You Can Do

Here are three facts:

Edward Jenner developed the smallpox vaccine, which successfully eradicated an illness that had claimed approximately 500 million lives in the 20th century alone.

The Human Genome Project, completed in 2003, has enabled scientists and health professionals worldwide to make unparalleled medical breakthroughs.

A businessman who experienced sudden financial ruin collected 1.4 billion forged euros from the Irish government, then built himself a house out of the shredded notes.

I’m inspired by these stories, and they remind me that none of us should see our crises as insurmountable problems.

Of course, we’re all dealing with highly stressful events. Life can be devastating. When I lost my hands, feet and face to sepsis, it shocked me down to my very soul.

But waking from my five-month coma, I came back to a world full of people who loved me, and hugely skilled medical professionals who worked together to bring me back to life.

I realised that although everything had suddenly changed, I still had life. My heart was still beating. And, as long as that was the case, I knew I could look beyond my present and see how my future circumstances might very slowly and subtly improve.

Prosthetists made me arms and legs. Surgeons reconstructed my face. My wife helped me to believe there was a life for me, outside of hospital. My children inspired me.

Later on, the local call centre gave me a job, I started writing again, and found my voice. I became involved in the Starfish film project, which told the story of how my family survived sepsis, and since then I’ve become a public speaker about resilience and recovery from disaster.

With each little step, over years and years, I’ve become a little stronger. I’ve grown in confidence, learning how to collaborate, accept the gift of help, and all the while I’ve been blessed with the most enduring love from my wife, Nicola.

There have been many, many difficult situations. Financial crises, surgical terror, profound sadness inside. Physical and mental pain that I cannot even describe in words. I’m still dealing with all that.

But all the while, even when I hardly knew where to turn, I’ve always felt resilient, and I’ve always felt ‘I can do’. I’ve never let anything beat me, and I‘ll keep on fighting. Even now, when I have to walk on sore leg stumps to get somewhere, or work until 10pm in the call centre to pay the bills or pick myself up when I’m feeling down.

Here are 5 reasons you ‘can do’ too:

  1. You are creative, intelligent and flexible enough to deal with any situation.
  2. You’re inspired by your family, you’re fuelled by your love for them.
  3. You want your future to be better.
  4. Your setbacks have made you strong.
  5. You’re committed for the long haul and won’t be disheartened.

Have a great week everybody.