Oct 13, 201210:15 AMPositive Vibes
A blog that explores authentic human connection
Volume One, Issue One
The first issue of Positive magazine went to press last week. I’ve worked harder on this product than I’ve worked on any business undertaking. I believe it is my best work to date and may be my pièce de résistance. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint where exactly ideas come from, but this is not the case with Positive magazine. I can tell you exactly how it happened.
When I turned 50, I went to my family physician for a check up. After blood work, a prostate exam and a stress test, I was instructed to get a colonoscopy. So I did.
The “twilight drugs” they give you for the exam are designed to keep you unconscious during the procedure. For some reason I “woke up” in the middle of the procedure. The doctor was working frantically on a large mass he had found in my colon. When I asked what was going on, the doctor responded, “It looks like you and I are going to be good friends, because we’ll be seeing each other a lot.” After the procedure he explained to my wife Sarah and I that he had removed the largest polyp he had ever seen in his 30 years of practice. He also informed us that usually polyps larger than a quarter-inch are cancerous. My polyp was 7 centimeters, or about 3.5 inches. The almost-certain prognosis would be the removal of my descending colon and some fairly radical cancer treatment. It was Monday morning. He was going to send off the samples to the lab and get back to me by Friday.
It was the longest week of my life.
I spent most of that time in my office, going about my job like any other time. But it wasn’t like any other; it was filled with fear and remorse and gratitude for a life well lived and resolution about what was next. It was one of the few times in my life that I put matters in God’s hands and said out loud, “Your will be done.” I still cry when I think about it.
I knew for the first time what others feel like when they are told they have cancer. I also began to get a better understanding of the people and things that mattered most in my life.
I called the doctor’s office on Wednesday wondering about results from the pathologist. They said the doctor would call as soon as the results came in. On Friday at 4:55 p.m. I called back and told them I really wanted to know what the verdict was before the week ended. The doctor called back within five minutes.
“Jim (people who don’t know me shorten my formal name, James) I’m not sure who you are, but you may be the luckiest man I’ve ever known. The pathologist and I cut up that polyp, and we couldn’t find a trace of cancer anywhere in it. We’ve never seen anything like it before.” I burst into audible tears as he spoke. “Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. Come see me again in a year or so. Have a good weekend.”
As I looked out my office window, the sky looked bluer than I’d ever seen it. I composed myself and called Sarah. I took the doctor’s advice and had a great weekend.
That experience changed my perspective on life. Over the next few months I took some time to reflect on my purpose and what mattered most to me. I enrolled in some self-awareness workshops (through a program called Life Success Seminars) to help me sort out how I was feeling and why.
During that period, I had a desire to tap into my newfound zest for life. One morning, I decided I needed to share my enthusiasm with the world.
I opened up a Twitter account (@Positive365) and committed to posting a positive thought every day, without fail, for a year. My first posts were awkward, and some were silly, but since it was just me a few close friends looking at my posts, it didn’t seem to matter much. But over the next few months I started to have dozens of followers and then hundreds of followers, and I added Facebook to the posts.
What followed was another surprise. A community of like-minded people started forming. Their comments to my posts inspired me. The growth in what is called a “tribe” of social media friends swelled to over 1,000 by the time I had posted for a full year. That tribe of positive people is what inspired the creation of Positive magazine.
In the hour it has taken me to write these words and recount the story of how positive became the magazine that went to press today, I am reinvigorated.
And that’s how Positive works.
Spread the word.