Archive | June 27, 2008

To the Nuthouse and Back by Ally Loprete

 by Ally LoPrete, Our Milk

Yes, I was there. I was horribly embarrassed at first, but I’ve now come to appreciate the experience as one of my most favorite journeys. After all, when we OWN our experiences as things that make us who we are, what is there to be ashamed about?What brought me there was a breakdown resulting from extreme exhaustion. I’d simply forgotten to take care of myself.  I had not slept since 2007. I had lost a pregnancy, I wasn’t eating, my son and my husband were being neglected, and there was no end in sight.I certainly did not mean to end up in the hospital. I’d succeeded in launching, become a leader to more than 2500 businesses nationwide, and the promise of our impending growth was exceptional. As a new mother, I was raising a very demanding 2 year old, running a household and teaching musical theater 2 nights a week. I’d put these things in motion and sent them spinning so fast that I was unable to keep up with the pace. I hadn’t learned to set limits or manage my time, so it makes perfect sense that every corner of my life was deteriorating.In the hospital I did not have access to the internet or digital communication which turned out to be the best medicine. This forced my life to slow down… something I had not been able to do by myself. I had no choice but to rest, heal, and create some new boundaries for myself so that this would never happen again.I met several other patients who at first, I’ll admit, frightened me. I felt that I had nothing in common with them, and perhaps they picked up on this because on that first day when I arrived, several of them asked me “How are you crazy?” as if they weren’t sure I was crazy enough to be accepted into their club. Great. I thought. I am not even accepted IN HERE. I answered the question each time with a joke, “Being Crazy is part of my charm.”  It got a laugh almost every time. I began to feel like the female version of R.P. McMurphy. I also decided in that moment to spend the next 72 hours laughing at the absurdity of the situation, healing, resting and learning how to never end up in here again.I learned a lot. Infect, I might dare say that the experience was life changing. I learned that everyone is a little crazy, and everyone is a little sane. I actually began to make friends with some of the other patients, and I learned more about how they had ended up in a place like this. Some of them had come from such disturbing lives, it was no wonder they needed help. I had always appreciated my life and my family, but this experience taught me to VALUE it, in a way that I had not been doing. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned was the actual physical and mental damage I had done to myself, my family, and my company. I had taken on too much and worked a ridiculous number of hours – close to 120 hours a week – for no pay. I worked every minute that I could during the day, and when my  entire family was sleeping peacefully at night, I took advantage of the quiet time to work, staying up until the next morning several times a week.  I didn’t know how to say “no” and agreed to just about everything anyone ever asked of me. A friend wanted to have a bake sale and of course, I agreed to bake…AND market AND shop. Anyone needed a ride to the airport? Sure, ask Ally, she’ll always say yes. It was hard for me to take a step back from this, because wanting to please others has always been a weakness of mine. But in the hospital, I learned how to give from a different part of myself without disturbing my “reserves”. I learned the importance of scheduling in the basics of living a healthy lifestyle: eating, sleeping and playing. The results were astounding. I gained control and became more productive. It seems so simple and yet when I ran out of time these are the things I tended to skimp on the most. It was no wonder I became sick. My machine was literally breaking down.  I learned the importance of taking time to do a peaceful activity for myself, such as meditating, making a piece of jewelry or doing some watercolor. I spent most of my time at the hospital reading, journaling and painting. This replenished me, cleared out my mind and helped me to empower myself. Now I schedule in 5 minutes each morning to meditate, and 2 hours a week to watercolor.Yes, I am grateful for my visit to “the nuthouse.” It woke me up. It taught me that without health and happiness, we simply cannot give to the things in our lives that we are ultimately living for. It taught me to laugh again, and that I can choose to laugh my way through anything at all. My experience at the nuthouse was a gift, and so I felt it necessary to leave a gift of my own. Before leaving the premise, I taped up a watercolor painting of the beach in the rec-room for all to see. It read, ” So what if we are crazy?  It’s part of our charm.”

The Outsource Revolution

What do you love to do?  If you’re smart you’ve already begun to make money doing what you are passionate about.  Even so there are probably times when you find that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the things you need to do as well as all of the things you want to do.  When that happens it’s time to let the “Outsource Revolution” remake your life.


What do you really hate doing?  What are you really not good at?  Don’t be shy – there is no shame here.  You can’t be great at everything.  Are you bad at housekeeping?  Who cares? You have other talents.  But it’s time to stop beating yourself up about being a lousy housekeeper and outsource it!  As a rotten housekeeper you could spend 8 hours in a week cleaning your house and still not get it done right.  Why not pay someone to do it and instead of wasting your time cleaning you can focus your energies on the things you are passionate about. 


I guarantee you that you can generate considerably more money doing what you are passionate about than the cost of paying someone to get your house in tip top condition.  Imagine how you will feel at the end of the week, your house will be clean and you will have generated more income doing what you love.  This is the outsource revolution.


What are you ready to outsource?