If you have Lyme disease, you know firsthand the desperation that comes from being misdiagnosed, misunderstood, and misdirected. My next guest took on these challenges, all while growing his solar business. Welcome to the Author Hour podcast. I’m your host, Hussein Al-Baiaty. My next guest is Taylor Nelson, who’s here to celebrate and talk about his newest book, Walk the Lyme. Let’s get into it.

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the show. My name is Hussein Al-Baiaty. I’m here sitting with my friend Taylor Nelson, who just launched his new book called Walk the Lyme. I’m super excited, because this book you guys, I got to tell you, it sucked you right in. Taylor, you did a great job. Thanks for coming on the show today. I really appreciate your time.

Taylor Nelson: Yeah. Thank you. It’s funny you say that, because everyone I’ve sent the book to so far before the release date, they all read it within a day. At first I was almost offended like, “Dang,” I was like, “Oh, well, hopefully that means it’s interesting.”

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yes, yes. I felt the same way with my book in the sense that like, “Man, I spent like a two years on this. You got to take at least a week.” Reality is, to be honest, your book was just so easy to get into and in every sentence, in every paragraph I wanted more. I wanted to know more; what’s going on? What’s happening? How did this happen? So as soon as the reader gets in that questioning mode, you get attached to that thing. Like I said, I was up to like midnight, skimming through this book. I was like, “Man, I got to really sit down with this.” It’s really powerful. It’s such a powerful memoir. Your stories are just prolific. I’m really excited to share components of it with our audience because I want them to go buy this book. It’s super important.

I want to start by giving our listeners an idea of who you are, man. Your personal background, where you grew up, the people that influenced you. How you wound up in this path of entrepreneurship.

Taylor Nelson: Yeah. It’s been a wild journey. Originally, I’m from Utah. Throughout my experiences, and there’s one point, I was living in low-income housing, and there’s a bunch of weird stuff; this guy’s always trying to steal my mountain bike, randomly. I go to the laundry room and there’s a random guys head in there. I was like, “Okay, I don’t really want to be here anymore. I made a decision, I sold my TV. I bought business books. I said, “I never want to be in this situation again.” Then I started doing online entrepreneurship, a whole bunch of random stuff. I lived in Thailand, Vietnam. I also lived in Chile, and Colombia, a bunch of random places.

Then online business failed. Then I went to sell solar. As I started selling solar, it was extremely challenging. Then that’s where I started hitting a big stride. I was one of the top guys in the country and all that stuff. Right at my peak is where Lyme came in, decided to take it all away from me. I lost it all. Hit rock bottom, couldn’t work for a year and a half. I started selling solar again. Then I made a decision to start a business. It wasn’t like, “Oh, I had this master business plan. I made this huge conscious decision. I just said, “I’m going to do this myself.”

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. Yeah, man. So in this story, in this journey, right, because we just covered a lot here in a few moments, but I want to unpack it a little bit. First of all, selling solar, you make it sound easy, but it’s not. I mean, it’s a hustle. It’s out there, you’re grinding, you’re becoming this, but it does a lot of different things, right? It builds your confidence. It builds your way of telling stories. It builds your way of just selling something that people should generally should think about switching to, right? But it’s a hard conversation. Let’s be honest. Not everyone agrees with some of the things that solar people tend to sell, right, which is again in of itself a challenge.

With this new challenge now that arise in your life, of course, being hit with Lyme disease, that of course adds a whole different layer of complexity and how you feel about yourself, how you feel about the world, all those kinds of things. When that happened, you said like, “I lost it all.”

But man losing the things that you work really hard for is difficult and deciding to relinquish how you feel about that in order to take care of yourself. Man, that’s another mountain all of itself. How were you able to do these things in a parallel way, where you’re able to start trying to figure out how to take care of yourself? Because I know you went through a journey, but really building out your business from that mindset.

Taylor Nelson: Yeah. It’s a really interesting dichotomy. Before the Lyme, it’s just very hustle, go hard, push through, and your mind can do anything. When I got sick, that mindset was very hard, because I ingrained it so deeply into my brain. It was very hard to let aspects of that go. That mindset kept me sick, kept me from pushing too hard. It was hard for me, because when I say I lost everything, I mean, I lost friends, I lost my health, I used to love to work out and I couldn’t work out anymore. Even then, I would go and still go to the gym, and then it was only hurting me.

I had to be like, okay cool, you can’t go to the gym anymore. That took me a long time to go, okay. You’re very sick. This is not working, maybe your mode of thinking is incorrect. I still struggled with it, because I’m wired – I’m a type A, but trying to be type A minus type of deal. So it was very hard to pull back. There’s still elements of that mentality, don’t give up. Always strive, but there has to be with a health problem. There has to be a “Okay, I got to surrender. I got to accept.” I cool. I can’t do this anymore, but I can do this. All right, let me focus on what I can do and not dwell on what I can’t do. The mental and the emotional aspect of that made me dive deeper into my own psychology than I even knew it was possible.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: So powerful, man. I know, there’s – you talked about this in your book, but what are some components? When people deal with Lyme disease, right? It’s a struggle. It’s so many different variables. Again, it has so much complexity. What was the thing that stood out for you, but you knew there was a strength behind it, that you can really lean into, that can really helped you in a way understand and overcome these challenges.

Taylor Nelson: A strength as in –

Hussein Al-Baiaty: A strength as in like, yeah, like from within and facing like, “Okay I’m building this business, but I’m also trying to figure out how to navigate this health.” What was something that you already had within you that you really started dealing in on, whether it be a quote that you remember or an experience that kept you pushing forward?

Taylor Nelson: Yeah. There’s a combination of things I had to do to push myself that never giving up that has stayed with me and in the past are some things where I should have given up sooner.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Sure.

Taylor Nelson: I’d rather persist too long than give up too quick. The never giving up attitude, I doubled down on certain principles. So with my team, I doubled down on that; it’s not about me, it’s about them and trying to provide value for people and forgetting about myself. Also forgetting about myself allowed me to forget about my pain, so focusing on my team and building them up, I was able to escape myself. I could feel really bad and run a sales meeting and for some reason, during that sales meeting for an hour, I’d have a little bit of relief. Then other than that some of the stuff to keep going was a little bit darker and a little bit deeper like I have my friend, his name is Carlos. I have his fingerprint, it’s on a necklace. I call it spiritual willpower.

Sometimes it was so hard that I would lay in bed, I grabbed the dog tag, and I say, “Cool, you got to do it for Carlos.” Just go into that deep reservoir of my soul. Okay, cool. We got to go run an appointment. You got to just focus for an hour and a half. Then after that you can rest. Other than that, Lyme in general, sounds weird. Maybe should have a disclaimer, but I had what was called suicide carrots. I would say, “Cool, I’m in extreme suffering, very bad. If I’m not better by the end of the year, then I can exit.” It sounds weird and to a normal person that would sound totally insane and that you should never do that, but my brain needed to know there was an endpoint to the suffering.

Then when the New Year came by, obviously, I just come up with another one, right? I was like this perpetual. I’m telling myself, “Cool. Just one more year. If you’re still sick at the end of this year, it’s alright. You can leave.” But then the New Year would come and go, “Okay, I’m still here. Let’s do one more.” My brain just needed, “Hey, this is not going to be a forever thing.” So I had to artificially create this container of, okay, there’s an endpoint. There’s an endpoint. I just had to keep moving the endpoint for keep moving the endpoint forward to get to where I am.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Wow, man. It’s so powerful. Thinking about that like this idea of just like giving your brain just what it needs, just teasing it with what it needs, but then staying refocused on the journey that you’re on, the journey of healing. How did these two start to come together? How did you start building this business? I mean, because I know, again, back to selling, back to you just went off and started your own thing. These are very difficult things you’re approaching. How did you start? Then like, what happened next, as far as building that business and what that looked like for you?

Taylor Nelson: Yeah. I started it up. I was selling my own deals and which are bringing a few people that I had someone come on in Vegas. I started growing his team. All I did for the business for probably first couple years was study John Maxwell. I just listened to five levels of leadership over and over and over and over and over and over and over. Whenever it was, I want the team to do something I would just do it myself. The business is four years old. I outsold everybody for the first three years while running the business. I mean, knocking doors is all mental things.

I remember my VP of sales at the time he goes, “Man, how are we going to get our guys to knock at night? No one’s going to want to knock at night.” I said, “We go knock at night – okay we go knock at night. We show some success.” Then now they will. As more let me lead the way and then they will follow, but it was – the pain of building a business and the pain of Lyme disease simultaneously. I mean, I don’t want to do that again, for sure. I would not recommend. I’m glad that it’s not the severe suffering that it was, but that’s what I had to do at the time.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah, man. Again, this is why I wanted to really talk and harp on this, because there’s an insane amount of difficulty in both, right? In managing both and the fact that you really dedicated yourself to the input by selling your TV and just buying some business books, by just focusing on like one year at a time, by really breaking your life down and saying, “You know what? Let me just get through the sales call, all right, or this for an hour and a half the sales meeting.” Like just one step at a time. I really valued that so much and understanding it throughout your book. Those are the kinds of thoughts I started implementing during and definitely after I sold my business. I did an apparel printing business for about 15 years.

Again, yes, I very much share that. Like it’s difficult to manage all those decisions on top of trying to take care of yourself, because yourself takes a backseat when you’re – usually when you’re all in on business. It sounds like at the beginning, that’s where you were, but then obviously, things had to shift, because you’re healing and resting was just as important as the hustle. Obviously, you can become more precise, right? You become more value to your business, your teammates, all that good stuff. Man, I really, again, I’m enjoying your journey. Where does this lead us? How did you then decide like, “Hey it’s time for me to really put my wisdom in a book and start this other journey?” That’s very difficult.

Taylor Nelson: Yes.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: You got to back them up, man. I’m reading your book. I’m like, “How’s this guy? – Like this is amazing. Where does that space start to happen where things start to heal and improve? Then when did you realize like, “Okay, now that I’ve learned these lessons and I have this wisdom, how can I give back? How can I share what I went through?”

Dig Deep and Find Your Why

Taylor Nelson: Yeah. There’s a couple things there. One, I’m big on finding your why and having a purpose to drive you forward. When I would dig deep on my why, for some reason, I always came back to I want to represent being in a harsh situation rising up to give other people permission to do the same. So it was always on my mind that at some point, I wanted to come back and help. Then other people always told me you should write a book. You should write a book. You should write a book. Then in end of 2020, when COVID first came out, I got a really bad case of it. I was like nebulizing glutathione and trying to protect my lungs. My lungs are getting all crazy. I’m up all night. It’s funny, because I’m not really that religious. I guess I ordered a Bible off Amazon one night, because I was so sick. It came to my house. “Oh, I forgot about that night, but –

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Let’s start with something. Yeah.

Taylor Nelson:  I had some deep thoughts. I was like, “I’m not – I don’t think I’m going to die right now, but if this was the point where I die, what is something I would regret?” The first thing that came to my mind was, “You didn’t write the book.” I go, “All right, cool.” After I got better from COVID, I wrote the book. As I just told myself, at least 30 minutes every day, no matter what, just write, no matter how painful it is. Luckily, after about 10, 15 minutes, most days, the pain goes away. Then it becomes exciting. I write for an hour, instead. So I just spent 30 minutes to an hour every day writing it. Then editing it was the hardest part and actually trying to make it work. If I was to rewrite a book now, I would totally do it differently, but I just wrote the whole thing. Then went to an editor and said, “Hey, I wrote this book. Now we have to turn it into something that’s readable.”

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah.

Taylor Nelson: It was just a combination of, “Cool, this is what I need to do.” I’m overwhelmed. I’m busy. It’s hard, but I know, you can pretty much accomplish anything 30 minutes a day, over a period of time. So I just cool no matter what, 30 minutes I’m going to write. It doesn’t matter if it sucks or not. I’m going to do that every day.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. So that’s super powerful, man. While working on a book, how do you think that journey of writing and editing perhaps changed you in a way, maybe it opened up or revealed something in you? Because I know, again, obviously, every challenge you’ve been in, has developed you in some way. What would you say the book writing journey has been like for you?

Taylor Nelson: The biggest things was, I had to work through a little bit of pain. It was almost an emotional therapy session for me to finally write down some of these crazy things that happened. Then also realizing, “Oh, okay.” Yeah, I was sick. Yeah, I was out of my mind, but a lot of my relationships that suffered, was my fault. Realizing that helped me now that I’m in a better place. Cool, I need to reach out to people. I need to be healthier. I need to focus on prioritizing relationships better and come to the table in a better state of mind. During Lyme, it was hard, because it felt like everyone was abandoning me. It was really painful being in a painful spot and seeing that happen, but looking back, it’s like, yeah. I was in a deep, heavy place. I was a little bit messed up, so not everybody can deal with that. It gave me forgiveness. It gave me accountability for that period of time.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. That introspection, right, where you start to really reflect back on those memories, however, you start to see them a little bit differently. You start to see them from compassion and empathy, but not just for yourself, obviously, for others. They may have been there trying to help you, but you probably didn’t see it, right, or didn’t see it the way you want it to, or they weren’t. That’s okay, too. You didn’t see that as well. I think, yeah. For me, personally when I was writing my book, I felt the same way. I felt like, “Wow. What a revelation.” It puts those stories in order in a way and makes you analyze your own emotions.

Again, it’s very cathartic. Of course, I’m sure you felt that way, too. Also really revealing, right? You reveal yourself to yourself. I know that sounds really weird. Within the writing process, that’s what’s happening, you really unraveling your own knowledge and your wisdom and your experiences to dissect it and relearn from them. It’s very, very empowering. I know it was for me, but from what you learned, what would you pass on to another author?

Taylor Nelson: Oh, if I was to write another book, I would go straight to an editor or firm or whatever, and say, “Hey, this is the book I am going to write. I’d start working with them from day one.” So that, as you write the book it’s being written in a good structure, it’s being written in a good flow. You’re going chapter by chapter, making sure it makes sense. Cool. I’m going to write a chapter, talk to my editor. Write another chapter, talk to my editor. I think that would be a much easier and produce a better book than the way I did it, which was write everything by myself in isolation and then once the books completely written drop it on an editor’s desk.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Yeah. Yeah.

Taylor Nelson: If I was writing another one, I just go straight to the editor and “Hey, this is not my book idea. Let’s hop on a call. This is my story. This is what I want the book to do. What would you recommend for flow? I have an idea, but what would you think?” Then I would work alongside someone and write the book that way.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: That’s powerful, man. It’s powerful. Now again, learning from that process. You learn how to gauge it and how to restructure in a way that’s beneficial and more efficient, for sure. I love that, but what would you say that we talked about a couple different things here and your story, but what would you say Lyme disease taught you about building a business? Because I feel like for me, I went through a refugee camp at a very young age, but honestly, in a weird way, it taught me how to approach my business, especially in storytelling and all those kinds of things. What would you say – that’s why I believe. I believe our difficulties and our challenges, of course, help us in some way, shape or form, but in this scenario, in building your business. How would you say those two correlate?

Taylor Nelson: I think, obviously, Lyme gave me a very high ability to compartmentalize pain. People want to say that, businesses rainbows whatever was a lot of pain. It’s a lot of pain. I think, Elon Musk, said it’s like eating glass and staring into the abyss, right?

Hussein Al-Baiaty: I remember that. Yes.

Taylor Nelson: The pressure and the pain and there was a lot of days when the business was to get hard. I would literally say to myself, “This isn’t harder than Lyme.” Next week, “Oh, this is hard, but it’s not harder than Lyme.” I keep going. Keep going. Keep going. I think Lyme keeps me humble, because I can’t get out of control or get whatever, because it’ll just kick my ass. It’s this constant, just very humbling thing. So that might have allowed other people to trust me and know that, “Hey, I’m here helping you. Yeah. There’s a different thing going on. I’m not like a guy that’s just trying to manipulate you to get you to do what I want. I only care about myself.” I think with the humbling of the Lyme and the hard hit, not only allowed me to compartmentalize pain, but it also put my mindset and more of a servant, leadership attitude. I couldn’t really get cocky or out of control, because I literally was disabled in a way.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Right. So powerful, man. I love how you view it so positively, right? Like obviously, this has taken time for you to really immerse and accept your fate, right? Except like who you are, how you are, and why you are. Taking all of those things and turning them into the strength and balancing yourself. Now that you point to it and say that thing humbles me. That thing makes me comfortable in who I am and being really myself and authentic. That’s what I want in my business and the things that I want to do, much more meaningful that way.

I love that. It really comes out to me in your book. It’s so powerful. I’m glad you touched on that. I will have one more question for you. It’s really around the feelings in which we try to evoke in our books, right? In our writing, in our messages, so imagine that reader, that person that is struggling with something similar, perhaps. They just got done with your book. They just put it down, how do you hope they feel and what they walked away with? What’s that feeling you hope to capture?

Taylor Nelson:  Yeah. When I wrote it, I wrote it as in when I was all by myself. I’m super sick, and I feel so alone. What would have helped me to read and I would have been this is the reality of what I’m going through. This is what I did. So what I wanted it was I was so close to losing hope so many times. Obviously, I had to use suicide carrots. I was very mentally distraught and ill. So I want the book to be, “Hey, this is why I went through. This is why I honestly went through, so you don’t feel so alone and isolated in these symptoms that are insane, but you look good on the outside. So no one believes you and all that.” I want that person that’s reading the book to feel heard, to feel seen, and gained some hope that at one point they will pull through as well.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Taylor, man. That’s really powerful, brother. The idea of to be heard and to be seen, I definitely deeply resonate with that, simply because again, when I was sharing my story, that’s what I wanted for young kids, young sons and daughters of refugees to feel whether they’re at school or in their work. I’m so grateful that you brought this forward in our world, sharing your wisdom and how you not only coped and like literally turned yourself into a guinea pig to try to figure out how to heal. It’s so powerful in your book, man.

I’m grateful for the raw story and experiences that you’ve shared, an extremely powerful and I pray that they continue helping people out there in the world as well. Deeply resonate with your work and hopefully reach a level that you are able to get to in the healing and the processing of how to manage and deal with Lyme disease Taylor, my friend. It has been an honor sitting down and getting to know you today. I learned so much. Thank you for sharing your stories and your experiences. The book is called Walk the Lyme: From Knocking on Death’s Door to Building a Multimillion-Dollar Business. Besides checking out the book, where can people find you?

Taylor Nelson: They can find the website walkthelyme.com. Lyme is L-Y-M-E. The book is also on Amazon, but walkthelyme.com. We’ll have the link to the book. I have a thought section where I can update it and put more stuff on there. My email’s on the website, as well.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Beautiful. Can people reach you on LinkedIn as well?

Taylor Nelson: Yeah, LinkedIn. I don’t really check it as much. So email is probably better, but you can reach me on LinkedIn as well.

Hussein Al-Baiaty: Beautiful. Well, Taylor. Thanks again for your time today. I really appreciate it. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you today, brother.

Taylor Nelson: Hey, thank you.