Misti Burmeister
author, speaker, executive coach

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister, author of "From Boomers to Bloggers," founded Inspirion Inc. and specializes in speaking, executive coaching, and generational diversity in the workplace.

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Unexpected gifts

Q: Success stories don't get any better than the recent rescue of 33 miners in Chile who were trapped for 68 days. One miner said he now saw the world in a whole new way. Do you think that feeling will last? Have you ever had an experience, small or large, that changed the way you think about life? If so, how has your life changed since, and are you glad for it?

It was a rainy day in late November 2004 and I was driving my little Ford pick-up truck down River Road, near Bethesda, Md., toward I-495. I was on my way to my best friend Yvette's home so she could drive me to the airport for a holiday visit with my family.

While our homes were only 15 miles apart, I gave myself an hour, hoping the traffic would be in my favor. It was bumper to bumper heading into the city, as morning commuters made their way to D.C. Fortunately, I was headed away from the city, so traffic on my side of the road was clear. "Sucks for those people," I thought, looking at the gridlock. My drive would be a breeze.

Suddenly, I noticed an SUV pull half-way across the highway into the median about 400 feet in front of me, trying to ease his way into traffic. Then horrifyingly, I saw him put his car in reverse and freeze in my lane. I waved my hands back and forth, motioning for him to get out of the way, but I was too close for a full-on stop, and the minute I touched my brakes, they locked. I began sliding towards him at 50 miles per hour.

It was only seconds until the impact. I remember the look of panic on his face as my truck smashed into the side of his SUV. "This can't be real," I remember thinking as my truck finally came to a stop in the middle of the road.

It was. And what's worse, the other driver had no driver's license or car insurance, and the car wasn't even registered. And because my truck hadn't been worth much, I knew what I'd get from my insurance company would be minimal. My truck wasn't fancy, but it was paid for. And considering I was unemployed, where was I going to get the money for a monthly car payment?

As I watched the tow truck load the totaled hunk of metal that had been my only mode of transportation, my mind wandered to a true story I'd recently heard. A warehouse owner watched his property burn to the ground one night. He looked on as the firefighters tried to stop the blaze, and one of his employees asked what they were going to do now. "Rebuild," he said in a calm and trusting voice. "This place was clearly meant to be rebuilt and together we'll get it done."

The story had inspired me then and made me feel a little better now, so I contemplated how I could have such an attitude about my truck. My mind and heart were racing as I tried to find some kind of silver lining (or at least a good life lesson) in this frustrating experience. That warehouse owner clearly trusted in something, but I had a total of one close friend at the time and no job -- and now no way to get to job interviews. There has to be a reason this happened.

Soon after my return from Colorado, where I was visiting family, my client Bob called and said, "Let's go to lunch." I told him that I couldn't, that I needed to go look for a car. "Well, let's do lunch first." I conceded.

Over lunch, he explained that he planned to buy me a new car (well, a car that was new to me). "Two-thirds will be a Christmas present, and you can repay the remaining one-third at some point in the future," he said.

Since then, I have vowed to patiently await the gift that follows the events that seem the most challenging in my life. I feel a sense of calmness, realizing I (we) are not in this game of life on our own. No, no... we're connected to something much greater than us alone. Something tells me the Chilean miners will feel that same sense of connection to an energy much greater than themselves throughout their lives.

By Misti Burmeister  |  October 25, 2010; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Success and adversity Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I agree we’re connected to something much greater than ourselves. There’s no doubt in my mind about this. So much so, I’ve written of such belief. In my novel “Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich? its center core subtly reflects believing in something bigger than one’s self. I have many gifts, which I’m grateful for to a heavenly Father: firstly, God’s gracious love. Secondly, then is the blessing of my beloved Son Chad. But my unexpected gift is writing. This ability now comes to light only by the grace of God. What changed my life and my perspective then was an accident. It’s after decades that I can say this in full acceptance of a disability. No, I wouldn’t change my life simply because it’s who I am in God’s purposed plan for me. If anything, the injury was a gift. I see things in a different light and for me it’s just apart of whom I am, which prayerfully reflects, inspires, and uplifts the human spirit to accept God’s omnipresence in one’s life. We’re God’s creation and we’re not alone.
Suzanne McMillen-Fallon, Published Author (early 2011)
www.strategicbookpublishing.com/Mommy’s Writings: Mommy, would you like a sandwich?

Posted by: AuthorSuzanne | October 25, 2010 4:24 PM
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I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by calling 877-882-4740 or check http://bit.ly/9EwL4G If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: carolee22 | October 25, 2010 5:47 AM
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I have posted this already here before You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by calling 877-882-4740 or check http://bit.ly/9EwL4G If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and believe me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: carolee22 | October 25, 2010 5:47 AM
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