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RAISING THE BAR: A Show of Thanks – Part 1

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We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives. ~John F. Kennedy

Sometimes, the business and life challenges we face simply cannot be dealt with successfully on our own. It is such a blessing when you have access to professionals to help you find your way through the unfamiliar and scary things you encounter on your journey.

Today I encourage you to sit down with your favourite beverage and make a list of all those around you who are there for you when needed — both paid and unpaid. (Support and encouragement are just as important gifts of service as those from whom you pay to help you move forward.)

I just got back from my PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) rehab session this morning and am thinking about how lucky I am to be working with such gifted and compassionate specialists to help me recover from my injuries. We were talking about the importance of accepting what has happened and dealing directly with any fears about what it all means.

(For those who missed yesterday’s post: How To Stay Alive When Your Brain Is Trying To Kill You, I wrote specifically about fear and what we can do about it.)

For some time now, my trauma counsellors have been encouraging me to write honestly about all the aspects of the accident, including the details of what has happened since and the impact of that. Of course, your natural instinct is to resist thinking about it at all, never mind talking and writing about it. Truly, I hate the very thought of it. It seems better to push it completely out of my mind which, as it turns out, is absolutely the worst possible thing you can do!

Until you can speak your truth, you cannot heal. I know she is right. I know I need to do this; I’ve just been avoiding it because… well, it’s just so hard. Really. Hard.

Many of the fears that hold us back from realizing our full potential are able to do so only because we are unwilling to tell the whole story about them. And so, we remain delusional and in pain from them longer than necessary. Have you ever had to go to someone and say “I can’t do this on my own, I need your help!”? Are you willing to acknowledge that today by reaching out to your people who stepped up to say “thank you”? I hope so.

And that’s what I’ll do now. *takes deep breath*

My Life-Changing Moment

It was late afternoon on a beautiful clear and crisp Fall day. I was travelling southbound on the highway back to Toronto after an awesome weekend in Collingwood. Suddenly, an oncoming car in the northbound lane swerved and crossed over the center line into my lane at high speed, drove straight up my hood, and came wheels first through the windshield.

(This driver was charged with impaired driving. It was not his first offense either; he had just been released from jail for the same crime earlier that afternoon.)

Then a second car hit me and took out the rear and passenger side of my car.

When I regained consciousness, my car had been destroyed (except for where I was sitting), the seatbelt had cut into my throat and was strangling me, my head was in the steering wheel, and my body was trapped under the dashboard. The car appeared to be on fire and the smell of smoke and gasoline was very strong. The heat was so intense I believed the car was going to explode. I was terrified I was going to be burned alive as I was trapped in the vehicle and couldn’t move.

Fortunately, this didn’t happen. The burns to my face, arms and airways were chemical burns from the air bag explosion.

The injury list, not surprisingly, is extensive. It’s been a long, hard recovery. The most challenging of the injuries has been the brain injury. I still struggle with cognitive impairments and other symptoms of it every day. Although it might be a tie between that and the psychological injuries resulting from the initial trauma as well as the subsequent multiple traumas resulting from the personal injury claim process. They too have been devastating.

My Thank You List

The list of doctors, medical specialists, therapists, and others who’ve put their skills to work to save my life is so very long. I’ve thanked them all personally and expressed my gratitude for their services, dedication, kindness, and compassion. Many are still working with me as I remain catastrophically impaired. However, I am still hopeful about returning to work next year some time and will stay focused on that goal.

I would also like to thank all of my students, our community members, former clients and many of their employees, as well as the many friends and strangers who’ve stepped up to help me as well. I am so grateful for everything you have done to support me on this journey. Thank you all.

More next time. Until then, remember to LOVE YOUR WORK, whatever it may be.

PS I hope you’ll find the new RAISING THE BAR series inspiring. If so, please share this post with friends and followers. You never know what burdens others are carrying or how much their load might be made lighter by doing so. ♥♥♥

 

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ABOUT RAISING THE BAR:
Raising The Bar is a new series for the SMARTSTART community that has been taking shape in my head for most of the time I’ve spent working to recover from catastrophic brain, spinal cord and psychological injuries resulting from a near fatal accident in 2009. Success, whether it’s in rehab, business, relationships, or life, hinges on our ability to master this simple formula: Belief (B) + Attitude (A) = Response (R).

I’m excited to be sharing it with you now as a next step in my injury recovery. Consider this your invitation to join me on a grand adventure. Oh, the places we will go! Including all the places that scare us most. For that is where the greatest opportunities for joy and happiness — the true measures of success — reside!