Every once in a while, in order to move forward you need to take a quick look back at what you did accomplish under challenging circumstances. When I was in my early twenties, I had a roller-blading accident in Forest Park, one of our nation’s greatest urban parks right here in Saint Louis.
For those who know it, on the West side, by Skinker Boulevard there is a long path part paved for bikers and roller-bladers with a side wooden chip trail for runners and walkers. Sounds good right? Not if you’re going down-hill, pretty fast and a family of three walkers are slowly walking side by side on the pavement path.
I tried slowing down but the long-hill provided too much momentum. I tried yelling for them to move over. Their kid, just froze and looked at me. In order not to plow into him, I made a quick maneuver. Unfortunately between the pavement and the side trail there was a huge gap of which I caught my ankle in. It snapped and I went down, HARD. I broke my ankle, collarbone and shoulder. I also scraped the side of my face. Trust me, people have been through much worse, so I am grateful that’s all it was. It still was disappointing, painful and a hassle.
So when I was in the emergency room, I kept thinking that the next day I was going on a weekend trip with my Mom to Chicago. I was so excited, we were going to stay at this beautiful Hotel called the Palmer House. We also had tickets to an Art Exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago with French Painters, like Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec! In my head, I was thinking I could still possibly go. Everything was pre-paid. Funny I was thinking that, because when my mom walked into the ER where I still had not officially been seen by a doctor, she simply said “Nope Kirsten, we’re not going to Chicago tomorrow.” Those were her very first words. I tried to say something and she said, “End of story, we’ll do something next year.” My does that not sound familiar even today?
Pain Really Sucks but You Have to Deal with It
So I can’t really even begin to tell you how much pain I was in for the first few weeks. I had a cast on my leg, my arm was in a sling also with a partial cast and it hurt to move. A doctor prescribed me Oxycodone® and Wow, no more pain. Unfortunately, it was like no more anything, I had no emotions, no hutzpah to get anything done and worse, I was doing silly things I could not even remember the next day. I can see how people get addicted to these things. After three days, I just flushed them down the toilet. I was sorry I did that but then again I was not sorry, it’s sort of hard to explain.
You Need Help and Networking Works
So my business really was in the startup stage. If there are any business owners out there, you know about this. The kind that you work hours and hours in with a lot of risk at stake. I could not drive my car to get to work. So my best friend told me about a Cab Driver who was very well liked and trusted. Low and behold, he also lived near me and had a lot of regulars in the city near my office. His name was Glen and he was the most prompt, courteous and kind man. In our old office there were two sets of steps on the outside of the building and no elevator. (Today that probably would be illegal, not sure.) One day as I made my ascent up the concrete stairs, Glen, circled back in his cab, and yelled “Kirsten do you need help?” I yelled back, “No I’m good.” I really wasn’t and it was a real bad pain day. Glen came back and said, “Look I’m not trying to get fresh. I understand you like your independence, but I can’t even watch this, let me carry you.” I thought about it and envisioned this kind of “Officer and Gentleman” Movie moment where he would carry me like a baby-lady. Nope, after mentioning he was formerly in the Army, he grabbed my crutches and said hang on, slung me over his shoulder, walked into my office and asked me, “Where do you go?”
Things Do Eventually Get Better
So the moral of the story is pretty simple. Somehow even during those darkest and most painful days, I still managed to close the largest deal I ever had closed up to that point. I’m pretty sure I left some money on the table, but never the less, I got it done. I also learned that there are times you need to network and ask for help. It’s how the world works. I still have some of the same employees I had back then and they are so important. The next year my Mom and I did not go to Chicago, but instead to Las Vegas (first time for us). My body healed, I mean I can feel it when it’s cold or moist out but that’s just ageing. I still moved forward, just a little more slowly at the time. It sounds cliché, but don’t give up, ever.