Last month my wife and I went to Thailand for a two-week vacation. This was my first real vacation in over two years, and my wife Sunny’s first visit back to her family in her country of origin in even longer. So we really needed and, I think, deserved it.
And everything was fine until the next to the last evening there.
I started to get a sore throat and swollen glands, much like Sunny had suffered through a few weeks prior to our vacation. Unlike her, however, I was about to get on and off planes for the next 28 hours.
In a word: appalling.
I spent the last full day of vacation hunkered down in the hotel, knowing this was going to be bad. Bangkok to Tokyo, Tokyo to Houston, and Houston to Tampa. All with little sleep, and feeling like death on toast.
Of course, I had at least one flight with a person next to me who was coughing and hacking. Yes, things can always get worse.
And Then: Back to Work!
The really fun part about all this was knowing that we were coming back on Thanksgiving day, all the doctors’ offices would be closed for the holiday, and I had to get back to running my business right away.
By the night after Thanksgiving, I was so sick, I thought I’d have to check into the emergency room: sinus infection, upper respiratory infection, and mucus forming in the corner of my right eye so fast it would blur my vision. Seriously.
But that didn’t mean I got to cancel everything for the next week. I’d just been off for two weeks, after all, so no rest for the weary. I got antibiotics and a steroid pack from a walk-in clinic, and prepared for the worst.
By Monday I was about 5% better, but I still had a commitment speaking to the Bay Area Professional Writers Guild. I dreaded it, knowing what kind of shape I was going to be in.
So What’s a Sick Author, Speaker, Publisher to Do?
While I sat dreading my talk, I remembered something I heard Larry Winget say: “When you’re the speaker, you don’t get to be sick.”
It’s true. There’s no one to substitute for you in that situation. You have to show up and give 100% even if you feel like crap.
I showed up and delivered as much value as I could in thirty minutes, the allotted time. In spite of how sick I was, the attendees said it was excellent. So, mission accomplished.
That wasn’t all, either: I had a project to write for a client that had to be completed that week, and I got another project later in the week from a different client. And those had to be done, too. I’m running a business here. It’s not a hobby.
So that’s my blog post for today. Do you have to take care of yourself when you’re sick? Of course. But do you get paid sick days when you’re a solo entrepreneur? Do you get to just, you know, not work?