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Defining Moments                                                                 February 2007

Life can change in an instant. It can be a decision, an event, a conversation, a story,
an encounter, a diagnosis…and suddenly, you are never the same again. Similarly,
your words and your actions every day are affecting the people around you, and you may never know or be acknowledged for a life-changing moment you inspire in somebody else.

When I look back over the years, there are two major "defining moments" that stand out for me that shaped the direction and purpose of my life, and inspired the path I'm on now.

1) I vividly remember the day I got my Type I diabetes diagnosis at age 17. It was stunning…I felt blind-sided with shock and disbelief that I would be sentenced to a lifetime of daily insulin injections to stay alive. I put on a brave face and denied to everyone that anything was wrong, yet there was an inner ache and resentment toward this illness that I was sure would rob me of my future. At the time, I didn't see how diabetes could be a gift in my life - but in hindsight, I know for sure that getting the diagnosis was a defining moment, and part of a "bigger picture plan" in store for my life.

Peter Legge

2) In 1998, I had an encounter with someone I was introducing to speak at an event. Peter Legge, President of Canada-Wide Magazines, was the keynote speaker for our group of young business professionals. Not only was he one of the greatest speakers I had ever heard, but his message of empowerment was one that resonated strongly with me at that particular point in time. He pulled me aside afterwards and told me, "Kid, you have a gift.
I see a spirit and an energy in you that needs to be shared. Join the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers and learn the ropes. You have a future in this business."
It was a moment that mattered because he saw something in me that I didn't see in myself. You never know when these "defining moments" are going to happen, but that one hit me right between the eyes.

It took years before I found a speaking niche that felt "right" for me, but now I can positively say that there are few things in life that make me feel more alive than being in front of an audience and sharing a meaningful message. Diabetes has given me a platform to make a difference for others that I wouldn't otherwise have had, and to be part of something that is 2 million x bigger than me. Sharing a message of hope and possibility through people's stories from our diabetes community is a joy and a privilege, and if even just one person in the audience makes a shift to feel empowered instead of victimized by diabetes - I consider that "paying forward" the gift that Peter gave to me.

What could you do or say today, with intention, that could give somebody a boost? Know that whatever it is, that effort is never wasted. The ripple effect goes far beyond what you can even begin to imagine.

Make YOUR difference today!

Cheers and All My Love,

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