While participating in a recent event, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Army Staff Sergeant Earl Granville who was one of the keynote speakers. In hearing his presentation, a few notable take-aways really resonated with me about how we make life choices and we truly can determine our attitude, mindset, and ultimate motivation to set and reach our goals.
If you are not familiar with Earl, here is a quick summary of his story. He enlisted with his brother into the Army because they were twins and always did things together. During his third deployment in Afghanistan, he was serving as a gunner of a vehicle which hit a roadside bomb, killing two of his colleagues. For Earl, his injuries were significant, and he later lost his leg as a result.
He shared with us that during that ride, he and his buddies changed seats in the truck and that last-minute move is what saved his life but took theirs. He shared that he will never forget his buddies and honors their sacrifice every single day and with every event he engages.
His initial recovery period took almost two years and during that time, he lost his twin to suicide and he truly felt lost in the darkness. But instead of staying in the dark, he made the decision to honor his brother and buddies by taking on athletic challenges in their memories. And he has made good on that commitment.
He started running in local races, 5k, and half marathons and worked his way up to larger events. Most recently, he completed the NYC Marathon (after nine hours and 26.2 miles) as well as the Boston Marathon. There have been pictures of him participating in these events as well as carrying a friend over his shoulder while crossing the finish line! He has never given up and continues to push and challenge his athletic abilities.
After our event, we had a moment to connect and one of the first things that impressed me was how authentic and humble Earl was just in our introduction. I thanked him for his service, his presentation, but also for taking a few moments to speak with myself and my husband. Somehow the military topic came up and I proudly shared that my husband was a retired Marine and his eyes lit up! They immediately started talking about military insights and there was quite a bit of smiles, head nodding, and laughs. Authentic connections within a few shared moments are simply the best!
So, where is this all leading to? A few life lessons and reminders for: when life “goes sideways”; has us juggling too much; many distractions or disasters happen in between responsibilities, dreams, or even somewhere off the intended path. Remember, it’s not so much what you have been given in life, its truly about what you make of life. No matter the limitations or obstacles in our way, there is always a path around it or through the situation. It depends upon us, how we receive and perceive, and what we are willing to do about it. His story is proof that you can shift your attitude and feelings into something productive and meaningful to making positive change.
As we wrapped up our conversation, we thanked him for his service, he thanked my husband for his, and we wished him the very best in his next adventure. He wished us the same. And as we walked away from that time and space, I remember thinking that the only thing that stands in our way is our fears of not knowing that we can make anything we truly want a reality.