EP139: The One Life Show

Today I am going to tell you the story of when I found a dead body.

Episode Summary:
I share a rather sad story with you that not a lot of people have ever heard, but the message is positive. This story is to remind you that you have one life and there is no better time than now to create the life you want.

Today’s episode is about:
You.
Are you happy?
Are you doing everything you can to create your version of happiness or success?
Is self-doubt and fear of trying holding you back?

Today is about hitting the pause button doing a self-audit:
Make every minute count.

Episode 139, The One Life Show

The Story:
About 20 years ago me and my dog drove my 1972 VW Van from Missoula, MT to Canterbury, New Hampshire where I lived with my roommate from college and his now wife in a farm house in the middle of the woods.

I moved out West right after college and I cashed in my cum laude English degree for a busboy job and several other random jobs, but I was making good money and happy.

I have always had this driving voice in me that strives for greatness and my internal voice is not fueled by trying to impress others. I am self-motivated and never fully satisfied by my accomplishments or wins. You can and should do more it tells me.

Some of the happiest moments in my life were when I was a busboy or bartender or not working at all. I have never been ashamed of any job I’ve had, but there was a constant nagging in my head to seek more and stretch my mind or writing skills and find a more impactful job, etc. Etc. Job? Is that the secret to happiness?

Out West
After college I goofed around out West for a few years having a good time and had enough money to do what I wanted, but I still wanted to use that degree.

I was feeling a little lost so my best friend from college who had a ‘real job’ said come to New Hampshire and stay with us and find a job at a university or maybe land in Boston. So me and the dog headed east to New Hampshire

The Job
I got a job with a corporate lawn care company which was the only job I could find that I didn’t have to dress up, they paid for gas because we drove around during the day meeting clients and looking at lawns and during busy times of the year I always had the option to work out in the field which seemed like the most fun. This job was perfect for me in many ways because it was kind of a ‘real’ job in that I had salary and benefits, but it was casual and you may have picked up on this in other episodes. I’m not into the suit and tie thing. I also bought my first real car, meaning the air conditioner and speedometer worked and I was now officially using my college degree.

Was this the real world that I had been working for since kindergarten? The job was actually not bad and I enjoyed a lot of it because I saw every nook and cranny of Southern New Hampshire and only had to be in the office a couple of hours a day.

I have had some bad jobs and a few that I knew were not for me, but I always tried to make the most of them and have always tried to see things as a means to an end. Nothing is permanent and there really is good in most everything if you look for it.

I learned what I already knew was that I’m a one man band and the traditional career life where you work somewhere to retire with a 401K does not have my name on it. I work for experience and knowledge.

The Day I Will Never Forget

One fall morning, I packed up the work truck and headed out to the coast to a small little town right on the boarder of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

I got to my first house of the day and it was set back at the end of a kind of woody street and I loaded up the spreader and headed to the back yard.

I had been in the back working for about 10 minutes and then I saw a lawn chair with I thought was a halloween scarecrow or an old guy that dozed off. Without glasses, I couldn’t see well far away, but if it was a person, I didn’t want to scare them when they woke up so I worked my way over there and as I got closer it, I thought I saw a rifle or shotgun propped between the scarecrow’s legs and then I got a little scared for a split second, but still no idea what was going on.

I started walking really slowly towards the back of the chair and the head that had a hole in it. There was a shotgun between his legs and there I was just staring at this body sitting in a chair in the middle of a back yard. I cannot explain the level of confusion or uncertainty I was experiencing at that moment.

I did not think it was real. It was 10 am in a sleepy little coastal town. Numb.

Pulling in, I noticed this little machinery or welding shop across the street, so I walked over and there were a bunch of dudes working and I said in a very calm voice, I think I found a dead body across the street, but I really need someone to make sure. It was the strangest sensation and I think it may have been a form of shock protecting me, but after looking at me like I was crazy, they sprinted across the street and it was true. In that chair was a 23 year old military veteran who just took his own life in the backyard of his father’s house.

The Father
I leaned on the work truck for what felt like forever just staring. Blank inside. The police arrived shortly and they were very nice to me and then the moment that I’ll never forget. The father pulled up fast, jumped out of the car and ran in through the front door and I could hear him yell No. What happened next changed me forever and mostly why I am telling you this story.

The father walked back out of the front door and was walking right towards me and he gathered his composure and asked me my name and said are you okay Mike? Nobody should have ever have to witness something like that, but thank you for getting help. He gave me one of those handshake arm hugs, said I’m sorry and went back in the house. I was really in disbelief and what was even more impressive was he called me at work a few days later to make sure that I was okay. I was blown away by this selfless guy who was asking how I was when he just lost his son. It really impacted me and it keeps me in check in moments where I may be quick to judge someone or if I’m not being nice or kind or only thinking about myself.

Life Lessons
I drove an hour or two back to the headquarters and told them what happened and I said, I’m done for the day. In my head, I knew I was going to be done for good sooner than later. I’m pretty strong-headed so I would not say I was traumatized by this event, but I was affected quite a bit. Mostly about life lessons. Enough to be able to tell the story quite vividly some 20+ years later.

The way the father looked at me just made me realize how important it is to appreciate everything because it does not last forever and how much being a good person matters and the impact it can have on others. Little things can mean a lot.

Be Nice to People
Working and connecting online is only going to be more and more common, but the same rules of kindness and respect matter. Respond with a thank you if someone takes the time to answer your question or do not write scathing or mean-spirited emails to a company because your product is not working right. We live in a digital world, but there is usually a human on the other end that has feelings just like you. Be nice.

Are You Happy?
But most importantly, are you happy and are you living or trying to create the life you want? Are you living life on your own terms and maki ?

Do Your Thing
I am actually very cautious and conscious of giving people advice like quit your job and go do your thing, because I am practical and strategic and everybody is wired differently. I’m not romantic about being an entrepreneur or working for myself, I am just very conscious of doing things that are meaningful and are satisfying to me and my goal usually involves trying to be happy. I want to love what I do and be happy where I live.

I moved to Florida for a job that I worked at for 8+ years and it was the perfect fit for me and not once did I wish I was on my own, so be thoughtful about your decisions do not feel pressured to venture out on your own because others tell you it’s cool or awesome or the way to have freedom.

Freedom is doing what you know is best for you and not being afraid to own it.The point of everything is to figure out what you really, really want and put yourself on that path no matter silly or even simple it may seem. I like running errands and doing busy work for people which is what Murphy Concierge is more or less, only it’s tech focused.

Why I Told This Story
My whole reason for telling this story today is to make you stop for a second and do a gut check. Look in the mirror and make sure you are not living someone else’s version of your life.

Self-doubt is living how you were always taught was the right or practical or safe way. You don’t want your friends and family to worry or you want people to know that you are doing your best. That’s all very natural, but if you are burning up inside with interest in doing something else that other may not understand or you might be told it won’t work, you have to try and find a way to start doing it on the side or any time you can squeeze out.

Your happiness makes your life and everyone around you better and if you are not doing everything in your power to seek happiness and fulfillment, now is the time to start.

Now is the time
I really believe we are in a holding pattern with massive disruption about to turn things upside down, but right now everything is wide open and for the taking.

It’s a free for all right now and very soon that is all going to change and the online landscape as we know it not be such a level playing field. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I am excited because I am putting myself in a position to win. I hope you are too.

I think we all have an open canvas right now and you have to take advantage of this incredibly creative time we are in and go all in on yourself. It does not matter what you paint on your canvas, so long as you are being completely honest with what you want. And it is okay if that is working 9–5 at a bank.

Creating the life you want is incredibly difficult, time-consuming, scary, always changing and never certain.

As cliche or as common you hear it, it doesn’t change the fact that you really only have one life and it can be over in an instant. Are you living the life you want? If yes, congratulations and if you, start creating it. Learn. Create. Move Forward.

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Music: Life of Riley & Wallpaper (incompetech.com)