I am no certified expert in giving life lessons, but my over five decades of living experiences plus my recent life-changing round with a sextuple heart bypass six months ago has helped me to realize a few more things.

I have no idea if any of this will resonate or help anyone in my community, but if it helps just one person, then it would have been worth the effort to share…

So here goes…

1. Always be listening to your heart and body. The signs can be subtle because we live in a very noisy world, and we are somehow able to fool ourselves into believing that bad things won’t happen to us. If it does not feel normal, then assume it’s not normal.

2. Gratitude for Life. You can complain all you want, but our health-care system and professionals are way better than what they were 50 years ago. With AI, expect to see huge leaps in health care. It’s not perfect, but it works thanks to the dedication of some incredible people who get up every day to save lives. All these folks are amazing, especially my heart surgeon, who decided to do six bypasses instead of three, and the one doctor who listened and decided to do just one more test, which may have saved my life. It’s so easy to do just enough, but true heroes go above and beyond. All I can keep saying to them is “thank you”.

3. Support matters. I realized just how much more family, loved ones and good friends matter in times of need. Knowing that you are not alone is very powerful medicine. My thousands of channel friends also kept my spirits high by making me feel useful and needed. When you push away the feeling of game-over and believe that your journey can and should continue, you realize that bad times are merely temporary pitstops along the way. Never underestimate the value and reward of giving.

4. Resilience. Once you survive the surgery, the recovery is the next biggest hurdle. Just little things that you take for granted like coughing or laughing was very painful. Do whatever it takes to get back on your feet, and never give up. Tomorrow will be better than today and of it’s not, wait for another day. Make every day count!

5. Be positive and optimistic. It will impact your life and recovery. Personally, I believe the only way to live is to see life through a glass half-full lens and that (I feel) has also helped me to get back on track much faster. Choose to see the positives, but don’t ignore the negatives.

6. Healthy Lifestyle. Healthy habits are vital as unfortunately the body does not come with a guarantee. “We’re here for a good time, not a long time,” as the song goes. Everyone is aware of the importance of eating well and exercising. There are extremes on both sides, but you must find your personal balance. I’d been doing a lot of the right things, but it seemed like it wasn’t enough, so I had to reassess my habits. Sadly with heart issues, many don’t learn the lesson in time. Don’t wait. It’s your life, and the best time to have acted to improve your health was probably ten years ago but if you missed that, then TODAY is the next best time to start!

7. Mindful Living. Stop and smell the roses whenever you can. I always live my life this way, so when the “incident” occurred, I felt somewhat at ease. If that was the end of my road after a week-long motorbike adventure ride to top off a life well-lived, I’d exit with a smile. My only fear was that when you die, I know that it’s your loved ones who will miss you the most, so I was determined to do whatever I could to not let that happen. I understand this feeling well because I lost my super mom only three years ago and it still feels like yesterday.

8. Work Life Balance. Work is an important aspect of life unless you have wealthy parents or win the lotto. I became a hard-working entrepreneur as a teenager because I never had either. However, work without play sucks. Try to include as much play as possible into your workday. Apparently, no over ever died with the last words, “I wish I had worked more.” I understand how difficult it might appear at times, and I know many business leaders who tell me it’s lonely at the top. Join a Mastermind Peer Group – it’s the most important thing ANYONE can do to up their game in work (and life).

9. Reshaping Priorities. Stress is like having a weight added to your feet when you swim. The more stress you have the heavier the weight becomes. You will eventually be unable to stay afloat even if you are the strongest swimmer. Reducing stress begins with saying NO to things that don’t matter to your purpose and your capacity to discern what does and does not matter. Got stress? Embrace it and face it head on. It’s not as difficult to overcome as you may think.

10. Prioritizing Self-Care. Your mental health is as vital as your physical health.  Magic happens when a healthy mind meets a healthy body. I think it feeds each other in some synergistic way. It’s not only about eating right and working out. The world can be a dark place without a healthy mind. With so much craziness going on in the world like wars, politics, pandemics, personal phobias and nutty conspiracies, it’s easy to become disinterested. When you step back from the weeds and look at the bigger picture, you will discover that it is an amazing world in which you matter just as much as everyone else. It’s an old, unrealistic and poorly-acted black and white film but the underlying message that YOU DO MATTER is timeless – well worth watching at least once called “It’s a Wonderful Life” with James Stewart and, while you’re at it, it’s always good to listen to Louis Armstrong’s song “It’s a Wonderful World” as it brings it all home.

This holiday season was particularly special for me since I experienced my health scare in 2023. It felt like the greeting “its so good to see you” had a greater meaning. I know I was looking much deeper into the eyes of everyone I met and I found myself smiling inside as I was quietly observing others from a distance as they enjoyed whatever they were doing. I kept thinking to myself that If I was not here, I would be missing all this…Embrace second chances!

I wish you a long, healthy, happy and prosperous life and I hope to see you sometime in 2024! Watch for all of our upcoming event dates on ChannelNEXT.