My natural tendency is to push through any obstacle that comes my way. To analyse it to death. Develop a plan and then do what needs to be done. Or at least what I think needs to be done. If I can figure out the next steps, then I feel confident.
Over the last few months, I was balancing a lot:
- An intense, full-time IT project management job, where the hours are anything but standard.
- Developing my Soaring Families brand, which is what gets me out of bed in the morning - to make a difference in the lives of families impacted by a disability.
- Organizing the launch of “Including Me: Ben’s Story” – the short film we had been working on for several months to showcase the power of inclusion.
- Supporting Ben’s education assistants to ensure he is making progress with his university classes.
- Dealing with the stress and anxiety of the return of seizures to Ben’s life.
- And … just life in general.
(When I write it all down, it becomes really clear that I have not created any space in my life to just breathe.)
When my IT project came to an end, and we deployed the new system one weekend, things didn’t go well. My team and I had to stay up all night to fix the unexpected bugs, finally wrapping up at 7am – a gruelling 9 hours after we started. Later that day, I attempted to record some training videos for Soaring Families but they turned out awful. The lighting was way off. My voice had little energy and, not surprisingly, I looked exhausted. A complete waste of two hours.
A short time later, things turned scary. Without warning, I began to feel light headed for no apparent reason, and the room started spinning. When I stood up, I almost fell over. I tried lying down but that was ten times worse, as if I had been drinking all night. My body had been keeping score and I was losing, badly. I felt physically ill. It was awful.
During those same months, I also had been building an elaborate strategy to promote Soaring Families and find new ways to reach more people. But it was a bust. I had created this picture in my mind of what I thought people were looking for but it was actually the film that resonated with people. In fact, it brought in 75x more people than my paid advertising campaigns had with almost no effort.
Nothing Was Making Sense
I couldn’t make sense of any of this. My approach to never giving up and trying to do all of the right things had failed. I was so frustrated and felt defeated.
I turned to a friend looking for some sage advice. She basically told me that I had everything I needed and that things were happening according to plan. Not my plan, of course. But, rather, the plan that was PULLING me to where I needed to go. She asked me to consider that where I was with my life, with Ben, with Soaring Families was less about me controlling and building all of that, and more about what was being mapped out for me.
She told me to stop trying to force where Soaring Families was going. That I needed to step back from my frantic pace. That I had to just stop and breathe and see what was really happening. That if I strayed too far from the intended path, something would happen to pull me back. And, indeed, it had.
How she knew all of that, I have no idea. But it would seem that she came into my life at the right time to tell me the words I needed to hear.
After that conversation, I felt a huge weight lifted from me. And a recognition that I wasn't left to figure things out on my own. That, all along, it was Jesus, Himself, who was tracing out the steps I needed to take, setting the broader path, and pulling me through.
But to where?
I have to admit, the suspense is killing me!
Mike is co-founder of SoaringFamilies, an online community focused on providing families with Caregiving expertise and Coping solutions, so they can live more freely, more fully and with more energy. SoaringFamilies is about believing in a future that is bigger than the past, creating a world where all persons are accepted and included, and where every life is of equal value. Visit https://soaringfamilies.com/p/including-me-film to experience the inspiration of Ben's story and the power of an inclusive community.