I’ll Never Forget That Day
I’ll never forget it. I am 10 years old sitting in the backseat of a black Ford Galaxy outside of an art school a few blocks from where we lived, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. All of a sudden, my dad jumps out of the car and runs into a large group of 9-10 men. This group was aggressively beating two young boys my age. As my dad leapt into the middle of the angry circle, pushing men out of the way, he covered the boys from punches and powerful kicks that could have broken his own ribs. My mother whimpers, "everything is going to be alright," while my face is glued to the passenger side back seat window, scared, frozen, watching the events unfold and I remember yelling “DON’T HIT MY DAD!”.
After my father helped the boys to safety, he shuffled back to the car, crying…not tears of pain but tears of disappointment and disgust that privileged grown men could attack poor young boys trying to find food to survive. These boys had stolen food from the school cafeteria to bring home to their broken and hungry families.
I’ll never forget that day.
Years later in 2006, while living in Arizona but working in New York, my phone rang and a voice said…“Mr. Carnal, this is Doctor James Zozobrado from Scottsdale Shea Hospital, we have an urgent situation, sir. Your wife has contracted a virus and given it to your unborn daughter and, even though she is only 27 weeks in utero, we need to get her out…NOW!"
“We Need to Get Her out NOW!”
“I’ll never forget that day.”
Within 36 hours of that call, and after Katherine's birth, my wife and I were finally able to share a few hours alone until another call came in…”Mr. Carnal, you need to return to the hospital immediately.”
“Certainly, but why?” I asked.
The nurse explained that doctors had found a golf ball-sized cyst inside the stomach of my 2.6 pound daughter and had to operate within the next few hours or she would die. They placed a call over the hospital intercom for any pediatric surgeon in the hospital and, by the grace of God, Dr. Joseph S. Jannick was there visiting a friend recovering from surgery and he rushed down to the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. As it turned out, Dr. Jannick was quite famous, recently separating conjoined twins at Denver's Childrens Hospital and with his gifted surgical hands he was going to operate on my baby girl.
I remember meeting him like it was yesterday.
“Mr. and Mrs. Carnal, I am Joe Jannick and I will be operating on your daughter this morning. I graduated from medical school in Chicago and have a family myself.”
Between tears, the only words I could muster were “please be perfect.” And, he was.
I’ll never forget that day.
If you don’t believe in the divine intervention occurring with Dr. Jannick’s simultaneous visit in the hospital, maybe you will with the rest of the story…
After receiving Dr. Zozobrado’s initial call, I immediately booked a flight from Newark, NJ back to Phoenix. As I rushed to get across the always congested George Washington Bridge, a little white car merged so closely to my right that I thought I would get hit. Instead, at the moment just prior to impact, that driver hit the gas pedal, merged and all I noticed was a lone bumper sticker on the back left of the bumper.
“Everything is gonna be alright...” and, it was.
I'll never forget that day.
“Everything is gonna be alright.”
My tipping point came when I was acting as the Chief Growth Officer for a young firm and realized that I cared more about the company's core values than the founder. Building a company for someone else was no longer an option for me.
It was my time. My dreams mattered. I was ready.
I’ll never forget that day. It was my epiphany moment. I walked out and never once looked back. I was free to pursue my lifelong goal of building a company
that helps leaders become better versions of themselves.
Life’s many turns are exactly what set me on my journey to master the art of resilience and the science of the reinvention process.
From the time I was that scared ten-year old boy to the birth of my third daughter and all of the setbacks in between, if there is one thing that I know it’s that the sun rise always comes tomorrow and, like Bob Marley sang...
"...every little thing is gonna be alright!”
Better Leaders. Better People. Better World