Highlighting the Personal Development Areas that Need Attention in the New Year

I never used to make New Year’s Resolutions. I was too much of an edgy individual who wasn’t going to kowtow to pack mentality. That was before I recognized that certain types of conformity are important and are actually the glue that holds a society together.

The always worthy of a read Coaching Skills International posted another great, simple piece on Jan. 1 that was titled Tips for Getting More Out of Life. While I think I’ve developed the ability to accept and/or follow Tips 1-6, it’s those last four I need work on. So, I decided that these will be things to work on in the immediate future. Since I resolved this on Jan. 1, technically it’s a New Year’s Resolution…I’m such a commoner.

These four tips were:

Schedule margin into your life – as something unexpected will often change your plans.

I love the irony of the timing of this bit of advice. This morning, only hours after reading this last night, my wife’s car was dead. So, I gave it a jump this morning and she made it work barely, but it sounds like there’s something well beyond a battery happening. Now, I’ve got to get it towed to a garage to be looked at and who knows the cost of fixing it. In less than one week, we’ve gone from a three-car household to a one-car household.

This would have really set me off in the past with anxiety, but I’ve made some strides in this area. I know in a few weeks things will likely be back to normal, but in the interim, the four of us all have such tightly packed lives I have no idea how it’s going to work with one vehicle. I’m now running through ideas of how to handle this. I really should run through other “when the shit hits the fan” solutions in my life before they occur. What happens if the hot water heater or furnace die today? What happens if my wife loses her job? What happens if my parents die or one of the kids gets sick? You can never predict the unexpected, but you can be better prepared than I am.

QTIP: Quit Taking It Personally.

Do you know the one word you’ll never read on a box of Q-Tips? Ears. You’re actually not supposed to stick them in there and the company will never tell you it’s OK. I can’t think of another product where 99.9% of people using them are doing it for a purpose the company won’t acknowledge…but I digress.

This is another work in progress. I’m much better at this than I was five or six years ago, but I’m not as far along as I wish. Just when I think I have this one nailed, I get bombarded with a bunch of negativity and shaking it off isn’t as easy as I tell myself it is in simpler times.

I think it’s not just attacks. I think it’s not being heard, or at least not having my opinions considered that feels so bad to me. As a journalist, I’m trained to hear all side of things, even if I disagree, and to do so with logic and measured emotion. There are a lot of people who will just trash you and not listen to reason. I guess I take not extending the same courteous to me as the personal disrespect part.

Define what’s necessary; say no to the rest.

You would think that somebody like me has a really easy time saying no to people, but it’s always been a problem. Despite being seen as a bad guy by many people, I hate being seen as the bad guy. It’s ironic. I’ve always, at least in my mind, tried to keep conflict to a minimum with others. I know the way I used to carry myself and conduct my business rubbed many people the wrong way, but I never set out to upset them.

Saying no is difficult for me. It led to too many good causes getting free advertising in my magazine, sometimes subpar movies getting into the film festival I helped produce and spending taxpayers money on a lot of social issues as a city councilor. I don’t like saying no to my kids, wife or parents. I don’t like being the negative guy. Saying no and stepping away is a challenge I face in 2020.

Take a deep breath and wait before responding. Don’t react, and say something you’ll regret.

I’m much better at this than I used to be, willing to say something deeply biting if I felt the situation called for it. Now, I can usually shrug things off one or two times, but if someone keeps poking the bear, I’m really, really, really good at saying hurtful things. Like, if there was a game show where you won prizes saying things that cut people deep, I would have been the James Holzhauer of it in 2004.

I think this goes back to not caring what people say. I’m improving and think that I consciously try to diffuse situations and/or walk away, but if the other party isn’t interested in letting things go, they can goad me into not letting them go. Then I say something truly horrible that surprises even myself.

Maybe by the end of the year I can get it to the point where I don’t react after 2 or 3 times but put it to 4 or 5. I mean, after four time of telling someone to back off it seems fair to go Hulk mode on them.

 

 

Plotting a Revolution: Leenaarts’ New Book Brings Unique Twist to Introspection

A personal note before I get to the main body of this book review:

They say when it rains it pours and I guess when it comes to my life and books, this is the week of the Noah’s Ark-like storm. Obviously, I was thrilled and excited with the fact that my new book was released earlier in the week, but I’m also excited to share with you a book project that I played 0.0002% in.

Jason Leenaarts, who I met through his podcast when I was guest last year, has just released a fantastic daily devotional-like book for those who want to spend the next year focusing on their health, both inside and outside. I am so proud to contribute two quotes to the book (June 21 and August 7, if you’re scoring at home).

If the name sounds familiar, it’s because I highlighted his website when I wrote the very popular 10 Blogs I Love That You Should Follow, But Probably Don’t Know About

Anyway, here is my more formal review of a book I hope you’ll consider picking up:

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Before I appeared on my first podcast in late 2017, I had never listened to any and now that my job title could be “professional podcast guest” I hate to admit that there are very few I continue to listen to after my one-and-done. As a guest who speaks about a delicate subject – pornography addiction – I make it a point to listen to pieces of at least a couple of episodes before I ever appear on somebody’s podcast. Jason Leenaarts’ Revolutionary You! was no different.

I loved what I heard. It wasn’t going to be another dreary appearance on a strictly-addiction show. I listened to a guy who lost 200 pounds and another who had to deal with the unique situation of physically training celebrities. Jason did such a great job being present in the moment, talking to the guest like they were the most important person in the world. So, I went for it and there I was, front and center, sharing my story with a unique audience on Episode 156.

Appearing on Revolutionary You! gave me the confidence to know I could appear on non-addiction shows and share the greater themes and lessons of my experience. Jason and I kept in casual touch, and I remained a regular listener because he continued with fascinating guests and great conversation.

Jason contacted me earlier this year with a bit of a random request. He wanted to know if he could use two quotes from my episode for a book he was working on. I said sure and aside from the occasional update, never thought much about it until he sent me a copy, which is now available on Amazon.

I was absolutely floored at the creative presentation of A Revolution A Day: Daily Musings and Motivations for The Health Enthusiast. Jason combed through hundreds of hours of archives from his podcast and pulled his favorite quotes from around 200 episodes.

Set up like a daily devotional, each day begins with the quote from a guest and the episode they appeared on. This is nice because you can always go to the Internet and listen to that episode if a quote is of particular interest. The quote may be about diet, exercise, mindfulness, society, science, self-improvement, general lifestyle, or in my two contributions, addiction. While the quote may have some specificity to it, Jason write a paragraph under the quote giving it a broader meaning and making it relevant to every reader.

Then, Jason asks the reader to reflect on the quote and his expansion of the idea with two or three follow-up questions and enough room to write a decent answer. Not only does the reader get a fantastic quote, an interpretation and introspective questions, but also a space to actually become part of the book itself.

For instance, my June 21 quote is: “I’ve got a lot of different coping mechanisms and one of the best ones is to get up and leave the situation.” In context, I was talking about triggers that come with early recovery. Jason expands the idea, talking about all temptation and the need to change one’s scenery to disrupt ingrained patterns of behavior. He then asks: “What needs to change in your environment? Where do you feel the most pressure to succumb to your areas of weakness? How can you change that?”

Those are great questions I want to answer in regard to my professional life and not always carrying my fair share of the load at home. With the way Jason expands the concept, it really isn’t about addiction triggers – unless you want it to be.

A Revolution A Day is really about the revolution always going on inside of you and pausing to recognize it. I don’t know if Jason thinks there’s a best time of day for the reader to enter their thoughts, but I plan on making my daily entry in the late afternoon or early evening, when I transition from my professional endeavors to my home life. That’s one of my more chaotic times of mindset shift and I think this book will help ease from one life focus into the other.

I’ve looked ahead in the book and can’t wait to put my thoughts down on some of the topics, but I wonder if come next November I’ll feel the same way on things. I think that’s part of the revolution aspect to the book; you’re not the same person from day-to-day.

Let me make it clear I don’t get a dime whether Jason sells 5 books or 5 million, nor do I have any affiliate links, but I think this might be the perfect kind of book for someone who wants to journal or keep a diary, but just doesn’t know where to start. If I was this kind of person, I might pick up several copies. I think comparing the you from 2020 to the you in 2023 would be fascinating and the format of this book makes it easy.

If you happen to be reading this review just after I wrote it, this book is a perfect holiday gift, but I think it would also be a wonderful present for birthdays and other life transitions like becoming a new parent or a graduation. It screams “thoughtful” and for those of us who head straight to the customer service counter for a gift card, this book will score some points – even if the gift is to yourself.

If you’d like to see the book on Amazon, click Here
If you’d like to hear my appearance on Revolutionary You! click Here

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My Book Officially Goes on Sale Today

Well, today is the day the book is officially released. By the time you read this, it will be live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and a few other online booksellers.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

Screen Shot 2019-09-11 at 12.54.52 PMToday, I have an Ask Me Anything event happening on Reddit, starting at Noon EST. I’ll be hanging out there a couple hours talking about the book and pornography addiction. If any of you would like to stop by, just visit https://www.reddit.com/r/AMA/ and if you don’t see it on the page after a bit of scrolling, just search my name Joshua Shea from the top search bar.

I’d love it if you’d stop by and say hello. Hopefully the trolls stay off their keyboards, but this is the Internet, so I’m sure I’m putting a target on my back.

There’s supposed to be a big snowstorm up this way tomorrow, so I’ll have time to begin working a few other angles in pushing the book. As I mentioned in one of the comments yesterday, it took several months before I had my biggest sales stretch on my first book, so I’ll try to remind myself that.

I do want to thank the regulars for constantly supporting me. It does mean a lot.

Perhaps I’ll write a little more later in the day…

And as always, if you want to buy the book, click HERE

If You’ve Ever Wanted to Help My Cause, This is It

The last six years or so have been a ride. I thought alcohol rehab in 2014 would be the end of it. I thought the same for sex/porn addiction rehab in 2015 or jail in 2016. Then there was my first book and launching this website. Initially designed as just a promotional tool, I had no idea the outpouring of not only support, but inquiries looking for help I’d receive through the site. Most surprisingly, half of them came from the partners of pornography addicts who were lost and looking for any life raft in their sea of doubt, sadness and betrayal.

I realized that my mission could not end. Much like the disappointment I felt when I couldn’t find any relatable, non-highly academic books on pornography addiction at the start of my journey, I felt the strong calling to create something for these partners. It’s hard to describe this calling other than to say I feel like it’s what I’ve been put here for.

I came up with a concept for a new book and thought of only one person to co-author the book with me. I met Tony Overbay, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist on his popular The Virtual Couch podcast and we instantly clicked. Thankfully, he liked the idea for the project, and we spent the next 18 months working together on it.

The result is He’s a Porn Addict…What Now? An Expert and a Former Addict Answer Your Questions. 

Online Flyer for BookWhy two authors? I explained it to someone the other day using an analogy to tattoos. Let’s say there’s an artist who apprenticed under the best in the industry, inked tattoos on thousands of people and regularly won awards for it. But, he or she doesn’t have a single tattoo on their body.

Then let’s say there’s another person, who is heavily tattooed and has probably spent more than 200 hours under the gun. They’ve experienced the pain, the thrill and the stigma that comes with having so many tattoos.

So, which one of them is the tattoo expert? My belief is that they both are, coming at it from different angles and together giving a better overall picture than either could individually. This book has a licensed therapist and a recovering addict. This has never been done for a book in this genre before. I think it gives a more complete picture to an addict’s partner than anything that has been produced in the past.

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Today is Black Friday and it will be Cyber Monday in a couple of days. Sandwiched between the two is Book Launch Sunday, when He’s a Porn Addict…Now What? will be officially released and begin shipping.

I’m not pretending it’s a good Christmas present. It could certainly create a lot of awkward laughs, but releasing it now is just the ways things unfolded. I’m not sure if the timing is bad or doesn’t make any difference. I just can’t think it’s good.

I’m also not going to pretend I understand all of the ins and outs of how Amazon ranks books or promotes them. I know it’s important to come out of the gate strong and to receive decent reviews. My greatest fear right now is that the book gets lost in everything else people have on their minds this time of year. The reality of the world right now is 64% of books are sold on Amazon while only 7% are sold in stores. This book is so important to me and important to my future and I fear being a victim of circumstance and bad timing.

I want the partners of pornography addicts to easily be able to find this book on Amazon in the next few months. I want therapists and doctors to learn about it, sample it and decide if it could be a valuable resource for many of their clients. I believe clergy members could learn a lot that would come in helpful in counseling their parishes. I even think addicts themselves could glean quite a bit from it. But they all have to be able to find it before it disappears.

I may passively push my book moving forward, and plan to basically link people back to this post over the weekend with my entries, but this will be the only time I straight-up ask you to purchase it. Please buy my book TODAY. Even if you’re not somebody who can utilize the book, I’m sure you know at least one person who can. If not, donate it to your library, church or local women’s charity. Give it to your therapist for one of their patients. Somebody you know can use this book. If you can’t afford a book, you could share this article with others on your blog with those who may be able to afford it, or need it. Come Monday, this book must be decently ranked on Amazon if it’s going to have a chance to maintain relevancy.

I would be deeply in your debt if you’d consider it and I would be happy to let you cash in a favor on me anytime. This isn’t about the 98 cents I get on each copy sold. I’m at a crossroads the next couple of days and need your help.

I’m so proud of the work Tony and I did on this book. Positive reviews from heavy-hitters like Dr. Doug Weiss and Dr. Mark Goulston have only bolstered my enthusiasm, but it’s now zero-hour.

If you’d like to read their reviews, learn more about the book, or purchase a copy, please use this direct link to head on over to Amazon.com (or whichever version you use in your country). Thank you.

 

 

Recovery Today did a Story About My New Book!

Seeing this got published this morning was a nice way to start the day. I also saw Dunkin Donuts is doing their Halloween-themed donuts again, so all is good with the world. If you’re interested in pre-ordering the book, and getting 25% off, visit here. I think the deal only lasts until Nov. 1. The publishers makes those calls not me.

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