The Snowboard, the Subdural Hematoma, and the Secret of Life

Snowboard

The massive pool of blood in my head pressed precariously against my brain. The doctors marveled that I was alive, much less walking and talking.

They looked and shook their heads in wonder at the MRI results. I politely reminded them I was indeed alive, awake, and actually in the room.

On May 9, 2005, they wheeled me in for emergency surgery, and I said goodbye to my wife, not quite three-year-old daughter, and newborn son. I knew that sometimes people don’t wake up from brain surgery, and this might be the last time I saw them.

Wait, let’s back up a bit.

The Snowboard

It’s the beginning of 2005. I’m working way too hard, which is not surprising considering I’m managing three service businesses and a handful of online projects. My real estate businesses are booming because I’d learned how to use the Internet to generate leads around the clock, but to be honest, I’m much better at marketing then I am at managing all the people it took to keep those things going.

A buddy of mine from high school calls and says he has just the ticket… a ski trip to Tahoe. It’d been way too long since I got away, and given that my wife is seven months pregnant, I know things are going to get tougher before they get easier.

I decide to go no matter what.

I’ve never been much of a snowboarder, and some might wonder why a 37-year-old would pursue an extreme sport at all, but things like that routinely escape me. What’s the worst that could happen? Who wears a helmet?

The intensity of impact is still burned into my brain.

I’ve never felt anything that comes close to hitting the side of that mountain on a picturesque sunny day in Nevada. High school football, a few nasty fights, and more serious car accidents than anyone is entitled to survive simply didn’t compare.

As I lay there in the snow, I want to let go. It’s the first time I’ve ever considered simply giving up and slipping away. When the ski patrol comes by and expresses concern, I wave them away, and that’s what convinces me to get up.

Get up, Brian. Get up now.

So I slowly get up and walk away.

I feel terrible. Skiing is over for me, so I limp to the lodge to lick my wounds at the bar.

Hey… no blood, no foul, right?

So I thought.

The Subdural Hematoma

I get back home and back to the grind. A month goes by, and the due date for the birth of my son comes and goes, as he pulls a couple false labors just to keep things interesting.

I have a constant headache. It’s a bit strange, since I never get headaches.

But hey… I’m working my tail off while raising a young daughter, and there’s a new little one reluctantly on the way. Who wouldn’t have a headache?

On April 13, 2005, the boy arrives. Everything is right with the world, headache or not.

Unfortunately, the pain in my head intensifies. But hey… those of you who have children know how tough a new baby can be, so I don’t think much of it.

As May rolls in, I’m racked with pain. It’s horrible and debilitating, and I once again wonder about giving up. I can’t live this way.

Then the hallucinations begin.

Somehow, I survive the weekend. On Monday morning my wife literally drags me out of bed and takes me to get an MRI.

As I sit waiting for results, my biggest fear is not “You’re dying.” The answer I fear most is “We don’t know.” I can’t live this way.

The actual answer is… “You’re getting in an ambulance right now.”

A subdural hematoma is a traumatic brain injury where blood gathers between the outer protective covering of the brain and the brain itself. That snowboarding accident had sparked a slow leak in my head that became a bloody big critical situation.

We don’t know exactly how close, but death is definitely in the vicinity.

The Secret of Life

As the doctors explain the situation to me, I honestly have no fear. Given how badly I feel, I’m relieved… either a craniotomy will save my life and remove the pain, or I’ll die.

Problem solved, one way or the other.

I can still see the brave woman in the doorway, the three-week-old baby in her arms, and the confused little girl at her side. As I say goodbye to the three most important people in my life, my attitude changes.

To the extent it’s up to me, I’m waking up after surgery and everything is going to be great. In a strange bit of cosmic irony, I’m more positive than ever as I roll in to have my head cut open.

The anesthesia hits, and everything fades to black.

~nothing~

I suddenly hear voices, yet everything is a dark screen in an empty theater.

Am I alive?

“I’m confused,” I manage to mumble.

“What do you want to know?” a disembodied voice replies.

“The secret of life,” I say, not sure if I’m joking.

“I think he’s okay,” the voice says, and the others laugh and clap.

Wake Up!

Turns out I woke up after surgery in more ways than one.

You see, I had been working myself to death building businesses I wasn’t really interested in. What I really enjoyed was online content and marketing, not running offline operations built on online content and marketing.

For 7 years I’d wanted to operate solely online, and I knew I could do it. Why was I doing all that other stuff?

Because I told myself I was supposed to.

It’s all too easy to tell ourselves we can’t really do what we want. That it’s not practical, or it’s too hard, or that our dreams are selfish and not the “right thing” to do.

I got over that really fast. Every delusional and self-defeating system of thought I had carried around with me for years was revealed for what it was… my own mind creating false limitations.

Some call that enlightenment. I call it getting on with living the life I want to live.

So during the three-month recovery period I unload the real estate businesses, finally let the law license lapse, and launch two online projects I’d been putting off.

By the fall of 2005 I’m operating completely online. On December 11th I come up with an idea for a blog that will allow me to “join the conversation,” so I register a domain name. Copyblogger launches 29 days later.

What do you want to do?

Why aren’t you doing it?

I don’t care what your answer is… this is the only shot you’ve got.

This is not a dress rehearsal.

Who are you to chase your dreams no matter what, you might ask?

Who are you NOT to?

Thanks for the inspiration Wendy.

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Brian on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. Wow. Just received this post in my Newswire feed reader, and read it immediately. Thats an amazing story Brian. Life definitely has a tendency to throw us back on track in the most unexpected ways sometimes.

    I love reading things like this, because it reminds me of my life and why I am pursuing the things I am today. There really are no excuses to not live your dreams.

    Thanks for the great post Brian.

  2. Just wow. I know life can have unexpected turns in it, but sometimes you just don´t expect it to be that different.

    I´m glad you pulled yourself through it and became who you are today.

  3. Snowboard instructor here… I am one of the only snowboarders I know who wears a helmet. But ya, quite the story, glad you are alive to take care of your kids.

  4. Very inspiring, thanks for sharing it with the world

  5. Brian,

    That is a terrific memoir! I got chills at the end remembering Wendy’s presentation, emphasized with her foot stomp.

    Well done, and that’s a lot to chew on.

  6. You never know how far reaching your words will go. You may get someone thinking about wearing a helmet (excellent idea) and you may just get some of us motivated enough to move forward on that path of living life to the maximum of our potential. Cheers!

  7. Terrific. Great writing. Of course we expect that from you, but in this different context it was riveting.! No doubt you are living life to the fullest and in touch with your Purpose and Passion

  8. After reading this… I think I have to take some time to think. Thank you for doing that to me (again).

  9. Well, you got me back. I cried reading this. :)

    Hugs.

  10. Amazing.

  11. Wow.

    Just… Wow.

    Brian, you’ve summed up everything that I’ve been struggling to say for the last five years.

    Why is it, do you think that it takes something so traumatic like nearly dying (or, in my case, simply getting fired from a job I already hated) to get us to follow our dreams? To this day I can’t believe I didn’t quit that job instead of waiting around to get fired.

    Good stuff, Brian.

  12. Hey Brian,
    Compelling story. As I was reading it, it kinda reminded me of Wendy’s presentation at SOBCon (I teared up on that one) then I find out she was the inspiration for this!
    I had to be difficult to write this post, but I think it got your point across perfectly.
    Thanks for the inspiration to just do it.

  13. I read this with tears in my eyes (and yes I am admitting that I can cry). Headaches began a new journey in my life too. My husband’s headaches which turned out to be brain cancer took us down a path we never expected but embraced as we held fast to what was truly important. After his death, I really didn’t care about a big fat Corporate job, with a big fat title that meant nothing anyway, I wanted to live and live with gusto and meaning. Your post has renewed me today to keep chasing my dreams right now for life is far too fragile to put it off for another day. I’m glad you lived to tell this story.

  14. Wow. When it was repeatedly said by all the speakers at SOBCon how important it was to let your readers “know you” as part of making a connection and transparency, little did we all expect THIS.

    I’m staying with Wendy right now and went downstairs into her office and hugged her and we both had a good cry. Thank you for connecting…wow!

  15. Awesome post, Brian. Congratulations to you and your family and thank you for your inspiring example of bravery and perseverance.

    Oprah’s website gives the source of the “who are you not to” thought – it’s a powerful quote by Marianne Williamson, often attributed to Nelson Mandela. I’ve got an excerpt from it here on my living room wall.

  16. I knew you’d be ok—you’ve got the hardest head of anyone I know.

    Seriously, though, I never knew the snowboarding accident played out over so many months and through so many sweeping life changes.

    Copyblogger + dreams FTW.

  17. Why did I know after meeting you that this kind of post was in you? Was it that gleam in your eye that told me – “yes, I’m doing what I love to do – and having a fabulous time of it”? While I wish you didn’t have to go through what you did to find your path, I’m awfully glad you took me for a ride on it last weekend, if even for just a few hours (and now through this post). Or maybe it’s just that all “musicologists” are typically pretty darn good at dreaming too?

    Thanks, and all the best.
    Terry

  18. Wow – what an amazing story! You’ve brought tears to my eyes. This is a brilliant post, and a reminder of what life is all about. Thanks for giving me a little push to continue chasing my dream. :)

  19. So many humbling stories and so many amazing people.

    Thank you for sharing your story and for making me stop to think….

  20. Wow!

    Accidents have a way of putting us back on the right track.

    Oh and I’m doing what I love most. And that’s exactly what you decided to do back in 2005! :)

  21. This is exactly what I’ve been blogging about lately.

    One shot, no second chances.

  22. Incredible post, Brian. I wish more people would become more self-aware like this and realize that 98% of life’s limitations are imagined and self-imposed.

  23. Another helmet-wearing snowboard instructor chiming in here. Your brain is vulnerable at any age.
    I’m happy that you came through everything and turned your life into something more fulfilling – and you’re helping people like us too :)

  24. Brian,

    Thank you for sharing this today. My life has been full of these aha moments. I’ve blogged a bit about them before.

    I’ve been dabbling with a few ideas for a year or so, been blogging for a couple of months.

    Today, Dave Navarro’s post. And now this.

    To be honest, this morning I’d already decided to start moving on something I dreamed up back in the fall.

    I’ve said “do it now” so many times I’ve lost track.

    Time to stand up, and be counted.

    -Brett

  25. An excellent insight into you, Brian. Thanks for letting us all know.

  26. One word, Brian: WOW!

    Also a very timely post for me personally – thanks.

  27. Brian,
    Thank you for sharing this post. I find myself in a space right now where I too have many things going on and am challenged right now to find the one thing that is the professional passion.
    I have been working hard at trying to find it and maybe that’s it. I am trying too hard.
    So glad I got to read this post.
    Thanks!

  28. Great post Brian!

    Facing death changes things. Probably because it reminds us there is only so much time we have.

    And then we do what we can. And that turns out to be much more than what we would have done if we just do what we have to in order to survive.

    Most of us close our eyes to death because we are afraid of it. hose that face it, start treating it as a reality and as a result, start cherishing the time we have before we die.

  29. Thanks, I read often but have never commented. Great post. Very inspiring, I quit a job that was comfortable to work at a SEO dream job after interviewing for a while I convinced one company to hire me.

    -Mike

  30. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope I can learn from it what I need to without having to go through a near-death experience myself. We’ll see, won’t we?

  31. Pearson may have it right about the hardness of your head. Is your aversion to doctors so severe that you’d live with that abnormal pain that long? Glad it worked out and you lived to share the tale, but for your family’s sake I hope you don’t shoo away the ski patrol (or other help) the next time. My head is hurting just thinking about it.

    By the way, traversing the highways in Dallas during a daily commute should probably require we both wear helmets!

  32. Wow.

    Today must be appreciate life… work to live, not live to work day. Also read:

    http://www.rockyourday.com/wake-up-damn-it-you-wont-get-a-second-chance/

    Plus, I blogged about balancing work and personal lives today. Freaky.

  33. Brian…Wow! Sometimes it takes a life shattering event to wake you up. You have been blessed, as most people just fall back into “business as usual.” Keep up the good work.

  34. I think things happen to wake us up sometimes, but I am really sorry you and your family had to go through that. Thanks for the reminder to take nothing for granted and to not get complacent.

  35. Meryl,

    Coincidentally, I’ve written a similar post today as well. :)

  36. A black diamond of a post, navigated excellently…Brian, you are taking it up a notch, phew, let me strap on my skis and jump on the lift…clarity, crystalline and pure. :)

  37. Wow, Brian. I’m speechless (which, as you know, is fairly astonishing).

    Thanks for the kick in the ass. I needed it.

  38. I think this is my favorite post so far for 2008, bar none. Well done. And a belated congratulations on pulling through that surgery. Funny how priorities change with an experience like that. Suddenly the idea that you should value every day you’ve got becomes abundantly clear.

  39. Went on a road trip once.

    Saw a women burn to death right in front of me from a car accident. We tried to get her out of the car, but the flames were so hot it burned our chest hairs off, and we could only watch in horror as the inevitable happened.

    Got a letter in the mail two weeks afterwards from her son. He thanked me for trying to save his mother and noticed from the police report that I was a twin and both my brother and I tried to save his mom. He said, his mother was a twin, too, and it brought his aunt back from the brink of dispair knowing a set of twins tried to save her sister.

    Ever since then, I’ve lived differently; like there’s no guaranteed tomorrow. Thank you for reminding me of this, Brian.

  40. Brian,
    This is a beautiful post. I couldn’t stop reading it once I started. Thanks for reminding me that I can create the life (and business) I want right now.

  41. Thanks Brian. Unbelievable.

  42. It just goes to show that everyone has a story. This is very inspiring Brian. Thank you for sharing it.

  43. Wow. I’d never want to say “glad you got a subdural hematoma” but if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here writing stuff that inspires me every day. Funny how this post came on a day that I needed a kick in the pants to get over myself. Thanks Brian.

  44. Brian,
    Brilliant.

    Exactly as many words as it took to tell the story and not one word more. Simple, elegant, meaningful, art.

  45. A resounding “Here, here!” on both chasing our dreams and Wendy’s inspiration.

    I enjoyed chatting with you the other night, Brian. Thanks for chasing your dreams and helping the rest of us chase ours.

  46. Truly inspiring…follow your dreams no matter what. Great story !

  47. Brian,

    How inspiring! This is the second time in two days that I have had these tears in my eyes and ironic how your inspiration also ties back to my tears.

    The emotion begins with the beauty in both of you being willing to share so much of yourselves with us. Since you both are already so successful, it can only be because you are seeking to be an inspiration to others, which is the real beauty in the person you are not the intelligence you both have.

    I can feel Liz hugging me again and silently giving me strength which is incredible.

    In a few minutes, after I work through my own irony with my own situation, I know that hopefully next year I will be joining both you and Wendy and I will have moved past this place where I don’t want to be.

    Still with tears, they are now happy tears, knowing I am finding the strength to move forward and past my own roadblocks.

    Incredible people do incredible things. Thank you for sharing (& W), and being an incredible inspiration for others.

  48. Jay Willms :

    great post brian. very inspirational. thank you for sharing.

  49. Brian – Brain – Brian – Brain
    amazing story and thanks for reminding us to to count on second chances.

  50. Wow. Just, wow. I’m going to throw my laptop in the ocean and build a yurt in Thailand after all.

  51. Hi Brian,
    Great post, well written, and uniquely inspiring because it’s so personal. I’m sorry that you (and your family) had to go through that but this post is at least one happy result.
    The e-business revolution offers everyone unprecedented opportunities to succeed on their own terms. There’s no time like now to get started!
    Thanks for sharing.

    p.s. Thanks also for finally convincing me to wear a helmet next time I hit the slopes. My kids deserve it.

  52. I think the universe is trying to tell me something.

    First I have to thank you for sharing this story. Thanks to all the baby sitting M*A*S*H did for me as a kid I knew exactly what a subdural hematoma is. Scary.

    The trick is keeping an experience like this in our mind. I have had near death experiences that caused me to make changes. But I always find myself back buried under life. Which is why I created a list. A list of things I want to do or experience while still breathing. It helps. It helps to share the list. It helps to pull the list out at times like these and look it over again.

    I think that’s what I’ll do.

  53. Just read your post through my feedburner. You painted a very vivid picture. I still have goosebumps. Thank you for the wake-up call.

  54. Hey Brain – Tremendous post!

    It is not always easy to pursue a dream or a goal. And sometimes it feels like not taking any [positive] action is the best (easiest?) path to follow.

    However, if you can break the “chains of apathy” I think most are amazed with what they are able to achieve.

    All the best,
    Mark H.
    p.s. Now not only are you the copywriting kingpin but you have to go all Zen Habits on us and rule that niche as well. :)

  55. Thanks for sharing Brian, amazing post.

    And look at the comments… following your own dream led you to touch a lot of other people’s lives.

  56. I usually don’t read further than the first or second paragraph of a long email ; but like many of your readers, I couldn’t stop once I had started. Great writing. W

  57. This is a fabulous post on so many levels. Thanks for reminding me why kicking in the day job and doing what you REALLY want to do is the only thing worth doing in (this very short) life!!

  58. This was so spooky! I put the phone down from talking with my sister – I gave up a full time job in teaching to follow my dream, but I’ve been stupidly still doing some supply work because I’m too cautious, and I get suckered in by people telling me what a great teacher I am … but I really don’t enjoy it any more.

    My sister is just serving notice from her job before throwing her energies into a new business venture. Your post summed up where we’re at right now and confirmed what we’d just been talking about on the phone. Thanks for another great post!

  59. I’m not sure what to say.
    Seriously Great Post.

    Live From Las Vegas
    The Masked Millionaire

  60. Brian–you and your words have been an inspiration to me since the day I first came across Copyblogger.

    Thank you for sharing this amazing story, and thank you for living your dreams. You have made me realize that I need to stop wasting time in my life and go for what means the most to me.

    You are right–this is the only shot I’ve got.

  61. Wow, what a great post. This reminds me of something called the Rocking Chair Test. Basically, we’re all going to be in rocking chairs at some point, looking back on our lives. If you can sit in that rocking chair and be satisfied that you’ve done everything you’ve wanted to do, you’ve led a good life. Funny how it takes the specter of death to make us realize how precious and short life is.

    - Dave

  62. Touching Brian!
    I don’t know if it’s the story or the writing, but I could not stop reading till the end.
    On a side note, i wonder why you think doing offline business is so bad? In my opinion doing business offline seems to add some more ‘real life’ to the things.

  63. Thank you. The message of how precious and fragile life is repeatedly needs shared and absorbed. Until we personally experience the kind of wake up call which often accompanies an unexpected life transition, we keep putting life on the back burner waiting for the tomorrow that never comes. It is never the right time. We must choose to fully live life today and make the most of the gifts we were given. Trust the truth.

    I just experienced another wake up call myself. After a month of tests, a biopsy, and a lengthy wait time, I just received the good news that what I have is not cancer. I have a new lease on life and renewed energy to continue to create a life I love.

    Dying from pancreatic cancer, Randy Pausch shared a similar lesson with his video and book, The Last Lecture. If you haven’t yet seen the video, you owe it to yourself to watch. He says although he is happy the message made a difference in the lives of others, he made the video for his children. Very touching.

    http://www.swanjournalforwomen.com/swan_podcasts/2008/04/achieving-child.html

    Brian, your posts are always insightful. Thank you for this powerful life reminder.

  64. Great post!
    i routinely dump all my subscription post in my email into a folder–i seldom read them, the likes of John Chow and Shoemoney’s article which i find a bit mundane and sorry to say–boring. But not until i read yours. well i’m here commenting, saying you got a compelling story there and thanks for sharing–it inspires and moves.
    please posts more stories like that we all need a “chicken soup for the soul” type of writing more rather than a “make money online” type of articles. Although we want the latter, our soul needs the former.
    thanks again.

  65. Thanks for a remarkably entertaining, life-and-death story.

    Point taken….

  66. What a great story, Brian, and such a happy ending!

    I also experienced a serious accident and head injury, about 17 years ago now. Though not life-threatening, it took a good two years to fully recover, and for me to feel like myself again.

    I celebrate my life much more so now than I ever did before that accident. I’m also much more willing to take risks in order to have the life I want, like working for myself, which is really scary.

    It’s amazing how we learn and grow through adversity.

  67. Oh boy.

    I thank god it didn’t take blood coming out of my brain to wake up to what Real Estate was doing to my life and my family but yep..I know the feeling.
    What a story and I’m so glad you are ok.

  68. Brian,

    I can’t even begin to understand what it must have felt like to be wheeled away for the surgery with those thoughts on your mind.

    Sometimes its difficult to understand why we go through things like this but I think we all feel the ‘intensity of impact’ in our own lives when a person, place or thing becomes a catalyst for change.

    Through it all you found your path. Amazing how life seems to have a plan waiting on the other side, isn’t it?

  69. Brian,
    Thanks for the inspiring story. I’ve thought about quitting several times. But I love blogging. I love what I do. So, next time I think about quitting, I’ll remember your story. Life is too short to put your energy into something that has no personal meaning.
    Blessings to you and your wonderful family.

  70. After reading this post, I sat here speechless and choked up. Thank you for sharing this with all of us and adding further clarity to how our minds really can limit our ability if we allow it to.

  71. Hi Brian,

    You’ll never quite look the same way at life again.

    I’m a 12 year breast cancer survivor ( my son was 6 at the time) and I still cherish every day — even though I still get bogged down at times with the day-to-day “stuff.”

    Thanks for sharing your story with the happy ending.

  72. Brian, I didn’t know all that history.

    Perhaps this is why you come off like a guy
    who has deep discernment at the speed of common sense. And moves forward apace, because of it!

    Well done, glad you’re ‘here’.

    [battling my way back from devastating injuries
    as we speak]
    ergo, my trademark sign-off:

    Good Health to You,
    Ed

  73. Brilliant post as always Brian, i didnt twig until half way through it was you.

    Well… thankyou Subdural Hematomas, your amasing and it’s a joy to read your posts!.

    Take care
    Claire

  74. What can I say ? Absolutely inspiring and touching at the same time. Thank you for such a moving experience !!

  75. Following your dreams, it’s the natural thing to do, but we get carried away with social patterns, and Brian is one of the many people that follow his dreams.

    Take for example Teachingsells.com a sustainable business that would get Brian and company live the internet life style.

    Brian, Thanks for the inspiration and letting us know you more.

  76. Thanks for sharing this with us Brian. Wendy’s talk was inspirational wasn’t it, and I agree with Jesse, the foot stomp really finished it for us.

    By the way I loved the way you applied your best copywriting techniques to the writing of this. If you’re going to say something important you might as well do it for maximum effect!

    Joanna

  77. Wow! Thank you Brian. I usually only have time to scan the number of blogs I subscribe to, but your headline really grabbed me and I just had to read every word. Such an inspirational story!

  78. 5 start post! Thanks for the inspiration and sharing the story.

  79. Phenomenal story Brian, and thank you for writing it for us all to appreciate.

  80. I actually read something from start to finish, but then considering who the writer is it’s not that surprising.

  81. Longtime (as yet blogless) reader delurking to say that your words are truly inspiring. As so many others have said, “Wow. Just, wow.” Thank you, Brian. Now to let my law license lapse…

  82. Trying to explain to people how they need to get started on their dreams now has a new inspirational story that I can point to.

  83. Best Copyblogger post ever.

  84. Excellent and a real challenge! I sought a small job so I could subsidize a copywriting and internet marketing urge. I got a good job for my area as a wordsmith, but it is nearly full time and I am struggling to find energy and brains (no hematoma here, just tired) to pursue my own projects as fast as I wish and assimilate the information I get from you in other areas, Brian.

  85. Awesome story. Thanks so much for posting it. Very inspiring.

  86. Brian,

    That’s quite simply the most powerful post I’ve ever read. Both humbling and inspiring it stopped me dead in my tracks.

    Thanks,

    Martin.

  87. Thanks for sharing your incredible story, Brian. Let’s hope that all of us can take your advice and do what we REALLY want to do without having to have brain surgery first! Wow.

  88. That was an incredible story. Thank you for sharing. I hope it doesn’t take a life-threatening accident or illness before I get my act together. I’m going to use your story to kick my own ass.

  89. Very inspiring story. It also answers the debate as to how personal should one be in their “business” blog. We are real people, and connecting with someone on a human level (as this post does) goes a long way in developing relationship with your readers.

  90. Wow…I see you have 100 comments about this post and it is unlikely you will even see this…but I want to acknowledge that this is exactly the right post for me to see today. Thank you…

  91. Oh Brian, bless you for this post. Bless you.

  92. Brian:

    After reading this story, I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to connect at SOBCon08. This was simply a stunner of a story and reminded me to get off my duff and get moving with other dreams I have in the pipeline.

    Wow, what a story. Jeez. You certainly had a divine wake-up didn’t you?

  93. Like everyone else… wow. Whether you realize it or not, you’ve just changed the lives of some people. I’m one. Thank you.

  94. Such a rare treat to read a true, honest and beautifully written story in this mad marketing world. Thank you for the inspiration.

  95. Such a heartwarming story — it’s amazing how good it can feel when we truly live and glimpse the truth, yes? Thanks for the great post and for sharing your story!

  96. The ultimate meaning of connection is our shared humanity. We can give away only what we do have – first and foremost it is of our selves and the craft that is our gift. Grazie.

  97. That is very inspiring!

  98. That was amazing. I’ll be creating a page on my site related to the point you made, and you can be sure that I’ll link to you.

  99. “You see, I had been working myself to death building businesses I wasn’t really interested in.”

    Maybe; though it sounds as though head butting a mountain might have been a more direct cause of your ailment. An amazing story Brian, glad you didn’t die.

  100. BEAUTIFUL

  101. Hmmm… Some things cannot be taught, only learnt. I envy you.

  102. Brian,

    Thank you for sharing this experience with us. Besides you of course, I can not imagine what kind of stress your wife and little one went through.

    What a scary, scary thing with a wonderful outcome.

    Thank you for inspiring us to do what we WANT to do and putting life into perspective!

  103. You go, Brian. Love it. Great takeaway… and, I hope you try snowboarding again! Awesome sport.

    (sorry we didn’t get a chance to shake hands at SOBCon – you were always swamped with throngs of fans…)

  104. Thank you for sharing this Brian. You are an amazing blogger and this is an amazing story.

  105. Thank you for sharing your story, and for following through on your ‘a ha’ moment. We’ve learned a lot through your writing.

  106. What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing your personal journey to self fulfillment.

  107. Simply amazing.

  108. Brian,
    I don’t know how I missed this one earlier, but I came over from Freelance Folder today. I love how you wrote this and the powerful message you conveyed. I’ll be sharing this one with friends.

  109. Gosh, when the universe kicks your ass it does it quite literally.

    Never one to waste an opportunity, I allowed a recent blackmailing/threatening event relocate me to an island in search of serenity in nature, and the hope of starting a freelancing career. The aforementioned event also lead to the instigator being hit by a very large tree. The universe has some powerful ways of speaking Her mind. One day I hope to be as concise :)

  110. Challenging!

    I’ve been a Copyblogger reader for some time now partly because I am starting something of my own soon. Thanks for the challenge.

    Ig.

  111. What a great post, Brian. And I should know because I’ve been writing books along these lines for years now. You’re right! Everybody relates to a story that pulls them up short about the tenuous nature of life. Glad to hear you’re following your dreams now.

  112. Great writing. Of course we expect that from you, but in this different context it was riveting! No doubt you are living life to the fullest and in touch with your Purpose and Passion.

  113. Brian,
    What a timeless story, especially the reminder of life’s shortness with the recent Mumbai events. Thanks for telling it so well. And thanks for following your dream.

  114. Great inspirational post… And I thought my broken wrist – courtesy of my first snowboard adventure, also back in 2005 – was bad. Great story.

  115. Thank you Brian.
    What were we ever hoping to protect or preserve through inaction?
    I too have started.

  116. We lost our son Jack at the end of 1991. It took a long time to get over his lost. But after 15 years, I think I was doing all right. I was getting inspired by my writing. I was happy to be alive. Then Jack’s twin Jody died Dec 30, 2006. His death took the wind out of my sails. Most of 2007 was spent in a daze. I attended group therapy. I thought I was doing better. Until the cloud lifted off and my eyes opened up. 2008 was sad, depressing and pathetic from the get go.

    I refuse to continue into 2009 that way.

    Thank you for your story. It’s freaky how articles like this come into my life when I so desperately need them. I’m going to fix my life. I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m determined. That’s got to be a good start, eh?

    I’m going to decide one way or the other if I want to continue marketing my suspense thriller. It’s a good book, I’m getting excellent feedback and reviews, but I absolutely hate marketing in the winter. And for what? So I can stubbornly say I did? That is too dumb for words.

    Brian, I don’t have the answers, but I feel this light shining down on me. I don’t know if it was your words or the imagines you gave me. But I’m feeling more encouraged than I have in a very long time.

    Happy New Year. And God Bless. Oh, and keep blogging.

  117. So, out of all the hundreds of emails (yes, hundreds) of emails I get a day, and although I enjoy what I’ve read of Copyblogger so far, why do I read this one today, and why do I link off to this post? I run a full time restaurant, and hope that my future is completely online. I’m working on a project to train people to open and manage restaurants as well as affiliate sales on related items.

    Anyhoo…thanks for the insight, great writing…

  118. Must have skipped over this article when originally posted but the timing of reading this is perfect as I am starting to prune some stuff out of my business life.

    Talk about a scary and life changing incident. Keep up the great work!

  119. Wow – now that really is an inpiring piece. Both in terms of writing and acheiving ones dreams.

    Nice one!

  120. Just brilliant. Inspiring beyond words. I think great stories inspire and prod us to think – even if they relate something we know or have heard before. And this is a great story.

    I plan to link to it. Great post, Brian.

  121. Thanks Brian,

    You helped me out of a BIG dilemma. I’m back to creative writing!

  122. Amazing story. Glad to see it all worked out well in the end.

    You’re right, this ain’t a dress rehearsal.

  123. Thank you for sharing you’re awe-inspiring story! Learned a couple of things…

    1) Never ignore a headache!
    2) Dreams aren’t just for movies!

    “Don’t make today a memory before its time…live it fully first!” ~Henie~

  124. Jessica Carmon :

    This story was amazing!!!!!!!! it just blew my mind all the way through. you are truly a miracle. i know it was a hard thing for your wife and children to have to see you go through alll that and risk getting your life snatched right out of your hands. but the good thing is, isyour still alive today to support your family. I have never had to go through anything like that but somehing similar. Seee…. the other day me and my best friend were lifting her lil sister in a cheer stunt, and it was wet and raining so we decided to do it on the concrete pavement not thinking anything about it… well her legs happened to slip from our hands and she fell completely back on her head… it scared us soo much but she got up and had a lil headacheeee… well we had told her mom that she fell and hit the concrete pavement in our house… well that night she ended up having to go to the e.r because she had extreme headaches.. well the doctor came in an said they didnt see anything wrong with her and sent her home… welll her mom ended up looking up the doctors name and found out a lil bit about him… so they decided to go back up there…. and a different doc. came in there and they felt the back of her head and immediately sent her to louisville ky. to the childrens hospital and they found out that she had bleedind in her brain and they found blood in her spinal fluid… but she is doing better now and was able to go back to school…. but i think your story was amazing and you really show some hope and strength!!!!!!!!!! :)

  125. I used to never ride my bike with a helmet, and now I do. Story not worth telling… but anyways I’ve been where you are… no longer caring if the surgery works or not as long as I try something. The annoying part was waking up to realize I had a major bruise where they had moved me from table to table. Then 2 IV’s in my arm and a stupid nurse that let one of them get infected. For some people the surgery is not scary because the alternative of prolonged chronic daily pain is worse than dying on the table. Sorry to hear however that it took this to help you reevaluate your life. But maybe that was the purpose of the fall. Who knows our real calling?

  126. Wow, that was very moving. It’s so easy to let life just keep rolling by. You’ve helped me refocus and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing. Thanks, Brian!

  127. hence the “To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” ~Soren Kierkegaard tweet yesterday. thanks Brian.

  128. Bravo, Brian! We are all better off by your courage and pursuit of your dreams. Everything happens for a reason, indeed.

  129. To life brian. You have truly a mission in this place.

    Wise words directly to the heart.

    Thanks.

  130. Couldn’t tell you how I found this post, but it’s a pretty fantastic story.

    Glad your brain is okay. :thumbup:

  131. I’ve had similar experience…I learned something from it. This story and the snow bring it back to my mind.

  132. Brian..
    It was dark..a snowmobile, a patch of water, a four foot culvert, and a sudden stop. Same injury. 30 days later I’m given a clean bill of health. Every medical pro since looks at me a moment longer than is comfortable. They know how close I came. I’d forgotten. I’ve been uncertainly chasing the wrong things. I’m really grateful for the reminder. Your words just changed my view of the path.

  133. oke guys I’ve had similar experience…I learned something from it. This story and the snow bring it back to my mind.

  134. I stumbled onto your snow story. Isn’t it just amazing how things seem to be mapped out by God for us in life. Yours is a story truly remarkable and yet it brings to mind so many stories people have of their own. I too have mine, but that’s for another time. A link to your website is a must for me.

  135. Wow, that is an eye opening story to make someone stop what they are doing, step back to compare what they are doing to what they really what to do. Time is of short supply so now is the time to make our minds up and start doing what really matters most.

  136. Wow, you are so lucky! I have had three concussions, but nothing like your situation. One took about two months to recover from…it does make you appreciate that little things.

    This is truly a touching story and an important one for people to learn from. I had no idea a head injury could take that long to turn fatal. So glad all ended up OK; happy for you and your family. Congrats on your empire too :-)

  137. Hey Brian,

    Looks like you published this almost 3 years ago, but I had to chime in and tell you that I can totally relate to this. This past fall I had a similar “on the brink of death” experience and I was surprised at how many business related decisions I made while I was in the hospital. I basically left there saying something along the lines of “I’m gonna do what I love even if it kills me!” Because really, death was something I’d already faced before :)

    Thanks for going back and sharing this again!

  138. Just came across your incredible story – just what I needed to hear right now! Thank you for inspiring me.
    Rebecca

  139. I read this post because I am in the Guestblogging seminar with Jon–sending a “Yowzaaa!” his way in mitten drinen (as my Yiddish grandma used to say)–and I had heard it was a quintessential awesome post. In fact, it was not only carefully crafted and dripping with suspense, but it hit too close to home for comfort. Over the recent December break, I was in a ski hut with my three kids, sister, her two kids, and a lot of anger and mental baggage. I was trying to get a few more winks of sleep, when some damn low-level alarm went off, “It must be my six year old nephew’s toy,” I secretly wished someone who haul out of bed and crush it underfoot, so the sound would stop and I could go back to sleep. In fact, I ignored it… as did most everyone in the ski chalet. Then, my 14 y.o. suddenly started yelling at everyone to evacuate. In fact, it was the carbon monoxide detector, and not a joke. All seven of us rushed out in the bitter cold to call the fire department. They reported, after coming and measuring the emissions from the wood-burning stove, that we were at 68 ppm of carbon monoxide, when a normal reading should have been zero. What went through my mind in the next half hour was something I would have never predicted. I felt what a hero my son was, and wrote a note to my hubbie (who was elsewhere at the time) that included sincere forgiveness and a sign-off with the words, “Love.” In fact, I hadn’t used that homily in over a year. It is the close call with end-of-life issues that brings one to their sensibilities, and gives one the courage to speak of love when it is buried under mountains of anger.

    But don’t ask how it turned out. He never wrote me back.