We learn the greatest lessons in life at the deepest and darkest of times. We are given this new set of lenses to see life through, and our perspective is altered by a new understanding of how precious life really is. I first experienced that after being diagnosed with a Grade 3 Astrocytoma, a brain tumor, at 39. Many of us receive this gift of clarity and have little time to appreciate it due to the circumstances we have been faced with. We are able to utilize this new understanding of living in the moment, and appreciating the now, and that is when we digest that it is a gift we have been given for the unasked for journey we have been forced into.
There is an essence to the appreciation of supporting others during times of difficultly that is hard to transpose into words. It’s real; it’s pure; and it’s often selfless. This pandemic has changed life going forward. When lives are altered, change is initiated. We are all being truly tested in a multitude of ways. I have multiple occupations, and I love every one of them. I am a financial services wholesaler, and have been doing it since 1997; I am a successful author; I am also a Keynote Speaker who travels all over the world to share and connect with audiences. I love all of my endeavors. All of them consist of time, much travel, and commitment. Combine them with being a father of three children 13, 11 and 10, a proud and lucky husband of my beautiful and amazing wife, and an ambassador for a charity and time is very hard to come by. I manage it; this is my journey, I own it, and cancer taught me how important work/life balance is. When Covid-19 hit, travel came to a halt. Speeches and meetings were canceled, and work became a virtual occupation. The first speech I gave virtually was for a few thousand people on Zoom. I sat at my desk, I wore a nice shirt, workout shorts and flip-flops. I delivered my story with passion, honesty, and inspiration. I usually walk around the stage when I present, this time I sat in a chair. I was immobile, and my favorite part of speaking is the direct and deep-rooted connection we build through hitting the heart strings of others. It’s real, emotional, and pure. It’s those three components that build trust and inspiration; it’s infectious. When we are all in the same room, you can feel it; you know when it’s happening. I may be the one brought in to motivate and inspire the room, but the audience doesn’t realize their gratitude and appreciation are what truly inspires me. I’m always the thankful one. When I finished, I got off the computer and walked to the kitchen. My wife Rebecca asked me how it went, as she runs our company for talks, book signings, etc. My exact answer was, “I think it was good, but I have no idea! I couldn’t read the audience from a computer. I felt alone, like I was talking to myself.”
About 10 minutes later, her inbox flooded with messages of thanks for having me; the meeting coordinators said the reviews were the best they ever received! They couldn’t be happier with the results, and wanted to hire me again. I wasn’t excited, I was relieved! I needed to find a new way to deliver this virtually, and not just for now, but in perpetuity. This would be part of what we offer, and others want going forward. Virtual is here to stay, and if it’s not adopted and embraced, we become archaic. We can now provide talks, speeches, or any way to get our message across that suits the wonderful people who want us to share with them. Having this time alone in solitude confirmed for me that we will never go back to old ways; the world is in a constant evolution, and we will take this new lesson that a societal and global evil pandemic has initiated and evolve from it. There is no looking backward, just forward. Since that first speech, I have done over 50 in the last 9 months, and this new way of contact has taught me to push myself to welcome new ways of communication and now feel comfortable with them; the way it’s delivered may change, but the message will never grow old. Change breeds complacency, or change breeds opportunity. I say it on every platform I can. I took advantage of change at a time I felt alone, and will continue to do so going forward.