Oct 17, 201209:28 AMPetra Learning, LLC
Tips for the Business Professional
Pushing Through When Your World's Turned Upside Down
On Saturday, September 15, 2012 at around 2PM, my world turned upside down, literally. I received a call that no parent ever wants to receive. My oldest son had been shot 3 times in a home invasion. He was being life-flighted to a Level 1 trauma hospital in Pittsburgh. Saturday, afternoon came and went; no word from the surgeons. Saturday evening came and went, still in surgery, still no prognosis. What a long night that was. People would think I was crazy, but I spent most of the night reading, writing, and praying. I read my Bible for a while, then I issued a blog, and I worked on my eBook. I prayed, and then I wrote a script for my September podcast. I believe I even recorded it that night – don’t ask me what time. I didn’t write or record because these things were critical. I did these things because sleep was out of the question and I needed to keep my mind off of what I couldn’t control. Early Sunday afternoon we would finally get to see him and what a sight it was. He was still not out of danger. At least 2 more surgeries were still necessary and that’s to deal with what they knew about. Other things could still surface once the initial trauma subsided. But we did get to spend the day together Sunday watching football. Though I don’t know how much he really watched with all the drugs that were flowing through his system and the morphine drip that was helping to keep the pain to a bearable level. On Monday, he would return to surgery, six more painstaking hours of waiting. All would go well. Or so that said, but then he would return to surgery Tuesday for a few more hours to do with issues in his stomach and abdomen. Almost 20 hours of surgery in four days.
His next 8 days in the hospital would pass in a whirlwind. I would find myself trekking back and forth multiple times during those 8 days to teach a class or a seminar here in Columbus and then head back to the hospital. I don’t even know how many miles I logged. It’s now been one month since that heart-stopping day. In the course of this month, I’ve also made a trip to Evansville, Indiana to spend time with my freshman daughter and provide comfort and assurance to her that all is well here. And I’ve gone to Savannah, Georgia for a personal retreat. Some recovery time for me before the day-to-day realities of being a caregiver set in completely. Now I’m getting into a rhythm of being a caregiver, teaching college classes, running my business, and reengaging in my Christian fellowship groups. I don’t have room for much more in my day but it all gets done. The fact that I made it through this month with a smile on my face and joy in my heart doesn’t seem possible. The fact that I make it through each day, regardless of the challenge that it brings, with gratitude, peace, and contentment doesn’t seem possible but it is. My schedule changes constantly. I don’t know what challenge may await us as he progresses through his recovery but that doesn’t worry me. That wasn’t always the case. There was a time when such disruption to my life would have left me in a knot on anxiety. I would have been a ball of stress ready to explode. The combined pressures of anxiety and stress would have left me susceptible to colds with lingering coughs. I doubt if I’m alone here. I’m sure many of you have been where I was at. So the question I wanted to answer for you is how did I get from there to here?
The past two years of my life can be summed up with these three phrases – “letting go”, “breaking through”, and “holding on”. I let go of those things that were causing disproportional strife if my life and were robbing me of job. Many of these things were hard to let go of because they were comfortable, I was good at them, and I had been doing them for some time. I had a reputation, an image, and a brand. And I was letting go of all of it to grab on to my passion. The list of things of let go of is pretty long. It includes my execution position at Ernst and Young, several board positions, and professional association leadership roles. This letting go allowed me to break through into new things that tied to my passion. The list of what I broke through to is just as long as what I let go of. I started my own company. I began teaching at the college level. I began writing, doing professional research, and developing learning. I joined new professional associations aligned with my new focus. I joined new social groups and began taking classes through the Ohio School of Ministry to further my Christian foundations. I grabbed onto a view of my future that is 10x better than my past; not because I’m making more money but because I’m having a greater impact. I’m holding on to that view through all the ups and downs. It’s the vision, the vision of why that motivates me. It’s not about what I let go of but why I let go. It’s not even about what I’m breaking through to but why I’m breaking through that keeps me holding on and pushing through. It’s that 10x vision that allows me to continually assess what else I might need to let go of to grab onto something else. It gives me flexibility and agility like never before. What’s amazing is that once you have that mindset it begins to permeate everything. I find myself de-cluttering my closet and my home. I can imagine all kinds of uses for things that are just sitting around in my house. I hope many, many people benefit from them. And in the end, I have room to move to the next thing that life has in store for me. I’m letting go, I’m breaking through, I’m holding on, and because of that I’m able to push through even when my world is turned upside down.