2019: Everything in Balance

From starting side hustles to dealing with depression. It was both amazing and at times a MAJOR fuck up.

 

2019 started out with a driving obsession to change my situation – mostly referring to where my career had taken me. Midway through 2018 I hit burn out. For the 2 years prior, I’d been pushing so hard at work, but a lack of clear work-life boundaries left me drained, burnt out, numb, not creative and as blunt as this may sound… I felt like I was shit at my job. I was in a bad place.

 

I changed roles in October 2018 and joined a new team. Those first few months in the team was spent rediscovering that spark and energy I’d felt a few years ago when I first joined Woolies. It took 6 months, but eventually I was feeling that flow again. My new manager gave me time to find my feet in the area – something that I will forever be grateful for.

 

But nothing prepared me for the hurricane that would smash me in the first quarter of 2019.

 

After one too many Grant Cardone vids on YouTube, I came to the realization that the only way to really free myself and deliver my purpose (more on this to come in other posts) was to leave corporate and start my own business(es). The average millionaire has seven streams of income in the US. So here I was, fresh from burnout ready to go HAM and push my blog leavethecouch.com, start side hustles and just burn all the candles I had to unlock this idea of wealth and the freedoms that come with it. Bad fucking idea.

 

Aside: For those wondering why I’m so focussed on material wealth or money, there’s more to this story. We won’t get into it here, but it starts with being a kid from the township of Mitchell’s Plain and wanting to change their situation. We all have our back stories.

 

Back to the present…

 

Not once did I think, “Maybe you don’t just miraculously refill your tanks after going through burnout. Maybe that dam of energy is still pretty shallow and going HAM on fuckall petrol isn’t a smart move.”

 

It culminated in massive anxiety attacks which I posted about on leavethecouch.com. Here’s a vlog I made about it:

 

 

At the time, I was posting regularly on leavethecouch.com, started working on launching an adventure touring company (Find Ventures) with my mates as well as helping another shape his idea of starting an online store – which would eventually become flatmountainliving.com.

 

On a personal note, I was neglecting my close personal relationships with family and friends that mattered to me. Let’s not forget the training for Batrun and Two Oceans Ultra.

 

I re-read the last few paragraphs and laughed at myself. The hurricane wasn’t just heading my way, I was running head-first into it.

 

It all came crashing down and I had to finally face all the shit that had been bottled up post-divorce and I admitted that I needed therapy. Little did I know it wasn’t all because of my divorce. I’ve been looking at life through a very distorted lens. Deep core beliefs of not feeling good enough and being extremely hard on myself for so long had driven me right into the ground.

 

Months of dealing with depression followed and life was fucking bleak all the way through to July.

 

Don’t get me wrong. There were amazing moments between February and July that really added positivity to that first half of the  year. But dealing with my demons was an experience that took so much energy to just get through. And I now know its going to continue for a long time. I’ve accepted that I’ve been dealing with depression for a number of years and this state was amplified by very poor sleep. The poor sleep was a result of trying to solve all the stuff constantly going on in my head that I either needed to deal with or ideas that I needed to get out onto paper. I’d grown accustomed to zero boundaries for way too long and always being “on” after a career in management consulting – something which is par for the course.

 

I still dip into lows and have to use the tools that I’ve worked on with my therapist to make sense of what’s triggering these feelings. It’s become a constant fight, but the positive thing for me is that I now have tools and accepting what’s happening to me has been freeing.

 

The second half of 2019 was a whole lot better. Armed with these tools now to really deal with my shit, I started re-crafting my life.

 

I went at it from all angles:

  • Financial
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Mental

 

I crafted healthier habits into my week, cut myself some slack, learnt what I wanted and what I didn’t want, started running for fun again and not to blog or create content – yes, I stopped using social media the way I did before.

 

My weeks are structured very differently now than the last few years and I am actively chasing some semblance of “balance”.

 

I’ll probably write a post about all the habits that I tested and things that I found which worked for me. But the one thing I can say with certainty is that speaking to a Psychologist is the BEST THING I DID FOR MYSELF IN 2019.

 

It’s definitely not been the Hollywood-esque meteoric rise from the ashes from February. This is real life shit. Things take energy and time. I still slip up and default to my old habits, but now I have structures, people and tools around me to get out of the hole before I go too deep. As uncomfortable a process as it was, I was forced to break down the old version of Fareed and have been actively trying to rebuild a stronger version.

 

I like the way Sherrilyn Kenyon puts it:

“The strongest steel is forged by the fires of hell. It is pounded and struck repeatedly before it’s plunged back into the molten fire. The fire gives it power and flexibility, and the blows give it STRENGTH. Those two things make the metal pliable and able to withstand every battle it’s called upon to fight.”

 

I’m still not completely out of the woods. But I’m real about fixing me.

 

There were some great successes from this year. Flatmountainliving.com is a proper online store and we have some amazing supporters – thank you to everyone that believes in where it’s going. Find Ventures is up and running and I have decided to move on to free up some capacity for other projects in 2020. I project managed and was part of the roll-out of an Africa Code Week project where our team exposed 8300 people to coding – what an amazing way to give back. My day job has been great and I’ve really found my creative feet again doing some proper strategic work for a dynamic organization.

 

My personal relationships are back to being truly meaningful again. For those people that matter to me, I’ve really focused and put in time to show that I love and care for them – I’ve been distracted for too long and now am pleased that I am present in those moments spent together.

 

It’s probably time for a re-evaluation of those big personal drivers for me: The Why’s that Drive Me and a deeper look into my values. But, I’ll leave that exercise for early 2020. Right now, I want to soak up the Cape Town summer and just have fun after a long-ass year.

 

Reflecting on 2019 has left me feeling really proud of how things have turned out. A lot has happened this year. Both unbelievable and really fucked up at times – I suppose everything in balance.

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20 Comments
  • Nick G

    Dec 30, 2019 at 19:02 Reply

    Maybe sometimes we need the fucked-up experiences to jolt us enough to re-engage with our values and shift things a bit? Great post, wishing you success in carrying that energy into 2020 and beyond!

    • fareed

      Dec 31, 2019 at 11:59 Reply

      Thanks brother and for being a sounding board when I needed you. Onwards!

  • Rushanah Salie

    Dec 30, 2019 at 21:53 Reply

    Great post Fareed! The bad and broken moments are what makes us real. These are all but tests we go through to make us stronger so that we can appreciate our gifts (family, friends, health) even more. Quoting from one of the movies my son and I love – “You gotta have the bad days so you can love the good days.” All the best!

    • fareed

      Dec 31, 2019 at 12:05 Reply

      I love that quote! Everything in balance. Shukran for taking the time to read and for the support Rushanah. We really did something amazing with those kids at Africa Code Week – definitely one of the most special moments of the year

  • Tegan

    Dec 31, 2019 at 08:41 Reply

    Very encouraging to me when a man is this vulnerable. More men should feel free to speak so openly about their personal struggles. It’s healthy asf. I salute you.

    • fareed

      Dec 31, 2019 at 12:02 Reply

      Thank you so much for the kind words Tegan. This year has really taught me the power of vulnerability. We all struggle with our demons, but I find that there is still so much stigma around men and dealing with their mental health. We have to be there for our brothers and show them that it’s okay – we’re here to help.

  • Rudy Oliver

    Dec 31, 2019 at 13:20 Reply

    Fareed, this is exactly what I needed to read… Ive been shifting Into the exact place. And now I know what to do brother. Awesome Blog post!

    • fareed

      Dec 31, 2019 at 13:23 Reply

      Dude, if you need to chat then I’m available – you don’t need to go through some of this kak on your own. I’ll happily share any advice that worked for me

  • Mareldia Ryklief

    Dec 31, 2019 at 13:42 Reply

    How do I even express how deeply proud I am of u, for firstly stop, actually listening to your body/mind and then facing that head on the same way u did the hurricane!! Even though it’s only the beginning of discovering who Fareed Behardien really is, u have already grown in leaps and bounds, and I can only say that because of experience!! And because of that I am SUPER SUPER EXCITED for everything else u’ll discover about your true self, embracing it & experiencing even more free than what u are feeling now!!!! You are going to love it!!
    Again Fareed, u make me proud to call u a friend! U’ve opened your can of worms willingly!!
    I will only wish u the best of luck, no scrap that, I wish u joy in every new realisation, grabbing it by the horns and riding the mother sucker!!

    • fareed

      Dec 31, 2019 at 16:33 Reply

      Awww man. We’ve been on this ride together for so long and you always know just what to say to light a fire in me! I’m going to be heading for this beast knowing my friends are fully behind me – it’s definitely an encouraging feeling. Shukran as always Mareldia

  • Reyanah

    Dec 31, 2019 at 14:05 Reply

    Love. Enough said.

    • fareed

      Dec 31, 2019 at 16:33 Reply

      Love you too cuz

  • Saeed Benjamin

    Dec 31, 2019 at 18:19 Reply

    Awesomeness on another level, our next coffee chat will soon hit your personalised diary. Keep it coming brother and all the best.

    • fareed

      Jan 3, 2020 at 11:27 Reply

      Shukran man! Yes, our coffee chats are going to be next level this year 🙂

  • Kaashiefa Anthony

    Jan 2, 2020 at 11:26 Reply

    “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.

    • fareed

      Jan 3, 2020 at 11:27 Reply

      I’ve learnt this lesson for real in 2019

  • Richard

    Jan 2, 2020 at 19:56 Reply

    Well done. Your journey is only starting.
    Life will take you to day one every now and again.

    What’s important…. Only you can answer it. It’s not the same as the person next to you though, “it would be too easy, then you’d have a blueprint” said life.

    All the best. Find you… F@@k everything and everyone else that is not benefit to mankind.
    Love you. And both life and I will love you.

    • fareed

      Jan 3, 2020 at 11:26 Reply

      Love you too bro! We gotta keep getting up after we get knocked down

  • Leslene Patel

    Jan 10, 2020 at 11:46 Reply

    Awesome honest expression of what’s been happening to you. I stumbled across this on FB. I had no idea you were doing all this except I was aware of the running. Working in the environment we do, I am not surprised to read about what you have been going thru. I remember we had a brief chat some months ago in passing, but I did not realize exactly how much stuff you had going on. I salute your honesty & vulnerability. Glad you have found the mechanisms & tools to deal with it & to come through it triumphant! Wishing you all the best for 2020 as you grow your projects & find meaning in every engagement & endeavor. Stay strong!

    • fareed

      Jan 11, 2020 at 22:22 Reply

      Thank you so much for the kind words Leslene. Yes, I feel very blessed that I managed to get into such a good place. We don’t talk enough about this stuff and keeping it behind closed doors is what will prevent us from getting stronger. I’m feeling the positive vibes right now and really looking forward to 2020 🙂

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