It’s funny. When I was younger I read a lot of business books trying to figure out how to be better at business. The question you should ask is why? I thought linearly.
I thought if I read more books then I will be more successful at business. I then invested more into my business knowledge by taking an MBA at the Ivey School of Business – “Harvard of Canada”. I said to myself after that program very smugly, “nobody can put one past me now when it comes to business”.
Then I got brain cancer. Cancer – the great equalizer. That bravado of business confidence meant shit instantaneously. The deception of the invincibility changed to a fog of imminent mortality.
People tell me there are lots of cancer stories out there – so what? To a degree they are right but I have my own perspective. It is what you choose to do with your life post diagnosis that sets one apart. Take for example, Lance Armstrong. Even though he survived against all odds and created a huge cancer charity you will always remember him for doping – betrayal.
Shortly after the diagnosis, I said to myself “I will dedicate myself to my wife and children” for my future certainly seemed likely to be truncated. It was an easy decision as cancer tends to sharpen the mind.
Fast forward 20 years. 60+ MRIs later, radiation and chemotherapy treatments endured, I have lived. My kids have grown up and my wife is more beautiful than ever.
Like Rip Van Winkle, who slumbered for twenty years, I had an awakening. It dawned on me that I am actually old enough to die from natural causes. What now? I had no plan for living a long life and acted for many years accordingly.
I sought to learn new skills. I no longer cared about learning about business. I wanted to live a life where I connected with people who I inspired and they in turn inspired me. I had always been kind but now I wanted to reach for a new level of generosity.
My goal was invest my time and money to learn how to be successful at being generous. If you define generosity as giving without the expectation of return, it sounds counterintuitive to being successful. Yet it has been the exact opposite. Reading, hiring of a coach and watching of inspirational people on YouTube has changed me. This “investment” in my learning how to be generous has led me to a path of greater fulfillment than any financial dividend could be worth.
Before, I was doing real estate deals for healthcare professionals to feed my family. Now I am sharing my business acumen and life experiences with dentists who want and need to be inspired. Contrast these two and see the difference. It is my intention to be generous with my knowledge and wisdom.
I encourage you to invest in yourself! Where will you invest your next unit of energy? The payoff can be immeasurable.