I keep thinking back to 2010 when I decided I knew enough to go full time online. That was a big year for me as we also sold our home and moved to France too. My motivation was clear, I had already suffered a burn out and needed to change my lifestyle and the secondary push was that I rather liked the idea of being able to travel around Europe and only require an Internet connection.
I think I had visions of a somewhat Bohemian life where I propped up bars in various seedy watering holes like some hack chasing the next story. The reality of course was nothing like that although I did see and experience a lot of the French Catalan way of life.
Success came in little waves and gave me hope for a brighter future, I knew nothing of list building and sales funnels back then and I wish I had invested in a mentor far sooner than I actually did. Once I was armed with more knowledge then the path become clearer, but I had my moments of self -doubt still as one of my problems was distraction. Everything interested me and I was in danger of becoming involved in too many things at once. This effectively makes you a master at none of it as you spread yourself too thin. Even these mistakes did help me in a way as later when I became a coach or mentor to others I could steer them away from any problem areas they might encounter on their own. All knowledge is good if we learn from it.
I was beginning after two years into my time in France to become known as a writer and an Internet marketer. I created dozens of little mini businesses, some worked and some didn’t but I started to understand the needs of a given market far better when I realised that my business knowledge from my offline years could be used online as well. I had run several companies back in the UK and was qualified in psychotherapy and counselling and had taken life and business coaching courses. I started to use some of these skills in an analytical way and my business took off.
There lurked a demon though, and it swooped out of the beautiful sunny skies like the eagles that could be seen riding the thermals over the Pyrenees mountains. Depression had shown itself before in my life, for I have a troubled background stretching back to childhood but this was different, it was darker and angrier than before. It numbed me and made me retreat into myself.
It was not with me all the time and I became an expert at wearing a mask to disguise it. However, it did change me and slowly ate away at a lot of my persona. I can’t blame it completely for the break- up of my relationship with my partner that had lasted 16 years, because there were other components to that but I am sure it held a role in there somewhere.
She went back to the UK and I remained in France for one last summer before heading to Spain to basically start again. I never realised how ill I had become in that time. I gave everything away. Life was spiralling in a way that I could never have envisaged.
Now I was in a country where I knew no one and was very troubled mentally, but my physical health was now deteriorating as well. Within weeks Bells palsy set in and my face became frozen down one side. Going out was difficult, driving became impossible as I could not blink as the nerves were damaged. My eyes were beyond sore. They put me on a drug called lyrica (I later found out it is referred to as the suicide drug of Spain) This accelerated my downfall and I began to not look after myself properly, business suffered too. Eventually I had a complete mental and physical breakdown. My diabetic condition worsened and I became very ill.
A moment of clarity came as Billy Bob my cat pawed at me on Xmas morning. I am not sure how long I had been sat there on the floor but I came to my senses for a few minutes and threw the drugs in the bin and made a decision that this was my fight back. I had lost 28 pounds in weight.
Two years on from that I am still in Spain but have moved a couple of times. I certainly don’t feel perfect but most of the depression has gone although it will always walk in the shadows with me. The bells palsy has left its mark as I have some muscles in my face that don’t work too well but I no longer think about it. I am once again physically fit and can run and cycle for miles. I had support from family and one very close friend online and that was I feel very important in my slow recovery.
My ambition has returned as well and although I am a long way from being where I once was business wise I have already helped many people become successful with their own online businesses. It’s funny, because I am actually better at helping others than myself.
I am developing the brand Simply Meat Free with my Sister and am back creating coaching courses and doing some freelance writing. I also own the brand Digi Warrior and have created a couple of memberships sites.
All in all, the future does look brighter although I need to work hard at bettering my financial status. What I do find now is that I can’t concentrate for as long as I could before but in some ways, that could be a good thing.
My life or at least a big part of it has been immersed in helping others. I still feel that this is my direction, I have created an online support group for diabetics and am thinking about becoming involved in the mind set and life coaching arena again. My last book “The 7 Steps to the Real You” was a step in that direction.
Helping other I feel actually helps me too.
May our darkness never blind us from our light within.
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