Stories of inspiration
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How a man who thought he had lost his way ended up finding his true North.

Sometimes the most difficult moments can lead to the most personal growth. That’s what happened to Jeff Nagle after he ended an unhealthy relationship with a person who was very influential in his life.

“I didn’t have any leadership in my life. I had a lot of good people around me to support me but I didn’t have that leader in my life I once had, even though that leader wasn’t good for me,” says Jeff. Without their influence, he found himself feeling like he had lost part of his identity. He was struggling but he kept going on autopilot as anxiety began to creep into his life more and more.

Jeff realized his story needed a rewrite, but he faced a nearly impossible situation: he needed self-confidence to cope with his increasing anxiety, but his anxiety held him back from trying new things which he needed to gain more self-confidence.

Jeff slipped into a period of deep unhappiness. He started blaming various external things in his life for his depression and tried to fix things. He started by changing jobs. This helped since he found himself surrounded with new, positive people who were inspiring examples of positive leadership. But despite having made a step in the right direction, Jeff found learning a new role only increased his anxiety. He couldn’t bear the idea of failing, yet it was the only way to learn. He would sometimes freeze in a state of panic when he faced challenging situations.

Fortunately, Jeff had an excellent support system that urged him to seek professional help. “My wife was a major supporter. She helped me a lot. She was my rock. She enabled me to do what I needed to do to become a better person.” Another inspiration was Jeff’s seven-year-old son. “Seeing how he dealt with struggles, just a young little boy learning life, I was able to observe him and see how he was able to learn new things and gain confidence.” Jeff came to the realization that to be truly happy again, he would have to learn to become his own leader and teacher.

So he got to work. He looked at the people around him at work, at their healthy habits, and tried them on for size. Through trial and error, he figured out which ones worked for him and which didn’t. He learned it was okay to fail sometimes because it helped him to get to know himself better. The changes that helped him most were getting up earlier, eating better, walking and reading.

Jeff now gets up at 5 a.m. so he can ease into his day. He’s able to read and plan, no longer starting his day in an anxious rush. This early wake-up time also means going to bed earlier and sleeping better. He also goes for a walk for at least half an hour after work. The exercise relieves stress and anxiety and is almost like a form of meditation for him.

These changes were implemented incrementally because Jeff realized making big, drastic changes only increased his anxiety. So now he starts slowly and lets the changes snowball from there.

As his confidence grew, Jeff wanted to share his story with others, so he started a blog to talk about his day-to-day struggles: The Roaming Mind.  What surprised him was the response it received! People related to his experience and thanked him for sharing his story. Jeff feeds off the energy from the blog and sees lots of potential to help other people, something he’s really interested in pursuing. He wants to help others focus on personal growth and find ways to motivate themselves to become even happier and healthier while overcoming anxiety.

The biggest change has been in Jeff himself.

He’s living in the now and is less anxious. He dug deep and found his own inner strength. Now when he gets anxious, instead of freezing, he faces challenges head on, which makes him feel empowered. People are drawn to him because he radiates positive energy. He knows that working on himself will be a continual process and will require support but he’s looking forward to the journey and to sharing it with others.

Jeff’s story shows that we all face struggles, and that when we share our feelings and our experiences, we don’t feel so alone. In Jeff’s own words, “By being more self-aware and learning from experience, I can now help others help themselves. Who knows what the future holds. I don’t, so I cannot concern myself with that. I can only focus on today.”

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