February 1, 2016, I launched my first online business. I remember being super excited because it did extremely well straight out the gate. I was ecstatic until a few months later when all hell broke loose. In the months to follow everything that you could imagine happening to someone happened to me. From losing my house to marital issues to living with my parents to having a miscarriage and the list goes on.

Every time I finally felt like I had a handle on things, something else would pop up. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, my grandmother passed on Christmas Eve. This was the last straw that sent me over the edge. I was fed up!

Tired of trying to keep up the strong persona that everyone was used to seeing led me to finally take the mask off. I was depressed. And not just a little. A LOT!

My days consisted of me getting my kids dressed, fixing them something to eat, and sitting them in front of the television to watch cartoons until I was able to gain my composure. Most of the time, I was completely out of it. I could no longer fake the funk. Nothing I tried helped me “snap out of it.” I lost all of my customers. My 6 figure business collapsed. And before I knew it, I was dead broke.

I went through cycles of depression for 2 years before I finally got to the point where I said to myself “enough is enough.” I knew I was created for more. I knew I was placed on earth to serve others and impact millions, but I also knew that I couldn’t do that depressed. It was then that I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and start taking massive action.

So the first thing I did was find a mentor.

Prior to battling depression I never sought out help. Self-education was my go-to method for everything. I bought the books. I registered for webinars. I attended seminars, but not once did I ever pay to have a mentor. I loved being able to say that I was “Self-Made.” And that’s cute and all until your world comes crashing down around you and there’s no one in your corner to give you professional advice on how to navigate your way through those difficult moments. I had mastered winging it, and because of it, my business collapsed when I was faced with adversity.

Battling depression forced me to get a mentor. Mentorship taught me the importance of having the proper systems in place. Knowing what it actually takes to run my business. Identifying areas of growth. Recognizing where my customers were coming from. Placing my energy where needed. Eliminating redundant tasks and focusing on income producing activities. All of which were things I never truly paid attention to before.

Next, I got real.

For years I suffered from depression in silence out of fear of being judged. I was so afraid that if I revealed what I was going through my clients would view me as being incompetent. To my disbelief, it was quite the opposite.

After opening up and sharing my story, so many women flooded my inbox thanking me for my bravery. They too had experienced similar situations. Ladies that once viewed me as unapproachable or unrelatable now realized we had things in common. My transparency allowed me to reach a network of women that I previously would have never been able to touch. Before I knew it, tons of women wanted to work with me due to our similarities. My story humanized me and made me realize the importance of letting my customers connect with the person behind the brand.

Lastly, I set boundaries.

We live in the social media era that teaches us to hustle, hustle, hustle. And although I do believe you have to be willing to make sacrifices to birth your dreams, I don’t believe it should come at the expense of your health. I used to think that waking up at 4 and going to bed at 1 meant that I was more dedicated, but that lifestyle was actually doing more harm than good. I was constantly stressed, always tired, neglecting my family and completely unhappy.

Depression taught me the importance of practicing self-care and knowing my triggers. I can no longer afford to knowingly place myself in stressful situations. Working around the clock is one of them. Today, I focus on creating synergy in my relationships, living a harmonious lifestyle and saying no to anything that disrupts that.