#201 – Business Success & Health Challenges With Simone Giangiordano

Thomas Green here with ethical marketing service on the episode today we have Simone Giangiordano. Simone welcome. Hi, thanks Thomas. I really appreciate you having me on here today. It is my pleasure. Would you like to take a moment and tell the the audience a little bit about yourself and what you do. Absolutely. Um, so I essentially, I work primarily with individuals who have any type of health challenge that’s impacting their day to day life or ability or confidence around running their business and I help them create their lifestyle and business that supports their health, their well being and the success that they desire and um I’m located in florida and I guess I’ll share a few of my favorite things is walking at the ocean, um, conversations and coffee and when you put all three of those together, I consider those the trifecta. Thank you for the introduction in terms of um who you might work with. Can you give me some examples of who that might be? Oh, absolutely, yes. Um it could be individuals who are leaving the corporate world or workplace because of health challenges and that’s what I started back in 2008.

Um it wasn’t burned out. It was more my health just, I just could not keep going with the health issues I was having. Um it also could be individuals who have had chronic health challenges for some time and they’ve gotten into that cycle. What I like to say, the cycle of setbacks. Um they’re able to push, make progress and then things just kind of like the struggling day to day again and it’s at start and reboot and when if individuals understand that, what it’s like to just get through each day physically, then they know what I mean, what I mean, there. Um and also individuals who maybe have a sudden onset of illness. Um, for example, one individual, she all of a sudden um had major symptoms come on, where she had struggled to use her hands and um sit at the computer focus and everything, so, and working together, she took a look at what her passions are, what her skills are, and accepting her limitations and started a whole new business that didn’t require her to use her hands in the same way.

Um So, so those are probably the three primary situations. Thank you for that based on your own experience, and also perhaps how the stories you’ve learned from others, what has it been like for others, from the perspective of being supported by an employer or was it like being an employee? Um and having health challenges in your view? Um it can be very challenging because of culture and I left in 2008 and culture has shifted some, but there’s a long ways to go and if it’s invisible illnesses, um I mean, they’re even within the visible disability, there’s still the issue of boards for around that having individuals who have no disability, so they don’t really understand the needs. So when you take that to the level of invisible disabilities, um there’s almost this prove, prove it to me maybe kind of thing. So it causes a lot of stigma and that causes individuals to try to keep pushing and to do the things the way everybody else is doing and if your health isn’t able to handle that, if you need to take breaks, if you need to take rest, if you maybe need a different ergonomic setup because of pain.

Um but people can’t see that it’s really hard to get the support you need. Um and so uh I’ll admit there were times where I heard other people whispering about me um I, you know, because I had so many different health challenges. I have like 20 plus diagnoses plus, I have severe back and neck injuries. And um when an executive had had hip surgery and was on stage a number of weeks later, I heard a snide remark from somebody on a team that I worked with, and it was in reference to me um because I had a broken ankle, but I was non weight bearing for three months. So, like look at him, he’s older and he’s up there on stage and like so here she is, you know, still struggling. So there’s this perception of weakness a lot of times with these kinds of health challenges and and that causes individuals all the more a lot of times to go inside and and to hold it within. Uh and to try to just push through. And then that makes it all the harder to manage the health challenges that need managed because we it causes denial, I guess, does that make sense?

It just, it’s really hard to accept sometimes the changes that you need to make to support your own well being, the changes that you need to make to advocate for yourself and maybe even the changes that you need to make to really reevaluate where you’re at. And is this still serving you? Or is it time to find a new solution? Thank you for that. And I’m sorry that um for lack of a better term had to be around people like that. Um I I might be wrong about this, but I think that most likely those people are always going to be there and we, we can’t change them. So what could, what could you do if you were in the same position watching this, what could that person do in order to cope with that type of NTSC, you know, um anymore with the diversity equity and inclusion um becoming so much stronger. I mean that was something I hardly heard about when I was in in the workforce.

Um I would think going to human resources, if not, I think it might also depend on your manager, you know, who can you talk to at your workplace and um you know, then it’s a personal decision to decide what to share and what not to share. Um because as much as we’d like to say, hey, you people can’t hold that against you unconsciously, people can. So I think it’s a personal decision based on your comfort level, based on your the work culture and everything. And do you have a good enough relationship with the person who maybe said something to calmly talk with them and explain, hey this is where I’m coming from. Not not to get defensive back that you always avoid the defensive aspect but to maybe get a little understanding. Um for example I used to fall a lot and I also went home at lunchtime and until I had found the right kind of surgery to help with the falling and um I would laugh, I would fall and then laugh because it’s like what are you going to do?

And I’d get up and keep going and one day I just was really struggling and I made a comment because I didn’t like to talk about my health challenges and I made a comment boy like my my legs are really acting up today and a coworker overheard me and she burst out laughing and she thought I had been drinking. So so we had a good laugh about it and you know she’s wonderful, she was wonderful, we were friends, we became friends more so after that but people don’t know what to say So by their her just understanding that solved that it’s a common thing I think with diabetes that people have issues with diabetes and it’s misdiagnosed by the person that finds them if they’re having an issue that they think is a drink or something which is unfortunate. You do advocate, I think entrepreneurship as an alternative. Um would you like to share why that is Yes, absolutely.

When I left the workforce um like I said, I had been in about, I fell and had a bad neck and back injury four days after our honeymoon and there were so many accidents that day that the ambulance never even got to me, it was an hour and a half later my husband got to me um because of gridlock traffic with ice and everything And that on top of all the health challenges, I was having it just over time, it flared everything up. I didn’t understand what was going on and I was working at a large bank at the time in systems and so I had a pretty high pressure job there with system implementation, rolling out projects to 3000 plus people and um yeah, I was just trying to get through the day literally, I got to where I would really struggle to focus cognitively, maybe slurring words, my legs just, you know, I was moved so slowly because my whole body was in so much pain and for example, this towards the end there, I just wanted to get coffee just to get through the day because tomorrow will be better.

There is that you know, denial, tomorrow will be better. And so I gotta get down on the street level and remember it was a bright sunny day and the coffee shop is only one block away and I literally, I started making progress and next thing you know, I’m just leaning against a wall retaining wall and traffic zooming by pedestrians are kind of skirting by me and all. I am just really doing everything I can not to collapse at that moment and all I can think about, I can’t get one leg in front of the other. Um I’m really confused and thankfully and embarrassing. So a couple of coworkers came by saw me and they wanted to call the ambulance and I was like please no please just get me back and call on my husband. And they did that. And my husband took one look at me and he’s like why don’t you just leave this job killing you? And I was like what? And we talked that night and I went back in and I gave five weeks notice. Well for those that aren’t aware of your your previous health concerns or what you have to go through on a day to day basis.

The reason I ask is because um when people are struggling, I find if there is someone watching going through the same thing um if you can help them with your experience then that’s a very valuable thing for them to hear. So um do you mind sharing perhaps what advice you would give? Someone who’s going through the same thing that you were back back then when your unemployment? Yes. Um If you’re an employee employment still um is really re evaluate evaluating where you’re at? Do you have the support or can you get the support around around your needs at your current workplace with the individuals on your team, your manager or H. R. Or even if there is a diversity equity and inclusion um area and if that’s still a struggle um you know talking with people to maybe see if you can take a look at things differently and and and keep in mind that it’s hard for people to understand what they can’t see. And sometimes when you look at it like that that can also help how we address things.

Um Are there ways that you can advocate for yourself um by talking with individuals in a non defensive way? Just so they understand where you’re coming from and if the situation is still not going to work for you not going to meet your needs then taking a look. And is it time to find a new position or is it time to go out on your own? And what what are your other options? What will best serve you? What will best serve your well being? What’s what will best serve your long term goals and lifestyle. Thank you for that. And you’re you started off with virtual assistants you said? Is that what you’re currently doing? No no I. Um after my third shutdown due to health with that business I? Re branded as a marketing business. Marketing boutique business. And I actually opened a storefront and that has so since 2000 and eight, those that first business um migrated into marketing business and I actually still have that going um as my second business.

Um and in 2017 I started really going inward, what is it that I want to do in addition to this? And in 2018 then I started working on my current business, which is lifestyle business coaching specifically for individuals who have health challenges. Um so that yeah, I started that, I launched it in 2019 and how’s it been going? Good. Yeah, it’s it’s um it’s very award rewarding to work with individuals and to be able to support in a way that a lot of people don’t understand, and the funny thing is, is, You know, I think it’s currently sitting at about 43% or more that have one or more diagnosed chronic health challenges. So I think that says a lot about societal norms and that like, if this is a huge population that has challenges, so why isn’t there more support, why isn’t there more understanding why is there so much doubt why is it so hard to be understood?

I think those are some questions that you know, can be examined by, by different people and places and organizations. Um and many of those have more than one. Um So I think that’s something that as more and more people start to question um can can really help to shift shift um culture shift option, shift shift, how people can work around their needs and so forth. What are your thoughts on why that’s the case? Um, you know, like any social, cause things start out slow. Um and there’s almost, you know, there’s this encouragement almost to hide things and if we back up and look to there’s very few people who live with optimal health, it’s one thing to say how many people have health challenges. It’s another to say how many have optimal health, and it’s quite few. So even if someone doesn’t have health challenges, there’s so much more you can do for better quote better well being, better health.

Um, so I think there’s so many factors going on that, for example, um how many people even think about having optimal well being, how many people even really think that it’s in their control. Um and we’ve gotten so used to as society not feeling great and that that’s normal. Well, it’s normal to be tired. It’s normal to, you know, have this going on that’s, you know, that’s just normal. And so it causes individuals, I think to also deny and push through then what do you mean by a lot of factors? Yeah. So choose courage is to really accept and embrace your challenges and when you do that it’s stepping outside of what other people think you might be doing, It’s advocating for yourself in a way that supports your well being. It’s actually the courage to also to even accept your own limitations and I’ll share this when I um, with caregiving from my father, I pulled my marketing business back to half because I wanted to be there.

I really believe there’s a lot of value to leaning into the hard times in our life. And personally, sometimes those have ended up as a result being some of my best times. The times that have been most inspirational have brought me a lot of peace and caregiving from my father was one of those times. Um, so I like to say that, you know, I pulled my business back so that I could as a gift, be there for my father, but his gift to me was the life lesson to all that matters in the end is the impact we have and the love we share. And when I sat back and thought about that, that was what shifted for me so that I could start my lifestyle and business coaching because I had to have the courage to say to to quit trying to hide all these health challenges, quit trying, even though I had already worked through so much over so many years and I had built the business that was flexible and I had grown into the six figures and I was successful. I still wasn’t letting people, I was still trying to hide things.

I’m still trying to hide how bad I hurt and still trying to hide that I I still couldn’t look up and I didn’t look up for over 11 years. Um I was still trying to still sometimes just saying, well I’m just tired today, well I just have pain today, but it was every day most, you know what I mean? So it took a lot, a lot, a lot of courage to actually start to share that. I was struggling this much, but yes, I had built my business around my needs, I have had it successful, but there’s another whole level of courage that when we accept it and when we embrace it, it can become our strength and what would you say to someone who is hiding how, how much they’re suffering the lack of a better term that I understand um that I understand and um it starts with self awareness, I like say go inward to go out outward. Um and when you sort of just take time pause, you know, I like to say the power of the pause when you step back and really think about how it’s impacting you, what are what are you losing from an opportunity perspective?

By hiding um Why are you hiding? Ask yourself these hard questions and it’s easy to be honest that you don’t even realize you are, it just becomes your normal, it just simply becomes your normal and you don’t even realize it. So that first thing is awareness that you are and once you have that awareness acknowledge it and then you can start to accept whatever your challenges are, and I think this applies to any kind of challenge in life is about accepting it and once you accept it um and say that’s okay, you know, that doesn’t define me, then you can start to develop the solutions, you can start to shift your mindset around it, you can start to let go of like hurts from stigma around it self doubt and shame that has maybe developed over the years because of trying to hide it. Um and I think again that this this is really across the board with so many types of life challenges. Um so the health challenges don’t define you and I honestly think, you know, when you look from an overall well being, Which I incorporate as seven areas, there’s individuals who have no health challenges, but they’re not happy at all.

So from an overall well being perspective, that doesn’t even mean that they have greater over well being, you can and I know under other individuals who have several health conditions and they might really struggle day to day physically, but because they have a full life in other areas and because they’re aligned with their spiritual, their beliefs and values and they have a social, the social support they need and so forth and have worked on their mental and emotional well being, that they can live so much more fully than somebody who hasn’t examined some of those areas and stuff. So, um, so just like, I don’t want to say things are a gift, but when we work with our challenges, we can minimize those and sort of balance out the other areas so that we still live fully can share our gifts. And and that’s something that I really think is important when you have health challenges, it’s to a certain level, you can get into that just getting by and you’re maybe literally literally just trying to get by day to day not and and so forth or feel you are and we can lose a sense of self sometimes and when you start to become more aware and regain that, then you can use that to fuel yourself forward and to, you know, to help help share your gifts.

And I do think it’s a gift to be able to share our gifts. And that’s why this is so important to me because there are so many individuals because of health challenges are under employed, not employed on disability because it’s so hard to get off of and get that level of balance in your life to be able to sustain, um that I think it’s really important there, Thank you for the answer. Um, I got maybe one thing to point out which is something that you already mentioned about in terms of the why, which is I think people are a bit scared of judgment, which is something that you obviously went through. Um And then maybe people seeing it as a weakness as well, which is also something that you mentioned, but your answer made me realize, I mean you’ve got a lot of experience in dealing with pain. Um and living with it, I don’t know how frequently you you feel it, but I think one if I’d regret, if I didn’t ask you for the purpose of others um how how do you manage it on a, on a day to day basis and what have you found?

Um That makes it somewhat better if that’s the right word? Absolutely. Ah There’s a lot there, I like to look at life that everything gives us energy or drains it, and if you have any type of health challenge, the more you can do that brings energy that doesn’t drain it, the more you’re going to be able to support your well being. And so from I’m gonna just try to go through several things here quickly. So from an environment perspective, um ergonomics, ergonomics are so important if you have pain. Um you know, there’s been periods where I ran my business out of bed so that I was supported and I could hardly, because I couldn’t lift my arms this high at the time. Um and then there were times, you know, I tried to get back to the desk and the pain was unbearable, so, and then pain can cause extreme exhaustion and fatigue. So you start to look at what’s the cost that when, when you look at the cost of unmanaged pain.

Um it can be losing your business, it can be losing clients, it can be not being able to take on great opportunities and you start to think of the emotional impact and the social impact. So it’s like what can you do to manage that the best you can. Um so there are also times that I worked out of a chair with my head propped up um and then you start to put a value on their maybe not exact dollar amount but say, hey, this is really impacting my life and to approach that with curiosity and openness and intuition, as long to build a dream team, individuals who can help you with that challenge and it could be that maybe you’re not in a spot to get help with that right now, but sometimes, but to stay open and curious um I eventually, after working with several people, I used to be in a younger yoga where there was five of us, we each had our own custom program around our own physical needs. Um and there were 33 teachers there for five people.

So that was something I did different outside of conventional medicine in addition to to support being able to manage better. Um um so taking a look at your environment, taking a look at who can help you in realizing sometimes something that seems little can open the door to get over three more hurdles, you just never know when that breakthrough is going to come, so stay as hard as it is sometimes to be grateful for what you can do um and to, you know, give your body a lot of rest if I’m having my pain is increasing, I’m also increasing my rest um and then also lifestyle habits, um you know, sleep does matter, I know it sounds so basic nutrition does matter again, I know it sounds so basic, but if you have inflammation going on and that’s going to make chronic pain all the worse, who can help you with that? So it’s like they like to say again about the dream team, um it’s the dream team is people who can help you with your well being, people who can help you with different aspects of your business and maybe movement and so forth.

Um and then also staying socially engaged is very important um for for pain management from the perspective of it, it gives us good energy um does it take the pain away? No, but it does overall help and also just living in alignment is I really think so important to managing our overall well being um and then not not feeling like you need to apologize for pain days and um that’s also important and and being able to build if you have your own business, being able to build that business in a way that enables you to take a break, that enables you to get the help you need, like MS art, whether it’s massages acupuncture, any kind of other modalities that can assist with that um can be incredibly important, and it’s gonna vary by individuals. I’m very fortunate, my husband has become very good at helping me with pain management um and there are days um and this is why I like pre pandemic, you know, this, my whole concept was building your business around day to day uncertainties or weekly uncertainties or wherever individuals are, you know, there are days that I wake up and I have trouble getting dressed um and there and you know, I have different pain tricks like counting to 60 and then if days, if it’s too hard for that, counting to 10, and if that’s too hard, it’s counting to one over and over, just knowing that from, like, from an impermanence that is, pain is not going to last, and I know I’m going to get through it, it’s gonna maybe be a hard several hours, it can be a very hard several hours, but I know I’m going to get through it and I built my business in a way that I can 90 plus percent of the time not have to move anything, not have to shift any appointments or anything and keep it going from that perspective, so um does that answer your question?

It was a great answer, thank you. Um and I think it’s not and to know that it’s not easy and it’s okay that that doesn’t define you. I guess it’s a great message as well, so I appreciate you sharing it. I think I think the more it’s talked about and the more there are some solutions out there, I think there’s only a positive thing. So I guess there’s a well done to you for for being here and sharing your message. Thank you. Is there anything I should have asked you about today? Um I I think just real quick when when you look at building your business, I’d like to put this out there and you want to support your well being and you have things that you know, you can share value with with others, you know, I truly believe the world’s a better place when we all share our gifts and unfortunately there are millions and millions of people struggling to do that because of health challenges. So when you realize, you know, yes, your gifts are important, your gifts are important to the world that are important to those around you whether and the impact that we have real close or far away, you know, it doesn’t have to be big impacts, but when you look at life that way and you look and okay, how do you, with health challenges?

Um engage in that the best is when you look to build your business is looking at your needs first, What what do you need physically around your needs, what kind of lifestyle do you have need? Um how much time can you reasonably work in a day or a week? And being honest with that, to avoid that cycle of setbacks of push, push, push, I can do this too, oh my gosh, I’m down, I can’t work now, what do I do? It starts with being honest with yourself and building your business model, building your long term strategy around that. Um So instead of looking at, Oh my gosh, I want to make this much money and I’m gonna make it in 90 days, can you do it? Yes, but at what cost, you know, looking, looking at it from that perspective of sustainability of what’s the lifestyle you really want, There’s a lot of what I like to kind of think of as a glorified lifestyle, that every day is a vacation. So when we start to look at it from that perspective, what are your financial needs and and then you can always grow the business, but get that foundation of your business, get the systems that help you um sustained day to day, sustain the uncertainties around your health, then you bring more peace to your life.

And so, so it’s getting rid of the chaos and bringing more peace to your life, which is good for anybody’s well being, Thank you for that. Um There was one thing which I wanted to ask you about because it’s one of the things you’re happy to talk about. Um and it’s how to achieve business success alongside compromise, health, but my question specifically is what does success mean to you? Thank you so much. Um Perfect question. Success to me is defined, defined by you. That’s the letting go of societal and cultural norms. Um for for me personally, Success is not about a ton of money, it’s not about a lot of luxury, it’s about being able to take time each day, walk down to the ocean where 1800 ft from the ocean, enjoy a sunrise or enjoy a stroll along along the ocean. Um be able to obviously have, you know, the home in a way that’s comfortable and peaceful and supports our needs, um having the space in my lifestyle to visit with friends, to be there for loved ones.

Um and being able to share my impact of helping others, you know, live better, feel better, be live a better lifestyle so that they can share their gifts, that to me is my success. And I think it’s very important for everyone to define your own success. And really, I like to say to truly thrive, we have to first let go and a lot of that is letting go of societal norms, letting go of cultural expectations, letting go of how others think we should do things and and looking internally and what works best for you particularly particularly liked your, your point about who can, if you’re, let’s say you’re a business owner and entrepreneur who can do the various different tasks that you need doing when um let’s say you’re not feeling 100%. Um and the reason why I like it is also because there is actually plenty of advice out there which says that as a business owner or an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be doing certain things, you should be delegating as much as possible.

So for those people who let’s say they’d be better off being in that position as a business owner. Um, it is actually better advice for them to delegate than it is to try and do it themselves. So just sort of was worth worth mentioning and that can include household chores to when it comes to like food prep helping. Honestly, that was one of the first things I hired out when we were caregiving from my father because I knew how important it was that I ate the right foods for me and I also knew how much energy it was going to take to be there for my dad and family. So that was one of the very first things we hired out for his help in our own kitchen so that we could delegate to my three little ones, see if I can get them to do some housework. Exactly for people who are interested in learning more about you and maybe hire you as a coach.

Where do they find you? Yes. Yeah. You can go to my website at Simone G dot net and my links to different social platforms are there. And if you are interested in figuring out who’s the first, the best person to help me right now to be on my dream team, you can go to balance up your dream team dot com and there is a guide with five steps to figure out who that best person is right now, because it does take a lot of people, we don’t do this alone and the stronger our team around our personal needs, our values and everything then the better we’re off. Okay, well I reiterate what I said before, which is I think it’s great that you’re you’re sharing your message and I think the more you do it, I think the more people you will help, So thank you for doing it. And for all those who are listening or watching, please review the links in the description and Simone, thank you for being a great guest. Thank you thomas, thanks for having me