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Recently, EMYTH hosted a meeting in San Diego, CA, a wonderful city that this “right coast” guy enjoys visiting.  There I met with other business coaches from around the world, which in itself was an eye-opening experience.  Yes, there were many takeaways that will help me in my coaching practice.

However, there were two non-work related experiences that I don’t think I’ll ever forget, and that surprisingly will help me as coach.

The first occurred as I waited for my ride back to the airport.  A hotel parking attendant, in his twenties, had stepped off of the curb into the driveway to hail a cab for me.  Within seconds, I saw a car was backing into a space and I grabbed the young man by the collar and yanked him back onto the sidewalk.

He was stunned as I quickly pointed to the car.  He got the message and realized that I had just saved him from being run over.  We shook, steadying hands that were actually shaking on their own.  He thanked me and I hopped into the taxi for the airport.

Fast forward to the red-eye flight at about 3 a.m., with mostly everyone sound asleep.  I was suddenly awoken by a woman on the row in front of me screaming as her husband lay motionless in the aisle.

While “terrorism” was the first thought that went through my mind, I realized that he probably had a heart attack or massive stroke.  Fortunately, there was a pre-med student on board who jumped with me to the rescue.  The man had no pulse, and his wife was still screaming.  After learning that her husband was diabetic, the medical student asked the flight attendant for a first aid kit and, with my help and the use of our iPhone flashlights, the doctor-to-be injected the man.  He miraculously came back to life.

I realized a few things at that moment.  First, needless to say, life is fragile.  Enjoy every second to the fullest because, in a flash, it can be gone.  Second, while my first instinct was to quiet the frantic woman, I didn’t, and that was the right choice.

She was screaming, “Lord…save my husband,” over and over.  When I asked her to calm down, she said to me, “No…you need to listen to me.  I need to do this to save my husband.”  I shut up and let her continue.

EMYTH teaches coaches to be better listeners – it’s a key mantra.  So I listened to my professional training and let her continue.  When her husband came to, she thanked me and the doctor.  Despite the fact that I wholeheartedly believed the insulin shot was his savior, instinctively, I told her that it was her faith that brought him back.  She nodded in agreement as if to say that she knew exactly what she was doing.  Since then, I’ve begun to think that we were both right.  Lessons learned – while medical science and its practitioners are truly amazing, so are the arts of listening and believing.