What's Life Without Living?

Most people count you out when you are born  in the 70s with a perceived short life expectancy and physical limitations.  This motivates you to exceed those expectations.  My life was focused to being able to wake up another day, establishing myself professionally, and/or meeting the next goal or challenge I set for myself. Life was focused on proving them wrong.

I have fought hard to overcome daily pains and logistical challenges to continue to get up each day.  Pushing myself to achieve professional goals and helping enterprise organizations change to optimize delivering high value to customers and their market space. Putting in a ton of hours to exercise to get the most that I can from my body, being able to walk and be more mobile.  I put all this work in to have a life.  

However, I was not leaving anytime to use this life to live.  To live to experience new things.  To live for seeing and feeling things that I did not know even existed.

Life will happen, Living it has to be deliberate.

For the first time ever my bare feet felt the sand of the beech.  It was as if I was stepping on a fluffy cloud.  I have never felt such an unusual, awesome feeling before with my feet.  It was warm and the sand hugged my feet as I walked along the beach with my wife at my side.

Virgin feet on sand

Virgin feet on sand

I snorkelled for the very first time and got to see the most beautiful tropical fish with vibrant colours that cannot be described.  The water was the most beautiful blue I have ever seen.  The fish swam all around me.  I felt such a freedom.  I did not have to fight gravity, I was simply free.  Like floating in a beautiful new world, so peaceful, so tranquil.

Diving down to heaven.  Yes, those are SpiderMan water wings...don't judge....

Diving down to heaven.  Yes, those are SpiderMan water wings...don't judge....

My wife and I have worked very hard at being a couple, excelling at work, and doing a number of community activities supporting various causes.  Time was flying past us, before we knew it, 5 years had gone by since we last went away somewhere outside of Canada, ten years since we had went outside of Canada just the two of us.

This made me realize that I need to balance life with living.  I’m still going to push myself both personally and professionally, but I need to take the time and reap the benefits of life by living and experiencing these moments.  I need to take advantage of this while I’m blessed to have the mobility I do and my wife s able to join and assist me with us experiencing living.

Walking barefoot in the sand and snorkelling for the first time might not seem like a big deal to most, but for me it was something that I would have never dreamed of.  

Thank you Fred...

Thank you Fred...

I’m always in awe of the awesomeness of people.  During our vacation we met awesome peeps that made the above experiences possible.  We always see on TV and read about the people that suck.  However, the people that go above & beyond are rarely mentioned or noted as the exception.  The last two years I have seen mostly the awesomeness of the human race, making the people that suck the exception.  

Continue to push yourself.  Continue to achieve.  Remember to live for the moment, live for the experience, live for the memories, live while you can enjoy the most...simply live!

Losing a close friend this year taught me that we all have a finite amount of time...living is more than putting in time.

The Journey Continues

Can't Stand the word "Can't"

The word "Can't"bothers me.  It strikes a nerve with me.  When I hear the word "Can't" I interpret that as someone is not going to try.  Can't is convenient.  Can't is crippling.  I hear they're not prepared to go through the struggle and effort.  I hear that someone is not willing to pick themselves up when they fall. 

My wife and I recently relocated to a new city which meant I had to hire a whole new support staff to help me in the mornings at 5 AM with my personal care (shaving, showering, and dressing).  This means I have to trust strangers to whom I have only just met with my life. I have to instruct them to help me get ready in the morning.  This puts me in a highly vulnerable situation.  One person that I hired (now fired) did not take the time to learn the specifics of my morning routine.  There is nothing medical about my morning routine, but it is highly detailed to ensure everything is just right for me to be independent through out the day.  This person almost caused me to fall in the shower a number of times.  I felt crippled for the first time in a long time.  I was frustrated.  Angry.  I am trying to get ready for my first day at my new job but not sure I will make it out of the bathtub..  Luckily, my wife jumped in to help me get ready so I can be at work at 7:30 AM.  When I get dressed, my clothes have to be lined up with such precision to allow me to go to the bathroom independently at work.  The margin of failure is only inches.  This is a routine that I've continually refined over my life to strive to get more independent to allow me to have a "normal" life.  My job of being Dave and managing my needs is a 24/7 job on top of my professional job.

I don’t share this with you to feel sorry for me.  I’m simply giving background to why I have no tolerance for the word can’t or cannot accept the excuse that something is too difficult to try.  If I did not do anything that was difficult, I would not even get out of bed in the morning.

Let “Can’t” be the start of the story, not the ending.  Let “Can’t” drive you, not constrain you.  To get something you've never had, you must do something you've never done.  You have to change.  You have to endure scars to achieve what seems impossible.  You have to struggle.  You have to be resilient.  Anything worth having is worth struggling for. Try. Fail. Try again.  Our journey will be made up of falling and picking ourselves up.

These are my scars to endure.  Scars serve as a reminder to the past, but it does not tell us about the future. Change is challenging, frustrating, and terrifying.  There is no growth without change.  The struggle has to be fought, because the journey has to continue.

I'm not brave, I just keep trying

A lot of people approached me recently congratulating me on being brave.  Also, a number of people asked me how I became so brave to challenge myself and put myself out there.  I don't think I woke up one day and was instantly brave.  Like everyone, I have fears, anxieties, and insecurities.

I believe what encouraged me to face these things is to deal with them more frequently.  I would face my fears, anxieties, and insecurities, slowly pushing myself to achieving things that previously scared me.  In doing scary things often, you get better at dealing with failure.  The more you deal with making mistakes or not achieving something, the better you can recover from it.  Doing this frequently makes this uncomfortable feeling your new normal.  This is training your brain to live in this uncomfortable place.  You're conditioning your emotions to deal with setbacks.  You're conditioning yourself to get back up and show resilience.  The more you do something the easier it gets.  Using this structure/framework  allows me to deal with the challenges and builds courage.  The more accomplishments you've achieved (whether it's from a number of trial and errors or if you get it the first time) keeps moving you forward.

I also give a little credit of being stubborn to overcoming fear.   I tend to want to face what people say is impossible, or unrealistic, as a challenge to overcome.  Every great success story began with the notion of impossible or unrealistic… I like to fill in the rest of the story between the start and finish.  It's not easy.  It's very frustrating.  It's really hard work.  It's incredibly rewarding.

The last thing you want in life is to live with regret.  Making mistakes gives you a chance to learn from them. If the number of missed opportunities pile up, it will give you a worse feeling than you would have ever experienced from being uncomfortable and recovering from failure.



Having a support structure around you to continue to support, inspire, console, and challenge you is essential.    The power of your inner circle can either break you or encourage you… find your supportive circle.

It's very easy to point fault at someone or not to believe… If we want others to achieve success from being uncomfortable we have to support and encourage them. 

Life is short.  Life is a gift.  Life is unfair.  Life is hard.  Life is awesome.  If being uncomfortable makes you live it to the fullest… Why would you ever want to be comfortable?

The Next Challenge

I have decided to participate in the 2014 Terry Fox Run. I'm setting a goal of walking the 5km. Am I nervous? Yes. If I wasn't nervous, it would not be a challenge. I want to walk for those that can't.

I will be blogging about my journey in training for this event. I will fall many times along the way...I promise to always pick myself up and keep going.

For me, living a normal life takes an extraordinary effort.

A few people asked me who Terry Fox is...here is the wikipedia link Terry Fox was always an inspiration to me as I could relate to all the struggles and pain he endured during his Marathon for Hope. The word 'hero' gets thrown around a lot these days, especially with all the super heroes on the big screen. To me, a hero accomplishes every day life despite extreme obstacles.

Somedays, my pain is overwhelming but I have to push through it as I have a lot of things I want to accomplish during my time here. I put a smile on my face and move forward...because I love doing what I do so damn much.

People have asked me what motivated me to do this walk. Good question. I pay for my personal training out of my own pocket as it's not covered by any insurance. This is a big expense out of our monthly budget. My wife and I make trade offs like vacations & etc to accommodate this. If I can leverage this expense to help raise money for cancer then I'm getting a greater return on our investment by helping others have a better life.

If I spend 40 weeks, 120 hours training, 495 hours of cardio to give people with cancer one more minute with their loved ones...I believe that is time well spent.

I have an an awesome life. An amazing wife, family, friends, and colleagues. I get to go to work everyday to help people want to come to work and do the best job they can. Don't get me wrong, there are people in my life that I don't care for...but that's where I hope karma will help out.

My mom and dad went through a lot of struggles with school boards, doctors, and others to give me the life I have today. I do not take it for granted.

I'm doing this walk in partnership with my gym (The Athletic Club) on September 14, 2014. I would love to see you there...if not, I know you will be there in spirit.

I'm starting a video blog in a couple of weeks. This video I'm targeting to be 60-90 seconds in length. A number of you have sent me topics that you want to know about with regards to me and my life. Please keep sending things you want to know more about...to me, my life is normal and boring so I need to hear from you on specifics you want to know more about. In addition, I will give statuses of how I'm progressing for the run...and life in general.

Until next time...


No one said the workouts would be easy...but it was worth it!