Many of us are feeling the thaw of winter and the early heat of spring. It's a glorious time of year, albeit a charged one. Growth spurts, spring cleaning, bikes that need maintenance, gardens that need pruning, multiple school projects, the season of birthdays. And for basketball fans... March Madness, NBA trades and the upcoming playoffs and finals. Can you feel the energy?
My friend, George Karl, head coach of the Denver Nuggets, is busier than most people, but we did find time to check in with each other recently. We actually had to reschedule our conversation because he had to close out a personally difficult trade with Nuggets center Nene.
As hectic and high pressured as George's life is, he's still among the most centered people I know. You can't help but feel "up" about life when you meet him. My twins and George's daughter attend the same school, so I've known him for a few years as a father, community leader, cancer warrior and coach. Previously, I interviewed him and his fantastic partner, Kim Van Deraa, for a feature story. What impressed me then continues to impress me now: George's candor about rebounding, second acts, mindfulness and unadorned positive thinking.
Many know that George has successfully battled cancer twice in his life. First, prostate in 2005, and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in 2010. The latter was especially intense, requiring eight weeks of treatment and many more months of unexpected traumas that frequently landed him in the hospital. While still in recovery, he radically altered his diet, eliminating processed foods, red meat and the Honey Buns and Mountain Dew he used to eat for breakfast. Today he is 60 pounds lighter. He eats an organic diet and practices a holistic lifestyle.
"I wish I knew at 20 what I know now," George told me in a moment of reflection. Don't we all.
For my own mental fitness and yours, here is some wisdom from Coach Karl that holds up on and off the court.
- Too many times we wake up feeling that life is a pain in the ass, wondering how we're going to fix it. It's just as easy to wake up and decide to think life is good. In fact, our job is to make it great.
Few of us have as many public wins and losses as Coach Karl; such is the life of an NBA coach. Still, he will be the first to tell you that what ends up in the sports pages is not the ultimate measure of success.
If you are grounded and know what you are about, then you create the winning moments.
For more by Nancy Sharp, click here.
For more on mindfulness, click here.
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