Looking back, looking forward.

It’s been a year. An eventful one.

The last thing I remember prior to 7 A.M. on May 17, 2018 was the anesthesiologist showing me an ultrasound image of the nerve bundle in my leg she was about to block. She told me it would last 24 hours.

And then…

The next thing I remember was waking up thrashing, ripping an IV from my arm, completely disoriented.  Apparently between those two events, I spent time with the FMG, I spoke with my orthopedist who stopped by to offer his best wishes, and I apparently had a long conversation with my surgeon. Oh, I also actually HAD the surgery, where he replaced my arthritic left knee with a new shiny model made of polymer and titanium.

After waking up they made me pee, made me walk 150 feet, and made me go up & down 3 stair steps.  Those were pretty easy. Of course, I had a 24-hour nerve block in my leg, so I didn’t feel anything. The pain was coming, later.

I was told that the rollator I had bought as the “walker” I would need was “too fast”, and I was downgraded to a model with tennis balls, not wheels. Although nerve-blocked and doped to the gills, even I had the mental capacity to recognize that if the thing I see 90-year-olds wheeling around Publix was “too fast”, I was fucked.

A couple weeks in, I wrote about it. A few weeks later, I wrote again, but I committed I wouldn’t bore you with day-to-day recaps.  Turns out my rehab was a lot longer than I had hoped (and planned) for. I ended up doing 49 outpatient visits to my physical therapist, in addition to 9 in the first 3 weeks, where they came to me. My rehab was more difficult than most (from what I hear from my doctor and PT), and I am not the best patient. Or even a good one.

I spent a lot of time here in 2018.

The weeks became months and it was a real struggle, with difficulties in just about everything. I lost sight of my end goal – being better than before, able to do the things I wanted to – but just as importantly to do the things I needed to do. Personal things. Professional things. Things that made me happy and fulfilled. Things that paid the bills and allowed me to do what I really love – building a market & working with my close friends, going to battle every day, together. Mentoring my team. I needed to do all of those things. I thought I wanted to get back to exercise and hopefully riding my bike, but in reality, I needed that, too.

Mostly what I needed to do was the one thing I didn’t– help my dad. I saw him right before I had my surgery, with plans to see him after. By the time I was recovered (having missed weeks of work, and months where I couldn’t travel), I was so consumed with catching-up and doing what I needed to in a challenging time for my company, that I back-burnered my dad.  He’d always be there, right? Wrong.

He passed away in December, triggering a different set of emotions, frustrations and challenges. Triggered just as my company’s hunt for new investors hit a big hurdle – the stock market dropped and our potential investors became reluctant. It was a short-term thing, but it changed everything – at least for me. I was trying to do my part in raising money, while also dealing with my dad’s estate, and the end-of-the-year, with the annual results really mattering. Meanwhile I was leading my team in developing a new go-to-market approach, really good sales-ready messaging and assets to lead into a critical time. Let’s not forget the holidays and that little thing called grieving. Finally, 2018 ended. I’ll never forget it, most of it not very fondly.

2019 began, but under a cloud. Losing my dad was very hard. Dealing with his estate was hard, basically reliving the loss of both him and my mom, as the house was filled with their stuff, not just his stuff.

At the same time, I was rolling out the new messaging for the company. Right in the middle of that, my CEO left. We are close. I largely joined because of him & his vision, and we had become very good friends. It was hard. He took the fall from our board because of a lot of failings, including theirs.  And honestly some of mine. At this point I was told I had to reduce my budget & the size of my team. I was faced with taking my team down to a level that really couldn’t sustain the growth the company expected. I was faced with letting go of a bunch of people who I had recruited, who trusted me. Good people – many of whom had worked for me before – with families and responsibilities. People who did a great job. People I love. It was just too much loss, all at once.

FMG and I went to California for my Dad’s memorial. Over that weekend, I made the decision that it was better for the company if I left – I essentially traded myself for 2-3 people who otherwise would’ve been let go.  At that point, with the strategy in place, the most important thing for the company was people who could actually execute the work.  I couldn’t (in good conscience) stay and cause my other friends there to suffer because they didn’t have enough opportunity to be successful.  The idea seems to have worked. It is however very bittersweet.

It was better for me, too. I needed a break. The stress leading into my surgery, the challenges after it, and then losing my dad – dealing with all of that simply exhausted me.

So here I am, May 17, 2019. It’s been exactly a year. Instead of airplanes and work-related stress, I am learning to manage boredom. I was hoping to ride a lot more than I can (not because of the knee, it’s not perfect, but it is what it is). I am in the gym every other day, getting in a shape other than round. I miss my dad, a lot. I miss working, being vital and part of something. I don’t miss all the flying or hotel rooms or board meetings.

People keep asking if I am retired. My plan is to do some consulting at some point, but I haven’t really started to look for any opportunities. I’ve been ideating about moving this blog into a business resource, or starting a new one. Ideating to possibly start a Podcast. I am helping a couple of friends better form some business ideas they have, and that might accelerate soon. I even started a blog for one of my dogs. Otherwise, thank goodness there is a lot of European soccer on T.V. mid-day during the week.


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