In early 2018, I experienced the darkest days of my adult life.

In the moment, it felt like it resulted from a couple months of uncertainty in my mind about our business and team, made more difficult by the depths of winter. And to cap it off, my worst feelings emerged days before a Junto retreat when I obviously had to be “on.”

Fortunately, I was highly aware of my emotions, the cortisol flowing in my blood, and the help I needed. I was confident I wasn’t clinically depressed but, as someone who is typically hopeful, optimistic, and confident, I was depressed for me. And once I knew I couldn’t see through the fog, I began asking for that help.

I was fortunate that each person I asked responded. They couldn’t solve anything but they listened. Even at the retreat, I pulled aside two Junto mentors who are good friends, and had long conversations sharing my troubles. Every person gave me time and support, listening generously with their eyes, ears, and body.

Within days, I was back to my usual self: I was sleeping well, wasn’t anxious, and had my energy back. Having to be out of my element at the retreat helped but I know it was mostly because I got everything out of my system.

And magically, within weeks the uncertainty and negative emotions gave way to the more familiar hope, optimism, and confidence I tend to feel. The icing on the cake was weeks later when those important friends made it a point to see how I was doing, unsurprised by the rebound.

That winter, I experienced three important lessons: the truth of “this, too, shall pass;” the power I have in accelerating it by reaching out; and the importance of others reaching out afterwards to see how I was doing.

Part 2 is here.