This post is a little personal. And it’s been a little hard to write for a couple of reasons.
Starting your own business can be a bit of a lonely affair, as I’m finding out. Sure Gorgeous also works out of our house. I go out to meetings, do outside local networking and I am a social media guy so there are people around most times.
Even so, when push comes to shove it all rests on me. Unlike a traditional job, when you work for yourself there is no one to pick up the ball if you should fumble.
And that loneliness can be insidious. It can sneak up on you when you lest expect it.
At least it did with me.
A Hidden Trap
A few weeks ago I was trucking along and things were going well. The self-employment thing is working out for us. It sure feels a lot less stressful than the jobs I’ve had over the last several years.
But I started having these weird sensations in my chest. It wasn’t really pain, per se. More like the feeling you get when you have a rush of adrenalin by being scared by something. Sorta like the thrill of a roller coaster. Or bungee jumping. Or something.
Only there wasn’t anything scary or thrilling happening. Just that tightness in my chest.
At first I pretty much ignored it. It was only happening a couple times a day in the beginning. And it never lasted more than about 10 seconds or so. Just enough to make me notice but not enough to get in the way.
I didn’t tell Gorgeous about it because I didn’t want to worry her.
The only real precaution I did take was I stopped working out. Rowing is the one form of regular exercise that really fits me and I had visions of my mother-in-law collapsing on a rowing machine with a heart attack several years ago. I am over 40 after all.
Ignoring it didn’t seem to work as eventually it got so it was happening several times an hour. That was the point where I finally broke down and told Gorgeous what was going on. She rightly insisted I head to the Doc the next morning after I refused her suggestion that we head to the emergency room.
But before I got into see the Doc I noticed something a little odd. You see Gorgeous and I have some things we want to achieve, not just with SuccessCREEations, but in other areas of our life as well. And we know that part of growing often involves changing the way you think.
So to help correct some of our faulty thought patterns that we felt were holding us back we both committed regularly reviewing some affirmations that are in line with where we want to be long term. But those statements are very much at odds with where we are right now.
And pretty much every time I read my own affirmations I would have that weird feeling in my chest. Sure it happened other times too for no apparent reason. However the only way I could seem to “make” it happen was by reading those affirmations.
So the way I see it there were a few things that could be going on.
- Physical Problem
- Obviously there was something physical going on. Now whether the cause was physical or not is something that can be determined. I don’t think that’s the case, but it makes sense to make sure. So I went to the Doc. She ordered some tests and has me heading to a cardiologist to make sure there’s nothing going on with my ticker.
- Stress Induced
- It’s possible that the whole thing was stress induced. I am probably under a whole lot more stress than I realized working for myself. Perhaps I didn’t realize it because it involves different stressors than when you work for someone else. If so, stopping my workout routine likely added my problem rather than helping things.
- Perhaps the whole thing is in my head. Maybe the disconnect between the affirmations and our current reality caused some physical reaction while my brain wraps itself around what it will take to move from here to there. If my problem is a head game I’m confident I can overcome that.
- I don’t know what your spiritual inclination is but the Bible teaches that we are faced with a real enemy that actively works to destroy us. That enemy wants to keep us from achieving things and will use all those weapons above (and more) to keep us from moving forward and achieving our dreams. Fortunately that’s a battle I know how to fight too. The big trick here usually is simply realizing that the fight is on in the first place.
The down side of having this going on is that it tends to isolate us. I realized that I was withdrawing and not writing. Since I originally started blogging because I wanted to write, stopping writing altogether was not a healthy move for me.
Nor was my backing away from my social media interaction. Fixating on activities that produce income but involve minimal social interaction such as building web sites for clients to the exclusion of social media activity was not a healthy move either.
Another negative effect of all this stuff going on is that I fumbled a couple balls I should have been carrying. As a solo entrepreneur the consequences of fumbling are yours alone. It’s good and bad at the same time.
One of the things that is burned in my brain from my flying days in the Navy is our Out of Control Flight Procedures. Even the best pilot might one day find himself in a situation where his plane is spinning out of control.
Step 1 in our aircraft was to neutralize the flight controls.
The biggest danger is loosing altitude and impacting the ground. Knowing that the natural thing for pilots to do is to try fight the spin and force the plane to fly again. The trouble is, when you’re out of control, fighting can often make it worse and ultimately guarantee you crash.
By neutralizing the controls, bringing them back to center, the pilot can quickly evaluate what is really going wrong and take effective corrective action, stabilize the aircraft. If the plane is still in a dive after the spin stops, then he can pull back on the stick and pull out of the dive before he hits the ground.
I’ve learned that the same thing applies in life. When you realize things are getting out of control often the best thing to do is to take a step back and look at what you are doing. We naturally want to take immediate corrective action, but doing so without first “neutralizing the controls” in our lives can things spin even further out of hand.
Take stock. Only then should you make adjustments.
In my case I went to the doctor so we can hopefully rule out any physical causes. On my doctors advice I started working out again to help manage my stress levels.
I’m also getting my head back in the game by writing and re-engaging on the social media front. I’m doing those things I know I should be doing and facing the consequences for the fumbles along the way.
Finally I’m paying attention to the spiritual challenges that are facing me. I am equipping myself to resist that enemy so that I can move forward toward those things I believe I am called to do.
Even so, it can be lonely sometimes.