Today, I want to share the story of Steve G., a practicing lawyer and neighbor in my office building. I would frequently run into him while grabbing coffee in the cafeteria but never knew much about him. One day I asked him if he wanted to have lunch and get to know each other better. That was around April and he told me his earliest opening wasn’t until June. I said, “Steve, it’s just lunch… you must stop and eat, don’t you?” He agreed to go but only blocked me out a forty-five minute time frame. Little did either of us know that it would turn into a three-hour lunch. During our conversation, Steve shared with me the most vulnerable point in his life, which had happened over 30 years ago, and how he was able to turn it all around.
It was a day he will never forget… December 30… at a going away party for another practicing lawyer who was a colleague in the firm. The end of the evening came and when it was time to pay the check he realized his wallet was in his car that was parked across the street. He looked both ways… all clear… stepped out… suddenly a car seemed to come out of nowhere and was bearing right down on him. Being athletic, he jumped up and almost made it, but his foot caught in the right headlight, hurtling his body into the car and his head crashed through the windshield. He fell into a coma and three weeks later, when finally again conscious, the doctors told his father that he would most likely never walk, his speech would surely be heavily impaired, and he would certainly never be able to practice law again, the passion Steve had been working towards his whole life.
He was a thirty-year-old phenomenon with a bright future ahead of him, and it had all changed in a moment. After his father heard the doctor’s crippling news, his next move played a major role in the outcome of the accident. When he came to Steve’s bedside at the hospital, his words were, “Steve, I talked to the doctor, and you’re going to be just fine.” He continued, “Look, it isn’t going to be an easy recovery and you’re going to have to work really hard, but you can do it.” He never mentioned a word to Steve about the doctor’s real diagnosis until years later. As it turned out, that decision was a determining factor in Steve’s recovery.
Upon hearing those optimistic words from his father, feelings of hope and belief began to fuel Steve’s process of healing. Thoughts, belief, conviction and emotion cause distinct neuron-firing patterns within various parts of the brain. These patterns are the catalyst of biochemical releases throughout the body. Biochemical reactions to mental and emotional stimuli occur not only in the brain, but also in essentially every system of the body. And of course, hope and positive belief generate a completely different biochemical production than pain and despair. Steve initiated a process of healing from within which enabled him to push himself to a different level of recovery; physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Within three years Steve was back in the office proving all the doctors wrong. Although he wanted to move back into courtroom deliberations, given his speech impediments he was limited to case preparation. Instead of feeling victimized, he focused his unwavering drive on becoming “the best case preparer” ever seen.
Today, he has his own law practice and is one of the most respected appellate case preparers in Florida, California and Washington DC. One would have no clue anything had happened to him unless he were to tell you. His speech has a pleasant methodical rhythm and unless you look really closely you will not even notice the slightest limp as he walks. He credits his recovery to his inner belief that he was going to get better and feels that if his father had told him the truth he most likely would have lived out that prophecy instead. Steve also gladly shares that he is now a much “better person”. The accident was the catalyst of a deeper reflection on his underlying values and the virtues of life.
The business field is no different. Every venture or proposal first comes as an idea. That idea then turns into belief and conviction. Once the mind believes something to be true – an expectation – then it begins to relentlessly identify whatever it needs to convert that belief into reality. New biochemicals are released into the system, motivations sore, empowering coincidences occur, creativity rises, and somehow the pieces just all seem to come together. I have experienced it and seen it so many times!
Steve, more than anyone, is living proof of the biology of belief and just how powerful it can be. He has become one of my personal heroes. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” The mind-body connection plays such a startling role in the end result.