Inspirational speaker, author, and family friend, Jake French, coined this phrase after a devastating accident and spinal cord injury in 2008 left him a quadriplegic. From one instant to the next—turn, turn—his life drastically changed and in the first few days both he and his family felt hopeless. Then Jake chose to get out of the “pity-pit” and live his life to its fullest by focusing on the positive.
And so when our carefully planned schedule recently came to a screeching halt—when our son Jesse fell down steep stairs and broke his left ankle exactly one week before a trip to the States where he had hoped to start a new life on his own—I reminded him of Jake’s horrific accident.
“A bad fracture,” the doctor told Jesse. “Surgery was successful because the operation was done in a timely fashion, restoring normal anatomy and assuring normal function of the leg.” The doctor went on to explain that Jesse was lucky because it could have been a much worse accident. He told Jesse that he’d need to stay off the leg for several months and wear a cast for at lest four. The first few days in the hospital were the worst for Jesse as he sorted through the whole inconvenient ordeal of not being able to walk. He also worked through a range of emotions as he questioned why this was happening to him.
Being a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and to everything there is a season—turn, turn—I tried to console Jesse by sharing my philosophy and belief that every cloud has a silver lining. He’s heard this one from me before. We talked about how inconvenient mishaps, that stop us in our tracks, can move us forward or backward in life—depending on our attitude. Problems and difficult times can lead us to better days if we learn from the mishap. To which he replied, “I guess I wasn’t meant to leave Uruguay now, for whatever reason.” By the time Jesse arrived home, he seemed accepting of his fate and changed by the ordeal.
Jake’s tragic mishap made him realize the importance of turning “excuses into expectations” through positive attitude, focus, and choice. Jake’s living his best life—and sharing with others what’s possible when one refuses to accept limitations and instead focuses on the challenges and choices life presents. Thanks Jake!