Career success while battling chronic Lyme disease
by Fred Diamond
On my Sales Game Changers Podcast, I frequently interview sales and business leaders who achieve rewarding careers while dealing with chronic Lyme disease. It’s not an easy thing to do. These interviews are inspiring and have been well received by my listeners around the world.
I recently interviewed Anahid Dorian, a high-performing pharma sales professional who, ironically, works to solve rare disease problems, while managing her Lyme disease.
Like many chronic Lyme survivors, she was infected on a camping trip. She then began having wide-ranging disease symptoms that were difficult to pinpoint the cause of.
28 years without answers
She was bedridden, had brain fog, muscle tightness, night sweats and a variety of troublesome symptoms. Trips to over 25 different specialists were fruitless and it took 28 years before a friend said, “Anahid, it sounds like you have Lyme disease.” She then found a local Lyme-literate medical doctor (LLMD) in Arizona and her road to recovery began.
Once she had the accurate diagnosis, she said, she could focus on what she needed to do to continue to grow her successful sales career, eventually achieving the coveted President’s Club at her company.
She took steps to manage the disease to achieve career success.
“When I was diagnosed, I had to look at how I was working. I was always a driver. I was always somebody that pushed hard to find more business. But during my treatment, it helped me fine tune where and when I needed to be doing what I was doing. And the pandemic shutting down the world gave me a moment to sit with my diagnosis and look hard and long at how I was doing it.
“I was able to pivot and learn how to spend my time more efficiently because I knew that when I pushed myself, potentially, I would crash because I was in the middle of treatment. I did a lot more Zoom. Before I decided to get on a plane, I made sure that I was going to be able to get in front of the customer and wouldn’t be taking a fruitless trip. It helped me fine tune what I was doing and how I was doing it.”
What were her symptoms?
“I had muscle issues over the years. For the most part, I didn’t have brain fog, I didn’t have fatigue. I was pushing, covering a huge geography, I was traveling every week. I was a functioning person with these infections until 2015. That’s when the infections became active again, due to stress and environmental factors.”
I asked what her typical day looked like and how she made it through the day.
Anahid said, “I’m a strong believer in mindset. The body follows where the mind goes. I’m very stubborn, I don’t give up easily. When I was hit with Lyme disease and then realized the diagnosis and started treatment, it helped me realize that I was not taking care of my mind and my body adequately. Now I’m faced with the chronic, sometimes daily symptoms that I have. I have to get up early in the morning and I have a whole regime that I do before I even leave my house. I meditate. I do warm lemon water, I do celery juice, I also have an infrared sauna.”
“Self-management, your energy and how you present yourself are key because if you’re not whole and complete, then when you’re in front of your customer, your message is not going to come through whole and complete.”
She continued, “We fall victim to putting ourselves last when in fact, you need to put yourself first because if you don’t put yourself first, then you collapse or you’re not able to deliver the message you want to. Authenticity is so important too in sales. If you’re not authentic in what you’re doing, and the products that you’re selling, and the customer service that you’re giving, then you’re not going to have success.”
Why this career?
I asked why she chose sales as a career, and why she continued with it, despite her health issues.
She says, “I have a passion to help people. You need to start with that. What is your why? Mine has never been about money. I’ve stayed in the medical arena because I feel like I’m the voice of the patient. I love to teach. I love helping other sales professionals. I’m always researching and trying to be a better salesperson and just overall human being.”
At the end of every podcast, I ask the guest for an action step people listening can take that day to grow their sales career success.
Anahid said, “My big message to everybody whether you are dealing with a chronic condition or not, is don’t give up. We all have a voice, and we all have a purpose on this planet. We all have struggles.
“Maybe yesterday you had a door slammed in your face, but tomorrow you may have a customer that will buy five different things from you. Look into yourself inside, your passion and your drive. I’ve had to implement that daily. Not only in my sales career but with my disease that I am dealing with daily, is that I know that everything is there for a reason and it’s my job to figure out what that is and meet myself where I am at. There’s a solution to everything, so stay positive and keep working hard and it will all come together.”
Fred Diamond is based in Fairfax, VA and can be contacted via Facebook. His book, Love, Hope, Lyme: What Family Members, Partners, and Friends Who Love a Chronic Lyme Survivor Need to Know is available on Amazon. He is always looking to interview sales or business leaders who have managed Lyme disease to achieve career success.