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Good Choices

I love to remind people that the best part about a bad day is that they don’t have to have one.  Sounds a little nuts, I know…but hear me out.

Good days or  bad days are both the result of the choices that we make about them, before they ever start.  You and I are the masters of our own attitudes.

We can make the conscious decision to have a good day, and we can do it each and every day if we want to.  And as such, we really don’t have to experience a bad day unless that is something we decide you want to experience.  Okay, it’s getting crazier as I go, isn’t it?

Here’s the thing; this doesn’t mean that bad things don’t ever happen.  They do.  And they happen to all of us.

It also isn’t to suggest that we will never have a bad day for the rest of our lives…we may not even get through the week!  I fully acknowledge that there are times when the circumstances surrounding us are so lousy, a bad day just seems like it makes sense.  It’s a bummer, but that’s reality.

The real important take away here though, is that we do have absolute control over how we react and deal with every situation in our life, the grand and the grave.  It’s up to us!

For example, four years and two months ago my wife and I were sitting across the desk from the doctor when she informed us that my wife had cancer.  We remember that day very clearly.  It was three days after Father’s Day in 2006.  I can tell you that when you get to feel your mortality like that, the natural reaction is not necessarily a positive one.  And we suddenly had a bunch of choices to make.  Attitude may have slipped on the priority list (at least initially).

You have probably heard me say before that my wife is my hero.  If you haven’t heard that, let me just be clear…my wife is my hero.  I would tell you that the way she dealt with things mentally, emotionally, spiritually and of course physically as she battled through chemotherapy and everything else was remarkable and inspiring.  To say that it was heroic doesn’t really do it justice, so let me say it this way…I believe in super heroes.  I married one.

So you know, she is doing extremely well these days and we are on the other side of it, looking forward.  Surgery and all the other procedures were very successful and we have been cancer free for over four years.  We are extremely thankful and we also say a whole lot lucky for the life we have been blessed with.

For me, at the time, I didn’t know of any other way to handle the situation other than to embrace what I had been teaching people for years.  Yes, it was a definitive moment in life, and truly time to practice what I had been preaching.

So, although there were many days I felt like pulling the covers over my head and not even trying, each and every morning I made a literal and conscious decision to be as positive an influence on every person I came into contact with that day.  I vowed to myself that I would be strong for my kids, even stronger for my wife, and would work to make sure that I had a lasting impact, to the degree I could, with everyone whose life I could touch.

What was remarkable about that series of decisions, was that they did ultimately have an impact.

We didn’t really talk about the cancer with others for months, and so there were a lot of people that I worked with every day who had no idea.  And the amazing thing about that, was that they really had no idea!  When we did finally start letting everyone know what we had been going through, they were shocked to learn that I had all of that going on at home in my personal life.  They were stunned that I was able to focus and manage to be a bright and positive influence in the lives of so many people during that experience.  I don’t say any of this to sound impressive…I say it because it was cold hard proof that there is such thing as having control over your attitude and the power of being positive and optimistic can at times be  immeasurable.

My wife showed me the power of the human spirit as well, and real close up.

Once we were through the darkest part of it all and realized that we were looking forward and not back, we were able to tell each other how we both got through the whole thing.

I told my wife that she inspired me in a way that I had never been inspired before and I drew constant strength from her will power and attitude.  And that was true.  My decisions each day were largely based on the responsibilities that I had as a husband and a father, but were also based on the realization that the person who is my soulmate was fighting with all of her strength every minute of every day just to have her life.

What I’m about to tell you next is what has undoubtedly cemented my belief and conviction in all of the things that I teach and coach people about every day.  The books that I write, the blogs that I post, the coaching that I do and the speeches that I make, all have a life and passion now that is even greater than they ever have.  And mind you, I have seen these things that I talk and write about make huge differences in the lives of many people over the years.  This was really about experiencing one of those WOW times in life and it has motivated me beyond belief.

My wife told me that she was able to get through the situation the way that she did because she was inspired by me.  Talk about being floored!  She said that that I was the rock that held everything together and that I was the biggest reason she was able to battle the way that she did.  I can’t even type those words without tears welling up in my eyes (and I’m a tough guy!)  To me that was the miracle.  The decisions that I made every day ended up being the most impactful of all, in the biggest way of all, with the most important person in my life.

I know that many people have experienced what we have been through, and some stories don’t have a happy ending.  There are all kinds of terrible or tragic things that happen in and around our lives all the time.  Yet in spite of that, our lives are ultimately defined by how we choose to react and deal with these events.  One at a time, and on a daily basis.

The power of positive is absolutely incredible.  And the choice is ours to make.

We have the ability to make the decision every single day about how we will interact with others and which attitude we will carry with us as we go.

It’s your day.  Have a good one!

Reader Feedback

4 Responses to “Good Choices”

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Mike. I have gone through a similar experience with my husband. He has been cancer free for 9 years :-)! I think having a positive, fighting attitude is probably the most important thing to have, in life and in business.

  2. avatar Mike Shippey says:

    Daphne –
    I am so happy to hear about your husband! That is awesome!

    The power of the human spirit is remarkable and when it is fully engaged, it can accomplish miraculous things.

    And you’re right, it can do that in business just as in what I like to call “real life”.

    Thanks for reading and congratulations!
    MS

  3. avatar Rebecca Mae says:

    Thank you Mike for reminding me everyday that I married my soulmate.
    The best is right now.
    I love you
    Becky

  4. avatar Holly Wood says:

    I love this post Mike! There is a young man in my neighborhood that I have been mentoring for the last 6 years. Occasionally I give him a ride to school. When he gets out of the car, I tell him ‘Make it a great day’ and he grins really big and responds “Yes, ma’am. It’s always a choice!”

    And so – I don’t have days, I make them. Make it a great day!

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