Article by Wendy McCance
In February of 2012, a blog was born. I still remember the way I felt when I began the blog, why I began blogging and what I learned that changed my life in those early months. So much has changed since I began this blog, but honestly, so much is still very much the same.
The most glaring example of things staying the same is dealing with an autoimmune disease. For the last few weeks I have been dealing with some new health issues (mainly associated with breathing) that has really brought me to a standstill.
Over the last summer, I had one of the best summers I’ve had in a long time. I have fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism and any feelings of fatigue, pain or other associated symptoms were minimal. I felt like I was on top of the world and really took advantage of feeling so good.
I got a slew of new clients and doubled my income. Each week there were meetings, proposals or introductory emails that were being sent out. Business was humming along and I felt that I had found a good rhythm when it came to juggling all that was going on each week.
The end of August I decided to quit smoking for good, focus on good nutrition and get an exercise routine in place. It occurred to me that between running the business and 3 kids going back to school, I needed to be in the best shape possible so that I could keep going at this new pace I was enjoying so much.
I quit smoking and within two weeks began having trouble breathing. I chalked it up to my immune system working extra hard to clear out all the damage I had done to my body while smoking. Unfortunately, my symptoms got worse. It took 3 trips to the hospital (two by ambulance), new medication, a trip to my primary care physician, endocrinologist and rheumatologist before I completely held up the white flag in defeat. I couldn’t believe that I was having breathing problems after I quit smoking and not while I was smoking. The only good thing that came from the breathing problems was that it scared me so badly that I will never be able to consider smoking again. Not breathing well has been extremely frightening.
Only a few weeks before my health problems started I had landed 2 new clients, had 3 new proposals circulating, and got a new assignment from an old client that was quite big in size. I had also landed a monthly gig writing for a local monthly magazine. My health fell apart before I was able to turn in the first article for the magazine. I hadn’t even celebrated that I was going to have a monthly spot in this magazine and no one knew about it. It was such a big deal to me that I wanted to wait to announce my good fortune when the first magazine was published with my article in it.
A week before the deadline, I talked with the editor and walked away from the opportunity I had wanted so much. My health was rapidly declining and my ability to write anything of substance was not good. I’m glad I hadn’t really mentioned the opportunity to my friends, because I would have had to explain the dramatic change of events, but needless to say, I was crushed. I didn’t gain any points from the editor either when I had to go back on working with the magazine. It was one of my worst recent moments.
I ended up scaling back to working solely on social media accounts. Any assignments where I needed to write an article, I was able to pass off to a few local writers I knew. I am grateful that I have clients that were so understanding. I was relieved to know that if something came up in my life that prevented me from giving my clients the very best service, I had a backup of some tremendously good writers I could call on to make sure my clients were able to get their projects done on time and with the results they were looking for.
All of the issues I have dealt with recently have brought frustration and tears, but also enlightened me in a way that really put me back on track. I was so busy running after the next customer that I never stopped to plan out what I would do in a situation where I couldn’t follow through. My clients are everything to me. These are people who are trusting me with the businesses they have built and it’s up to me to make sure they shine. I got very lucky when things fell apart. Although I hadn’t planned what I would do if I couldn’t proceed with a project, I had a slew of connections that I could go to for help. It had never occurred to me, but I am so very grateful to know some of the best writers in the metro Detroit area. The writers I have passed along work to are not only wonderful people to work with, but have some impressive backgrounds as well. It felt good to know that if I couldn’t do the job I was hired to do, the people I could get to fill in were actually better writers with many more years of experience than I could personally provide. I was actually able to upgrade the quality of work that would be done, but at the lower prices that I charge. It was my saving grace during what has been a difficult few weeks.
Over the past few weeks I have done some serious reflecting on where I started, what I have been able to carry out and what is going on now. I hit bottom with my emotions. Not being able to do everything I want has been horrible. I am so envious of anyone who can juggle a family, a business, stay social and active and do anything else they are interested in.
For several years I had to make some tough decisions. Do I want my energy to go towards building a business or seeing friends? Do I want to get out and network or sit in front of the computer and build relationships through online communications? This might sound odd to many people, but when you have limited energy, ever decision you make is an enormous choice. I was putting all of my energy into building a business and friendships were put largely on the back burner. I just didn’t have the strength at the end of the day to socialize. The same was true with networking events. The few events I attended would wear me out and then the rest of my day was lost. I had to figure out how to get the most accomplished while expending the least amount of energy possible.
Over the summer when I was feeling so good, I was mixing business, social engagements and family events more than I had in a few years. I wanted it all and was feeling well enough to do it. I am now back to picking one thing to exert any energy on. It’s all the strength I have. I hope people who don’t have any illness know just how lucky they are and understand the vast possibilities available to them.
In my mind, I am a successful businesswoman who has beaten the odds and has been able to build an empire. I have a writing and social media company. I have written a few books, spoken at some prestigious events and have several forms of passive income streams coming in from my blog. I am focused and determined to live my life as fully as possible and I refuse to let any health problems get in the way of what I dream of achieving. This is what I focus on and am determined to become in every way.
It took a bit of pity, some inspiring videos, good reading material and the realization that I am forming my destiny that made me stop feeling bad for myself. I realized that if I obsess over what isn’t going well, I will become surrounded by all that devastates me. I can acknowledge that I have a health problem but work on getting it resolved. By putting positive energy into what I still want to achieve, I will get through this and be in a better place. I know this is how it works, because I have been there before. Back in the beginning, February 2012 when I started my blog, I was at my lowest point. I thought I was giving up when I wrote about my health, job situation, and what living with fibromyalgia would be like. I never expected so much positive situations to come out of my attempt to make sense of what I was facing. A business was built, I got to do what I loved every day and my confidence soared. I never gave up, I just tweaked a few things to make them work around my abilities. In the end, I wasn’t willing to give up. I was more determined to live my life well.
I know that I am starting all over again on that very same journey. I have gone back to the beginning. I hit an all time high and then crashed. Since my health issues began again, I have already learned a few lessons on how to secure my business in the face of unexpected circumstances. I know that there is still much more to learn because instead of working on autopilot, I have been forced to slow down and reflect on where I am at right now. What caused tears of frustration over a situation that was out of my control is turning into a blessing once again. I am going to learn some new things that will propel me to an even better place than where I have become to comfortably settled.
It’s funny, in the beginning I read everything I could about blogging, writing, social media and working for myself. I taught myself how to create passive forms of income through my blog. I reached out bravely and introduced myself to people I never thought I would be speaking with. I built a business from nothing. It was sheer determination to go after what I wanted in life. I was at such a low place that I had nothing to lose and everything to gain. It was that feeling of having lost it all that gave me the will to fight so hard. It was the best thing that could have happened at the worst possible time.
When I was in the hospital, I was so set on not letting any of my hard work slide that I asked for my computer. I was actually working on accounts from a hospital bed. My oldest daughter was amused. She said that nothing could get in my way of getting what I wanted. I just knew that I had worked too hard and cared too much for my business to let anything fall apart. I was bent on making sure I could take care of as much as possible. What surprised me most was my acceptance over what I couldn’t do. Giving up some writing assignments was painful because I didn’t want to give up a thing. At the same time, I was proud of myself for knowing my limitations and putting my clients in front of my own ego. I cared more about my customers getting the very best work more than I cared about passing on something I really wanted to do. I was also relieved that I had been able to connect my clients with terrific people who would do an outstanding job for them. Not one client was left high and dry. Every customer was taken care of immediately and the results were just as good if not better than if I had done it myself.
So while I was in the hospital, I had a long talk with my husband. My business had been going along well enough that I had convinced him to take time for himself by leaving a good paying job to go after what he wanted most in life. For about 6 months, that’s what he has done. My health issues scared him enough to take a different route. Although he might be changing course, I realized that it might give me an opportunity to put some more effort into a side project I had put off. I have been so busy running after as many new clients as I can get my hands on that I put a book idea on the back burner. I have a very rough draft of the book, but felt that all of my energy needed to be put into expanding my business. I figured I would work on the book when my husband was settled in his own business. If I had gone with that plan, the book might not have gotten touched for another five years. By then, what the book is about might not be relevant anymore and I might have missed a wonderful opportunity. With my husband adjusting his plans, I am thinking of putting some more time back into talking with some publishers and seeing what my options might be. See, bad moments can expose some new opportunities that are better than what you could have planned out.
So this is where I am at. I hadn’t written a new post on my blog for a few weeks and now you know what happened. It feels good to write a post again. I have missed writing tremendously. I’m looking forward to finding out what surprises might pop up a few months down the road. I have learned that for every bad moment, there is a good moment around the corner if you keep your eyes open and look for it. I’ll let you know what it is as soon as I see it.
For anyone who has health issues or other issues and feels they can’t win the battle, I hope this post provided some hope for you. I wish you all the very best and pray that you find your way past the life you feel you must settle for and instead provide you with the strength to push you into the life you want to have.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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