Hello friends and Frontrunners!
As you may have noticed, it's been quite some time since I've written something new for Frontrunners.
So I wanted to give you a quick update on what's been up in the meantime until the next article goes up so that you know that I haven't forgotten about you all. (SPOILER: I did not get abducted by aliens or conscripted to fight in secret black-ops missions.)
It's been a wild past few months for Shannon and I, with many different things going on in life and business, but the most significant thing (and the reason that has kept me from writing consistently) is that Shannon has had a whole bag-full of health issues happening all at once. The short list ranges from gallbladder polyps, to a double ear infection (pain, headaches, dizziness, the works), a hemorrhagic cyst in her abdomen, chronic fatigue, digestive issues that keep her from getting nutrition from eating, and (randomly) a semi-dormant Epstein-Barr virus (the one that causes mono) that has been wrecking her immune system for years and making her chronically ill.
I know, right?
Luckily, she has an incredible doctor who has stuck with us through the process and we have eliminated the possibility of dangerous issues that would have needed surgery.
And despite all of this, she still managed to get straight A's, as well as become a certified kettlebell trainer, in her first term of school for Personal Training! She's amazing.
So aside from my work as a brand consultant and designer, I've also been occupied with being an at-home nurse, scheduling appointments and making phone calls with doctors and insurance companies, as well as cooking and cleaning at home, and being "Super-Husband". ;)
Through all these things, there's multiple lessons I've learned:
- It's ok to set aside someTHING you love for someONE you love. This should be a no-brainer, but I had to learn that it was ok that I haven't had the mental or emotional capacity to write for Frontrunners while dedicating so much to caring for Shannon. Even the most high-functioning people can't do everything well all the time, so you need to choose what get's your investment. (Hint: always put family first) – After sharing with Shannon how I felt guilty that I hadn't written for weeks, she explained that I needed to give myself some grace, and to give myself permission to set it aside for a period in order to be the best husband I could be. Removing the weight of guilt was a HUGE boost.
- Life is unexpected. No matter how much you plan, you have to be flexible enough to adapt and step up to the plate. It stretches your capacity and even if it's overwhelming at first, you start to take it in stride. Be patient and take one day at a time.
- Support systems are crucial. Friends, family, and community are so important to stay sane, get encouragement, and have people to lend you strength and empathy when you are running low.
- Look for the positive. Especially when circumstances aren't. Ask yourself questions like, "How is this growing me?", "How is this preparing me for the future?", "How is this making my story unique?", "How will this allow me to help others?", and you will be conditioning yourself to perceive your situation differently, which reduces stress, builds optimism, actually teaches you new things, and it's an inspiration to people around you when they see your positive response to difficult times.
- Don't mourn how things are "supposed" to be. Dale Partridge posted on Instagram about this recently and I've been holding on to it as a constant encouraging thought. Aside from the health issues, there's been other disappointments we've experienced this year, in business, relationally, with opportunities, etc. And each time we allowed ourselves to get upset about how things should have gone, we would end up frustrated and discouraged. So instead of dwelling on things that are/were outside of our control, we've been embracing where we are at as part of our story, part of the process, as tests that are developing us. For me it's been important to start from ground zero: to almost imagine that those things that were lost never existed, and that where I'm at today is what I've always had. It keeps me from being distracted, and it helps me be a lot more grateful for what I do have. It focuses my attention on the future, not the past; and that means moving forward instead of being stuck.
- Be grateful. You can't be thankful and negative at the same time. They are opposite from each other. Whenever you feel like complaining or losing your cool or despairing, force yourself to say three things you're grateful for (it works even better for you to share them with someone else). This exercise has helped me redirect my mindset many times; and that continual effort has resulted in me being grateful and hopeful instead of bitter and hopeless.
There's so much more to draw from my recent experiences that I could share, but the most important thing is to remember to keep your top priorities in place, and to understand that the best investments you can ever make are going to be in people (especially family). If you can achieve success in that facet of life, all other areas of success pale in comparison.
The legacy a person leaves through their family is the longest-lasting, and strongest kind of legacy you can create.
Maybe you're going through some hard times like Shannon and I have. Maybe you've felt like you're worn out and can't go further. Maybe you've needed to hear that there IS good to come from the dark times. Maybe you needed this little message of hope and encouragement.
If so, share your story and what you're learning through the challenges in the comment section below.
One of the best ways to get through hard times is to encourage others. It takes your focus off of yourself and breathes new life into you as you build others up.
Stay tuned for the next Frontrunners article in the "Selfpreneurship" series, and in the meantime, if you haven't read the most recent one, check it out here:
As always, stoked to run with you!