chinese_writing_deskIn 2011 I decided to sell everything I had and move to China to learn Chinese, train in Kung Fu, and document the gap between the survivors of the Cultural Revolution and the mall-going, cell phone wielding youth of today. Then I was poisoned.

China is a beautiful and fascinating place, but also, in their race for modernization, highly toxic. I rode overnight in a faulty bus leaking carbon monoxide into the cab as we slept. Over the next two weeks my ability to function deteriorated to the point where I had all of the symptoms of advanced Parkinson’s disease. I couldn’t walk, think, or speak without tremendous effort.

Being face to face with the last minutes of my life was scary, humbling, and unexpectedly beautiful. As I watched the final door closing I was surprised to discover that what I had considered a “waste of time”, my hours spent developing and deepening relationships, was in fact far more important to me than anything I had built, written or done. I was also grateful to feel that I had lived a full life.

In the end I was left with one thought. If I had more time alive, if I was given anything extra, the one thing that remained was my desire to share what I’d seen. I wanted to help others find access to the richness of life and relationships in the tiny handful of moments we have left.

As I began the slow process of recovery I enrolled in a series of leadership and coach training programs to support that mission. I have deepened in ways I could not have imagined and am fortunate to be helping people every day to build inner strength, more powerful ways of communicating and leading, and deeper relationships both at work and at home.

For a list of trainings, see methodology