I’ve spoken briefly about Hope. It’s certainly not a one-word cure, and while I pray that you find something to focus your Hope on, there are many things that can work in conjunction with Hope to help you on your path to healing. I took this notion to great lengths in order to find my peace. I knew I needed help.
Dr. Maria Cresham of “Therapy on the Run” in Torrington, CT
First of all, there’s my therapist, Maria. Maria is wonderful and it took me a long time to find her. I had been through many therapists. First of all, they’re not always easy to find, when you’re working with insurance. There’s that whole thing to contend with. Then, trying a new therapist is often more traumatic that the reason you’re there in the first place. The important part is finding someone you can personally relate to, I think. I had seen a 70 year old man with one foot in retirement, a frail grandmother, and a ‘child’ counselor because that’s all I could find…all manner of people I had nothing in common with and a hard time opening up to. And when I did, I could feel my pain flying right over the top of their heads, quite literally, like they were barely listening to a word I said. And I wasn’t even a particularly tough case. Not suicidal, a lot of things still going well in my life, namely a supportive family and a rather intelligent mind, if I do say so myself.
Relating to Your Therapist
Finally, then, I found Maria. She is just a few years older than me and a fireball to say the least. She gets me. She got me right from the start. I challenge her, but she understands me, can predict my reactions and knows how to steer me in the right direction. She does it with finesse. I use the word finesse, but probably shouldn’t. I don’t mean finesse in the sense of gentleness or grace, I use it because she’s relatable. She swears – like a sailor – but it makes me laugh. I tell her my problems and she tells me hers; it’s a give and take and sometimes I feel so fulfilled when I leave her not because of what she’s done for me sometimes, but because of what I feel I’ve done for her. We’re buddies, and we get each other. We can finish each others’ sentences and it works. And on top of it all, she’s technical…she knows her shit, pardon me. She is a Ph.D. and brilliant at her craft. Knows enough about the medicines out there, that she can help steer my subscriber to the right formulas for me. I appreciate Maria each and every day and am so proud to call her my friend before my therapist.
Getting to The Source
I started seeing Maria very shortly after the closing of my business. This was, of course, the instigator for my pain at the time. I had a huge battle brewing in my head. At the age of about seven, my mother and Aunt Jean had helped me run a carnival in the backyard of our house after a neighborhood 4th of July parade. This was my very first entrepreneurial adventure. Aunt Jean had brought over a bunch of her old stuffed animals to use as prizes, and I charged all the neighborhood kids a nickel to play different games for tickets toward those used stuffed animals. I was hooked. I counted up all those nickels at the end of the event and must have had two dollars! That morphed into selling candy to the neighborhood kids out my bedroom window, a neighborhood handyman service, babysitting, and even an Amway business when I turned eighteen. I was destined to be an eternal entrepreneur. I never imagined I would be anything else. I wanted to be rich.
My Uncle John – when I was maybe twelve – had a small cabin cruiser on the Long Island Sound for a couple years. I used to go fishing with him and even slept out on that boat once or twice. I loved it. I can remember shortly thereafter, picking up a magazine called “Boating” from the local grocery store, and I was hooked. I thought for sure my life’s work would culminate in the purchase of a million dollar motoryacht and I would sail the seas in the lap of luxury. Then life throws you a curve ball. Fast forward twenty-five years or so and my business is gone, I’d scraped by for nine years, barely making a living, and now I was left with a two-year business degree from a community college and a resume that could boast only of a failed business. I spinned it…I did what I could: Great at sales, wore every hat as business owner, well-connected in the community, tons of volunteer time. But it boiled down to somebody having to take a chance on someone who had already had his chance.
Losing My Company
Needless to say, I was not handling the last years of my company well. I felt like I was losing control. With five showrooms and six employees to pay, I never had anything left for my family, neither money nor energy. Every day I was putting out fires. When you depend on so many other people; contractors, suppliers, manufacturers; shippers and designers, it’s very easy to lose control. Nothing seemed to ever be done the way I would do it personally and thus, the quality never met my standards, let alone my customers’. Products that I was counting on that would come in defective and now the project was put on hold. People I was counting on to be honest, responsive, on time and independent were always letting me down.
I take responsibility, however, because in the end, it was up to me to make sure the systems were in place to counter these hurdles. I just never had time to implement any good systems. When I wasn’t running around trying to keep customers happy when I couldn’t blame them for being upset, I was at the office paying bills…for hours! At times, I thought my entire job was to get up, go to the office and just pay bills all day long. I was drowning in unproductive activities with no time to really improve our company’s initiatives, morale, training and execution. I gave it my all, but it wasn’t good enough in the end. We simply grew way too big way too fast and I held immense amounts of guilt for allowing that to happen.
I let people down and it made it very hard to express love at home and even harder to sleep. Maria would be a ray of sunshine for me during the ensuing couple of years. We’ll continue this discussion about where I went from there in post 3/9 of this series.
And if you missed the first in this series, please check out: Finding HOPE (post 1/9)