Three Business & Life Lessons Learned from My Son’s Heart Surgery

By: Caitlin Strempel, Founder & CEO Ranks Digital - Caitlin is a SEO Expert & Marketing Strategist.

When my first son, Wyatt, was 2 months old, the last place I ever expected to be was sleeping on the cold, hard floor of his hospital room. A few days earlier, a routine checkup turned into rushing our newborn to the hospital for 24/7 monitoring. We found out that he was born with a heart defect.

As a first-time mom (or any type of mom), I was devastated and desperately looking for answers and support. What’s the mortality rate of newborns undergoing anesthesia? Who is this man that will be operating on my child? What does this all mean for my son? Will he be able to grow up to play soccer? Will he be able to run around and cause mischief like a normal kid? At that point, I was by myself with my son…so I turned to the internet. I unlocked my phone and started asking Google everything I could think of about what was going to happen to my baby.

Our time in the hospital was a blur. We were in and out of the hospital for a few weeks for monitoring, then the heart procedure, recovery, and back again due to complications. It was a few months after we came home, for the last time, that my biggest life and business lessons became crystal clear.

Here is what my son’s heart procedure taught me about my life and my business:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a non-negotiable for any business that wants to make real impact in this world.

Every day people are searching the internet for something that you have to offer. They need your help, your product, your message, you story – and it’s up to you to show up for them. This was the biggest reason for the launch of my business, Rising Ranks Digital.

The number of people turning to Google, looking for answers is in the billions! SEO, also known as search engine optimization, is one of the only ways to get your business in front of the people, in real time, who are actively searching for what you have to offer.

2. Most fears we have as business owners are smaller than we make them out to be.

Before experiencing a life-or-death situation with my son, I was letting small fears hold me back from going after my dreams and creating the impact I wanted to make here on earth. It wasn’t until I faced the real fear of losing my son that all other fears felt smaller, and conquerable to me.

Whether your fear is to go live on social media, or make a large investment that will benefit your business, I encourage you to take a step back and ask yourself if your fear is holding you back from making the best of your life or business.

3. Make your dreams even bigger.

My son’s heart procedure deepened my understanding of just how big a gift our lives are. Ask yourself – “Am I under-living?” I know I was! For a decade I worked in corporate and always had that subtle feeling that I was meant for more. I finally stopped ignoring those signs and started taking chances on really big goals. I launched my business, pitched bigger clients, and I revamped my offerings and marketing, which helped me more than 3x my prices.

Take advantage of this gift you have been given and go big. Continually ask yourself how you can do better and take bigger action. When you do that, you will always evolve for the better.

For those of you wondering, Wyatt is now 4 years old and healthy as can be. Although this is an experience I never wanted to go through, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The lessons I learned, the deeper appreciate for life I have, and the goals I set for myself are invaluable.

Luckily, you do not have to go through a traumatic event in order to shift your perspective. Become aware and learn from others – that’s how you will keep your drive fiercer and your vision even bigger.

Remember – life is a gift. Appreciate it, enjoy it, and live it to its fullest. Do it for your business, yourself, and the world.

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