I never really thought of myself as a business woman. It didn't really occur to me that I was becoming one throughout my adult years either -- until recently.
Until then, I had spent my entire adult life raising two amazing sons (who now both tower above me!), supporting my equally statuesque (and gorgeous) hubby in his career goals and shifting between jobs, doing ministry service as a musician at church and trying to be an active participant in the boys' schooling.
Busy? Yep. On top of all of that, I discovered rather unfortunately that I had severe anxiety and depression, which at the time was grossly misdiagnosed and I was put onto medication for 3 years for Bipolar Disorder. I've since been med-free for 14 years!
This wrecked my sense of time, my ability to "feel" and respond emotionally to the life around me, and week by week, I shrunk further into the only place where things made sense: my mind. The upside was that I kept writing, but everything else is like a dream.
It has taken the best part of 14 years to recover from these experiences, with tons of prayer, support, love and encouragement. From about 2007 to 2010, I found life absolutely amazing once again. But by the time I got to August 2013, I was wondering if I was again spiraling out of control.
After trying to run a music teaching business, being a jewellery sales person and working full time for my church community, I was spent. I'd also attempted tertiary education and basically everything worked, to a degree, but nothing really felt like me.
As I stood in my kitchen one cold and miserable day, I cried out to God and said "You've got to help me - I need something that makes sense!" I was so desperate and so down. I didn't feel like anyone really understood why I was feeling how I was, but it was beginning to eat me alive again and something had to shift.
A few days later I decided to Google "freelance writer." I'd always loved writing and had journals and digital files brimming with penned thoughts, poems, short prose, lyrics and essays. Within a week, I had my first paying article and thus, begun my writing career.
Within six months, I had written articles, website content, promotional material and personal bios, project managed and rewritten a 226,000-word educational course and built my own website. Within twelve months, my client list grew to over 20 with another three websites built and a new client who remains with me still.
Those first months are a blur, really. I can hardly place the hours that I spent tapping away at the keyboard! A severe lack of personal care early on led me to deal with tendonitis for the best part of a year (and now I have to be really careful!) and the dreams containing thousands of words and ideas left me a little sleep deprived, but I felt alive for the first time in my life!
It's now been just over two years that I've been operating as a small business. I've worked with 30 clients, completing one off projects that take a day to helping my most loyal clients achieve some pretty big goals - a couple of books have been completed, project managed and are now being distributed by commercial retailers. What an amazing feeling it is to know that I had a part to play in making that happen! Now we're on to two more books and I have two more authors to work with. It's simply incredible.
I know that this story is supposed to be about the hurdles, of which there have been many, but the most costly hurdle has been my own view of my abilities. Without any degrees behind me, I have often been riddled with self-doubt and anxiety. Battling anxiety and depression, sometimes on a daily basis, has at times been a hindrance and at other times has left me bedridden.
But, for the most part, as I look back at the past two years, I see so much more than I've ever seen before. It's not so much that I've overcome obstacles and hurdles that others can see: It's that I've overcome myself.
You see, I realise now that when I listen to that small sense inside; the one that tells me that as I am, right now, I am amazing, creative, beautiful and inspirational, I make cool stuff happen! It just comes out so easily - the words, the ideas, the "flow." It was always all there -- I was just in the way.
I hope my story encourages you. I hope you feel motivated, but even more so, I hope you start to see through your own self and into the truth of who you are too. That's when "obstacles" will just feel like a rock in your shoe instead of a mountain to cross.
May your days to come be unexpectedly brilliant and blessed!