Reading Shaken by Tim Tebow, which recounts his fall from the NFL, reminded me that life knocks everyone down somewhere along the way. Life doesn't care who you are or how much success you've had. Those who've had the most success probably get more shaken up when things go wrong. That was the case for Tim and me, anyway. So much has gone right that you don't know how to respond when things go wrong.
I thought a bit more about the similarities of our experiences. Not surprisingly there weren't many. We both lost hard earned dream jobs and went through the process of figuring out what to do next. That's about the extent of any similarities. Then I got to thinking about the differences. Not surprisingly there were many. Far too many to even begin to list.
One difference that really stood out in my mind was that Tim's life was only shaken - sort of like a Central Illinois earthquake; rare and unremarkable. My life was shattered. I'm talking 1989 San Francisco earthquake devastation. It's easy for me to say "only shaken" when I didn't invest my life into having a long career as an NFL quarterback.
Another huge difference was the way we responded. Tim immediately reached out to friends and family. I kept far too much of what was going on, especially mentally, to myself. With the help of others, Tim was able to put his loss in perspective and move on relatively quickly. And before thinking of course he did he's Tim Tebow. He just moved on to a different type of success. What loss is that? think about other successful people who have responded to loss, or success for that matter, improperly. There are a lot of celebrities who self-destruct by responding improperly to success or the loss of it.
The same thing happens to all us non-celebrities too. Only, the whole world doesn't know about it. My downward spiral began slowly, but the longer I tried to right my life on my own the worse I made it. As the spiral sped up, I went from disgruntled to discouraged to depressed to despaired without really recognizing it as I moved from one to the other. Then came my suicide attempt. It was the worst and best day of my life. This act broke through my pride. I got help. I got on the road to recovery with friends and family. Hmm . . . maybe I should have started there. Uh, yeah!
One last similarity. Tim and I are both using our stories to serve those who are still in the struggle to get back up. You probably won't get the chance to chat with Tim Tebow about how frustrating life is. But if you want to talk to someone who can really relate to the common Joe, I am here to serve. YOU.