Our family felt a big blow last week.
We get less than we expected. Or something will take longer. Or it won't happen at all.
Our expectations were set.
And we didn't get them.
Mine happened last Friday. I couldn't even write about it right away.
My team and I were on a Zoom call with some of our favorite clients: Amanda, Laura, and Molly.
People I really respect and greatly enjoy.
We were excited.
We had a great GrowBIG Training rollout and were preparing to launch GrowBIG Leader Training—my favorite experience we lead.
So much excitement for us all!
Insert a tire-screeching sound.
My wife Becky texted me.
Her check up didn't go as planned.
Her pneumonia was back.
It's been a year of setbacks.
Breast cancer. Surgery. Treatments. COVID. Then we've been dealing with obscure pneumonia for the last three months, attacking her compromised immune system.
It's been non-stop for her.
Becky had a huge high point finishing the pack burro race in Colorado, with things slowly improving since then.
But pneumonia in early December threw us backward.
The pneumonia has been especially rough.
Her heart rate would spike to 140 bpm just walking to the kitchen.
But after the hospital stay and two months of heavy antibiotics and steroids, we thought we were done.
Back to the moment, I got her text. My head dropped.
Instinctive. Like my neck muscles just gave out. Falling.
I turned off my camera and mic, putting in chat that we got bad news and I needed to call Becky.
She was in tears.
It was so hard to hear.
The infection had returned, filling up over half of her right lung, and the doctor said it was moving fast.
Back on steroids, this time for 54 more days. Heavy antibiotics too.
I had a hard time processing this one.
I was stuck.
Then, later that day, a thought.
Of 30,000ish people I've been lucky to work with, one person stands out at processing business setbacks—turning low points into high points.
He's also one of the top business advisors in the world: Dr. Henning Streubel.
Funny. To get unstuck, I listened to my own interview with Henning.
IT'S SO GOOD.
(Skip right to the 8:25 mark if you want to drop right into the setback part.)
Hearing Henning helped. Again. This time more than the first.
Feeling setback emotion fully is an unlock for me.
I can fall into the trap of suppressing my feelings, which I used to do before talking to Henning.
Pretending things will go away is the easy way out. Lame. Cowardice.
That doesn't work for me.
Making it easy in the short term makes it hard in the long term.
If I suppress it, the emotion remains, eating at me and subconsciously sucking energy and health.
So I let myself cry that day.
That's not something I would usually do – I almost made myself.
I wasn't crying for me, but for Becky and the challenges she will have to face. Feeling awful for several more months, having no energy, and not being able to make the impact she wants to make with her equine therapy nonprofit.
And then when she's done with the months of meds, clawing out of her health hole for another three or four months.
I pushed myself to feel as much of the pain as I could.
It was a small start.
Like Henning, pushing myself physically helps me too.
I played 3 hours of ultimate frisbee Saturday. Then 4 x 1 mile repeats as hard as I could Sunday.
I was wiped.
Fast forward to Sunday after that last interval run: hands on my knees in my driveway, catching my breath, I looked up.
Seeing the garage, I decided to do some manual work.
Simple physical labor helps me process things. I realized my body was broken down, but my mind was still on overdrive and mixed up. Unclear and going nowhere.
I decided to wash my car. It was a beautiful day in Atlanta, and the sun was shining.
For some reason, I put on an old 1980's heavy metal playlist. High school stuff for me. Youth.
I made the playlist last summer with my old friend David Mendez, an amazing human. It somehow helped me that Dave was with me in spirit as I listened to hard rock deep cuts shuffling from Armored Saint to Aldo Nova, Wrathchild to White Lion.
Then a moment froze in time.
Dee Snider belted this out:
Now's the time to stand tall
Start your life anew
Freedom lies in your heart
Now's the time for you
I am, and I'll be
I will, you'll see
I am, and I'll be
I am: I'm me
Hey I get it.
(Dave and I were always ahead of Decatur Indiana's heavy metal adoption curve.)
Jokes aside, there was something about that moment that hit me.
It was a beautiful day.
Every other damn thing in life is rocking.
We can do this.
And I can help her.
I listened to that song like 10 times in a row.
I will, you'll see.
Those four words flipped me. The low point became a future high point.
I'll support Becky at every turn, doing anything I can. It's my opportunity to build on our 30 years of marriage.
To show her I love her.
We'll get through this, and we'll be stronger for it.
Things have generally been better since that moment.
This week has still been tough. Becky's had up days and down days. Me too.
She doesn't feel well, but she's pushing through.
We can do this. One day at a time.
Maybe you had a setback recently too. Business. Personal. Something.
Maybe Henning's words will help you like they did me.
Feel the emotion fully.
Push your body.
Find that low point.
That's where the magic is.
Low points can become high points.
It's up to us to make them so.
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