Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

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 Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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 Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

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 Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

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 Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

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]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

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 Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

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]

 
Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

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 Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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 Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

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]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

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 Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

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 Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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 Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

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

 

andre

Pat Verducci Pat Verducci writer. teacher. former list-maker.

Pat Verducci is a writer and a teacher of screenwriting at UCLA Extension. She's worked as a story consultant for Disney/Pixar, and recently co-produced the documentary Somewhere Between. [www.patverducciscreenwriting.blogspot.com]

I’m a classic Type A personality. Lock me in a room with a scholarly tome and I’ll write you up a perfect report about it.  Make a feature film? Done. Three tons of laundry? No problem. That way of living – set a goal, work hard, achieve it – worked for me for a long time. People could always count on me to do a good job.

Then, a few years ago, a friend who’d been struggling with AIDS took a turn for the worse. Andre had also been Type A. He’d attended school at Berkeley, then Harvard, and I’d met him at UCLA’s film school. AZT had pretty much destroyed his liver, and, in denial, he’d waited too long to apply for a transplant. I understood his denial well. He thought if he just continued to work hard on his health, all would be well.

Toward the end, I watched as he suddenly became very focused on a few cactus plants growing on his patio. He loved those plants, tending them with care and appreciation. He liked to have the window open, to feel the sun on his face, as he lay in the hospital bed in his living room.

Watching him, something cracked open in me and I saw all the ways I was in denial about my own life. The way I used goals and lists to make me feel productive, when the truth was that I was lost and unhappy in my career, doing things I didn’t want to do because I thought they were expected of me.

Andre died looking out that window. He waited until he was alone. He didn’t want to give up in front of anyone.

Since then, I’ve realized that life is not about giving up or being a failure. It’s about soaking up the world around me. When I catch myself whipping through lists, I remember what Andre really valued. His plants. The sun. His friends. I make sure I do things I love every day. Read books. Play with my dog. Watch bad television with my children.

Andre opened my eyes to what’s important.

Today I’ll water the lantana in my backyard. I’ll finish reading Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. I’ll watch Top Gear with my 13-year-old son. One day, he’ll be a middle-aged guy with a passion for cars. I hope he says no to lists and yes to driving with the top down.

Thanks, Andre.

– Pat Verducci

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