So how am I linking going vegan with streamlining your tech?

Well, today I’m writing with a happy heart and a smiley face, and a sense of turning a corner. 

Before you dive in, know there are some triggering thoughts and experiences in here and it’s a very long post so if you just want to cut to the chase, see the three points at the end!

Those of you who know me well know I was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia back in 2012 and overall it’s been pretty well managed with targeted chemotherapy though there have been blips along the way. 

From Blip to Brobdingnagian (?!)

Last June was of those blips that turned into my own personal health tsunami. Certainly, this was far bigger than when I’d experienced my initial diagnosis back in 2012 as back then, though serious, I was yet to embark on the 6 options.

Yet here I was on option 4 out of 6 types of targeted chemo, and option 4 after 2 1/2 years decided it wasn’t going to work anymore.

So the leukaemia rapidly increased and I was feeling ill- lethargic, brain fog, night sweats, pain in my rib on the left due to an enlarged spleen, queasy. And of course, combined with being peri-menopausal it felt like my body was ganging up on me as if to say ‘that’s it- no more!’

In July I started a new treatment.

It failed. 

I got Covid/ weird flu/whatever it was when I was at my most vulnerable in my immune system. I had to come off all meds for a month and so the leukaemia had a field day and I really was feeling very ill- couldn’t shift ‘the bug’ and felt like I’d been sucked of all energy.

In Sept I re-started meds only to experience a very difficult array of very weird and not so weird but deeply restricting side effects.  Suffice to say that by the end of July I had to pretty much stop work and didn’t resume until 1st January 2022. 

Meltdown, not Magic Moments!

In December of last year, I had the consultant telling me that we were in serious territory and they were unable to find a way forward with the meds. In addition whilst I could move directly to option 5 meds, the concern was that my weight had ballooned on the previous meds (to 20stone), and the new meds went into side effects relating to cardiovascular and stroke territory. The concern was that given my body tended to go to the more severe side effects, the risks were grim and very real.

On the same day as this news, I came home to find my partner with an electrician and two of his apprentices in the house as the electrics in the house had packed up and they discovered it was an electrical melt so the kitchen and lights were out of action. 

I was also in high stress because for the first time in my life I could not manage to pay my credit card payments and I was seriously feeling I was a failure and I knew I was drowning. To top it off the car died on the same day. 

So I did the only thing left that I could think of. 

I pretty much had a meltdown too!  

Me – who very rarely has a meltdown- normally I’m supporting people who have meltdowns. I mean I just don’t ‘do’ meltdowns. But with everything coming at me from all sorts of directions, I just could not take anymore- no idea, no solution, basically a No Go!

Saturation point had been well and truly reached and I found myself sobbing my heart out on the top of the stairs as 3 electricians gingerly worked around me whilst I declared that don’t worry about sorting the electricity as I was unlikely to be here anyway! And my partner and the 4 dogs looked on rather helplessly as I just let rip with an ocean of tears.

Crisis- the Japanese word for Opportunity

So I woke up the following day and I took a radical decision. 

I decided that only I was responsible for my health and wellbeing and therefore I had to find a solution that would work for my body which was basically in meltdown territory and my electrics and car were obviously coming out in sympathy with my inner electrical systems! 

On 5th December I went Vegan. I had no idea where to start other than some Pubmed research articles, and a YouTube search for information, and I began the process of understanding what I needed to include in getting my body back to some type of normal.

I spoke to a financial consultant that I knew and she was fantastic as she listened to what had happened and actually just being able to really talk it all out gave me a glimmer of hope. If you want to check her out then go and chat with Beth Beemer of Curzon Wealth Management.

I approached a life coach who I knew and asked if she would consider coaching me. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when she said yes. I so needed her to keep me from wandering off and keeping me accountable for my actions, plus she threw in her own wisdom, knowledge, and a little woo-woo magic to help me on that journey. If you want to see how she can help you- and I can tell you she is amazing- go chat to her at clarebell.co.uk 

Immediately she helped me create a mindset space and helped identify how to simplify and streamline, prioritise what was happening and ask for help from outside sources- namely the credit card companies.

She also asked me a rather important question that up until that point, no one had ever asked. Her question was whether I had not bothered too much about my credit card growing debt because in my mind I was unlikely to be here for long, and therefore my posthumous ‘assets’ would cover it?

It turned the lock in the key, and the great realisation was that since I had been diagnosed I had been pretty much going through the motions rather than living. Deep down I knew it but never articulated it, and I realised that I’d been existing and the energy to stay in this state was becoming more and more draining.

I’d kind of given up whilst appearing to ‘look’ as though I was engaging with life. And now my cover was blown. I had nowhere left to hide, a small mountain of debt, an extremely worried partner and son, and I felt shame that I’d got into this mess.

Hard as this is to write, I’ve since discovered and connected with quite a few of us who, through trauma, health problems or diagnosis, or through feeling that life just dealt too many blows too quickly in the space of a short time, we decided to pretend to get up and go through the motions.

The reality is we didn’t get up, we just created a great show for anyone who was watching, and whilst doing that, we were leaking our own life force into oblivion.

At this point, I’d like to say that I was calm, in control and had a clear sense of direction. But I wasn’t. I was a hot mess and things tumbled over each other and I absolutely felt both in a crisis and also in a strange sense of detachment- like when you are observing this crisis and you know you’re in it- but it’s almost as if you don’t quite have the emotions- that the emotional impact just hasn’t quite yet caught up with the crisis.

It’s not a numbing out, it’s more like an emotionally delayed catch-up ready to cascade at a later stage, and when that stage caught up with me, all I felt was fear. I’d never properly asked for help from big companies- they frightened me, I found them impersonal, intimidating, and uncaring. Well, that was my perception.

But I did what I said I’d do and I contacted the credit card companies. And I cried and I felt like a failure, and the level of fear in dialing the numbers was unprecedented for me. Yet I was also utterly bowled over by how helpful and supportive they were. And as I learned and as my coach reminded me, perceived ‘bad’ systems still have good people in them.

I can tell you that a great deal of gratitude came forth over those few days of calling and each of those at the end of the phone line were so supportive, helpful, and kind.

Additional benefits

So I continued to have weekly coaching with Clare and each week as we worked on situations I was experiencing and started to take direction in. We considered the learning I had gathered, and I got some amazing synchronicities. It was as if as soon as I was consciously working on something, the Universe stepped up to meet me (yes I am a bit woo-woo too) and give me a nudge to say ‘is this really what you want, or can you now see you have the power to change it?’.

I decided I didn’t want to exist any longer. I wanted to live and really connect back to myself, others, and be able to help others in meaningful ways. I was exhausted living as an empty shell of myself- the energy to maintain it was becoming too much to bear.

So things started moving at a great pace and some really amazing things started happening. All of a sudden life became fun and exciting and new and fresh. I slept better, my business started flourishing and I was finding my joy.

When a sense of Stability Creates a Space of Calm

I’m happy to report that as I write this (March 2022) my liver enzymes are now normal, my cholesterol (side effect) normal, my high blood pressure (side effect) normal, the sickness and ‘other end’ (side effect) all gone, the night sweats (high leukemia) all gone, my white cells are behaving normally,  and the leukemia cells so few in my blood that a specialist blood test is now required to locate them. They are finally under control. 

I’m happy with vegan life, I’m not craving anything, I feel calmer, clearer-headed, and have seen 4 1/2 stone melt off without feeling deprived or unhappy.

Stripping away the unnecessary, going back to roots and digging them out, dealing with mindset and sabotage, then building strong foundations on good principles, qualities and discipline absolutely shifted me from chaos to calm- ironically a tag line I used to use when I was offering anxiety coaching.

Going vegan- how does this looking after your health relate to your business?

The reason I’m highlighting my health is that it is the core aspect of your business and tech. Now that sounds very weird, doesn’t it? If someone told me even 6 months ago that if I sorted my health out my business would grow and flourish, I’d have laughed at the absurdity of the statement. 

But I am living proof that it’s true for me. 

By streamlining to really focus on one priority (my health), I made some really clear decisions to ditch anything that wasn’t helping me achieve my goal. This included what I consume- news, information, gossip, time spent on the phone, forums, foods, beverages, and also included behaviors, people, and things.

As a result, my business has gone from strength to strength, my relationships are better, I’m more present in conversations and support, and am fully in service and focused rather than scattered all over the place and not being the best I can be to the clients I serve.

Will it be easy? Nope Will, it be worth it? Yes!

Some of it was tough, there were some people who I thought were helping and I had a good relationship with, but actually had no interest in my life the moment I became ill- almost as if I was no longer ‘useful’.

I found it really difficult to let them go, but in terms of an energetic release it was actually hugely cathartic and I’m extremely grateful to them for holding a pattern in such a way that I understood it and was able to see it was no longer serving me- or them.

It’s not easy to walk away from people that you fundamentally like and have become close to but when you can see the relationship is unequal or imbalanced and it’s draining your own energy to keep it going, then it’s time to review it and determine if it’s really helping you both thrive.

There were some ‘comfort’ patterns I had that were keeping me so within my comfort zone that I was stagnating and creating a lot of my own problems. I now better understand the statement of your external life being an outer reflection of your inner life.

I was supported in doing this by Clare as I really needed someone to help me see the bigger picture and clear out the crud, clutter, and fluff, as well as stop me from sabotaging myself and showing me where I needed some realigning of some rather wonky mindset stuff. 

As a coach myself, it’s sometimes hard to admit your own areas of weakness in a public forum such as a blog post, but if we can’t show that we too need our support systems and we’re only human too, we become the problem of the perpetual ‘false positivity’ – sometimes life just bites us on the arse and it hurts.

And that’s ok.

And it’s not ok to ‘just think positive’ all the time. Because being shifted to positivity so as to avoid pain is, in my opinion, far more damaging than facing the pain and working with it.

How this relates to streamlining your business & tech

“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”

― Hermes Trismegistus

In doing this for my health, I began to see how the system of streamlining actually was helping me rebuild my business in a very ‘lean, need to have/use, and essential tools, type of mindset’ model of business. These days, as I developed through my coaching sessions, and as Clare helpfully suggested in one of those sessions, if it’s not on fire, and if no one died, then it’s not an emergency and something can be simple, easy, and clear and work.

Clarity and simplicity are now my two best friends and whilst it’s okay to be confused, these days I wait until I get clarity rather than rushing in and creating more chaos. This has also meant overhauling my systems for my business so that I’m super confident about what I can offer, where I can help, and how I can help.

And if I can’t help then instead of contorting myself into a pretzel, I just smile and suggest someone or walk away. It’s hard to do when you’ve always been a rescuer but I am becoming a fast learner!

I’ve also overhauled my daily practices and given myself time to walk the dogs in the forest, create time to meditate and reflect, to set intentions, and do things that bring me joy. It’s a simpler and strangely more disciplined way of being, but infinitely more satisfying.

Yet this simple minimalism isn’t new. Marie Kondo has made a fortune out of it, as too has the Minimalist movement.  But in clearing and streamlining business systems, well it frees up your brain, and emotions to really connect with the most important part of your business- you serving your clients.

When you are free of clutter your client’s become free of clutter.

When you streamline, you’ll attract clients who appreciate streamlined systems. 

So here are 3 things I have learned and implemented that you can start with today. 

1. Just review all your tech around your communication

 Think about your website, your social media accounts, your WhatsApp/FB messenger/email/LinkedIn messenger/telegram/mewe/email/ different email accounts.  

Do you need ALL these ways to communicate, or can you streamline it to one or two so that your client has one or two ways where they can contact you and KNOW that they will get an answer within a reasonable time?

Can you find all of your communication with them in one place rather than all over the different messaging platforms?  Can you simplify and streamline your communication channels until such time that you scale up or have more people around you to share the channels of communication?

2. Think about how you help your clients understand what you do. 

Is what you offer your clients clear, is it in one place and is it easy to share with them? Can they have a simple clarity over what you offer and how you help? Can they locate this information in one place rather than several?

Think about whether 1 document or 1 video or 1 audio or 1 FAQ section on your website streamlines the process for your clients to understand what you offer and can do for them. Think about your bios on social media- are they the same? Can you provide consistent clarity as to your offerings to your clients?

 3. Think about how you provide the service for them

Do you help them navigate the myriad of possibilities, or just chart them the best course of action to get them the result they need? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as I’m just at the start of this adventure myself, but already seeing great results.

Final thoughts then over to you- How I would love for you to help me

There are two women I am so lucky to call friends, who stepped up and supported me in a way that I am so very grateful for – Suzanne Burnell-Watts, and Lara Lauder. These two women have been at the end of a zoom/phone/email/voice note and have given me so much support and encouragement. Alongside Clare and Beth’s help, they have allowed me to be me with all my mess, imperfections, and tears. And they’ve soothed, comforted, arse-kicked, made me laugh at the absurdity of some things and helped me step back into me. They are incredibly accomplished women and I’ve been blessed to have them alongside me. They absolutely deserve a shout-out for everything they have done.

So over to you. I’m asking for your help.

I would love it if you could share this with someone you know who may be struggling, suffering in silence, quietly carrying a burden, showing up every day despite the internal chaos, and who are existing and wondering how to break through to living again and remembering what joy and fun and peace and calm look and feel like.

Please let them know they aren’t alone. We are many, we just don’t always say it out loud.

Please let them know that they matter. As do you.

And if you’d like to continue the conversation around the experiences I’ve talked about then drop me a message at hello@thatwoman.tech

Thank you.

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