People often get into ruts, where it seems like the sky is falling, and every decision made is perceived as incorrect or wrong. And sometimes, people will go through unlucky times. My personal journey has certainly had its share of good and bad luck over the years, but it has helped shape me as a man, husband, father, friend, and leader. While we all think we control every decision in every situation, you are incorrect. There are always going to be factors outside of your control that will impact you. Every day you make choices to be a fountain or a drain. Positively focus on the things you can control, and when in “unlucky times,” work to get out of that rut quickly. Life is too short and too valuable to be taken for granted.
I know of a very special person who was experiencing pain in her right knee. She listened to all sorts of doctors and physical therapists who gave her advice for 18 months, but eventually, surgery was the answer, with a 12-month recovery time. During month 8 of her recovery on her right knee, her left knee began to bother her (which never happened before). An MRI revealed that she would need the same surgery on her left knee and her 12-month recovery starting line reset. She found out that there was nothing she could control with the deterioration of her knee condition and that these knee challenges were hereditary. This situation is the definition of unlucky, but we quickly shifted gears and went through an exercise to have her appreciate all of the good she has in her life. In the short term, she will have to work even harder to get better, and the physical and emotional toll will be tough to overcome. The long-term recovery that we will now focus on, along with getting better 1% per day. We know she will be back stronger than ever. This special person is my 15-year-old daughter, who is the bravest and most determined person I know.
I am an extroverted optimist who tries to control the outcomes of my life. I trust people until they give me a reason not to trust them. It is tough to earn that trust back with me if lost. I focus on working harder and smarter than anyone because I am surrounded by people who are better than me both at work and at home. I also focus on consistently being fair, being present, and being honest to everyone around me. I love the grind of being purpose and process focused. Some days I succeed, and a lot of days I fail. I like to humbly review my life every now and then and “count my blessings.” To celebrate the luck of the Irish and St. Patrick’s Day, I went through the following exercise last week to remind me of the extraordinary life I am able to live. I ask you to conduct a similar exercise to identify 10 reasons why you are lucky as an individual. A similar exercise can be conducted with your teams.
I am a lucky man for the following 10 reasons:
- I am married to the most amazing woman in the world, who has always been by my side to help me survive and advance in life (A little march madness quote).
- I have two incredible children who I love to spend time with.
- We have three great dogs in our home who are always smiling and happy to see us.
- I have a roof over my head, meals to eat, clothes to wear, and a car to drive and live in a great state in a free country.
- I am fortunate to have a job that I truly love and has a direct impact on the happiness and development of others. Almost everyday, it does not feel like work.
- I am surrounded by so many talented people, both personally and professionally.
- I get to work with two excellent Non-Profit Groups, NCFC Youth and Make-A-Wish Eastern North Carolina to help improve the lives of others.
- Through my health challenges over the last 24 months, I have learned how to help mentor others going through similar cancer recovery situations.
- I have an internal “Board of Directors” who I trust to guide me with decisions in my life.
- All of these connections mentioned above make me realize I am never perfect, they accept me as I am, and challenge me to be better.
On March 18, 2021, I was dealt the unlucky hand of having a very aggressive and rare form of cancer in my head that was negatively impacting the dura layer of my brain. The limited statistics on this disease noted that people diagnosed with this type of cancer and it’s size and location had a mortality rate of 75% in two years. That two year diagnosis anniversary is tomorrow. What I have thought about over the last three weeks is how this unlucky day two years ago has actually been a blessing, because I will never again feel unlucky due to the ten reasons I listed above. I focus on being a fountain every day. Remember that tomorrow is not guaranteed and that life should be enjoyed daily.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!!! or Happy St. Patrick’s Day in English!!!
Well Done> Well Said-