Calm, casual, matter-of-fact. These words describe how Mike Shaw comes across in conversation – even when he’s discussing the horror of breaking his own neck in a skiing accident.
Mike is not afraid to share what life looked like from the pit of despair, when doctors told him he would likely never walk again. He is not afraid to share the secrets of his miraculous recovery either: perspective, gratitude, and tenacity.
The real secret is: There is no secret – only hard work, patience and positivity. They say one must put in ten thousand hours of training to become an expert at something. How would you respond, if in a brief moment (and at the age you are now), your mobility was reduced to zero and you had to invest all those hours in learning to move again? Mike is not afraid to share that grief is a high ranking emotion in such a situation, and that grief reveals gifts to us if we keep the obstacles in perspective. It is not an exercise in “turning off the emotions,” but rather, learning how to navigate them. He shared with me an interesting perspective on how “hitting rock bottom” increases our emotional capacity – ultimately providing us the opportunity to feel even more gratitude for the gifts in our lives.
Today, Mike provides training for coaches and athletes on how to prevent injuries, while sharing his story with people who are trying to navigate their own emotional journey – and shifting one’s perspective is the key that unlocks it all. Mike also works on a summer camp project for kids (9-13) in Vernon called ‘Testing The Waters’ – working with Paralympic gold-medalist, Josh Dueck and educator Brad Swanson.
My brief chat with Mike:
Mike Shaw’s Ted talk about grief:
Josh Dueck’s appearance on Ellen: