Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
This summer, I received an intense reminder of how quickly life can turn, change, and never be the same again. It happens in an instant, without any warning, and it has the potential to shift everything.
My family and I were staying with close friends on a small Fiji island, so small that there’s no way to get on or off the island unless it’s pre-arranged. The house was beautiful, but the balcony surrounding its perimeter had quite a drop. My wife and I both looked at it worriedly on the first day, knowing that a kid could fall through pretty easily.
A few nights later, our worry came to life.
Our oldest daughter, Jemma, sprinted in from the balcony screaming, “Jolie fell off the deck!” I could tell from her eyes that she wasn’t kidding.
Sure enough, my daughter Jolie, nearly three years old, was lying on the ground twenty feet below. She was not moving. My first thought was the worst nightmare for any parent. “She’s dead. She’s dead. She’s dead.”
I don’t remember much of what followed. How I screamed. How fast I ran. All I know is that, by grace of a miracle, Jolie was alive. There were tears. Praying. Uncertainty. But ultimately it was a miracle. She was going to be fine.
The following day, I was obsessed with worry. Worry over what didn’t happen. It was my dear friend and teacher, Guru Singh, who halted all my thoughts and said, “Stop that. You are focusing on what didn’t happen. What didn’t happen is an illusion. What did happen is a miracle.” To this day, that truth is instilled inside of me. My daughter lived through a miracle, and all I should do is appreciate every moment with her.
That experience changed my definition of the word “meaningful.” We’re born into this place, we grow up, and we get so distracted with life. Real meaning, found in the little moments spent with one another, gets pushed aside for seemingly more important things.
This very moment is meaningful to me. The breath in my lungs: meaningful. The health of my two little girls and wife: meaningful. The fact that we had one another yesterday: meaningful. The fact that we have one another today: meaningful. Nothing else is guaranteed. Nothing else is sure to be here tomorrow. For that reason, I’m acknowledging the miracle of life more fully today.
– Eric Handler
Explore More Meaning
possibility enthusiast. forward mover. creative renegade.
Using her psychology background and experiences in settings as diverse as jails, middle schools, and boardrooms Michelle Welsch founded Project Exponential, a series of curated networking experiences delighting people into personal growth. [www.projectexponential.com]