Its been a couple of years now, but I remember this like it was yesterday. I was headed to the mountains to meet my Dad to go fishing, just like I had done a hundred times before. However, on this day, things ended up a little differently.
As I accelerated through a turn in a one lane construction zone, suddenly there were headlights in front of me. I screamed, hit the brakes and went from 65 mph to a dead stop in the blink of an eye. A drunk driver, driving on the wrong side of the highway at 5am, hit me head on. He never even touched his brakes; there were no skid marks on his side of the wreckage. Once I composed myself and climbed out of the car, I went to see if he was alive. He opened his door and basically poured out onto the highway. He just sat there, staring up at me, glassy-eyed. I wanted to kick his teeth in.
It took forty-five minutes for the paramedics to arrive. Traffic was backed up for a mile, the accident blocking the now one lane highway pinched in at a construction zone. I was badly shaken, but unscathed. My car was totaled, and I kept hearing I was lucky to be alive. My counterpart in this event was helicoptered out, flown to a hospital in Scottsdale. I found out later he was released the next morning, not injured, but so intoxicated that the paramedics thought he had a head injury.
It took a while for all of this to sink in; months passed before I really felt like I had a grasp on what had occurred and just how fortunate I was. Statistically, one person dies every 50 minutes due to drunk driving accidents. THAT IS STAGGERING. I didn’t leave that situation thinking the classic thoughts of “Now that I have a second chance, I am going to….” It wasn’t like that for me. I don’t know if I was blocking it out or what, but I didn’t have an instantaneous perspective shift. But at some point, I started to see it for what is was, a very fortunate outcome that could have gone a dozen other ways and all of them bad.
I began to take stock of my life, and although I have been fortunate to have accomplished a fair amount this far, there was more to be had. There was something I had always wanted to do, and yet I had never really taken a step towards bringing it to fruition. That thing was public speaking. So that brings us to where I am today. I am still early in the process, but I am doing my best to make it happen. I finally feel like my life has the right mix of experience, both athletic, professional, and personal, to have some worthwhile things to say. As with anything, some of this will resonate with a few people, and some of it will piss a few people off, for a variety of reasons. It is was it is; you are welcome to scroll on by if this isn’t for you. But remember, just because you may not like it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist. You do you, as I am doing the same.
I am fortunate to have already had some exciting opportunities in the field of public speaking, and have more lined up. It is gaining momentum, ever….so….slowly. Officially, my first talk had six people attend, one of which was a good friend who was there in support. The next had 200. I am excited to see what lies ahead.
Whatever it is that you should be doing, if you are not actively headed in that direction, ask yourself why not. I tell people the story above all the time, and ask them one question at the end: If this had happened to you, what would you do differently in your life? I have probably asked a hundred people so far, and all but three of them had an answer, and pretty quickly too. Only three people had thought for a moment and came back with “I don’t think I would really change my life in any way. I had done the things I set out to do (or am doing them now) and so I would be thankful for the chance to continue doing what I am doing.” Powerful to think a few among us have it pretty well figured out.
Don’t wait for the catalyst of a life-threatening scenario to get you off your butt and started towards something that is burning inside you. You need to do it; the world needs you to do is. You’re not just cheating yourself, you are cheating all of us.