Why I grew a mustache (and why you should, too)
Alright, now that I have you here, I admit this article isn't entirely about mustaches. But don't run away! This is indeed a story that starts with a mustache and ends with...well, I'm still figuring that out. Men and women alike, read on!
When I finally quit my job it was strangely really, really important to me to grow a mustache. I wasn't able to wear one at the place where I was employed and, in a weak act of rebellion, I slowly shaved away the sides of my face every day for the last 5 days. Every morning that last week I woke up and moved the length of my buzzer down a fourth of an inch. I laugh now at the memory of this. The things we do, right?
But by doing this I found something in the act of change that was actually very monumental. Change is, well, uncomfortable. Whether we change our hair, our routine, our habits, our partners, our jobs, or even just our breakfast, there is a great deal of discomfort that is inevitably felt.
And I noticed a trend with this. As my friends began to leave their jobs or switch careers or go back to school I noticed they all had adopted some sort of change in appearance, big or small, that reflected the change they were facing in their own lives. Yes, part of it probably stemmed from a newfound freedom and lack of oversight, but it wasn't just with jobs. I saw the same thing with people when they ended friendships or romantic relationships. With people who moved across country or across the state.
This got me thinking: maybe... when we are faced with change, we are more confident in creating our own change. That makes sense on the surface, right? But why didn't that girl get a nose ring before she quit her job? Why did John Doe decide to buy a brand new set of clothes after Jane Doe broke his heart?
If external life change can drive us to make change in our appearance, can making a change in our appearance psychologically drive us to make external life change?
That's where my mustache comes in.
It's quite simple really. Much like I mentioned in A Wild Tomorrow Ep. 1, uncomfortability is pivotal to your growth journey in this life. The kicker is that each step down this journey you will be faced with a new level of comfortability. That's right. The habit of embracing the uncomfortable is not a one-time love affair, it's a consistent and important relationship to maintain over the course of your life.
I was in a productivity slump myself. Three months ago I had no idea how to record a podcast, create beats or a jingle, create a commercial, create content or videos, post blog articles, link my podcast to iTunes, or create business cards. It's important to reflect and remember that my success in attaining these skills is directly correlated to the level of uncomfortably I was willing to embrace to learn, and fail at, them.
BUT I couldn't stop there. I wanted to. I really really did. But I realized I needed to network. I needed to reach out to businesses to get inspirational interviewees. I needed to start marketing and advertising on more than one platform. I needed to start meeting engaging, exciting, and courageous people in the Portland area. I needed to find a way to make A Wild Tomorrow profitable.
Right now, for me, all of those things are incredibly anxiety inducing. So I thought to myself: what better way to embrace uncomfortability than to literally adopt a style that makes people stare at you.
And it worked. People cannot help but look at you when you have a mustache. It's a giant lip caterpillar that basically acts as a second pair of eyes. And I love it.
I shaved my beard and left the mustache right before I went to my first social entrepreneur networking event. I grabbed my business cards, put on a smile, and walked 2 miles to pitch A Wild Tomorrow to other like-minded dreamers.
And it went incredibly well.
Because I was already uncomfortable and building my "change" muscles, I wasn't worried about my pitch, or what I was wearing, or what I looked like. I already knew what I looked like. I was the weird guy with the mustache and a dream, and I'll be damned if that's not what I want to be on my tombstone at the end of this life.
The main idea here is that if you want change in life you can make it happen. Shake it up. Spin in around. It's simple. It doesn't have to start with quitting your job or asking for a promotion. It can, quite simply, start at the barber.
Don't want/have the ability to grow a mustache?
You're in luck! I've got some other options for you below ;)
- change your hair color
- get a new hair cut
- adopt a goatee from your local barber
- begin a new gym/exercise routine
- start wearing a more vibrant/bright lipstick
- buy a cheetah print jacket and rock the **** out of it
- Invest in some fancy-designed pants
- buy funky socks
- wear a color you never have before
- get a piercing
- wear a nice suit to work
- wear embarrassing pajamas to dinner at a fancy restaurant
- learn how to wear a scarf
- buy a unique glasses frame
- buy sunglasses you normally wouldn't
- carry a sign with you that says "feel free to join me for good convo" and put it on the table when you go to a coffee shop
- Buy a new shoe brand you're not comfortable with
- wear sandals and jeans (personal favorite)
I'm sure you can think of a million more, but the important thing is to just do it, and when you do, listen to that heartbeat in your chest. Feel the anxiety build and remember: this is not a bad emotion, it's a powerful and misunderstood one. Build the muscle. Experiment with yourself. Embrace the unknown.
When we let go of the ego and just "be" we realize that fear is not the enemy of joy, but his old and reliable friend.
Much love on the journey ahead.