Life can turn on a dime.
One evening you can be enjoying dinner with colleagues during off-site meeting, and less than 12 hours later you can be fighting for your life.
That’s exactly what happened to me.
It’s been 14 years since the morning my life changed forever.
It was July 11, 2001. I started my day with an early morning bike ride. I wanted to get some training and wellness in before being tortured by power point. :) In one instant I was on my bicycle enjoying the New Mexico scenery, and the next I was staring down an SUV traveling close to 40 mph.
He had swerved into my lane and hit me head on.
The accident fractured my right shoulder, femur, and tibia. It also shattered my left femur and lacerated the femoral artery. There were other injuries, but they all sound minor compared to those.
Needless to say, I was in really bad shape.
That day, as my colleagues readied themselves for the day’s meeting, I was laying on the cool desert asphalt thinking that this was a heckuva way to get out of a meeting.
One thing I knew for certain was that if I survived the accident — which was questionable at the time —my life was going to be very different.
I was right; my life transformed in the blink of an eye. My journey, however, continues.
To commemorate this 14-year journey, I offer you 14 lessons that I appreciate more now than I did that morning 14 years ago:
1. Shift your Mindset: Henry Ford was right when he said: “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t—you are right.” Most of the time your biggest competitor is you and your mindset.
2. It’s Not About the Bike: Nor is it about the paycheck, title, or perks. It’s always about what those things represent like pride, respect, accomplishment, and joy.
3. Timing is Important: Whether it’s meeting someone special, getting the right trauma surgeon, or starting a new business, timing is fundamental to success.
4. Be Present: Being overly attached to your goals prevents you from being present in the moment. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow isn’t here. Success is built today. Make today your priority.
5. Five Alive: Jim Rohm said: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are your peloton members lifting you up?
6. Rise and Shine. Growth is hard. If you want it, learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Your comfort zone is the home of your biggest competitor, you, and it’s a threat to your vision of greatness.
7. Get a Navigator: Everyone needs a trusted mentor and/or coach who can help you strategize, make action plans, push your buttons, and hold you accountable. They come with no judgment and focused only on your agenda. They help make No. 6 easier.
8. Solo Breakaways Rarely Succeed: An effective peloton always moves faster than a breakaway artist. A strong team, whether in sports, business or life, will always outpace a star. See #5.
9. Small Acts of Kindness: Sometimes a guy just wants his lawn mowed, a steak dinner, or just a dime as psychologist Norbert Schwarz found. Our actions are like ripples in a pond. Small acts of kindness can make some of the biggest, most joyous ripples.
10. Heavy Lifters: Physicians, rightfully so, get a lot love and attention, but nurses also share the love and make hospitals run. It’s no different in corporations. Executives get the press, but the team drives the news. Remember your heavy lifters.
11. Mindfulness: Want to shift your mindset? Meditate - give your mind a rest. It works. Give your amygdala a break and strengthen your frontal cortex pathways. Give your yourself 10 minutes a day. Nothing is on T.V. anyway.
12. Ask for Help: There’s no shame in asking for assistance. It doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less of a leader or less of man. Even the best need to be passed a water bottle or receive, as Goldsmith recommends, feed forward. It makes you human and part of the peloton. Nobody is perfect. So, stop pretending.
13. Haters Gonna Hate: In life you will face haters and doubters. Their doubt has more to do with them than you. Just shake it off, and step into your vision of greatness— it’s working for TSwift.
14. Show Up – You will be ahead of most and moving toward greatness if you just show up, lean-in, or better yet, jump-in. Tell fear to take a hike and live. Life is too short. Be defined by how you respond to your life challenges.
People have asked me if I wish my accident had never happened.
Although the recovery was an extremely hard road to travel, I’ve learned so much from my successes and setbacks that it’s difficult to look back with regret.
I’ve gained wisdom and have been touched by so many wonderful people because of the accident. And now, as an executive coach and speaker, I get the privilege of sharing what I’ve learned, which often changes people’s lives. Plus, my clients get the benefit of learning what I’ve learned without the hard knocks and avoiding going to my extreme. How cool is that!?!
So, the short answer is No Way! I don’t regret any of it.
Now, I have to cut this short; I’m racing tomorrow. Time to drop the hammer!
But, before I go, I want to share a tool I created that will give you a head start on the hard lessons I’ve gleaned on my journey.
“Shift Gears to Make Tomorrow Better than Today” will help you incorporate the B.E.S.T. principles into your life so you can become the leader you aspire to be.
Simply click the link to receive your free copy.