(When you know it’s now or never).
For me it was a suspected heart attack.
After some years in corporate life, I was running my own recruitment agency. We supplied mainly food factories in the UK with temporary workers, across three different shifts. 6am–2pm, 2pm–10pm and 10pm–6am.
Was this a stressful business to be in? Well, let’s just say my stress levels were several ‘WTF’s’ per hour!
These factories supplied the supermarkets and other main food stores and they worked on what is called ‘just in time’ ordering. This meant that the factories we supplied also worked like that.
One day they would require 100+ people per shift and the next day it might be 12 per shift.
Trying to keep the factory bosses and the workers happy in this scenario was an absolute nightmare and sent stress levels through the roof for all concerned and on a daily basis.
As you can imagine, running a business like this day in and day out for a number of years meant that sooner or later, something had to give.
For me it was a suspected heart attack that landed me in hospital.
I say ‘suspected’ because it actually turned out to be something called an ‘esophagus spasm’, which can apparently be brought on by severe stress and the layman can be forgiven for thinking it is a full blown heart attack.
Certainly felt like that to me, I can tell you! Crushing, severe pain in the chest that knocked me to my knees, shortness of breath and thinking my time had come, followed by blue flashing lights as I was sped towards my hospital bed.
The doctor told me that my blood pressure was way too high, my cholesterol was in the danger zone and that it was not a case of ‘if’ I had a heart attack, but more like ‘when’ I had one, if I continued doing something for a living that was causing me such long term stress.
So that was it for me. That was my own personal pivot point in my life.
I was lucky really. Many are not.
I had already experienced having a friend in corporate life who was an area manager and who had died at 52. Left two children and a wife behind.