Sometime’s, our health is going to kick our business’s ass.
Building and running a business is enough of a challenge at times, but when you add health struggles into the mix it can be even more of a battle to keep your head above water along the way.
Whether it’s through a chronic illness, or an unexpected health crisis, or anything and everything else in-between, sometimes the struggles and battles our minds and body’s face can affect our ability to get stuff done and make things happen in our work.
And it can be heartbreaking. I’ve had many days where I’ve wondered: if I wasn’t living alongside illness, how much more would I be able to get done each day? What would my life look and feel like instead?
But there’s also joy to be found too. Living with illness has, without a doubt, been my catalyst for more intentional and wholehearted living - living alongside the limitations my health struggles can bring has taught me to prioritise what truly matters most to me in life, and to not waste time on the things that don’t matter along the way. And the fact that I’m able to work for myself and manage my health on my own terms is something I’m so damn grateful for every single day.
So if your health is kicking your business’s ass right now, I want to share with you 5 things from around the web that I’ve found encouraging, insightful, and comforting in my own journey along the way so far. My hope is that they may be able to be the same for you too.
One of my favourite things about being a coach is the awesome people I’m able to meet along the way, and Shelly Jackson is for sure one of those people. Shelly is the founder of Peaceful Body Coaching (she also runs another awesome business over at Fairwind Creative) and hosts the Painiac podcast, which is an incredible show for anyone living with chronic pain.
There are both solo episodes with Shelly exploring topics such as taking back the story of your illness and travelling with chronic pain, and then interview episodes with awesome guests who are either living with chronic pain or doing work in the world to support those who do. My personal favourite has to be this episode with Jennifer Lake as she lives with the same chronic neurological disorder that I do and it was amazing to just hear someone else speak about their experience of this illness. If you’re living with chronic pain, I definitely recommend checking out this show and the awesome work Shelly is doing in the world!
I’ve re-read this post so many times since starting my business, as Nicole’s insight into living with mental illness speaks so true to my own experience too.
One of my favourite passages from this post is:
We — especially those of us with mental illness — often wonder what the point of doing something big is when there’s such a real possibility of getting derailed by depression or anxiety or whatever our own personal struggle is. But I’ll tell you the point. The point is this: The time is going to pass anyway. The minutes and hours and days and weeks and months and years of your life are going to keep chugging along, whether you’re doing what you want to do or not. You are going to fear your fears regardless. I’ve lost days to depression; entire weeks were swallowed whole by the overwhelming enormity of trying to do something as simple as get up off the coach and use the toaster. That’s depression. But guess what? The possibility of that happening again is the same regardless of whether I’m doing the work I love or not — and doing the work I love might even help.
If you’re living with mental illness, or love and support someone who does, this is an honest and real post that reminds us that is doesn’t have to be an obstacle to making awesome things happen in our creative work and lives. Like Nicole says at the end of the post, we just have to build our own roadmaps.
This is a wonderful, insightful, and honest post about Kate’s experience of living with chronic pain and running her successful business alongside it. To quote her:
Because here’s the thing: everyone has something. And unless you really want them to, your limitations don’t have to define you.
All innovation is the result of and spurred by a need to deal with problems.
Some of the most liberating and powerful traits a business can have – creativity, problem-solving, agility, an entirely new perspective – are born from challenges.
Can you only work on your business 4 hours a week? Great. Only got $1k to invest to get your empire started? Ok. Can only work lying down? Fucking fantastic.
The key to your dreams coming true is this: focus on what you can do and get on with that, every day. I promise it’s a far better use of your time than obsessively reflecting on what you can’t, or, worse, what you used to be able to, do. That way is only pain.
I couldn’t agree more and even though my health struggles have taught me that lesson over and over again, sometimes reading someone else’s perspective is exactly what I need whenever I start to lose sight of the fact that my limitations don’t have to define me. This one’s a great read for any business owners battling with chronic pain or long-term health conditions who want some encouragement and a reminder to keep going and to keep showing themselves compassion along the way.
This post over on Wit & Delight is actually sharing something Kate found on another blog, but I remember when I first read it and smiling so much as it’s such a familiar list to the questions I ask myself, and that Alex asks me too, whenever I’m struggling with my mental health. It may just be a collection of super simple questions, but if you live with mental health illness this is a great resource for if you just need to check in with yourself and explore the basic steps you can take to support yourself to move forward in whatever way that works best for you. Also just knowing that others experience similar mental health struggles and need to ask themselves these questions too can remind us that we’re not alone and that there is no shame in living through what we’re living through. To quote the end of the post:
You’ve made it this far, and you will make it through. You are stronger than you think.
Esme Wang is one of my favourite voices when it comes to chronic illness and mental health - she shares so openly, with so much vulnerability and truth, that everything she writes always hits me deep in the gut. This piece she penned for Elle is an incredibility honest account of her fears of being lazy while navigating her life alongside chronic illness and the ways it affects her ability to work at the pace she used to. If you battle with this fear too, or you struggle to give yourself permission to take care of your body and your mind above ticking those extra things off your to-do list, this is a wonderful and honest and human read.
More than anything, if your health is kicking your business’s ass right now, I hope this post can remind you that you’re not alone. Though our illnesses, experiences, and struggles may look wildly different, there are so many of us building incredible businesses alongside challenging health struggles and finding a way to kick ass on our own terms every step of the way. I hope at least one of the links I’ve shared in this post can be of some encouragement, insight, or comfort to you today.
As always, I’m rooting for you!
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