When Life Gives You Lemons, Paint That Shit Gold

In the Winter of 2016, I walked downstairs to a cold, eerie basement that I had come to know as my sacred creative space in a small house I was renting in Walla Walla, Washington. As I edged closer to the bottom step, something seemed off with the smell of the air. The stack of journaling systems I was using to hold my life together was also in complete disarray, as if it had come to life and was loudly screaming “Dude, why did you let this happen to me?!”

It took me a couple of seconds to figure out what had happened, but once I did, I immediately fell face forward into the dark pit of terror and madness. How could this have happened? NOOO! WHY!!!!??? I’ll get back to that in a minute.

When You Hit The Bottom, Bounce Back Up

Just five years earlier, after starting my night with a few beers at some random Octoberfest celebration in Lexington, Kentucky, I woke up face-down-pants-down on my garage floor at around 9:00 a.m. Just inches from the wooden steps leading into the house, my nose had been leaking blood onto the concrete floor, and my hand still grasped an empty bottle of Jim Beam that I must have acquired somewhere along the way. I was too weak to approach and turn off my car, still running, parked in the middle of the front yard as though abandoned in a high-speed chase after a Cops episode.

A few years later, in February 2014, I woke up yet again from another night of blackout numbness. Although I hated myself for the situations, I couldn’t seem to break the habit. I pulled myself down to the oversized jacuzzi tub in my excessive four-bedroom house with five televisions, a full bar and too many fish tanks to count, and I just hit the floor in shambles. I cried. I pulled my hair out. I held my breath underwater and considered making the pain go away forever. The army of fear and resistance had me at check-mate, and I knew I had to make changes if I wanted to get out alive. But, how?

The Importance of Personal Daily Habits to Improve Mindset, Health, and Happiness

Under the guidance of a few incredibly special people that trickled into my life unexpectedly (Amber Vilhauer, Hal Elrod, Paul Kemp), I decided to start interviewing happy and successful people around the world who were living passionately, no matter what harsh situations the world presented them with. My goal was to highlight any commonalities in their habits, approach, and lifestyle and see what would happen if I applied them to my life. It wasn’t long before the number of interviews capped the 100 mark, and the habits and strategies I learned and started applying to my life helped me make a mass transformation that still doesn’t seem real.

In just two and a half years, I:

  • Sold my house and everything I owned to eliminate distractions and discover meaning.
  • Paid off over $20,000 in personal debt.
  • Retired my ‘traditional career’ in exchange for my own passionate, purposeful projects.
  • Automated a high-revenue e-commerce business and became my own boss.
  • Moved to the Pacific Northwest as I had always dreamed of doing.
  • Started traveling the world, testing my comfort zone in the best ways possible.

All these changes were catapulted off the back of one very simple change: the introduction of personal daily habits to improve mindset, health, and happiness.

After discovering the habits that fueled all the incredible people I interviewed, I was neurotically tracking them all in separate journals like a mad scientist on speed. I had thoughts about making the system more simple, and possibly sharing the ideas with others, but I was too scared and full of resistance to step into that light.

When Your Handsome Black Lab Pees On Your Journals

As I got to the bottom of the steps in that cold, eerie basement, the horrid smell and disorganized terror revealed itself! My handsome black lab, Arlonious Bologna Maximus, had lifted his leg and let down a stream of his own glory to soak all my journals. Not only that, he had jaw-chomped a few into unrecognizable pieces. The rage consumed me! All my sensitive, important information was soiled!

Just a few hours later, I remembered back to a year or so earlier when I had a call with my coach at the time, Jacqueline du Plessis. She said, “Dude, why don’t you just put all of those systems into one simple journal that other people can use too? You want to be a writer, right? You have to start.” She was right. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and I’ve also always wanted to help others overcome any resistance, fears, or situations that are keeping them from ultimate happiness as well. I don’t want anyone to feel like I used to feel, ever. I did just as she suggested.

Creating A Journaling System for the World

In early 2017, I released The Sweet Ass Journal to Develop Your Happiness Muscle in 100 Days. I had no idea what kind of impact it would have on my life, let alone the thousands of wonderful souls that would end up using it. Since its release, I’ve had hundreds of beautiful people reach out about the effect the journal is having on their mindset, health, and overall happiness. Most of the transitions and stories people have shared with me have brought genuine tears, outrageous laughs, and pure gratitude to my creative path.

Meeting Caitlin Grenier and Creating The Sweet-Ass Journal to Optimize Your Diabetic Lifestyle in 100 Days

One of the beautiful and brilliant people I met along the way was . Caitlin is the founder of Party Like A Diabetic, and she embraces every bit of her journey, no matter how unexpectedly hard it can get. She glows with happiness and health.

We met through a lunch meeting with my sister in Nashville, Tennessee in 2018, and she expressed to me her life mission to help diabetics optimize their lifestyles, mindsets, and overall health. As I shared the happiness journal with her, we immediately noticed a huge chunk of practices that could be beneficial to diabetics, as most of them positively impact stress and happiness levels, which can in return have an astonishing effect on keeping blood glucose levels in range and steady.

At this point, I had almost two years of great feedback from the happiness journal, as well as further research into the science of WHY these practices work. I had already started working on a revised version of the original journal, and I was instantly intrigued by Caitlin’s mission. When she asked, half joking, if we could make a version of the journal specifically for diabetics, excitement flooded my creative brain. Well, we made one!


In This Episode

This episode is an exploration of how Caitlin and I met, Caitlin’s journey through unexpected diagnosis and healing, and our creative alliance to bring these practices to those who need it in the world. We also explore the idea of shifting the world away from judgment, disconnection, and criticism, and into self-love, community, and connection. No matter what life presents you with, it’s important to find gratitude in the process and use the experience as motivation and fuel to keep moving forward and creating.

Check out The Sweet-Ass Journal to Optimize Your Diabetic Lifestyle in 100 Days

Links From The Show

Caitlin's Website:

Caitlin's Instagram: @partylikeadiabetic

The Sweet Ass Journal to Optimize Your Diabetic Lifestyle in 100 Days

Jonathan Wilson Music Video


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