“Why do I do this? Why can’t I forget all the ‘rise higher’ stuff and just break some things this time?” Yup, that’s me asking myself that. See, after battling a bout of pneumonia, getting fluid drained from atop one of my lungs twice, then ringing in my 2015 with a foot long pigtail catheter stuck in my chest for a week which brought me some of the worst uncomfortable pain I’ve had to endure in my life, I was building a good case. This was in a span of almost eight weeks. Now, counting all the blood tests, x-rays, ultrasounds and follow-ups, I was in the hospital about 70% of the time. Of course, I’ve been no stranger to the place, having to deal with this blood disorder I’ve had since April 2009. Don’t get me started on how much I hate dealing with the medication that I’ve had to take for it though. I’ve tried to vent my full frustration about Prednisone in this blog post from 2011. I’ll just say that six years on that awful steroid will definitely change a person. Not to mention it certainly didn’t mix well with the antibiotics I had to take for my recent issues.
So, why am I telling you this? It’s not like going through tough situations is anything new for anyone. And you probably have enough problems of your own. You don’t need to sit here and read about mine. But the purpose of writing this for you isn’t to say “Woe is me! Feel my pain and feel sorry for me please!” I wrote this because, as the guy that tells you to “rise higher”, tweeting and blogging to encourage you to stand despite your troubles, I have my issues and want to give up too...still...to this day.
If you’ve read my book, Rising Higher, then you know I had a lot of stuff happen in my past that should’ve kept me from going anywhere with life. But people seem to think that since I wrote about it, started this “Rise Higher” campaign and have found a way not to complain about it so much, that I miraculously don’t deal with it anymore. I get emails all the time from people trying to find out what I did to get “cured”. It’s understandable though. They see me playing high-intensity basketball, they see me smiling in pictures and notice that my face isn’t as swollen as it was when I first got on medication. I get it. It’s easy to believe that since they don’t see me popping pills every morning, staying up all night from insomnia, being too moody to have any interactions, being too tired to be around my kids or pounding my fist to my chest and growling out of nowhere to remind myself to stay strong. But it got to the point where I just got tired of trying to explain it. So “rise higher” became my personal journey that I use to do the explaining for me. As it went, I’ve been inviting others to join the journey so they can realize, with some fight and some faith, they can make forward progress in life.
I had a lot of senseless, unexplainable, unforgiving and unexpected things happen in my past. Most of those caused me to quit on, seemingly, everything at some point, which in turn caused me to be stuck in the same dead situation I was in. Today, I’m still confronted by senseless, unexplainable, unforgiving and unexpected things, even more so considering I have a family and many responsibilities now. The difference is I’m putting intentional, conscious and focused effort on doing whatever I have to do to keep myself from falling deep into the waste pit of my circumstances. If it means locking myself in a room for a few hours, driving up and down the street for no reason, screaming into a pillow or tearing apart an undershirt, then so be it.
However, even with all that, I still might wonder if it’s worth it. Is trying to keep it together the best way I know how worth not losing my cool in a game, blowing up when I feel offended, forgetting about my work ethics and throwing my beliefs out the window? I know it’s not, but the wonder might surface if the situation is heavy enough. But then I get emails and tweets and gifts and letters from people who’ve read my book, blog posts and tweets saying how they’re motivated, inspired or uplifted. They’ve told me how the situation is tough for them right now, but they finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. They’ve told me how they look forward to my posts and how they help them. That’s amazing to me because I was a nobody kid from Detroit in need of some guidance. Now I’m not only finding my way out the tunnel, but I’m bringing people along with me.
So when I ask myself “why”, every single one of these messages is a reminder.
When I started writing Rising Higher and The Success Playbook, I wasn’t at all motivated by how much I might make or how much attention I’d get from it, if any. What motivated me was envisioning a young man from a broken family, struggling in school and with his self, picking up my work and finding the strength to take a step forward. That’s what drives this campaign. And I didn’t look in other books hoping to find techniques that might help, I looked at my life and deciphered what did help. I’ve shared my life with whoever was interested to hear about it, and you responded, so thank you for that.
At the end of the day, I want you to be able to look yourself in the mirror and believe you can continue moving forward, regardless of your situation. Whether it’s your faith, the good people in your life, mental toughness or all of the above, there will always be some form of influence that can help get you to that next step. That’s all you need. Any step is better than none at all. Remember, I’ve not only been where you’re at (tired, frustrated, wanting to quit), I’m likely there now, but it’s not about what happens to us, it’s how we respond to it that matters most. And if I can rise higher, then anyone in the history of the world can.
If you’re in that place right now, looking for something that will help bring you through the tunnel, I know your pain. You feel alone on an island, like no one can possibly understand what you’re going through. Maybe you feel desperate, but think it’s too much to share of yourself without coming across weak, helpless or vulnerable. I know this pain, frustration, anger and debilitation very well. It’s one of the main purposes behind The Success Playbook. I wanted to clearly and precisely layout specific lessons and points from Rising Higher, that of which were the foundations under every step of progress I made in my life. With that, I added a reflection section at the end of each chapter that requires your attention in order for that lesson to be effective in your situation. The whole goal is to get you on your own journey to rise higher. What you want is to conquer in the face of adversity. The good news is that you have what it takes to do exactly that. By now, you should be feeling that. Click here to check out The Success Playbook. You want better and you deserve better, so let’s get better.
Please keep sending in your messages and I’ll try my best to respond to you. I may not reply quickly, but I will certainly try to get back to you. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @kelwilliams21.