So Simple, It’s Scary: It’s Just About… Life

if-your-dreams-dont-scare-you-theyre-not-big-enough

It’s Halloween, but this has nothing to do with being scary.  Though when you read the passage below, you might think it’s so simple to do it is scary, it’s so profound it might pump the blood of inspiration into your brain and into your heart. It’s proof that the ghosts of those long-gone still speak to us and can literally change the direction of our lives.

I’m currently reading My Philosophy for Successful Living, by Jim Rohn. Rohn passed on years ago, but because he wrote, because he spoke and because he shared we still get the chance to bask in the wisdom he had about life. It’s almost frighteningly profound:

When you take the time to learn, as you are doing now with this book, you are investing in you and your future. The reason for this is that one good idea can effectively change your entire life. Stop and think about that for a moment. One good idea can transform your whole future, ranging from your health to your finances to your relationships.

Ideas are funny and they tend to have resonating effects. In this way, it is almost impossible to calculate what an idea is worth. This is why when you buy a book you are not buying the ideas. The publisher simply can’t charge for ideas. They can only charge for the book. After all, you might make a million dollars from a book that only cost you $9.95, that’s just how ideas work. And that’s what makes ideas so grand.

Another remarkable fact about ideas and concepts is that you never know when or where you are going to find that resonating idea that radiates out and changes everything for you and your life.

The bottom line is that you will never know when that moment will arrive and change your life in the process. Viewed from another perspective, the knowledge and inspiration you need to transform your life may not come all at once, but instead in pieces as part of a process.

All human beings have the ability to transform like a caterpillar emerging from its cocoon and taking to the sky. This is the essence of personal development: taking information in, becoming inspired by it and allowing yourself to be transformed and, in turn, inspire others as well. Seeing what you can become and what you can help others become is the major challenge in life.

It’s all so profound, it’s almost scary to think about. But don’t be afraid to allow that one moment to change your life.

power-of-words

Happy Halloween.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Mark

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Financial Services

Author: The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story

(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

Connect on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or markbrodinsky@gmail.com

 

Can’t Fight It: It’s Just About… Life

why

If you feel it, you have to go with it. If you want it, you have to go for it. And if you’ve got it, you have to go share it.

I do believe that when you figure out your WHY and gifts or talents that go along with that purpose, and if you are focused on that core, it’s hard to shake it. It’s part of you and the challenge becomes to find the right path to use that gift to help other people.

Yet it’s getting to that point that is not always easy. It takes some reflection, some inspiration and then clarity on honing in on the talent/gift you do better than most and then finding the way to intersect that with what you love to do. It might take time to figure it out and time never stands still so the time is now.

Yesterday I spoke to a group at Woamtec Downtown Baltimore Chapter, (Women on a Mission to Earn Commission), about this topic, as well as my insights on fear, failure and some activities to focus on to start down the path of leading a life of significance. It’s definitely something I enjoy, it seemed to resonate and is in synergy with this blog, my writing and other activities I am focused on.

Not everyone in yesterday’s group has figured out their purpose, but sometimes it’s all about being in the right place at the right time, as one member of the group spoke about to me afterward. She has been grappling with this exact topic, her WHY, and just happened to sign up to attend the meeting and when she saw what the speaker was going to cover, she was all in. She told me, as did another attendee, how sometimes things happen for a reason.

True. To figure out your purpose, your WHY, one of two things will happen: either something will happen to you, or something will happen from the inside-out. However the chance you take for some outside force to point you in the right direction, is that it may never happen, or it will happen late, or that something might have already affected someone you love. I write about this in the preface to It Takes 2, the journal/book I wrote as my wife went through her battle with breast cancer:

The Roman Poet Horace says, “Adversity had the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous times would have lain dormant.” If not for Debbie, her illness, her fight, her courage, and her inspiration I never would have gone back to my roots to write, to share emotion, love, and perspective in a way which has transformed me and apparently others who have been touched by our story.

Something happened which drove me to my WHY, and 2-1/2 years later, a book, tons of posts on this blog, The Sunday Series, a mastermind group and now speaking engagements on this same topic – my focus has become to encourage others not to wait. Take the time, make the time, find a way to figure out your WHY. Once you do the path becomes clear, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Seeing other people be inspired, motivated and touched by what you share is life changing – for you and for them.

Just hours after yesterday’s speech I received a phone call from a wonderful woman, a patient advocate for those dealing with mesothelioma. In this week’s Sunday Series I had profiled a man bringing hope to others dealing with the illness, (http://markbrodinsky.com/the-sunday-series-45-with-mark-brodinsky/). The woman and I had a nice conversation and right before we hung up she thanked me for the way I told the story, I told her that’s my gift. She told me it was “phenomenal”.  I’m not sure I’ve ever heard that word in conjunction with anything else I have done in life, especially from someone I didn’t even know before our 5-minute conversation.  It was touching and validating beyond belief, that what I am doing is in line with who I am and what I want to accomplish. As Jon Gordon writes about in his book, The Carpenter, it’s all about love, serve and care.

I share these stories for one purpose, to drive home a message. Don’t wait for your purpose to simply show up, sometimes you have to go get it. Maybe you already have, if so, I commend you and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?

The world is waiting. Don’t fight it, just go get it.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Mark

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Financial Services

The Book: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

Let’s connect. Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter. Leave a comment on the blog, or send me an e-mail: markbrodinsky@gmail.com

 

 

The Sunday Series (45), with Mark Brodinsky

Lighting the way as a beacon of hope, demonstrating courage to others fighting the fight, being an inspiration when someone needs it the most. For one man, it’s become a way of life.

The Sunday Series (45): A Man of Good Hope

richard headshot

Neil had passed away and it was a crushing blow. It happens way too often these days, but it was another of those moments Richard realized what this is really all about. “I went to visit Neil’s wife after he was gone”, says Richard. “She put her arm around me and revealed to me what Neil had said about me – he told her, ‘I met this guy, he is a long-time survivor and talking to him…he gives me hope.’  My knees almost buckled and I started to cry.”

It’s a moment Richard Mosca will long remember. And there have been so many more. It’s a sacrifice Richard makes to be a savior to so many on their journey. It’s not easy, because how many times can you lose a friend? How many times can a heart break? Apparently many more than Richard realized he could handle, but the sacrifice of emotional pain is worth it,  if even one soul can live a day of hope.

Neil & daughter Rossana

Neil & daughter Rossana

For Richard it all began with some night sweats. He thought it was simply a complication from the diverticulitis he had dealt with for years.  A little bloating, drenched sheets, par for the course. Even at his annual physical in October of 2006 he failed to mention it, until the end of the appointment. When the doctor asked Richard if there was anything else he wanted to talk about, Richard shared his recent symptoms, the doctor raised his eyebrows…then sent him off for a CAT scan. The journey had begun.

Throughout the winter of 2006 a series of tests, surgery on Richard’s abdomen, a blood clot in his neck, lymph nodes removed, another round of abdomen surgery — finally some clarity. The winter of Richard’s discontent had finally landed him on the doorstep of an oncologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. This doctor, a specialist, recommended one more biopsy. A 10-inch piece of Richard’s omentum was removed, (omentum is the skin which hangs just above the abdomen) and it was sent off for testing. The result: mesothelioma, an aggressive cancer affecting the membrane lining of the lungs and abdomen. The abdominal “meso” affects only about 600 people a year in the United States, rare enough that funding is hard to come by for research and patient advocacy.  The primary cause for mesothelioma – exposure to asbestos. And understand this fact: Asbestos kills more people than road traffic accidents every year. Inhaling the fibers can cause the cancer mesothelioma to develop as much as half a century after exposure.

For Richard, he is fairly certain he came in contact with the asbestos while employed, but explains there are plenty of ways to contract the disease and it’s not always primary contact. A woman who has become Richard’s mentor contracted the disease from secondary exposure. The woman’s father, who worked as an electrician while she was growing up, was exposed to asbestos nearly every day. When he came home her father would routinely take off his work clothes and leave them in the laundry room – the same room which also served as a playroom for his children. It is this same woman who helped Richard a great deal, especially as he was going through his rounds of chemotherapy following the first surgery. Richard remembers thinking, “I want to be just like her”, giving hope to those scared to death of what lies ahead.

Often it’s not the fear of surgery, but simply survival which gnaws at the heart.  Richard’s greatest fears following his two surgeries in 2007 were simply survival – not being there to walk his daughter down the aisle – and wondering if he were gone tomorrow would his young grandchildren still remember him.

The Grandchildren

The Grandchildren

Making it to the wedding!

Making it to the wedding!

“With cancer you just never know”, says Richard. “All could be great, then six months later it recurs, you just don’t know. The doctors said I had a more aggressive tumor than they wanted to see. Now every time there is a little pain or something doesn’t feel right you start to think, oh crap, it’s back.”

But Richard is one of the lucky ones. Mesothelioma doesn’t play games. One-third of all meso patients don’t last a year, another third of patients see their cancer return in five years and only one-third mange to live beyond five years. And it’s not just survival, it’s the games a serious illness can play with your mind. Richard was fortunate enough to have a large amount of sick time from his job at Con Edison in New York City, but now looks back and wonders if that was a big mistake. “I found myself sitting around the house and obsessing with this”, Richard says. “I would research mesothelioma on the internet and only saw negativity – all the law firms telling you to get a lawyer, (for what so many refer to as the TV cancer, with all the mesothelioma commercials out there), and people seeking holistic approaches and not using chemotherapy. I started to wonder if I was going to regret my route of treatment. It became a mental nightmare. My wife would come home and I would be in the same position on the couch as when she left me. I found myself getting depressed without even realizing it. I would sit there and not care about anything.”

It was Richard’s wife Lora who saw the signs and turned things around. “My wife recognized the depression and soon gave me things to do. She made sure when she left in the morning for work I had errands to run, I would go visit people or even go to the library, sit down and read for a while. She kept her eye on me and in a round-a-bout way kept me busy without being direct about the depression.”

CAT scans and checks are a way of life now, but it was 3-1/2 years after Richard’s second surgery, when Richard thought it was all over. “After looking at my CAT scan the doctor walks right over to me sits down in front of me and says you have a mass on the right side of your abdomen. I was almost sure it had come back. At that point I had made it farther than I thought I would”, says Richard. But luck was on his side, because the mass was removed, tested and it turned out it was just an infection from Richard’s diverticulitis, not a return of the cancer. It’s now been two years since that most recent false alarm…and Richard continues to move forward on his mission to bring hope to other meso victims.

richard at meso convention

Making A Difference

“I’m big into the (Mesothelioma Applied Research) Foundation, (http://www.curemeso.org/site/c.duIWJfNQKiL8G/b.8598593/k.D685/Homepage.htm ). I served on the Board for three years, but now I’m off the Board because they want me to become the face of the Foundation. One of Richard’s notable efforts to bring mesothelioma to the forefront of people’s minds resulted in an official proclamation in the State of New York, declaring September 26th, “Mesothelioma Awareness Day.”

Richard & Lora

Richard & Lora

For seven years now Richard has been an active member of the mesothelioma patient community and through a nomination by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation, he has participated in six congressionally directed medical research grant panels, giving him a unique perspective that most patients do not experience. But it IS the patient experience to which Richard can mostly closely relate and the one he is living to change.(https://www.facebook.com/curemeso)

It’s not easy because the pain of loss permeates Richard’s life, it’s something he has learned to live with since early on in the journey. “I’m a big Yankee fan”, says Richard. “When I went to my first chemotherapy session I wore all my Yankee stuff. The guy in the chair next to me, David, was decked out in Red Sox gear, but we became the best of friends. We would jab at each other a lot about each team. David would come in frequently for treatment because he had it (meso) bad. We spent a lot of time together. I would go pick him up and take him out to dinner. He was one of the good guys. I remember the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl and when the Giants won, David still called me up to congratulate me. We were sports enemies, but we were the best of friends. When David passed I wrote his wife a note and she read it at the funeral.”

Dave

David

Too many funerals, too many losses. But Richard says he gets so much satisfaction out of making the connections. “I have the nurse match me with new patients about my age, she gets me in contact with them and I allow them to pick my brain. I don’t sugar-coat it. I tell them how I survived, what I went through and what they can do to try to avoid the pain, little tricks that help. I tell them how I was swinging my golf clubs six weeks after surgery. I always, always stay positive.”  Richard and Lora don’t just open their hearts, they even open the door to their home. “Other things we do to help is offer our home up to people who are coming to New York for treatments.  Their family or caregivers can stay with us as long as they require.” It’s finding a way to bring some hope.  While Richard may not be able to change the final outcome for others dealing with mesothelioma, he can try to bring joy to the journey. Even one day of hope is better than none at all.

Touching Lives

Touching Lives

And then there’s the takeaway so many dealing with a serious illness find – life is precious. “I tell everyone to appreciate your friends and family”, says Richard. “And the biggest thing I tell everyone is even if you are going through bad experiences you must live today and worry about tomorrow when it gets here. It’s the way I live my life now. Worry about today because it’s here, it’s important. Tomorrow is another day.”

Another day of good hope.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Mark

(Sometimes the universe conspires on your behalf. At the time of writing this blog, I happened to hear a song titled, A Song of Good Hope, by Glen Hansard. I thought it worthwhile to include the YouTube version in this post, feel free to give it a look and a listen:( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrU_gSijqRg)

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Financial Services

The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2. Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
Buy the Book: (http://www.spouses-story.com/)

For ideas, suggestions, comments or nominations for The Sunday Series: markbrodinsky@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Struggle: It’s Just About… Life

the struggle

I struggle.

I struggle all the time. Struggles with emotions, family, finances, work. I get knocked down every day. I know I am not alone. Sometimes you don’t want to keep pushing or moving forward, you simply want to stand still, go back, or just lie down.

A friend said to me recently that with all I blog about, it appears everything must be “going great”. Not even close. But the point is I am trying to do something about it. I appreciate the comment though because it’s an interesting perception. This is life. If I had the magic bullet to make every day work out perfectly and life to be one long joy-ride where nothing ever went wrong, no one died too soon, relationships always worked out, money was literally flowing into the bank and work was a breeze – then I should be given some kind of “greatest life ever” award.

But I do have a plan and I am on a journey. And if most of us are standing at the bottom of the mountain and looking up at the top – thinking I am never going to get there, it looks too steep, too far away, the climb is too hard – then what I am trying to accomplish is that climb and I’ve found a rope and a pickaxe to get me there, and you can too.

It’s all I’ve been reading, listening to, working on, the actions I am taking daily and the love and service I try to share. It’s not always perfect nor am I. I make mistakes, but I keep working at it, I refuse to give up or give in and I know the smallest of steps over time make the biggest difference. It’s the compound effect and maybe the most important factor in all of this, despite the challenges and the adversity I face, we face, every day, is this one single thing – I believe in myself. I’ve got my WHY and I’m not turning back. No matter what.

The ammunition I use to get through each day, each week, each month and the years begins with that foundation. Examples I turn to are this blog, now more than 330 posts strong with more than 70,000 participants.  An invitation and a place on Huffington Post (the times when I utilize it). The Sunday Series – more than 40 stories of courage, hope and inspiration, shared with the world. A #1 Best-Selling book on Amazon. Invitations to speaking engagements to help motivate and inspire. My participation in a mastermind group with three other men who are now like brothers to me. My friendships. The growth of my financial planning practice – and the deepening relationships with those I serve through that practice and with those I co-workers with whom I choose to partner. My recognition now, in the present, for work I did nearly 20 years ago as an Emmy-Award winning TV producer. My volunteer work as a Board member the Ronald McDonald House Charities, and lastly, but actually at the top of the list – my family’s current good health, my children’s academic success and their personal growth and the loving support of my wife.

I struggle every day. But the point I am trying to make is the struggle is worth it. The snapshot of the past two years in the paragraph above, at least for me, proves it. But you have to believe. I have to believe. I have a plan and it includes little disciplines every day, reading, writing, listening, sharing, love, service and caring. What’s so easy to do is also easy not to do. Every time I read, I write, I speak, or I serve, life changes sometimes in completely minuscule ways, but the compound effect of those changes over time makes a huge difference. I know it because I am living it.

What are your struggles? How do you overcome? What is living proof of those accomplishments?

This blog is just part of  what I am learning and sharing to become better by helping others to do the same. To help myself and so many more deal with the struggle of life. It is working. To positively impact the lives of a billion people. Some people are amazed by that mission, some laugh, some think I’m crazy, some could care less. It’s all OK. It’s all part of the journey. It’s part of my plan to deal with the challenges life throws at me every day and to leave a legacy to stand for all time.

I struggle. I believe. I am making a difference.

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.
Mark

Mark Brodinsky, Author, Blogger, Financial Services

The #1 Amazon Best-Seller: It Takes 2: Surviving Breast Cancer: A Spouse’s Story
(http://www.spouses-story.com/)

For ideas, comments or anything else you want to share: markbrodinsky@gmail.com