I’ll apologize now for any typos that you might find in this email…
See, this entire email is being typed out in the “notes” section
of my iPhone from seat 2B of a Boeing 737, so bare with me.
The morning of my heart attack took place about 7 months
ago… it all started off like any other day ,giving me no clue of
what I was in for in the coming hour.
It was my typical morning routine… shower, protein shake, write
up an email broadcast and say good bye to my wife and kids.
I grabbed my mobile command center (the backpack with my
workout clothes and Mac Book in it) and headed out the back door.
It was a typical Southern California day, sunny and 72.
Now, to help set the scene for you it’s best that I draw out some
details for you.
We have a detached garage way across the pool deck on the other
side of the property… and above the garage is our guest house, It’s
where I keep my drum set and where the wife keeps her crafts and
where we store all of the clothes and toys that the kids have out grown.
As far I can remember no guest has ever stayed in the guest house.
That morning, as I was walking across the pool deck headed towards
the garage I realized that I had left my Ultimate 81’s upstairs in the guest
house the night before when I went up there for an impromptu drumming
And since I would be training legs later that day, and since I squat best
with my Ultimate 81’s on, I headed up to the guest house to grab them
before leaving for the HQ.
When I walked into the guest house I felt fine.
It was Monday, and Mondays for me are typically a little more intense,
but as far as I could tell there was nothing out of the ordinary.
I mean I did have a few things on my mind… business stuff mostly
but nothing that I would call “high stress” or heart attack provoking.
Once inside the guest house I started to fee a little light headed.
I didn’t think anything of it.
I figured if I just stood there, in place, for a moment it would pass.
All of the sudden my heart started to race.
… and then faster.
I felt my throat start to close up.
What the hell is happening to me?
I kept dry coughing trying to clear my throat but to no avail.
Then the worst of it hit me… the fingers on my right hand started to
tingle and go numb… then it worked it’s way up my arm and into my
It was like my entire right arm was paralyzed.
Holy $h!t I’m having a heart attack!
All I could think about was that I’m 37 years old, in the prime of my
life and I’m going to die here in this f’ing guest house and no one is
going to find me till later that day.
See our guest house is way on the other side of the property and
it’s not a place that my wife or kids go up to often so it was likely
the last place anyone would check for me if I turned up missing.
The whole time I was thinking about two things…
1. I don’t want my kids to grow up without daddy.
2. I don’t want my family to find me dead and bloated up here
in the guest house.
This entire ordeal all took place within three to five minutes…
… heart racing, shortness of breath, light headed, throat closed up,
numbness of my entire right arm.
This is NOT how I wanted to die.
So I decided that if this is how I was going to go, at least I was going
to make my way down the stairs and across the pool deck so that
my family could find me and possibly call for help.
As I turned toward the door and got to the top of the stair case I
paused to re-think my plan one more time before executing it.
Could I really make it down the the entire flight of stairs?
Who cares, I’d rather tumble down the stairs then be found dead
up here… and with that thought I held on to the rail and took my
first step down.
I paused, took a deep breath, I got some fresh air in.
I went down another couple steps, paused, took another deep breath.
Was I starting to feel better?
My racing heart was slowing down a bit, I could feel my throat opening
up and I was no longer light headed.
So I sat down on the fourth step from the top, hung my head between
my legs, and tried to get a beat on what was happening with me.
Okay breath, you’re okay dude, maybe it was just a small heart attack,
or maybe it was something else all together, I said to myself.
By this point I had pretty much gained my composure and was feeling
80% like myself.
So I slowly stood up, went back upstairs grabbed the shoes that I went
to get in the first place along with my backpack and made my way down
the staircase and into the garage.
I never went back inside the house… didn’t want to worry the wife and
kids… I was feeling better and wanted to find out what the heck was
going on with me.
When I got to the HQ there was no hi or hello – I just b-lined it into my
office, pulled out my Mac Book and called up Dr. Google.
All signs pointed to a major anxiety attack – this was confirmed days
later by a real doctor.
I always thought anxiety attacks were something that others had, not
me… but there I was, having an anxiety attack and feeling like I was
about to die in the prime of my life.
That was a reality check for me.
I had more stress in my life and in that time than ever before and I
didn’t even know it until it hit my like a ton of bricks… or in this case,
a heart attack.
It’s funny becuase here I was the guy who tells his coaching clients
to take massive action and that action alleviates anxiety yet I had allowed
stress to pile up in my life and I didn’t even know it…
…actually, and to be totally honest, I was unwilling to deal with it.
Four days later I sat down and wrote down what the big stresses were in
my life and what I was going to do immediately to resolve them.
Within the next 9 days I had made some major decisions – big decisions –
the RIGHT decisions – albeit HARD decisions, and I felt like a million
pounds had been lifted off my shoulders.
It’s too bad that I had to think I was having a heart attack to bring attention
to the stresses in my life. Stresses that were fixable but I chose to ignore
them becuase the act of taking action on them would rock the boat in
ways that it had never been rocked.
I regret not having made these decisions sooner.
But I don’t regret the lesson I learned that morning when I thought I was
having a heart attack.
Life is back to awesomeness again. And that’s the way I like it 🙂
The big lesson I learned was to deal with thing NOW, no matter how
big and scary they are.
Action REALLY DOES alleviates anxiety.
I hope you never have to deal with an anxiety attack. It’s no fun at all.
Hopefully my experience is lesson enough for you.
Committed to your success,