Sick … Again?

JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

8 November 2018

If you happen to be a parent or know anyone who is or was, you’ve likely heard the woes of back-to-school colds. If it happens to be the child’s first year of school, you can increase the occurrences of these illnesses exponentially. As  the mom of a child who just started pre-school, I can tell you: it stinks! She eats healthily. She takes vitamins and elderberry syrup. But nothing will build her immune system like getting sick! Those nasty germs get in there, try to wreak havoc, and are annihilated by her fully capable body (so far, she’s only been besieged by viruses).

The same things happen in our lives, whether professional or personal. Let’s take my career for example. Some of the most stressful times of my career taught me the greatest lessons. Whether it’s negative people or situations, if you learn an important lesson, it was worth it. And just like our bodies, once we learn how to deal with these situations, those same nasty viruses don’t stand a chance the second time around.

My career started in sales, which I’d call the ultimate learning experience. Even if a potential prospect answers the phone, 95 percent of the people you reach try to get rid of you faster than their mothers-in-law. With each no, you gain experience and knowledge. With each no, you feel the urge to find that one yes. And sometimes when you find that yes, you’ll be unsure of how that call was different. But one thing I’ve learned is that, just like our bodies, even if the learning happens outside of our realm of consciousness, it still counts. (Certain things like our confidence levels and the enthusiasm of our prospects are out of our direct control.)

Building a strong immune system is not something that happens quickly. It takes years to prepare our bodies for battle. You can’t expect to be at your apex without learning the big lessons and fighting the big fights. And sure, there may be some sleepless nights involved, mental anguish and moments of sheer panic, but at the end of the day this exact struggle is what we need. The struggle provides the lesson.

“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.”–Aristotle