Stop the Addictions and BE FREE!
By Tina Black
Not long ago, God birthed a series of books in me. My son Justin and I are working on one called BE FREE. Originally my plan was to help people be free from prescription medication and all sorts of addictive substances, because of the obvious destruction they cause, but I realized there are other addictions just as destructive to our lives, including addictions to fear, stress, disorder, drama, discord, and perfection.
This blog series is a taste of what will be in that book, and I can’t wait to share it with you. These are areas I’ve struggled with or still struggle with. Exposing them to you has made me aware and given me the ability to take action to BE FREE of them. I hope they bless you and give you, too, the ability to BE FREE.
Step #1: Stop Being Addicted to Drama
My husband and I have been business owners for more than 20 years, only to watch many of the staff and students in our schools quit or drop from our program. People enroll in our schools because of the promise of a better life, but then drama, disorder, and discord happen and many of them put up their hands and retreat. Yep, they quit and go back to the mediocre lives they wanted so badly to leave.
I call this being addicted to drama, disorder, and discord. Trust me, it’s easy to get caught up in those “3 Ds” but to live our best lives we have to distance ourselves from them at all costs.
In my twenties, I was addicted to soap operas. Why? Because their disharmony and drama made me feel like my life wasn’t so bad. I could keep living my mediocre life and be okay with it. For years, I was stuck. I even rushed home from work during my lunch hour, just to watch my “soaps.” Think of all the opportunities I missed! I could have met someone who could have exposed me to a better life. When I finally realized that the shows were running my life and I spent all my time thinking about the negative drama and what would happen next, I knew deep in my heart that it was wrong. I was no different than an alcoholic sneaking a drink here and there and letting it rule my life. When I finally realized it was an addiction, I stopped watching and began filling my time with others things. Gradually the urge went away, and to this day, I have no idea if soap operas still exist!
I’m horrified by the number of people I know who are still addicted to soap operas, horror movies, reality TV shows, and other drama-filled shows. It honestly breaks my heart. Even though they think, “Everyone else does it,” this subtle addiction leads them to engage in real-life drama of their own. I watch them take on other people’s drama that they should not be taking on, such as drama their parents or siblings are struggling with. If this applies to you, please listen carefully: Stop trying to fix people and leave it to the professionals! You can’t be the one to save your parents from divorcing or your siblings from taking the wrong path. Taking on their drama only enables them more. Yes, you can be there for support. You can pray for them but you can’t abandon your own dreams. In their right emotional state, they wouldn’t want that for you.
Remember: people who have abandoned their dreams will try to steal yours.
In my book, BE AMAZING, one of my seven steps to success is to change the channel. I mean that literally. Turn off the TV. Read a book or listen to a podcast that will help your business or lead you closer to your dream.
Don’t be obsessed with money, success, fixing people, etc. Instead, be obsessed with improvement. Then you can start getting closer to your dreams.
THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE: Evaluate how much time you spend watching TV, getting involved in gossip, and allowing disorder in you home, your car, your briefcase, etc. Evaluate how much discord you have with friends and family, in person and on social media. Do you constantly disagree with people? Do you live in constant frustration? This week, be aware and keep a journal of all your thoughts. Then begin to take 10% shifts and choose better ways to spend your time. Take 10 minutes a day to organize your car, your room, your home, and your desk. Take 10 minutes a day to listen to a podcast. Read a book. Do this every day for 10 days and watch what happens. You’ll start making shifts that will bring you closer to your dreams.
Let me know how you do. I’d love to hear your thoughts about this blog.
Step #2: Stop Being Addicted to Negativity
Stop being so addicted to negativity about yourself and others that you live a stagnant life.
I know this addiction far too well. You cut yourself down. You constantly criticize yourself. You spend so much time having a critical spirit that you wonder why everyone hates you and why the world is falling apart. You walk around with a “nothing good ever happens to me” attitude. That used to be me, and it still is on occasion.
When I talk about this with my students, staff, and business colleagues, some of them tell me they’re just “being real” and pointing out the reality. Um, excuse me … whose reality? The media? Your neighbors? Your friends? Your family?
The last time I looked, God was turning people’s adversities into triumph. Giving them a voice to help others. The last time I looked, I saw Paul Mitchell Schools raising more than $16 million for amazing charities that save lives. I’ve witnessed some of my students and staff anonymously giving gas money or food to another struggling student. I’ve witnessed marriages restored after couples learned how to love themselves so they can love each other.
It’s time for all of us to stop looking for what’s not working and start looking for what is. Won’t you join me?
I truly believe that a positive attitude instead of a negative one can lead you to your destiny and away from a stagnant life. A positive attitude at work will let you make more money and have more influence. People will want you to lead them. They’ll be attracted to your positivity and kindness.
Do you feel stagnant? If we asked everyone in your inner circle to anonymously grade you as being more positive or more negative, what would they say?
HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK: Notice the language you use about yourself, your family, your spouse, your co-workers, your friends, and the world. If you constantly bring up negative thoughts and words, start to switch your language. You might have to “fake it” for a few days, meaning you might have to force it.
Negative, critical thinking might be a bad habit you got yourself into, but it can and will destroy you and your life. Stop posting negative drama on social media. Stop “venting” to people who don’t turn you around to positivity. You are worth it!
Let me know how it goes.
Step #3: Stop Being Addicted to Instant Gratification and a Mediocre Life
I’m in my fifties now, which means I grew up in the microwave and TV dinner generation. Now I live in the computer generation, where information and answers come so fast. I love the instant gratification, and I’m addicted to more.
Unfortunately, real-life transformation and most worthwhile goals require us to wait, process, grow, and get ready — and that’s hard. Because I’m addicted to instant results, I get frustrated when things take time. For example, my husband and I are building a new cosmetology school in Michigan and it was scheduled to be finished six months ago. Talk about a delay! We’ve also been working for over a year to lease our second salon in Florida, because three of the places we bid on fell through. Talk about another delay!
How about you? Are you frustrated because it feels like it’s taking too long to reach the goals you’ve set for your health, your job, your career, or school?
We need to believe and keep saying to ourselves, “Delays are detours to better outcomes.”
Is it true? Yes, it is! I’ve witnessed it over and over in my life. I believe God allows these delays to build our character and our mental toughness. If I can’t handle a delay in building a new school, I certainly won’t be able to handle the struggles that will come with owning my fifth business. Adversity builds character, and we need to pass the test.
I truly believe God will not give us more until we pass the tests we are given. Why would he? If he took us to the next level too soon, we’d be set up for failure and he loves us too much to do that. It’s like raising your kids: you’d never put them on an adult-sized, two-wheel bike at age 4, right? No! You love them too much to do that. You want to protect them from pain, serious trauma, and perhaps even death, so you start them with training wheels. That’s what God does for us. He has us on training wheels. Once we pass that test, we get the next one, and so on.
Success is a process, not an event. If we reach a goal too fast, we barely appreciate it and we have a very small success story. We need grit. Determination. Diligence. Mental toughness. We want something bigger than ourselves because then we know God brought us through it. And we just know it’s our destiny. Every goal I’ve hit in my life has been far beyond my human capacity and I know it.
What about you? Are you so addicted to instant results that you’re living a mediocre life? Do you know you were made for more but you can’t figure out why life is passing you by? Do you start school and quit? Do you start a job and not see the money you hoped for, so you quit? Stop quitting! Success is a process, not an event. You’ve got this. Get a mentor who is currently two steps higher than you are. Get two, three, or four mentors and ask them to hold you accountable. Ask them to show you how to keep from quitting. To wait. To hustle. To stay humble. To have gratitude in the valleys. Surround yourself with an inner circle of doers: people who don’t quit. Better yet, join one of my masterminds. (Flyers and links are below.)
HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK: Evaluate your inner circle. If they’re quitters, then lead by example for them. Expand your inner circle with winners. Add people who are not addicted to quitting, people who have reached the goal you’re working toward. Call or message them and ask them, “What do I need to know to be successful?” Write down the answers and go to work on it!
Step #4: Stop Being Addicted to Worry
Stop being addicted to worry. Know that your problems may be bigger than you but they’re never bigger than God.
I used to worry so much about everything that I was actually worried about worrying! I lived in fear and didn’t take chances because of it. I still do sometimes, but not as much. How about you? Do you worry so much about what could go wrong that you don’t even try? With some people, the minute I mention an idea or a business I want to try, they tell me with all “sincerity” what went wrong when they tried, or a story of defeat they read somewhere, and how they’re worried about my situation and want to keep me and my family from getting hurt. That’s not encouragement to dream big; it’s encouragement to play small.
I rarely share my big dreams with naysayers or worriers because I don’t want to hear their negative response. Be careful who you tell your dreams to. Worriers are lurking everywhere. Your job is to notice who they are and stay as far away from them as possible, especially when it comes to sharing your “secret” dreams—and by the way, you know why they’re “secret”? Because you don’t have confidence in them because of your addition to worry. (Get it now? Are you thinking, “Oh yeah, Tina’s right. I am addicted to worry!”)
Tell your dreams to people who will support you or are two steps higher than you into the same dream.
HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK: First, recognize what you’re worried about. If you say, “No, I don’t worry,” ask three of your closest confidants who speak the truth to you if you’re a worrier.
Next, go to work on your faith. Don’t be afraid of pressure. God isn’t surprised or intimidated by obstacles. Remember sweet David, the shepherd who defeated Goliath in battle with one small stone? Yep, that’s you sweet little_____(fill in your name), ready to face your battle and defeat it with God on your side.
What is it, deep inside, that you want to accomplish—that secret dream you never told anyone? Is it your health? A vocation? A business? A hobby? A relationship? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Write it down.
Now take a step in the direction of achieving that dream this week. What could you do to make it happen? What first step can you take? Write it down.
And by all means, stop being addicted to worry! You’ve got this. God is on your side!
Step #5: Stop Being Addicted to Analysis Paralysis
I have met so many people who just can’t make a decision. They strategize ideas forever when they just need to pull the trigger. Part of this “analysis paralysis” is the need to be perfect or the fear of failure.
Here’s the deal: if you have an idea, take the leap and you’ll find your wings on the way down. Make a few mistakes and learn from them. Overanalyzing causes you to lose so much momentum and desire that you put it off for “another day.” Then, boom, the idea vanishes because you get so busy doing other things and lose interest.
I love the concept of “ready, fire, aim” instead of “ready, aim, aim, aim.” Quit getting stuck on the “aim” and just do it! Do you have an idea or business strategy? Just do it!
Now, I’m not talking about a business idea that requires the time to get buy-in from your team. I’m talking about writing the book you’ve wanted to write your entire life but just can’t get started. I’m talking about that business you wanted to start. Or that body you’ve always wanted. Or that career or hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue. The nonprofit you want to start. The idea to help you reach your sales goal. You fill in the blank.
YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK: What have you always wanted to do but haven’t pulled the trigger because you’re addicted to analysis paralysis (or as some people call it, strategic thinking)? Write it down and write your first step. Then, as John Maxwell says, the secret is in the walking so just start walking! Stop being addicted to analysis paralysis and living a mediocre life!
Step #6: Stop Being Addicted to Scarcity and Living a Mediocre Life
No matter what your circumstances may be right now, the life you have is the only one you have so you’d better learn to love it.
Have you ever heard yourself or someone you know say any of the following:
- This only happens to me.
- I’m not dreaming big because I don’t want to set myself up for failure.
- Nothing good ever happens to me.
- Everyone around here picks on me.
- I’m tired of being singled out.
- This world sucks.
- People are mean to me.
- And on and on and on.
Yep, I hear it every day, from posts on social media to people talking in my business or in the grocery store line.
If you can’t stand your life, then do something about it! Don’t just sit there and complain—do something to make it better.
Listen, God didn’t come into this world to give you a barely get-by existence. He came to give you abundance and a life of increased joy, influence, and power.
Have you ever noticed that you can have two people in the same room, and one sees all the good happening while the other sees all the negative, horrible things?
Kathy Buckley, one of my favorite authors and speakers, tells a story in her classes about Ruth, a woman who lived in an institution for over 30 years because doctors thought she was mentally deficient. In fact, she had such severe cerebral palsy that she couldn’t talk or move, and she could barely breathe. But they were wrong! Her mind was intact. Once a nurse discovered that, Ruth was released, cared for, and even became a best-selling author and speaker. She wanted to teach the world how to truly live!
The majority of us are reading about Ruth with able bodies and minds, yet living a more scarce existence than she did. Now hear me: that’s an addiction to scarcity!
So, what can you do? First recognize the problem. Listen to your words. Do you complain a lot? Do you speak words of defeat? Do you post negative drama on social media? Then you have an addiction problem. Just like being addicted to alcohol or drugs, the first step is awareness. The second step is to ask the people closest to you to hold you accountable. Then surround yourself with visionary, passionate, positive people. Energy rubs off.
HERE’S YOUR CHALLENGE FOR THIS WEEK: When you catch yourself saying something negative this week, say 2–3 positive things about it. In our Paul Mitchell Schools, we call this forward focus. Focus on the positives of a negative situation. For example, if you get stuck in traffic, instead of cursing the car in front of you, say, “Wow, this is great! I get to slow down to breathe and relax. Thank you, traffic!” Or “Wow, thank you traffic! Now I get to listen to a podcast I’ve been wanting to listen to, or call my mom.”
Get over the traffic! Then write down how you did. Pass or fail? Bitter or better? You’ve got this. Now stop being addicted to scarcity and go live an abundant, fun-filled week!
Step #7: Stop Being Addicted to Problems and Living a Mediocre Life
You’re probably thinking, “Stop being addicted to problems? Tina, you’ve gone too far with this one. I’m not reading your blogs anymore!”
If you’ll just hear me out, I’m sure that by the end of this blog you’ll see that we all have the potential to be addicted to our problems.
Day after day, I read Facebook posts and listen to my staff, students, friends, family (including myself!), only to hear conversations filled with problems and stresses. Here’s what’s wrong with that: we move toward what we focus on. When we focus and talk about problems, guess what we get more of? Yep! Problems!
SO HERE’S MY MANTRA THIS WEEK: Pray, don’t say.
AND HERE’S MY CHALLENGE TO MYSELF AND YOU: Instead of running to another team member, fellow student, family member, or even your accountability partner to spew all your frustrations, problems, and anger … pray. That’s it. Just pray. Take 30 seconds before you speak about the challenge and pray.
If you forget and find yourself starting to say something negative about your life, ask the person, “Will you pray with me?” and pray about it together. Likewise, if someone comes to you and spews negativity or frustration, stop them and say, “Let’s pray.” And let me know how it goes!
I bet this will happen: your conversations will be more filled with goals, dreams, and visions. And that, my friend, is what we need to focus on. So you choose: do you want to focus on problems? Or focus on goals, dreams, or visions?
I promise you, this will be the best week of your life, and if you keep it going you’ll have the best year ever!
Step #8: Stop Being Addicted to Excuses and Missing Out on Life
Every person has an excuse bag. “It’s too hard.” “I don’t have enough time.” “It must not be God’s will for me.” “I don’t have anyone to help me.” “I’m afraid.” “I don’t have enough money.” And on and on and on.
What was your last excuse? Share it in the comments below … it will be fun to see how many we come up with, although I’m pretty sure I’ve heard them all. How do I know? Because I catch myself with them daily – yikes!
My life is filled with unfinished projects. How about you?
My challenge is that I say yes to everything, but when the going gets hard I come up with excuses like, “If I do that I’ll get off track with my other focuses.” Or, “Who do I think I am, anyway?” When a project seems out of my control, I think, “It’s not my gift or strength so I’ll quit this project.”
God would not put something on our hearts if he didn’t want us to complete it. He wants us to take on projects bigger than ourselves that only he could do because then and only then will we not take the credit ourselves. He wants us to remain in a state of humility and lean on him for everything.
When I started as a Paul Mitchell School owner, and then as a salon owner, and then as a speaker, and again as an author, I was in over my head. That’s exactly where God wanted me and where he wants you. He wants us in over our heads because he wants to head it up!
Without God’s strength and wisdom, I would not be who I am today. As I write this, I have butterflies in my stomach because he’s given me even more projects and dreams that, if I told others, they’d laugh and say, “That’s unrealistic. You don’t have what it takes. That’s ridiculous!”
But here I sit thinking, Okay, God, you put these dreams in my heart so I’m giving you my excuse bag and replacing it with your “can do” bag:
- With God all things are possible.
- God is able to do immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.
- I am enough.
- God’s strength is sufficient.
I still have butterflies, but I’m clinging to God’s promises.
How about you? What dreams are hidden deep in your heart — the ones you buried with your excuse bag? Write them down now. Give your dream to God. Write it daily in your journal. Pray. Look to God to establish your steps. Trust me, he will.
I say this carefully and kindly, but trust me on this: don’t share your dreams with anyone who has lived a lesser dream than yours. People living out lesser lives will not understand your dream because they won’t even dream for themselves. The people I’m describing could be (and most likely will be) members of your own family. Instead, find a next-level mentor who is living the same dream God has put on your heart. Maybe, like me, you will only find them in books. Or for now, maybe you can borrow the belief from me until that person comes along.
HERE’S THIS WEEK’S CHALLENGE:
- Write out your goals.
- Pray about them daily, asking God for the next steps.
- Find a next-level mentor. If you don’t have one, you’ve got me. Send me an email right now. Respond to this blog and tell me what God has put on your heart. I’ll be your biggest cheerleader because I know what it’s like not to have a confidant.
I know what it’s like to live beyond what our minds can imagine. I’m living proof. Daily. God is so good. Trust me. I can’t wait to hear from you!