1. Don’t sweat the small stuff – We hear this all too often but many of us have trouble putting it into practice. Coming face-to-face with a serious life-threatening health issue, helped me gain perspective about what really matters. In our culture, it can be all too easy to waste our time & energy on petty matters at the expense of the really important ones that can make big a difference. Having your priorities set and staying focused on them is essential to being productive and avoiding getting “stuck in the weeds”.
2. Live life to the fullest – I have a lot of passion and strive to create meaningful and exciting experiences for my family as well as myself. Mason’s brain surgeries, recovery, and rehab helped to remind us that our futures are uncertain so we need to go out there and squeeze every drop out of life that we can. This is true for individuals and families alike. Make it a priority to enjoy yourselves and create lasting memories. We’ll never know how much time each of us has.
3. If something doesn’t sound right, seek expert opinions – When we first suspected that something was wrong with Mason, we took him to two separate pediatricians. One told us he likely picked-up a virus from the kids at his preschool. Another suggested glasses to relieve his headaches. Neither diagnosis sounded right to us. Fortunately, our affiliations with YPO/WPO & EO gave us access into one of the most powerful health networks and connected us with world-class specialists who ultimately saved our son’s life. These same networks have proven to be invaluable in both my professional and personal lives.
4. In adverse times you learn who your true friends are – We needed a lot of support during Mason’s surgery and recovery periods. Our YPO forum members went the extra mile for us by helping with childcare, meals, being there to listen and simply helping whenever needed. Close family friends also stepped-up to make our lives just a little bit easier. To this day, these people continue to be very close to us. In times of crisis you will learn who your true friends are…and you might be surprised.
5. Keep those close to you informed – In times of crisis we are often overwhelmed by phone calls, e mails, and general questions from those who care about us. People do not mean to pry but they want to know what is happening and how they can help. While Mason was in the hospital, I used e-mail to help keep our family connected to those close to us. I regularly sent out photos of Mason, with updates on where we were in the recovery process. So many people told me how much better they felt knowing the latest updates and how they appreciated being kept in the loop without having to ask. People who care about you want to stay informed and are often waiting to help.
6. Kids are resilient– Despite Mason’s physical challenges, he was very resilient. He went back to school looking like he was fresh out of a scary Halloween movie with huge scars on the front and back of his half shaven head. He never complained, his friends accepted his differences and he just stepped up and dealt with his circumstances.
These are lessons I learned (or re-learned) during a time of crisis but they apply to our everyday lives. I’ve relied on these lessons countless times over the last 10 years and they help me nearly every day.