Success isn’t a straight line


22 years I go, I was homeless.

19 years ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable chronic immune disease.

18 years ago, I began the first in a 10-year series of futile surgeries.

16 years ago, I was estranged from my family and living in youth social housing.

14 years ago, I graduated with honors from college, the first in my family.

10 years ago, I wrote a blog that went viral and changed my career path.

9 years ago, my health worsened, and also ended my marriage.

8 years ago, I graduated a second time from college.

7 years ago, I began writing and teaching courses for my college.

6 years ago, I took a risk on a guy who REALLY wanted a date.

3 years ago, I was a Forty Under 40 recipient for my marketing company, DANGER Co.

2 years ago, my disease went haywire, and I had to use a cane just to walk.

23 months ago, I began exploring new medical therapies.

1 year ago, I married that guy who asked for a date.

TODAY, I have my own house, I’m walking without a cane, married to a lovely human, working in my chosen fields, halfway through a third college program.

My fellow achievers: note your progress. Remember that success isn’t a straight line. And if you’re going through hell, KEEP GOING.

I want to explain to you what I mean when I say, “Keep going.”

When I tell you to keep going, I don’t mean pushing yourself until you break. I mean that I want you to get up every day and put on real clothes. I want you to find a best friend; I want you to create a google alert for “new experimental treatment”; or set up a job alert for the job of your dreams. I want you to be your own best nurse, checking in with yourself, taking your metaphorical pulse. I want you to keep discarding toxic people and situations. I want you to keep getting divorced until you find the right human. Or keep going to counselling until you’re a better human. I want you to keep persisting.

Your persistence is your superpower. Do not give up on yourself. Your journey is a path, dappled with sun and shadows; the moments where your pain is gone, or you have a good laugh, or you get kudos from a mentor—those are the moments of light. You must persistently, insistently, keep focused on those moments of light. Pause time and relish every aspect of those moments, no matter how short they are.

Then keep going on your path. Light begets light. When you focus on the light, you’ll find the patches of shadow seem to shrink over time, that the light will be more prominent, and that shadowed moments won’t feel so all-consuming. Failure will become a natural part of the journey, and it won’t sting as much because you’ve kept going right past that dark moment and on to something else.

I can’t promise you that you’ll achieve every goal you’ve envisioned. But I can tell you that if you persist, you will get much closer to them than you would otherwise. And, you’ll have a hell of a lot of cool stories to tell along the way. I’ve shared my highlight reel here. These moments are cairns along my journey, marking nothing more nor less extraordinary than one woman’s persistence.

About the Author:

Jordan Danger is owner of Danger Co, a boutique marketing agency in Ottawa, Ontario. At the age of 17, Jordan was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that caused multiple secondary disorders. Jordan volunteered over 2000 hours for LGBTTQ youth wellness before completing college as a Social Service Worker. She later returned to college for digital media, and again for teaching certification. Jordan was author of a series of acclaimed blogs including Project: Priceless and Girl: Crafted. She is a professional artist and sculptor. Jordan spends most days managing her marketing agency, meditating regularly, and playing a lot of Fortnite with her husband.


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