One of my very best friends is a cancer survivor. She bears the wounds of war with humor and fortitude; the life and death battle changed her in remarkable ways. She has more patience, more joy in the small things, more compassion and more generosity than before her illness. I treasure time spent with her as some of that always rubs off on me.
Life may be a jungle, but she wouldn’t have chosen the path of medical treatments that were as life-threatening as the disease she fought. She wouldn’t have chosen the high cost – physically, financially, emotionally – she experienced as she battled to live. As she fought, her spirit grew strong and she pressed through to a victory that is sweet indeed. She wouldn’t have chosen that path but as she emerged from the darkness, I’m sure she wouldn’t willingly give up what she gained for the chance to erase that journey.
Some call it survivor’s joy; the zest for living that comes from a near-death experience. My question today is, what’s it going to take for each of us to appreciate every day, live fully in the moment and as James Dean said, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die tomorrow”?
There’s a sense of urgency in the way these soul survivors live, though it’s not a stressful urgency. It’s more a sense of not being willing to delay any of the important things in life; an ability to discern what’s truly essential for a life well lived. It’s designing a life of no regrets, which means being quick to forgive and slow to become angry. It’s participating by doing the best you can with what you’ve got instead of whining that others have more.
Each of us is a survivor of an economic storm of mammoth proportions. We can be chiefs of the tribe of soul survivors by the attitude we embrace as we recover. We have a unique opportunity to be a voice of hope and optimism when others choose to moan and nurse their wounds.
For soul survivors, playing it safe is no longer a viable option. It’s time to push the limits and throw off restraint. You can be authentic and real and if there are those who would judge and disapprove, such is life.
What would you do differently in your business if today was your last day at work? It may be hard to imagine, and I’d wager to say that if it’s not positive, then you really aren’t in touch with a survivor’s joy yet.
I choose a survivor’s joy. May we drink deeply from the cup of courage and step out into a new freedom. Today’s the Day!
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