THE BLOG
08/03/2011 04:31 pm ET | Updated Oct 03, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me

It's been a long and heartbreaking week with the tragic passing of a friend and ex-teammate. The hardest part is seeing how challenging this has been to his family, best friends, and supportive teammates. This week I wanted to share a story that once helped give me some comfort and guidance at a time when I needed it most.

I have always been extremely close to my grandparents. So I was devastated in 2001 when my grandfather suffered a sudden heart attack, and died a few days later. The timing of that shattering event couldn't have been worse for me. I was doing a ski industry tour at the time and had to present a speech about an hour after hearing the distressing news that my grandfather had passed away. I didn't know how I was going to hold myself together.

Coincidentally, someone had recently told me that birds often show up to let you know everything is going to be okay after someone close to you passes on. As I listened to the MC introducing me, I recalled the comment and thought how absurd it was. Besides, I was in a convention center, so could at least count the bird out for the afternoon.

I made my way onto the stage and started my talk. I was fumbling over my words and couldn't concentrate. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a bird swooped down and landed on the screen right behind me. I smiled as I shared the inside joke with myself, and continued on with the rest of my speech... flawlessly. I knew I was going to be okay.

Whether or not that bird had any significance, I was reminded that my grandfather's spirit would live on with me forever, and that he had taught me everything I needed to know about staying strong in challenging times. I would be okay.

There are so many very positive things we can take from everyone we've known. My friend Jeret "Speedy" Peterson is certainly no exception to this rule. Though Speedy's flame has been extinguished, his fire will live on in his family, friends, and teammates.

Motivational Weight Management Tip

I've had the great honor of working with some of the Biggest Loser contestants and it has inspired me to leave motivational diet, health, and wellness tips at the end of all of my blogs. These tools have been driven from actual advice I've shared. This week's tip: Find the people who ignite your fire and truly keep you motivated. When you hear a good quote, story, or piece of wisdom from someone, write it down so you are continually inspired when they aren't present.