048: Current Problems Are Always Temporary with Arwen Becker

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048: Current Problems Are Always Temporary with Arwen Becker

In late February, Arwen’s 80-year-old father fell down the stairs. When he saw the doctor to find out what kind of damage had been done, they learned he’d fractured part of his neck–and also discovered he had metastasized cancer. Later that very same day, her mother found out that she had breast cancer. 

They say that bad things come in threes, but sometimes, it’s even more than that. Especially in a year that already has many challenges that are beyond our control. So what do you do when everything seems to go wrong at the same time? You just have to stay positive and know that you can handle it, if you put your mind to it. 

In today’s episode, Arwen talks about overcoming adversity, whether it be dealing with the COVID crisis when it hits home, losing longtime friends and colleagues, and feeling like the blows are never going to end. She talks about making space to heal, and what it means to make it to the other side–and the mindset that will help carry you there.

Overcomer Playlist Recommendation 

Pearls of Wisdom


“Character is revealed and it's built in the valleys. And how we handle it is truly what matters and what we are able to learn throughout that process.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet “If you're willing to work on yourself during the good times, you'll be prepared, strong, and ready during the bad times.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet “This, too, shall pass. It does. Current problems are temporary.” - Arwen Becker Click To Tweet


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Connect with Arwen Becker


Arwen Becker: Well, hello, everyone, and welcome to the She Handled It Podcast. I am your host, Arwen Becker, and I would love to say I'm coming to you from the warm, sunny state of Hawaii, enjoying my family vacation and celebrating my 46th birthday. But life doesn't always go that way. Instead, I am sitting at home and overcoming COVID. So, that's just the way sometimes it goes. And I will do my best to not cough my way through this. But this is such an interesting podcast for me to record because I had intended on doing it this week and it was really me looking back over this last year of having this podcast, doing 50 shows all the things that we have dealt with as a nation. And just for me to kind of do a look back on what's happened over this last year. And really, as I was thinking about it leading up to the weeks ahead of time, I think I probably decided to do this maybe about two months ago because I really thought it would be about overcoming adversity. And yet here I am sitting, doing my best to work through this without coughing my way through it at home with COVID and my whole family has it. So, ultimately we are making our way through it. And it's just unfortunate, my husband got it from a buddy of his and it just came into the rest of the family. So, very interesting. But we are making our way through it.

But as we talk about overcoming adversity, it was perfect timing because here I am first having to record this one. I don't feel that great. I've still got a low-grade fever and you can probably hear that I'm congested and I'm not feeling my best. And yet one of the things that I've realized this year is that sometimes you've just got to play hurt. And I don't know exactly where I've heard that term over the years, but there have been multiple times throughout this year that has been something I have been faced with on making a choice. Do I succumb to my circumstances and allow my feelings to get the best of me? Or am I able to dig deep and pull myself through and realize that my current problems are temporary? So, that is what I'm doing today as I sit here in my sweats. If you're watching this on YouTube, you can see I have no makeup on and I don't feel my most awesome self, but I'm here and pushing through it.

So, this time period of overcoming adversity and me recording this, having COVID, I should have left today with my family on an 11-day vacation to Maui and I was going to celebrate my 46th birthday there. And actually, the day of my birthday, I was just to be out snorkeling and just enjoying the wonderful Hawaiian sun and smells and breeze and not be in Seattle. But fortunately, it is sunny here today in Seattle. It's beautiful. But sometimes life just throws you a curveball and you can let it really derail you or you can rise above it and make the most of it. So, that's what we are doing. But it wasn't just my vacation and my birthday that got canceled. We had to make the decision before I was showing any symptoms once my husband was tested positive to cancel two of our business seminars, which is thousands and thousands of dollars not only to put those on, to book them, to fill them, and to prepare for them but also the leads that we don't get from those events for our company to give our advisors people to work with. So, that was something that I didn't want to do. I was hoping that I could figure out a way to Zoom it or do something like that, but it just didn't work out. So, we had to cancel two of those events because it was the right thing to do, even though I wasn't showing any symptoms at the time. And my husband, he plays in a band as well. He had four rock shows. Two of them got canceled here in the Seattle area, but two of them were actually on our trip in Maui. So, he was going to be playing with a bunch of buddies from across the country. They were all very much looking forward to it. And so, it disappointed a lot of people. Not only the 2,000 people who would have got to watch the show but the buddies of his that practiced and prepared and then all of a sudden weren't able to do it because their lead guitarist was not coming to Hawaii.

So, a number of different things but this is what this podcast is about. It's about overcoming adversity. And I think about this last year and 2020 for me, I was talking to my business coach, was kind of like a year of taking time off for me because I'm such a driver and I love to be busy and I love to check things off my list. And so, I took a big step back and stopped using my hourly checklist on what I was going to be doing and managing my schedule and really being very diligent and very deliberate on every little thing that filled my calendar. And so, I kind of got to the point where I got very comfortable with not having that. And so, once 2021 came, it was time for me personally, and it's different for everyone but it was kind of like, okay, that was a nice rest. Now, let's get serious about getting back on track with what are the goals that you have? What are the things that you're working towards? And so, that's what I did. And the biggest one for me this year was my seven-month preparation on a keynote that I have inside of me, and that needed to get out. And so, I started working with a company in New Jersey. It was all virtual because I actually signed up with them in February of 2020 and as you can imagine, everything went virtual after that.

So, we started the process of writing this keynote, which was about 10 to 15 hours a week of work of not only writing and editing and rehearsing, and there were about 35 of us in this group, a lot of time commitment. And if you've ever written something, especially something that really means a lot to you, it takes a lot of mental overhead to craft a message that you really feel is going to express what it is that you're trying to convey to the people who are hearing it or reading it. And so, about four weeks into this process, I was already pretty overwhelmed with how in-depth and how much mental overhead it took to think creatively, to think about what is that I'm trying to express. Why does this matter to me? Why does anybody care? Why should this matter to other people? And I was already exhausted. And then late in February hit and that's really the crux of this podcast of overcoming adversity. Quite honestly, I didn't know if I was going to be able to make my way through it. So, in pretty short order, checking things off the list, late in February, my parents were on their way to my dad's doctor because he had taken a fall. He'd fallen down the stairs. My dad's 80.

And so, they did a scan to see what kind of damage had been done. He was still able to walk and wasn't severely affected by it but he did fracture a part in his neck. And through that scan, they also found that he had metastasized cancer. They were unsure if it was from his prior prostate cancer or lung cancer that he dealt with. And this is my dad, when I talk about my dad he’s my stepdad. And my parents have been married for 43 years or something like that. And so, they found that a prior cancer had metastasized. Well, as they were on their way to that doctor's appointment, my mom's general practitioner called her and gave her some unfortunate results from her most recent mammogram. And that same day that my dad found out that his cancer had returned, my mom found out she was also diagnosed with breast cancer. So, day one, single day, both my parents, diagnosed with cancer. And as you could imagine, that was very significant news to hear. And as a daughter, I've got one sister a little older than me but she lives out of the area that just came rushing very quickly into my yard, I guess, you would say because now my mom was facing the reality that she was going to have to go through cancer treatment. We weren't sure what that was, but that was now going to put me in a position as a business owner, as a mom of two teenagers that are still living at home, as a wife, to now be standing in that role of the sandwich generation where you have kids that you're caring for at home and then also needing to care for ailing parents. So, that was very significant for me.

And yet during all this time, I'm trying to write this keynote and I just remember kind of crying my way through it, reaching out to my group going, “I just don't know if I can do it. I'm so mentally scattered right now trying to think objectively or creatively about anything. I just couldn't do it or I didn't think I could do it.” And my group was so supportive. They just reminded me, "Hey, take the time that you need. You need to take care of your family.” But then I also had people challenge me saying, "Hey, if you can just set a timer, say, for 50 minutes or something or an hour-and-a-half or 30 minutes and just give 100% of your mental overhead to that keynote for that period of time and then be done.” They believed I could do it. And that was great advice because that is how I continued working my way through that. If that were just the worst part of it, that's pretty awful, and yet it just didn't stop there. So, just a week after finding out, my husband and I had a scheduled getaway at Yellowstone. So, we knew that nobody was visiting Yellowstone. I think 4 million people go out there every year and of those during the winter months, only 60,000 people go. And so, we thought, "Well, let's go explore Yellowstone. We've never been there, but let's go when nobody else is there.” And sure enough, there was nobody there.

And so, I was literally on my way to Old Faithful. I mean, we got there like a minute before it was about ready to go, to blow, and my phone had no service. So, I hadn’t been receiving texts or anything from anybody for quite some time because there's just no service in the park. And for some reason, right as I'm walking up to Old Faithful, my phone dings and I looked down at it and it is a text from a long-time friend of mine who had not been communicating with me and I couldn't figure out why. And so, at that moment, I got a text from her saying the reason she hadn't been communicating, she just didn't know if she was going to be able to forgive me or get over the fact that I had gone with my family in January, so just the month before, to Costa Rica. And with everything going on with COVID that she just was shocked that I would be that selfish. Here I was in one of the most beautiful places on the planet going and having this once-in-a-lifetime experience heading to Old Faithful, and I was getting chastised by a friend of mine who didn't take the time to ask me anything about that trip that we took, just felt that by seeing one picture that I had posted of the four of us, me and our two younger kids, our older sons in Kansas, but us on the beach, no people in our picture, just knowing that I had posted a picture of us on the beach together and that she just felt that was her need to judge me and not ask any of the backstory. Didn't bother to ask me anything about stuff surrounding that.

At this point, the world had begun to open up from COVID. It was legal to go travel. We had to take COVID tests to get there and to get home. And there were eight people on our 737 from Alaska Airlines going down there. Nobody was traveling, but we just had decided as a family that if we had to do remote schooling anyway, why couldn't we rent a home on a deserted beach, do school, and work from another country? We weren't with people. Costa Rica was basically shut down and masked up and we didn't go to restaurants. We cooked at home. But yet, that's not what she chose to ask about. Just chose to judge me off of one picture that she saw and didn't know if she could forgive me for making that choice to do something with our family that we felt was still in the confines of what was safe, what was legal in our country. And so, just it hurt because here I was reaching out to her going, "Hey, I haven't heard from you,” and I wanted to tell her what was going on with my parents and instead, I got lit up. I left there in Yellowstone and I went back to our hotel room that night and got the text from a friend that one of my longtime business friends and colleagues had committed suicide, almost the same age as me, three teenagers at home. It was just overwhelming.

Here I was in the deafening silence of completely quiet Yellowstone especially being out in the park for eight-and-a-half hours and there's nobody out there. And me and my husband and walking around in the snow and the beauty and the majesty of it and just all of God's incredible creation and the deafening silence going on between my two ears of my parents, their diagnosis, not knowing what that was going to do for them, for our family, then this friend finding me this text somehow making its way through. You know, any of you have seen Horton Hears a Who? I think of that time period where Horton is trying to connect with the Who and it's the moment where he screams loud enough and you see this little voice finally breaks through the sound barrier to Horton's ears. It's just like that's what I imagined with that text. It was just like, how did it break through when I haven't had any ability to talk or hear from people? And I was fine with that. I wanted to enjoy the park. And it's just like, "Come on. Seriously? This is the time it needs to find me?” And so, that trip was so difficult because, again, I left on that trip just trying to digest the fact that my parents are both dealing with these cancer diagnoses and I didn't know what that meant for our family. I certainly didn't know what it meant for my dad because he's not in good health. And then just to find out about my friend and then my other friend, but then my friend committing suicide.

I came home and I had reached out to two of my best friends and then one other very long-time friend. So, this one that reached me through this text was the longest friend that I'd had since college. And then I have rekindled a friendship with another girlfriend of mine who I had forgiven for very, very significantly hurting me. We had to completely part ways for a number of years and then she asked for forgiveness and I was willing to do that and to trust her again. And so, I had reached out to my two best friends, one of which has been on this podcast, and then this other girlfriend of mine in Texas about everything that was going on. So, she knew what was going on. The girlfriend in Texas knew what was going on with my parents and this friend committed suicide and then this other friend of ours who she knew who took this opportunity to cast judgment on me and what I was doing with my life as it related to COVID and travel and all that kind of stuff. And so, I confided in her because I hadn't been dealing with enough stuff. She was in town and I had an interaction at a bridal shower, and it was just amazing and seeing these people from my past and just I felt so good leaving that. I just felt like I had gone into this event and was really using it as a way to sew into these people I hadn't seen in a long time. And I just felt so good when I left there.

This was like a week later after my Yellowstone trip. And then that whole week, this other friend of mine wasn't responding to my texts and I couldn't figure out why. And I kept saying, "Hey,” and I reach out again. And so, finally, about six days after my first text, after this event, she had gone back to home in Texas, I finally get lit up over text about something that I had said to her daughter and it was something I used a term I shouldn't have used when I was kind of teasing her daughter about something and it was taken the wrong way. It didn't matter that I had sincerely apologized. Her way of handling it was to pull up all sorts of things from my past, berate me over text, not pick up the phone or call me, berate me over text, and then not even say, "Hey, but maybe there was a misunderstanding or maybe that's not what you meant or leave some space for grace.” No, I didn't get any of that. And then when I responded, very apologetic, “I'm so sorry. That is not what I meant. This is what I was saying but obviously, it didn't come across the right way and I'm so sorry. You know, I apologize to your daughter who's seventeen. That wasn't what I meant.” And I got no response.

So, this is somebody who's supposed to be a very close friend of mine and just decides that not only am I deserving of getting completely lit up and then multiple things in my past getting pulled up and dredged up and thrown back at me over text but then to not even accept my apology, not even leave room that maybe there was a misunderstanding. Maybe I had made a mistake. None of that. And I just remember that night when here so emotionally broken, mentally, just so far at my wit's end, here, I am still running a business, still trying to be a wife, still trying to be a mom, then doing this keynote work of having timelines that I had to keep with and trying to do this creative work and so struggling, crying. And I just remember prayers that night with my kids. I was in the middle of just asking God to provide me the comfort and encouragement that I so desperately needed, and I just started bawling. And that's changed a lot over the years because I grew up in a family where you didn't show that kind of emotion. You know, just having my two teenage boys just come and sit on each side of me and wrap their arms around me as I finished my prayers and tears are streaming down my cheeks and just feeling like, “God, I don't know how much more I can bear, please.”

It was like every week I was going in to talk to our marriage counselor. It was like, “How are you doing with that thing?” And I was like, "Well, that thing was last week. Now, I have this new thing, just another thing and it was just one week after another, and I was so tired.” I felt just this relentless emotional pain and lack of control over three months. I was just tired. I was just so tired. I just didn't know how it was going to be able to adequately get through it. Yet, life ticks on. You know, what I found during that time was that we all deal with things. I mean just because I wasn't plastering all of it over social media, there were some things I was asking for prayer specifically for my parents. You know, we need to be aware that there's so much that people could be dealing with it. We just don't know just because they don't shout it from the mountaintops. Me being a very introverted person, part of that is I don't like the - and it's always hard for people to understand. First of all, it's hard for people to believe that I'm an introvert. I love spending time by myself. I do my best work just sitting, being quiet, alone. But when things are really hard, all the broken bones that I've gotten, I have not drawn attention to me because I don't like it. I don't like that feeling of being totally out of control and having people going, “Are you okay? Are you okay? Are you okay?” And so, that's a struggle for me. So, a lot of times I just don't talk about certain things I might be dealing with in that manner because I just don't want to have to answer things that I'm still trying to work out in my own life.

And so, I just never felt like all the blows were going to end. And I just didn't know how I was going to make it through to the other side. And I guess that's what I learned through so much of this process in this last year, that you've got to be willing to play hurt. You know, 2020 actually was a really great year for our family. We were foreclosed on in 2011 and I write about that in my book and thought we would just rent a home for a couple of years as we got ourselves back after the Great Recession nearly cost us everything. We ended up being in a rental home for nine years. Never in my wildest dreams have I expected that. And I resented it a lot of the time period because I was just angry that I wanted to own a home and what kind of fake financial advisor am I. We moved into our dream home after COVID hit. The time period just was totally weird, but it ended up working and got the home of my dreams. This is the best place to shelter in place for me. Yet, after that, I mean, this 2020 of just kind of relaxed and was like this great house and our company was still humming even though we had to send everybody home. We still had a great record year and it was just like everything was just going right. Life sometimes is like that. Sometimes everything is just going right.

But once February 2021 came for me, it felt like the complete opposite. And yet life still continues on and you have to find a way to work through the hurt. Play hurt. Make decisions moment by moment. Am I going to wallow in the difficulty or am I going to rise to the occasion? And I'm grateful to say that things of my parents worked out in the way in which they were supposed to. My dad is now in an adult family home receiving care. He's under hospice care and it's a great place. We found a beautiful, wonderful place for him with some incredible women taking care of him. It’s very close to my parents' house and he's receiving great care. My mom is 100% cancer-free after going through surgery and radiation. She is a powerhouse of a woman on the other side of that, which is awesome and just such an inspiration to me. And then there's a scripture that says it rains on the just and the unjust, which just means that good times, good people have bad things happen to them and bad people have good things happen to them. And it's true. But the question is, how do we handle those bad times when they come? You know, character is revealed and it's built in the valleys. And how we handle it is really truly what matters and what are we able to learn throughout that process.

If you're willing to work on yourself during the good times, you'll be prepared, strong, and ready during the bad times. You know, one of the things that I'm so proud of is I actually about two weeks ago went in and got a full fitness scan. So, full-body scan, bone density, body fat with really cool, like almost MRI-type of machines. Very, very cool stuff, because I really wanted to know, I'm nearing 46, how is my health. I know what I look like on the outside but I want to know what I look like on the inside. And when the technician brought me all the paperwork that we were going to go through of my results, the one that mattered to me most was the big, enormous grade at the top of it, which was an A+. And that A+ didn't come because I just fasted a little bit before I went there. It was because I was doing daily work on a regular basis, compounding effort of little things over time that have, as of almost 46-year-old, put me in a position where my bone density is great, my body fat for my age is exceptional, my fitness level is exceptional, but it's because I've worked daily little things over time.

So, when COVID hit my family, there was never any question as to whether or not we would make it through it, whether or not we would get ultra-sick because we take care of ourselves and we're not in high-risk categories. We don't have diabetes. Of course, there are things that, like my parents’ cancer, that put people in a position, but I'm just speaking for my own personal experience of fitness and health. I was never fearful that if we got COVID that it would be deadly for us because we worked very hard to take care of ourselves physically and make sure that we're in good physical condition.

And again, I'm just speaking for my own personal experience. I mean, influenza kills people, 80,000 people a year. And for me, getting a flu shot has just been something that we've chosen to not do over the years because it's created more issues in my family than it's been worth. And so, making sure that you're taking care of yourself, your self-care, as the realization set in that there was going to be a lot that was going to fall on me personally because of the diagnosis of both my parents, at least for a time.

One of the very first things that I did is I started looking at my calendar and clearing off those things that were not imperative, that were not really that important right now, and make sure that I was leaving plenty of margins or as much margin as I could create, so if I was needed to go to my parents’ house, take my mom to her appointments, to go look at homes for my dad, to go clean or do anything that my parents would need of me as a daughter, that I had the time and that not only was that time set aside, but that it wasn't going to create major other issues on the other side because I was trying to pack too many things, and it just was not that important for that period of time.

So, making sure that you're creating that margin and pulling out those things that just aren't that important, taking your vitamins, getting enough rest, not drinking, or just very much minimizing that because that doesn't help your health either or whatever might be, a vice, junk food or plenty of water and tea and keeping caffeine and those things to a minimum, going on walks. I really just enjoy just going for walks and not having to do this big exercise thing, which is just always what I've done. So, those were some of the things that I realized.

And then, people talk about, the seasons of life, you're going to have people who are going to come and then people who are going to go, and not everybody is supposed to be in that next season, and kind of glorify and simplify this idea of people will come into your life and they'll be there for a time, but not everybody is supposed to run the width and length of your life. And yet, hearing that and actually experiencing what it's like to have to disengage your two longest friendships in your life because they are no longer healthy for you is easier said than done. It's a very hard thing to have to make a choice like that, especially for a people pleaser like myself, being a child of an alcoholic, always wanting to do the right thing, always wanting to make people happy, always wanting to keep the peace. Having to make a decision to remove certain friendships because they are no longer serving you in a positive way is really hard.

And people, again, gloss over it and they make it seem so sexy and romantic. It's like, you're going to be moving into a new season and you need new people. And it's not easy and it's really tough at times. So, know what’s important. I'm certainly healthier on the other side of it. And creating boundaries for myself is something that I've learned in the last number of years. It doesn't mean that I feel good when I initially do it, but over time, it becomes easier because I am valuable and I am not somebody’s verbal punching bag. I am not here to have somebody break me down in order to build themselves up or to stand in judgment of me when they don't have the courage to pick up the phone and actually talk to me or allow me the opportunity to paint my side of the story. And so, being able to just recognize that and know that there are going to be times you have to set that boundary and sometimes that means removing people from your life.

And I'm grateful for everything that I have been through and sitting here right now. I'm grateful that I am a year after this podcast began on the verge of my 46th birthday or the eve of my 46th birthday and I'm healthy and I'm happy, and God has restored to me those things that I was sure might not ever come back. Talk about a win, here we were a year ago getting into the house of our dreams after nine years of renting this home, and I just was thinking, I'm never going to be able to make back that money that we poured into that rental home. And all these complaints that I had to God.

And God is so good because not only did he give Randy and me the home of our dreams more than we could have ever asked or thought, keeping all of our employees employed at the time and helping us have a record year for our company last year and all these things, but the appreciation in the house that we bought has been more than double what we paid for rent over that nine-year time period. Double in a 12-month time period, the appreciation on the home that we bought, and if that's not God's goodness, there's no other way to explain it. It's not just that we were lucky. This house when we got into it, just it was Easter Sunday a year ago, 2020, when we found it and decided to put the offer on after we'd actually walked through the house two years before. So, it was miraculous. It really was.

So, again, what have I learned in this last year since starting this podcast? Well, I've interviewed a lot of amazing women and a couple of men who have been through some very significant adversity, and they all come out on the other side. Current problems are temporary. And this podcast will continue to play, but I will not always have COVID. I will not be at home sheltering in place when I should be in Hawaii. Things will continue to get better, and there'll be great days and there'll be tough days and there'll be somewhere everywhere in between. And it's how we go through it, it's do we keep a good attitude. It's okay to wail, to cry. God can handle your anger and disappointment. And he cries with you. In the worst times of my life, that's where I've felt that it wasn't him watching me and going, “Oh, how sad for you.” He wept alongside with me because every hurt that I've felt is hurt that he has felt and that he's experiencing with me.

And so, rapid-fire three questions. My financial advice, I guess, real estate. Real estate is still one of the best ways to be able to increase your net worth and doing it smart, but being able to have the market around you, do some of your financial heavy liftings for you is really vital. And that's why for so many people, real estate is still a very good investment. As for a book, it's been a year since my book came out, She Handled It, So Can you! I've been teaching on this. The reviews that I've received from it have just been so humbling. I wrote this with women in mind who really feel left out from the financial industry. And I wrote it in the story. And so, for any of you who haven't taken that first step and really being able to start understanding your own financial picture, but from a pathway that speaks to you as a woman, that's what that book is written for.

It's for all the women who feel overlooked, disregarded, talked down to for my industry. And it is for me to just create a different narrative because women are the true players. You are the largest segment of the US population. You hold the most wealth, and over the next 20 years, you're going to inherit two-thirds of what baby boomers are passing the inheritance. And that will put us into a position where women will hold north of 60% of US wealth in the next 20 years. So, we all need to take responsibility. There's no knight in shining armor. You cannot put somebody else responsible for you financially. You need to be able to understand what you have, why you have it, and how it's going to help serve you in the future, whether you're married or not.

And a quote, I think I've probably already used it once in this podcast. Today, my brain is not functioning as I'm sitting here with a fever. This, too, shall pass. It does. Current problems are temporary. And so, always keep that in mind that what you're facing right now, it will pass, it will pass, and good times will return, the sun will return. And you are loved. And continue to surround yourself with the people who encourage you, who love you, who support you, who believe in you, and you'll make it through it. You'll make it through it.

Well, for my COVID-ridden house to your ears, thank you for the love and support from this past year, all of you who have listened, all of you have written reviews, it just means the world to me. And I just really sincerely thank you. Appreciate you and love all of you guys. So, with that, I will see you soon. Alright. Talk to you. Bye.

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