Thank you to Protection1 for approaching me for the #LivingFearless campaign. As always, the opinions and story are my own.
Fearless is not a word that I would have used to describe myself as a child. While I was headstrong, I was cautious and many times afraid of failure. Those feelings continued into my twenties until one day, the switched flipped and I decided that I could do anything I put my mind to, including put myself through graduate school. Nothing was going to stand in the way of my success.
Guess what? Things don’t always work out the way we plan. My life has been a series of successful failures. I’ve lost jobs that I’ve loved. Completely changed careers a number of times. And, I’ve had to adjust my life to accommodate the beast that’s chronic illness as my daughter’s been sick. I’ve faced some obstacles that may have caused others to pause or even quit and I haven’t. I’ve continued to succeed. Why? I have no fear.
#LivingFearless. The hashtag resonates with me.
Looking back, my journey actually started in 1989 as my sister was getting ready to start college. There wasn’t enough money for the two of us to be in school at the same time, so I made an unexpected decision. I would take 19 hours my last semester and graduate early. I would be a liar if I said it wasn’t painful to watch my sorority sisters have a blast that spring. I felt left out. But, as I worked two jobs to make ends meet while I waited to get into graduate school (which I didn’t. I got a declination letter), I knew I was doing what I needed to.
Two years later, I finally began my Master’s Degree. I was happy, incredibly busy since I was working full-time and felt that I was exactly where I needed to be. Then I felt a breast lump. I didn’t finish the semester with my peers, I flew to New York at my mom’s insistence to have the lump removed when it couldn’t be needle biopsied. Thank goodness I didn’t have cancer, but sitting there listening to the surgeon tell the woman next to me that she did, changed me. I returned to school and graduated with honors. The day after graduation I went to Chicago for my final interviews with Leo Burnett. I called my parents from the airport to tell them I didn’t want the job. They told me I was crazy.
I wasn’t. I was #LivingFearless
While I looked for the perfect fit, I was one of the most educated waitresses in town. When three of my resumes wound up on the desk of a manager at The Kansas City Star on the same day, he called thinking it was fate. It was. I worked in sales at the paper for nine years, eventually moving up the ladder until I was the Sales Training Manager. If you cut one of my veins, printer’s ink would flow. That’s how much I loved my job. Until I lost it. And, for a moment, I lost a little part of me because I had no idea what I was going to do.
When a recruiter from New York Life called me, I had no intention of selling life insurance, however the promise of freedom and self-employment really resonated with me. The first year I was in the business, my husband was incredibly sick. He wound up spending five weeks in the hospital after a Sigmoidectomy. We had a four-year old. Life had to go on like normal. I discovered it’s easy to talk about the importance of life insurance when you almost lose someone. I had a successful insurance practice for eight years.
There’s a pattern to #LivingFearless
It means that no matter what happens you can’t give up or give in. You keep your eyes on the prize and if there isn’t one, you find a sliver of a silver lining to cling to. When there are obstacles in your path, you find a way to move them no matter how much they weigh. And, when life doesn’t turn out the way you plan, you change the plan.
By the time I was in my 40’s, I had two successful careers and blogged for a major metropolitan newspaper when decided to return back to my first love of marketing. I spent nine glorious months as the Regional Director for Plum District before they blew through millions of dollars and had to fire us all. Four months later, I lost a job with Living Social for the same reason. After interviewing for lots of jobs that didn’t excite me or promise to pay me well, I started my own marketing firm. A good move because suddenly, my teenager got sick.
Chronic Illness has taught me more about #LivingFearless
I’d tell you that there’s nothing more frightening than watching your child spit up blood but that’s not true. It’s the unknown. My daughter’s had migraines her entire life, but her life was dramatically altered by POTS and complete dysautonomia. She also has a rare skin condition called PLEVA. We got those answers a couple of years ago but we’ve never uncovered why she’s spitting up blood and continue to stump all the doctors. The past two years, we’ve been on the Invisible Illness roller coaster as she’s been unable to attend school and we’ve had major setbacks at every turn. Still, neither of us have given into fear or given up hope.
Eight months ago, I wheeled my teenager through Disney World because she could barely walk and she couldn’t balance herself at all. Last week, she walked into her first day of high school and she spent the weekend at the dance studio learning choreography for the production number for the upcoming year. Today, she’s in bed with a migraine and a POTS flare, but the incredible progress that she’s made in such a short time is amazing. She’s worked hard to get healthy and get her life back. She’s the true definition of #LivingFearless.
As for me, a few months ago I decided I needed to get out from behind this computer and be around people. So, I started a LuLaRoe clothing business. Clothing has taken over our home but so has lots of laughter. It’s a wonderful thing to make people feel good about themselves every day and a blessing to have the schedule flexibility and income.
#LivingFearless gives you freedom
The freedom to take giant leaps of faith when there’s a roadblock in your way. The ability to take whatever life gives you and make lemonade out of lemons. The chance to succeed when it seems like failure is imminent. It’s given me the ability to overcome every stumbling block placed in my way and learn how to pivot towards the next new venture. It’s proven to me that failure isn’t an option and that the beast of illness will never win.