I have often heard people say, “Embrace change,” or “live outside your comfort zone.” I have said this to my friends and clients in tough times or when they were faced with a great feat that they needed to get through. The truth is this concept is much easier said than done. In some circumstances this may be an easy change to adapt to. For instance, receiving a raise or taking on a new position at work. That is change that can be for the most part easily adapted to. While the loss of a loved one or termination of a job could be change that isn’t so easily accepted.
A few days ago on my way into work I was listening to WMMR- 93.3’s morning talk show. They were featuring former Eagles player Jon Dorenbos. Although I am a Vikings fan this interview quickly grasped my attention. What tuned me in about this interview was that this big strong football player with his deep burly voice was very playful. He spoke about being a magician in his spare time and made light of some dark things that happened to him.
When I say, ‘dark things’, I mean horrible traumatic things. Jon spoke openly about how when he was a child his father murdered his mother. Unfortunately, he ended up losing both parents, one to murder while the other sentenced to life in prison. Through therapy he learned to keep a journal and write out his feelings. Something he said in the journal at age 12 was that he understood that sometimes he just needed to allow himself to talk things out. Talk through the tough times.
WAIT WHAT? This incredible person at the age of 12 loses both parents and yet remains optimistic? He discovered at such a young age that hard times happen, but just allowing himself to deal with that truly seemed to help him. I mean shit, it took me until I was 27 to learn that some days, I need to take hour by hour or minute by minute. In fact for the last 3 years I have lived by that and used this as a tool to cope with bad days. One foot in front of the other.
So, Jon continued to talk about an opportunity that arose for him to work on a big reality talent show. Getting this job would end his football career and he was faced with a big choice. For whatever reason, the opportunity fell through. He ended up going forward with his season with the Eagles when he was suddenly traded to the Saints. Philadelphia fans were not happy with the trade as he was a fan favorite. Even so, Jon knew he didn’t have a choice and instead of focusing on the negative and the significant change he decided to embrace it and leave on a high note. It was then during the mandatory physical with the Saints that it was discovered that Jon had an aneurysm in his heart and open-heart surgery would need to be performed immediately to save his life.
Jon Dorenbos made a full recovery, although it ended his career in professional football. Philadelphia Eagles honored him with a Super bowl ring to commemorate everything he did to lead the team to their first Super bowl win. You could hear the excitement in his voice as the spoke of how he felt when he received the call that he would in fact received a ring.
By the end of the interview I was left in awe of his positive outlook and embrace for change. Jon now tours the US preforming magic shows which happens to truly be his passion. He was welcomed to The Ellen Show to preform once he was well enough to do so, and while he was there a good friend of his Garth Brooks was in the audience. Garth approached him after the show and told him how the first time they met Jon told him that ‘Unanswered Prayers’ was his favorite song. How ironic that Jon’s unanswered prayers was hoped to get that job on America’s Got Talent. But see receiving his dream job on the popular TV show would ultimately end his life for he would have never received that physical from the Saints discovering the aneurysm.
I cannot explain destiny, nor can I explain why bad things and hard times fall upon good people. All I can do is interpret them as lessons that come to us to teach us if we remain open to growth and change.