Look Up—Find the upside in any situation.
My life changed by taking out the trash. On a normal, Sunday afternoon, a thousand-pound tree limb struck me, breaking my neck and leaving me unconscious in the driveway. Waking up five days later in the ICU with my health in peril and prognosis uncertain, I was scared, but that was just Act One. Life decided to simultaneously hit me with more. Act Two: I discovered my husband’s double life. Act Three: I received an unexpected call from my employer forcing me to resign. I call this a When All Balls Drop moment.
After neurosurgery and nearly a year of living in an immobilization brace, physical therapy, and counseling, I was told that I was healthy enough to return to a normal life. However, I needed to prove it to myself. I decided to test myself fully: physically, mentally, and emotionally by embarking on a solo walkabout to near the end of the earth: Patagonia, Chile and Argentina.
On my Patagonian walkabout, I challenged myself by hiking the famous W trail of Torres del Paine National Park, which meant 10-mile hikes daily, experiencing four seasons in one day with rain, snow, sun, and winds, as well as breathtaking views of my first sightings of a glacier, guanacos (like llamas), and the beautiful granite towers of the park. During my
hikes, I replayed not only the last trying year, but my life prior to the tree. At the summit of my final hike at the base of the towers, I closed a chapter of my life and started architecting a new one, Life 2.0, which would include becoming an author and inspiring others to overcome their obstacles and live an adventurous life. I’m proud to share that I’m a living example of Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). There is an opportunity to use any loss as a springboard for positive growth and change.
You don’t have to have a thousand pounds of anything hit you over the head to embrace a new, improved, truer version of yourself. The tree taught me a crucial life lesson on the power of perspective. I created a mantra, Look Up, to share with the world. These two, powerful words remind us to: 1) Be in the moment, appreciating the beauty around us as well as hazards 2) Find the upside in any situation.
From my walkabout, I realized that adventure allows us to shift our mindset and tap into the power of perspective. I define adventure as any new activity that is all consuming and perhaps fearful that puts you in the zone. Adventure can be
physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of all three. It can be trying a new sport, going on a blind date, writing your first blog post, or traveling to a familiar place, but in a different way. I believe so intensely in adventure that I wrote in my second book “Adventure is my meditation.” So if you want to change your life, overcome roadblocks, and take your life to the next level, I suggest using Look Up daily, heading for an adventure frequently, and repeat when necessary.
To follow Heidi’s next adventure click here.
We’d love to have you join the conversation. Has a physical or emotional challenge set you back? Might you share any words of wisdom with the Tribe? Please comment below—you never know who you might inspire or where it might lead.