224: One Life
Podcast Episode 139: The One Life Show
Twenty years ago, I found a dead body. It changed me (in a good way) forever. I tell the story on Episode 139 or below in text form.
Who is this story For?
Are you happy?
Are you doing everything you can to create your version of happiness or success?
Is self-doubt and fear of trying holding you back?
Goal of Episode:
Hit the pause button doing a self-audit
Are you really creating the life you want or making others believe you are?
Are you doing everything in your power to live on your terms?
Be brutally honest with yourself
Make every minute count. It could be over in an instant.
We really do only have one life.
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Today I am going to tell you the story of when I found a dead body that made a significant impact on me and keeps me grounded when things seem tough or I’m only thinking of myself.
It’s a rather sad story with you that not a lot of people have ever heard. It happened over 20 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. This story is to remind you that you have one life and there is no better time than now to create the life you want.
About 20 years ago me and my dog drove my 1972 VW Van from Missoula, MT to Canterbury, New Hampshire where I lived with my roommate from college and his now wife in a farm house in the middle of the woods.
I moved out West right after college and I cashed in my cum laude English degree for a busboy job and several other random jobs, but I was making good money and happy.
Do More (Inner Voice)
I have always had this driving voice in me that strives for greatness and my internal voice is not fueled by trying to impress others. I am self-motivated and never fully satisfied by my accomplishments or wins. You can and should do more it tells me.
Some of the happiest moments in my life were when I was a busboy or bartender or not working at all. I have never been ashamed of any job I’ve had, but there was a constant nagging in my head to seek more and stretch my mind or writing skills and find a more impactful job, etc. Etc. Job? Is that the secret to happiness?
After college I goofed around out West for a few years having a good time and had enough money to do what I wanted, but I still wanted to use that degree, dangit.
Canterbury, New Hampshire
I was feeling a little lost so I moved to New Hampshire and lived with my college roommate and his now-wife. We laughed a lot and had fun. They both had ‘real’ jobs. I was going to get one, too and see if that would quiet the voice in my head that desperately wanted me to apply the 4-years of hard work at college.
Getting a professional job is the goal is why we worked so hard since grade school, right?
I got a job with a corporate lawn care company which was the only job I could find that I didn’t have to dress up, they paid for gas because we drove around during the day meeting clients and looking at lawns and during busy times of the year I always had the option to work out in the field which seemed like the most fun. This job was perfect for me in many ways because it was kind of a ‘real’ job in that I had salary and benefits, but it was casual and you may have picked up on this in other episodes. I’m not into the suit and tie thing.
I had to buy my first real car, meaning the air conditioner and speedometer worked and I was now officially using my college degree. I paid $5000 for a Subaru grocery getter (loved it) and put it on a credit card. My VW van cost me $500 and I just won the money on a Keno machine in Missoula (loved it more).
The job was sales and pretty lame overall, but I drove most of the day and learned every nook and cranny of Southern New Hampshire. I like exploring new places. I have had some bad jobs and a few that I knew were not for me, but I always tried to make the most of them and have always tried to see things as a means to an end. Nothing is permanent and there really is good in most everything if you look for it.
The Day My Life Changed Forever
One fall morning, I packed up the work truck and headed out to the coast to work on lawns all day. I was to spend the day in a small little town right on the boarder of New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
I got to my first house of the day and it was set back at the end of a kind of woody street and I loaded up the spreader and headed to the back yard.
My job was pushing a hand-cart up and down lawns spreading seeds or limestone up and down just like mowing grass. I was in this back yard for 10 minutes and I noticed a chair, which to my near-sighted eyes looked to be a scarecrow propped in it. It was fall time and the figure had what appeared to be a retro plaid jacket, so I thought it might be a Halloween prop or a grandfather who dozed off.
I didn’t want to scare them when they woke up so I worked my way over there and gave a little ‘hey there.’ As I got closer approaching from the side of the chair, I thought I saw a rifle or shotgun propped between the scarecrow’s legs and then I got a little scared for a split second, but still no idea what was going on.
I started walking really cautiously towards the back of the chair.
First I noticed a bunch of those green flies that only come out for the gross stuff and then I realized I was looking at a head with a hole in it.
There was a shotgun between this person’s legs and there I was just staring at this body sitting in a chair in the middle of a back yard. I cannot explain the level of confusion or uncertainty I was experiencing at that moment.
I did not think it was real.
It was 10 am in a sleepy little coastal town.
Pulling in, I noticed this little machinery or welding shop across the street, so I walked over and there were a bunch of guys working and I said in a very calm voice to the one who came to tell me to get out: “I think I found a dead body across the street, but I really need someone to make sure.”
It was the strangest sensation and I think it may have been a form of shock protecting me, but after looking at me like I was crazy, four dudes sprinted across the street and it was true.
In that chair was a 23 year old military veteran who just took his own life with a shotgun in the backyard of his father’s house.
I leaned on the work truck for what felt like forever just staring. Blank inside.
The police arrived shortly and they were very nice to me and then the moment that I’ll never forget.
The father pulled up to the house very fast, jumped out of the car and ran in through the front door and I could hear him scream in sadness…No.
What happened next changed me forever and mostly why I am telling you this story.
The father walked back out of the front door and was walking right towards me and he gathered his composure and asked me my name and said:
The Father: Are you okay Mike? Nobody should have ever have to witness something like that, but thank you for getting help. He gave me one of those handshake arm hugs, said I’m sorry and went back in the house.
I was really in disbelief at how incredible this person must be to think of me when he just discovered his only son was dead in his backyard. What was even more impressive was he called me at work a few days later to make sure that I was okay.
I was blown away by this selfless guy who was asking how I was when he just lost his son. It really impacted me and it keeps me in check in moments where I may be quick to judge someone or if I’m not being nice or kind or only thinking about myself.
I drove an hour or two back to the headquarters and told them what happened and I said, I’m done for the day. In my head, I knew I was going to be done for good sooner than later.
- I was not where I wanted to be and not doing what I wanted to be doing. I knew it was time to go.
- The way the father looked at me just made me realize how important it is to appreciate everything because it does not last forever and how much being a good person matters and the impact it can have on others.
- Little things can mean a lot.
Working and connecting online is only going to be more and more common, but the same rules of kindness and respect matter.
Respond with a thank you if someone takes the time to answer your question or do not write scathing or mean-spirited emails to a company because your product is not working right.
We live in a digital world, but there is usually a human on the other end that has feelings just like you. Be nice.
Are You Happy?
But most importantly, are you happy and are you living or trying to create the life you want? Are you living life on your own terms and making decisions for you and not those around you who you?
Do Your Thing
I am practical and strategic and never tell people to quit their job and do their thing, but I do always tell them to listen to their gut.
Everybody is wired differently.
I’ve had jobs I’ve loved and quite honestly, it’s nice getting paid and leaving with no worries about the business. Working for myself has not been easy or a whole lot of fun. I have no boss, yet no time or money to do the things I used to. Having a job may be the perfect life for you. But listen to yourself and decide for you, not friends and family. You are not seeking approval from anyone but yourself.
Freedom is doing what you know is best for you and not being afraid to own it.The point of everything is to figure out what you really, really want and put yourself on that path no matter silly or even simple it may seem.
I like running errands and doing busy work for people. I like helping senior citizens learn how to use their iPhones, which is why I started Murphy Concierge. Silly to some. Not to me.
Conclusion: Why I Told This Story
To make you stop for a second and do a gut check. Read the title of this post and episode. One Life to get it right.
Look in the mirror and make sure you are not living someone else’s version of your life.
Self-doubt is living how you were always taught was the right or practical or safe way. You don’t want your friends and family to worry or you want people to know that you are doing your best. That’s all very natural, but if you are burning up inside with interest in doing something else that other may not understand or you might be told it won’t work, you have to try and find a way to start doing it on the side or any time you can squeeze out.
Your happiness makes your life and everyone around you better and if you are not doing everything in your power to seek happiness and fulfillment, now is the time to start.
The World is Changing. It’s Fair Game Right Now.
I really believe we are in a holding pattern with massive disruption about to turn things upside down, but right now everything is wide open and for the taking.
It’s a free for all right now and very soon that is all going to change and the online landscape as we know it not be such a level playing field. I have no idea what is going to happen, but I am excited because I am putting myself in a position to win. I hope you are too.
I think we all have an open canvas right now and you have to take advantage of this incredibly creative time we are in and go all in on yourself. It does not matter what you paint on your canvas, so long as you are being completely honest with what you want. And it is okay if that is working 9–5 at a bank.
Create the Life You Want
Creating the life you want is incredibly difficult, time-consuming, scary, always changing and never certain.
As cliche or as common you hear it, it doesn’t change the fact that you really only have one life and it can be over in an instant.
Are you living the life you want?
If yes, congratulations.
If not, start creating it.
Learn. Create. Move Forward.
There are no do-overs. #createthelifeyouwant
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