Heat and pressure create diamonds.
I was $24,000 in debt, and it was the start of the year.
I was only about 7 months into running my business full-time and it was appearing to be a huge mistake. Usually, businesses do lose money over the first 5-12 months, depending on the industry as they have to make back start-up costs, and work their way into the market.
The problem for me, is that my business credit cards were nearly maxed out… and once the credit is gone, there’s not as many options.
My back was against the fall in January of 2020 and I knew that I either had to make this work, or go back to working a home health job that I absolutely did not want to do. Miraculously with my back against the wall, I was able to tap into something deeper, I was able to call-up that needed adrenaline push to improve the business. I’m so glad that I did, too, because for the months of January and February the business was finally profitable and I was able to pay down just a little bit of the debt that I had accrued.
Then March of 2020 happened, and as we all know, March of 2020 started a multi-year global pandemic that changed much of how we work and think about the world. When it first started, it truly felt like the world was ending, like this was truly the end. It felt eerily similar to “I Am Legend.”
I remember watching the news (big mistake…), going for walks around my neighborhood at the time, and people being afraid to even look at each other for fear that our eyes meeting would cause an infection. There was a study that came out predicting several millions of death in a short period of time, which was enough for me to decide to close down all in person operations for the months of March and April, until we had more information of how to contain the virus.
I’d felt pressure before playing in front of 12,000 people during football games, when all eyes are on me to make sure I make the extra point or execute a clean and successful punt. I’d felt pressure (stress) before going on to perform in a swing dance production while in grad school. I’d felt pressure before when the game was on the line, there’s two outs, and i’m up at bat.
This pressure though, was on a whole other level. I was on the verge of panic attacks, and this pressure was turning into full fledged anxiety.
If you know me, you know that i’m not an anxious person in general, so, for me to get to that state, was quite concerning, and instructive for me. In the past, pressure has always made me better. It’s forced me to dig deep, and to try my absolute hardest to come out the other side successful. I wasn’t always successful, but the work focused me on moving forward and taking action vs. shutting down and doing nothing as a form of protection.
There were certainly days and maybe even weeks, that I felt like I did shut down, that my body and mind needed to cocoon themselves to survive. But, overall, I took massive action in order to escape from the de-facto position many took which was isolation and despair. I didn’t see how this mindset of despair was going to do anything so I did the opposite.
So what’s the point you might be asking?
The point is that you will be faced with difficult situations that you cannot predict throughout your life. This is a guarantee. I am as certain about this statement as I am about the sun rising in the east, tomorrow. Deciding now, before you even have an inkling of what that situation might be, I want you to make a choice. Make the choice that you won’t shut down, you will keep going, keep fighting. Make the choice to accept the current reality for what it is, and make the decision to continue on your path. Do not allow these challenges that life presents at random, to sway you from where you want to go.
These challenges, once completed and sometimes in the midst of, can also be used as incredible sources of creativity, introspection, and empathy towards others. Never let learning be lost from a challenging situation. This is the grave mistake of humanity. We try to “get through,” the challenge, and we forget to learn and grow.
And to those of you who might be saying “yea, but my trauma was terrible, my body automatically shuts down,” I want to say that i’m so sorry and I can’t imagine what that must feel like.
The first step to your healing, and the changing of how your body responds to difficult situations, is identifying and acknowledging what is happening. Once you recognize what’s happening, you then have the power to change it.
What i’m not saying is that it will be easy. It will likely take you years to heal to a point where your body doesn’t automatically shut down and cause severely high levels of stress, but, with time and focused effort, usually with a professional counselor, maybe with medication assistance, progress can be made.
As I said before, once we know the problem and can identify, it’s up to us to change it. Although we’ve been wronged, and the events that happened to us were terrible and there is no going back and changing that, we can’t continue to blame the past for our future. We must reach inside and change ourselves. We must save ourselves, no-one can do it for us (although they can do it with us). We must be open and accepting to help, be willing to go through the fires, and trust that it truly is much greener on the other side. You’ve got this.