Transcript: How To Show Up Professionally When You’re Struggling Personally

June 13, 2023

AMY PORTERFIELD: “If you ever find yourself in a place where you're struggling personally but you still want to keep your business running and moving forward, don't be scared to say, ‘I need to cancel this. I need to shut this down for now. I need to be available,’ or you look to your team and say, ‘I need you to step in for me.’”  

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: Oh, I'm so excited to tell you about this podcast that I think you should listen to. But to be quite honest, I think many of you are already listening. It's the Goal Digger Podcast by my girl Jenna Kutcher, and it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals. So the Goal Digger Podcast helps you discover your dream career, with productivity tips, social strategies, business hacks, inspirational stories, and so much more. I love all of Jenna's episodes because they are the perfect mix of actionable-meets-candid conversations. She'll cover things like how to improve your website and your email copy to how to say “Screw it” to your morning routine. You’re going to love it. So listen to Goal Digger wherever you get your podcasts. 

Well, hey, there, friend. Welcome back to Online Marketing Made Easy. 

I wanted to check in and see how you're doing. Like, on a scale of one to ten, how are you feeling? Are you feeling, like, out-of-this-world so great? Everything's working just as it should? which I hope. I hope you're choosing a ten. But if you're like me, you're probably choosing, like, a six, seven, maybe, in terms of, like, things are good, but there's some struggles. There's some things I need to get through. There's some challenges. But even no matter where you are on that scale, don't judge yourself, even if you're in the twos or threes. I know it's cliche, but my mom always says, “This too shall pass.” And so just know if you're going through something really hard right now and you're struggling that this is a season, and you won’t always be in that season, and brighter days are ahead.  

So I don't know. I just feel like someone needed to hear that today, and it might be you. So there you have it.  

So over here on my end, I'll be honest, it's been a really tough couple of months. Something absolutely devastating happened in my life, my personal life, and at the same time, something really big and exciting happened in my professional life.  

So on the professional side, you probably already know because I've been talking about it for months, I launched my very first book in February, Two Weeks Notice. And as part of that launch, I had a whirlwind of media interviews and book signings that I scheduled on top of an already jam-packed schedule, because when you launch a book, there's just a lot that goes into that. And these are the things that I am truly, truly happy about. I mean, this launch has been the culmination of many, many years of work. And so the fact that it finally came at the end of February, oh my gosh, I was so ready for this book to be out in the world.  

But as luck would have it, something really terrible happened in the midst of my book launch. And now that I've had a little bit of time to reflect and, you know, just kind of step back from it, it's made me realize how as business owners especially, we have to show up in big ways professionally even when we're struggling personally. And that can be a really big challenge.  

Now, you can choose not to show up. I'm going to support that all day long, but that's not really my personality, and when I have commitments and when I said I was going to do something, even when I'm struggling personally, I am going to try to find a way to kind of live in both worlds. That's just who I am. So, hopefully, you won't judge me, and I won't judge you if you choose something differently. But I kind of wanted to tell my story here in case it might inspire somebody else or just make someone else feel a little bit less alone.  

So, in this episode I'm going to share all about what's happened over the past few months as I've experienced kind of this whirlwind of ups and downs and kind of what I've reflected and learned from these experiences.  

So here's what happened. My book launch, on a Tuesday. So the book came out on a Tuesday. And on that day we got word that Hobie's mom, who I love dearly—her name is Doll. I called her Dolly—we got word that she was in the hospital from pneumonia. And she's a really healthy woman. She plays pickleball four days a week, very active, can't sit still. So when we heard that she was in the hospital for pneumonia, we thought, “Okay. The doctors said she's going to be okay.” Her two daughters who live near Pittsburgh, where Hobie’s from, her two daughters were there with her. So, of course, we thought, “Everything's going to be fine. We've been in touch with the family, and she's going to get out in a few days.” So because her daughters were with her, we felt like, okay, she's got the support she needs. And so we monitored for a few days while my book launch was happening.  

And then, so my book came out on a Tuesday. And on Thursday, Hobie and I got on a plane to attend Dave Hollis’ memorial. Dave and I had actually lost touch for a while. And then remember when I talked about that Napa mastermind that I'm in? Well, I went to Napa, and we reconnected and just had a beautiful conversation and just instantly picked up where we had left off as friends. And then, I was on his podcast. Just a day before he passed, I recorded a podcast with him for my book. That will never air.  

As a side note, it's really sweet, and I don't want to get all emotional, but his team sent me that interview—it was on a video—and they said, “We're not airing any more podcasts for Dave, of course, but we wanted you to have this. We thought you’d think it was special.” And I knew it was, because I went to the very end of the podcast, and before we shut off the cameras, we were just chitchatting, and he said, “I love you, Amy,” and I said, “I love you back.” And that was the last thing I said to Dave Hollis.  

So if you don't know who Dave Hollis is, which you probably do, it's Rachel Hollis’ ex-husband, and we've been friends for many, many years. And so it was just really special that I have that video, and that was the last time I talked to him. So I felt compelled, I wanted to be at his funeral, or his memorial, celebration of life. So Hobie traveled with me, and we did that Thursday—or we flew into L.A. on Thursday, the memorial was on Friday, and then we had plans to go on to Charleston, South Carolina, for my live virtual event for my book.  

So it was a virtual event, but we were in studio. And this really cool studio, if you saw any pictures of it online, it was one of those studios where I could see everybody on Zoom on video monitors behind me and in front of me. It was so incredible. So I was doing my book-launch event in Charleston, with a team by the name of SAGE. So SAGE is the team that put on my event, and I love them very much. I’ve worked with them many times. So anyway, that was our plan.  

So we flew across the country from Nashville to L.A., and as soon as we landed, Hobie got a call from his sisters that said, they said, “Mom has taken a turn for the worse, and they think it's blood cancer, and you need to come home.”  

Now, never in a million years were we expecting to hear this. Like, we were very confused. The look on Hobie’s face was like, “What are you talking about?” because just a couple of days before, we were told, “She's going to be fine. She’s coming home on Friday or Saturday,” and then, Hobie had insisted that he would, right after Charleston, because he wanted to be there for me—Hobie was supposed to be on stage with me. We had this special thing planned where Hobie; and then Jenna Kutcher’s husband, Drew; and Jasmine Star’s husband, JD; the husbands were going to go on stage and talk about what it's like to support an entrepreneurial wife, which, many in my audience, they have husbands that aren't supporting them yet or don't understand this journey they're on. So my husband and the other guys were going to kind of shed a little insight into that. So Hobie was coming to Charleston to actually be on stage. But when we got that call, obviously everything changed. 

So Hobie insisted that I go on to Charleston. He said, “Amy, we don't know what's going to happen with my mom. I will keep you updated. You need to go to Charleston.”  

Now, that might surprise some of you, and some of you might think, “Amy, you should have went with your husband.” But Hobie and I are really honest with each other. And I checked in with him and what he needed. He checked in with me. This event was not only a huge financial investment, but a lot of people were involved to put it on, and I felt very much responsible for all of that. So if Hobie said, “Amy, I need you to come home with me,” I would have canceled it in a minute. But he said, “I want you to keep going. I want you to do this event. I will keep you updated.” And I felt like that was the right thing to do.  

So I'll be honest, the decision devastated me. It was very hard, one of the most-hard decisions I think we've ever made together. And I was very worried about what was going to happen, but at the same time, I just knew we were in this together.  

And so what ended up happening is Hobie went home on Thursday, literally got back on a plane and flew across the country again. Like, what a waste, right? that we came to L.A., so far from Pittsburgh, and he went all the way back. But he took a red eye, and he got to near Pittsburgh, where his mom was at the hospital. And so he got there on Friday. He got there on time. He got to be with his mom and be with his family, which was so important. And I flew on to Charleston.  

And from there, Saturday morning, about an hour—I got to get through this without crying—an hour before I went on stage, Hobie called me and said his mom had died. And so he didn't know, Hobie didn't know, like, the timing of my event. Like, he didn't, of course, have any of that on his mind. So he didn't know he was calling me an hour before I went live. But at the same time, I told him, “I need you to tell me what's going on. Like, I need a play by play.” So he actually couldn't even speak on the phone. He texted me, which just seems very bizarre, I know. He said, “Just, I need a moment, but I promise I will tell you what's going on.” And so I thought, “Oh, my god, I can't do this. I can't do this.”  

I loved my mother-in-law so much. She was really good to me. I think she loved how I loved Hobie, and I think that's all she needed from me. And so she probably thought I work too much. I never gave her a grandchild because Hobie already had his son—Kade is my stepson—and she never held any of that against me. I don't cook for Hobie. She never held that against me. She just, I think, loved me because I loved him so much. And I thought that was really special as a mom.  

So Hobie was a mama's boy. He talked to her probably every other day for, like, an hour at a time. There'd be many times I'm like, “Who are you talking to for so long?” Why did I have to ask? It was always his mom. They were fanatics at Steelers football, so that's what they talked about all the time. And I think the hardest part for me was not only did my mother-in-law die, but I wasn't there for Hobie when she passed. And I feel guilt about that, I second guess my decision, but it happened. That was a decision Hobie and I made together, and I really wanted to be there for all the people who had put on my event and put so much effort and time into it. And at the time, she hadn't passed when we had, you know, decided for me to continue on to the event. So it was what it was, but it was a hard decision.  

And when I found out, what I did is I had to go into the bathroom, and I just had a full-on breakdown, like, cried and cried and cried and got it all out. And then I looked in the mirror and I thought, “Okay. You are here. This event is happening now in, like, forty-five minutes. You have to do this. And so we're going to have to compartmentalize.” This is what I told myself. And I don't know if it's the right thing or wrong thing, but I just thought, “I am here. I chose this. We're going to give the best event we've ever given. And then, I'm going to get on a plane and go to my husband.” And so that's what I did. So there I was, the morning of the event, just found out, had this really big cry, and I just said, “Okay. For the next eight hours I am going to be present here, and then I will allow myself to mourn all I need to and be there for Hobie.” 

So I got myself together somehow, went back to the green room. My makeup gal that was there, she looked at me like, “Oh no.” Like, I was red in the face, puffy eyes. She's like, “Let's get to work.” She was wonderful. And I didn't know who she was. They had just hired her for this day, so God bless her. So I took her number, and I said, “I will be using you again because you have been so amazing.”  

And then, the event went on, and my team was very, very sensitive and very supportive of me. And Jasmine and Jenna were there to speak. They were everything. They were so supportive. I just felt like everyone rallied around me, and I couldn't have asked for better friends and better teammates. So that was beautiful. And I loved the event. I thought the energy was incredible. If you were there, thank you so much. You all participated. It was so fun. I loved the different presentations from Jenna and Jasmine. They were fire. So it was a great, great event, considering what had happened.  

And so then, the event ended late on Saturday. I flew home Sunday morning, packed a bag for Hobie for the memorial, packed my bag, got on a plane, and met him in Pittsburgh. And so as hard as this was to do, I got through it. And the reason I'm recording this is not to tell you all my personal information. You know that's not really my style, but to say that we can exist in the good and in the bad at the same time. We can rally when we need to. And if we can't, then we as entrepreneurs can choose to not rally. Like, I did get to make a decision. And I think that's the most beautiful thing about entrepreneurship: you get to make a decision as to how you want to navigate.  

And so one of the things I did is I canceled all my interviews. So remember, the book came out on Tuesday, my mother-in-law died on a Saturday, and the week following my book launch was full of interviews and book signings. And I was really looking forward to my book signings. I had one in Nashville at a place called Parnassus, which is the cutest, most-quaint bookstore I've ever been in; and then one at The Grove in L.A. And I was really excited because then I could see my sister was going to go there, and some of my family and friends because I grew up in Orange County, near L.A. And so I had to cancel those, of course. And I didn't even miss a beat. Of course, I wanted to cancel those, and of course, I was disappointed, but it didn't matter. So I had to be fully present with Hobie, and I wanted to be there.  

And then, I also had some Q&As and some trainings that week. And I got to give a shout out to Jilly, on my team. She did two different Q&A, live-video sessions with my students. So if you got Jilly, I hope you loved on her and appreciated the value she brought, because she was stepping in for me. So a shout out to Jilly; a shout out to Christy, my executive assistant. She canceled everything, rescheduled everything. Literally stepped in. And then, I have a brand-new CEO. I'll be doing an episode about my brand-new CEO, and she literally handled everything else. So Jaws, big shout out to you.  

So it really made me realize that as an entrepreneur you get to decide what time you need, and if you build a strong team around you, they will be there for you. So all this to say, if you want to build a big business and if you want to scale, then you need a team around you to support you, because guess what: Life happens. Death happens. Divorce happens. Accidents happen. People get sick. Finances change. Life gets in the way. But we still have a business to run. Yes, you can decide to step away. You can say, “I need a sabbatical.” But most of us are going to say, “But I have a business to run. I can't necessarily shut down my entire business.” And that is not a decision I would make lightly, of course. No one would.  

So with that, I mean, it might happen. Like, if—this is so morbid. I don't even want to bring this up—but God forbid if something happened to Hobie, I could see me saying, “What business? Like, I don't care.” Like, I know that sounds crazy, but Hobie is my entire life.  

But other than that, other things are going to happen that are just as devastating or just as hard, and that's when your team can help you. That's when they can step up. That's when having products on evergreen are going to be your best friend. That's when knowing that you've built a solid, real business that can run even if you are not in the day to day, that's where we want to get to, my friend. I am in the day to day. I'm recording podcasts, I'm on live video, I'm doing a big launch every September, but there's a lot of things that make me money in my business where I don't have to show up day to day, and thank God for that. I think having a mix of both is important.  

You can certainly choose to step away from the business when you want or choose to have a team that can step in when you can't. I guess the point of all of this is you get to choose. And that's the beautiful thing about entrepreneurship. Being there with Hobie that week—I took an entire week off unexpectedly when my book had just come out—being there with Hobie was one of the most beautiful things.  

I knew he needed me. It's really sad. I got off the plane, grabbed my bag—I hate even talking about this—but I walked out of the terminal and onto the sidewalk, and there he was, standing next to a rental car and just started bawling crying. Like, the minute he saw me, I started crying; he started crying. Just, we needed each other so very much. And I'm so thankful that I was able to do the event, get on a plane, and be there for five full days, Monday through Friday, in Pittsburgh with him and his family. And so I feel really fortunate about that.  

So if you ever find yourself in a place where you're struggling personally but you still want to keep your business running and moving forward, don't be scared to say, “I need to cancel this. I need to shut this down for now. I need to be available,” or you look to your team and say, “I need you to step in for me. I need you to do this for me.”  

You know, it’s so easy to say, “No one else can do it my way,” but then when someone special in your life dies, it's very easy to say, “I think that person can step in for me.” It's funny how that shifts very, very fast when you need it the most.  

Take the time you need when life comes at you. After all, you've built a business where you work when you want, where you want, and how you want, and that means in times of crisis as well. So I really do hope that you do what you need to do.  

And the lesson I learned is my business can go on for a week without me even unexpectedly. I learned that I have the best team on the planet. I learned that being with family is incredibly important, no matter what. And I learned that I can cancel things and my business isn't going to fall apart.  

And so I just wanted to share this with you, because some of you have already had hardships while you're running a business, and you might have regrets of how you've done it or wish you made different decisions. I get that. I second guess my decision sometimes as well. But, also, some of you haven't had big hardships yet, and, unfortunately, it will come. And know that you are the boss, you get to call the shots, and build the team around you who will support you so you're not so alone in this.  

So some of you have been hesitant to hire somebody or get support. Maybe this story is what you needed to hear to say, “Maybe it's time I get a little support because life will come at me.” And you are strong, and you will prevail, and you will get through it. You've gone through every hardship that's ever come your way to date, and you can get through the ones that are in the future. I have no doubt.  

Sorry if this episode was a little bit sad. I tend to try to stay away from that, but I wanted to share this with all of you because many of you were on that journey with me. Some of you knew a little bit about that story.  

But, you know, the day I got New York Times was when I was in Pittsburgh. I was at my mother-in-law’s house, and the call came through, and I've never seen Hobie happier. Like, genuinely, I've never seen him more excited. And he looked at me, and he said, “I know my mom was up in heaven, kind of giving a little nudge to that New York Times’ list, saying, ‘Put my daughter-in-law in there.’” And that just made us so happy to think that Dolly, she was cheering for us from heaven.  

So it was the biggest week of highs and lows I've ever experienced. But something really sweet came out of it, and I know she was looking down on us so, so happy. 

Okay. I don't want to cry any more. I actually have, I have a full face of makeup on right now because I have to do a live appearance today. I got to leave my house and go meet with some very special students of mine. So I got to get it together. Thank you for letting me be vulnerable and just a little bit sad on this episode. But ultimately, I think some really beautiful things came of it.  

So there you have it. My next episode won't be so sad. I love you all to the moon and back. I hope you have a wonderful day and just know you can get through whatever comes your way. Take care. 

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