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I’m going to share with you how to hustle smart, and to hustle with faith. But first, I want to tell you a story about how my money obsession almost killed my daughter. This is the hardest blog post I’ve ever written.
There was a time that I was working at least 80 hours per week. Oftentimes it was over 90 hours. You see, I was the youngest Financial Advisor ever to work for Edward Jones at just 20 years old. In order to become a financial advisor, you need to get what’s called your Series 7. This is the same securities license that Will Smith studied for in his movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. It’s a 7.5 hour exam, and I also got my Series 66, life, and health insurance licenses.
If you’re not working at least 80 hours per week, they’ll fire you. Their method of client acquisition required you to “doorknock.” This was done in all temperature extremes.
I had a two year old at home, but continued to work these grueling hours to try and provide a better life for her. I hustled and had the motto, do whatever it takes.
This hustle was to the detriment of my family
When my daughter turned two, she had to have her well-child checkup. Because I had to work, my elderly father offered to take her. After her checkup, he stopped at his house to go to the bathroom before heading back to mine to wait for her dad to get off of work.
In the 30 seconds it took him in the bathroom, my two year old was on the table when he emerged. In front of her was the empty pill minder container. These are the enormous boxes that have room for morning, afternoon, and evening pills for an entire week. My Dad was taking like 30 pills a day: blood pressure medication, diabetes medication, heart pills, diuretics, anything you can think of he was taking. She said to him,
“Grandpa, I ate your medicine,”
Knowing that this medication was meant for a 230 pound man, my dad took her immediately back to the doctor just a few minutes away. They instructed him take her to the ER right away and not to wait for an ambulance. Being a rural area, it would’ve taken longer for the ambulance to get there than it would take him to drive the 45 minutes to the hospital.
Meanwhile, I was meeting with a client at my office when I received a phone call from the doctor’s office. My secretary had been in the bathroom and so I answered it to let them know I’d have to call back because I’m meeting with clients. What I heard on the other end of the line changed my life forever. The doctor called to tell me what had happened and that I need to get to the hospital immediately.
Even writing this, I am sobbing. This is one of the most exquisitely painful stories I’ve ever had to share.
I got up from my desk and could not even articulate to my clients what was happening. I grabbed my keys, ran past my secretary – wild-eyed and so bewildered that I could not even muster a sound out of my mouth. I was physically trembling so much that I could barely put the key in the ignition.
My office was not that far from the hospital – perhaps 15-20 minutes away with traffic. I made it to the hospital before my dad did, and the entire ride was a complete blur for me. A mom on a mission, I don’t remember going through stop lights, stop signs, any of it.
Arriving at the hospital
When I got to the hospital, I went straight up to the receptionist so that way they were prepared for her. One of the ER doctors came out and asked me what medication it was. Because I cared for my dad since I was 14, I had his extensive medication list. The problem? We had no idea which ones she ingested and how many. He had me call our town cop to go read him which medications were still there so we could estimate which ones she took.
The cop had to bust down the locked door to get in.
It was determined that the medication that she ingested was more harmful coming back up. This put us in a very difficult predicament. How could this two year old little body handle all of this medicine meant for a grown, obese man?
As soon as she arrived to the hospital, I had to hold her little lethargic body down as they drew blood and stuck her with IV’s. They gave her chocolate milk mixed with activated charcoal to help absorb the medication. By this time, the room was just swarming with doctors. They all conversed and determined that she needed to be life flighted to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
There’s a bad storm coming – we’ve got a 5 minute window to get her out of here or she won’t make it.
Okay, I sobbed, and ask to go with her. They told me that I couldn’t because there was only room for the pilot and for the flight nurse. Embracing my only child tightly, half-whispering, half-sobbing, “I love you,” I had to let her go. Distraught, I asked the pilot who was wheeling her down the hallway to the waiting helicopter – please take care of my baby.
I watched her go up in a helicopter into a storm-blackened sky, never knowing if I was ever going to see my baby alive again.
My fiance, his family, and me decide we’ll all ride together to the University of Iowa hospital a little over an hour away. We faced a lot of road construction on the way. At the front of the row of cars waiting for the construction crew to let us through, we let the woman holding the stop sign know we were in a hurry to get to Iowa City. She radioed on her walkie talkie that they need to stop the cars for us and they let us go. Somehow, we ended up making it before the helicopter did.
They took her blood every hour at the top of the hour and we stayed in the ICU for a couple of days. Miraculously, she suffered no ill effects from all of the medication she took.
That day taught me the biggest lesson in business and in life is that no amount of money, no amount of hustle will ever be worth trading your family for.
Had I not been working 80, 90 + hours per week, I would have been able to take my daughter to her doctor’s appointment. None of these agonizing moments would have happened.
What happened next?
I had my best month ever as a financial advisor and decided that the money was not worth it. My family was so much more important. I walked away and vowed to never, ever put money before my family ever again. I ended up going to a corporate, 9-to-5 job in the insurance industry.
I want you to think about the things that you’re trading. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in hustle. I think that you have to take inspired action every single day. However, I have a much better way to do it: take 100% focused, inspired action when it’s time to work. When it’s time for me to finish: I spend time with my family, make dinner, read books, go play. That’s their time. I don’t check my phone or my email. I don’t get sucked into social media. Being present with them trumps all.
Do you know how children spell love? It’s not L-O-V-E, it’s T-I-M-E.
Thinking back to my childhood… even though I only saw my dad on the weekends and I lived with my mom during the week, I only really remember all of the time I got to spend with my dad.
There are very few moments that I recall as a kid with my mom, aside from vacations, and the reason for that is because she was in school full time getting her Master’s degree. When she wasn’t doing that, she was working full time. This is in no way meant to shame her, or any of the mothers out there who are doing the best they can with what they have. This is why I am so passionate about helping women see that there is so much more to life than just hustling or just working a nine to five.
Your time is the most valuable commodity you will ever trade.
The question that I get all the time is, Kathy, I don’t know what to do. I need help with time management! My answer to that is if you need help with time management, make faster decisions. If I think of something that I need to do, it’s delegated immediately or I do it immediately.
I don’t have time to mess around because I am 100 percent dedicated to what I’m doing. If the kids go to bed when they’re supposed to, then I can pick my work back up. I am so fortunate that I’ve got a husband who is a stay-at-home-dad who’s right there in the trenches with me. When he’s not cheering me on, he’s helping run errands and work on my business.
The biggest lesson I want you to take from this is that your time is precious.
Hustle is okay, but make sure that the hustle is not at the expense of your family. Hustle in faith – which means to put your priorities in the right order first. Make sure that your hustle is 100 percent focused, dedicated time. If you can focus that time and condense it into this little box, you will be so much more productive than if you were to hop from thing to thing for eight hours a day.
A trick that I teach my clients is this:
Leave your charger at home and bring your laptop to a coffee shop. You’ve got about 2 hours to be 100% focused on your business. When it dies, your work is through for the day. This has massively helped my productivity, and theirs as well.
I hope that you can feel my sincerity when I say I know that it’s not easy and there are sacrifices you will have to make on your journey towards 6+ figures. Please don’t let those sacrifices be at the expense of your family.
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