Community//

Imagine That Getting Too Successful Could Make You Sick

On April Fool's Day seven years ago I learned that success could cripple me.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

One day in 2014, I got sick and never got better.

I didn’t know for five months if I had a spinal tumor.

Fast forward…

Yes, I am sick with three chronic illnesses. It’s as fun as it sounds, and it comes with a strange side effect that I had never heard of.

When I got Lyme disease I developed transverse myelitis and it ate a hole in my spine. Then I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

These diseases gifted me with a “superpower.”

Too much excitement makes me sick.

After I lost my job, I had to launch my business out of thin air, going from zero income and zero disability payments with no idea of what was to come. We had bills to pay and kids–locusts in jeans–to feed. I threw everything into my business and it took off. Soon my children were out of the house, so I could spend even more time growing my dream.

What a great distraction from pain.

When you work on a business and don’t let up, you succeed. You leverage that success and commit to learning as much as you can. You throw your hat in the ring for every job and throw caution to the wind. You say yes, and figure it out later. I remember limping out to the garage to tell my husband about new deals I had closed. Some opportunities were bigger than others, and when I inked those contracts, goosebumps would sweep my body and set my hair on end. A physiological preview of what was to come.

My body can’t tell the difference between good stress and bad stress. 

Enter my superpower. My throat will ice over. My limbs will burn and tingle like I’ve scraped them along asphalt. Pain will creep from the base of my skull and land in one or both eye sockets. My checks and gums burn. I could fall asleep anywhere but for the constant buzzing thrumming my body, as if I am a plucked guitar string. On the worst days, it must be dark and quiet.

No nerve medicine will touch this pain. The best remedy is sleeping. Usually, when I wake up, I feel slightly better, although beat up. The thrumming has quieted and the headache only snarls, not roars. 

So what to do about this weird challenge?

Well, in the wise words of Tom Petty, “I won’t back down.”

This life SNAFU means that I must consistently prime my mindset. It’s even more critical than if I was 100 percent.

These are the fail-safes I practice. If you are in a similar situation, maybe they will help you, too:

  1. Hold tight if you are uncomfortable. Growth, scaling, grand opportunities, etc., are nothing to be afraid of. We are the ones in control. 
  2. Reassure yourself that any person whose accomplishments intimidate you is just a person.
  3. Remember that God or the universe always takes care of us and in these seven years, often, life has been easier for me.
  4. Actively work on handling conflict and break away from people who aren’t right for you. 
  5. Don’t sugarcoat anything.
  6. Practice calming techniques.
  7. Release whatever is pent up, through talking it out or writing.

The most critical piece of this discovery is that I don’t care.

I don’t care what physical symptoms assail my body. I will never step aside or relinquish any of my passions because of it. Instead, I will resolve to push myself, learn new ways to manage perceived limits and love myself. I will practice regular self-care so I can continue to reach the goals I only used to dream of. 

If you focus on executing the action that scares you and leave the emotion behind you will never have a regret.

Sharing this part of me I hope will inspire you. We all have perceptions of what we feel we can’t achieve, and in many cases, our “limitations” are just not true. They are the makings of our minds steeped in scarcity, conditioned to only see what is not possible.

No matter the walls you are trying to knock down or fears looming, you can find a way through. Any one of us can, especially when we make it our mission to believe in ourselves without fail. When we decide that bad experiences are going to happen but we can plan for them.

Success is a signature journey. You can manage, work with and use any superpower to your advantage.

Even if it makes you sick.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

entrepreneur, chronic illness, hilary jastram, sick biz,
Community//

When Your Bed is Your Desk

by Hilary Jastram
Community//

Erika Schlick: “Stay strong and be your own advocate”

by Ben Ari
Community//

From the beginning…

by Allie Cashel
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.