My life changed forever in the middle of a small downtown area in Maryland on June 9th 2015 at sunset.
I was walking across the street to teach a class on Essential Oils. I teach classes all the time, but this day was different. I had just gotten off the phone with my husband and friend, climbed out of my truck, gathered my stuff and proceeded to walk across the street, just as I’ve done all my life.
In a split-second, everything changed as a dump truck struck me and threw me 20 feet.
For several minutes, I ceased to exist.
My arm was mostly severed (it literally looked like someone had cut it off with a pair of scissors!).
I broke my pelvis, sacrum, transverse F5 vertebra, tore my MCL at 80% and sustained a stage 3 Traumatic Brain Injury. Which meant I lost all short term memory for 4 months.
Because of the brain injury, I had to learn how to dress myself all over again, and I’d get sick just turning my head. I got horrific migraines, my vision blurred…and I forgot everything.
On my journey back to health, I learned to compensate and make things work due to my limitations with memory or simply not being physically strong enough.
I have to rethink every time I go to pick something up. Or carry heavy items. Even lifting weights is limited because of my injuries.
But I also learned a number of other things that I want to share with you today:
1. Life is short. Don’t let fear get in your way of the things you want to do in life. Push through it so you can create your dreams, visions, and goals, because you are worth it. Not because of what anyone else says.
2. Learn to compensate. We already do this in life, in all types of situations. For me, compensating means thinking “outside the box” in new, creative ways and willing to make the things that are important to us happen - even if it means doing them a little differently.
I have three children and my youngest has Autism. Thinking outside the box is something she does every day. But for most of us, it’s much harder. Yet, there are times in our lives that we have no other choice.
After I was hit, you can bet my options were limited.
I lived with stick-it notes beside my best friends’ photos. Multiple calendars set up with alarms. But most of all, I had to be okay with not being perfect and not be so hard on myself.
Give yourself some slack but learn to compensate to make things work for you.
3. Be open about your weaknesses, especially if they bother you, so you can heal in the process. The more we talk and communicate about something, the more we are actually healing ourselves. We all need this.
So instead of looking at it as a bad thing, I see it as a good thing, along with creating understanding and awareness for others which they appreciate as well.
I’ve been an open book and upfront about my struggle since my accident, but not because I’m looking for sympathy. I love how positive I feel in how much I’ve grown, how it’s changed me for the better, and how I feel more empathetic towards others who have their own struggles and challenges in life.
I help them find the strength they have within themselves, and now know this is my superpower. Recognizing and being aware of our weaknesses is critical so it doesn’t become something we use as a crutch.
4. What you can offer others, from a life-changing experience, is wisdom and hope. The more I talk about my accident the more I heal, but I also see how conquering my challenges has given people hope, purpose, and something to hold onto. It’s transformational.
I’ve always said that if I can help just one person, I’d be happy. And instead of using my story as a pity party, I’ve used it to give strength and hope to so many. I have put a smiles on faces of people who have not had that glimmer of happiness in a long time and have helped people create an unshakeable belief system that was lost due to life events.
5. Keep moving forward. It’s as crucial to your well-being as it is to others who love and care about you. Being patient and kind to yourself, allowing yourself a good hard cry every now and then, and realizing it is okay to get frustrated and it’s okay to be sad sometimes.
I joke and tell people that you’ve got 24 hours to feel sorry for yourself and then you need to dust yourself off and keep moving forward. Learning to move through the hurt is huge!
We can’t change the past, we can only change the future, and we might as well make it good.
No matter where you’ve been, what you’ve done in the past, you can create the life you want. I’m living proof!
So what’s the #1 thing holding you back from having unshakeable belief in yourself and going after the life you WANT?
Drop it in the comments here.