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Connecting the 5-Year Journey to Discovering You

Photo credit Lyssa Vang

Photo credit Lyssa Vang

[Today's guest post is by my good friend and co-host of The Shut Up Show, Berni Xiong. As The Shin Kicking Life Spark, Berni helps solopreneurs spark people and spark movements.]

It’s hard to believe I almost let myself whittle away to nothing nearly five years ago. Literally. Two weeks after I kicked my corporate sales job to the curb and started my first entrepreneurial venture in coaching, I got sick with a mystery diagnosis. I was hospitalized for seven days. Unable to work on building the new business. Uninsured. Unemployed. On top of that, I was forced into involuntary anorexia by four doctors who prodded and probed me every day conducting a multitude of tests to find out what the hell was going on inside me.

On day seven, I was discharged with no known cause for my illness, a new parasite in my colon I contracted from my hospital bed, and a $40,000 bill. I seriously just wanted to die.

There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about my 2008 hospitalization. The kind of inner chatter that was happening could have easily moved me to take my own life back then. There were many moments I wished I could die so my son could cash out my insurance policy and not have to see his good-for-nothing mother rotting in her bed with no job and no strength to build a new business.

How different would things be today had I surrendered to the beast?

Phil and I recently had an amazing conversation with Srini Rao of BlogcastFM on our new web show where we got to talking about connecting the dots of our past decisions. Srini said, “If I could push the reset button on my life, I would have done things differently. But if I did push the reset button, we might not be having this conversation right now.”

What Srini says is so profound for many reasons. If you could go back and take away all your mistakes and you only kept the good, you would miss out on a lot of invaluable experiences you’ve learned along the way. The connections you’ve made would no longer be there. Your story would not resonate with a lot of people as a result. And in the very literal sense, you would not be where you are right here, right now.

As I write this, last week I gave a kick ass workshop on selling. It was like magic. I achieved my objectives as the presenter. They got what they wanted as attendees. It was a win-win. It almost didn’t happen that way. I had originally built the curriculum to teach cold-calling and selling techniques the way I was taught over the last decade. After doing my first run-through with my material, I was extremely unexcited. I even gave myself the stink eye. There was no way I would subject anyone to that horror.

So the night before my workshop, I scrapped it all, cleaned my canvas and went to bed. The next day, I delivered my best workshop ever.

berni and phil margaritasPhil texted me after I finished my workshop asking me to meet him for lunch before I head back home two hours away. I said “Hell yeah!” with no hesitation. Two margaritas and one vine later, I realized why I got up from that hospital bed in 2008. Why I kept moving forward even in the darkest times. Days like last week delivering my best workshop ever and getting to hang out with Phil to conspire under the sun while making a difference in the world made every excruciating moment worth the journey to get here.

The shin kick here I’d like to impart on you?

As Phil says:

No regrets. But no repeats.

Berni Xiong (shUNG) is The Shin Kicking Life Spark for solopreneurs and Phil’s co-host on The Shut Up Show. When she’s not kicking shins, she writes about her journey from corporate to coaching at bernixiong.com.

5 Responses to Connecting the 5-Year Journey to Discovering You

  • “No regrets. But no repeats.” LOVE this! Embrace the adversity– it shapes you into who you are. Great post!

  • Holy crap Berni – what an inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    It’s a wonder the enormity of all that’s going on doesn’t break us sometimes. Rather, it strengthens us like steel gets forged to move forward. Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it takes a while. It does happen though – if we lean into the full massivity of the experience and learn all we can.

    Good stuff!

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