If I could transport you back in time, 12 years ago, to the two (trying to be three) bedroom home in Evansville, Indiana where I lived with my husband Scott and our young kids, this is what you would have seen:
Me. Sitting at my desk. Pouring over stacks of study materials. Cramming at midnight to pass my residential real estate exam so that I could become a licensed agent like my husband, and… bawling my eyes out.
I was angry with my husband for talking me into pursuing this line of work.
I was nervous about putting my kids in “daycare” which we cleverly were calling “preschool.”
I was miserably uncertain about my future.
Real estate didn’t exactly set my heart ablaze with passion, but then, what did? Back then? Nothing I could think of. At least there was good money to be made in real estate. That is, if I could actually sell my first property… ugh.
So much tension, anxiety, and pressure.
I vividly remember thinking, “This sucks. I hate everything and I hate real estate too. This is the biggest waste of my life. What am I doing?”
But then… something happened. Something I did not expect.
In working as a real estate agent, my entrepreneurial spirit became activated. Big time.
I learned the nuts and bolts of marketing and publicity. I learned how to make clients feel at ease, safe, and cared for when they’re on the brink of making a major decision.
I learned how to establish an impeccable reputation.
In a matter of months, I transformed from stay-at-home mom to fierce businesswoman.
I realized, to my great amazement: “I was born for this.”
Obviously, “real estate” wasn’t the right industry for me. I was still several years away from discovering the industry that ignites my heart: coaching and personal development. But if I hadn’t dipped my toes in the real estate waters, I might never have realized that I am really damn good at running a business — insanely passionate about it, too.
I can’t help but wonder:
What if my husband Scott had allowed me to quit studying for my real estate exam? What if he had said, “It’s OK, honey, you don’t have to do this”? What if he had allowed me to back out? What if my dormant “inner entrepreneur” had never been woken up?
I shudder to think where I’d be today.
Fast forward to this year. On a recent trip to Italy, I learned that the region of Campania — renowned for its lush landscape and intense beauty — used to be empty and barren.
What caused the transformation? The catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
The volcanic ash that drifted nearly a hundred miles from Pompeii to the Amalfi region fertilized the soil, creating one of the most rich, verdant regions in Europe. Lemon groves, olive trees, grape vines, all made possible because of a devastating tragedy.
The story of Campania reminds me that suffering can often result in the sweetest gifts.
Gifts that we are not always able to see or predict in the moment.
The pain you are feeling right now might be a portal into something beautiful: a new love affair, a big opportunity, a friendship that changes your life, a huge realization about your career and life purpose, the big a-ha! you’ve been waiting for.
If you are miserably fighting through your own personal version of Mount Vesuvius, know this:
Your Campania could be right around the corner.
This pain could be your portal leading to a lush paradise, a world of new possibilities.
It sucks. I know it hurts. But the only way to get there… is to keep going.