To start writing again, you just have to write. Pretty simple advice but it’s true. Today feels like as good time as any to just write. As I sat down to write the typical blog post, you know the one with nuggets of wisdom, and how-to do that thing you don’t know how to do, this post was standing in the way. Yes, that post – the one you’re never supposed to write on a business blog because of branding, image and all that jazz. Luckily for me I’m not chased down my paparazzi or swarmed by swooning fans that care about me maintaining an “image.”
This year was supposed to be an epic new chapter in my life. I turned 50 in January and was looking forward to a year of celebration and joy. Days before my 50th birthday, I learned that my youngest brother (who shares my birthday month) was ill. Life quickly spun into research, treatments, hospitalizations, sleepless nights and many, many family phone calls. This is in the midst of running a business. By February, I was exhausted but accepting of the new normal. In March my brother died. Even as I write this my stomach drops.
My brother’s service was on a Friday and I went back to work on Monday. Big. Fat. Mistake. I was so afraid that if I took time off things would fall apart. So I continued to work with a heart so heavy it felt like a second person. One sleepless night after another, I got up in the morning and convinced myself that I could soldier through until things really did start to fall apart.
I was off my game but too sad and exhausted to do anything about it. I fell behind schedule and worked hard to catch up but I let other things slip like business development. With two clients winding down I learned a third was cutting their budget. Ugh. All normal stuff in normal times but disaster when you are the working wounded. The last bit of bad news shocked me back to life. Not what I would have chosen, but hey it worked.
On the other side of depression, I now see how unwise it is to care for others without caring for you first. We’ve heard it so often – put on your own oxygen mask first. I’ve said it countless times to harried entrepreneurs and over extended friends and yet I allowed myself to get into a position where I was gasping for air. So, I’m writing this post as a declaration of my own healing and a precautionary warning for all of you.
I worked out of fear and but the thing I feared happened anyway. It would have been far better if I had allowed time to tend to my needs before trying to meet the needs of others, even if is my business. I won’t allow myself to fall for this lie again. I am a person of faith but in this I acted like a spindly coward who could not let go and trust that it would all work out.
In the end, it is all working out and better than I could have predicted. So today I take another step (a long meandering one, but thanks for indulging me) into my new future. I can’t promise daily posts but I am happy to be able to just write, regardless of the frequency.
Have you ever forgotten to put on your own mask? I’d love to hear your comments, because we’re all in this together!
Karen Swim says
Thanks Michelle! I hope that others can learn from my mistakes!
Michelle Francis says
Very inspirational post! It’s so true, too many people forget to put themselves first. Good for you to recognize the need, do what you can, and most importantly, share your story!!