You need to start believing what can be possible, rather than what’s being taken away. Choosing to look at life with the glass half full will help you tremendously along your journey.
I had the pleasure to interview Angie Randall. Angie is a marketer and communications specialist who runs her own social media firm, SocialChow, in Chicago. She has 10 +years of experience working with leading brands such as Hyatt, Sprint and NASCAR Angie has a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University and a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Santa Clara University. She also has a Certification in Strategic Marketing Management from University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Angie was the picture of perfect health until she lost her vision and was diagnosed with MS at 29-years-old.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Iam Angie Randall, mom to Chloe (3), Jack (9 months) and Oscar the shih tzu, and I have been married to my best friend, Bill, for the last 5 years. Our family lives in Wicker Park, Chicago. My husband and I are city kids and plan to also raise our family here with our parents close by!
My professional background is in advertising / marketing, and I spent most of my professional life working agency and client-side with a variety of global brands while also getting my master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Three years ago, I founded a boutique social media marketing agency, SocialChow, that supports lifestyle brands nationally.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
One day I randomly and very unexpectedly lost the vision in my right eye — everything just went dark without rhyme or reason. Soon after, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at 29 years old and my whole world changed from that moment on.
I remember going into the office just weeks after my diagnosis trying to stare at an Excel spreadsheet and being unable to read the numbers on the screen. It was surreal. I knew then that I needed to make a shift in my lifestyle and my career. I ended up quitting my job and veering off of the path that I had worked so hard to get on with no back-up plan. It was terrifying — and very unlike me — but I knew I needed to take time off to focus on my health and my family.
Soon after, I founded SocialChow, which not only allowed me to continue my professional career helping brands grow their businesses, but it gave me the flexibility to work for myself, on my own terms, where my health could remain my priority. At the time, leaving my corporate job was so scary, but it ended up resulting in the best lesson I ever learned: always put your health and family first; the rest will work itself out. I am now happier and more fulfilled personally and professionally.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Starting a business from scratch is tough, and I did everything I could to build up my client base in the beginning. I learned later that what really mattered to me wasn’t the volume of clients or even how much money I made, but rather how I felt physically and finding the balance between my work and my personal life.
For me, too much work leads to more stress and results in more MS symptoms. The tradeoff is simply not worth it to me. So now, I aim to take on only a handful of clients who I respect, admire and whose businesses I believe in and surround myself with a team of associates who help me build their brands.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Leaving my corporate job without anything lined up was challenging on many levels, but my husband encouraged me to do what I needed to do to be proactive when it comes to my health. Thanks to him, and my incredibly supportive entrepreneurial family, I was able to build my business with their help and guidance.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
Since being diagnosed with MS at age 29, I pledged to do everything I could to take proactive steps to manage the disease and delay progression, but to also make a difference in the MS community by:
- Demonstrating how you can live well with MS; through my blog, Well and Strong with MS, and my Instagram feed, I candidly share my every as both a mother and business owner and also someone who is managing an ongoing illness. I know my followers appreciate my authenticity as I tackle it all.
- Supporting those who are newly diagnosed by being a mentor and friend from afar. I regularly offer my time and share my experiences with those who are scared and don’t know what to do with their diagnosis. I know how helpful and meaningful it is to have that kind of support at the beginning, so I’ve pledged a lot of my time to being that person for others.
- Fundraising on behalf of the National MS Society and raising over $110K in just a few years. I want to be a part of the cure for MS, so I have spent a lot of time raising funds and raising awareness for events like Walk MS.
- Educating others on what MS is, and how you can tackle it. Through my blog and social media channels, I aim to share my own personal experiences with MS and share what I have learned along the way. I also have a portion of my Instagram dedicated to a Q&A with questions being submitted from other MSers — which allows the whole online community to weigh in to help answer.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
Shift your attitude — Getting an MS diagnosis is a tough pill to swallow, but once the shock wears off, you need to get your mindset aligned for success. You need to start believing what can be possible, rather than what’s being taken away. Choosing to look at life with the glass half full will help you tremendously along your journey.
Learn to destress — Stress is a trigger for my MS, so I have found a bit of an unconventional way to reduce stress by organizing my life. I created organizational templates that help plan my days, meals for the week, and to-do lists since being structured with my days helps me reduce anxiety and stress overall.
Get to bed early — I make an effort to really unwind and relax after I put my kids to bed because I know I personally need “me” time before I can sleep. I aim to turn off the lights around 9:30pm to ensure I get at least 7 or 8 hours of sleep. It helps me function better the next day.
Nourish your body — I do my best to eat unprocessed, whole foods to ensure I am providing my body with the nutrients it needs to function its best. I also aim to drink 8 cups of water a day, and even use my organizational templates to help track my intake! This way I am held accountable to both.
Move your body every day — Exercise is critical for overall health and well-being but it’s not always easy to get to a gym. I aim to do strength training twice a week, but I also opt for longer walks with my kids or husband when I don’t have time for the gym. The important thing is to be active every day in some way!
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” Focus on the things you can control in life — not what you cannot control. Focus on problem-solving, reframing and going into what’s next in a positive mindset. It can make all the difference in the world.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Don’t compare yourself to someone who was diagnosed 10, 20 years ago… things have changed drastically.
- You are stronger than you even know.
- Be grateful you caught it now — early treatment can help delay disability progression.
- You can still have everything you ever wanted in life — including a family.
- MS is scary, but less scary when you can talk to someone who’s been in your shoes. I am happy to talk to you and support you.
Best way to follow you on social media
Follow me at @angieroserandall or Instagram.com/angieroserandall, follow my blog at wellandstrongwithms.com.