I’ve been struggling with how to start this.
So I’ll start it with “I love you all and thanks”!
Two years ago today I was in the hospital having open heart surgery.
At the tender age of 44 years old I had allowed myself to become sedentary stressed out overweight and it caught up with me all of a sudden. At this point I know that had I seen a doctor anywhere in my 30s they would have prescribed me statin drugs which would have prevented the worst of it.
Some of you may recall my post about it when I had to miss Pubcon. Great news, I made it to Pubcon this year.
Thanks for the great pictures, Mat!
In the time since I’ve made a number of changes. But the fact is, drugs or no drugs, I was not living the life I should have been.
As I was coming to the realization that I had a problem, I started reading Dean Ornish. Dr. Ornish talks in his work about the importance of anger, And particularly chronic anger as it exacerbates her of heart disease.
I came to realize in my reading that, throughout my life, my first response to negative stimulus is anger. Interestingly as I think back about my father, this seems to have been his first response as well. No wonder that I followed in his footsteps toward early heart disease.
I’ve made a number of changes over the last two years. I no longer smoke, even occasionally. I now exercise 4 to 6 times a week. And when I can, I ride my bike to work. In New Orleans this can be a particularly sweaty pastime.
Most of all, however, I’ve been working hard to reframe my responses around the lesson from my old boss, Bill Hammack. When Bill and I worked together I was responsible for some of our most frustrating partner relationships. As a person with a tendency toward anger, my response to that frustration was sometimes excessive outbursts.
Hammack, Himself a heart patient, would tell me “don’t get mad, get what you need”. He’s a pretty smart guy who I wish I saw more of today.
So really, what does this all mean?
The short story is that I’ve been doing all the right things and I’m feeling great. My cardiologist is even impressed.
First, I’m much more present for my family. I’m working hard to keep anger from being my first response. I’m also trying to get both of my sons to focus on exercise as an integral part of their lives.
I’m working on Anger at work, too. Don’t get me wrong, I still take it really personally — you have to as a bootstrapped founder who’s got it all on the line. I’m unapologetic about my defense of the company, but I’m working on seeing others’ perspectives much more.
We’re working more on employee development and trying to assure our team are set up for great careers, even if they don’t stay with us forever.
I exercise — a lot! I’ve done one triathlon and plan to do more.
But most of all, I’m grateful for every day, every person, and the fact that I get to continue giving all I’ve got.
Like I said at the opener, I love you all and thanks! Most especially, Angie, Caleb, Joseph, our family and friends and our great team at Search Influence.
P. S. A couple pics of the old Will. If you see that pudgy bastard again, tell him to get his shit together.