I'm lucky I have good friends who understand me. Last week in talking to my good friend Bruce, I had a moment of honesty with myself that I haven't had in awhile. I've been having a lot of those lately, if I'm being blunt. I've become very introspective.
When I had my surgery at the beginning of March, internally, I panicked. My business had finally started gaining momentum and here I was, smack in the middle of it, about to take weeks away from it. In one way, I'm lucky in that this isn't my primary source of income. In another, though, I was terrified wondering if I was going to be able to get it going again. A stupid concern to have while going into the hospital for major surgery; I acknowledge this. It went from fear to depression very quickly. I didn't have a lot, but I was about to lose everything.
It hit me harder and harder and as I thought more about it, the worse it got. Then, near the end of April it happened: I made it down my stairs into my shop, and even though I was only down there for half an hour, it was incredible. One of the first people to comment on a photo I took while down there was Bruce, who said "Feels good to be down there again, doesn't it?" Bruce has been one of my most supportive friends throughout my whole cancer / surgery / chemo situation. He always checks in on me just to see how I'm doing. We have chats about making (lots of laser and leather talk!) and he does a great job of keeping my mind off the ups and downs of what I'm going through, and that question just really told me "This guy really does understand." Last week he and I had a really nice chat and I said out loud, for the first time, that I was legitimately scared about what being out of commission would do to my business and he told me he understood where I was coming from. In the current episode of the podcast, he and I talked about this again and he correctly pointed out that my focus should always have been only on getting better and then worrying about everything else, and of course I was, but the nagging feeling that the good thing I was growing was going to die never got away.
Well, now let's fast forward from the depression and fear to what really happened.
I can happily say that the past two weeks have been the best weeks I've had since I started selling the things I make. I have new designs going into the shop almost daily, and I've been shipping stuff so regularly that the people at the post office are actually nice to me now. Everything is not only back to where it was before surgery, it's better. I'm doing well, my business is doing well, and I have the greatest network of supportive friends you can imagine. I also have a slew of happy customers who are recommending me to their friends and everything is on a fantastic trajectory that's even better than it was when things paused for two months.
Time for the takeaway: If you grow something correctly, organically, and authentically, it can survive a lot. Nothing is an automatic death sentence to what you do aside from you shutting down operations entirely. Also don't be afraid to say things that you're uncomfortable feeling. Sometimes even getting them out into the open can help you get past them. Your business will survive as long as you stay committed to it. I know this because it happened to me!