26 September 2010
I got sucked under the snow and that is the last I saw of them. The adrenalin is keeping me calm for whatever is coming next. I stopped fighting the mountain of snow, it is futile. It is highly likely I am going to need all the energy I can muster in the coming moments. The sudden realisation that I am about to die and there is absolutely nothing I can do to prevent it is life changing, ironically just all a bit too late! Underground I am being turned over and over. I relaxed and went with the flow. I was sucked deep down below the surface. The lights went out and suddenly everything was quiet, very dark and very still. My only companion now was the sound of myself panting for air that didn’t exist, it was as clear as the daylight above ground that I was never going to see again, this life is over.
This is an edited version on an experience I went through in 2001. It was a horrific experience, it was my worst nightmare. But which part is the nightmare?
Imagine for a second, you are on your death-bed, you have a matter of moments to live. You don’t need to add in any horrific circumstances, just the facts, this is the end of your life. You are fully conscious. What do you do?
Do you want a hint?
Well you don’t worry about the bills you haven’t paid yet, or the money you never made.
I can tell you exactly what you do. For me the lack of oxygen and the circumstances of my near death experience were irrelevant. The fear was replaced by regret. The feeling of regret was so immense that everything else paled into insignificance.
What is there to regret, and why bother? Your life is over, there is no point reminiscing.
Yet, on my death-bed, the sound of my panting ringing through my head, the sound of myself dying for air, all I could focus on was the wonderful people in my life and the moments I shared with them and the moments that could have been.
What a waste. Even though I was grateful, I still recognised the waste I’d made of my sorry existence.
Life’s very different now.
Another great week flies by and what are we left with? What do we have to show for it? What can you say you did this week that was different form the last?
Once you have stripped away the financial gains, the wins the losses, what are we left with?
I have a theory that it is all about emotion. That’s what I learnt down there deep in my ice-cold tomb.
Yet I know so many business owners who are desperately chasing their dreams and tails. Desperate to make as much money in as short a space of time.
Why? The more successful I become, the more I realise that it is less about money. The super successful people I know, don’t seem to be bothered at all by money.
When you are on your death-bed and you are listing your regrets in your mind, can you honestly imagine a more ridiculous scenario than being troubled by the amount of money you never made?
Of course not.
I am not that different from the next man. In fact we are all surprisingly similar. We are all made form the same flesh and blood. The only differences that separate us are the circumstances that shape our values and beliefs.
Before the avalanche, I chased my tail and I chased it hard.
Now, all I value are the emotions I share with family and friends. Good and bad ones alike. It doesn’t matter. The bad ones are as important as the great ones. Without the troughs, the peaks wouldn’t feel so euphoric.
It is safe to say that the avalanche for me was a life changing event and today it is every bit as real as the day I went under and I am a different person since being dragged out and resuscitated.
The point I am making is not why are you working so hard? Working hard is essential. Where are you going and why?” is a much better question.
Earlier in the week, I’d been out with Gail (my wife) and heard the most amazing piano vocalist. He was over from the US on tour. He was playing in 2 nights time in Manchester city centre.
Being an ex-promoter and pianist I know how hard these guy graft to make ends meet. I took a few minutes to speak with his agent, Steve. I bought a couple of CD’s.
This week I was asked by 20 or more people “why have we got a grand piano in the office and who is that guy playing it? What’s the occasion?”
The truth of the matter, there is no more special occasion than being able to say thank you to all your work colleagues who work week in week out for you. To get a moment where we can share great memories, well that’s worth doing it for. The in-laws brought my 2 little girls in and before you know, there is a full blown party with food and laughter aplenty.
I knew that everyone would appreciate this guy, so we went for it.
At the end of your life if you are lucky enough to have the chance to reflect, “no regrets” that’s the cliche. but really, it is true.
Don’t you want to be the grandfather / grandmother with the most amazing tale to tell. That’s what you should be chasing. Lessons that you are able to pass on.