In my family, we have a Thanksgiving tradition in which everybody at the dinner table tells one thing they are personally thankful for. It was during this time of sharing that my son Daniel, who was 14 at the time, let everybody know that he was just thankful to be alive.
That was no small declaration. Earlier that year, a tree branch fell on Daniel and nearly killed him. He had severe brain trauma, and for several days we did not know if he would survive or if he would recover. Would he have paralysis, cognitive impairments or other life-changing challenges? If you are a parent, you can imagine the waves of shock and distress we were facing in those first days after the accident.
The doctors were not hopeful for Daniel’s long-term recovery. One doctor told him, “You’ll never play baseball again.” And, he added that Daniel would never be able to attend college, because his brain could never again handle the complex thought required to pass college courses.
So we were obviously thankful that Daniel was with us that Thanksgiving, if a little unsure about the future.
And today – 12 years later – our family is thankful that Daniel didn’t listen to that doctor. Because he did indeed play baseball again, lettering all four years in high school. And he did indeed go to college, graduating with honors from Butler University. And he’s already bought and sold a business, is married and is currently in a managerial role with a large company.
Daniel made it through his personal crisis with sheer hard work and determination. Every day was a challenge at first, but with a can-do attitude and perseverance, he made it through a dark period and reached his goals.
Those traits of hard work, determination and a can-do attitude are the keys to success in both business and life, and they are what often separate winners from losers. No doubt you have your own personal examples from your family life or business career of overcoming the odds, ignoring the naysayers and growing stronger and wiser from the experience. This is the season to celebrate those victories, recognize the people who triumphed and be thankful we’re alive in such an interesting and challenging time.
President, National Precast Concrete Association