As I write this post, exactly six years ago to the day (November 20th, 2010), I was laying in an ICU in a regional cardiac unit at a nearby hospital. Earlier in the morning I had rushed to the hospital with intense pressure in my chest. The doctors at the emergency room told me that I was either having or had had a heart attack.
I was 38 years old at the time.
Over the course of three days, I was put through more exams and tests than I could imagine. Over the course of three days, I had blood drawn many times and nitroglycerin pumped into my body to aid circulation, but which caused horrific headaches. Finally, the surgeon overseeing my care brought me in for a heart catheter to go directly into my heart.
Fortunately after this entire event, the feedback was that the doctors didn’t know what happened. My heart was strong and no blockage was observed. The doctors could not explain what had happened.
Regardless of what the doctors said, I knew what was wrong. I was living to work, instead of working to live. My weight had ballooned from lack of exercise, an awful diet, no sleep, and near constant stress. I was my own worst enemy and I had broken a promise I had made to myself to never let the job jeopardize my ability to support and care for my family.
When I left the hospital on the 23rd of November, I truly felt like I had been given some unbelievable second chance. And since then, I have been able to drop 30 lbs, get on a diet that not only nourishes, but heals my body, and while I still improve more in the sleep department, I am trying to get 6.5 to 7.5 hours a night along with regular exercise.
I have been blessed to work with two amazing international organizations and have had wonderful teams to lead. My kids are growing (they were 3 and 6 years old at the time) and we are getting ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas as usual. But I always remember this day as I stare at my wrist (where the surgeon went in with the heart catheter) and I remember this day, not with regret, but with pure gratitude. I have so much to be thankful in my life, but I am eternally thankful for second chances.
While I appreciate “Likes”, “Shares”, and “Comments”, please do me a favor – take care of yourself. There is no job in this world worth ruining your health and relationships over. And as the saying goes “You won’t be thinking about work on your death bed.” And trust me, you won’t. So no matter where you are at in your career, be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for your own second chances. And make the most of your time, energy, and passion to make a difference in the careers of those around you.
To my wife…..I wouldn’t be here today without you. Thank you for everything you have done to encourage and push me in these last six years. Special thanks also to my youngest sister and a childhood friend who took a chance and got me transferred to the best cardiac treatment center in the region.
Here is this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
Don’t Try to Be the Best. Just Be 1% Better Every Day – by James Altucher
- SO WHAT: Best thing I read all week – like last week’s post, start small, but start.
Not Doing All the Things We Want to Do – by Leo Babuta
- SO WHAT: We tend to overestimate our ability to do everything we want – a great read about recognizing that and what to do about it.
“It’s an exercise in seeing”: An artist’s mind-opening ritual of doodling on Sundays – by Anne Quito
- SO WHAT: Why doodling is an exercise in seeing.
WHAT ARE THE SECRETS TO ACTUALLY BECOMING A GREAT SPEAKER? – by Do Lectures
- SO WHAT: “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” – Mark Twain
7 Skills That Are Hard To Learn But Pay Off Forever – by Travis Bradberry
- SO WHAT: There is truth in the statement that these are hard. “Listening” and “Knowing When to Shut up” are two of the best.
All the best, kevin