Nineteen years ago, I was given a second chance at life. I hesitate to call it a second chance because it was more like the 42nd chance. However, this time was different. This time I would come to understand and respect this chance as quite possibly my last “second” chance to live. It was a cold December morning in New Jersey. It was Monday at around 9 a.m. I was alone, cold, and scared. The first thing I did was make a phone call to my girlfriend’s brother-in-law in Florida. I picked up what felt like a 1,000-pound phone receiver and dialed his number. My head hurt, my body ached, and I was not sure what I was even going to say. I heard him say, “Hello” and I almost hung up.
As I began to speak, it was like someone else was speaking through me. I explained to him as best I could what had happened the night before and the events that led up to the call. He just listened, and I felt a wave of relief come over me. We talked for a while and he shared with me his experience being in the same situation. I later came to understand that the relief I had sensed was really hope. He offered me hope through his willingness to listen and share his own personal experience. He did not have all the answers; but he shared with me what he had gone through and how his life had changed.
Over the last 19 years, I have met many people willing to share their experience, strength, and hope with me. It is through these encounters that I began to learn how to give hope to others. Hope breeds hope, and experience shared from the heart allows the roots of that hope to spread. When Bill and I started Cultureinfusion.com, we had no idea where it would lead us. We just knew we wanted to share our leadership experiences in a way that would force us to be intentional about the cultures we were creating in our professional and personal lives. For the last 5 years (and 200-plus posts), I feel Bill and I have done just that. We have shared our success, but more importantly, we have shared our failures. Bill and I have been “talked to” about our views and to be careful to never insinuate we are speaking on behalf of the different organizations we have worked for during course of this blog. It has never been our intention to force our views on others, but to only hold true to the calling we have to share our hope.
This past week, one of the members at the gym where I coach died. During an intense workout, Brad’s heart stopped. Fortunately there were people around who knew just what do to. They began chest compressions and set up the AED. After what had to have seemed like minutes, Brad gasped for air; his lungs starving for oxygen. He was rushed to our local hospital and I am glad to report after a cardiac procedure he is doing well. Brad got a second chance to live. He was, by all accounts, dead.
What do you think about when you hear stories like this? I think about how precious life is. We all have a duty to connect, to contribute, and to care about others. That is the heart of Cultureinfusion.com and we hope you have felt that over these years. I encourage you to look back at some of our old posts and search for what parts might speak to you. Bill and I have learned from your comments, emails and experiences as well.
I am grateful for the opportunity I have had through this blog to use my second chance at life for something greater. The time has come for me to focus on what God has next for me. I know he wishes for me to continue to share my experience, strength, and hope with others. I know that he wishes for me to receive those same gifts from others. With that, this will be my last entry for Cultureinfusion.com. Bill and I have not decided the fate of the site, but I know that we both are driven to share, so I trust that whatever comes next will be as rewarding as Cultureinfusion.com has been. Thank you to those who have stuck with us over the years. Thank you to those who have been with us only a short time. Each of you have given me hope that we can make a difference one person at a time.
I would like to close out my last entry with this quote.
“A second chance doesn’t mean anything if you never learned the lessons of your first mistake. So if you are lucky enough to be given one, make it count.” – Unknown