The following is a guest post by Keith Henry. Special thanks to him for today’s content and to Amber Natchek from The College City for connecting us. The College City is an initiative of the Pittsburgh Council for Higher Education.
“A setback is a setup for a comeback.” This is my favorite quote of all time and it has really helped me overcome s ome very difficult and challenging phases in my life. Another close favorite is a Latin phrase, “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam,” which translates to “I will either find a way or make one.” I have actually gotten tattoos on my body depicting both these very powerful sayings. I got them following the most difficult, gut-wrenching phase of my entire life.
I moved cross-country last year to move in with my girlfriend at the time. We were in love and it seemed like the next logical step in the progression and maturation of our relationship. I began to feel very isolated, alone and lost in a brand new city that was socially very different from my home city, a place I lived my entire life. In fact, it’s the only place I’ve ever known. My girlfriend had a fairly stable life and held a steady job. I began my job hunt just a few days after moving in with her. During one of the worst days of my life, my girlfriend actually laughed at me for not having a job and boasted about the money she was making. She later apologized and explained that she had one of her very worst days at work. I forgave her but I’ll probably never forget that moment of utter humiliation. I had left behind my entire life for her. I left behind a loving family and a city I loved.
I randomly stumbled into freelance writing after the incident really as an effort to make some quick cash. There are several excellent freelance platforms available online that link independent contractors with clients in need of web content. I learned that content is the new currency for eBusinesses and that blogging is a central tactic for increasing online visibility. I understood how to write web content for clients in a way that would help their eBusinesses rank higher in search engines, which translates to increased web traffic and this, of course, means more sales.
I got an interesting break while working on a freelance writing project at a coffee shop in my new city. A friendly looking man accidentally removed my laptop plug from the outlet and placed it back in. He apologized and we began discussing politics as he noticed I was reading an article about the upcoming Presidential election. I explained to him the freelance writing work I was doing and he referred me to an individual who runs a social media company in need of copywriters. I sent him samples of my work and he was very impressed.
My girlfriend really seemed to have problems with this career path I was on. She seemed to have trouble accepting the fact that I discovered an opportunity to earn a living doing something I was genuinely passionate about. We argued and fought a great deal over this and ultimately we broke up. What followed was one of the most challenging phases of my life. I had a very difficult time recovering from the breakup and even had a difficult time adjusting to life back home.
I can safely say that three things probably saved my life and allowed me to recover from the devastating breakup and the entire episode: Good friends, the gym and writing. My friends kept checking on me and pushed me to work out, which always boosts my mood and improves my mental clarity. I continued writing for all the clients I established relationships with; this really forced me to stay busy.
I can happily say that I’m fully recovered today. I’m writing web content for several clients and even Fortune 500 companies. I’m incredibly grateful for that chance encounter that took place at that coffee shop half way across the country.
The most important lesson I learned from this entire episode is that you really have to pinpoint the positive byproducts of even the most adverse situations in life. Trust me, they are there. Always remember that a setback is just the perfect setup for a comeback.
Keith Henry is a freelance writer, web content coordination for The College City. Keith has created his own freelance business, which has become very successful.