It Takes a Village

About 5 years ago, I hit a very tough stretch in my life. Within a 6-month period, I lost my Uncle, my Mother, and my 15-year-old dog, Abby.

It seemed to be one devastating blow after another. And then I became sick. I was at a friend’s birthday party, when all of a sudden I passed out. I was standing with a glass of red wine in my hand, and literally fell to the floor mid-sentence.

Fortunately I recovered quickly and was admitted to the hospital overnight for observation.  My ongoing stress of “keeping it all going,” coupled with my exhaustion from constant traveling, finally led to an infection, that ultimately triggered a physical breakdown of my body.

It was during this time that I learned – really learned – the importance of surrounding myself with allies.

Two weeks after recovering from my physical breakdown, I seemed to have an emotional breakdown of sorts. I really started to freak out – about everything.

So I did what I would normally do, I called my business-and-life partner, Chuck. I unloaded a couple of truckloads of my angst on him. I whined. I complained. I bitched about traveling too much. You name it, everything was fair game, and I was on a roll!

To his credit, Chuck was compassionate and attentive to my needs for a good 20 minutes. Then he let fly with the best “Get your act together or let’s stop this business” tirade that I’ve ever received. Chuck went ballistic, but in a way that showed love, support, and nothing but encouragement.

Basically he told me that if I wanted to do good and meaningful work, he was there for me always – but only if I took proper care of myself; asked for help when I needed it; and took full responsibility for getting my act together physically, emotionally, and mentally.

We all need wake-up calls like that from time to time, don’t we? While it was really hard at the time, looking back I know that this episode in my life was a good thing.

What would your life be like if you considered everything that happens to you, good or bad, to be an ally for you? Think about your past and how situations that seemed horrible at the time eventually proved to have positive effects. I’ll bet you can come up with at least a few.

Chuck was the perfect ally during this troubling time for me. He was a true partner, one who cared enough to say, “Enough is enough!” He gave me empathy and support, and he also provided a reality check.

As a result of Chuck’s tirade, one of my calls for support went out to Dr. Carol Ann Malizia, a chiropractor and wellness expert. Little did I know the impact this woman would have on my health and well-being. She quickly became an ally in my life.

Dr. Carol Ann literally taught me to “feed” my true potential. As she says, “The time has come for us each to feed ourselves not only spiritually and emotionally, but also nutritionally.”

I value Dr. Carol Ann’s wisdom and knowledge so much that I asked her to be a speaker at the Bigger Game Expo. She wowed the crowd! She has the ability to present information in a clear, concise manner. She’s intelligent and authentic (I’ve compiled some clips of her speaking – take a look – it’s only 1:41 long. I find her so inspiring!).

And now my niece, Suzanne, and her husband, Erik, are also chiropractors and wellness experts, and very involved in my well-being. A holistic and natural approach to a healthier life is now the norm for me, and something that will help keep me on top of my game.

What allies do you have in your corner? If you already know, touch base with each of them as soon as possible and remind them who they are to you. If you don’t yet have your own dream team, I invite you to start. I find it helpful to create a list of the people in your life and, next to each name, write what sort of ally you hope that person is or will become. Creating a list will help make it real!

During one of my workshops, we were discussing the Allies square on The Bigger Game Board, and a participant said, “It’s ‘all-lies’ to think that we can get through life without allies.” We all laughed, and I thought it was a brilliant concept. Remember to look for allies in every situation – the good, the bad, and the ugly – and turn it all into positive energy.

Allies make the world go round!


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1 Comment

  • Revital Kogot Reply

    Dear Rick,

    Since I’ve read your post, I couldn’t stop thinking. The first thing pop to my mind was how unique your partner is, and how unique your relationship is. Unfortunately your personal situation and your authentic feelings and response could have faced a 180 opposite reaction. In my mind if you could trust your partner to be in the moment and be present, maybe (I’m just assuming) you wouldn’t have allow yourself to …”I whined. I complained. I bitched about traveling too much. You name it, everything was fair game, and I was on a roll!”
    To this up, you have built and invested in one great ally to stick up and be right there alongside you.

    Wishing you nothing but long life super awesome allies.


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