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Shaneh Woods
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How A Major Health Scare Transformed Shaneh Woods’ Business Strategy

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What was a major challenge you had to overcome to get to where you are today?

My business was bringing in $700K a year. But to get there, I was working 80 or 90 hours a week. I worked myself into the ground. I wasn’t eating or sleeping well. I didn’t take care of myself.

Eventually, I lost feeling in my hands and feet. What really scared me was when my husband saw me run my finger through a pot of boiling water on accident and I didn’t react. I couldn’t feel anything.

The doctors in Alaska put me through test after test trying to figure it out. At first, they told me it was all in my head. Then it was ALS. Parkinson’s. Every diagnosis under the sun. I was worried it’d take too long to figure out and eventually I’d lose feeling permanently, so I packed up and moved to Ohio where I could get better medical care. My husband had to stay in Alaska so we could keep our health insurance, meaning I was completely alone in a new state.

Finally, I was diagnosed with MS, which I still don’t think is right. But it was the most helpful diagnosis I was ever given. It turns out I’m allergic to all the drugs for MS, so the only way the doctors said I could manage it was with lifestyle changes. The biggest trigger was stress. I read a book called The Upside of Stress and started implementing the exercises to change my mindset around stress. Within a week, I could feel my feet again. And in two weeks, I could walk pain-free.

Trying to “hustle” almost killed me. Now I’m running a prosperous business without working myself to death, so I know it’s possible. And I know that carrying that much stress doesn’t make your business — or your life — any better.

What supported you through a lot of these challenges?

When my husband and I lived in separate states during my health issues, I was incredibly depressed. I wasn’t making money, my office in Alaska was being foreclosed on, and we were losing our house. Everything was collapsing. I felt so alone and became suicidal. If it weren’t for my husband, I’m not sure I’d still be here today.

What pulled me out of it was music. Live concerts made my brain explode in this amazing way. I remember at once concert, the singer hit this beautiful note and for the first time in years, I was pain-free. I didn’t know what I was experiencing, but I knew I wanted more of it. Pursuing music opened me up to a creative side I didn’t know I had. I always said I was the stereotypical accountant without a single creative bone in my body. But when I found music, I found something that could heal me in ways traditional medicine couldn’t.

What motto do you live by?

Thank you. More, please!

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Dan Zinman started his career as an astronomer and college professor and quickly expanded into popularizing the understanding of science and scientific discovery. He did this through writing books, essays, and articles. He is contributing by writing news articles for timebulletin.com.