I Nearly Died
Two years ago today I collided with a tree and nearly died. I don’t remember much about the accident. But, a day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t remembered that life is frail.
I remember the touch of people standing by my bed.
Two college students built a wheel chair ramp. Friends brought food.
My wife put her life on hold for weeks. Mark, our youngest, set up the Christmas tree while I watched from a wheelchair, my neck brace pushing my chin up.
Online friends led by Jesse Stoner, Lolly Daskal, and Becky Robinson raised $20,000 in two weeks to help with medical expenses. Individuals from all over the world cared for us.
Compassion expands our worth, both in the giving and the receiving. People did things for me that I couldn’t do for myself. The people who cared for me told me I mattered.
We forget we matter. The great responsibility of leadership is remembering you matter. Your behaviors and choices matter to others. When you matter, what you do matters to others.
The great privilege of leadership is letting people know they matter. Everyone forgets.
It’s easy to minimize and devalue. All it takes is neglect. Weak leaders don’t have the strength to help others matter.
Let people know they matter:
- Speak hard truths kindly.
- Expect more of them than they expect of themselves.
- Release don’t dominate.
- Channel don’t stifle.
- Develop their strengths.
- Minimize and compensate for their weaknesses.
- Follow success with new opportunities.
- Show compassion.
- Remember progress rather than failure while pushing forward.
- Believe in them.
Here’s my first post after the accident: The Reason I haven’t Posted in a Week. It’s a little rambling because of medication.
What can you do today that lets someone know they matter?
Great post. Add one more item to the list of letting people know they matter. Focus on, and point out the good they do.
Thanks pilotlex. Great add
I love this post. I didn’t know you before your accident. I “met” you online when you started your blog just following your accident. I’m one of the newbies whose life you have touched since working hard to recover.
Thanks to you and all who helped you recover for touching my life so positively during the past two years.
Dan, got nothing to add to your post today.
You know full well this never happens!!!!! It’s a miracle I tell ya!!!
Absolutely beautiful, thank you for sharing your story.
Great post, Dan. We’ve both come a long way in the two years since our separate life-changing events. We share a great community though, and I’m thankful every day for them, and for you. Your simple reminders of what everyday life is all about are powerful! Keep up the good work, my friend.
A powerful post with a powerful title!
I love your statement: The great privilege of leadership is letting people know they matter. Everyone forgets.
I would add to that, that there is a direct benefit of reminding people that they matter – when people are reminded that what they are doing and that the person they are ‘being’ is important, they will be intrinsically motivated to give their all and reach new heights of their potential. Because it matters. Ripple effect.
I’m glad you survived that accident Dan. What a blessing to have folks tell you that you matter. A wonderful post as usual.
Good Morning to you and your readers! Please read the following:
There will come a time when the day of your anniversary -( of your accident- NOT your wedding! 🙂 – will be forgotten.
As a retired oilfield diver, I came up from out of the water with what is widely accepted to be a record depth in record time while working offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
The result? 8 1/2 days consciously holding on to life and sanity in a self-contained decompression chamber designed for 6 hour runs during emergencies.
When I emerged? A difficult time with recovery that included experimental hyperbaric treatments, depression, PTS, medications, and therapy of the most lonely type. No support group for this one.
I was starved for anyone that would reach out and assist.. Thankfully, a friend put his life on hold for over a year and never left my side.
The following recovery at 3 major universities gave me the skills to learn how to read again, write again, drive again, walk, talk, and shoot, straight…
You get the picture. It was bad and it took years. ( I was 24 with a life that seemed like it was over, and now I’m 41 years old, happily married with 3 young sons and helping lead a company through recovery. )
I tell you all this because…
Everything in your post rings true!
The wisdom acquired in the recovery that follows such devastation, the scars that remain are a chapter in your life that represents that experience is truly the best way to learn (or learn again),
This is especially true when it comes to recognizing our own humanity in others. I try and take that recognition to my co-workers and their teams every day.
There will come a day when you will have missed your anniversary, and with patience, look forward to that. But you will never forget the timeless wisdom learned recently that you so generously share with the rest of us.
Post Script: I know I’ve been reading you for at least a year now because I recall last year’s post. A calendar day I’m happy to mark!
Great post, Chris. Inspiring and encouraging. Says a lot about the human spirit . . . determination and persistence . . . and life lessons learned.
Great reminders about the preciousness of life. I too once died and am glad to be here today. Such a gift. Had to share this in other circles today.
It’s amazing how the lowest points in our lives can leave us bring us gratitude. So grateful for your recovery.
Centering, inspiring start to my day, thank you!
Thank you for sharing your story. Too often we get caught up in day to day fire drills and neglect how important compassion is in everything we do. I appreciate the reminder.
That is a great story. But why, as a society, do we need to wait until disaster strikes, to go out of our way for someone else?
So pleased you are recovered and well. I did get the email request for donations however sadly thought it was one of those spam emails and ignored it and only months later realised you had been seriously injured.
Thank you so much for your blogs and I wish you and your family a healthy, happy Christmas.
You know me, Dan, I’m all about what I’ve learned from my life experiences. I believe that what happens to us as we live our lives has lessons for us — both big and small, that we can apply both personally and professionally. I am so glad your story had a happy outcome. As leaders — as people — we need to take time to acknowledge that we matter. And another happy lesson from your accident is that a lot of your family, friends, and acquaintances — many of whom may have thought there wasn’t much in this world where they could make a difference — made a BIG difference in your life at that moment.
We all matter & we can all make a difference.
Well said Scott!
Reblogged this on IAm Synt and commented:
Do something today to ensure others know that they matter.
“Speak hard truth kindly, show compassion and believe in them” are really nuggets. They look easy to write but difficult to practice. We tend not to be straight as we do not want to soar our relationship with others. We have apprehension that telling truth to someone may break our relationship. Similarly many times, showing compassion need much courage that do not muster. It is easy to find fault but hard to appreciate. And that is why we fail to believe in other potential. To do this, we need to overcome our biased/blind spots. Sooner we delayers it, we become powerful to show our sincere empathy, appreciation and compassion with others.
I think, today, I will question myself as how I should muster dare to speak the truth to others without worrying about relationship. I also believe that even someone can learn irrespective of relationship, I will be happy.
Lately, I have started using this technique. I say what I feel and see and not worry about what other will think about me. By doing this, I feel good as I have done something good with good intention and less expectation.
This is indeed a day to remember and celebrate, Dan. You came so close to losing your life, and your recovery was long and arduous. Yet today, no one who just met you would have a clue about the battle you fought and won. It was a privilege to be among those who supported you. I was greatly heartened by the natural upswell of support, and amazed to see how social media can be a vehicle for social good, not just theoretically, but up close and in real time. Your lessons are hard won and powerful. It’s good to mark this day to remember how precious and tenuous life is and how much we each matter. I especially love your statement:
“The great responsibility of leadership is remembering you matter. The great privilege of leadership is letting people know they matter.” This is the great lesson for all of us.
Good morning Dan; Now it’s my turn to thank YOU for sharing a bit of your personal story. As you know, I work in a profession where showing compassion or displaying a ‘touchy feely’ approach is is generally frowned upon. Empathy for others plite seems to be a disappearing condition. We were put on this earth to care for, and show compassion for one another. I’m so glad you built a strong network of friends and family that have not forgotten this. One thing our lord has mandated us to do is (pray for and be there for oneanother). We don’t always know the circumstances “but God does”, as he expects us to be there for each other in our times of need. We may not recognise the impact we have on others, even when it is taking place. However with age and the passing of time and circumstances, I am constantly reminded that every interaction with our fellow man is an opportunity to influence others. We can do so in a positive way, or a negative way. “Choose to be a positive influence on others, your dividends will return ten-fold”! I am glad to have been given the opportunity to get know you, and feel both lucky & proud to call you my friend… Cheers
P.S. “The Lord is not through with you yet so don’t think for a minute I will allow you to rest on your laurels”! LOL
What an absolutely beautiful and inspiring post. Thank you.
It is 13 years ago today my first husband passed after spending 7 years in a supported living facility with a Traumatic Brain Injury. He was a top Division 1 Volleyball coach. A great leader. I still see it in his players he coached. I have learned so much from that accident and him. I concur whole heartedly with today’s post. I continue to learn everyday and am grateful for each and every one! You too have a gift you share with us. We are blessed to help others become better persons and make the world better for all of us. Thanks.
Very moving and apropos. Thank you for sharing this today.
Way to go, using a life-changing event and turning it into a lesson for all of us.
Thank you so much for sharing.
That sounds freaky. I’m glad to hear you survived and made a full recovery.
Something I could do to let another person know how special they are? I could use my words to show my appreciation for them. Simple words mean more than we think.
Powerful. Letting people know they matter means being intentional and specific about the actions which cause people (individuals not groups) to know they are important and valuable. It seems like sometimes we are “afraid” to single people out and let them know specifically what they bring to the table that adds value and contributes positively. We are more apt to point out deficiencies or short comings. Thank you for this. Another home run.
In my 20’s I worked for a fellow who gave every employees’ family a Turkey at Christmas.. it started a tradition in my family to give Turkeys those in need at Thanksgiving, but recently we’ve included those who may not be in need! Why? ..because we want to remind folks how much they matter to us and encourage their sprits simply for the sake of encouragement. So your words in the “valuable” section resonate well with me.
Reminding me to say thank you again to you, you make valuable contributions and “get our minds going” on a daily basis.. The brevity of Blog Protocol –whatever that might be—doesn’t always start our comments with thank you but the sentiment is present none the less.
So sorry to hear about your horrible accident.
We should all live each day to the fullest and with no regrets.
Glad you are here and hope each day is getting better for you and your family.
Dan it’s interesting that you mention a life changing event as two years ago tomorrow I was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully things have worked out and I have the privilege and opportunity to reflect back on what I have learned. I agree that we are truly fortunate to be surrounded by amazingly supportive people and I am thankful for the all the ways that people helped us out. I would like to add that I learned that life is about perspective. As you mentioned life can change in a moment, so taking a moment to step back from the immediacy of your job and making time to reflect on a broader perspective changes how you interact with those around you. I also learned that when faced with a scary diagnosis, filled with numbers and percents that I appreciated people who made time to help me make sense of the data so I could better understand how to move forward.
Thank you for taking the time to share your story. It’s a powerful and aptly timed reminder of what matters. Thank-you.
Oh my Dan! I had no idea where this happened to you but now I can see where your wisdom and the heart-centered foundation for your blog posts come from.
Thank you, Divine Power, for giving Dan what he needed to be able to help so many others find better ways that give people more reasons to smile from within!
Fully in agreement, ‘The essence of good leadership is letting people know they matter’. It worked in a beautiful way in your tragic situation. You proved that you are an effective leader and vice-versa, all those who stood by you and prayed for a speedy recovery.
The real bonding and trust get developed with a leader’s quality of valuing others with empathy.
You simply got a second life with sincere good prayers and the support of all near & dear ones. Your own good deeds and the love for Jesus also helped you to come back to normalcy in a record time. You may please continue fulfilling your role as a leader for the betterment of your blog readers.
I can pick up the phone when I think of someone and call them. I usually procrastinata and say, I’ll call them later. Later may be too late. Great post. I’m currently away from my regular job working in Japan for 2 weeks. Its so much fun being engrossed in a different culture. Check it out on tumbler if you like – cdtswa.tumblr.com
Thanks for the reminder. I remember one of your first blog posts after the accident about your challenges of accepting help from others. Starting with the nurses looking after you if I remember correctly.
Since then, you have been creating amazing content, multiple times, every week. We give back as we can and you have given us much. So glad that everyone was there for you after your accident.
I absolutely agree with you. The most important thing for people, is to know that they matter
There are few blogs I read frequently. One of them is yours. Lots of value in posts. Same views, thanks for sharing.
There was a reason you survived- the world needs your wisdom, compassion and wonderful insights.
We, your faithful readers and followers are some of the lucky recipients of the generous gifts you share on a daily basis.
Great story of motivation and perseverance! I experienced something similar last year when I tore my ACL. Friends and family stepped in and did everything since I could do nothing for myself. It has proven to be a lesson in what truly matters in life! So thankful that you recovered! Thanks for sharing!