“King astutely recognized that our contempt of other people is largely inspired by our disregard for ourselves … The first step is recognition. Many people can’t even identify what it is about themselves that they despise. This leads to a general sense of vulnerability and unease and a strong defensive reflex to lash out at anyone who seems to be uncovering the hidden shame. We often don’t want to identify those shortcomings which, if they came to light in our consciousness, would make us feel ashamed.”
My client, Dave, was consistently happy and fully engaged in life. He loved his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He rode it to Key West and the Rocky Mountains. He fully enjoyed great meals and entertainment. He loved his wife and family. He managed to do all this while being the CFO of a successful business. He did not fit my stereotype of a CFO. So much for stereotypes.
In addition to the individual coaching I did with Dave, I worked with the entire executive team for two years to totally revamp their business structure and processes. In addition to monthly meetings, we had several multi-day off-sites at locations around the country. The group had high intensity discussions and differences. Dave fully engaged. It was always about the topic and what was best for the company in a positive way. Bottom-line … I spent a lot of time with Dave. He was always happy. Not fake happy; he seemed truly happy.
I share this story because I think most people would like to have a love of life that is not crushed by the stresses of the day-to-day. Dave shared his story that I think can be helpful to all of us in dealing with life’s challenges.
Dave had a serious heart attack when he was 49 years-old. He was in cardiac intensive care. He appeared to be unconscious but he could hear. There were all the machines and monitors making noises. Thinking Dave could not hear, his doctor was talking to his wife at the foot of his bed. The doctor told his wife that it was very unlikely Dave would live through the night.
Dave did not want to die. He prayed continually though the night saying, “God, if you give me one more day …I will cherish it and be thankful for every good or bad thing it brings me.” To everyone’s surprise, Dave was alive the next day. He continued his prayers. He continued to be thankful.
The way he summarized the experience to me when I met him was, “Every day above ground is a good day!” He believed it. He lived it. His positive attitude rubbed off on others … including me. I hope it helps you, too.