It’s difficult, I think, for folks who have never experienced any turmoil or adversity in their lives to understand just what it takes to persevere. I had a boyfriend during an extremely stressful time in my life who had never experienced any loss — of a job or otherwise. He couldn’t relate, and all he could do was to tell me not to be stressed.
I just watched a vlog – Day 118 on his road to 300 – by Demian Ross. He had a different plan for the video, but it took a turn to a really personal story for him. A REAL story about the real, not-so-positive-life-turn for him a couple of years ago.
This video got me thinking about my own situation and low times for me in the past. Things are not always rainbows and unicorns, and it helps to share realness, because it shows people they aren’t alone.
Social media does tend to be this place where we show the good. People will assume all is well and perfect if all you ever show appears perfect. Clearly, everything is not always good!
In 2001 I was laid-off from a dot-com. I made it through three layoffs, but couldn’t escape the fourth. Three months earlier I had to be out of an apartment I was renting because our lease was up, and my roommate and I were both moving on. I was in the process of buying a condo, but hadn’t closed yet, so I stored my stuff and was living with my boyfriend for what was supposed to be a few weeks. Well, the sellers ended up taking it off the market!
Needless to say, it seemed I was “lucky” I didn’t get that condo, but now I was jobless AND homeless. It was the beginning of 2.5 years of my belongings being in storage, and me living with friends and family. I was unemployed or underemployed for most of that time before things finally came together for me. It was a daily struggle of trying to make ends meet. Of relying on others to help me.
People I’ve worked with since then can’t believe I went through that–that I managed to get to where I was, despite that. At the time friends would say to me “I don’t know how you’re doing it”… my response was I had no choice! I was simply dealing, continuing to look for work, and taking each day as it came (ending with having three jobs at once before finally moving into my own home again).
Cut to today…
I’ve had my business for nearly five years, and the past three months have been particularly difficult. The loss of a large client who shut down his company. Flakey potential new clients. Hopes being raised and then dashed over and over. Verbal agreement for new business, which was then taken away. While I’m not in the same spot I was in 17 years ago, I am in a low. Struggling financially is not unusual for business owners, this I know! It has had me wondering how much to share… do I remain optimistic or do I share the hardships?
I did just take a very big vacation — it was planned and about 2/3’s of it was already paid for (before losing the big client), so I went anyway. But I know how it looks… it looks like I’m flush!
I did try to make the absolute most of it, including soaking it all in as I am in this photo.
What’s the lesson?
That you never know what people are really going through. If you didn’t know Demian’s story before today (and he only shared part of it), you would never think such a funny, smart dude would have gone through what he has so recently.
If I only post the positive, everyone will continue to believe all is positive.
I know things will get better… I know there are some amazing businesses out there that will benefit from my skills and experience to help them improve their communication and sales!
If you’re struggling, you’re not alone. If you need someone to lend an ear, reach out. We’re not alone, and support from others will help us all.
Best of luck!