Do you ever feel like your drowning, and you can't quite make it up for air? Me too. In fact, the last year and a half has been that feeling on repeat. Every time I managed to get my head above the water, something else would pull me down again.
That's why I'm so grateful for the grace of the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Steve Austin's new book Catching Your Breath: The Sacred Journey From Chaos to Calm. Y'all I am not exaggerating when I say, the raw honesty and practical real life solutions in this book touched my soul in a deep and unexpected way. Steve gets it (that's him with his beautiful family in the photo above, btw). I'm not alone. And neither are you.
I'm excited to share an excerpt of the book with you today:
It's Never about Spilled Coffee
by: Steve Austin
My friend and former coworker, Dave, spilled a cup of coffee down his shirt and had a total meltdown in the breakroom. Sounds a bit overboard, right? You might not think so if you were in Dave’s shoes. Rumors of layoffs at work had most people at the office continually fearing every staff meeting. Dave had a three-week-old baby at home, and his wife was struggling with a lack of sleep. His mother-in-law was staying in the guest room to help, but sometimes helping isn’t much help.
Dave had a flat tire on this Monday morning because Mondays were made for flat tires. When he finally got on the road, he was already ten minutes late for work, and there was an overturned tractor-trailer on the Interstate. Cars were backed up for miles. Poor old Dave slammed his fist into the steering wheel and growled like a dog.
By the time he arrived at work, Dave had a splitting headache, and his blood pressure was sky high. He was already half an hour late for his Monday morning meeting, but Dave knew he wouldn't be able to function without a cup of coffee. As my friend turned around from the coffee pot, full mug in hand, he was startled by Michelle, another co-worker, who had come in quietly. Dave nearly jumped out of his skin, spilling scalding hot coffee down the front of his new white dress shirt. He tossed the coffee mug into the sink and let out a string of expletives, just before kicking a breakroom table and throwing up his hands in disgust. The thirtysomething former football player sat down, head in hands, and hot tears fell down his cheeks.
Does this story sound familiar? I don’t think you need an official mental health diagnosis to have a meltdown. I’ve known plenty of mostly normal people with relatively typical lives and good families who have completely lost it in chaotic moments. At one point or another, most of us know what it's like to fear an unpredictable future, dread that encounter with an overbearing person, or experience the shame of an unforgiving past. We stress ourselves over people and situations that we cannot change or control.
It's all a balancing act. If you lose control and your emotions run rampant, you risk losing your job or your self-respect. In contrast, if you stuff your feelings and pretend nothing is wrong, eventually, you'll implode. The key is being kind to yourself, honest with the people in your inner-circle who need to know about your stresses, triggers, and traumas, and working through whatever you face with self-compassion. Trust me, friend - it’s never about the spilled coffee.
*Excerpt from Steve Austin's upcoming book, Catching Your Breath. Support the Kickstarter today at kickstartmybook.com. Crowdfunding campaign ends May 2nd!
Want to get a copy and some pretty awesome rewards?
Steve is working hard to get Catching Your Breath published. You can help by kickstarting it at kickstartmybook.com and get some exciting rewards as a thank you too!