A story from The Push.
The year was 1998. It had been difficult to say the least. The business (Successories) was struggling and I had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. As we all know, the "c word" gets our attention.
I was trying to re-evaluate my life and decide, "Where do I go from here?" After some real soul searching, I decided to hire Gary Rovansek to run the day-to-day at Successories so I could step down into an advisory role. I had been an entrepreneur for 25 years, fighting many battles along the way ... but I was yearning to move in a different direction. Don't get me wrong, I loved doing what I was doing, but cancer always makes you re-evaluate your priorities in life. I wanted to relax and think for a while about plan B.
For almost two years, I did just that. I'm thankful to say that after treatment my cancer was in remission. Those two years felt wonderful! It gave me the opportunity to unclutter my brain and re-visit some of the good things I had done and some of the mistakes I had made. But even though my "semi-retirement" felt good, I knew I wasn't being fulfilled. At the same time, my time off caused me to ask myself some questions: "Am I ready to fight more battles? What can I do to fuel my passion to reinforce the positive in the world? Is it possible I could fail? Do I want to take that risk?"
All of these thoughts and others were causing me to sit on the "fence of indecision." It didn't feel good, but to be perfectly honest, at this point in my life, I didn't have the courage to take action. I think we've all been there.
I got a call from Rich Rush, who was our VP of Production at Successories. Rich said, "Mac, I haven't talked with you in a while and I'd love to buy you lunch."
The following week we got together, and during lunch Rich asked the question, "Mac, what do you plan to do with the rest of your life?" Not knowing exactly what to say, I said, "I might just sit it out and relax a bit." I'll never forget his face when he looked up and said, "You can't do that! You've got too much to say that could make a difference in the lives of too many people. You'll be cheating yourself and many others if you don't use the talent God has given you."
After lunch, I found myself doing a lot of thinking about what Rich had said, and I knew I couldn't just sit on the sidelines and let my life go by without giving my passion another shot.
I've often thought, without that conversation, would there be a Simple Truths today? Would I have had the opportunity to write the books that I've written, and would I have had the honor to speak to hundreds of corporate audiences? I don't know for sure, but I think the answer would be no.
For some reason that day those words of encouragement turned the switch from "off" to "on" and shoved me right off the fence onto a new path that I love. In fact, I can say without a doubt, these years have been the most rewarding of my life.
Just knowing what that day did for me is one of the reasons that I readily embraced the chance to co-author this book with my friend, David McNally.
"The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live."
- Flora Whittemore