10/05/2015 02:57 pm ET Updated Oct 05, 2016

Why Health Is the True Key to Success

We've all heard that success is when opportunity meets preparation; that means you simply have to study your field, hone your craft, and develop unique and viable concepts and ideas so that when the moment is right you can shine. However, my autoimmune condition taught me that's not true. You need something else: your health. Let me explain.

I did everything right. I got into a great college, Boston College, and was on track to smoothly complete a dual degree until mystery ailments began to slow me down. I ended up needing summer classes but medical bills made that financially impossible for some time.

Still, I ended up starting, what would become my 20 years career in television. I tried to absorb every aspect of the business: marketing, sales, traffic, reporting, human resources, management, writing, and producing live events and shows. Eventually, I became a writer and producer at the number one local television station in the country. But, I knew I was destined for so much more so I wrote my first book then two, three and four. On the surface it sounds like I was successful. Yet, looming behind all my achievements were the limits forced up me by my condition.

As my health deteriorated, I couldn't work extra hours often, take on additional assignments, or develop stories outside the ones I was assigned. Some days I could barely make it to my out time. Pain from my chronic condition made concentrating difficult and the negative changes in my body forced me to use short term medical leaves more often. It became clear to me that taking on additional climbing the management ladder at work wasn't going to be possible.

When it came to my books, I didn't have the energy to tour or accept speaking engagements to promote them. I didn't have the mental sharpness to come up with and submit guest blog post and articles or even update my own website. Nor, did I have the stamina to sit through book signing sessions. I didn't travel to conferences so I nor my projects became household names.

It wasn't long before my finances were in shambles too. All the money I'd worked for and saved had evaporated. Despite working full-time and having a side hustle, I barely had enough money to get by month to month, including paying for prescriptions and the mortgage on home. I certainly didn't have funds free to promote my books or take classes to advance my skills for work.

As I watched my dreams of literary and professional gains slip away, my body continued to fall apart and that caused my demeanor to worsen. Outwardly, I became snippy, sarcastic and at times, cynical. Depression then began to envelop me. I was apathetic, unwilling to do much at home, including getting out of bed on weekends. It didn't take long before this chipped away at my relationships.

However, as time passed, I came to terms with the limits that poor health and my attitude about it was placing on my personal and professional life. So I worked hard to improve my demeanor and to find ways to make the best of my situation. I continued to write, even if I had to use my laptop in bed. Days when I could get up, I'd go anywhere I could. At work, I strived to always do my best and let me work speak for me.

Along the way, I've learned the most valuable lesson; that without my health my success was stunted and with it I could soar. So, I've dedicated myself to taking care of my body. In my case, that's keeping my autoimmune condition under control to the best of my ability. By doing this, I am and will be prepared for whatever comes my way.

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