Leadership / Management | Organizational Development

We’ve got one life. What will you do with yours?

I've almost died three times in the past few weeks.

OK, that's a slight exaggeration. By "almost died," I mean "didn't come close to dying at all."

When it comes to my own mortality, I tend to embellish a bit.

Still, I've been white-knuckling it with frightening regularity lately.

  • There was the flight last week from St. Louis to Baltimore, featuring a windy, turbulent descent into BWI that sent the plane rolling and fish-tailing and, for the first time in my flying life, left passengers gasping audibly in frightened surprise. Twice on the way down, I said to myself, "This plane is going to flip over," and was genuinely surprised when it didn't.
  • There was the drive to the gym a few days ago, highlighted by me stomping on the brakes to avoid a head-on collision with an absent-minded driver who had taken a wrong turn directly into my path.
  • There was the cab ride in Chicago, in which the driver read directions from a guidebook while driving, then made two wrong turns and hit one curb. Eventually, my boss, Jackie Brown, and I pulled out our iPhones, fired up the GPS and read the directions to him from the back seat. He should have paid us.

I'm laughing now, but the moral of these three stories is as serious as a heart attack: Our lives have expiration dates.

Knowing that makes setting your priorities ridiculously easy, doesn't it?

What was it that Steve Jobs said? "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose."

Put another way: What are you waiting for, people?

The world will keep turning no matter what. So go for it. Do the stuff that scares you. What's the worst that can happen? A little egg on your face? So what?

On the other hand, you might just change the world.

At the risk of depressing the hell out of everyone, here's the scoop: You're going to die either way.

You might as well change the world in the process.


Bill Sheridan