“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
Three years ago I spoke with the leaders from the Northwestern Mutual office in Greenville, SC. Our meeting was meant to be an opportunity for the team to spend time away from their daily work to reimagine what’s really possible in life and business.
As the meeting progressed, these leaders were challenged to think bigger, plan smarter, connect their vision to concrete goals and develop a plan that allows them to live their purpose and achieve their goals.
The final exercise was to publicly share both their main takeaway from the previous two days and their personal commitment to live it.
One by one the leaders stood and shared actionable ideas from our time together and specific ways they intended to live it. One of the final individuals to share was a gentleman named Steve Grant.
Steve stood. He paused, took a deep breath and shared that five years earlier he endured what he thought would be the hardest period in his life. His oldest boy, Christopher, lost his life as the result of a drug overdose. It was a devastating loss for Steve, his entire family and especially for his surviving son, Kelly.
Steve went on to share that just nine days before this meeting the unimaginable happened. Kelly, his only surviving child, had also died of a heroine overdose.
Steve’s family, a very typical, healthy American family, had lost two sons to addiction.
We sat stunned and absolutely silent as Steve continued.
“I almost didn’t come to this meeting. I didn’t know how I could apply this type of content in my life in the midst of such pain. Yet, the last two days served as a reminder that nothing tragic has to be wasted, not pain, not fires, not scars and not even the loss of two amazing sons.”
“You asked for my commitment. I commit to beginning an organization that will ensure other parents don’t endure what we endured. I commit to starting an organization that equips other young people to better battle depression, anxiety and addiction. I want to leave a legacy so that everyone will know that from this day forward that I did everything I could to help save adolescents from the perils of substance addiction.”
He sat down and the room stood in awe of what he endured, his courage to share the journey with us and his willingness to fight on to make a difference for others.
Last week I had coffee with Steve in Greenville. It’s been three years since our first meeting. He’s made remarkable progress in his commitment. He established the Chris and Kelly’s Hope Foundation to fight addictions. The Foundation’s mission is to provide financial support to programs that treat young adults who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. It is saving lives, transforming his community and changing the world.
At the end of breakfast, Steve shared his gratitude that his unimaginable tragedies are transforming into unexpected blessings in the lives of others. Steve’s loss was not in vain because it is reversing a pandemic that claims more than 100 people each day.
Our invitation in life is to celebrate both joys and tragedies as propellants toward causes bigger than self. [Tweet this.]
Steve’s life is an example of the power of gratitude to make sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.
Let your life exemplify the power of gratitude to those lucky enough to meet you. [Tweet this.]
Want to help Steve live his life’s gratitude and purpose? For every like, comment or share through twitter, Facebook and our blog on November 18, Rising Above will donate $1.00 to Chris & Kelly’s Hope Foundation. For anyone who buys the Rising above gratitude month kit on November 18, we’ll donate $5.00 to the cause.
My friends, the legacy we leave begins anew today. Celebrate your gifts, share your gratitude, live your purpose and know that the best is yet to come.