E+R=O  (A Real Success Story)

As we start off the New Year, I thought a blog answering the question “what is success” would be appropriate. Many people share thoughts on success, but often the best way to discover keys to success is through reading success stories.

Here’s one of those success stories I know will inspire you to live it forward in the important roles of your life!

 A father of two middle school teenagers who swim on my swim team knows how to answer the question: what is success? But his thoughts on success are not what you might expect. Over the past several years, Tim has faced two different battles with cancer. Neither cancer was related to the other, and each was considered stage four cancer. Yet amazingly, both times his cancer went into remission.

But his success story and his thoughts on success are not as much about “remission” as they are about authentically living each moment. For Tim, the keys to success has been his ability to know what he wants out of life and to live that way no matter what challenges he faces (i.e. to “live it forward” in the most important roles of his life).

I have followed both of Tim’s journeys fighting cancer via his Caring Bridge website. I have read every  entry Tim has shared through his online journal, and each has inspired me to clarify my thoughts on success. What inspired me most was not that Tim wore “rose colored glasses” or that he was always upbeat about his situation. No, what inspired me most is that Tim was honest about the circumstances he faced, yet he consciously made a choice…every day…no matter what…to “live it forward” in the most important roles of his life. This choice, I believe, has been one of the major keys to success for Tim.

In every presentation I give as a speaker, I share a concept I learned from my middle school basketball coach that was originally taught by Dr. Robert Resnick to Jack Canfield. It’s an equation that empowers people to take 100 percent responsibility for their lives.

The “E” stands for the “events” that occur in our lives. Reality is…we have very little control over the events in our lives. “R” stands for our “responses” to the events that happen in our lives. This is the only thing we have complete control over. “O” stands for the “outcomes” we experience in life.

While most people believe the outcomes they experience in life are directly tied to the events they experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Our outcomes in life are directly tied to how we choose to RESPOND to the events in our lives. Tim lived out the E+R+O principle in front of me and many others, and that is why I believe he is experiencing true success in his life.

By the way, here is just one of hundreds of journal entries Tim shared with his readers. This is one of the success stories he shared during his first battle with cancer:

Celebration Day!

This morning at 11:45 AM, I find out if I remain cancer free. I know I should be freaking out, but I am not. I am so excited to see if I get another 3 months. 🙂 It is very strange living in 3-month increments. You alternate between fear of cancer returning and the joy of knowing that every day is a blessing. Fortunately, the fears are very few and far between these days.

I am excited because I have defeated cancer; because it does not control my life. I am excited because I feel great, and I am excited to see what God has planned for me next. So it really doesn’t matter what the results are as long as I remain in His grip.

Today is a day to celebrate life, to have lunch with my wife, to count my blessings, to be thankful for God’s grace, and to be thankful for all the people who have been praying for me. Today is also a time to pray for those who have cancer and for the loved ones who are dealing with it.

For Lent, Rebecca and I gave up TV. The house was really quiet, and I started the book yesterday. It is difficult re-living the whole cancer experience, but I am determined to document my experience so others can benefit from it. Perhaps the Smackdown Plan can give others hope and hopefully point them in the right direction.

I’m sure you can see why Tim is an inspiration to me. His thoughts on success, like the one above, are amazing! He is one guy who can truly answer the question: what is success?  


(Want to remember to live E+R=O everyday? Check this out…)