I really didn’t know if it was a good idea to write this blog post. It’s been sitting in my ‘ideas’ folder for quite a while, but I think I’ve worked out why.
Writing about anything deeply personal is a cathartic experience, but it feels like something which should be reserved for personal diaries and journals.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned on Medium, it’s that platforms like this are at their best when people are open, honest, and deeply revealing about themselves.
So. Big breath. Here goes…
It was the worst year of my life
Bar none. It really was. My marriage ended; no one expects that to happen.
I should highlight at this juncture that I’m not going to delve into any of the details, because it isn’t necessary and I have zero interest in revealing the exact circumstances. It just doesn’t matter and is something which I believe should remain private.
However, during the year of my divorce, something amazing happened, and I think it’ll help others who are going through tough times.
While my world was falling apart, my business had the best year of its life, and it is now stronger than it has ever been.
But, how did I manage that?
It was the thing I turned to
I’ll be honest, up until 2017, I’d lived an incredibly happy, ‘blessed’ life. I’d never really had any money worries and my family and friends provided me with the stability, fun and adventure I needed.
Work was great, too. I’d finally left my normal job and had jumped head-first into the world of independent work.
Life was great. And then it all changed.
When big, horrible shit happens in life, people usually turn to something to numb the pain and provide a different point of focus. For some, it’s exercise. For others, it’s a vice such as alcohol or drugs. Some people will even throw themselves into the arts or indulge in a new passion.
For me, I did two things. I doubled-down on the gym and spent the rest of my time on the business.
Exercise aside, work was definitely the thing I turned to in order to get me through that period. At the time, it was the one thing I could control and influence. Amid a sea of personal chaos, it was a remote island bathed in sunlight and only accessible by its owner: me.
As a result, my financial end of year total blew the previous year out of the water.
I’ve thought a lot about that period when it comes to the work I achieved. I’m not entirely sure how or why I was so successful during that time, but it’s potentially down to one or several of the following:
- I found happiness in the smallest of achievements, and made it my mission to achieve as many of those ‘little’ wins as possible;
- after an initial dip in personal confidence and self-esteem, I emerged stronger both physically and mentally; and
- everything was put into perspective.
That last point is key, I think. When something huge and entirely unpleasant happens to you, you realise what does – and doesn’t – matter.
When it came to work, that resulted in me reassessing everything I did. What was I prioritising which really didn’t need to be prioritised? Which clients were unprofitable? What type of work did I want to do more of (and vice-versa)?
Perspective is so important in life and business. Without gaining more of it that year, I fear my business would have limped along without any ability to grow or become more interesting.
What about now?
I’m in an incredibly happy place now. And if you’re currently going through a tough time, you will be, too.
Trust me. I know what it’s like. Everyone who loves you will be telling you that it’ll all work out just fine and that you’ll emerge happier. Right now, none of that will seem possible; you’ll feel like you’re going to be in this mire forever.
But you won’t – I promise.
I’m now in the best relationship of my life and my business continues to go from strength to strength. The additional perspective I gained three years ago has enabled me to explore new avenues, increase my skill set and finally launch my YouTube brand. None of that would have happened if 2017 didn’t happen.
The best of times can – and, I think, nearly always will – emerge from the worst. If you’re struggling now – don’t give up. Realise that you’re stronger than you think, and you’ll get through whatever it is you’re going through.