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Never Part of the Plan with Mike Shaw (ep. 546)

Mike Shaw

John O’Leary welcomes Mike Shaw to the Live Inspired Podcast as he reminds us that some things don’t go to plan.

With a love for extreme sports and adventure, Mike Shaw spent his childhood taking on any sport that would push his personal limits. After finding his passion in freestyle skiing, Mike began performing professionally at international levels.

After numerous injuries, Mike was forced to shift his plan and began coaching the British Columbia Freestyle Ski Team which allowed him to continue skiing the best competition venues imaginable.

During a seemingly normal practice, though, life as Mike knew it changed in an instant. While demonstrating stunts to his athletes, he suffered a ‘scorpion-like’ crash, dislocating and breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.

Determined to not only walk again, but to ski, Mike set down a new path riddled with hardship and seemingly insurmountable challenges.

My friends, today’s conversation reminds us that others cannot define your possibilities and even when things don’t go to plan, we can still achieve great things.

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  • Growing up in the Okanagan region of Canada, Mike found his passion for freestyle skiing as a child.
  • December 16th, 2013: While coaching the British Columbia Freestyle Ski Team was demonstrating stunts to his athletes when he suffered a ‘scorpion-like’ crash, dislocating and breaking his neck and leaving him paralyzed from the neck down.
  • Mike found that it took more courage and strength to be vulnerable than it did to conceal his emotions.
  • “Nobody knows what you’re capable expect for you. You can’t let others define your possibilities. You can do as much as you think you can do.”
  • “Hold onto the gifts and not the gaps “
  • “When the loss mattered, the grief is significant.”
  • Appreciating the gift of life: Mike credits the power of gratitude to expediting his healing process physically, emotionally and mentally.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love my conversation with professional surfer Bethany Hamilton. At 13 years old, Bethany was attacked by a shark while surfing, losing her arm and nearly her life. Just one month after the attack, and with the help of faith and gratitude, Bethany returned to her passion of surfing. Listen to my conversation with Bethany Hamilton on ep. 178


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  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown, Mindset by Carol Dweck, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy and The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. More natural or pure humility.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. A gratitude journal for my wife.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. My grandfather.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. In life there will be doldrums but don't lose heart.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. Believe yourself more whole-heartedly.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Grateful every day.