To the Top! A thank you letter.
There was a time when I fell in love with “extraordinary experiences”; those moments when entranced, you can get stuck for what seems like hours in the seconds or minutes of the amazing. Whether they be performances or engineered-experiences, they are the ones that rise so far above the norm that they seem downright magical. So perfect, that anyone lucky enough to be there walks away inspired.
Looking back, I think it may have started with our roots in South Florida, on the many trips the Eisenhart tribe made to Disney World over the years; the epitome of magical — a formula that consistently found its way to slowly and steadily tune the nervous systems of thousands upward, regardless of age, until, with a final wave of the wand the magician lit up the sky with a fireworks grand-finale worth talking about….every single day.
If I’m being honest, even now, many trips later, it stills owns a top-spot on my list of magical places. I’m not sure anyone could ever re-create the “extended pooh bear hug” I got to witness as my little guy (now almost 10) met one of his very closest childhood friends for the first time all those years ago….it went on for like 2 minutes….and for both the kid and his parents, it was magical….
I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, the complexity that goes into pulling off something truly designed to amaze….because the challenge of getting every little detail to fall into place; the art of producing a sensory experience that builds up to something darn-near life altering and the depth required to do it across generations, classes and cultures seems like what we need right now.
Of course, for me, it’s within the context of health….the challenge for those of us playing a role, whether lead or supporting or even bit, in the current healthcare “show” to engineer every detail; to painstakingly consider the environment we are creating and ensure it fosters the kind of “lose yourself” engagement required for a person to place their total trust in us; to find the resources, spend the time and give the effort required to actually do it.
Some know that this time last year I was hitting a wall….nothing seemed to be working quite like it was supposed to. I was putting in a ton of effort, but not gaining much traction; like the timing was off a little, as if the magic was missing….if only Pooh-bear could’ve showed up for a 2 minute hug (just kidding….anyone who knows me knows that wouldn’t be a great idea). I found myself wondering if my crazy-idea….trying to crack the code on how the health of the masses could be improved, might actually be too-crazy…..maybe it really was impossible. This kind of thinking is not natural for me. “Well, maybe this is what happens to guys when they’re going to turn 40”, I thought. “Maybe it’s time to stop chasing the dream and start being sensible”…..a totally different language than I was used to speaking.
Maybe it was optimism, or perhaps stupidity…..but I decided to go back to the drawing board….I tried to step back far enough to see that the mountain I was climbing, which had seemed a little colder and more lifeless of late, did have an actual “top”; that the snow wasn’t only frozen and slippery, but could also be a critical resource if we had the right tools. I tried to reimagine how the few of us who had setup “camp” might actually get from point (A): a society that is sick and getting sicker to point (B): the stronger and happier version of ourselves, where more individuals, families and communities can experience the extraordinary that comes when health is not a restraint but an asset.
Of course, the plan to get to the top is relatively simple — find others on a similar journey and pull them together around a common mission; change the tone of the conversation and the collective-perspective, and tap into the strengths of those who can make a difference; double down on effort if that what’s needed and even if the voices-against are louder than ever, KEEP MOVING…..TRUDGE FORWARD…..ENDURE.
It took about a month but the invention list grew quickly. Healthy-kid efforts were solidified, FreeTheYoke was born and another chapter in the Pro-Activity story was being written. As the months went by and Spring actually sprung, I could begin to see what looked like campfires of others in the distance. I could see people who were readying themselves to march to the summit…..other “mountaineers” who understood the toll, and still believed it would be worth the sacrifice and effort.
Fast forward a few months and the list of “crazies” had grown, more than 10,000 human-powered miles had been traveled in the name of health-restoration and a broader community, both professionals and not, were lining up behind the immovable rock to give it a push…..and now? It’s rolling….faster and faster by the day it seems. The APHPT.org project is super exciting, and #FreeTheYoke Part 2 is already underway. Our local healthy-community continues to grow and flourish and we’ve had some magical moments with nothing short of life-altering results this year.
My list of things to be thankful for has always been longer than one person likely deserves….and although there are too many names to list….if you’ve engaged with me this year on my mission to do the extraordinary….to achieve the vision of “better health for every American in this lifetime”….on this day and many many others you have my most sincere gratitude….thank you for sharing this section of the journey with me.
We are far from the top — but we are on our way.