Calmly and deeply asleep in my warm bed, laying next to my fiance of almost five years, on the second story of our beautiful new home, yes, life is good… 6:00am strikes and my eyes automatically open to the dark bedroom. I gently roll the blanket off just enough so I can sneak out, yet not let a cold draft hit my fiance still sound asleep. I quietly make my way downstairs to start the morning like I do every day, seven days a week.
I get to the kitchen and underneath only a microwave light, I prepare to make coffee. This is my favorite part of the day, as I spend every morning in the peaceful darkness of my warm living room with my laptop and coffee and begin my entrepreneurial work day before sunrise. So, I pull the can of Chock Full of Nuts coffee down from the cabinet to the counter, open it, place the filter in the coffee maker, and add one scoop of grinds in the coffee maker. While going in for the second spoonful, a horrible lightheaded and nauseating rush comes from my legs up into my face out of the clear blue sky. I had no idea or preparation for what was about to happen next.
I begin to black out, and in an effort not to fall, catching myself hanging from the countertop, I drop the spoon of coffee grinds everywhere and rest my face down in a fight, avoiding the need to vomit. The cold sweating starts, but I know my body better than anyone, and this wasn’t an illness. My eyesight comes back for all of a few seconds, which I use as my opportunity to dizzily get to our half bathroom. I find it, quit the fight, hit the ground, and start vomiting and dry heaving at 6:20am for the next 10-15 minutes. This isn’t illness, it is a physical threshold for stress, and it is the first repeat of high-level stress I’ve had since high school – otherwise known as the 2008 recession.
Entrepreneurship presents a life that the majority will never know. It’s a life of being really, deeply, misunderstood (just by your day-to-day contacts – your ideas and logic), unable to connect at the level you require to be the one who feels connected, you care so much that it’s borderline a disease, you prefer time alone over being with others, being with others makes the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) of your to-do list worse, anywhere from one to millions of people could be counting on you every day depending on what level you’re at, you become responsible for your own and other peoples livelihoods in more ways than one: from direct payroll to just the ongoing bills, plus the service you provide in its own right and the solution it brings to families and homes, and just as if that is all not enough to make you prefer to live your life 99% alone and not talk about it (many resort to self-medicating), add in having to learn and walk the infinite balance beams of state and federal laws while you’re trying to make breakthroughs in the world. By the way, this all makes for a great life for your significant other too, who did, but really did not, sign up for any of this.
Okay, now Entrepreneur, go out there and WIN the day! No seriously, what I just described to you above is what I call “painful” – but do you know what it’s NOT…? It’s not unhappiness. Let me explain, my life is easy, and by my definition of easy – it is for one reason only: happiness.
Would you believe that even while living under a concaving ceiling of what feels like air-locked pressure, at no point in time have I ever been sad, depressed, or unhappy, nor do I quit any day of the week because my family always taught me by example that
winning comes from happiness.
It was only later on in my late-20’s that I figured out that happiness is born out of confidence. If you’re confident, who can bring you down? What can bring you down? Well, the answer is “nothing and no one” and it is because you have deep rooted faith and belief that steers you otherwise. Those faiths come from your ability to execute, take action, prove something to yourself. I have proved my abilities, I am confident, and it makes every day an emotional breeze.
In college, everyone use to joke and call me “Spongebob” because of my inherent positivity, happiness, goofiness, and energy levels… sometimes to a fault. I was like that even with three jobs and on two hours of sleep too many nights. I love to dance, primarily alone in my living room now, but dancing with my dancer-friends (I love you Genna, Brittany, and Laurel), at the bars, or alone in my house has been a huge joyful ‘out’ for me since I was a small child. Dancing is also something that brought my family relief, joy, and togetherness through some of the hardest times I might ever know in my life.
Life might get hard for all of us in its own way, but I have unwavering confidence in myself and I’ve never attached my happiness to “things”. Meaning, nice things don’t make me happy, therefore the absence of them also has no power to take that happiness away.
My equation for a great life whether homeless or rich, ugly or beautiful, freezing or burning, or starving or full, is this:
Confidence = Happiness = Resilience = Success
Misery does not create resilience or the ability to win – happiness does.
A lot of people set goals to own homes, buy nice cars, save $10,000 or make $1,000,000, or get a job they really want… and they say, “If I do this, I’ll be happy.” and they mean it. Well, those things are certainly nice…
But none of that stuff really matters.
In the mid-90s, my mom, my dad, my brother and I slept on an empty bedroom floor together, a pile of us with no bedroom furniture, and we slept like that for two whole years. My Dad still tears up and says, “Those were the greatest two years of my entire life,” because we were so together, happy, and again – what else could possibly matter? We loved each other, and hey, we cut it loose and danced all of the time. We danced in the kitchen, the living room, in the garage and the driveway, you name it, in tears or in laughter, we could always dance and find a reason to celebrate or shake it off.
To shorten up what could become an incredibly long autobiography about why I am numb to risk and fearless of hardship or rejection (you really cannot scare someone who’s been around the block), as DIFFICULT as your day to day chores can get, when the pressure is on to the point that your palms sweat down the steering wheel of your car and you wake up to unsolicited vomiting, those are signs that you’ve already reached resilience. Will you keep going?
Don’t confuse my healing-through-writing here with my lifestyle being healthy by the way – I’m not telling you that what I personally manage each day inside of me is “healthy.” It’s just for me. What I am telling you is that difficulty and obstacles do not necessarily equate to happiness, and that like I am, you can work on your confidence, happiness, resilience, and success regardless of the obstacles that you face.
To me, high-level stress is like running a marathon or an intense game, self-induced through your thoughts (“if you think you can or you can’t – you’re right.”), but could be so hard on your body that you literally throw up… but that does not equal your happiness. Marathon runners are not necessarily angry or unhappy, they’re in pain… and if they are confident, care about the outcome, and happy to be there, that’s what motivates them, and often, they finish.
I’ve organized, executed, built my confidence, it’s made me happy to wake up every day and the rejection of others is unwavering to my mentality. Happiness is the muscle that endures pressure, builds success, you absolutely cannot win without it. It’s because of my happiness that my life remains easy.
Thanks for reading, I hope my writing helps or reaches someone else. Feel free to reach out to me if you can relate: email@example.com.