What we cover: “Boom! Gratitude.” —Mike Shaw
This week’s Guest Titan – Mike Shaw — is beyond inspiring. I have thought about our chat daily since it happened. He is just that impressive. I don’t want to give too much away, his story is incredible, and it’s best if I get out of the way – and let you hear it from his vantage point. Hear what it was like to be at the top of his game as a freestyle skier and coach, and to one day, in the moment it takes to snap our fingers, experience a fluke crash and the subsequent horror of feeling nothing from the neck down – to know that there is a very good chance that he would spend his life as a quadriplegic. This is a story of grit, determination, self-identity – and above all else, gratitude. I caught Mike’s TED Talk in Vancouver, and I knew I had to meet him. And I did, and we drank Vega shakes together, and he wowed me. Every day his feet touch the ground in the morning, he says: “Boom! Gratitude. Boom! Gratitude.”
His TED Talk is amazing – he is amazing – and it’s posted here, please check it out. While you’re here, Red Bull did an astounding documentary, called The Healing Agent, on Mike’s recovery – I’m not kidding, it’s one of the most unforgettable half-hours I’ve watched… the moment of Mike’s crash is captured, there is footage of that game-changing, life-altering moment, and it’s hard to watch, really hard, actually. His recovery and his unbreakable focus are also captured, and serve as a reminder that if we want something badly enough, this level of commitment is what it takes. Rehabilitation and recovery became Mike’s full-time job. And, it worked.
The reason I started this series, is so that my two daughters, Majella (who we call JouJou) and Burgess (who we call Birdie) will have an inventory of inspiring conversations with paradigm-busters to draw upon for those times in their lives when they feel stuck. Each conversations give me the gift of at least one perspective shift – a new way of looking at the situation. I want to thank Mike for so much – for reminding me to be grateful for the little things. Today, as I was leaving the library, I stepped up over the curb and I thought of Mike. Of those weeks following his accident – when to step up over a curb was an unthinkable privilege. We are all living someone’s version of an unthinkable privilege. Whether it’s having the ability to see, or to hear, or to walk, or just to be alive – those are privileges. Thank you for that special reminder, Mike.