by Darrin Schenck


by Darrin Schenck


one hundred percent for all that you have been through.     Steve Harvey

I hear this quote from Steve Harvey and thought is was a great way to look at life.  Because it is true, you and I both have survived every hardship, every struggle, and every tough time life has thrown at us so far.  We are 100% successful when you look at life this way.  As we all know, no one gets out alive, but so far, we have a one hundred percent success rate.

I, like everyone else who was ever born, have been through some stuff.  I am the survivor of a head-on collision with a wrong way drunk driver, for example.  Statistically every 52 minutes someone dies in a crash like this, and every TWO MINUTES, someone is injured in an impaired driving crash.  How did I get so lucky?  I am honestly not sure…I ask myself that question often.  But instead of allowing this to change my life in a negative way, I am Hell-bent on making as much positive come out of this as possible.  One of the things I did because of this was to become a volunteer speaker for Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which eventually led me to Public Speaking in general.  I hope to positively influence as many people as possible in this role, and oddly enough, the crash was the impetus for what might turn out to be my greatest role to play on the crazy stage of life.

I have been in a few other car accidents before, but nothing like this one.  Not. Even. Close.  This was a bullet dodged, and I am aware of that.  And because of this, I am working hard to honor the (extra?) time I have been granted here on Earth.  But these weren’t the only brushes with death I have had, there were others.  Doing stupid stuff with friends, some of it alcohol-fueled, I can probably count a dozen times where I was lucky to walk away from those situations.  When you are eighteen years old, you think you have life figured out and that you are bullet proof.  When you are 35, you start to realize you are lucky to be alive, and that you don’t know squat.  At 52, well, let’s say there are fewer things now than ever that I am sure about.  It seems the longer you live the more precious you find life to be.  Maybe it is the dodging of bullets having a cumulative effect on your mindset about this, I am not sure.  But I can say this for sure, your mindset will change…drastically…the more time you put behind you.

The one thing I have been very fortunate to have had little experience with is the death of family and friends to deal with.  I do not have any of my grandparents alive at this point, so that has been something to navigate.  I had a close friend die in a small plane crash a long time ago.  But other than this, I had been lucky.  I know that the death of both of my parents will be very difficult for me, as I will miss them immensely.  But being my age, not only do I understand that this is how life works, but two other key points that bring some level of comfort to me:

  1. They have both lived full lives, having done things to be proud of, and having lived to see their children be successful people their own ways
  2. It would be tragic for them to come to my funeral, but it is only sad if I go to theirs.  This is how life is supposed to work; parents are not supposed to bury their children.

My circle of friends includes people much older than I, and this has been a blessing throughout my life.  But this means that a bunch of tough times for them are coming.  Illness, disease, lack of mobility and independence, and of course, death, await them.  I will be on the sidelines watching this, I cannot fight these battles for them.  Death comes for us all, and with luck, the word “eventually” gets added to that phrase.  But so far, my success rate of avoiding death directly is 100%.

But this saying the Mr. Harvey shared isn’t just about death, it is about all of life’s tough scenarios.  Getting fired from a job, a bad break up, stressful times in general, all of it has a shot to take you out if you let it.  I have never once in my life considered “checking out”; the ultimate permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Bad times never last, and this must be focused on when things are tough.  Conversely, the good times never last either.  Life can’t be and wasn’t meant to be all sunshine and rainbows.  If you think about it, we spend a lot of our lives fluctuating back and forth between the two.  So when times are tough, know that they won’t be this way forever, and when times are good, appreciate them like they are fleeting, because they very much can be.  In my opinion, the goal of life should be to extract as much joy and happiness as possible, while also navigating the rough waters as best you can.  Be sure to keep your survival rate at 100%, no matter what life throws your way.

Here is something to think about while times or good or at least fair: What will help me when things take a turn for the worse?  How can I help myself and how can the people who support best help me through that scenario?  Giving some brain power to how you can make a tough situation better BEFORE you are knee deep in it is helpful, mainly because you have a clear head and heart now, and both are vital to mapping out a plan that will be beneficial to you then.  You know your patterns and habits better than anyone, so who better than you to lay out your rehab and recovery plan?  Do you turtle up and lay on the couch for weeks at a time when things go south?  Do you throw yourself into work to distract yourself from the pain and suffering?  Do you stay in a state of denial for far too long?  Whatever it is, map out a plan now and then STICK TO IT when you need it.

It is easy to run someone else’s life, at least with the details we have.  No one knows the level of suffering and pain anyone else feels.  But the idea that I can help someone, from an outside perspective, see things differently, maybe push them to take some action when needed, etc., is a great thing and something I enjoy the most out of coaching people.  Yes, I want to be there for the good times, the goal setting, the triumphs and the celebrations, but I don’t get to pick and choose.  When I sign up a client for coaching, I am signing on for whatever comes our way.  In most cases, I am coming in at a time where there are stalled out in some way, they are stuck in a place and can’t see how to break free from and hit that next level that is within view.  But once we start digging into life details, things take a turn.  Sometimes, it leads us back to childhood traumas and belief systems that were necessary way back when but are still in place today.  Undoing and rebuilding someone’s operating software is not an easy thing to do, but it can be done.  In some ways it must be done if you want to bring about real change for someone.  And when it can be done, it is more rewarding than anything else I know how to do.

So, keep in mind the following:

–Life has up and down cycles, and neither are going to last

–Your job is to keep your survival rate 100%, until that very last breath leaves your body, 88 years old, lying in a hospital bed surrounded by your loved ones.  Fight like Hell to make this your exit point, and nothing else.

–Make a plan on how to “rescue” yourself when things do go south.  Use your calm and unemotional mind now to map out a plan for that inevitable time when things take a turn for the worse.

–When the tough times hit, STICK TO the plan you mapped out in advance.  You know better than anyone how to help yourself, so be sure to follow your own advice when this happens.


I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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