into the depths of my soul.
I’m getting ready to jump in the shower and drive into Vegas for work at one of the best restaurants in the country.
Top of the Game.
Making BANK. Feeling pretty good about my life.
Annette and I finally got settled in Vegas, and decided to move on to Texas.
The plan was…. Get to Texas, go bring Dad down from Ohio, then work and save up some money to buy a restaurant.
I’m about to jump in the shower.
Call comes in.
Dad’s best friend. She’s freaking out. Yelling at me for being a shitty son and telling me to get my ass home and help my Dad.
He’d been telling me he was fine.
She’d been telling me he was lying.
I didn’t like her, so I didn’t listen.
She was right.
Next thing you know….
…19 hours later, I’m sitting at the foot of his bed in Cambridge, Ohio.
It perked him up.
We thought he’d make it.
We were wrong.
It took a few weeks for me to embrace the suck.
Finally, I realized there wasn’t a way out, so I went in….
…And stopped arguing with him and with everyone; with life happening, and made it my mission to let him have love on the way out of this world.
It wasn’t easy. And I failed more than once. Something about living in a recliner chair in a nursing home, watching your father waste away has a tendency to make you a bit moody.
By the end of it all, my family gained a newfound respect for me. My uncle called me Super Man for doing it all the way I did it. Everyone kept saying, I don’t know how you’re doing all that and still sane.
It wasn’t really an option to lose it.
You never know what you can do, until you have no other choice. (make mental note of that.) After you learn this system and practice it a few cycles, you’re going to figure ways to paint yourself in a corner…. Give yourself no choice….
Burn the boats that brought here as they say.
All I know is that as we got near the end of his life, he kept repeating certain phrases. It took a few days to figure out what he was doing. He would randomly repeat a running list of all that he’d left undone.
“oh… gotta finish that puzzle.”
“shit. what about the pump in the pond? damn it… what about the swing?”
These random sentences, and when you’d ask him what he was talking about he’d go blank and could’t explain it.
Sometimes his words would be wrong… sometimes he’d freeze up in mid sentence.
It was heartbreaking. Every single moment. Wrenching.
Just before we his Medicare ran out and we decided to check into the county home… at that point the Doctors were telling me he’d pull through…. So, we didn’t know how long we had.
I did the math on what he had available and he’d be able to be in the county home for about 14 months before he was wiped out….. maybe 4 months or so at the other home.
When we checked in to the county home, they were shocked that anyone would have talked me out of hospice.
But, just before we got there, Dad came back online one night while we watched American Pickers.
He shouted over: “BOY! Don’t say a word and listen up. I don’t know how long I’ll be able to talk. My brain ain’t right.”
He said a lot of things that hit home for me. Made me promise to start writing. And said “If you need to take time off, do it, but no more than 1 year, then get back to it, and write the damn book and help people!”
Then he said, Figure Out How to Get Out of Your Own Damn Way!
We didn’t really talk much after that. A few nights later we were at the county home, and I signed him into hospice. A few days later he died.
When my father died, I was HIS hero, and he was mine.
He died a good death even though it was at the county home, the house I grew up in was in ruins and worthless, and he barely had a penny to his name.
Being there, sitting in the guilt and shame of not being there sooner, and then cleaning up after him somehow opened my eyes back up to a truth…
What’s going on inside of you is all around you.
The condition of my dad’s home…
…the place I grew up in is a good picture of what it used to feel like inside me.
I am my father’s son.
And if I didn’t learn how to get out of my own way, that would become my future eventually.
Maybe not to that degree, because I know some outdated tools to keep me at a different level….
But, with those outdated tools, I could never shake that feeling of being broken.
I didn’t realize that broken was a good thing.
And I didn’t know that the secret to setting getting out of my own way was really just Embrace the Suck, and push through.
It took some practice to learn to do it.
Meditation was involved. Some dancing too. And a lot of journaling.
Slowly but surely the fog started to lift, then one day there was a shift. I woke up and felt, what I imagine a normal healthy person feels like when they get up….
Instead of filled with anxiety, dreading my day, and thinking about a conversation I want to have with a coworker….
There was a sense of stillness.
I’d felt it before, after a 10 day silent retreat…
Felt like smoking weed.
When you embrace the suck and focus on micro changes, the effect compound exponentially, and you notice them all at once.
I’ll share step one with you on the next page.
At the end of the next page, is a link to my Facebook page.
And instructions on how to get the next steps.