Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Last Thing Before The Last Thing


This week, I had a nice dinner with a father and his son who are in business together. Sadly, the father was diagnosed recently with Stage 4 cancer. He has four children, the youngest ones are eight and nine. He said he didn't have a firm prognosis: his type is slow growing so he could live two more years or ten more years. He was impressively optimistic about his future and we discussed how hearing news like that must put a lot of things in perspective.

He asked, "Do you know the one thing you lose before you lose everything?"

I thought about it but couldn't imagine what it would be.

He said, "Fear."

I understood immediately. He said that he let go of all the excuses or reasons he had given to not take any risk. He stopped worrying about his career and started focusing on what he enjoyed doing every day. He committed to doing the projects that previously seemed too daunting or achievable. The potential of what he had to gain was now worth so much more than what he knew he would eventually lose.

It was a powerful reminder of how much fear holds us back. He was liberated by his diagnosis instead of feeling trapped by it. This is resiliency in its purest form.

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