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Sometimes Life Sucks – Deal With It!

Life Coach pulling rabbit out of hatI have to confess that I can occasionally get irritated by a small group of Life Coaches that seem to want to give the outward impression that their life is absolutely nailed on and they move from one outstanding day to the next without so much as a backward glance.

The reason I sometimes let it bother me is because life doesn’t work like that, for anybody!

We all have shit days, weeks, even months and to try and pretend otherwise is folly and fundamentally dishonest and serves nobody.

I for one don’t want to give anybody the impression that by hiring me I can help make their life perfect.

Neither I, nor any other Life Coach not called Marvin The Magician can do that, no matter how many times we post motivational quotes on Twitter or tell people in our bios “I love life!

We pretty much all love life and that will be aptly demonstrated if you try and take somebody’s off them.

Primarily, this is why I will sometimes whine on my blog, because shock horror, I do sometimes whine in real life.

It’s also why I’ll pretty much talk about anything (Including religion and politics) because I am a LIFE coach.

I’m not a Happy Coach (although I’m usually pretty damn happy), a Delusional Coach or even a Pollyanna Coach. What I do is about life and sometimes life really, really, sucks and there is simply no way around that.

You just have to deal with it and sometimes dealing with it involves talking about it.

This last week has really, really, sucked.

Actually that’s not technically true, it did really, really, suck until my wife (Helen) stepped in and pulled a rabbit out of the hat by reframing the shit out of it so it sucked a whole lot less.

Several months ago she started getting headaches and issues with her vision. She has an astigmatism in her right eye and wears glasses for reading and computer work to correct it.

She presumed that as she hadn’t had an eye test for 18 months that that was the issue. She kept promising she’d get her eyes tested when she had some spare time whilst single-handedly raising the stock price of Advil by several points.

A week or so ago things came to a head (no pun intended) when she told me she’d had her current headache several weeks without any relief and that she was also getting blurred peripheral vision.

I immediately kicked into panic mode because that didn’t sound like an astigmatism issue to me and anyway, I panic very well when needed.

Fortunately, being an oncology nurse and working closely with the head and neck team she was able to get booked in for an fMRI the following day.

However, the news wasn’t cheering at all as she had what was politely described as a “deviation of the infundibulum and an area of diminished enhancement consistent with an 13mm x 8mm adenoma.”

In layman’s speak, that means you have a brain tumor.

The ‘enhancement’ was on her pituitary gland which in many respects is good news because it’s very rare for malignant tumors to develop on the pituitary, they’re almost always benign.

However, they can turn malignant and spread if not treated and they can still do a lot of damage, especially to the optic nerve, if left to their own devices.

And that is where we are now, waiting to see if Helen will have to have surgery or whether they can treat it with medication and/or radiation.

Surprisingly enough she wants surgery and that’s part of the reason for this post.

Her amazing attitude.

You’d think as the Life Coach I’d have been the one calming her down and reframing the whole situation, wouldn’t you? Well it hasn’t been quite like that, in fact the opposite is closer to being true.

When recently she got absolutely hosed on a promotion because she didn’t have her UK qualifications from High School, she astounded me by coming home and saying:

“Oh well, you don’t have to be a manager to be a leader,”

But she took it to an even level higher with this.

She was had thyroid issues for some while and it now seems like there is a high probability this was caused be the reduced pituitary function. The thyroid issues led to a host of other related conditions that she has managed with medication, but are a real pain to her.

So Helen has reframed the whole thing as a brilliant opportunity to fix a number of problems in one fell swoop and seems almost excited by it!

Is that about as good at is gets when it comes to reframing and sticking to a positive attitude?

The fact is, as the title of the post suggests. Life does suck sometimes.

You will almost certainly go through illness, lose loved ones, have things go wrong at work, have arguments and days where you wished you’d stayed in bed.

That’s not the issue, the issue is how you deal with it.

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally feeling down for a period of time, that’s part of life and it’s perfectly normal and even healthy and ok for other people to see that vulnerability.

The problems occur when you allow that to continue and adopt a victim mindset and start thinking your crap is worse than everybody else’s crap.

Unless you are literally drawing your last breath as you read this, it isn’t, so deal with it.

92 comments to Sometimes Life Sucks – Deal With It!

  • Kerry

    This has to be my quote of the month as I too do this “…by reframing the shit out of it…”

    My get well wishes to Helen.

  • Big hugs all around! I’m glad you two have each other, everything I’ve heard makes me think you have an extremely loving relationship.

    It does drive me bonkers when people are resistant to re-framing but then I realize it’s finally an opportunity for me to be better at something than they are and then I don’t feel so bonkers any more.

  • Like Bob Proctor says, walk around your problem until you get to the right side of the issue. The challenge is that is much harder done than said…

  • Your wife sounds like an amazing woman. Best wishes!

  • I really resonated with this post, Tim. I, as well as all of your other readers, appreciate the integrity you display by writing about REAL LIFE. Keep hanging in there, and best wishes to you and Helen. To say it’s a tough situation is a drastic understatement. I hope everything will be okay, and you both get through this as much stronger people. I really, really wish you all the best.

    Take care,
    Josh Lipovetsky.

  • I totally agree that it is normal, indeed healthy, to feel crap for a period of time in difficult circumstances. Speaking personally, I find bed and Dulce de leche icecream helpful when those times occure.

    My best wishes to you and Helen. I hope it all gets sorted out. Sounds like you’ve got a good, strong northern woman there, Tim.

  • I admire your realness. And from now on I, too, will practice the fine art of “reframing the shit out of things.”
    Peace to you and Helen.

  • Wow-all I can say is I admire her courage and I admire your transparency.

    Wishing you both many more years of health and happiness together and may you continue to help other people the way you both do now.

  • I think Helen just became my hero. I sit and whine too much and dwell on negatives too much, when I should be shutting up, taking action and realizing that my issues are probably not the end of the world.

    Helen just showed that she’s an incredible leader.

    I will definitely keep Helen and you in my prayers and I hope all goes well with surgery and/or treatment.

    • Thanks Lily, but ya know, most of us whine (including me) from time to time until we get a gentle reminder that really things aint that bad. So go easy on yourself!

  • It’s just as well you go into panic mode.. I reckon it’d be much more irritating if you reframed for Helen all the time. (I hate being cheered up when I want to spend a little time being miserable).

    Best wishes to Helen for the surgery, and lucky you for having such good taste in women that you have found and held onto someone that can even teach you a thing or two. :)

  • Rosita Ramírez

    Hey Tim, Please give super hugs to that superwoman you have at your side. I am just about to go to Church and will pray for you guys. Thanks for all what you do to help everybody. Youy will sEe how this is just a way Our Lord wants to show His infinite Love… One more time! Grab strongly His Hand!

  • Hey Tim,

    There’s nothing more irritating to me than life coaches or personal development gurus that are always “happy-go-lucky.” Life, indeed, gets the best of us sometimes. And it’s also important to acknowledge that not EVERYTHING is in our control.

    But, as you mention, our attitude is one thing that we do have control over. And reframing is a great way to take even the worst of situations and try to make them better.

    I hope your wife is doing better now!


  • I love your realisic approach Tim. I decided that June would be my “nothing negative comes out of this mouth” month.

    I lasted half a day… I often laugh when things at things that are crap or have gone wrong, but by trying to pretend things weren’t crap and that everything was peachy all the time I hardly laughed at all.

    My thoughts are going out to you and Helen and I’m wishing her all the best with this. She sounds like an amzaing lady (not that I need to tell you that!)

    • There are twice as many words in the English language for negative emotions as there are for positive ones. We’re programmed to look out for danger at a deeply unconscious level, so I think half a day is brilliant!

  • Rob

    I don’t know Helen, but what an incredible woman. My wishes to you both for a good recovery, Tim.

    Spot on with this post, Tim. It’s not what you’re faced with it’s how you deal with it.

    For me, connecting with my creative strengths (music) is a good one to overcome tough times and an opportunity to grow stronger.

    Great to see/hear a ‘real life’ life coach putting it out there.

  • Helen

    Helen sounds like a good egg, great reframe! Also loving the expression, ‘reframing the shit out of it!’

    Wishing her a speedy recovery and may all her medical issues be sorted out with this op.

    All the very best to you both


  • Lynn Hess

    I, too, admire Helen for her attitude and you for your transparency. It sounds like you two teach other AND are willing to learn from each other, and are good partners in growth — which is an excellent basis for any relationship, IMHO!

    I get the impression that the overly “Pollyanna Positive” coaches tend to be those just starting out — they may have recently had some transformational experience, or it hasn’t been that long since they truly realized that they have the power to choose the way they look at life instead of being at the mercy of it — and they’re giddy about it. It’s like, having achieved this realization, there’s kind of a “white knuckle” grip on it, and a reluctance to let any of it go as though it might be lost forever if any negatives are allowed to creep in. Then, as the knowledge matures (often because life gives a hard kick in the ass), I notice that most people are more willing to let go of that hyper-rah-rah stuff and appreciate life in all its reality, even the rough parts. (I recognize this as a recovering Pollyanna myself :))

    Best wishes to you and Helen, and I’m glad you have each other to hold onto during this rough patch!

  • Tim, what a powerful and honest post; thanks for the reality check. All best wishes to Helen — I hope everything works out well for her. And hope things improve for you too. Thinking of you both. x

  • Hi Tim,
    To me, life is to be managed not solved. The Serenity Prayer says it all for me. Before I figured out that life consisted of cycles with peak experiences and disappointing lows, I thought lows were indicative that I was doing something wrong. Relationships end, balloons pop and everyone has to go to the dentist.

    • Thanks Riley. I just spent some time checking your blog out, you have some really cool stuff going on there and I’m surprised I’ve not come across it before.

      • Rob Collins

        Agreed. Riley, your most recent post really got me thinking. I’ll be stopping by your blog more often.

    • I third that Riley – just checked out your latest post and it’s spot on. I so agree with William James’ quote that by changing the inner attitudes of our minds, we can change the outer aspects of our lives. Just added you to my reader and look forward to reading more.

  • Wow Tim,

    I don’t even know what to think right now, I’m in a bit of shock…just thinking of how much positive energy you need to pull up in order to see the positive side of this, just as your wife has. Total wake up call. All my positive energy is coming your way. Best wishes!!

  • Best wishes to you both… it must be tough, but at least you know and can do whatever possible to deal with it. All the best.

    • Agreed, I think it came almost as a relief, although I know that sounds a tad ridiculous. The fact of the matter is it really could be a lot worse.


  • My heart goes out to Helen and yourself at this time. My mouth dropped when I read the diagnosis and then I kept reading about an awesome women who is an absolute inspiration in these circumstances. My best wishes for her. For your both.

    I once had a client say to me “Oh, I’m so glad you have crap days too!” when I shared with her a bit of glum over a particular event I had during an ‘off the record’ call. It was so funny to hear her say that and I realised it was a relief for her to know I was living life just like she was. Being a Life Coach hadn’t delivered me from all suffering.

    My husband is the best unofficial life coach I know. He has a way of reframing without ever knowing he is doing it. He saved his life 3 years ago and now teaches me every day about how to treasure all of our opportunities. Good, or bad. They are all life and learning.

  • Anonymous

    I just hope everything turns out ok

  • Hi Tim,
    Reframing is great. It’s often how we look at things in Life that gives us our meaning. Your wife is one strong lady. You have both had your “issues” & deserve a change of fortune. Good luck with it.
    Oh, by the way, I have some FB Life Coach “friends” who seem on top of the world every moment of every day & keep telling me that…….gets a little boring. We do have shit times but it’s how you work through it & come out of it that counts. Thanks
    be good to yourself

  • Wow is right! What an amazing woman! So happy for her and you both that she has such an ability! I learned years ago that you NEVER settle for what life puts on your plate. Scrape it into the trash and demand something different if you must, but never settle. Life does indeed suck – but the alternative to life is worse than the suck every time. Great post! Best to you both – you’re in my prayers!

  • Lynn

    Becky! I LOVE this line: “I learned years ago that you NEVER settle for what life puts on your plate. Scrape it into the trash and demand something different if you must, but never settle.” Hope you don’t mind if I share that (I’ll credit you!)


  • Yep life sucks (sometimes) ! Best wishes to you and Helen and I love the approach of “reframing the shit out of it” definitely something that no pollyanna coach could come up with, and that is why we are here reading your stuff… REALITY no glossy coat of BS just real life lived and appreciated for what it is, and good practical approaches to those piles of crap that we all step in as walk through life!

  • Scary. Coming from someone who’s battled Leukemia twice, my heart jumped when you mentioned tumor. Keep up your spirits, sounds like there is a good chance of everything working out, but it still sucks.

    On another note, at least when you whine on your blog it’s about something meaningful, and not just because you dropped the eggs coming in from the car or something stupid like that.

  • Rob Collins

    I’m almost speechless. My thoughts are with you and Helen mate, she’s a fucking legend!

    PMSL @ this: “We pretty much all love life and that will be aptly demonstrated if you try and take somebody’s off them.”

  • Rob Collins

    BTW, this post seems to have been a brilliant reality check for lots of people, myself included.

    It’s reminded me of an inspirational ex-army guy I used to work with. He’s sadly seen several of his mates killed in battle. Whenever he was having a bad day, he’d say to himself, “Has anybody died today? No? Then it’s not a bad day”. A great lesson in perspective.

    • Rob,
      I absolutely love that reframe.

      For me, when I start to whine about how miserable is my job or my stressful assignment, the turning point almost always come when I try to think of people who don’t have a job, or children who are struggling to get every chance to learn.

  • Tim,
    You taught me great lessons just by being who you are.

    I wish for the best to you and Helen. I will pray for you both.

  • I’m really glad I read the entire post before I made a smart ass comment – your wife is a trooper and apparently royalty as well. Stay strong.

  • Mate she’s put up with you all these years so I always knew she is some women, i’m sure she will get through this, if for nothing other than keeping you real.

    As you may recall i’m not a praying man so i’ll just send my very best wishes to you both

    Question, is reframing a bit like kicking the shit out of negative thoughts?

    • Well yeh there is that! On the one hand I think she has great taste and intelligence and otoh I think “Yeh, but she married me ffs!” Maybe it’s karma or something and she ran over a cute kitty in a previous life.

  • Hi Tim! Between you and Helen reframing the shit out of things, I can’t imagine that less than helpful thoughts have much hope to take hold for long. Remember that client I had who said that she thought that reframing should be taught in school as soon as kids hit the 5th grade? (And of course I contacted you about it because I thought you should write the course!) Have to agree, since as you say, at some point, life is going to suck, and if you’ve been reframing the shit out of it all along, throwing everything you’ve got at the suck when it happens will come more naturally and easily. (I know I’m glad reframing had gotten ahold of me before I got a sucky diagnosis; as you said, the first thing I thought was, I’m getting told this, but I could be getting told a lot worse.)

    I know you’ve both got the thoughts thing covered, but I’m also keeping you and Helen in mine,


    • Agreed, it could be a LOT worse. I think I mentioned this in a post a few months ago, but a work colleague of Helen’s lost her husband and all 3 sons when a drunk driver ran a red light.

      How the hell do you reframe something like that other than to say at least they all died instantly, which sounds crass and lame?

      • Lynn

        I don’t remember seeing where you mentioned this before — but your mentioning it here made a huge impression on me. I have been thinking about it on and off since I read it. I sure as hell don’t know how one would reframe that — at least not to the colleague, anyway. But I do know that every time I think of it I feel a surge of gratitude for how astoundingly lucky I am for my very, very small problems.

  • Sorry to be late to this one, but I hope things work out with no problems or complications, man.

    I’m never falsely positive, but if life is sucking for me at the moment, it’s very unlikely you’ll hear about it unless I can make a lesson out of it on my blog. I could whine and complain but nobody wants to hear that.

    I followed a woman on Twitter a month or so ago, and she was moaning and bitching about how bad things were. At first, I thought, “Well, she’s just having a bad day.” But it turned out that all she did was talk about how depressed she was. Now, she has real problems, of course, just like anyone. I would never belittle that. But that doesn’t mean I should have to be subjected to that. I promptly unfollowed her.

    On the other hand, people who are way too happy make me want to punch them in the face. Not because I’m a grump (although I am), but because I don’t believe it’s genuine.

    Again, I hope things work out ok for ya, mate. :)

    • No need to apologize matey!

      I like to think that I whine with humor and that makes a difference….I think. I actually have to avoid really neggy people because I know they can definitely drag me down if I let them.

  • Just got your newsletter Tim and glad I did as I had missed this post. Helen’s great response to not needing to be a manager to be a leader & now her viewing her current situation as a way to sort out her thyroid issues is a big lesson to us all in both reframing & positive thinking, esp as this can’t be easy for either of you. I’m just reminded of a Tony Robbins point he made, which I just rewatched on one of his vids recently. The point isn’t not to see things realistically (or live in what I call the land of woo woo…!). The point is to not see things as exponentially worse than they are, which it can be so easy to do. I have a feeling that Helen’s a master at this & can teach us all a thing or two. I wish her all the best & you too Tim &, if appropriate, do let us know how things are going.

    • Thanks Tamsin and I sure will. We’ll know on Monday what’s happening as she has an appointment with her neurosurgeon. It’s looking very likely it will be surgery, but as I said in the post, she wants that!

  • Thanks Tim and all positive vibes for Helen’s appointment with her neurosurgeon on Monday. As you say, Helen wants the surgery if it turns out to be needed so all the best with the appointment – and I’m sure all your readers will be holding you both in their thoughts and wanting to know how things are going when it feels right for you to write further.

    Bestest regards for now


  • Big love to H Tim and you. Love your openness to speak about difficult issues and I love the way you confront the brutal facts (to re coin a phrase ).Your right too many of us think our problems are greater than others. Watched 127 hours last night, that bloke confronted the brutal fact and chopped his own arm off with a Chinese swizz imitation army knife. Helen is one brave lady and that will bring her through no doubt about it. If life didn’t suck sometimes we never could feel the reverse or we would just end up as some balanced un emotional automyton like some character out of Brave New World but now I am rambling and probably mis spelling. Anyway you know we love you both and I am always available on Twitter but when you next come back to the Fatherland look us up x PS Bernie sends her best wishes and hugs

    • Thanks a lot matey and I definitely will. Not been back in over 2 years now and last time was only for 4 days, but hoping I’ll get back next year for my 50th.

      My sister has offered to throw a huge party and of course I’d love for you and Bernie to be there. I may even invite Mr Stevenson ;-)

  • Had some great news this morning as the medical team have done a complete volte face and decided not to operate. The neurosurgeon thinks they can control the tumor using medication which is brilliant.

    Helen still has a few more tests to undergo to ensure the’r no problem with her optic nerve, but if their suspicions are correct it will be down to the endocrinologist to sort matters out rather than a surgeon.

    Pretty damn relieved I can tell you as we had more or less resigned ourselves to Helen having the op and being off work for some while with all that would entail both health wise and financially.

    This is a great example of why reframing is brilliant because it would have been easy for somebody to have said “Oh you’re just fooling yourself thinking everything will be ok”

    It appears not :-)

  • That’s BRILLIANT news Tim and must be a great relief for you and Helen… as you say, a great example of why reframing is such a powerful thing. Thanks for the update, it’s good to know things are moving in the right direction and all the best with the endocrinologist getting things sorted.

  • Thanks for the follows up everybody and yes, I am extremely pumped about this although wondering why we went through a worrying week of thinking surgery was the only realistic option.

    Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes your stronger. Except stuff that doesn’t make you stronger or kill you, which is quite a lot of stuff really.

  • Yep, I agree Tim re worrying week and why you were left thinking surgery was only option. That said, your comment now just makes me smile at the end of a hectic day here in the UK (sun’s out for a min, remember those UK nanoseconds..!?), which is your unique knack with words…and there’s a post here on what do you do with the stuff that doesn’t make you stronger or kill you…?!

    Atb Tamsin

  • mark

    thank you so much for such a gutsy and inspiring post & I wish you both all the best

  • Holy Shit, Tim! Man, I was not expecting such an unfortunate event. I will keep Helen in my prayers. Good. God. Almighty. She sounds like a wonderfully grounded and lovely person.

    My reframe is, “thankfully Helen’s a nurse; is familiar with hospitals, and she’s in capable medical hands.”

    Hang tight….

  • Your post reminds me of a motto me and Mr D live by – We can’t always choose what happens to us but we can always choose how we respond. Best wishes to you and Helen.