maximizing human potential through Life's Most Powerful Question.

W.I.N. Wednesday: Lessons From Life's Most Powerful Question - When bad things happen

"Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have-life itself."

Walter Inglis Anderson 

Bad things are going to happen to you. It is part of life. 'Bad' however, is all relative. The bad thing may be a business deal gone bad, or a relationship gone bad. It may be an illness or is ease, the loss of a job, the loss of a loved one or something else 'bad' that happened to you. This morning when I sat down to write this week's W.I.N. Wednesday message I read the above quote from Walter Anderson and it caused me to pause and reflect and put my 'bad things' in perspective. 

Last week was the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. We were running a law enforcement conference in Calgary when those attacks happened in 2001. Among those in attendance were a retired NYPD officer and two serving members of the NYPD. They lost close friends that day and had they been in New York the two serving members very likely would have been among the police officers who responded to the Towers that morning. Among the thousands who died that day were 71 police officers, 343 firefighters, and 15 EMS personnel. There have also been at least 84 firefighters and 62 police officers who have succumbed to 9/11-related illness since September 11, 2001.  Since that day thousands of men and women serving in our militaries have died in the war on terror and tens of thousands have been injured. Those attacks were a defining moment for the City of New York and for people around the world.

I am proud to have served as a law enforcement officer in Calgary, Alberta for 25 years. For the ten years since my retirement I have strived to continue to serve the law enforcement profession as a trainer. In my travels I have the honour and privilege of meeting some amazing officers who have suffered serious injuries and yet maintain positive attitudes and continue to serve the profession, their agencies and their communities. 

I know two law enforcement officers who have been shot in the face and lost an eye. Mike and Tim both have a positive attitude towards life and continue to serve their agencies and their communities. I know another officer who had her leg amputated below the knee as a result of getting shot. She too continues to serve her agency and her community and at one of my conferences Laurie made the comment, "I have gained more than I have lost from this experience." I know two others who had the humerus bone in their upper arm shattered by a bullet from a violent criminal. Neither Marcus or Patrick have been able to return to an operational capacity, but both have an amazing attitude and continue to serve as trainers sharing lessons learned from their experience and making other officers safer and better prepared. Another law enforcement professional I know seriously injured his back during an arrest of a fleeing suspect. The resulting injury ended his career as a law enforcement officer and causes him to live with extreme discomfort on a daily basis. Yet, Richard maintains an amazing attitude and has dedicated his life to paying it forward to the law enforcement profession he loves by teaching at a community college and inspiring the future generation of law enforcement. Earlier this year I met an officer who suffered a spinal cord injury in an on duty traffic collision and is confined to a wheelchair. Santos continues to proudly wear the uniform of his agency and serve his department and his community. Another officer I know was shot 17 times responding to a shooting in progress. While the injuries forced Brian to retire from his department, he continues to serve the law enforcement community though his work as a trainer and body armour advocate. 

Each of these officer's response to their situation has defined their character and the quality of their life. Each of them inspires me to check my attitude when 'bad' stuff happens to me. 

As W. Mitchell says, "It is not what happens to you. Its what you do about it." He goes on to say, "People don't need a pep talk. They need a new perspective."

What's Important Now? - How do you respond when bad stuff happens to you? How are you going to respond in the future when bad things happen? 

Take care.

Brian Willis

Committed to the pursuit of excellence through Life's Most Powerful Question - What's Important Now?

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Contact me at winningmind@mac.com to arrange for me to speak to your team, your organization or at your next conference. 




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