Suicide, Shame, and the Painful Truth about Achieving Your Goals

by Jon Morrow


I was in agony.

Waves of pain unimaginable shot down my spine, causing every muscle in my body to contract as if I’d been shocked with 20,000 volts of electricity. My back arched up at an unnatural angle. My arms and legs began to shake.

One moment, I was on a webinar talking to a few hundred people about traffic, walking them through exactly how to start a blog and make it popular. The next, everything went dark. I was still conscious, but just barely.

Underneath the layers of pain, I remember thinking, “You can’t pass out. You have to finish talking about how to build an email list.” Of course, the pain was so bad I’d forgotten how to freaking see, much less pontificate on the intricacies of opt in pages.

So, I stopped. I waited a few seconds. My vision slowly returned, and I was able to wiggle the mouse up to the “Mute” button again.

For the next several minutes, I just sat there, quivering and trying to catch my breath as waves of pain continued up and down my spine. Eventually, the pain receded somewhat, and I wiggled the mouse back up to the “Mute” button again.

“Sorry folks,” I said. “Looks like GoToWebinar is having some technical difficulties. Can everyone hear me now?”

They said they could. We finished the webinar. Immediately afterward, I went to bed and stayed there for the next 16 hours.

And the worst part?

It was a normal day. I’d nearly collapsed on several webinars, not just that one. You might’ve even been on one of them.

Part of me worried if I was about to die. Another part hoped I would, just to be free of the pain.

I was at the end of my rope. One way or another, things were about to change.

Hold on, though. Let’s back up a bit.

On suicide

When I was in college, my best friend calmly informed me he was going to kill himself.

A few months earlier, he had gone to the hospital in a horrible pain, and doctors found more than a dozen tumors nestled around his spine. He’d been on nonstop radiation treatments and narcotics ever since, but the tumors weren’t shrinking, and he was still in a lot of pain.

“I can’t take this anymore,” he said. “If this pain doesn’t stop, I’m going to blow my brains out. I’ve already bought the gun.”

I stared at him, horrified. Thanks to being born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, I’ve had more than my share of tough times, including more than a dozen bouts with pneumonia, over 50 broken bones, and a spine reconstruction surgery with, I kid you not, a two-year recovery time.

But I never considered killing myself. Not once.

Noticing my silence, my friend looked up at me and wheezed out a small laugh. “You don’t understand, do you? Not even you.”

I shook my head. “Come on, man. You’re stronger than this. You’ll fight through.”

For a long time, he said nothing. Then, in almost a whisper, he said, “Strength doesn’t last forever.”

A few weeks later, he refused treatment. He would’ve died, if not for his four-year-old daughter breaking down in tears and begging him not to give up. Just to console her, he resumed treatment, and six months later, he was cancer free. He’s still alive to this day.

I never understood what he said, though. Not until almost the same thing happened to me.

For my entire life, I’ve been like Superman. I can’t move from the neck down, but I graduated college at the top of my class, built several successful businesses, and now I’m one of the most popular bloggers in the world.

But as it turns out, even Superman has his limits. Strength doesn’t last forever.

On shame

I didn’t tell anyone about the pain.

It started small enough. A bit of aching in my lower back, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I just plowed right through it like I usually do, working 12 hour days,

A few months after moving to Mexico though, I knew I was in trouble. The pain crept up until I felt like my legs were on fire, a dagger was buried between my shoulders, and a bullet was lodged in my brain.

Suffice it to say that it hurt. Bad.

Not just every now and again, either. I was in pain 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

And it was like kryptonite.

Where I used to have endless energy, I struggled just to stay alert for a few hours each day. Where I used to always be the smartest guy in the room, I went through the day feeling cloudy and confused. Where I used to have unshakable confidence, I was now afraid to get on the phone with a client for fear of falling apart in front of them.

I was able to do just enough to scrape by without my entire business falling apart, and I spent the rest of my time hiding, ashamed of what I had become:


This went on for more than six months, and I didn’t tell a soul. Not my friends, not my family, not my employees. Only the nurses taking care of me knew what I was going through.

And for the first time in my life, I understood how somebody could commit suicide.

It’s not that they want to die, necessarily. They just want the pain to stop, and killing themselves seems like the only way.

Thankfully, I never got quite that hopeless. It might’ve happened eventually, but I held onto the belief that, no matter how bad it gets, eventually things will improve. That’s not always true, but that belief (or faith) kept me from ever considering taking my life.

I did come to understand suicide, though. All forms of it.

When a businessman loses all his money and puts a gun to his head, people think, “How could he do that? It’s only money.” What they don’t understand is it has nothing to do with money.

It’s about looking at your situation and knowing you don’t have what it takes to get through it. It’s too painful, and you’re too weak. That’s when you make one of two decisions.

You kill yourself.

Or you ask for help.

The painful truth about accomplishing your goals

After six months of nearly nonstop pain, I came to an important realization:

I’m not Superman.

Yes, I’m super smart. Yes, I’m super disciplined. Yes, I’m super talented.

But bullets don’t bounce off my chest. I can’t go more than two days without sleep. If the pain gets bad enough, I will pass out.

In other words, I have limits. You’d think I would’ve known that, but I didn’t. I thought I could do everything, all by myself, forever.


The harsh reality of the situation was, I needed help. Not just from doctors, but from my family, friends, employees, everyone.

So, I broke down and told them. I asked for help. I admitted I wasn’t Superman.

And surprise, surprise:

Everyone bent over backwards to help me.

My mother dropped out of her last semester in her MBA program to drive me back to the US to see some better doctors. One of my nurses left her husband and four-year-old daughter in Mexico, traveling with me and caring for me 24 hours a day. Marsha, my assistant, took over managing everything and everyone, even hiring a few extra people to carry the workload.

I went to see a renowned spinal surgeon. He ordered an MRI of my entire spine. I came back for the results, my palms sweating, my heart pounding, half expecting a death sentence.

“There’s good news and bad news,” the doctor said. “Which do you want first?”

I thought about it. “The good news.”

He smiled. “The good news is there’s nothing wrong with your spine. You’re fine. For now, at least.”

I didn’t believe him. “Then why am I in so much pain?”

“That brings us to the bad news,” he said. “Your blood pressure is 160/100, which I’m guessing is the stress of running your business. You’re about 30 pounds overweight, and because you have hardly any muscle in your back, it’s pushing your vertebrae together and pinching about a half-dozen nerves.”

I was stunned. “You mean I just need to relax and lose weight?”

He smiled. “You got it.” We shook hands, and he walked out the door.

Fast forward three months, and I’m about 10 pounds lighter, I no longer work weekends, and I’ve doubled the size of my staff. The result: my blood pressure is now 125/80, and the pain is worlds better. It’s still there, for sure, but it’s going down, and I think it might disappear completely after losing another 20 pounds.

In retrospect, I feel like an idiot.

I was working myself to death. Literally. At the time, I was even proud of it. As it turns out, though, I’m not Superman.

And the painful truth?

You’re not either.

The shocking reason why most bloggers fail

It isn’t a lack of talent.

It’s not bad luck.

It has nothing to do with traffic.

The problem is Superman Syndrome. You’re smart and motivated and hard-working, so you figure you have everything it takes to build a popular blog.


To understand why, imagine you’re going on a long trip with some friends, and the airlines will only let you take one suitcase. You stuff it full, zip it closed, and then start to walk out the door, but then you notice one sock you overlooked. You unzip the suitcase, cram in the sock, and try to close it again, but now it’s just too full. It won’t close.

Well, that suitcase is your life, and the sock is your blog.

Chances are, you’re already running yourself ragged between work and family and friends, and there’s just no more room for anything else. It seems like you should be able to squeeze in time for your blog, because after all, it’s just a few hours here and there, but for most people, it’s “one sock too many.”

So, you have five choices:

  1. Quit. Decide your life is just too full, and leave blogging to other people.
  2. Shove the sock in any way, risking making the suitcase explode. (That’s what I used to do. Not surprisingly, the suitcase, my life, eventually exploded in the form of horrific pain.)
  3. Leave something behind. Stop watching television, quit your job, or hire an assistant to do the laundry and your groceries for you.
  4. Learn to pack more efficiently. If you get serious about time management, you can, in fact, get more done in the same amount of time, but it has its limits.
  5. Give the sock to a friend to carry. In other words, ask for help.

In my experience, a combination of #4 and #5 is the right answer for most people who are serious about building a popular blog. #3 can also work, but it requires Olympic athlete self-discipline, and if you had that, you would already be a popular blogger.

You’ll also be tempted to believe you can get by only with #4, time management, but it’s not true. You can’t take care of your kids, hold a full-time job, and build a blog at the same time any more than you can squeeze a stretch limousine into a suitcase. It’s just not possible.

So, what do you do?

Ask for help

To use our suitcase metaphor, you ask a friend to carry the sock for you.

More specifically:

The biggest time sinkhole for most bloggers is the technical stuff. You beat your head against the wall trying to get your theme, plug-ins, e-mail list, and web hosting working together, wasting weeks or even months where you should have been writing posts packed with powerful words.

The solution?

Outsource it.

Thanks to the glory of the Internet, there are thousands of freelance techies out there waiting for work, and the rates are surprisingly cheap. You can get a lot of simple WordPress problems solved on, where everything costs five bucks. For more complex jobs, go to and hire someone in India, Russia, or the Philippines.

You might think you can’t afford it, but it’s astonishingly cheap. You can get almost any problem taken care of for less than $50.

What’s more valuable to you: $50 or three months of progress you lost by trying to do it yourself?

Also, asking for help doesn’t always mean hiring a freelancer. A lot of successful bloggers I know that are already making money, have designated hours where they write, and they get their family and friends to agree not to interrupt them, unless it’s a life or death emergency.

If you’re really brazen, you can even take it a step further and ask them to do the laundry, pick the kids up from school, get groceries, and all the other little tasks you normally do, just to give you a chance to write. You might be surprised at what they would do for you, if they understood how serious you are.

The bottom line?

Whatever you do, don’t try to keep going by yourself. You’ll fail.

Maybe not at first, but eventually, your strength will run out. Hopefully you won’t drive yourself to the brink of despair like I did, but you might still burn yourself out and want to quit. Maybe you’re already there.

If you are, the solution isn’t audacious goals.

The solution isn’t positive thinking.

The solution isn’t more self-discipline.

It’s surrounding yourself with people who can help you shoulder the load. No one can go it alone. Not even you.

So, stop trying.

Pull out your list of goals, and write down beside each one who is going to help you accomplish it. If you can’t think of anyone, make finding someone your biggest priority.

After all, that’s the real story, isn’t it? Not a superhero, standing alone against the darkness, but a superhero and a sidekick, steely-eyed and ready for war.

Hurry up and get yourself one.

And then go out there and kick some butt. The bad guys won’t know what hit ‘em. 🙂

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Jon Morrow

Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Smart Blogger.


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Written by Jon Morrow

Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Smart Blogger.

262 thoughts on “Suicide, Shame, and the Painful Truth about Achieving Your Goals”

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. I almost didn’t open your email -too busy trying to do too much at once-
    I am glad I did. I too, failed by trying to go at it alone, lost all I had in a business by being naive and not asking for help until the money was gone…Though I learned a lot in the process, I wished I’d known better.
    I am lucky and grateful I don’t relate to the physical pain you describe. I am glad I found your blog through one of your free reports.

    My only wish this year is to be able to impact someone the way you have with this post.
    Thank you!

  2. Jon,

    Thank you for writing this post. I was a little leery when I saw the title, mostly because there are so many people who joke or make light of the word, ‘suicide.’ I was expecting some kind of analogy between suicide and writing a blog that would be offensive. I am pleased to have found the opposite.

    Your post really resonated with me. I lost my 16 year old daughter to suicide 6 years ago and I’m still trying to put my life back together. I decided that life is too short and had been wanting to start a writing business for some time. I started Ink-Bytes this year and have been feverishly trying to learn how to be successful. Meanwhile, I wanted to help parents who have lost a child to suicide and started another blog called Journey Thru Grief (

    You’re right, the key to life is to never give up. Even though in life, and business, it’s easy to want to. I wish you continued success in the new year and thanks again for sharing something so personal.

    • I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to go on after losing a daughter, Tracy. I guess we all have difficult times to go through, right?

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ask for help. Isn’t that our perennial achilles heel? We are too proud. We are too impatient. We are too embarrassed. Just yesterday I agonized over hanging a massive white board by myself. Two people should’ve done it but I managed to do it myself. I wanted it done. And now I can brag I did it myself. And perpetuate that attitude of “I don’t need anyone’s help.” That’s a recipe for disaster, especially, like you pointed out, when it comes to accomplishing our goals. We need people. Thanks for the reminder Jon.

    • Funny how that works, isn’t it? You want something done, and you know someone else should be doing it, but finding someone is more work than doing it yourself, so you end up doing it yourself. It’s a really nasty trap.

      For me, the solution was getting people in place to help BEFORE I needed them. That way, all I had to do was shoot an email.

      Of course, training yourself to think in advance like that is really hard. The entrepreneurial brain usually thinks in terms of problems to be solved, not problems that MIGHT occur. And we get trapped by it.

      • I know the feeling but I am getting better at it, Demian. I think it’s a disease of the over-achiever: doing it by ourselves so we have a story to tell later. It’s that ego, that pride, but also partly it’s the notion that we are better than others and we know just how to get it done and lastly, I think a part of it is that we want to do the stuff we can do even if it will take longer to avoid the stuff we really should be doing :)! Thanks for a fab post, Jon and I can’t wait to see you in Vegas at NMX!

      • Jon – I like your idea of lining up the people to help you before you actually need them. That makes a lot of sense to me. You can also let them know that you’re available for them too, if they need also need help.

        This is my first time at this site and I see a lot of good people with the best intentions. Feels good hanging out here.

  4. Hi Jon,
    I’ve been looking hard at the service Chris Ducker offers in finding help. I’m at the point where I know what I want to do but don’t have the money coming in yet to pay someone to help me. I guess it’s kind of a chicken and egg thing. I’ve contemplated giving up because I’m having the pain as well and there’s just too much on my plate. Thanks for sharing your story, instead of giving up I’m going to figure out a way to get some help.
    Best Regards,

  5. That’s great advice, Jon. Fifteen years ago I sold my last business – although it was grossing $1.5 million pa from my home – because I couldn’t take any more. Depression? Better believe it. I’m now retired and run a home-based story writing program that nets me nearly as much but occupies only two hours a day.

    The secret, I discovered, is to forget empire building and do what you really want to do. Your way.

    • Earlier this year, I was talking to Frank Kern, and he said something really interesting. He believes all entrepreneurs should eliminate anything from their business they hate doing, even if it’s the thing that makes them the most money. Because otherwise, they will eventually sabotage themselves and their business, destroying everything.

      It’s a radical thought. In my experience, it’s true though.

      • The caveat being one better have something one likes doing for paying the rent!

        Frank’s thinking seems true to me as well.

      • That’s true, Jon. Internet marketing pioneer Ken Evoy had the same insight some twelve years ago. He was making big money, selling lots of itsy-bitsy programs at $1000 each, but the customer-support was driving him mad. So he closed down his business, took a year off, and asked himself – what do I really love doing?

        It turned out to be custom-making software for big clients at $100,000+ per project. Next year, he made a lot more money, by working just an hour or so a day, and re-discovered his family.

        That’s sanity.

      • Ah, the wise guru-surfer-dude! Listen to him, he really IS wise (though he might deny it). Just following him on the web I’ve learned and learned to listen. The guy’s got it.

  6. Hi, Jon,
    I can so relate to your pain. I’ve had 4 back surgeries myself, and sometimes the pain is unbearable. I’m thankful for the post you’ve written. It really puts things in perspective. I, too, can understand why people comtemplate suicide. Not that I would ever do that, but I understand the reason behind it. So much pain and just wanting and needing some relief. Losing weight has certainly helped my back issues. I need to have more surgery, but decided that was not happening until I lost some weight. I’ve lost 47 pounds and still losing! Wooo! I always love reading your posts. Thanks so much!

    Deb 🙂

    • What’s awful is how hard it is to find a doctor who will tell you to lose weight. I went through several, all suggesting narcotics and steroid injections, before I found one that was honest with me about the root of the problem. And he was totally right. The more weight I lose, the less pain I have. Really makes you wonder if the healthcare system will ever straighten itself out.

      Best of luck with your continued progress, Deb. 🙂

      • Jon –
        I’m glad you bring that up. As a wellness practitioner I’m often the one to break the news to clients that I can see the obvious and it’s time to deal with it. In holistic medicine excess weight is waste. Waste is toxic and blocks cellular integrity. It’s quite simple. Kind of like messy back-ends of websites where the content isn’t organized and systemized… and the trash isn’t in the trash.

        I am SO GLAD you’ve found the help that resonates and inspires your progress.

      • You hit the pharmaceutical nail on the head. Drug companies are making a fortune at our expense, but there is a huge grassroots movement going on to reverse that trend. It’s happening fast for those who are paying attention, and at a snail’s pace for those stuck in the old health care paradigm. Thank you so much for pointing it out. Well said.

        Your honesty inspires me, as does your insight. You are a very special person. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.

        As someone who tends to be a very private person, I’ve found myself in a kind of chrysalis where I’m waiting to reveal more of my story in order to help others the way I know I was meant to. The time is coming, and your post adds an even greater sense of urgency for me. Too many people are suffering needlessly.

        I’m so glad that you’re on the right track, and are taking personal responsibility for your own health. Too many people are giving away all control to someone or something else, instead of trusting themselves to make the lifestyle changes they know deep down inside they need to make.

        Keep up the great work, personally and professionally! You are an inspiration to us all.

      • Jon, thank you so much for the valuable advice in this article, and for speaking so frankly. I agree that this healthcare system needs to straighten out, but it won’t until all individuals concerned, get their lifestyles in hand and make a serious commitment to eating right, exercising, losing weight. It is all too easy to grab some fast food, get a quick sugar high with soda, candy, whatever, and then go for the meds when symptoms show up. Symptoms that could have been avoided in the first place, by a sensible way of living. It isn’t all THAT hard, and look at the benefits—among them, saving money on medical issues and on junk food. I seem to have gone on a tangent here, but just had to say it for once. Again, thank you Jon for the insights you have given us today. All the best to you.

    • You and Jon have finally, finally reached me about the weight issue. I’m not going on with this brinksmanship.

  7. Jon so happy you are doing better. I once had a similar situation with an illness that I tried to hide from others. Finally telling everyone was the best thing I could have done. We’re all behind you.

    • Tell me about it. Going through hell is one thing, but going through hell all by yourself is much, much worse. It’s amazing how just opening up can make it all more manageable.

  8. Wow, 2012 was a tough year for everyone all round. Glad to hear you have only 20 more pounds to lose, and I never noticed anything wrong on the webinars 😀

    Glad to see your another person that’s become an advocate of surrounding yourself with smart people 🙂

    • I wanted to lose all 30 pounds by the end of the year, but I was sabotaged by Christmas and all the goodies. Gah! 🙂

      • Jon,I want it to be easy for you to lose your necessary weight, so you’ll feel good. I may be able to help you. If you are open-minded and have time, consider discussing your eating style/food choices/ habits with me. Maybe I’m the teacher you have been waiting for. I don’t want to push you, but if you have the will, I think I can help you find your way…thanks from Frankie of

  9. Knowing there’s something wrong and powering through wouldn’t occur to me. I don’t want to be Superhuman so asking for help comes pretty easy. I could use some help with attracting readers to my blog, Jon. Guess what I’ll be doing in the New Year? That’s right, asking for help. At the risk of sounding chauvinistic, maybe it’s something unique to the male species, this needing to do everything all at once. Though I do know some pretty fiercely independent women.
    Well, it ain’t healthy for either sex. Thanks for the post. Appreciate the honesty.

    • Yeah, I think men are more vulnerable. Women can fall prey to it too, but men are socially conditioned to never ask for help. That’s something that needs to change.

      And also, you’re in the right place for getting readers to your blog. Lots of great new tools and education coming next year. You can call me your own personal traffic sidekick. 🙂

  10. Hi Jon,

    Thank you for the encouraging article. I have come to realize that too. I need others to help me achieve my goals. I have just set up a ‘mastermind’ group with like minded people who inspire possibilities!

  11. What a moving piece, Jon!

    Yes, I too suffer from the ‘Superperson’ syndrome. I love working creatively and I work long hours.

    I’m a 4th Dan Blackbelt in Karate and use that kind of discipline to push through barriers of tiredness when I need to.

    But that isn’t a good thing. Because when I do, work feels heavy and my creativity goes on strike.

    A couple of months ago I started employing a VA – and that’s been a real turning point for me. Now there is someone to shoulder the load. Someone to discuss things with. Someone I can ask for support.

    What about you, Jon? I know you’ve now got more support from your family and staff. But what can we do? We, your readers and colleagues who admire and appreciate you.

    I’m happy to offer my help to you in any way that would make things easier for you. You can count on me.

    – Mary

  12. Fabulous lesson, Jon. I would not pretend to understand what you have been through, but I do understand the serious effect of driving yourself into the ground. After 30+ years of a corporate life of too much work, not enough sleep, and a very unhealthy lifestyle, I left it behind to start my freelance business.

    I am healthier than I have been in a very long time, but find I struggle with family commitments that make me less productive. I don’t know why I have so much trouble asking for help, but I always have. Thank you for sharing your story and giving me much to think about.

    Wishing you a happy, healthy 2013!

    • Likewise, Cathy. And by all means, ask your family for help with those commitments. It’s a necessary step for most entrepreneurs, I believe.

    • Cathy – I can relate to the “struggle with family commitments that make me less productive” as I have the same challenges. I finally sat down with my kids and partner asking for help in determining what was truly essential (emergencies and first-time events) and what was flexible (shopping with my teen can happen on Sunday mornings rather than Saturday afternoons). What has been the most amazing revelation is my family’s willingness to take my work commitments into consideration now. They even ask what they can do to help! As for me, I’m learning that “No” can be a complete sentence and guilt is a waste of energy. I wish you a productive 2013.

      Jon – Thank you for posting this and being willing to reveal so much about yourself. Asking for help remains one of the most difficult things for me to do but, thanks to my family, it’s becoming much easier. I like the reminder that superheroes had sidekicks. I need to make finding one – or a group – a priority in 2013.

  13. Thanks Jon! Your last 6 sentences give me new energy to make this life count for more and a strategy to get it done. Take good care of yourself, OK.?

  14. Jon Tzu – The general who … retreats without fearing disgrace … is the jewel of the kingdom.

    I remember having a herniated disc surgery and taking Vicodin which made me go crazy. I threw the pills out and did 7 days of cold-turkey hellish pain. On the 7th day, I remember looking out my kitchen window wanting to die. The 8th day brought a tiny bit of relief and I knew I made it over the hump.

    Fast forward to last week and I re-aggregated my back brushing my teeth. Back to the pain pills again – and I get word my mother is experiencing what appears to be dementia,Alzheimer, or withdrawals from not taking a psychotropic medication. So the family had to decide whether to commit her and have her evaluated against her will or take care of her ourselves. Brutal battle with siblings fighting siblings. Hellish experience by itself – made worse by having to make such decisions under the influence of pain and medication. At one point during this though, I remember thinking of you and the story of you and your mother. I knew I’d get through it. Thanks, man!

    • That’s rough, Shane. You’re right, though. Dealing with other problems is much, much harder when you’re in pain. Best wishes that everything works out.

  15. Jon, you’ve done it again – Another epic post that touches the heart and rings loud with wisdom.

    I guess it’s all about not trying to be Superman but
    being truly human, and connecting to others through our limits as well as our strengths.

    Success in blogging, as with all business, comes a lot simpler and easier when we recognise finally that we can all achieve the things we want if we reach out to each other.

    Even Superman needed a shoulder to lean on. And, as
    Sir Isaac Newton acknowledged in his “standing on the
    shoulders of giants” speech, we all owe our success to those who offer the support and knowledge that helps us achieve whatever it is that makes us stand out in our turn.

    Competition is dead. The current economy proves that, if nothing else, we all need to recognise that we are
    stronger, fitter, more successful, when we reach out to others.

    Thank-you Jon.

  16. Jon, I can certainly relate to your “Superman Syndrome”. I am very good at it myself.
    And you are right, just an e-book took so much time and effort that I had to engage 3 other people to help me.

    One thing we tend to underestimate though, is how much of an example and strength we are to others. And I mean you, Jon. You are an inspiration to many people. You should remind yourself of that more often:)

    P.S. I am glad you didn’t mentioned Elance, I had some less then desirable results.

    • Thanks Tania. What’s weird is I don’t set out to be inspiring, but it just sort of happens. 🙂

      And yeah, I think oDesk is better than Elance for most things. None of them are perfect, though.

      • I know Jon, you didn’t set out after fame.

        My point is when you are feeling down, think about all of us who look up at you as an inspiration.

        Think about those people whose lives you have touched, and how you helped them to transform in a positive way:)

        I hope that this will give you more inspiration and help you to get through hardships that you face.

  17. Jon,

    This is a great read. Great story, suspense, action, ups and downs…wow. Also you really nailed some serious stuff early on about suicide. The happy ending is great, too, especially since I was all on edge wondering what the “bad news” was! Then the tips–yeah, I get it. I was hospitalized last March with atrial fib that took 24 hours to calm down–all because I was working non-stop on a book and trying to handle everything else. Definitely true about the tech side of things…you reading my mind? Work on that BP and weight, Jon! We need you.

    Thanks–this is your best yet 🙂

    • I am, in fact, reading your mind. I installed a WebCam in your ear when you weren’t looking. 😉

      Seriously though, the tech stuff really can be stressful. Best of luck getting it handled.

  18. Jon,
    I’m so glad you’re getting the help you need and helping us all embrace limitations for interconnectivity.

    How selfish, egoistic, impulsive, biological and old school to need to be superman and superwoman.

    Our individual potential and our species potential lies in our interconnectivity. At this point if we either embrace that we can’t do it alone… or like you point out, we suffer.

    And I find it’s nice to know there are a zillion experts out there on all the stuff that makes me overwhelmed. The new skill is interconnectivity. And if you don’t get it… you don’t get it.

  19. Thank you for this post, Jon. Very inspirational and honest. Few people are willing to talk about suicide and you were courageous to do so. My dear brother died by suicide 8 years ago and it’s so incredibly hard to understand. Wishing you good health and prosperity in 2013.

    • Now that we’re through with Christmas, hopefully that next 20 pounds will be a bit easier. I have to say, not even Superman could resist all that pie and fudge and cookies. 🙂

  20. Thanks for the inspiration Jon. This year I had what I thought was a tremendously stressful year……you helped put things into perspective for me. It’s hard to ask for help (I’m sure you know better than anyone), but the weight of carrying everything inside you can bring anyone down if you leave it long enough. Cheers to a great 2013….and thanks

  21. Jon,

    This is a blog about getting traffic.

    So lets examine the larger question of this post in a clinical way: Is a personal, even confessional post appropriate for a blog as a way to get traffic?

    You took a big risk here, IMHO. There are certain hot-buttons that will almost always drive traffic. The word suicide, for example, is always disturbing. When I saw the headline, I clicked through, since it sounded to me a bit like a cry for help.

    By the end of this piece, I learned you were not suicidal. In fact, your self image was pretty intact: you compare yourself to Superman.

    Ultimately, by the end of the piece, you had taken more from me than you had given. After five minutes, I knew a lot more about your problems, but you had solved none of mine. A thousand words so you could recommend Fiverr and ODesk.

    Some may disagree. Some may find this post humanizes you, and bringst them closer to you as an audience. To me, coming from a blogger who’s main expertise is attracting traffic, it felt emotionally manipulative, like a McDonald’s commercial.

    Not to say it wasn’t truthful, or sad, or moving. It was. Just inappropriate.

    • Such a bold rebuttal coming from an anonymous poster felt emotionally rancid to me, like a McDonald’s grease bin. Had you left your name, you’s have increased your blog traffic by 100-fold. #trafficFail 😉

      • Obviously, this guy has only read the words and didn’t understand the meaning. Nor has he been in a position where thoughts of suicide may seem a logical choice. He’s obviously never known what it’s like to carry the load of many different hats. Where he doesn’t have the time to catch his breath never mind call or ask for help. With the result I find his comment is inappropriate!

        Jon, like your other readers, I DID understand the meaning and thank you for writing the post because I think it has brought your readers together. In every comment someone has shared a little of their challenge as well as extending a cyber hug of support. Directed at you of course, but I felt the warmth and it made me feel a little less alone. My challenge is caring for my mother who is showing the early signs of dementia coupled with a series of mini strokes over Christmas.

        So, I too want to extend a big cyber hug to you. Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone.

        You have subtly reminded us we are not superheroes but rock-stars-in-training and that help is always closer than you think.

    • And yet, Mr. Inappropriate, it appears you did read the entire article, its “inappropriateness” notwithstanding.


      Thanks, Jon. I find your honesty to be entirely appropriate, always. And inspiring. And, yes, exactly what I needed to hear, too. Mr. Inappropriate most definitely missed the point.

    • I can’t even fathom the type of cold callous person “Inappropriate” must be. One of the primary lessons you learn with blogging and social media in general, is to connect with your readers; in this way you allow them to know more about you. As a result, they realize you are human and fallible just like they are, and they are more likely to want to stay connected with you. This is a win win all around. Doesn’t matter if you blog about knitting, indoor cycling, home schooling, social media or attracting traffic.

      Jon obviously bared his soul to his audience—-I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to do so. But his post has struck a chord with many people, and I recognize myself in his words. Not the suicide thoughts, but the non-stop work, the “Superman” (Superwoman for me) mentality, and the recognition that one must ask for help…before it’s too late. That is me. I write about fitness, but my own fitness is crashing around me because I have this ridiculous idea that if I want something done right, I have to do it myself. I’m so grateful for Jon’s words, which inspire me to ask for help in my rapidly growing business so I don’t end up in worse shape.

      So to the anonymous person who left this message, get a life. Jon thanks for your words of wisdom and for opening up like this. A couple of commenters have said this, but I’ll repeat it: you probably have helped far more people than you can imagine with this post. And your respectful response to this jerk is very honorable…I don’t think I could have done the same! 😉

    • Sorry, ‘Inappropriate’, but I have to disagree with you – this was a powerful account of someone becoming aware of the fact that they’re NOT superman.

      As a natural born control freak who always wants to do everything myself, I’ve really valued reading this post – it reminds us to recognize our own human limitations and the value of sometimes seeking and accepting support from others – which isn’t necessarily a weakness.

      This was such a pleasant change from all those inspirational ‘dream it and you can do it’ type posts, which suggest we’re all capable of flying to the moon if we only have sufficient faith and confidence in our innate ability to leave earth’s orbit without so much as a space suit.

      I’m all for positive thinking, but we CAN’T do it all – I wonder how many of the abandoned blogs that sadly litter the web have been ditched by people who’d been seduced by that ‘superman’ mindset and suddenly realized they just needed a good night’s sleep.

      Thanks for a great post, Jon – it was wholly appropriate from where I’m sitting.

      All good wishes for 2013!


    • It’s funny, sometimes SMA gives me a productivity advantage. No one expects me to do the laundry, wash the car, etc., so I get to spend a higher percentage of my time focusing on work. Every disadvantage has a corresponding advantage. 🙂

  22. Wow…just wow! This is a great article that would apply to all workaholics…not just bloggers. I was particularly thinking of my dear husband who works himself literally to death because he won’t ask for help and tries to do too much. Very nice!

      • I will definately make sure he reads it, especially since it echos what I constantly try to remind him. Touchy subjects and constructive criticism always seems to be better received when coming from someone other than your spouse! lol : )

  23. Time management does have its limits as well. Asking for help seems so obvious, yet so hard to do – there seems to be a stigma attached to it like we are failing if we can’t do it all on our own. Be a good example Jon. Run a successful blog AND take care of yourself.

  24. I’m really glad to hear things are much better for you. This is a brave post and one that I’m sure so many people (entrepreneurs especially) will resonate with. I’m useless about asking for help and have been working myself into the ground for far too long. I’m proud and fiercely independent but that’s changing now as I’m learning to ask for help without feeling inadequate or weak. I’m also determined to pace myself next year. I’ll be sharing this post with my followers. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  25. Because of the nature of sites such as Elance, your experience will vary. We had similar problems finding consistent outsourcing for our marketing consulting clients. Eventually, we ended up building our own service company to help them with their blogging. We’re an outsource boutique that does nothing but blog, based on professionally conducted interviews with the blogger. We transcribe and then re-write the words that come out of your mouth into a written form instead of a conversational transcript. Because we use audio interviews as our source material, we also offer the option of posting the interviews as podcasts. We posted 45,000 words in the last year for our first customer and he’s still going strong. Prior to using our service, he had posted less than 3,000 words in 2 years. It’s not for everyone, and we certainly don’t fall into the $50 solution price range, but we are very good at getting great content out of an expert’s mouth with a minimal time commitment of about 1 hour per month.

  26. Stunning post, Jon! So glad you are getting a good team to help you and your health is improving! That’s number one.

    I’ve had a business and f-t job for 9 years now, I know you are so right about finding that help. Sometimes I do ok with it, sometimes not. But I’ve recently come to realize that I can’t neglect my support system in 2013. I got big plans & I’ve been plodding along (mostly) solo for too long! 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s uncanny because I’ve JUST decided in the past day or two that I have to make support my priority this year.

    If you were here, I’d give you a big ol’ HUG!

  27. It’s phenomenal that you’re starting to take care of yourself more because no body can handle prolonged periods of stress lime that. I’ve recently learned that the hard way myself with the crowdfunding project I did back in November. The stress literally shut different body functions down, making it nearly impossible to digest properly or get the proper sleep to recover.

    It’s amazing how your brain can overclick your body if you let it, so it’s good to hear you taking control of that. You’re a good dude who has already beaten impossible odds, keep taking care of yourself to make ensure you can keep on kicking ass.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing Jon.

    Oddly enough… or not. I wrote on this topic recently (how suicide can be attractive). I’ve been through emotional (stuff) and addictions in my life where suicide did seem attractive. And honestly, it still does at times. As in the Ten Commandments of Suicide from the Suicidal Mind: “The common goal of suicide is cessation of consciousness: The anguished mind of a suicidal person interprets the end of consciousness as the only way to end the suffering.” And I get it that some people want to end their own suffering.

    But I’ve also seen the intense selfish side of suicide as well. Being involved in recovery, I’ve known many who have taken their own lives. And, from my experience, it’s always the quiet ones. Like me, I was putting on this front that everything was OK. Most often we don’t ask for help because we either don’t know we need it, are ashamed, or feel we deserve what we’re getting. Some call it “terminal uniqueness.”

    I thank you so much for sharing your story and what you’re going through.

    • Terminal uniqueness is spot on. Definitely applies to me. Or at least, it almost did. I guess I’m afflicted with “almost terminal uniqueness.” 🙂

  29. Thank you for this inspiring and powerful story. I’m glad you’re receiving the help you deserve. God speed!

    Asking for help

    It’s true that most people don’t understand how a person can commit suicide. Many years ago, I worked for a real estate company, and the daughter of one of my co-worker’s committed suicide. She was 16 years old and didn’t know how to ask for help. It didn’t matter that her family and friends wanted to help her, she didn’t know how to ask for and receive the help she deserved. I never forgot about my former co-worker because her teen daughter taught me a lesson: never be ashamed to ask for help.

    Setting boundaries

    All of us have limits and need to ask for help now and again. Plus, we need to set boundaries. If you’re a freelancer, don’t take calls or answer your emails on the weekend. Spend the weekend with your family and friends or go away and do something fun. Otherwise, your clients will call you 24/7.


    “You mean I just need to relax and lose weight?” is an easy and cheap prescription to fill and refill. 🙂

    • Setting boundaries has always been a tough one for me. I think it is for most entrepreneurs. It’s SO easy to work all the time, but really, it’s the worst thing you can do.

  30. Thank you for sharing something so incredibly personal. There are so many people who will benefit from hearing they aren’t the only ones going through such difficult health issues. All the best to you.

    • Hi Kitty! You know, dieting hasn’t been nearly as hard as I thought it would be. It’s mainly about getting all the unhealthy stuff out of the house. When it’s not easily accessible, I don’t really think about it. I would bet that’s true for a lot of people.

  31. Jon,

    I once prided myself on being superwoman: getting 4 kids from birth through music lessons to graduations, finishing a doctoral program, running businesses, writing and celebrating all major holidays in style. It took pneumonia to knock some sense into my head in the early days, and failed multi-tasking to get me to seek help in recent years.

    I’ve always loved helping others, but find it very difficult to ask for help.

    Thankfully this year I realized that I couldn’t reach my online and writing goals without hiring help. Funny how I thought I couldn’t afford it yet, while the truth is I couldn’t afford not to. My virtual assistant has made my life so much easier.

    Without help we are definitely on a collision course. There will a crash of some kind, and for some, as you mention suicide seems the best choice. Although I’ve never reached this point, I understand it, especially with daily extreme physical pain.

    Thank you for sharing your personal story, especially as we start a new year. I will heed your advice to make finding help with my goals my highest priority.

  32. Thank you for another inspiring post. I love your writing/stories because they touch my heart.

    I do not do the superman thing. That is about trying to have power and control over everything. That is not sustainable.

    I have become aware that too much of what runs us are the self-limiting ideas, beliefs and stories we carry with us every day. They are mostly false. They need to be questioned.

    Becoming an observer of my mind has allow me great freedom to create the life I want consciously. In the silent moments of the now, there is always the guidance I need.

    Like you I understand that others are a vital part of making things happen. Each person brings their light and together we make the world a better place.

    Looking forward to your next beacon.

  33. Hi Jon,
    When I took your guest blogging class I organized outsourcing team just to find out that finding the right people for a job IS a job so the only solution is to outsource outsourcing by hiring an agent to interview and screen outsources. I honestly think this is the only solution. Of course, losing weight is major. I learned that if your cortisol is up, this is hard to do.

    • Ha! “Outsource outsourcing by hiring an agent to interview and screen outsourcees?” That’s a mouthful. True though. I have Marsha do a lot of my outsourcing these days.

  34. It’s a fabulous post as always and resonates deep to the heart. My only question is: what if you don’t have anyone to ask for help? What if you’re totally alone and I’m not being facetious.

  35. First let me say how happy I am to hear that you are on the mend. Second, I thank you for the courage it took for you to share this healing message. And third, awesome way to connect your personal story with your business mission!

    I want to send you a gift that may help lower your pain and also help with weight loss, so look in your email for it. (No, it’s not a pill!) It’s the least I can offer in exchange for all you have taught me.

    You continue to inspire me Jon. Thanks so much.

    Happy New Year!

  36. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on when I started getting fired up about my new business was to opt for choice #3, “leave something behind.” It’s a good idea, but not when you’re sacrificing higher priorities (e.g. personal relationships, health, sanity) to make room for it. In retrospect, the way I handled my business reminded me of how others handled falling in love: we become so euphoric that we end up wanting to spend every second with that person/passion, and everything else falls by the wayside.

    But as with new relationships, eventually that honeymoon phase wears off, you realize your life is falling apart, and the relationship/business venture that was holding all of your attention now feels overwhelming.

    Balance is so important. I’m glad you’re finding yours.

  37. Wise words. It seems we often sabotage ourselves and it either takes a caring friend or catastrophic moment to get our attention. Hitting rock bottom is the release that brings on the AHA moment. How much pain , how much turmoil probably depends upon our personal stubborness.

  38. Jon,
    I really needed to see this post. You may not know it , but you were speaking directly to me. Thanks for sharing .. and best wishes for the future…xoxo

  39. Jon, I really appreciate you sharing. I admire that you took the weight loss news in stride. So many people refuse to believe their doctors when they’re told to quit smoking or lose weight.

    Probably every writer faces the big “S” at one time or another. If it weren’t for my faith in God and sense of humor, I might have done it. Like you, I’ve had an illness (cancer) that I got through no fault of my own. It’s a source of anger sometimes, especially when I see people abusing their bodies.

    It is hard to quit being proud and ask for help. And Jon, please don’t hesitate to reach out to ME if you need anything. We writers need to stick together!

  40. Great post, Jon. Thanks for sharing so deeply. It’s difficult for humans to ask for help. We don’t give ourselves permission to show any sign of weakness. And not many of us are very good at self care. I had to learn to ask for help when I started having back problems 20 years ago. It’s not easy to ask, but there are always kind, loving people to step up when we do.

    I am a VA and am amazed by the difficulty people have in letting go of tasks they’ve been “managing” for years. It’s about control more than anything and the skewed belief that it’s easier to just keep doing the task than training someone else to do it. There are a lot of self-employed, talented, intelligent VAs out there who need the work. Give them a chance – you’ll be pleasantly surprised and less stressed when you do.

  41. I am not going to lie, I almost cried as I was reading this. It makes sense, and I will be keeping the information in mind as I set about setting my goals for the coming year. Thank you for sharing such personal information with us.

    • Sorry I almost made you cry! It seems to be one thing I’m good at, though. One reader told me I should immediately send tissue boxes to everyone who subscribes to my blog. 🙂

  42. Jon:

    I empathize with your intense dislike of pain and your quest for independence. Most of us are not Superman.
    But your acceptance of the need for a support system is impressive–like the movie stars when they take off their makeup.

    • “Movie stars when they took off their makeup.” I like that. I think mine got taken off with a sandblaster. 🙂

  43. Interesting post Jon! I recently started blogging and attended a webinar of yours. Although I haven’t gotten a lot of traffic yet, I’m enjoying writing, getting personal and having a creative outlet. I’m learning a lot about myself.

  44. Everything comes at the perfect time for you…Your article proves it!

    I am just embarking on my 2013 planning to prioritize what I need to do to optimize my happiness and success in 2013. Your main point about asking for help, and attaching this question to each one of your goals is brilliant, and will help me immensely.

    Thank-you for this, and all the other resources you provide. You truly contribute to all of our success!

    All the best to you in 2013!

    Here is to leaving all the “Bad Guys” behind!!


    Ang 🙂

  45. AWESOME POST! Thank you for the inspiration. I am going to keep this one handy when resolve runs low in 2013. I especially like your idea for hiring someone to help. I’ll look at it this way: I’m doing my part to get the economy back on track, and helping someone else who can use a job.

  46. Thanks for this Jon.

    I blog about Mental Health particularly related to Spiritual Formation. My final posts for the the year will be titled ‘The Good, Bad and the Ugly of Goal setting when your depressed’.

    The big idea is to set realistic goals that CAN be achieved. Not ‘Hope to’ or ‘Should do’ goals but realistic goals that you can achieve. I read lots of ‘super bloggerman’ posts and I have to be careful that I don’t let the hype and wow project unrealistic expectations on to me.

    One major lesson I learned this year from blogging is to include others. I find it difficult to write more than 2 blog pasts a week. I want to publish three posts per week. So Now I write two and the third I have a poem from other bloggers or elsewhere. This has helped me and helped others. I have a built a community of friends and colleagues. I have also discovered the power of poetry to meet a need in my readers lives.

    Thanks Jon, may you have a great year.

  47. So often it seems that our worlds are composed of huge amounts of negativity, and we are constantly preached at to suck it up, keep on keeping on, and no gain is made without pain. All Type A ideas, which are recommended across the board with little regard to how such philosophies actually fit into another person’s life.

    Bravo to you for figuring out that your path is different, and that it’s important to seek help when you need it. I can’t say for sure, that is true of everyone, I honestly just don’t know, but for my life and all the people I know, working together and asking for help is an important thing to do.

    Thank you for your honesty in posting, I am really glad to hear that you are mending.

  48. Very well done article, Jon. If you don’t mind a personal suggestion: find a practitioner who specializes in medical hypnosis. I was saddened that all the conditions you were/are suffering from — pain, hypertension, overweight — are, for most people, readily treatable using hypnosis and apparently you were unaware of this valuable (and inexpensive) resource. Glad to read that your life is better now.

  49. Jon, you are so awesome. I’m going to share this post like crazy. I have a “human tractor” story: In my mid-30s I was a single mom in a high-pressure corporate job and a 1-hr commute. And my yard (an acre of dirt in the California high desert)looked like crap. I resolved to work a half hour each evening, after work, until it looked good. Then one evening I hurt my shoulder working with a shovel, and I realized my cartilage, ligaments, sinews, tendons, etc. – all those things I was pitting against the earth – were A LOT FREAKIN’ SOFTER THAN THE FREAKIN’ DESERT! What a revelation. So I stopped. I found a way to afford a gardener with tools and machines, and I saved my body. Thank you again for your honesty, and best wishes for a kick-ass 2013!

  50. ~~~Jon,
    first off, let me tell you “I LOVE YOU” even though you’re not Super Man!

    I’m seriously your greatest stalker…um, I mean, fan.

    I too, understand about pain (not physical), but the mental pain of living after my sister’s murder.

    I did think of suicide for the first time in my life, but decided to write instead.

    Anyhow, you inspire and rock like Gaga.

    Keep smiling, dear.

    Ps. say hi to your mother. I interviewed her about 5 years ago for Skirt Mag.

    Xx Kissssssss

  51. Jon,

    I see certain comments like one above where someone believes you’re actually manipulating the game with all your expertise to get more traffic. All I can say is REALLY??? That was your motivation? Unbelievable! But then that’s just what you get for putting your true feelings out in the open. I commend you for exposing yourself like this, considering your place in the blogosphere.

    Jon, you have been an incredible inspiration in my journey to build a blog that matters. Of all my time studying how to do blogging right, my time with your Guestblogging program and the amazing team of people you have built has been absolutely the most valuable time spent by far. I’ve seen the results. I see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    That tunnel is long and I’m that guy staring at a family, a mortgage, too many things to do and not enough time to build the dream and trying to realistically figure out how to make it all happen.

    But I do know you can’t do it alone. I always wondered how you could possibly do all that you do. All you did here is remind us all of a cold, harsh fact. We’re all human. We have unlimited potential to do amazing things. Many things are ultimately up to us.

    But we are mortal. We do have limits. And we all need help from time to time.

    Thanks for showing that you’re still one of us humans.

    You rock!

  52. So glad you “saw the light” before it was too late! And yes I did learn early in my blogging career that I could not do it all, so I have a wonderful group that takes care of my website….love not having to worry about that part of the job! Makes writing so much more enjoyable.

    Thanks for your honesty!

  53. Spot on, Jon — spot freakin’ on.

    As my friend Leah mentioned, I do feel like you’re reading my mind. Obviously, my personal experience isn’t the least bit unique in our world. 🙂

    I thought #3 was the only answer, and fought it. I can work with adding #4 and #5 together instead, absolutely. But it’s … so … damned … hard to ask for help! Wonder why that’s so true?

    Here’s to a happy and pain-free New Year to you, Jon.

    • Thanks Jim. You know, I don’t know why it’s so hard. I’ve always thought it was social conditioning, but it’s possible it’s wired into the human brain somehow.

  54. Thank you for sharing this, Jon. I (and, it appears, almost 100% of the commenters above) am grateful that you pushed through the fear of being vulnerable, and provided yet another hard-hitting dose of truth and inspiration.

    However, I do have to disagree with you on one point: I think you are Superman (but you forgot that even Superman is still part human). I’m glad to hear that you are on the mend, and send my best wishes for a speedy return to health.

    Most importantly, I do hope that you are still allowed to indulge in the occasional avocado!

      • That’s a fact! 🙂

        Continue to take care of yourself, and remember you have an entire community to lean on when you need it.

  55. Hey, congrats with your weight loss! That’s great that you’ve already lost a 1/3 of your weight. You’ll kick butt, especially considering how disciplined and patient you are. Those last 20lbs don’t stand a chance!

    And if you need any more help in the fitness area, then feel free to check out my health and fitness blog:

    It’s relatively new (a couple of months) and it’s focus in about being healthy as opposed to getting ripped.

    Anyways, keep up the good work!


    Ted Swogger

  56. Hi Jon,

    You are a great inspiration to me and it would be my pleasure to do something back. I think I can help you improve your health. I have a MSc in nutrition science with top honors, and now work as a PhD candidate in one of the foremost labs in my field.

  57. Jon, you are an amazing writer … with a true gift for empathy. That you can articulate it so well is what keeps me reading. I am so curious about this person who can connect so well through written words over the Internet.

    Glad you got such good help and are doing better.

    • Practice, practice, practice. That’s all it is. Well, and maybe a bit of perfectionism. I spent at least 12 hours on this post. 🙂

  58. Great piece, Jon. Thank you for all your inspiration. A few months ago, I found your blog – after downloading your cheat sheet eBook, I was inspired to start my blog. Thanks!

  59. I still think you are superman.

    A superman is helping people and so you do. You inspire and give us courage to move on. And you do it somehow the right way. It touches and it gives us hope.

    At a point I was thinking. How can you handle so much work? My guess was: “This is what Jon loves. He surely knows what he is doing.”

    Wish a great new year. Cheers!

  60. Jon,

    Great post. Thank you for sharing.

    I read it once through and I’m actually going to re-read it a couple of times because you’ve touched on so many great points.

    Over the past three years, I’ve had what has seemed like non-stop health, work and financial issues including having my identity stolen and living around three sets of different neighbors who have caused unimaginable, noise that has made scheduling and work beyond difficult.

    At various times these past two years, I’ve definitely been at the point when I’ve been in so much pain or feeling so lost that I’ve contemplated suicide and wondered: “Why keep pushing? Why keep trying if everything is just going to blow up and get worse?”

    I went from having a savings and health insurance to now living project to project.

    Reading your post has helped immensely.

    It’s important that we remind ourselves that we’re not alone and what seems impossible today can often improve the next day or the following… perhaps even hours later.

    Yesterday, I awoke with horrible joint and muscle pain and couldn’t bear to move, let alone work or even get up to eat. I had to remind myself… like you… that I’m not superman.

    I forced myself up through the pain, took pain medicine, rested and a few hours later, I was back up and ready to move forward.

    But, that single delay was heartbreaking. It’s important for everyone to realize that there are going to be heartbreaking moments. There are going to be points when all of your plans are going to fall apart.

    They KEY is to roll with it. To accept. To keep pushing. AND, to ask for help when you know you can’t do it alone.

    I hope everyone has an amazing 2013 filled with success — big or small. And Jon… please keep posting. You’re a great mentor to so many people.

  61. Jon, There are many lessons in your post. One that resonates with me is how the health-care system is a mess. It’s true that doctors are happy to prescribe pills yet quite reluctant to talk about losing weight or making other changes to manage your own health. You were fortunate to find a doctor who took such a careful and thoughtful approach.

    Happy New Year!

  62. Jon –

    A real wake up call in time for the New Year. I am so pleased that there was good news, that you came through and that you have the support you need. I was probably on those webinars – I didn’t notice a thing – but I do know that this post will help hundreds if not thousands of people in the months and years to come. Whoever posted the ‘inappropriate’ comment please take note – this post has more power than just about anything out there.

    Reaching out for help takes huge amounts of courage and faith – I’m grateful that you did Jon.
    With admiration and low-fat fudge (!)


  63. You know how to keep me reading until the end Jon. 🙂
    Such a nice and inspiring story. Something I have been struggling with is to get a companion and co-worker. I’m really glad my girlfriend is a blogger too, and we work, brainstorm and discuss together, but we still need more.

    Back on 2006-2010 when i had a big Tech Blog, we really had a hard time to find a good writer. I could say only 1 of every 7 people we recruited was up for the job.
    I’ll make it a priority for 2013 for sure.

    Finally, let me know when you’re back in México. I live in mexico City but travel a lot. Maybe we could have a chat some day in the future.

    Happy new year and a great post before the end of the year!

    • Oh by the way, please don’t ever consider suicide. When you’re an authority, you can’t simply take decisions like that. What would be the reaction of all your followers and readers? Not to add you another weight though… 🙂

  64. Hey Jon,

    Great article. I continue to be inspired by your story. This unconventional lifestyle is a struggle to start up for me, and I have no physical handicap. The fact that you can maintain these businesses while still going through the pain and hardships that come with your condition exhibits so much strength on every level. Truly impressive and inspiring.

    Sometimes it can get REALLY easy to give up. It can be very tempting. But you just have to plow forward. Thanks for providing a great example and continuing to help us bloggers to what we love, and do it better than ever.


  65. Wow! Very powerful story and thanks for sharing. You have convinced me to outsource some things because I was getting discouraged and super stressed trying to hold on to all of the responsibilities myself. We all need to slow down and take stock of what is really important. Besides you can’t enjoy the fruits of your labor if you are dead!

  66. This is a tremendous article, Jon.

    Thanks for pointing out that our darkest contemplation doesn’t stem directly from physical pain or weakness, but comes ever more readily from the moral and psychological pain when we judge our situation as hopeless and think we can’t get through it.

    Optimism isn’t rational, but it’s often healthy and necessary and just so much better than the irrational certainty that things will never change for the better.

    The dark side of irrational certainty gets compounded by the shame people so often feel about asking for help.

    I hope that reading this article inspires anyone who needs it to rest and rebuild themselves and then take on the future with renewed goals and realistic support.

    Keep on fighting the good fight.


  67. Hi Jon!

    I don’t think a person ever really knows how they have touched anoher’s life until its almost too late. You have certainly touched mine in a profound way. I was one of those people who tried to be Superhuman and by the age of 13 I was in so much emotional pain I was literally a hair’s breath away from killing myself. The miracle that followed was picked up by Chicken Soup For The Soul: Angels Among Us which comes out Jan 1st, 2013.

    If I would have gone through with my plan, I never would have met incredible people like yourself, nor would I be following my dream of being a published author one day. Thank you for continuing to inspire others to reach their own goals!

    Take care,

    Donna L Martin

  68. Thank you for your honesty in sharing this Jon. Most bloggers do want to be successful to their own detriment including myself. Your suggestions are practical and one we non techies should really really consider. Why sweat the small stuff when help is at hand as you said we just have to learn to ask.

  69. Thanks for sharing, Jon. Going forward, I hope you’ll use those superman powers to get a control on the weight and the blood pressure. Wishing you a great, and pain-free, 2013!

  70. I have always found you to be a huge inspiration which was one of the reasons I took your guest blogging course. While I found your story very motivating before, this post has really blown me away. As somebody who has been to that point myself, I can definitely relate. Thanks for sharing this story because it has helped me look at some stuff in a new light and it is definitely going to inspire some major changes in my life.

  71. I enjoyed reading the article and hearing your story. I had no idea you dealt with all that. I really admire people like you who don’t let obstacles stand in their way.

    I’ve been blogging now for almost 2 years and I think I’m getting tired. Maybe it’s just the holidays, but I’m having trouble coming up with ideas and feeling motivated. I’m also feeling overwhelmed.

    I write daily for the blog and am trying to work guest posting into my schedule. My son handles the technical side. But neither of us really knows what we’re doing. We started off knowing nothing and have been learning as we go. But like most people, we don’t have enough time.

    Anyway, I was particularly intrigued with the idea of outsourcing. What I had in mind was adding a third person to be part of our team who can figure out what we need to be doing to earn $ and increase our traffic. They can do the research on stuff like google authorship, google+ (which I hate so far), handle giveaways, etc. I hate all that stuff and so does he. I think a third person would be awesome! Unfortunately we’re not making much money yet so there’s none to split but the idea of having someone handle that part sounds amazing! Not sure if it’s practical or if anyone would even be interested. But I know I’m getting pretty stressed and worn out trying to do all that. I love writing but I hate the rest.

    Anyway, I’m going to give it some thought. Also going to figure out a plan to work smarter and not harder. I want to earn a part-time income from this but I don’t want to spend every waking moment on it.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  72. I’m with Mary Jaksch–what can I do to help? Seriously.IWhen I make an offer I mean it.

    On walking home tonight in the snowy darkness of a Nova Scotia night, I was thinking about how we lack the warmth–and help– of friendly neighbours, who come over of a winter’s night for tea and conversation, carrying a light. Now we huddle around our laptops in isolation, trying to inspire others, and ourselves. There’s nothing like being in someone’s presence to make a person want to offer whatever help they have to give.

    I think most people want to look back on a life spent being of the most value to others. Being a person who loves getting help, I am so happy to give whatever I can to make someone else’s life better, even for a moment.

    You are on my prayer list for full healing. You have to believe in a miracle-working Go to pray like that.

    Thanks so much for your inspiration and forthrightness. It is so much more helpful than the “kick-butt” attitude of so many others.

  73. Aach! My keyboard did me in again. The DDDD’s stick! (Along with the SSSSSes, and sometimes the RRRRRs.) Anyway, “Go” was supposed to be God. You knew that, right?

  74. Perfect timing for such post, Jon!

    With everyone thinking of New Year’s resolutions, this post is an eye-opener.

    I happen to have fractured my right wrist nearly 3 weeks ago, which to me it means, among others, spending Christmas and NYE in a cast at least till the second half of January.

    For sure my pain doesn’t compare with what you’ve been through, but I saw myself forced to ask for help. Not crazy about this as I’m an independent person, but being right-handed I can’t do everything myself.

    And since I also want to revamp my biz in 2013, I asked for help with that too. Am fortunate and thankful I get the best help both personally and professionally.

    I’d like to thank you for showing your vulnerability yet again. I’m glad you’re feeling much better and as always I love the way you inspire and instill motivation in your readers.

    Wishing you a happier, healthier and more successful New Year!

  75. thank you for your generosity Jon.

    My wife and I work hard on our different projects and it just hit me that we should probably work together and shoulder the load.

    Your post is a kick in the pants in that direction.

  76. “Strength doesn’t last forever.” Love this, except sometimes it’s hard to know if what you have is “strength” or “pig-headedness.”

    Thanks Jon, always inspiring.

  77. I used to average 2 -3 blog posts every week, then i burned out somewhere and have not made a post for months.

    It caused my blog to went from 400 monthly unique visits to just about 30 as of this month. I need all the help I can get, you drive the point clearly. Thank you….

  78. Thank you for writing this post Jon. I’m so sorry that you’ve been so unwell though it’s a great opportunity for you to get some healthy balance in your life and enjoy the rewards of your hard work.

    To be honest I’ve been conflicted as you’ve talked about having to work hard to be successful (with 12+ hours a day and weekends under your belt) but, for many running your own online business stems largely from a need for flexibility and balance of lifestyle. I’ve been stuck somewhere between you and Tim Ferris’s 4 hour work week and not knowing which way to go.

    Your experience really highlights that you need to not just work hard but work smart as you’ve outlined to ensure that you get to enjoy your work and your life.

    I’ve been suffering from digestive issues for 15 years and whilst I’ve got nothing on the pain and issues you’ve been experiencing it is enough to impact my quality of life. For me stress has the biggest impact and has caused anxiety issues etc.

    I was made redundant (laid off as the company went down the toilet) 3 weeks ago with barely any payout, just before Christmas and 2.5 months before my wedding but despite the circumstance my stress and anxiety pretty much disappeared overnight.

    I found freelance work straight away and managed to laugh as the supermarket job rejections rolled in. It’s amazing what can happen when you take away a huge obstacle (or kryptonite).

    Stress can take it’s toll in many ways and it can be a silent killer as you often don’t realise that it is the cause. In fact, my fiannce gets tendonitis in his hip to the point where he can’t walk and we’ve just realised that it flares up when he is stressed.

    Basically I just want to say that I’m sorry that you’ve been so unwell and thank you for sharing your experience as it truly will help others.

    Oh, and now that I’m self-employed please feel free to flick me an email if there is any odd job you need done. I’m a guest blogging student and would love to give some assistance back for all the advice you’ve given me.

    Cheers to a balanced 2013!


  79. Jon – your words inspire and invigorate me to always remember that I am not super-human; only human. Just human. And even though humans can do such amazing things – we must remember that we cannot do it all alone. For if we were to try and do it all alone, there would be no one to share the journey with. This is true even in business. You can be so much more efficient and effective by having a team, nay an arsenal, on your side! So that when things get tough you can lean together and get through it. And when things are going wonderful – you have someone to share in the jubilation!

    Thank you for sharing this story – it reminds me that it is actually a sign of strength, not weakness, to know when to ask for help!


  80. Looks like health issues ae emeging as a result of this post, along with some great offers of help from those with nutitional expertise.

    Humbles me to know others are struggling with health and stress issues,along with looking after a parent with dementia. One really thinks they are alone with their trials an tribulations.

    I know Jon is a master at composing headlines that grab, having taken one of his blogging courses, but this isanother of his posts that has hit on common issues. We wish you well, well, well!

    I am hoping the next few months will present a way to get the health help I need, too. Until then, I remain prayerful and hopeful that everyone who needs help an stress help will find it. Maybe this posting has exposed a nee that can be addressed in soime group way.

    Any ideas?

    My thanks.

  81. Jon, I am in two of your courses this year, and it’s so overwhelmingly rich and exhaustive material that I quickly became inundated with the “too much” overload typical to being a newbie in a field. What I remember most, though, about one of the group calls, was you admitting that you were a workaholic and proud of it. At the time I wanted to reach out and say “don’t do it!”. I too at one point nearly killed myself with workaholism… covering up the inner core and all its frailties with the defensive layers of perfectionism. I wish I’d reached out at the time, but I am now. I would love to work with you to get underneath those layers we use to hide the meaning and essence to life. Regardless, I wish you some persistence in allowing yourself a new way that doesn’t require you to be superman. Fondly. Holly

  82. Jon,

    2 things you said resonate with me:

    1)A person doesn’t really want to die, they just want the pain to go away. I can vouch for this in my own life, having suffered a tremendously debilitating illness 35 years ago. That’s when I learned I had to “steer my own ship” and not compare myself to others. It’s much easier said than done, but when done, stress evaporates.

    2) I, like you, learned that people are more than willing to help if you JUST ASK. The majority of people are caring, loving, supportive, and trustworthy. Besides, it takes a TON MORE MENTAL ENERGY to hide than to be authentic.

    Best to you in 2013.

  83. This is perfect timing to read this as I’ve just had a week off but found it almost possible to relax. Then I realised I was creating a business that I am meant to *love* but which is causing me more stress than the 9-5 job I left. So, a few days ago, I knew I had to do something different. In comes more outsourcing and more time management; out goes sleepless nights and endless to-do lists. I did take time out to read this post, as I intuitively knew it was going to be what I needed to hear…

  84. Thanks for sharing that story, Jon. Admittedly, I tend to dance to the beat of a different drum sometimes, but something in your post troubled me – though it apparently did not have the same effect on your other readers. While in the throes of pain during your webinar, you said, “Looks like GoToWebinar is having some technical difficulties….” I’m guessing that was the human wishing to be Superman talking, but was it fair to place blame on the company providing your webcast? It might actually have made you look more like Superman had you owned your situation and told your listeners that you were having some troubles of your own, but would work through them. It’s often easier to blame troubles on a 3rd party (i.e. “my darned computer’s so slow today,” etc.), but it’s not honest, and it can accidentally give the 3rd party an undeserved black eye. I’m guessing that some will disagree with me, and that’s okay. It’s just one person’s opinion, for whatever it’s worth. Glad you’re working towards feeling better – keep it up!

    • Thanks, BJ, a lot of people wouldn’t focus on the unfairness of blaming an innocent 3rd party’s fictional technical glitch when in blinding, incapacitating pain. But you did.

      • @Corky – I understand your sarcasm. Please don’t get the impression that I don’t appreciate Jon’s efforts, skills, and intestinal fortitude, as he deals with a difficult medical condition. I was merely trying to point out that, in the attempt made by so many to be Superman, innocents are occasionally thrown under the bus needlessly. The very service that assists him in getting his message out to the masses – and increasing his bottom line – wasn’t responsible for the gaps in the webinar (and, no, I don’t work for them). I wasn’t being cold or ignoring the obvious, just looking at it from a different perspective. Have a great day.

    • BJ, Jon passing blame to GoToWebinar was the least of his problems.

      Jon was so willing to keep up appearances that he was willing to go through ever increasing pain instead of telling the truth to the people who love him.

      Jon included the GoToWebinar detail to show you how dramatic his situation was. And it worked! You were troubled by what he did, which is the point.

      The other point that Jon’s readers get that you may be missing is that it’s time for us to look at what face we’re putting on to cover up our struggles, instead of asking people for help.

      • @Hashim – thanks for your comment. Your points are well-taken, indeed. I certainly did get his message about the face we put on to cover our struggles, instead of asking for help. Guilty as charged. My only concern about Jon mentioning a GoToWebinar glitch was that it was unnecessary. He could have simply said that he was having “some technical difficulties.” Given the excruciating pain that he was in, it’s understandable that maybe this didn’t cross his mind. At any rate, it was an inspiring post, I have a great deal of respect for Jon, and hope that readers don’t take offense to my original comment.

    • BJ, you just embarrassed yourself in front of this whole community plus, you missed the point about being “human”.

      Jon didn’t have to share his heart and soul in this post. He certainly didn’t have to admit to deflecting the blame on technology. If Jon would have gone off-topic, as you suggest, he would have had to focus on his pain which may have made it worse. As Jon explained the pain was a constant issue, not a one time event. If you ever have chronic pain, you will understand. It also sounds like Jon, at that time, was not in an emotional or intellectual place to want to share his personal story.

      Jon is generous with his time, talent and above all he is a professional. All parents, teachers and great speakers use diversion to keep their audience focused on the lesson. Jon earned his reputation as a professional by thinking of others instead of himself in the moment of crisis.

      Thank heavens Jon is also self-reflective and is now seeking the help of others as well as paying attention to his needs.

      This post is the perfect place for Jon to share his journey. NOT in the middle of a webinar–if he is not ready.

      BJ, I would tell you to go suck lemons, but then it might be unfair to the lemons.

      Jon, forgive me for talking about you in third person. Sending hugs and thanks.

      • Mary, thanks so much for your kind and respectful words. First, how do you know that I don’t experience chronic pain? Nice assumption. Second, if I speak the truth, from my heart, there is no place for embarrassment. Third, while I respect and admire Jon a great deal, I don’t idolize him to the point of attacking others in his defense. I have no doubt that he’s very capable of defending himself, if he chooses to do so – even though there’s nothing to defend here. I made a simple observation about a choice of words; it was not a character assassination. Fourth, I respect and acknowledge your opinions and views – you are certainly entitled to them. As are others. Finally, I actually did “suck lemons” this morning, sort of. Very cleansing – you should try it.

  85. Thank you for being willing to make yourself vulnerable, Jon. I lost three friends to suicide this year, and I’m still trying to work through it. I have experienced a lifetime of migraines that have, at times, made me question whether life was worth living, but I’ve never gone over the line. I can’t imagine the pain you must have dealt with over the years. I’m so glad you got the help that you needed and that you were willing to share your lessons learned. What an amazing guy you are.

  86. Jon, I’ve been on your webinars and have heard you declare that there’s some technical malfeasance occurring, but hadn’t a clue what was really happening.

    Congrats on losing 10 pounds. If you haven’t already, lose the Mountain Dew too. Nasty stuff. Try carbonated water, lemon, and if you need it to be sweet, a bit of Stevia or Xylitol.

    I’ve written quite a bit about the perils of soda, sugar and sugar substitutes, and encourage you to go to my site and search for those terms.

    Lose the soda and lose more weight.



  87. Good to hear you’ll be sticking around for a few more rounds… hell, who would I look up to otherwise?

    As for delegating, I can totally relate. No, you don’t admit that running a successful business with a top ten blog is incredibly stressful and takes its toll, both physically and mentally, but yeah – it does.

    I recently made a big decision: I can’t do it all myself. I have gaping holes in my knowledge, and no time to fill them. I have needs I have to take care of, and not enough hands to do the work. I have ideas I want to put into motion, and only one brain to think up all the little pieces.

    I can’t do it all alone. Not at this level. And honestly, I wouldn’t want to. The wakeup calls may not have been as serious as yours, but they nonetheless shook up my world enough that I can honestly say…

    I didn’t work this hard to get where I am today and have it all cave because I couldn’t ask for help.

    ‘Nuff said.

  88. Jon, your superman personality got you here so it’s reasonable to expect you wouldn’t ask for help right away. Don’t even talk about suicide, not to spare our feelings, but because you might need it someday. It’s the fifth freedom, not mentioned by Roosevelt or in Rockwell’s paintings, but it is there when the other four are gone. People who talk about it, sometimes have it taken away.

  89. Very inspiring Jon,

    I’ve used Fiver a lot and found a great techy guy overseas who did all of the graphics and set up for next to nothing.

    This saved me hours of time and frustration where now I can focus on my writing for the blog.


  90. Asking for help from people who care about you is a gift to them.
    Your description of people close to you jumping into action when you finally asked for help and the fact that your blog entry created such a massive response bears proof of that.
    It does take a lot of courage to risk sharing that level of vulnerability, but it only seems to draw people in closer to get to know you better.
    Congratulations on your progress towards better health and managing your workload!

  91. Thanks for sharing this Jon. It really is inspiring to read something like this.

    You’re right. It really is tough trying to do everything by yourself and sometimes, asking for help is the best thing anyone can do.

  92. I am so glad you are feeling better and believe your point is one we all need to be reminded of every so often: None of us can do all we need to do, alone.

    It’s easy to think that if we are disciplined enough, smart enough, or talented enough, that all we want will come our way. But we still need people around to help us out because nothing goes exactly as we plan. And even if it does, the work load outpaces one person’s energy level. Life happens. We have families. Other responsibilities. Unexpected dilemmas and opportunities.

    We can stress ourselves out if we try to do it all. I know. I’ve done it. Pulled all-nighters. Worked from my hospital bed while pregnant and on bedrest. Trying to do more and more to build my business.

    I love what I do and enjoy the journey, but I now realize it’s not possible to do all I want myself. And it’s OK to hand off some responsibilities to others.

    So 2013 is about working smarter, not harder. Now if I can just remember that.

  93. This is something I really needed to hear right now. I find it so hard to ask for help and want to do everything myself, but you made me realize there is no shame in realizing you can’t do it all. You are truly an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for such a fabulous article!

  94. Hi Jon,
    I’m so glad you’re getting some help now and sorry that you had to get so low before you turned the corner.
    But it’s fantastic that you’re able to put these thoughts out there into the world. We all hear enough of the endless positivity, and it’s important to share the dark side as well. I really think authenticity is what helps us to stand apart, and you sure are authentic Jon.
    I often use your example in my presentations on personal branding for small businesses, as I think you are a stellar example of someone who shares, as well as gives, and has a kickass business. So thanks for being honest, and for encouraging us to be honest too.

    I’ve been re-reading the Four Hour Work Week this holiday as my own workflow has become untenable, too many emails, too much demand and I’m looking at how I can remove myself from a lot in the next year to focus on creation first (I’m a fiction writer).
    We do have to keep looking after ourselves and our true purpose, or the resistance in the form of all these internet distractions will keep us misdirected 🙂

    Here’s to your happier, and pain-free 2013.

  95. I do not know how I landed on this blog post but wow it must have been meant for me today. I know the feeling of trying to get everything done,keep moving forward,listening to everyone tell you you “should” be able to,and knowing that I am keeping this secret of depression. Gaining weight,back and joint pain,fatigue,depression,isolation,and always on the verge of giving up. Add to it my age and menopause,etc. I cannot get past the feeling ashamed. Need to breakthrough this.

  96. Jon,

    Superman syndrome you nailed it my friend. I was just speaking with a colleague tonight who was all blown away that I was taking a day to do nada and stay in my pjs and watch movies in my bubble bath! Another colleague beating himself up because he wasn’t being productive enough…. It’s the freaking holidays people!!! Holidays .. You know relaxation rejuvenation time. It’s a sickness this overworking line ranger thing. My clients are the same way. It’s like you just need to give yourself permission to take it easy, to ask for help and to do things you love to do … Otherwise what’s life about? Right!? Great post Jon, way to be vulnerable and share your story. It’s all about the story that’s all our life boils down to… How did you live it and what stories do you have to share about what you learnt. Xxoo Vanessa

  97. I am glad you are felling better Jon.
    This is an important subject covered well by your correspondents.

    It involves the factors of time, money and self.

    Two years ago, I was teaching college full-time and starting to investigate starting a business on the Internet. I was also writing a book.

    I finished the book and was set to start the biz (including taking your Guest blogging course!) when I developed a shortness of breath while walking and felt a slight tension across my shoulders. I went into hospital for tests. Next day they moved me to the cardiac ward and performed sextuple heart bypass surgery.

    I was asymptomatic: no high blood pressure or cholesterol, regular weight, didn’t smoke, no history of anything, so I was bewildered.

    The good news: no heart attack, no heart damage, no stroke. The operation went perfectly, I have the arteries of a one year old, and they say it gave me twenty years.

    I stopped teaching, got on an exercise program and took almost a year to get back to normal. I hired a researcher in the Philippines and a web designer for my sites, and found a recent college grad in my field to assist.

    I also hired a young woman to systematize my files—they hadn’t ever been done properly and since I am a writer and teacher I’ll need those files for blogs, article, books and courses. I can’t spend days riffing through boxes looking for those “special” files. But I DO need the files! It’s taking her six weeks (I am a very old person with a 50 year background in radio, television, journalism, theater, and college education!–I have a lot of files!)
    Hell, my telephone list in the kitchen drawer hadn’t been updated for years—some of those people are dead!
    What’s the point? Well, if I am going to write and market I have to write and market.

    I can’t learn and do every new twist to every tool and social media system on the Internet. Everything changes too fast and it takes too much time.

    So I’ve hired some help.

    Can I afford the help?

    I can’t afford it in terms of money. There isn’t money coming in yet.

    I can’t afford it in terms of time (I teach time management but it doesn’t matter how good you are at it, there simply isn’t enough time do learn and do everything yourself).

    Imagine the ocean coming in your office door. Whether you quit at 5 or not the water still rushes in. It never stops. So you have to.

    But I can’t afford NOT to get help.

    In terms of life time I can’t do it. I’m 72 years old. I’m in perfect health again, have a lot of energy and write fairly fast.

    But who knows, right Jon?

    So I’ll go into debt, hire some help and get on with it. I finished two more books this summer, am getting two websites up in January (hired a web designer), and am starting my business.

    I can’t afford not to, not in terms of time, task completion, playing to my strengths, and reducing stress. The stress was probably what brought on the heart problems in the first place—trying to do all those things at once.

    These decisions are critical especially in terms of Self. (My new business is Self-Knowledge College—site under construction–laughing!)

    But it’ll be up soon!

    What you should be doing is helping people by using your gifts, talents and abilities by playing to your strengths, not fiddling around with how to optimize the latest social media tool.

    We start in earnest in January.

    I’m going back to the guest blogging course! Now I’m ready.

    I know you don’t have the money.
    Find it or some of it somewhere.

    Or do it more gradually. Or you will break down.

    We are all strong but there is no superman or woman.

    You’re a long time dead.

    I hope everyone has a healthy, productive, happy new year.

    If I can helkp you in any way I’ll try to do so.

    We’re kind of in this together, yes?

    • “What you should be doing is helping people by using your gifts, talents and abilities by playing to your strengths, not fiddling around with how to optimize the latest social media tool.”

      I’ve just been advising emerging authors and freelance writers along the very same lines, Frank. My latest article urges the blazing young talents within my sphere of influence to put things in the right order and prioritize the writing and basic skills development ahead of both the purely technical and the marketing considerations.

      Every level must be addressed, of course, but one person can’t do it all or do everything on time and all the time. Not as a solo act. We’ve got to specialize and follow our strengths and share our real gifts. Oh, and get good at team building.

      And for heaven’s sake: take a breather once in a while. Enjoy your life.

      It’s amazing the extent to which business and the new digital economy convince people that they should become frazzled multi-tasking robots. Anyone past 35 should know better, but largely, we don’t. It’s a recipe for burnout, and worse, when you forget both your spiritual needs and your organic limitations.

      I wish you the very best with Self-Knowledge College and I’ll be interested in seeing how it develops in the new year.


  98. Interesting! And yes Jon, it is true. Social media is “Happy Face” time…especially if you are an authority or an entrepreneur.

    “We must project the proper image!” And all of that cr#p!

    Social media is not about connections and being social. Social media is about connections at a distance. I call it arms-length sociability! And as we become more involved in social media, we become less involved as human beings, one with another and face-to-face. I know, it’s heresy…but true!

    The first conundrum!

    Having lived through 14 spine surgeries, advanced osteomyelitis, a broken neck, and a shattered shoulder I know what you are talking about on several levels.

    I have also considered suicide. Considered.

    Frankly, I don’t think there are many people, people who are honest about it anyway, who haven’t considered “checking out” when the pain reaches the tipping point. Fortunately, I loved my son, I get to the “loved” in a sec, my daughters, and my soul-mate and wife, Connie so very much.

    So I persevered!

    My son did not…persevere!


    Well, there are two main types of pain and I have experienced both (we won’t get into spiritual pain here):

    Physical pain and psychic pain.

    Of the two, psychic pain is far more terrible and far more difficult to treat.

    In a way, it’s ironic how we are all so very anxious to help those in physical pain, after they reach the tipping point and ask for it, of course. Asking is difficult, to be sure. But, we can all be reduced to ask…or act….

    Conversely, psychic pain carries with it a terrible stigma and help at a heavy price.

    The second conundrum!


    Because chronic physical pain sufferers are often plagued with both physical and physic pain. A double-whammy, of sorts!

    As a result, many victims of psychic pain are reticent to ask for help because, when they do, there is all-too-often silence, what some might call a pregnant pause; and then, finally, that terrible cost!

    Until physicians treat the whole person, realizing that the man or woman standing before them is not a back patient or a depressive case, heaven forbid a “mental health case,” we are doomed to incomplete care and far too many suicides!

    NOTE: In my son’t case, he was seeking help. He just asked the wrong doctor and the care was totally inadequate. Far to many times, individuals suffering from physic pain never ask for help from those who love them most. I had heard, more times than I can count, “If I’d only known.” I didn’t understand that…until July 1, 2012. Now, I do!

  99. Hi Jon

    Thanks for sharing some very personal details of your life.

    So, a little backstory is that I actually work with traumatic events and stresses that cause people to be in pain – it is the work of Peter Levine and Somatic Experiencing if you are ever curious about it for you, I think it would benefit hugely – and when I was learning work, I set off a big tidal wave of YUK (I did too much too soon) and I was in serious despair ~two years. I’m much better know, but I was covered in rashes (not psoriasis), but some kind of dermatitis that really was just a massive emotional release of a whole childhood of held in aggression, sadness and grief that was never allowed (or, perhaps I never allowed myself) to be let out. It was awful, and I probably didn’t sleep a full night of sleep in about 8 months. I had a new husband who was my angel and loved me no matter how awful I looked and felt, and it was pretty much him that kept me from killing myself.

    Needless to say, during this time I needed his help and now that I’m back to working on my biz it is definitely a fine balance keeping the ship sailing, knowing when to push, and knowing when to slow it down and for me, not so much asking for help, but knowing HOW to ask for help.

    I’ve recently started working with a speech writer to help me craft my story and use it as part of my material to help market what I do and what I believe it. I hesitated to do this due to the cost, but it was clearly needed as I needed to expertise and accountability to get it done. I’ve also been using a great VA that is awesome and takes the burden off of me.

    anyways, didn’t mean for that comment to be so long, but I really appreciate what you wrote. got me even more excited to share my own story.


  100. I feel like I’ve been saying this too often than I had ever expected, but I really, really needed to read this. I feel so relieved knowing that I haven’t become weak because I take on too much. I think the people around me push for it more than I’d like them too and further causes me to freak out! But now I see what has become my kryptonite and what, I think, is keeping me from taking the next step towards anything I want to accomplish.

    Thank you a billion, no a trillion, for writing this. I used to be so proud of being an awesome multitasker,but now I have realized I’m not meant to do it all. If it’s more stressful than fun, then what the heck am I doing?

  101. I have come to the conclusion that it is an unusual human being that does struggle one way or another because they are afraid that they will be found out that they are not enough. We try to work harder than a human is capable of doing because we fear we are not enough. We try and make what we do bigger and better than is humanly possible because we fear we are not enough. We try and do it all because we should be able to do it all. It does not matter if what we are aiming to do right is a family celebration meal, our appearance, our ability to overcome sickness or disability our business or anything else. After all everyone else does it all don’t they. They can juggle family and partner and keeping fit and work and this and that. We think whatever we cannot do reflects badly on us so we shrink inside rather than admitting the truth to ourselves and others. We put up a veneer or live behind a mask and hide what we are ashamed of. The visible symptoms have names like perfectionism, workaholism and procrastination.

    Every so often someone comes out from behind their mask and demonstrates their humanity. The truth is that they are the ones who are the truly brave. They are the ones who think so much about others that they are willing to show who they really are. They are the ones who become loved and trusted human beings because others see who they really are.

    Bless you Jon

  102. Wow – what an incredible story, and thanks for sharing. It can’t have been easy to admit to weakness in such a public way (at least, it wouldn’t be for me), but I truly appreciate the precedent it sets.

    As a baby blogger, juggling launch tasks on top of a full-time job and family life, it’s tempting to fall for the myth that you can do it all. After all, so many other successful people online do it (or at least, seem to) that it feels like admitting to failure to say that I don’t have the drive and ambition to pull off what they have.

    I’m tremendously happy that you found help before your medical issues became more severe, and I hope that everyone in the blogging and internet business community can take this as a reminder that there are things out there that are far more important than being Superman 🙂

  103. Thanks Jon, I think there’s a huge lesson in your story for those of us climbing our way up the learning curve in the marketing world… especially if we like the challenge of figuring things out for ourselves, and/or if we’re what I call “gadget-types” who just can’t resist the latest shiny new digital thing. I think this post has helped me to sit back and reflect on just how stupid it is to put 80% of my time into stuff that should be low on my priority-list. I’m going to spend the next hour or so on Fiverr and oDesk, then sit with my other half about what we need to do to get my 3 hours per day to do nothing but write.

    I pray for your full recovery and relief from pain. I know you will find the fortitude to keep your spirits up no matter what. I remind you that thousands of us look to you for inspiration, and wish you well. Thanks again for all you do, and looking forward to shaking your hand one day soon.

  104. You are an inspiration Jon, and one of the best writers blogging today. Thank you for this very special post.

    You make me realize that I have no health problems to speak of and still here I am, treading water while always studying how to get a business going.

    I am like Rodney says, can’t resist the “shiny new digital thing.”

    Thank you again. You are amazing.

  105. Jon,

    You continue to surprise and inspire me with your fighting spirit and thought provoking posts. But if I read another one of your articles where I have to choke back tears, I will have to take you off my ‘must read’ list. But seriously, this should be required reading for every entrepreneur.

    My heartfelt gratitude for the inspiration you provide. And just because you need help doesn’t mean you’re not Superman. To me and many others, you are indeed super.

    Wishing you continued health in 2013.

  106. Jon, I have long respected you and your work, but this post elevates you in my esteem to a whole new level. In admitting vulnerability, you’ve given a precious gift to many of us who haven’t learned (or taken action to accomplish) this critical lesson.

    Best wishes for your continued health and happiness.

  107. Jon, thanks so much for your candid post. It’s humbling and difficult to ask for help but I’ve also learned the hard way that sooner or later we do ourselves more harm by trying to take on the world alone. Your writing is inspiring and always provides great food for thought. Best wishes for a happy and abundant 2013!

  108. Jon,

    This will go down as my favorite post of 2012. It hits the pain points that everyone has difficulties grasping. We are social beings yet we still struggle to ask for help or to utilize others to help accomplish our own goals. Organize, prioritize and ask for help.

    Also, your story is quite remarkable and I am glad I found another inspiration for my own life journey. Your struggles and successes make you an absolutely incredible person so thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to joining you in this community.

  109. Terrific post Jon, Thanks for sharing. Your point is strong and a very important one!
    Cheers and all the best to you and yours in 2013 and beyond!

  110. Jon, Thank you so much for being transparent in the business world! I am encouraged to share my burdens by your story. I am also encouraged by all these AWESOME comments! They make me realize that I am not alone in struggling to balance family, work & personal health. Thanks to all that posted comments!

  111. Well, everyone seems to be telling you good stuff, from what you’re doing right to holistic health (which you would be wise to explore. I too, am a holistic healer and I worked in mind/body medicine before that.)
    So, I will just add my own congratulations on being so honest. We love you for it, Jon. We go through these or similar things all the time. It’s refreshing to know others do too. “We are all connected” is an old Indian saying, and since I’m an old Native American, I can say it! Love you, man. Honest.

  112. Jon! WOW. This is – just as it obviously was for at least hundreds of others – a MAJOR lifechanger. What a post!

    I will be saving this in my newest, most coveted Evernote folder: “Posts to Live By”. To give you an idea of how coveted… You are currently the ONLY post in it. 😉 You gave me good reason to create it, friend! I am more than impressed.

    And more than grateful. You laid it out here with more elegance and clarity than an entire church full of preachers.

    It’s no wonder I’m working not one but two jobs with this goal in mind: Save enough to finish Jon’s guest blogging course. (Yeah, I know it costs next to nothing – especially for the value!! But I just happen to have a LOT of other bills right now; actually, medical for me too.)

    You are an incredible teacher for a reason: Heartfelt wisdom teaches far better than knowledge alone. You’ve lived it; so you teach it. And we *learn* it. As the Heath brothers Chip and Dan so aptly named their book (which you would LOVE if you haven’t already read it) the concepts that you teach – the way that you teach them – are “Made to Stick”.

    So thank you, again, bottom of my heart. 🙂 This meant a lot.


  113. This was a terrific post. A powerful post. It was also my introduction to you. And I just got off your webinar. I never expected such a complete explanation about how to build a popular, successful post. I wish I could take your coaching program but extra money right now is going into my husband’s business. Even so, I think you gave me enough to help me make it to my next plateau. I’m going to apply everything you said to my blog and my husband’s. Thank you for your generosity and for being such an excellent role model. You’re the best.

  114. I’m pretty luck as far as my life goes. No kids, no spouse, few responsibilities like groceries and laundry. No dogs that require constant walking.

    And yet, I never ask for help. Oh, I ask for people to hold me accountable to stuff, but I never ask for help with the actual work of running my business.

    I like the sock analogy a lot, though, and since my goal this year is to get better about this, I’m just gonna remind myself of that sock from time to time.

    ~ Felicity

    P.S. Glad to hear that it was just stress!

  115. Do you know that last year, in this country, 536 people were prosecuted for attempting to commit suicide? It turns out that suicide is against the law and treated as murder. Most of the people, who were prosecuted by the law, were court ordered to obtain some kind of treatment for their psychological stress. However, a handful of them were sentenced to do terms in jails and other institutions. How would it be to find yourself sharing a cell with a guy who was convicted of a random, drive-by killing of a complete stranger? I know that this could never happen because, the warden would never mix those extreme types of felons together in the same cell. But, just for the sake of pondering, wouldn’t that be a bitter sweet situation? Suicide by Bubba?

  116. Great post Jon, I’m now a fan! It’s good to be able to trust ourselves to accomplish everything on our to-do list. But there always come a point where are hands become full and it’s impossible to do everything and still ensuring a good quality output. I have actually done one of your tips to “ask for help”. Aside from oDesk, I also tried outsourcing from for my full time VAs. Good thing, I set aside my pride and considered delegating tasks to other people who are equally competent.
    Looking forward to your future blogs. Thanks!

  117. What a fantastic post. As someone who has tried suicide on more than one occasion I can vouch that is something that many of us consider just to stop the pain, whether it is physical or mental.

  118. I used to think asking for help was the hardest thing to do. Now I know that it’s not. Acceptin the help others who care about us will give so freely is even harder to do as it requires us to admit we’re not ‘Superman’.

    Humility and gratitude are sometimes bitter pills to take but they heal something profound in us and make us more willing to give of ourselves…when others need us…and they may.

    Glad you found this out. Wish you well.

  119. Feeling motivated after reading your post.

    Which is good, because I don’t suffer from your habit of working excessively long hours, I think I have the opposite problem!

    The ‘asking others for help’ theme in the post brought to mind Stephen Covey’s discussion of independence and interdependence – an important part of his popular ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ book…

  120. Hi Jon

    I really like your idea of Asking for help and I always dream of genie to share my workload.But whether Genie will be able to do that, I really don’t know.

    Thanks for sharing this.


  121. I read this when you first posted it, but just came across via a link from Danny Iny, and read it again. And this time, want to say thanks. Asking for help is hard. But it’s true what you say, that it can make the difference between success and failure.

    Thanks too for sharing your story of what can happen when you go it alone – too much work, too much stress!

  122. Although I do agree with most of what you’re saying (98% probably), I also feel like it depends on the type of person we are talking about. The people who don’t want to ask for help are people who like to feel that sense of accomplishment whenever they complete something. I can relate completely to that type of person because I am just like that. I don’t like to ask for help because at the end of the day, I won’t feel like I accomplished something completely because I didn’t take on all of the responsibility. On the other hand, you have people who always ask for help no matter what how big or small the task is. These people are the exact opposite of me. I don’t see anything wrong with asking for help, but for someone to ask for help with every single simple task out there comes across as lazy to me. I think there is a happy medium where you can ask for help with various tasks but also do some things on your own and have that feeling of accomplishment.

  123. Great blog and gave me lots to think about. By the way, everything you said lines up with the Word of God. I love that too! Thanks, Linda

  124. This is an amazing post, Jon. I agree that even the best of us need a little help to be successful. I’m currently 18 and I’ve been battling depression and suicidal ideation ever since I was 13 years old, but I’ve been getting better since I decided to speak out about my problem and seek therapy for it.

  125. Thank you so much for posting. This touched on a lot of very important points near and dear to my heart. Some painful, but I greatly appreciate the post. Love and God Bless!

  126. Jon. Thank you for a great article. I did not see/read your article back in December; just found it now. And, funny, it’s exactly what I needed to hear right now, today. Thank you!

  127. Jon, I have been reading your blog for awhile and always find it very useful. I just found a link to this post, and think it is the best yet.

    This may be a post about blogging, but it is really a post about living. Or not, if you choose work over life.

    Balance. I’ve been trying to achieve it for a long time. I’m learning to manage my time better, and my son helps me with many technical details. This leaves more time for me to build my business which working part-time on the side. It will work out if I remember balance.

    Thank you for your openness and honesty. I think more of us need it than realize

  128. What an absolutely stunning post!
    That’s the best wake up call I’ve come across – ever.
    Hopefully, I might even take notice and start to do some out-sourcing.
    Many thanks,

  129. Well in the old commercials they told of “1001” uses for ductape. Well I read your post and now have “1002 uses”. When I get whiny then ductape my mouth closed and follow Jon’s advice. There is a difference between asking for help and whining. Superman often needed help from someone to move the Kryptonite.

  130. The more I learn from you and about you Jon, the greater my respect and gratitude is for your life and work. What a compelling story! Thank you for putting yourself right out there.

    It’s my good fortune to have found you and to be studying with you.

    Sure…I’m learning about headlines and being on a mission and building relationships, pitching but the largest gift is learning about courage, integrity, strength, life purpose, giving + + + from YOU.

    It’s hard to ask for help, as you said but every time we do ask, we get it and we benefit. That’s a valuable lesson I see from your tory.

    You’re a kind man Jon Morrow because you use your pain to help other people be the very best they can be.

    Magnificent. Thank you.

  131. Jon:

    I am glad that you tweeted about this post from last year.

    The incredible number of comments are testimonial enough to quality of this post. I share in their enthusiasm for your persistence in the presence of pain, your skills as a blogger and your point of view. You have shared with me a secret that I won’t forget.

    The Secret of the Excess Sock.

    Your drive and determination were some of the tools that you used to build your success. You certainly could have used those tools until you beat yourself to death. You chose two other tools to took you over the finish line; observation and reflection.

    I am also intelligent, hard-working and determined to succeed. I have also packed as much knowledge as possible for my own trip. Sometimes I feel that my head will explode under the stress of trying to understand it all.

    I too have packed the excess sock.

    I am actually glad that I have packed the excess sock more than once. I have learned a lot through the last several years, things which my contemporaries often find difficult to understand. I am much better at discerning when I have packed an excess sock (or two or three) because of the knowledge and the experience that I have gained.

    What I am learning now is that you don’t have to pack your suitcase to dangerous extremes. Your life and the lives of those that you impact are much better off when you become aware of over-packing and take effective action to pack just enough.

    I am a blogger. I am a successful blogger (in training) and a student in your Guestblogging course. I have learned to pack based on the model of the successful mentors, especially you.

    Thank you for your instruction, your example and your inspiration.

  132. Jon,

    You have courage!

    I don’t think I would have been able to hide that pain from everyone!

    Now, about the subject of the post all I can say is that:

    If you are CRAZY ABOUT writing, you will find ways to continue doing it.

    I sometimes write when I “should be doing something else” and I often get interrupted. But at least, I wrote a few words, a phrase and there I have a new topic. Out of nowhere. Because I sat there.

    Depeche Mode in a song of theirs called (to go back to the title of your post) “A PAIN THAT I AM USED TO” sing:

    ” Just give me a pain that I am used to. ……You just need to achieve something that rings true”.

    Pain is (also) a way.

    Thank you.


  133. Its hard to understand people having suicidal thoughts until you happen to get to such a point..we need to give up the superman feeling and seek help.


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