This photo was taken at the first speaking engagement I did after I lost my job after dealing with what felt like an avalanche of personal stress.

It looks like I have it all together from this photo. But I was falling apart inside.

My mom had died of cancer, my significant other had left me suddenly for one of our mutual acquaintances, and several friends had stabbed me in the back. My dog passed away too. It felt like the world was against me.

I was unemployed, single, between homes and alone.

But I kept going. I got up on that stage and somehow pulled it together. And it all always comes together when I am on stage speaking whether it is virtually or in person.

I kept rebuilding. No matter how hard or bleak it was, I worked at becoming a better version of me. I got help and leaned on others.

Because it’s not what happens to you that matters, but how you respond to it that makes the difference.

You can wallow in the misfortunes that happen to you (which happen to everyone) for no reason every day or use them to build a better life for yourself.

Turn the negatives into powerful motivators. The only way to go is up.

So many of us don’t realize how strong we really are until we go through hard times.

Remember, many people look like they have it all together, but they don’t. I share more than others in the hopes that it helps others who are also dealing with something similar.

People often ask me why I’ve been so successful on LinkedIn, well not being afraid to share stories just like this is part of it. Being human with the purpose of helping others.

It’s ok to be human. It’s ok to not be ok sometimes.