The Millionaire Journey: Do You Think You Can?

Steam engine locomotive train. Detailed vector Illustration

I am in the process of launching my new book, The Millionaire Journey, in the next couple of months.  As the subtitle indicates, it is “A Guide For Anyone to Reach Financial Freedom.”  Interwoven between the real world instructions in each chapter, is an allegory of a train journey from Normal to the Land of Financial Freedom, just beyond Millionaire Mountain.  The inspiration for the allegory came from a story most will know:

The Little Engine that Could

You remember the Children’s book by Watty Piper.  But do you know THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY?

 Watty Piper was not the originator of this tale.  It was actually published first in the New York Tribune on April 8, 1906.  It is attributed to a sermon delivered by the Rev. Charles S. Wing.  Here is that version in its entirety:

In a certain railroad yard there stood an extremely heavy train that had to be drawn up an unusually heavy grade before it could reach its destination. The superintendent of the yard was not sure what it was best for him to do, so he went up to a large, strong engine and asked :

“Can you pull that train over the hill?”

“It is a very heavy train,” responded the engine.

He then went to another great engine and asked:

“Can you pull that train over the hill?”

“It is a very heavy grade,” it replied.

The superintendent was much puzzled, but he turned to still another engine that was spick and span new, and he asked it:

“Can you pull that train over the hill?”

“I think I can,” responded the engine.

So the order was circulated, and the engine was started back so that it might be coupled with the train, and as it went along the rails it kept repeating to itself: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

The coupling was made and the engine began its journey, and all along the level, as it rolled toward the ascent, it kept repeating to itself: “I —think —I can. I —think —I— can. I —think— I —can.”

Then it reached the grade, but its voice could still be heard: “I think I can. I—– think—–I—–can. I —–think—– I—– can.”

Higher and higher it climbed, and its voice grew fainter and its words came slower:

“I ——-think ——–I——-can.”

It was almost to the top.

“I ———think”

It was at the top.

“I ———can.”

It passed over the top of the hill and began crawling down the opposite slope.

‘I ——think——- I—— can——I—– thought——I——-could I—– thought—– could. I thought I could. I thought I could. I thought I could.”

And singing its triumph, it rushed on down toward the valley.

THE REST OF THE STORY:

What is so intriguing about this version is not the variation of the story, but the context.  You see, this sermon was given by Rev. Wing to his congregation after they had climbed their own mountain.  This Sermon was given in celebration af the Nordstrand Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church’s triumph.  They had finally paid off the mortgage on the church’s property.  They were debt free!

They thought they could, and they did! They reached Financial Freedom!

If you think you can, you will too!

Five Uses of Money

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that US household indebtedness has reached a new high.  After years of retrenchment following the 2008 housing collapse it appears that Americans have resumed their love affair with debt.  This new peak in indebtedness is being driven by student loans, car loans, and even the evil credit card.  Credit card debt topped $1 Trillion for the first time since 2008 and will likely reach a new all-time high this year.

What is so bad about debt, you might ask?

The reality is there are only five uses of money, and what you use in one area, cannot be used for other areas that should be a higher priority.  In this way, debt steals people’s financial future.

LIVE:  This is the money you spend on lifestyle

What house will you live in, what car will you drive, where will you live, what will you wear, what will you eat, what will you do for entertainment, where will you go on vacations?  These are some of the things that fall in this category.  For most of us, this is where we would like to see a large portion of our money go so we can have “a good life.”  What credit enables us to do is to get these things on other people’s money, but it comes at a price.

GIVE:  Charities, family, friends often need our help

Can you provide for your children’s college.  Would you like to support kids overseas, or your church?  Do your parents need help from a private duty nurse or paying for assisted living?  These are just some of the areas we might like to help with, but sadly we often cannot find the means to do so.

GUARD:  Health, Life, Auto Insurance, Emergency Fund

Most people who understand financial risk have a large portion of their income going to this area.  The cost of a major health issue or a major car wreck, especially involving others, can bankrupt a middle class household.  Many who do not allocate funds to this area have experienced financial ruin.

GROW:  Investments in self development, entrepreneurial and/or career endeavors and retirement.

This is the area where we expect money to produce a return in the future.  Investing in a college education, trade school, or certifications should produce higher levels of income.  Money spent to get your own business off the ground should help you attain financial independence.  Allocating a percentage of your income to retirement funds can provide for your future in your golden years.  Unfortunately, most Americans do very little for retirement and use debt to fund their educations and business start-ups which result in the anchor of indebtedness weighing down their progress.

OWE: Taxes, Debt Service

There is little we can do about taxes unless you do not produce an average income or better.  Even then you will have gas taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes eating away at your cash flow.  Indebtedness, however is within our control.  we make the choice on whether or not to go into debt.

BALANCE IS THE KEY

I have found it useful to take a look at your monthly spend and see how much of your hard earned money is going to each of these areas.  No one can tell you what percentages should go where, that is totally up to you.  Just remember, what you spend in one, you could spend on another.  Are you happy with what the balance looks like in your uses of money?  If not, you CAN change the equation.

TAKE THE WHEEL

You can eliminate debt to provide more cash flow to retirement funds.  You can buy used cars for cash instead of new cars on leases and free up hundreds of dollars a month to go in your child’s education fund.  You can choose to live in a smaller house to be able to travel more.  You are in control.  Be intentional about the life and future you want to create and start making moves to live your dream.

 

YOU Can Be an Overnight Success!

If you have ever wanted to become an overnight success, I have the formula.  If you want to know the formula, read on because I am going to share it for free!

Here it is:

Intense Focus+ Tremendous Effort… Repeat

Intense Focus+ Tremendous Effort… Repeat

Intense Focus+ Tremendous Effort… Repeat (For as long as it takes) = Overnight Success

The reality is almost nothing worthwhile is accomplished without the steps above.  Behind every overnight success is a lifetime of living out that formula.

So get up, Drink your coffee and get at it.

It may be today. It may be tomorrow; or the next day, or the day after.  You never know when you might become the next overnight success!Coffee

 

Actions Speak Louder Than Knowledge

The amount of knowledge at our fingertips today is remarkable:

Smart phone

Need Directions, hit google maps.  Do you want to know what that actress played in before?  Pull up IMDB.  Where is that Bible Verse?  Access the Bible App?  How do I program my garage door opener?  You Tube will be there for you.

I heard a quote on a podcast recently that if knowledge were truly power we would all be billionaires and have six-pack abs!  It is so true, isn’t it?  With a “Smart” phone we have all the wisdom of the ages, literally at our fingertips, yet the human condition seems little improved.  Why is that?

I think it boils down to three things we must do to leverage knowledge:

Align:  With so much information available, we have to filter out things that do not add value.  There are certainly things that are available that might not align with things that will improve the human condition.  Gambling sites, child pornography, and terrorist networking sites are a few that come to mind.  Beyond that there are things available that may be fine in small doses, but if they consume our calendar they can take away from family, work, and more productive elements to have a successful existence, Pokemon Go, Candy Crush, Netflix streaming, and gaming sites to name a few.  If we are to succeed, we must make sure we are spending our time accessing things that align with the goals we have.

Access:  Having knowledge available has no value whatsoever if one does not access it!  The other day I was driving around lost.  After about 15 minutes it dawned on me that I should pull over the car, and use google maps.  I will never get that 15 minutes back because I chose to delay accessing the information readily available to me.  Many of us have had the experience of losing years of our life because we chose not to take advantage of knowledge available to us.  The good news is that today is a new day.  If we are still breathing we can choose to access the wisdom earned from the pain and successes of others.

Apply:  With all this knowledge so readily available today, I think we have the danger of falling into the same trap as the ancient Greeks.  We can sit around on our phones and computers, IM’ing, texting, face timing, and blogging about our lives much like the ancient Greeks hung out in the Acropolis debating philosophy while first the Roman Empire, then Christianity, then Islam swept across what was once their empire changing and reshaping their reality over and over again.

Unless we take hold of the available knowledge and wisdom and apply it to our lives nothing will change.  This is true in all aspects of our life; family, careers, health, and spirituality.

On the latter point, we have had scriptures available to us for 6,000 years.  The printing press made it more accessible 600 years ago, and now we can access it on our phones, and even listen to it audibly while we commute.  Have we seen that change our generation?  No, because though it is there for us, many of us neglect it, while others of us let it go in one ear and out the other, never allowing it to pass through our hearts and souls.

What knowledge do you think we need to access and apply to create the kind of world we want for our children and grandchildren?

A New #CREED For Your #ROCKY Life

I love the Rocky franchise; from the critically acclaimed to the cheesiest, but I was not expecting to learn a life lesson from the latest release #CREED, but learn I did.  As the grizzled old Rocky was mentoring his young apprentice, Adonis (Donny) Creed (Johnson), he also mentored me with this advice:

“One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time.”  Over and over again, as Rocky trained the son of his best friend, he imparted this wisdom until it sunk deep into the young man’s soul.  “One step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time,” and his words reverberated in my psyche.

Life is very much like a prize-fight.  There will be winners, there will be losers, and there will be split decisions that should have gone the other way.  The real secrets to winning the fight of your life are summed up in Rocky’s advice.  Let’s break it down:

One step at a time:

I am an over the hill guy, like Rocky.  I have fewer years in front of me than I do behind me.  One thing I can tell you is that if someone would have shown me at 18 all the hard things I would have to face: loss of loved ones, sickness, pain, poverty, and failure, it would have overwhelmed me.  God, in His infinite wisdom, decided to put us on the earth with only the ability to live in the present, learning from the past and facing the future.  As long as we keep moving “one step at a time” in the direction we wat to go, we make progress.  Now, I can look back at a wonderful, successful, love filled life with its share of hardship, but also with meaning and purpose.  I got here by moving forward, executing on my plans and goals, “one step at a time.”

One punch at a time:

The reality is life is a battle.  From our first breath, death seeks to take us.  We have to fight it everyday.  There are times we will get knocked to the canvass.  The only way we lose for sure is to not get back up.  Sadly I have seen this in my life a couple of times with people close to me.  Life knocked these guys down and they could not get back up.  They just stayed down.  The secret is to stay on the offensive.  When you receive a blow, your enemy has left himself exposed, look for the counter punch!  Press forward (one step at a time) and keep jabbing.  You will take more blows, but you will never win the fight by retreating.  Press in, jab, press in, block, then hook, block, then uppercut.  Take the fight to the enemy.  Remember the enemy is death, defeat it by living life to the full;  Live, Laugh, and Love.  Jab, hook, uppercut.

One Round at a Time

The fight of your life is a long one.  Fifteen rounds are for lightweights!  You will grow weary and you will want to throw in the towel to stop the blows from coming.  At that point, remember: This round will end!  You will be able to go to your corner, get some rest, get some coaching, and salve the wounds.  This is ALWAYS the case.  There is always an end to a round.  Wait for it, and then when it comes, don’t stay in the ring.  Go to your corner, get what you need to recover and get renewed, because the bell for the next round will sound, and the fight will resume.

Before the Final Bell

Finally, Creed learned that it was OK for him to acknowledge he was his father’s son.  It was OK to take advantage of his Father’s name to influence his future.  It is OK for you too.  You have a Father who has passed to you what you need to fulfill your destiny.  You do not have to do it all on your own power.  He has provided for you to give you a future and hope.  He may not be visible, but he is here.  He loves you and He can still give you what it takes to win the fight.

 

Winners Plan, Planners Win!

Do you want to win?  You better learn how to plan!  Almost nobody wanders into success.  Success in any arena takes intentionality. A successful life requires intentionality across all dimensions of life.  Zig Ziglar summed these up as the seven spokes in the “Wheel of Life:”

  • Career
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Family
  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Spiritual

In order to have the type of life we all dream of having we need to plan first to have time to devote to all seven dimensions, and then have a plan in each of these arenas, both short-term, and long-term, if you really expect to achieve results in each area.

Finally, you must realize that a plan is only a plan, subject to change.  A friend of mine who has retired from a distinguished military career including combat command says the army has a saying about this reality:

Fight the Enemy, Not the Plan!

We have to realize that no matter how in-depth and detailed our planning is, that when we go to execute on the plan, things change.  The enemy defies our expectations, unforeseen external forces come into play, we forgot to contemplate a variable altogether…  What do we do at that point?  If you want to win, you cannot run, you cannot wave the white flag…  We have to adjust the plan and press forward to our objective, even if that means a temporary retreat to re-engage under better circumstances.  Just because you made a plan, don’t be married to it!  You did not take a vow to serve the plan “til death do you part.”

With the liberating thought that plans are made to be changed, let me throw out a few challenges for planning across the dimensions of the wheel of life:

  • Career-  How are you doing on executing this year’s plan in your current career role?  Do you know your next step for promotion at your current employer, or advancement by moving on to another?  If you are an entrepreneur, what will take your company to the next level?
  • Social- Who are you planning on having over for dinner in the next month?  What are you doing to create or tie into a network of friends that you can enjoy life with when your kids have flown the coop?
  • Financial- How are you doing at living within your budget this month?  Does every dollar have a name?  Are you telling your money where to go before the month begins, or wondering where it went when the month is through?  What is your number to reach financial independence so you can literally do whatever you want to do for the rest of your life?  How long until you get to that number?
  • Family- Do you have time set aside on your calendar each day to connect with your spouse?  Do you have a weekly date night?  How about a night for a family devotion with the kids?
  • Physical- How many calories can you consume and maintain your weight, or how many do you need to cut to get to where you want to be.  What will you eat today to reach that amount?  How much will you need to exercise if you eat that Krispy Kreme?  Is there time on your calendar set aside for exercise?  Could you maybe combine that with time with your spouse, or time to pursue intellectual pursuits with audible books or podcasts?
  • Mental- What are you doing to expand your knowledge in your specific career track.  Who are you reading or listening to in order to become a better leader, better spouse, better father, better person?  Can you make use of that awful highway commute by tapping into the information superhighway?  Can you listen to podcasts on your commute, your run, or on the elliptical?
  • Spiritual- Do you have time on your calendar each day to pray and meditate?  Could you turn your car into your prayer closet?  Is there a group of like-minded people at your work place who might like to study scripture or a book exploring scripture, together.  What are you doing today to answer the most important question in life?  When you stand before the maker of the universe and he asks, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”

The biggest part of successful planning is committing to do it.  If you want success in an area of life that you are not winning in today, MAKE A PLAN!

Strategy and Execution- Be Like the Buckeyes!

Yes, I am still basking in the afterglow of a College Football National Championship for my team, THE Ohio State University Buckeyes.  As I have contemplated their remarkable success this season, there are many things one could point to as keys to their success. Many of them apply to successful leadership in any setting:

Assemble the Best Team:  They won the last three games with a third string quarterback!  How deep is your bench?

Hire the Best Coach/Leader:  Gotta Love Urban Meyer!  His team would do anything for him.  Would your team do anything for you?

Strategic Plan: Their playbook was designed to beat the best teams in the country.  Is your plan up to your challenges?

Business Plan- Game Planning was impeccable.  Opponents were studied, their weaknesses identified, and their strengths too.  Plans to neutralize and dismantle opponents were made, communicate and practiced.  When it was game time, the team was prepared. How well have you prepared your team for this year’s challenges?

Project Plan– Each game comes down to the outcomes of 100 or so plays.  Each play is like an individual project plan.  Each is an opportunity to go through the “PDCA” cycle.

  • Plan:  Every play starts with coaches on both sides, as well as a quarterback on offense and someone who captains the defense making a “read.”  They take into account what the situation is.  Down and distance, what point they are in the game, what point they are on the field, and the scoreboard.  They look at the competitor’s formation, remember the things they saw on film, and determine what they think will work best.

The Play Call

  • Do: Each side calls their play based on what they think the other is going to do given the circumstances at that very moment and for that situation.  They break their huddles and approach the line of scrimmage.

The Audible

  • Check: Just before they engage, both sides get one last chance to assess the situation.  Is the opponent in the formation they expected, do they have the match-up for which they are hoping?  If not, they can make a change by calling an audible, a change in the plan based on something unexpected, or even an audible by design, because the initial formation was to mislead and the audible play was really the plan all along.

The Execution

  • Act: When all is said and done, they still have to run the play and every team member has to perform his task as designed and practiced.  Strength, speed, and intelligence still come into play, and that is why assembling the best team and having the best leader to prepare the team mentally and physically cannot be downplayed.  Blocks, tackles, ball exchanges, and proper technique must all be employed each and every play to achieve success on that play, in that game, and in the season to take home the ring.

The Outcome

  • Results: Every play has a result.  Some will be good for your team, some will be bad.  Those results are analyzed every play, in real-time by the coaching staff.  They are looking for the things that went right in hopes of duplicating them later.  They are looking for things that went wrong and sending pictures to players on the field of what to do differently the next time.  They are looking for mismatches to exploit, or mismatches to avoid.  Every play’s good or bad result is another opportunity to learn, make adjustments and improve.  The best teams are usually the ones who make the best mid-game and mid-season adjustments and, thereby, improve execution as the game, and the season goes on

The Next Play-

  • PDCA: The Cycle starts again, Plan, Do, Check, Act!  

I know there are a lot of other, more sophisticated tools out there for Process Improvement, especially in a Lean Six Sigma “Black” tool “Belt.”  There are certainly some projects that go beyond the scope for PDCA, but I have found that PDCA can work in about 80% of the projects I have led.  What PI process one chooses is not nearly as important as committing to Process Improvement.  Strategic plans, business plans and project plans will not fly on auto pilot.  The terrain is unknown and unpredictable.  vigilance and constant course correction is required to soar to new heights.

It’s Time for Me to Fly!  How about you?

Relationships on the Run lead to Ruin!

I heard the statement above on a podcast recently and, being the 3R’s of Success guy, it really resonated with me.  After all, look at the three R’s… I love it!  Beyond that alliteration, however, it highlighted some issues we all battle in our family life, career life, church life, any aspect of life, really.  It highlights two truths central to whether or not we will enjoy Success:

Truth #1 – Relationships Take Quality Time!

This is a tough pill to swallow in our microwave culture, but the reality is that without investing quality time in your relationships, they will be weak.  Relationships are fragile. When they are new, they must be tenderly nurtured, like an infant. When they are in their prime they must be fought for and courted like a lover.  When they are mature they must be savored for the true gift they are, because we never know how much longer we will have them.

This is true for our relationships with our spouses, or kids, our co-workers, God and those we seek to serve.  Relationships have a life of their own.  When two people have a relationship it is almost as though they have created a unique third entity that only they have the power to make strong, or to kill.  Their choices to pour into it, starve it, kill or maim it have consequences for the relationship, and the loss of these entities can cause grief and sorrow as much as the death of family member.

Truth #2 – Relationships are the MOST Important Things in Life!

If you believe Truth #1 and you want to have joy, peace, success and happiness in life, you have to put time and effort into the relationships that are the most important to you.  Zig Ziglar often said: “You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.”

What is it you want?

Fame?  You cannot be admired without relationships.

Fortune? Without relationships what is fortune?  If you have no one to share the things you have and the amazing experiences wealth can afford, would it bring you joy?  To answer that question, picture a man who has every material luxury money could buy or that one could imagine, but they were all on a deserted continent without another living being…  Would the wealth still have meaning?

Purpose?  We already have our answer to this in the book of Genesis.  Adam had been created by God with a purpose, and he was fulfilling that purpose, tending to the Garden of Eden, and he had fellowship with God, but yet God concluded, “It is not good for man to be alone.” and He created Eve.  Clearly we are designed to have relationships with other humans.

Whatever it is that you define as success will only happen if you invest time and energy into the relationships that matter most to that success.  If you want to succeed in you career, pour into your team, and support the mission of your employer for the good of your customers.  If family is important to you, spend quality time with them, love them well, put their needs above your wants.  If serving your community is important, know that you cannot just go through the motions.  Life is messy, and you will have to get dirty to help others dig out of their problems.

Lastly, know that you cannot do everything.  You are not God!  You are finite and your time is finite, so you will have to prioritize what it is you are meant to do, and put it first on the list.  How do you know what your priorities should be?  My advice would be found in Matthew 6:33.  If that does not ring true for you, I probably am the wrong person for you to ask…

Time is Ticking Away! Leaders: Leave a Legacy!

Psalms 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Moses

Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, 24 hours in a day, 365 days in a year, How many years in your life?  God only knows…

I am at that stage in life where it is most likely that the number of days I have left is less than the days I have spent thus far.  People who live to be 104 are very rare!  The truth is none of us know for sure when we have turned that corner.  I have lost friends and family that were much younger than I am today.  Today could well be my last on earth, as it could be yours…

As the New Year approaches it is a great time for all of us to look back at the last year and evaluate our impact on the world around us, determine what has brought value to us, our family, our co-workers, and our community, and think about how we can leverage that for the future.  Further, we can reflect on those things that sucked away our time, energy and joy, and try not to duplicate these in the New Year.

Life is a gift from God and it has been given to us to spend wisely on the things that have eternal value.  What can we all do this next year to leave a legacy?  The reality of our lives is that they are vapors, waiting to pass.  One hundred years from now, very few of us will have our names remembered by anyone!  Fame is fleeting and wealth fades.  Real success cannot be defined by these temporal things.

I am asking for your wisdom to help me in this New Year ahead:

  • What accomplishment of yours in 2014 had the most impact on a Legacy that might outlive you?
  • What advice can you share with others here that might help us all spend our lives more wisely?
  • How do you stay motivated to remember the eternal when the pressures of life close in on you?
  • What is it that you will do this next year that will have an impact that outlives you?

I truly appreciate all of you who have read my blogs, commented and shared with others this year.  Your feedback has enriched my life.  I know I get more out of this interaction than my readers!

Stay in touch, and I wish you TRUE SUCCESS this New Year!

Rip Van Winkle- 2015

Imagine the well-known tale of Rip Van Winkle revisited this New Year.  The protagonist of our story, Rip, having gone on a weekend excursion into the Catskills as part of a team building exercise for the hospital leadership team he had just been promoted into six months earlier from his Radiology Technologist position, decides to take a nap after the team finishes 4 hours on the ropes course.  It is Spring, 1995.

WAKE-UP CALL

He awakens in his well-appointed cabin to find it covered in dust and cobwebs.  He stumbles out of bed and out of the cabin to find the entire property abandoned and in disrepair.  Confused he eventually hikes out to the main road and eventually flags down a car with a very nice young couple and asks for a ride back to the city.

During the course of the ride, Rip cannot help but notice the technology in this car is simply remarkable!  There is a car phone that plays through the radio, and the dashboard looks like something out of a Star Trek, Next Generation episode.  There is a computerized Navigation system displayed on the dashboard that the couple accessed and manipulated by voice commands to input Rips home address.  He expressed his awe at these devices and the couple laughed at him as if he was joking.

As they travelled the wife pulled out an 8 x 11 device that looked like a laptop, but had no keyboard and started watching a TV news program on FOX news.  Rip saw no cords, no antennas, and was so intrigued that he leaned forward from the backseat and started watching and was completely confused as the broadcasters were discussing next steps that President Obama would be pushing for to assure that “Obamacare” would not be undone by the new Republican controlled Congress and Senate!  President who?  Obama what?

Over the course of the next two hours he sat silent and mystified as he continued to watch news story after news story that made sense only by matching it with the date at the bottom of the TV screen.  April 1, 2015.  He did not know how it was possible, but either he was going mad, was currently dreaming and unable to wake himself, or he had slept away 20 years of his life?  He thought about opening discussion with the couple, but thought better of it realizing that people do not react well to having mad men in the backseat of their cars.

You can imagine the rest of the story.  The couple dropped Rip off outside his home in the suburbs of the city, and he found the house and surrounding neighborhood to be 20 years older.  Not surprisingly, his family no longer resided at the location.  He walked a couple of miles to the local library, which was still there.  After an hour or so of coaching from a young, pleasant librarian on how to research using Google, Rip sat mesmerized as he, in 3 short hours, was able to find out almost everything that had happened to his wife, son and daughter over the last 20 years.  He wept as he read of his wife’s fatal car crash 8 years earlier, then again when he found his now 32-year-old daughter’s wedding notice two years later, and his son’s, now 30, licensure as a Medical Doctor in Radiology.

15 MINUTES OF FAME

The next few months were nothing short of fantastic.  Reuniting with his son and daughter, DNA testing, and cellular analysis confirming that Rip was who he said he was, and that his body had somehow escaped aging over the last twenty years.  Speculations ranging from alien abductions, to stasis, to wormhole time travel, to cloning all were debated on CNN and Fox News!  Rip declined the Reality series, Biography and Lifetime movie offers that would have made him a very rich man.

Within a couple of years, Rip’s life settled into a new normal, working again as a Radiology tech.  Digital X-ray was not that difficult to learn, and he really had no interest in 360 slice CT’s, 3T MRI’s, 3D Hybrid OR Angiography Suites that had become the rage in his chosen career field.  People still broke wrists and needed x-rays.  He still had meaningful work.

Over time he was able to establish a relationship with his children, and later grandchildren and that brought him joy to offset the sorrow of the loss of his beloved wife and his former life.  All in all, he considered himself blessed for the strange life he had been appointed to live.

MORAL OF THE STORY

The thought occurred to Rip one day, that many of his peers went through their lives as asleep as he was.  Missing the important time with family as their kids grew up, some losing spouses as well from death or divorce.  At least he had a wake-up call that allowed him to change the rest of his life around what was truly important.