In December of 2015 I was sleeping on couches in Seattle…
I had just sold or given away about 95% of my belongings, sublet my apartment, and temporarily “moved in” to my friend’s studio apartment.
At the time I thought I was going to visit my family in Ohio for the holidays (for the first time in over a decade) and then do some traveling around the States and possibly around the world.
That was the story I was telling myself, anyway…
Underneath the outward excitement of travel and adventure I was hiding some feelings that were terrifying to acknowledge:
Feeling exhausted, sick, and unhealthy.
Feeling burned out and dispassionate about my wellness business.
Feeling burdened with debt and financial insecurity.
Feeling unhappy and unsure about what the hell I was doing…
I’d been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue, and digestive dysbiosis the previous spring, and as much as I wanted to feel “totally fine”, the truth was that I totally wasn’t.
I was struggling with extreme fatigue and weakness due to my disease.
I was in over $20,000 of debt from three years of barely feeling well enough to work but having no idea what was wrong (doctors kept telling me that everything was “normal”).
And I was struggling to find the energy and desire to continue with my career in health & wellness – which I’d spent the previous EIGHT YEARS building.
When I got to Ohio and the holidays came and went, I realized that I had to change my plans. There was no way that travel and adventure were in my near future.
I decided to focus on healing instead of travel, and I decided to quit my work in the wellness field cold-turkey.
In making that decision I felt like I lost a part of my identity. Like I said, I’d spent nearly a decade studying nutrition and was dead set on a career in that field. I’d devoted myself to blogging, recipe development, cooking for people, and helping others with their health.
If I wasn’t the wellness coach, the healthy chef, the food blogger then what the hell was I?
The spring of 2016 was one of the most challenging times of my life: living with my parents at age 35, struggling with my health, unsure of what I was doing with my life… It was a period of intense shame.
In hindsight I understand that all of this was necessary to get me to where I’m at now.
Just one year after moving cross country & letting go of my wellness business:
- I am getting ready to move out of mom & dad’s (I am SO ready)
- I have launched an entirely new career in copywriting
- That career took off immediately, I’ve helped dozens of people with their copy, and I hit the $5K month mark just 4 months in.
- My health is getting on track, and I actually feel good in my body a lot of the time
- My finances are organized, a lot of debt is paid off, and I have stability with money for the first time in years
- I was able to travel to 3 states in the last year to have adventures with good friends
- And I’ve reconnected with my family after many years of living thousands of miles apart
Let me say loudly and proudly right now that my life is not perfect.
I don’t have one of those “6-figures in 6 minutes” stories.
I’m still focused on healing my body, growing my business, and creating what I truly want.
But I took the truckloads of lemons that life chucked at me, and I turned those b*tches into the tastiest beverage I could muster. Here’s my advice based on what I’ve learned from this process.
3 Tips for Creating Success When Life is Handing You a Sh*t Sandwich
1. Release the things you know aren’t right for you, even if it’s terrifying.
I’d had a sinking feeling about my wellness business for quite some time before finally saying goodbye. My pride and the fear of not knowing what else I could possibly do with myself kept me latched onto it for dear life.
If there are things in your life that you know deep down aren’t serving you or that you don’t really want but are holding onto anyway – RELEASE THEM.
This is easier said than done. Relationships, jobs, businesses… they can’t always just be walked away from in an instant.
Even though it hasn’t been easy to do, I have the privilege of parents who were willing to take my broke ass in at 35 years old so I could figure things out. Not everyone has that.
But I strongly believe that it’s worth it to do whatever it takes to leave situations, people, and things that drag us down. It’s the only way to open up space for new possibilities.
2. Take time to just feel the feelings, even if they’re super sh*tty.
We humans don’t like discomfort – I get that. We’re hardwired to avoid things that suck (like the shame of moving into your parents’ house at 35 years old).
But the more we try to avoid the shitty feelings, distract ourselves, and generally not deal with situations as they arise, the more those feelings build up. In the end we’re likely to face a shitty feeling explosion when all of that stuff comes to a head and finally weasels its way to the surface.
One thing I’ve learned over the years is that feelings aren’t finite. They’re constantly coming and going, and if we feel the shitty feelings, they’re gone so much more quickly. Resist the urge to avoid the shit.
3. Keep your eyes open for new opportunities, and don’t be afraid to say yes, even if you feel like a fraud.
Just because your life’s work is being flushed down the toilet (whether willingly or not) doesn’t mean you won’t find a new passion to replace it.
Starting over is scary AF, but if we spend all of our time focused on how much it sucks, then we’re gonna miss out on new opportunities. When I quit my wellness biz, I had NO plan. None. Like I hung my head, bawled my little eyes out for weeks (felt the shitty feelings), and just had no clue what I was doing with myself.
Once I’d regained some emotional stability, I started to pay attention to things. When a friend/colleague asked for my help with a writing project, you better believe I was all over that shit. I took one small opportunity, ran away with it, and came back with a whole new career.
The most important lesson I want you to take from my mess is that it doesn’t matter where you’re starting from, what your situation is, or how much citrus fruit is piled up at your door.
If you want it and are willing to work for it, then I’m positive it can be yours.
Do you have a story of creating something amazing when life was especially sucky? Tell me about it in the comments!