On November 6, 2004, on my first ski day of the season, I broke my neck cliff-jumping in Tahoe. I was extremely lucky -- I walked out of the hospital!
In December 2010, after a diving trip in Australia, a scratch on my leg got infected by MRSA and I spent a week in the hospital. Only after I had recovered, did I find out that I was one day away from my bloodstream and organs being infected. Again, I was extremely lucky.
Each of these times I experienced a strong feeling of gratefulness, a re-boot of sorts. I thought about priorities, about what is important to me. I also thought a lot about why it takes events like this to make us step back and think about our true priorities.
After I broke my neck, I remember telling somebody about a challenging work situation, "after you break your neck, nothing seems quite as challenging or insurmountable." Of course as the years went on, many big challenges made their way to my desk!
But the truth is, the events themselves did not impact my actions as much as they did my perspective, over time. We all go through our own perspective journey -- in my case it received a few big shocks.
As we gain experience, our perspective matures, our insight into what is truly important, matures. But we can accelerate that; we should accelerate that. And it doesn't take shocks to the system to do that.
It takes an understanding that we become better, that we become more productive and effective when we work at understanding our priorities, our purpose. It creates an inner confidence, a curiosity and a path to achieve that is contagious -- because when we trust ourselves, we inspire trust.
I almost died twice. I don't think about that a lot.
I think every day how I want to live.