Live your life now!

6 Feb, 2015 Productivity

I want to share a story. If you’ve read my book, you know the story about Tom, and I’ve talked to some of you about this already in my speeches. This story hits home and I want you to really take to heart the process that this person and this family went through, because I think it’s very inspiring as to going after what it is you want now.

Tom is a man in his mid 40s, very outwardly handsome, physically fit. He appeared to be living a very nice, balanced, successful, happy life. He spent a lot of time taking care of himself. He was one of those people that he exercised, he ate right. He had a good amount of time with his family and at work, so again, that balance. He also made a lot of time to relax. And outwardly, he just seemed to have a perfect life and a perfect family.

Tom had gone to the doctor. He had an annual physical, which he hadn’t been to for the last four years. And while he was there, the doctors found a lump and they thought it was questionable, told him there was absolutely nothing to worry about, it’s just standard procedure. We’ll send it to the lab. We’ll get it tested. No worries.

Well, Tom and his wife spent the next three days anxiously awaiting the results, and of course, they were very, very worried. They waited to get the results, but instead, they got a phone call and it was from the doctor, not with the results but asking them to come back into the office. So, they knew it was serious. They tried as best they could to prepare for what it was that this doctor was going to tell them, and they tried to prepare for the worst. Unfortunately, they were absolutely right. The lump happened to be a malignant tumor, and Tom’s cancer was already in its advanced stages. The doctor told Tom that he had about six months to live. This is a man to look at him, he’s the image of health. And, I believe he was only 42, 43. So young, and the last thing that they would expect to hear is six months to live.

So of course, he and his family went through all the grief process. They had their days where they just couldn’t believe that this was happening. Then they had days of unbearable sadness, Tom especially about leaving his family. He had two young kids in elementary school. And then, that was followed by anger, of course. Why could this be happening to him? This isn’t fair. “I’ve done everything right. Why is this happening to me?”

But finally, he came to the understanding that no matter how he acted the next six months, it still was what it was. It was cancer and he didn’t have much time to live.

So, he decided right then and there, “You know…I can spend the next six months complaining about this. It won’t change the outcome. Or, I can spend the next six months taking action, doing something about it.” So he did. He spent the next six months loving his wife and his kids more than he had probably during their entire life together. He showered them with affection and he spent a lot of time with them. He loved them, and he let them know how much they meant to him.

He also prayed more than he had ever prayed before in his life. And instead of asking God to take the cancer away, he was asking God to take care of his family when it was time for him to go. He also spent those six months doing the things that he really, really loved. I mean, when you have six months to live and you’re thinking, “Gosh, what do I really want to do,” you get to the heart of what’s important.

One of the things he loved to do most was writing. So, when the kids were put to bed, he would sit down at his computer and he would just write down all the things he wanted to say to his kids, as their dad, and he wrote stories about when they were babies, when they went on vacations together, funny stories, just things that had happened through the years. And then, he also wrote about the future. He talked a lot about what life might be like once he’s gone. He gave them advice and wisdom that he had hoped to pass down as they grew, and he had hoped to do that in person, but since he knew he wouldn’t be with them during those times, he wanted to go ahead and get it in writing so that it was there for them when they were ready to read it.

He also reconciled a relationship. He and his dad, they had a strained relationship. There were some issues earlier on in his life. But, he mended that bond. He called his dad and Tom and he had the most wonderful time together, and he gave his dad probably the greatest gift of his life, which was the opportunity to be there with his son to the very end.

Tom did die 6 ½ months after the doctor told him the news. As you can imagine, the family was devastated. The children were devastated. But, there was also a sense of peace and the funeral, a lot of peace, gratitude for the time that they had been able to spend with him those final months. And really, they hadn’t focused on anything else for 6 ½ months, other than just loving one another and then doing the things that made them happy, or especially made him happy.

His wife told me that close to the end of his time, he had said to her that he was surprisingly thankful for the prognosis for only six months to live, because he said without it, he never would have experienced the joy of really, really living.

So, I’m going to ask the question to you again. What are you waiting for? What if the doctor told you you only had six months to live? Would you be doing what you’re doing right now? What would you do? How would you act? Who would you be with? What would be the most important things you would want to accomplish?

None of us what to think that our time is going to be up soon, of course not. We don’t want to think it could be tomorrow, the next day, next year. But the truth is we all have a prognosis of death. We are all going to die one day and leave our loved ones behind. I don’t mean to be negative and down on this, but it’s true. It is the truth.

So, if we were in the same situation and we had six months to live, I know we would make the best use of that time and we would probably do a lot of things that Tom did. But why not now? Why not start living that way now? Why wait another day? Do we need to get a prognosis for death in order to start living? What are we really waiting for? What’s holding you back? And, I really want you to write that down and think about the answer to that question. What is holding you back when you know you could be living a better life, an extraordinary life, when you could be doing the things you love with the people you love? What is holding you back and what are you waiting for?

I know when I was going through my many, many years of trying to piece-part together my passion and my purpose, and I know many of you know this story, where everything that I speak about now, that I write about, that I mentor on, are things that have been within me for a very long time. I guess I was waiting for someone or something, or some magical force to tell me I was ready. I want you to think about the answer to the question, “what are you waiting for?” What’s holding you back? Are you waiting for someone to come up to you and say, “Now, you’re ready. Now you’re ready to write that book,” or, “Now you’re ready to take the trip you’ve always desired,” or, “Now you’re ready to start that business.” Well then, that someone is me and I’m telling you that you ARE ready and it’s your time. Start living now!

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