I had my first heart attack at the age of 25.
I was walking down the street, my arms went numb, my head started spinning, and my heart was pounding faster than it ever had in my life.
I walked up to an off-duty ambulance paramedic and said, “I think I’m having a heart attack. I’m definitely dying.”
After sitting down and breathing for a minute, he told me “You aren’t dying… you’re just having a panic attack.”
If you have never had a panic attack before, I envy you. They are a living nightmare.
Everything feels like impending doom. Nothing makes sense. Everything is a threat.
It felt like the buildings around me were going to collapse on to me. Or that every car that drove by was going to veer off the road and take me out. Or that my pounding heart was going to stop any minute.
I hadn’t gotten to this panicked place overnight.
In fact, I had been miserable for half a year leading up to this point.
I was in a relationship that I didn’t want to be in, I hated my job, and I felt weighed down by my life.
I remember thinking, “This is the real world that adults have been warning me about for my entire life. This is how shitty my life will be forever now. There’s no escape!”
Over the next week, I set off a grenade in my life and then rebuilt it from the ground up.
After my panic attack, within a 48 hour period I gave away 95% of my physical possessions, quit my job, ended my relationship, and with very little money to my name, I decided to create a new business and book a one way ticket to Southeast Asia (I was scared shitless).
My mom tells me that she was worried I was having a manic episode. In truth, I was just rapidly reclaiming my life. The weight of all of the bullshit in my life had to go… or I knew that it would slowly kill me.
Right before hitting the buy button on my plane ticket I remember thinking…
“Now or never. This is my fucking life. I have to sprint towards what I want… or be suffocated under the weight of these things that are draining my soul, every single day.”
In my mind, there was no other option.
I wanted to feel alive. I wanted to give my gifts to the world. I wanted to never have a panic attack again.
With no safety net, and with many of my friends and family members worrying about my sanity… I moved half way around the world and promised myself I wouldn’t return home until I was self-supporting from my new business venture.
At first, I was insanely productive. I wrote, published, and marketed three books in my first two months in Thailand.
It’s easy to get work done when you have zero safety nets. No plan B’s. No one there to bail you out of the mess you got yourself into.
But I leaned in to my experience. It was absolutely non-negotiable.
“I am going to make this work no matter what.”
Through a combination of ferocity, stubbornness, deep focus, and commitment, I started making a liveable income off of my new business at the end of my second month.
Fast forward five years, and here I am.
My business now serves well over a million people every single month.
My work has been translated into more languages than I could count.
And I get to wake up every day feeling alive and on-purpose.
I never would have gotten here without that initial leap of courage… and I also never would have gotten here without you.
So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for caring enough to follow along with my journey.
I appreciate it so much.
It is my wish that you are leaning into your personal growth edges, and that you get to feel alive every day in your life… giving your gifts that your soul/heart/gut needs to give.
If there are key lessons I would distill from my journey so far, it would be the following:
1. You are going to die… so do something that makes you feel alive, starting today
Tomorrow isn’t promised to you.
One of my best friends was killed by a drunk driver. I’ve had other friends die by suicide. Life can end abruptly.
Death serves one purpose… and that is to remind us how to be alive.
Your life will end one day, so you might as well actually show up and play all out. There is no other real option.
2. Everything in life has a cost – make sure it’s one you’re willing to pay
Everything has a cost associated with it.
Want to be in incredible physical shape? Get ready to spend a considerable amount of time exercising and eating well.
Want to have a world-class intimate relationship? Get ready to humble yourself, erode your ego, work on your communication skills, and put in consistent, genuine effort into a beautiful thing that you can influence, but not control.
Want to be financially self-supporting from a blog that people might not even care about? Get ready to put in a ton of work, and feel largely ignored and insignificant for a period of time while people slowly start to discover you.
3. There is nothing more beautiful and nourishing than living in alignment with giving your gifts
One of my all-time favourite quotes comes courtesy of Ayn Rand.
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”
Your heart has a yearning. There are certain gifts that live within you that you will ache for. And you will ache even more if you do not bring forth those gifts into the world.
Or, as Abraham Maslow once said, “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”
So what is it that your heart beats for?
What do you need to create in the world?
What gifts of yours are begging to be expressed more fully?
Please, for the love of you, your heart, and humanity, I would implore you to lean into giving them.
Whatever it takes.
Dedicated to your success,
Ps. If you enjoyed reading this article, you might also love checking out:
– How To Make A Full Time Income From Blogging
– 7 Daily Habits That Have Contributed To My Success
– Growth Feels Like Death, Because It Is Death
– 4 Things I Learned In 4 Years Of Running My Online Business