What is it that defines who you are? You will only know that once you have learned to hit the curveball!
I want you to think back for a moment. What was the one thing that happened in your life that motivated you to change forever? Truly knowing your purpose in life only comes once you have recognized your tipping point!
It’s tough isn’t it? I mean, over our lives, so many things happen that contribute to shaping where we are today; often times, people find it impossible to think of that one defining moment.
For me, it is easy. That one moment is as vivid today as it was 5 years ago when it happened!
In many of my speaking engagements, I refer back to that business book, The Tipping Point and relate it to the personal side of life – how small things can make a MAJOR impact in our lives!
If I asked you what you were doing 5 years ago on May 19th, 2011, I am sure that most people would not remember it as anything more than ‘just another regular Thursday’ right? Well, it was anything but ‘regular’ for me.
May 19th, 2011 is a date that will forever remain in my mind, as I’d set out to do something that most of us could never really ever be prepared for. That was the day that I began to put together all of my own final arrangements – funeral details such as who would be my pall bearers, music selections, who would speak at my service, and I had gathered photos for a video that would be made and given to my friends and family of us together during much happier times.
Certainly it was a very difficult and daunting task.
Let’s not forget, only 5 months before this, I was a healthy, athletic father of 2 fabulous teenage daughters, a career as a senior management executive, and I had more great friends than a guy could ask for…but it all seemed to come crashing down so suddenly when I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
I lost 50 lbs. in 15 weeks and as I continued to get weaker, I remembered the words that Pat Burns, Hockey Hall Of Fame member and NHL coach said before he died of cancer. Burns said, “Don’t be sad that it’s over…be happy that it happened!” While he was right, I didn’t know how I would muster up the courage to say those words to my daughters during what I thought would be my final days.
Here we are, 5 years later and I get to enjoy simple things like:
- Going for a run in the forest with my dog
- Stopping by my favorite Italian bistro for lunch when I am in the city
- Paying too much for and buying last-minute concert tickets ‘just because’
- Pick up my daughters for ice cream
- Speak in front of and make an impact on an audience of complete strangers
- Go to the Saturday Farmer’s Market to eat a crepe…and a breakfast pizza
Today, I am cancer-free; in fact, doctors have said that things went so well that it is like it never even happened! Medical professionals have used words like ‘miracle’ and ‘incredible’ to describe my recovery.
I have the opportunity to do what I love to do – helping people in their personal and professional lives, as well as help organizations motivate, inspire and train their employees so that they move from being a group of individuals to a galvanized team.
I now have the privilege of speaking in front of Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, sales teams, professional sports teams, foundations and to high school and university students about beating the odds, overcoming obstacles and living life to the fullest.
One cannot ever gain this type of perspective from any ‘How To’ book or university course. Those life lessons have helped me grow in ways that I could have never planned out!
Helping an audience of complete strangers, often business professionals working with large organizations, grasp this ‘life’ understanding has become one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
Imagine the impact it has on organizations when their CEO asks his team to put down their pens, turn off their phones and simply listen to someone talk about life. The impact is profound!
I am also fulfilling another dream of mine – co-authoring a book with someone who is very important to me. We have always been 2 guys who have believed in ‘doing what we said that we will do’! In October, we will launch an inspirational leadership book and we are very excited to share our thoughts through our words.
Never would I have thought that I would be in this position only a few short years ago…and neither did so many others!
Some of these things come to a person through their own instincts that they’ve been born with. Other times, they are learned from experience. Most times though, some of our very best qualities in life are taught through lessons that come from great mentors. For me, I have had a few very important people come into my life over time. One of them was a man named Ted Fletcher.
Someone recently asked me for my thoughts on how to deal with the things that life throws at us. My response was very simple: “Everyone is going to have curves thrown at them throughout their life. Learn to hit the curveball really, really well!”
Through his examples of leadership, drive, passion, perseverance, commitment, focus and dedication, Ted taught me how to ‘hit the curveball’.
No days are ‘just a regular Tuesday’ for me any longer…and that is a great place to be in. I hope that all of you can get to that place too!
Life is good!