Health problems can put you on a road to isolation and loneliness. If you let them.
Put health and well-being at the top of your priority list
Health issues as they relate to smaller businesses will become a hot topic in the future and I can understand why. Having personally survived cancer, a heart attack and a malignant melanoma I feel very much in touch with the issues involved. Not to mention being inflicted with high blood pressure, diabetes and a few years ago suddenly becoming stone deaf in my right ear.
My illnesses all started with bowel cancer in 1989, I had been perfectly healthy until I was 48. The impact was quite devastating to us as a family. There were no clear-cut guidelines for us to follow no rules for either my family or myself.
We just seemed to struggle through, trying to get ourselves back to normal, by ourselves and as best we could. There were many complex questions that had to be dealt with. Even though we received many telephone calls, letters and visits to support us, it was very rare that we came across anyone who really understood. As a family, we all put on a brave front.
Faith and trust under pressure
You stop trusting your body, just as you stop trusting your business when it is under pressure. The bowel cancer was only discovered because of my persistence that something was not quite right, even though at the time I felt very healthy, very much alive.
The first specialist I went to said that there was nothing wrong. The second specialist couldn’t get me on the operating table fast enough. If I hadn’t persisted, so I was told, a few more months and I wouldn’t have survived.
The same happened with the malignant melanoma on my shoulder, which had been there all my life. It suddenly made its move and again I was told if it had not been removed when it was, I probably would not have lasted another six months. This was the realisation of my worst fears. The cancer had reared its ugly head again, not that it was associated with my first cancer in any way.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do”. Eleanor Roosevelt
Both times I would have been dead if it had not been for my wife’s and my persistence. I had a feeling about my body and I insisted on having it checked, unlike some we know who are afraid to find out the truth.
Just like in a business when things are not going right, people stop persisting and looking for help and solutions until the business dies. For many years you can live with the fear of what will be next and still not take the right step to find out what is really going wrong?
You still have to run the business
With my families’ and my energy levels down, a loss of self-confidence in decision making and fighting the feelings of depression, feelings of being all alone and helplessness was difficult enough. But we still had to deal with the pressures of running a business.
I have learnt from my health experiences that there are many similarities with business. The gut feelings about what is going on, feelings of inadequacy, loss of self-confidence in decision making, feelings of being all alone and helplessness, the fear of the unknown, the rejection, the poor motivation, the lack of energy and vigour. It’s all there playing a role.
What was our role in life now? With me facing the possibility of a shortened lifespan, we had to get back to “normal” whatever that was. Now we know that things definitely do not go back to “normal” or whatever existed previously in either life or business. That is impossible.
We knew we had a right to be excited about the future after all we were blessed with two great children. But we struggled to find clarity in a new direction. We were definitely suffering from a lack of understanding and qualified input from other people.
Perhaps we did not know how to express our feelings appropriately, there was no one who knew how to guide us. Our feelings of inadequacy were reinforced by people’s negativity, or dismissed by others. There were too many social expectations. In some, we were cast as heroes for surviving but we did not know how to react.
Just give me the good news
“Just give me the good news” people would say, they really did not want to know or handle the rest. We also found that most people were too busy worrying about their own health and businesses to follow up or really want to understand our situation. Others will shut you out because they do not understand, or can’t cope with a major trauma.
Spouses constantly worry about the outcomes, they too carry the same fears. It is extremely difficult for a spouse to continually change from lover to carer, to lover. Relationship breakdowns are quite often the norm when it comes to either a health or a business breakdown.
People just want you to “get over it”, as I did myself, but they don’t know how to help you to do this. This, of course, compounds the stress and pressures you are experiencing.
Just like in a business people can quickly tell you what needs to be done but they don’t know how to do it. Some won’t even want to get in and help because they have their own issues to deal with.
Yes, business and health should be a hot topic. To help try changing the conversations you have about health and well-being and how you approach business problems, frustrations and the stress they cause.
And don’t forget to have these conversations with your family as they too carry the load of poor health and poor business decisions. Don’t keep them in the dark. Just as you don’t want to give up, don’t give up and become the silent type with them.
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You can be a victim of cancer, and have a lousy life, or you can be a survivor of cancer and live a wonderful life, a life you never knew existed. Check your mindset, it’s your choice.
Our children too carried an unnecessary and excessive burden of worry, they didn’t know how to cope either. Family members simply don’t know how to react. They too nee all the help you can muster.
One of the best things in helping you to recover is to look for ways you can help other people through their traumas, The more you help the more you learn and the better you cope with your health and business problems.