When I was 28, I came unexpectedly, face to face with death. It was a profoundly clarifying experience.
I woke up one morning perfectly healthy, loving life, and certain I had a decades of living to look forward to. The very next day, my doctor texted me, “Mark, get to the E.R. immediately. Don’t delay for any reason. You could die at any moment!”
I’d contracted an infection in my bloodstream. It hit me out of the blue. One minute, I’m perfectly fine, having a nice breakfast with my wife, not even a sniffle – the next instant, I’m freezing, have a migraine, my lips have turned white, my temperature has shot up to 105.6, and I’m vomiting.
I’d gotten sepsis by brushing my teeth with new charcoal toothpaste. Until it was diagnosed, I didn’t know that’s what was causing me excruciating pain, I thought maybe I had horrible food poisoning. But the type of sepsis I had kills 1 out of 4 people in 48 hours. That’s worse odds of survival than playing Russian Roulette with a bullet in one of the six chambers.
A lot of times, we walk out of the room, and we come back a few minutes later, and you’re dead. That’s how fast sepsis can kill you.
In the E.R. I was given a spinal tap with the biggest needle I’ve ever seen. They wanted to do emergency heart surgery because I had acute-endocarditis. Instead they cut a hole in my bicep, and inserted a pic line into my artery to dose me with the strongest antibiotic they’d had. They do the whole procedure in hazmat suits – blood going everywhere.
For six harrowing days, I faced the reality that this could be my last hour, or my last moment. I was fortunate, and I made a full recovery – although I now have an increased susceptibility to getting sepsis again.
Before almost dying, I was obsessive about achieving my dreams, a positive person, and my work was helping people to leverage the power of their personal brand – all things that are still very much me.
But I also lacked perspective on life, and how to ensure your life is meaningful.
Facing my death gave me a realization: Every person ever born is an absolute original. God made only one of you.
I suffered as a kid, and as a teen, and even into my 20’s, wondering if I was enough? If I was worthy? If my life mattered? I know a lot of people have these hard questions and limiting beliefs.
Almost dying taught me that just by being born, your life is precious, you’re worthy, and it’s up to you to give your life meaning, and to make your life matter.
Today, I’m obsessed with making my life meaningful through growth, contribution, and service. I’m living my life to the absolute fullest.
I wake up every day passionate about helping others understand the importance of owning and being the original, One of a Kind person that they indeed are.
There is not, never has been, or never will be another You. When your time is up, it’s the end of the Story of You. So make Your Life Count. We are all here to express our uniqueness in the highest, grandest, and greatest ways that we can dream of. Playing small or hiding does not serve you or life. God made you for a reason. And God only made one of you.
In this profound way, getting sepsis was a tremendous blessing. I learned none of us should take life for granted, or underestimate the value of our uniqueness.