My life had become all about going through the motions. I woke up at 6.00-6.30am convincing myself to go to work every morning. I had to leave the house before my wife and kids even woke up. When I got to work I would always put on a fake laugh for customers and the salesmen I spoke to in the office.
I often felt under pressure because it took a lot of effort and time to finish each job and when this relied on suppliers, correct measurements from the salesmen in the office and so on. There was a lot that could go wrong. One of the companies I contracted for was always phoning me. And I spent a lot of time dealing with them and not enough time on the job. But the bottom line was that if I didn’t finish each job, I wouldn’t get paid which of course added to my stress.
The highlight of my day was when I got back home. Although most days I was lucky if we had dinner before 8.00pm as I’d still have phone calls to make and customers to contact. I’d have maybe an hour or so with my wife and was in bed by 9.00pm just so I could repeat the same routine tomorrow. I’d also work Saturdays just to catch up on phone calls and admin.
With each day that passed, I felt more distant from the people I loved the most. My constant low mood added to my hopelessness, regret and failure. I had a very negative outlook on life and negative thoughts were going around and around in my head all of the time. I was suffering from mild depression which impacted my sense of fulfillment, joy, excitement and love for life. And it was creeping into my relationships with my family and friends.
I had no time to take my wife out to dinner or even go on holiday. We’d managed a couple of weeks away recently and I was really looking forward to going surfing. But I never went. When Sarah asked why, I said that I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. After spending a big chunk of the break dealing with work problems that should not have been passed my way.
I was constantly telling myself I was failing at life. As a man I wanted to provide and saw my friends earning more money and doing the things I wanted to do with my family. I had little quality of life and lost interest in the things I used to enjoy.
My thoughts were getting darker without any hope for change and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I’d also convinced myself that my wife was having doubts about our marriage. And I was afraid that if things continued she’d eventually leave me and I’d fall deeper into depression.
I was afraid that if everything came to a head, not only would I be a failure to my family but in the eyes of everyone who knows me. If this continued I was convinced that my life, emotions and reasons for living would fall apart.
I had zero motivation to stay healthy and was drinking every night of the week to numb the pain. Until a couple of years ago, I wouldn’t have drunk more than a couple of beers a night on some nights. But at this point, I’d progressed to three or four beers every night of the week and spirits. Or just straight spirits if it had been a particularly stressful day.
Initially, I thought longer hours and working harder like my Dad taught me would make things better. It didn’t. So I turned to the internet despite this feeling like the last resort. I read about pyramid selling to make some extra cash but soon realized there was no substance to it. I’d also seen ads on YouTube about how easy it was to make money selling things online. But I couldn’t separate the scammers from the genuine opportunities.
Then I stumbled across a YouTube video about a guy around my age (mid-forties) who’d transitioned from tradesman to an online entrepreneur. The fear of losing my family, my happiness, my identity, and my self-worth wasn’t an option. I didn’t know it then, but this was my line in the sand moment. But I was scared to take action and make a change because I thought that:
- I’d be judged for doing something different
- I didn’t have the time or skills
- I wouldn’t be able to provide financially if I changed profession
- I wouldn’t be able to retire because of a lack of savings
- I’d fail and everybody I knew would laugh at me and say I told you so
- I’d slip further into debt and my wife would leave me
Going down the same path was not an option
But despite my reluctance, I knew I couldn’t continue to spiral downwards. The pain of continuing down the same path and suffering with further stress and anxiety was far greater than changing my life.
Then I lost somebody close to me. This put things into perspective and made the work treadmill feel like it mattered even less. I finally realized that I only had one life and taking action was not as scary now that I could see what was on the line, indeed where I had to draw my line in the sand. Feel the fear and start an online business anyway.