Berni Xiong (shUNG) is The Shin Kicking Life Spark.
In 2008, I took a leap of faith from my cushy corporate sales job to launch my first entrepreneurial endeavor. I had little cash reserves but A LOT of ambition.
As with any major transition in life, I got sick three weeks into my new venture. Was hospitalized for a week. Forced to fast for seven days. On day 7, I was discharged from the hospital with a mystery diagnosis. Slapped with a $40,000 medical bill and a $40 prescription for antibiotics to kill the parasite in my colon I had contracted from the hospital bed.
If you’d have said to me, ‘Things happen for a reason,’ I would have told you to take your yoga mat and shove it where the sun don’t shine.
Nothing can ever prepare you for epic fails like these. Times when you have your back against the wall. Jobless. Losing thousands of dollars quickly. A complete invalid feeling like a good-for-nothing waste of space.
For a few days during my downward spiral, I even entertained the idea of letting myself wither away to nothing so my son could collect my life insurance.
I thank my lucky stars I surrounded myself with good people who supported me through one of the most debilitating times in my life. One golden nugget I keep with me every day is something my coach taught me that cold November in 2008:
Have an attitude of gratitude.
She said to take one positive action forward each day since I couldn’t undo the past and worrying about the future was too paralyzing. If I could make it through another day to get to the next, I did my job for the day.
A week into my recovery, I volunteered for a non-profit organization. One week later, I scoured the job boards to find work again even though I was barely able to walk and unable to drive without vertigo. On day 36 of my recovery, I landed a new sales job and put my entrepreneurial failure behind me so I could begin rebuilding my life, career and self-esteem.
Nine months later, the universe tossed another boulder on my plans. I was back in transition once again. Turns out that was just the shin kick I needed to get back up and move forward in spite of fear. Since then, I’ve devoted the past eight years learning what it takes to build a shin-kicking business. Today, I run an intuitively-guided practice that helps impact-driven individuals and social businesses find the bravery every day to speak up, stand out, and change their corners of the world. And I continue to give away much of my work for free.
MORE ABOUT BERNI
Berni is the author of The Year of the Brave Bear: Speak Up. Stand Out. Change Your World., and author and publisher of its paperback companion The Way of the Brave Bear: An Intuitive Guide for Speaking Up, Standing Out and Changing Your World.
She is also a contributing author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Time to Thrive, a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, The Good Men Project, The Edge Magazine, and Business Unplugged on Carol Roth’s Blog.
Berni trained and graduated from Coach University, the first and original coach certification training institute. She also holds a Master of Arts in Business Administration (MBA) from Cardinal Stritch University where she graduated with high distinction and was inducted into Delta mu Delta, a national honor society in business administration.
She is a Certified Weight Management Specialist through American Council on Exercise (ACE), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, and Book Writing Coach for change-making authors all around the globe.