Healthy Hearts is an advocacy and support group with the objective of promoting healthy hearts. It focuses in healthy life styles, heart diseases prevention and treatment, CPR/AED training, AED donations and resources to have healthy hearts.
Second Life Management: Surviving the Waves of Life
I have a lot to thanks today. I am managing my “second life” and surviving the waves of life. On 2007 I had a Sudden Cardiac Arrest during a Boy Scouts Summer Camp. I was saved by Scouters who did CPR for 45 minutes and by emergency responders who shocked me several times with an AED. Our Boy Scouts remained calm helping in guiding an ambulance to our campsite and praying for my health. My wife, who was in a summer camp for her first time, was calm and praying for my life. I survived thanks to God, prayers, and prompt actions by people around me who helped to have a miraculous recovery. I thank all of you today and everyday for keeping me alive. Read my survivor story here.
Every morning when I see my heart surgery chest scarf in the mirror I give thanks to God and remind myself about the new mission He gave me by keeping me alive. It is my responsibility to share this story, to educate others about healthy lifestyles, and most important to provide my tips for “Second Life Management” with the hope you will use them, not only in your second life, if this is your case, but also in your “First Life”. I have already lost several close friends to heart disease and I want to warn you about healthy lifestyles that you already know. I am sorry I have to insist. These easy tips are practical and it can be implemented right away.
God gave me a second chance to survive the waves of my first life. I am sharing these best practices and tips to help you to survive your waves of life. If you are living your “second life”, you are a survivor and I want you to use your second chance wisely. If you are still living your “first life” then you have the opportunity of using these tips as a warning to reduce your risks.
Living a Second Life means more than your health and personal life. When something happen to you and you have to make a decision, your are going to impact the lives of many people around you. Your family and friends are going to feel the influence of your decisions. When you lose a family member or close friend, when you loss a job, when you move from a city or country to another, when you change careers, or when you change relationships, you are going to make decisions that make you start a new life, a second life. It is time to drop your anchor and evaluate your options. If you are an adult, it is possible that you have spouse and children. Your “second life” decisions are going to affect them too. Managing the waves of life is going to be instrumental in helping you making the best decisions. In any case, a “second life” decision, voluntary or involuntary, is going to make you go back to a starting point. It is time to start all over again. It is time to give thanks for your past experiences, adjust your sails, and go underway again. You do not have time for lamenting and “why this is happening to me” thoughts. It is time to keep moving.
The following are five best practices that I have used in Second Life Management. They are not only related to health, but also to professional, family, personal, and cultural practices. I believe that these practices are useful for your “first life” too.
1. Give thanks every day. Every morning when I see my scarf in the mirror I give thanks to God for giving a second chance to live. I thank Him for being my lighthouse. He guides me in the valleys and peaks of life. When I loss a relative or friend, I give thanks for the time we were together and I ask for the life lessons that the missing person is teaching us. When a door is closed, we give thanks for the time, the experience, and the memories. They are part or our past like wakes at sea. I have friends who give thanks because they can walk, they can see, they returned from war, they survived cancer, they have a job, a house, family, friends, and more. Thanksgiving is not just a day, it should be a daily practice.
God provides the lighthouse to guide us. We should have a vision to find this lighthouse. We should adjust our sails to go with the wind or against the wind to find the right way to accomplish our goals surviving the waves of life. We should use the lighthouse for guidance to reach to a safe port. A “second life” normally starts when we leave a port and sail to another port. In our journey we have to deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, and unknown waters. It takes time to settle down into our new life.
Give thanks for who you are, what you know and do, and what you have. There is a reason to be who you are. You have a purpose in life and your mission is to find out what it is. Sometimes, although you are in the bottom part of your life wave, you have to give thanks and see the positive side of your life. You have strengths that you have develop surviving the waves of life. These strengths are going to be vital in your new life. Give thanks for the “positive” will reduce your stress and it will clear your mind to think about new opportunities. I changed careers several times in the middle of storms when I was able to assess new opportunities without complaining about the present.
2. Follow your personal vision. Row your own canoe in the direction of your dreams, your vision. You have to know where you are going in life. Find out who you want to be, what you want to know and do, what you want to have, when are you going to accomplish it, where you want to live, and how are you going to help others. Remember that the more you give, the more you receive. Include giving, time, talents, or treasure, in your personal plans. Focus on your vision and row your own canoe in the direction of your vision.Your beliefs, values, and priorities will help you find the proper vision.
I changed the metaphor because sailing is a collective effort. You adjust your sails of life using the wind provided by God and the infrastructure and support from your family members. Rowing your own canoe implies that you use your individual strength as the force that make you paddle and move yourself. You have to row with your own body, mind, and spirit in the right direction. Then, you can sail with others and survive the waves of life, especially if you are living your “second life”. God provides direction and the wind, you provide your strength and example to others.
Write down your personal, family, and professional vision. Ready it every day and remember, it is yours. You do your part. He will do His.
3. Climb your own mountain. Now it is time to add another metaphor. Once you have a clear vision and you see your self at the end, you have to establish your S.M.A.R.T. goals. Write down each goal that will take you to your vision. Test them to be sure they are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely). If they fail any of these tests, then you need to keep narrowing them until you feel they are right. Reaching your goals is like climbing a mountain. You make an action plan to accomplish your goals. You start climbing and overcoming obstacles. You struggle to reach the top until you finally make it. You arrive to the top of your mountain and then…what? Nothing. You accomplished your goal, you celebrate and then…watch your next mountain. It is time to enjoy the moment, enjoy the view and keep moving. You have to go down. Like waves at sea, life is about valleys and peaks. You cannot reach your next mountain without going down. You cannot be in two places at the same time. You have to go down, walk in the valley, and climb your next mountain, your next goal, your next vision. This gives you time to think, to readjust, to renew yourself. Enjoy the valleys and peaks, they are also the waves of life.
Share your goals with your spouse, family, children, partners, friends and coworkers. When your share your goals, people around you know where are you going. This is the reason you need the next tip.
4. Get a support group. You are not alone surviving the waves of life. You are part of several teams. You may have spouse, partners, children, relatives, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors around you. They are rowing their own canoes, climbing their own mountains, and adjusting their own sails. They are part of your world and you are part of their worlds. They can be part of your support group. Share your goals with them and you will find different reactions.
Some of your close group will attempt to discourage you. Their way of thinking will resist to your new ideas. They will be barriers to overcome. They will give you new strengths to solidify your arguments or valuable feedback to make adjustments. Others will play your game and will encourage to pursue your dreams. Both groups are important as they provide additional valuable feedback to assess and validate your decisions. At the end, remember that you are the owner of your decisions and slave of the consequences. You can get advice from others, but the final decision is all yours.
Surround yourself with positive people who are going to lift you. if you find people who put you down, evaluate their thoughts, apply what is useful, and try to make them change their views with positive thoughts. Find at least five people who are pursuing similar goals. Support each other and check them from time to time. Encourage them to accomplish their goals. They will do the same for you. They will help you to overcome your obstacles and your feedback will help them to overcome their obstacles. Remember that you are not along on this journey. “Together Everyone Achieve More” (T.E.A.M). You are part of a successful team. Synergy is the keyword here. Celebrate all accomplishments with your support group and with your detractors. They also need to know that you had success. You need to inspire them to follow your example. My wife and children are my best support group.
When I see a friend with bad eating and health habits, I am very direct about my feedback to them. I encourage them to change habits. Some of them will follow but others still need my next tip.
5. Embrace change. Be prepared to adjust your sails unexpectedly. The only constant in life is change. Like waves at sea we all live our waves of life. When we are in the bottom part of our wave, not matter how bad you feel, due to a family loss, job loss, or any other critical event, you always are going to go up. Life is a wave in cyclical ups and downs. You have to believe that something good is going to happen to you. Look at your past, analyze your previous waves and believe. When a door is close, God always open a window. You will find an opportunity window to change, adjust your sails, and keep going. Waves are going to bring you up.
At the same time, you have to be careful when you are in the top of a wave. Do not let ego or greedy actions controlling you life. Be prepared to go down too. Be prepared for emergencies, health issues, downsizing, natural disasters, and other unexpected events. Have savings, continuity plans, emergency plans, insurance, backup your memories, hard drives, and important documents. Share important information with people you trust. Be prepared to stop. One day, no matter what you do, you will stop and others will take care of your legacy. Planning is key. We all are going to reach a finish line. Everything is going to change for others after your last wave of life.
These “second life” practices have been helping me survive my first and second waves of life. I always remind myself that we are not alone. We all have God who is guiding us. We are part of a family who love each other. We are part of several teams who help each other. We give our best to others as servants. We should give thanks today and everyday. Life is a continuous learning adventure where we are enjoying changes and the waves of life.
On Thanksgiving Day…Thank you all.
Jose G. Lepervanche, PhD
Dr. Jose G. Lepervanche is a professor of management, information systems, & technology. He is a BSA National Distinguished Scoutmaster and a sudden cardiac arrest & CPR survivor. He regularly writes and speaks about life management, emerging technologies, Scouting and healthy hearts. Follow him in LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter (@DrLepervanche & @ScoutmasterJose).