It was July last year. I was working hard to create a business and connect with the people I could help. I had a set schedule every day and enough discipline to follow through with it. Things were not great but I was making some headway. After all, we know deep down that this entrepreneurial journey is almost never a short one. It’s not like we start a company, set up a blog, attract thousands of readers, start a podcast and youtube channel that both get hundreds of thousands of views and downloads. No, you’ve got to put the pieces together by doing a little more each day and week than you’ve done before.
My Body Goes South
I noticed one day in late July that my left foot was starting to give me some problems. I’ve never had problems with my feet so I just wrote it off as a temporary condition. I had bought some new shoes and just thought it must be some kind of adjustment to them. No sweat, right?
Long story short: it not only didn’t go away, it got worse. So much so that I could no longer wear most of my shoes. I went to a doctor about it and he said it definitely was the shoes and the first thing I should try is getting some new ones that supported and cushioned my foot better. $200.00 later, I had a new pair of New Balance shoes that fit the bill for the time being. I also knew once my foot healed they would have to be donated to somebody because they were purposely too big to allow for normal wear. I accepted this and thought I’d consider it a medical cost. All seemed right in the universe.
Over the course of the next month and a half, I saw little improvement. Just as I was getting ready to go back to the ortho, things just started going wrong with me health-wise. I don’t know if it was the stress of having one of the worst years I’ve had in my business or the feeling of failure that accompanies it. What I do know is for the next three months I would go through one treatment or another for different maladies that never seemed to resolve. Between drugs and treatments I spent a lot of time wondering if this was ever going to end. As I write this I finally see the end in sight but I am not symptom-free.
Here’s What I Learned
If you don’t make sure you’re OK with what’s going on in your life, your body is going to revolt. It’s that simple. If you feel guilty constantly about not measuring up or not contributing enough that feeling will settle into your soul and it will cause you pain and suffering. In my case, when one optimistic diagnosis after another fell by the wayside I started doubting the whole process and asking God what I was missing here that he needs me to learn. As these health problems eventually made it nearly impossible to sit down and get to work, frustration quickly turned to depression. Add to that the fact that it was happening during Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas and New Years, you can easily see how it could get you down. Who wants to spend the holiday season as a patient. I was unable to drive myself anywhere so the house became a sort of prison. Little by little, I felt the man I had become was slowly being taken from me. What I didn’t see until later was that the man I had become was being transformed into a better one. It’s just so hard to see that while you’re in the middle of it.
Finally, I got to a point where I believed this definitely was happening for a reason and began to look for it. I think I first heard it from Tony Robbins that asking the right questions can make all the difference. Instead of saying “Why is this all happening to me?”, I kept asking “What am I supposed to learn from this?”. That turn of a phrase made all the difference. Not immediately, mind you, but eventually I began to see it.
The two lessons I’ve gleaned from this three month ordeal are that I need to learn patience and that the man I had become was not the man I needed to be in order to taste success again. The time the illnesses gave me to ponder who and what I’d become were powerful illustrations of things most people will not ever come to terms with in their lives. Once I saw this, I was unbelievably grateful that God and the Universe had put me through this period in order to help me find the reason I was put on this earth!
I’ll tell you the truth. I’m still not exactly sure what my true calling is except to help people realize they’ve already got a gift that only they can share with the world. The other purpose I see is that each of us also has way more to offer the world than we know and entrepreneurs are NOT born. They are raised or raise themselves to see why they’re here and what they can contribute to this world.
My Apologies and a Request
I apologize for not writing about my experience while I was going through it. There are two reasons I did this. First, I didn’t want this to become a whining that seemed to have no end. I know this is wrong because most humans like to identify with the struggle while it’s happening and find it inspiring when the obstacle is overcome. I wasn’t sure how long this would go on for one and I also was incapable of just sitting down and getting to work throughout most of this. If I wronged you by making this judgment call, I am sorry. Personally, I find it more inspiring when I hear about the struggle after it has been overcome. Otherwise, I think “Wow, that happened to THEM?” and immediately my mind starts flying to horrible things that could happen to me too.
Secondly, I needed to distance myself from the day to day struggles in order to take a wider view of the situation. That’s nearly impossible to do while blogging daily in the middle of the situation. I needed this distance and perspective to retain my sanity throughout the months of false starts and frustrations.
Finally, I kept up my spiritual practice and daily meditation as best as I could and continued to believe this was going to resolve. Essentially, not quitting!
I want to ask you to comment on any challenges you’ve had lately and how you overcame them. Or, if you’d like, tell me whether you would want to hear the details as they were happening or do you appreciate the hind sight view of this. Either way, I really want to hear from you. These things will help me serve you much better in the coming months and years that I hope we can share together.
PS – I forgot to mention one thing that I learned. Namely, being grateful for all you have is powerful but being grateful that you DON’T have something awful happening to you is NOT empowering! Making a list of all the dread things I don’t have and how lucky I am not to have them does not raise me to a level of possibilities. Rather, it makes me concentrate on all the other things that may STILL happen to me. Does that make any sense? Let me know what you think!