The new year has arrived and with it a veritable avalanche of listicles highlighting 2014 best-ofs and the must-haves for 2015. On New Year’s Day, the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail joined in the festivities by publishing Seven must-have tools for entrepreneurs in 2015. The short list compiles suggestions from the newspaper’s top columnists. Mia Pearson, co-founder of North Strategic, contributed by recommending the book Thrive by Arianna Huffington.
Thrive begins with a scary story. Back in 2007, Huffington collapsed and smacked her head for good measure. The cause? Sheer exhaustion. The incident provided the Huffington Post founder with a much-needed wake-up call and, of course, inspiration for another book. Whilst recovering, Huffington took a hard look at her life and the life of her peers, and decided that (wo)man cannot live by bread alone. Although she had scads of bread, she realized that she had been neglecting the other aspects of what comprises a full life. Tottering dangerously on a two-legged chair, she learned that she needed four other elements to build a sturdy third leg and achieve balance: well-being, wonder, wisdom and giving. The book delves into each of the four elements and winds up with an appendix chock full of suggested apps to help the reader find work/life balance and bliss.
While I appreciate the book’s fundamental premise and enjoyed reading about Ms. Huffington’s experience, the sinking of the Titanic also came to mind. Let me explain.
At roughly the same time as Ms. Huffington keeled over, I wound up in treatment for clinical depression. Unlike Ms. Huffington, the unavoidable time off did not provide a quiet time to reflect on much of anything. Too busy trying to survive financially while I healed emotionally took every bit of the scarce energy I could muster plus all my savings. Recovering from depression took time; I’m still trying to work myself out of the gaping financial hole.
So, why did I think of the Titanic? Remember the life boats? There were too few to accommodate all the passengers. Of course, first-class folks had a better shot at getting off the sinking ship.
I imagine Ms. Huffington in one of the lifeboats, cold and shivering but alive. I feel like Jack Dawson going a bit blue around the gills and rocking to the music of the mermaids.
The impacts of a medical crisis, psychological or physical, are far-reaching. For salaried employees, certain measures cushion the blow. Freelancers, however, must provide their own safety net. I made the mistake of not preparing for disaster. When the ocean liner that is my life hit the iceberg of depression, the hull did not hold.
So, by all means, read Ms. Huffington’s book and load up all the apps. But if you’re a freelancer, in addition to investing in well-being, wonder, wisdom and giving, go get some disability insurance. Think of it as your own personal lifeboat. Let’s face it, you can only thrive if you survive.
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Photo credit: Der Untergang der Titanic, an Engraving by Willy Stöwer via Wikimedia Commons.