Note: you can listen to this episode above or load it up in iTunes.

How One Humiliating Experience Gave Me a Wake Up Call That Helped Me Build a More Profitable Blog

D_Rowse-162Today, I talk about the humiliating wake up call that changed my life and my blog.

In This Episode

You can listen to today’s episode above or in iTunes or Stitcher (where we’d also LOVE to get your reviews on those platforms if you have a moment). Today I talk about:

  • My humiliating wake up call
  • 3 simple changes I’ve made to my life that have improved my blogging
  • The most powerful question you can ask yourself to improve your blog

Further Reading and Resources

How did you go with today’s challenge?

How are you? Really? Are you already in the habit of asking yourself this question? What changes could you make to your life to support you in improving your blog?

I’d love to hear your experience. Let me know in the comments below, and share a link to your blog.

  • Wow Darren! This is a deeply personal podcast but you have now become more endearing than before. I don’t know if that was the intent, but you’re now not only a wealth of knowledge, but a real person. Thank you.

    Such a good question by the way, “How are you?” You were open about your fitness, and I’ll be open about something else. Some 20 years ago, I was in pageants here in the US. When I got married I barely paid off a huge mountain of debt. Together, the hubby and I made a commitment to live within our means. As such, beauty treatments, makeup, clothing, etc… the things a beauty focused individual would want, were cast aside to focus on our financial goals. The good news is we’re debt free including the house. It’s a GREAT feeling. The sad news is I realize that I really miss how I look with makeup and such. Recently, I sought how to learn how to look fabulous as a maturing individual. I went to a Make Over night with some girlfriends and it was so fun. I’m in the process of finding the right combination that makes me look and feel beautiful without breaking the bank (don’t want to go back into debt to be superficially beautiful). The external weight loss for you seems to be want fixing makeup is for me. It has noticeable external results that others can see, but the internal results are huge positives. As I improve this area of me, I am seeing so many wonderful internal, emotional gains. So… that’s how I’m doing. Thanks for asking.

    BTW… I’m really interested in the advice to stand up. Hmm… something to investigate and report back on later.

    • Yup – standup desk is the way to go, Devon.

    • I got a sit stand desk, and it’s wonderful because I can still sit from time to time, but I can move it up to standing for more of the time.

    • Thanks so much Devon – I was a little nervous about this podcast because it was more personal but hope it connects with some.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story – hoping you can find that balance!

      • @darrenrowse:disqus… When I first shared my comment supporting your podcast, I was a little nervous as well. I thought. Wow. That was more personal. However, I thought if you could be that open, I could as well. If no one else was willing, you’d know that I heard and appreciated the podcast immensely! Thankfully others have thrown off their mask and answered the question you posed. Whew! Here’s to all of us being more well rounded people as we passionately pursue our goals!

  • Hi Darren,

    Glad to hear that you are feeling good and obviously much healthier over the past few months.

    I’ve been working at a standup desk for the past year. I don’t have the cardboard box thing, but I did buy a couple of small cabinets and a desktop from Ikea for about $100. It made a huge difference. I do recommend an anti-fatigue mat to stand on, just like the hair dressers use.

    As far as the snacks go, I have found that a spoonful or two of almond butter can substitute for a sugary snack.

    Stay healthy. The information you provide is so valuable.


    • Thanks Chris. Just bought a Veridesk yesterday to test out – looking forward to using it. I’ve started snacking in the afternoons on Almonds (just a few) to keep the wolf from the door!

  • Very honest and true! We need to pay our health first and I believe the rest of the stuff will fall into place. We are all a work in progress,

  • Now I’m really curious what podcasts you listen to on your walks. I’ve been walking more too and I’m running out of podcasts to listen to.

    • So many and I tend to skip around.

      For starters I like:

      Slow Your Home
      Vitality Hackers
      Tim Ferriss
      William Anderson’s Wilosophy

  • Andrew Bayliss

    Great podcast Darren. I turned 40 last year and my weight had been slowing creeping up too. I also had a checkup with the doctor and my blood pressure had been creeping up with the weight. I am finally getting both under control after having lost about 15kg. Very hard to keep moving this time of the year … particularly how cold it seems to be in Melbourne this year. Although it could be the less fat to insulate me!

    • sounds like a common thing for guys our age Andrew. Best wishes with working it off – spring is almost here!

  • Sharon Boggon

    Thanks so much for commenting in the podcast about the review I left – made my day

  • How Are You? Glad you asked…


    Hey Darren,

    I listened to this podcast this afternoon whilst driving my toddler off to sleep.
    I even had to pull over a couple of times to re-listen to portions a second time to listen again with more intent on certain points you raised.

    I now believe this particular episode to now be episode one. Episode Zero still tells the listeners about your podcast journey, but this needs to be a ‘sticky note’ episode. Yes, it is that important.

    I am still examining how I have been been looking after my own ‘total well being’ and my strategy up to date, really, has been bad. The episode really focused for me that I spend too much time looking after everyone around me and have forgotten my own needs. I have not yet put on my oxygen mask.

    My cup is well, rather bloody empty.

    As a consequence, my general motivation is low. Being an extrovert, as one knows, extroverts get their energy from being around people. I have not really been keeping up with some of my relationships that are really important to me. So that too, has affected my personal energy. So, I struggle to get out and spend time with people, rather than spend time at home.

    My weight has been bad for, to be honest, the last eight years. I am 5 foot 5′ and 96 kilo’s (210 lbs for the international readers 🙂 ) The gaining of weight has been a similar journey to yours. Eat when I can, eat more than I needed to and snacked often. Also, when not feeling my optimum best, and often just feeling OK emotionally, I snacked more. With not spending enough time outdoors, I am deficient in Vitamin D to the point of taking supplements to improve my condition. Its currently at a point I have flaky skin, especially around the face and people often ask me how I get sun burnt in winter, when I am not suffering from burns!

    So, my strategy for looking after myself is changing and its a constant work-in-progress. My plan is as follows;

    – Do a walk every day for 10,000 steps, rather than the current twice a week.
    – I have a ‘solo date night’ where I get a few hours once a week to go and relax or eat dinner, or read a book in a restaurant or go and watch a movie, spend a night with reconnecting with friends, etc.
    – Once a week, I will take time to ‘chill’ early in the morning for about an hour, before my family awakes, to ‘refill my cup’. I will do this by listening to an ambient music soundtrack lying on the couch or reading a fiction book for enjoyment.
    – Reduce my food portions by 10% until I reach a 25-30% portion size reduction
    – Reduce to zero – all bad ‘snack’ foods, replace with fruit, vegetables or nuts and even have these portions much smaller!
    – Laugh more (I really think this one is SUPER important)
    – Work on what is important and really needs attention in my life and formalise a workable strategy to make that happen, rather than solely relying on motivation (motivation ebbs and flows too much to stay on course)

    – Not feel bad, guilty or mildly upset that it is OK to take time to look after me.
    – Continue being involved as a supportee and supporter with my close personal network that is helping me understand my mental and spiritual needs (I have had this for a while)

    I believe a change in my personal journey is required as I would like to be around a long time for my family. But it is also the realisation that by doing very little that’s positive with my personal well being, I have achieved very little that’s postive with my personal well being. This has not really helped anyone, especially me!

    Is this difficult to write and post here? Yes.
    Why am I posting this? I hope that by telling a part of my own story, as difficult as it is to tell, it just may show others that it is OK to not be 100%, but there REALLY is time and decisions that can be made to do something about it NOW.

    • thanks for the comment Jason. Thanks for writing this – glad to hear the podcast resonated with you and I’m amazed by your plan and determination to make some changes. Good on you for coming up with the plan and sharing it!

      Go for it mate!!!

  • Paul Ebbage

    great show mate. I love the honesty and openness of the chat, and what a great question. i know for me, there’s a couple of people in my life who honestly want to know how i’m doing when they ask ‘how are you’. It’s a nice change from the norm. I’m probably where you were at a while ago health wise. I’ve booked in for my yearly examination (1 yr. late mind you) and aren’t looking forward to the doc’s take on things. And those steps are a killer !! ( i think i know your doc). I’ve just recently got myself a stand up desk and i feel So much better working at it. I’m also counting my daily steps and have increase it 15k on the previous weeks total and on the way to putting another 20k on last week. The 10,000 step challenge is just Great. It highlights how little movement you do in your day, but most importantly challenges you to get out and move! I’ve now put in some habits just over the last three weeks that should now become a part of my lifestyle which i’m really happy about. i agree with you that being healthier and happier sure helps improve things at work and at home. I just did a two day course on being energised and it’s really helped me in a number of areas. here’s the link fyi. Anyway, thanks.

    • thanks for the comment Paul – great stuff to hear you on a similar journey!

  • “Go out and walk. That is the glory of life.”-Maira Kalman. Darren, (and any of your readers)) if you don’t already know this creative genius of a human, google her. Add her to your snack tray. You won’t be sorry.

  • I really got a lot out of today’s podcast. I’ve enjoyed every one of Darren’s podcasts but today’s podcast has been the most helpful and motivating for me to date. I didn’t even know about the Health app on my iPhone! Thanks for sharing your journey Darren. The ProBlogger podcast is one of the ways I fill my cup.

    • thanks for that feedback Clyde. Glad to be a part of filling your cup!

  • Darren, thanks so much for your episode. This is the first
    time I have heard your show, but a timely one. (I don’t believe in coincidence)
    I started my blog last spring, (
    and went hard and heavy at it until November when I was diagnosed with colon cancer.
    At that time my blog, my podcast, and my world were put on hold. I am now recovered,
    or on the road to it anyway, and ready to pick up where I left it. My focus has
    changed because of my journey and health is a big focus going forward. I will
    be downloading all your episodes and look forward to gleaning some insight and wisdom
    from you.

    Thank you,


    • Thanks Doug – great to have you listening in!

  • quades_v_office

    This was spot on with what I’m going through in my own life and the events unfolding even today. I had started listening to your podcast about a week or so ago and you have become one of my top must-listen-to podcasts when I’m on the go, right up there with Amy Porterfield. I plan to go through later and gain even more knowledge through the other comments, but for now, I wanted to add my own – and thank you!

    • Thanks so much – appreciate the feedback, that’s very encouraging!

  • Really enjoyed this Darren!

    As you know I’m a big believer in empowerment through movement! But overall wellbeing is definitely something I’m working on at the moment as I’ve suddenly gone from being a partnership to being solo which is a huge adjustment and as a result I’ve found areas of anxiety that I’ve never had to deal with before.

    And as you say, to cope with the demands it’s easy to short-change yourself first.

    • Thanks for the comment Zoe. Hadn’t realised about that change for you of late – that certainly would be a massive adjustment! Keep looking after yourself!!!

  • Darren I’ve just finished listening and am a little bit freaked out! I’ve followed all these podcasts and noticed your image change on the profile picture but didn’t think much more about it.

    Freaky because health and looking after yourself is exactly what I wrote about myself in a blog post earlier today. I’m a little older than you late 40’s and had a scare a couple of years ago which led to a huge lifestyle change, moving to a Greek island and starting my blog! I was a high school teacher and had found myself working longer and longer hours, taking on more responsibilities but not taking care of myself.

    Also freaky because I’ve been trying to get my husband to look after himself better too but I rarely hear or read about men being as honest as up front as you were in this podcast. When he was home last I listened to quite a few of these while he was around. He’s back tomorrow so I’m going to replay this and see what he says. He’s already talking about making some changes maybe this will help.

    And if he knows me as well as I think he’ll be reading this comment in a couple of days too!

    Thanks Darren

    This was my post today

    • Thanks for the comment Amanda. Apologies Mr Amanda but I hope you find this useful and do encourage you to give it a go! 🙂

  • Darren, I tune in to the podcast for tips on blogging and becoming more successful with that. Then I get a episode like this one… and am completely engaged and liked it immensely! I found myself nodding in agreement as you put yourself out there. Maybe it’s the getting older thing, but really thinking about personal health and well being and acting upon it is important to blogging and all aspects of your life. Congrats on the weight loss and personal improvement! Now you’re motivating me on more than just blogging! Thanks for the podcast, it’s at the top of my listening list!

    • Thanks Mike – glad you found this episode useful. Thanks so much for the comment!

  • Thanks for sharing a really great message on this episode. I think you’re coming from a place of humble strength; not humiliation.

    As someone who started blogging back in 2005, and “drifted” after writing in the same content niche for three years, I can relate to losing one’s health and losing the blog. It does take work to maintain health, allow creativity to flow again, and proactively cultivate the garden of the mind. One has to be vigilant in keeping down the weeds, and ensure that the conditions for inspiration and growth are met; and that means regular feedings, and the right amount of stimulus.

    I know that when I neglect my health & fitness, everything else in my life suffers too.

    I’ve subscribe to your podcast for a while; when you fill your cup enough, sometimes it runs over! I started my podcast (just launched last Friday)

    As a 44 year old, I can vouch that you can turn things around pretty quickly with diet and exercise. I released 30+ lbs, and got my blood pressure down from 130/90 to 99/66 in 4 months.


    • Great to hear you turned things around David – well done! Thanks for listening!

  • Hi Darren,
    I saw this podcast link on the SPI Pat Flynn FB group & gave it a listen. Wow. You touched on so many points that I couldn’t quite verbalize, but know that they connected directly to my business success over the last 3 years. Short story, I started to purposefully & mindfully mountain hike 3-5 miles a day & listen to podcasts every day (funny & business), eat clean, organic, non-processed organic foods & seek out new ideas about 3 years ago. It has impacted my life in ways that I can directly connect to just doing those few things, in an extremely positive way. Thank you for this podcast & all you do!

    • Thanks Sue and welcome to my podcast. Thanks for sharing your story – sounds like you’ve been on an amazing journey!!!

  • Whoa! What a courageous thing to do to share so much personal information. You are absolutely correct in that taking care of oneself reflects how well the blog goes. What I especially like is that you share personal info not in a way to just talks about yourself but in a way that reminds and teaches all of us the importance of first taking care of ourselves both physically and mentally. People I often most admire are people who are comfortable with themselves. The traits they often share is that they practice much of what you discuss. I can say I do SOME of the activities you talk about but still have a long way to go. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Darren,

    Thank you for bravely sharing such a personal side of your journey. It certainly lets the rest of us connect more closely to you, knowing that you are indeed a human going through the same struggles, as opposed to the immaculate blogging super-hero that some of us might have assumed you to be.

    Taking your lead, I went through a similar catharsis a couple weeks ago. Expressing frustration with my recent career progress (I’m an online poker pro and strategy blogger), my wife gently offered: “well why don’t you stop complaining and do something about it.” So I did two things that made all the difference: 1) I quit drinking (i was enjoying a relaxation glass of wine every evening…more at parties on weekends) and 2) I ramped up my meditation. Now 2 weeks later, I’m sleeping well, my mind is clear and concentrated, and I’m fully motivated and inspired with so many ideas. It is wild how I feel like an entirely different person, growing rapidly every day.

    I hope to harness this power and give back. A few things come to mind, for this moment.

    1) This book: the Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal is a must read. I just finished it for the second time and recommend it to everyone I know. Not just another self-help book, but a well researched academic piece from a Stanford professor, still packed with powerful, actionable advice and insights. Highly, highly recommend it.

    2) Meditation: I recommend it to everyone I coach on poker as well as all my friends. I describe a simple technique here for anyone that wants to give it a try:

    3) Wisdom:

    Then there’s Guy Fronsdal, who I could almost refer to as my “guru” given how much I value is knowledge and perspective. There’s a wealth of podcasts with super inspirational and thoroughly delightful stories and nuggets of wisdom to be found here:

    Thanks again! It’s my first comment, but I look forward to become a frequent participant in your comment section.


  • Thomas Fox

    Darren-I am way overdue to leave you a comment. I have been blogger since 2009 and have 1500 posts up or so on my own site plus another couple of hundred on other sites. I listened to the entire 31 days series. I found it be excellent for any blogger; for someone such as myself to the first-timer. I bought the eBook and have referred to it to help my blogger and podcasting as well as to other colleagues. You said something in this podcast that did strike me. It was ‘it’s not rocket science’. 100% correct but you have put together a series, in a coherent and logic manner that any level of blogger can use. I learned quite a bit listening to the full series, continuing series and the eBook. I look forward your podcasts going forward as I have not only learned much but use the concepts and techniques to make my blog and podcast better experiences for my readers and listeners. Keep it up.

  • Ivan Siladji

    I had been fighting back and forth with myself and not really committing to any real action towards my health, until I heard Darren’s story and saw myself in his shoes… I didn’t want my kids to grow up needing me and not having me. Thank Darren, here is what I ended up doing…

  • This is probably the most mature and responsible message I have ever heard from a teacher of marketing or business. Thank you Darren.

  • James Fuata

    My dad was a champion weightlifter, but as he approached his 40s, he gained a lot of weight. In 2010, he passed away from bile duct cancer. For the past twenty or so years I’ve kept up regular exercise, and I’m grateful for staying physically fit and healthy going into my 40th year.

    Even when I spent a lot of time studying engineering by correspondence (mostly at home), I also made sure to keep physically active. One thing I’d do is give myself a movement break every hour. This would involve doing something as simple as a few bodyweight exercises e.g. pushups, squats and an abdominal exercise, for about 3 sets. This would take about 5 – 10 minutes. I’d then continue to sip water and stand up and work.

    Well done Darren on the positive changes you’ve been undergoing in the areas of health and well-being. If anyone would like some simple tips related physical fitness, then please let me know; I’m an amateur athlete and a qualified personal trainer too.

    Cheers everyone, Jim.

  • Lovely to listen to you this morning as I took the long walk round the local park (5k step walk). I realised that through a very stressful second half of 2015 everything went by the wayside. Blogging all but stopped, getting through each day was an achievement. Sometimes you just have to park everything to focus on one thing (a very sick family member) tread water until that thing is fixed and then you can get back to IT. Life. [I do realise I was fortunate to be able to flex my life to do that, park everything.]

    2016 has been about a 5:2 diet, which is remarkably focusing even on ‘normal’ days, taking a walk for 45 mins a day, March finds me podcasting again, on some of my walks and come April I’m going back to regular Yoga posture sessions along with more gardening! Small changes, big impact.

    I see I have some way to go to catch up on Podcasts (counter is at 94 today)!, plenty of listening materials for future walks. Thanks for continuing to inspire Darrren.

  • Zanna Shirmana

    What a perfect time to listen to this podcast. Today, I’m in my sixth day of a 21-day detox. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Hi Darren as always a great show. I missed this one earlier when I first discovered your podcast. What I was wondering is whether you would be happy for me to embed this in a post on my blog (as per PB152)?