Everything Happens for a Reason

If you’ve been following me on Twitter and Facebook recently, you know that I had a nasty ski accident out here in Vail, Colorado. I was here for ski training with my race team from Stratton Vermont for 4 full days of skiing and training with some of the best skiers in the world. Skiers were here from all the Olympic teams spanning from the USA to Austria and Canada. I had a day where I got to see some of my heroes on the slopes – Ted Ligety, Bode Miller and even Lindsey Vonn.

Unfortunately, I had a freak ski accident and ended up damaging my knees (both of them) pretty bad. I thought it wasn’t too bad – but as the pain got worse, I got it checked out with X-rays and an MRI along with multiple trips to the Vail Medical Center and their doctors and specialists. It turns out that I completely tore both of my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and meniscus (knee ligament) as well as chipped my bone on my outer left knee. I will end up needing reconstructive surgery on both knees and have several months of recovery with physical therapy and many weeks on crutches. No skiing or physical activity for 6-8 months and possibly back for tennis next summer and competitive skiing next winter.

You have to understand – skiing to me is like nothing else. Beyond my wife and kids – it’s one of the few things that inspire me and motivate me more than anything else. Needless to say, I was quite saddened and devastated with what happened.

During these last few days (in particular from the time of my accident to my final diagnosis from one of the best sports medicine doctors on knee injuries) I learned a lot about the people around me – and myself. Below is what I discovered – and I share it with you so can learn from my perspective – as I’m sure we all have trying times like this where the outlook does not look good.

Think positive. During the two days when I didn’t know exactly what the diagnosis was, I stayed positive. And, I mean ultra positive. Talking to my wife Fabienne and others – I consistently thought about the good that will happen – focusing on the result that I most wanted (full recovery and no long term impact.) Even though I now need surgery and will not ski for the better part of the year – being in a place of positive expectation and having an optimistic attitude helped me with going through this experience and not feeling down or negative about it – and ending up not having a worse situation than I am in now.

Bigger purpose. This experience led me to believe there is a reason behind this accident – and a bigger reason I am choosing to have this experience and what it means for me in my long term purpose here on Earth. Yes, it may sound kooky – but I believe it. It’s all about rising to the challenge and stepping up to what this experience is going to lead me to next.

Focus. Now that I have this time to reflect – I can focus clearly on what really matters. Yes, I will still watch the ski videos and obsess over skiing – but this experience leads me to believe that there is a time for being present NOW – and focusing on what really matters most. My family (my wife and kids) and the close friends I have with me. This is by no means a life altering accident – but it’s in these times of challenge that we should all find it important to reflect and contemplate on what matters most.

Gratitude. I am certain that being in a place of gratitude during this time – if not all the time – is critical for feeling positive and upbeat about what is going on around you. I had a long conversation with my wife Fabienne where I listed everything I was grateful for – in this moment. My wife, my kids, my friends, my work, my surroundings, my support at home, etc. I didn’t stop with just the obvious – I drilled down to being grateful for the glass of wine I had that night. Gratitude works wonders – if you trust and state what you’re grateful for.

Humor. I definitely needed to laugh along the way. From the funny picture about the beef jerky I posted to laughing with my ski buddies here about my accident and their own experiences with ski injuries – laughing and making light of a situation can help you feel even more positive and optimistic.

Long term perspective. Although I was really down and upset about what happened – I had to put things into a longer term perspective. Will I ever ski again? Yes. Will my knees recover 100%? Yes. Can I walk (with crutches) and be present with my wife and kids? Yes. For a time I was pissed about not being able to ski this season. But, it’s only one year. I’ll be back next year – and every other year – for many years to come. Think of the joy that will bring me and those I am with.

Community. This is where it gets really inspiring. The comments and support and reaching out from so many – was so supportive and uplifting. The comments on Facebook alone were partly responsible for keeping me motivated and inspired. It felt so good to be recognized and loved in that way – something that social media and technology can do for us – unlike anywhere else. People from under the woodwork on Facebook reached out and offered words of support, recommendations, a place to stay and even a ride to the airport. For this – I thank you…

So, I do believe that everything happens for a reason – if you think about it in that way and allow yourself to believe it. If you go about your daily routine and never think about the subtle coincidences or big shifts that leave you wondering about WHY – remember this: It all happens for a reason.

Perhaps it’s time for YOU to step in and step up. Or, perhaps it’s simply time to slap on some skis and hit the mountain. 🙂

Until next time… Learn It, Love It, Live It!

p.s. As I wrote this I was listening to some reggae music and this track from Ziggy Marley came on. His words resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you. Again, everything happens for a reason…

Life has come a long way since yesterday I say
And its not the same old thing over again I say
Just do what you feel and don’t you fool yourself I say
Cause I can’t make you happy unless I am I say I say I
Got to be true to myself got to be true to myself

53 thoughts on “Everything Happens for a Reason”

  1. Derek,
    When I read your post on FB yesterday I felt your pain both for your knees and having to take the season off. Ten years ago I got up on skis for the first time and was instantly hooked. But four years ago I was in a car accident and didn’t feel comfortable getting up on skis again until last year. The one thing I recall when I did hit the slopes again was how completely sweet the feeling was of being able to do it again. Nothing compares to a great comeback!
    Wishing you a speedy and easy recovery 🙂 Jeannie

  2. Derek! I missed your FB post. Wow, of all people for it to happen to. I absolutely love this post and am with you 100% on the idea that everything happens for a reason. I approach life with that attitude and share it with my clients. Its a much better aproach than a pity party. And I know you’ll come through this with flying colors…just not on skis!

    My love to you, Fabienne and the kids. Lots of cozy nights by the fireplace for you all.

  3. Derek, I was surprised to see your post about being in Denver Thursday night after meeting in Stamford and so sorry to read about the accident. It reminds me how quickly things can change (for better or worse) and staying in the present moment is so important. So grateful that you had such an amazing support system including some of the best doctors for that injury nearby.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    And since you shared some lyrics, here’s a song from Andy Grammer that always lifts my spirits: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3LMVJ2xd1g8

  4. Hey Derek… my husband Clay and I had a real doozie of an issue happen to us a year or so ago. We spent nights losing sleep and stressing out about what might happen. Finally, like you, we completely surrendered and trusted the bigger picture because it’s true… things are always working in our favor despite what it looks like.

    There truly is a reason for everything!

    Wishing you all the very best and grateful to you for being so open and real once again!

    Hugs from Canada, Carmen

    1. Thanks, Carmen for sharing your story and having that perspective as well. It really does matter. So appreciate your comment here…

  5. Hi Derek,

    I admire you for reflecting on what happened. I am a medical intuitive and I always say, “nothing is an accident” and everything serves a purpose and helps us on our path.

    Accidents are a great time for reflection.

    Knees are about flexibility. I get that you are on track with taking the time to see what is next for you.

    You were out there racing and this is a sign to slow down. Of course, now you have no choice but to slow down and be with your family and look at what matters most to you.

    We are all needing to do that, but the universe made it very clear to you at this time in your evolution.

    You may have stretched yourself too far in many aspects of your life. I could go on, but wont do it here. I think you get the gist. We can all learn from what happened to you. Feel free to contact me if you want me to tap in further for you. Take good care of you

    PS. Thanks for being so authentic and inspiring.

    1. Thanks, Stacey. Ironically I wasn’t going super fast or all out. It was just one of those “things” but I am reading beyond the lines and looking at the bigger picture for sure. So appreciate your perspective and comment…

  6. Hi Derek,
    I wish you a speedy recovery.

    I had a similar freak accident, but not on the slopes, it was on stage. When I was younger, I was a choreographer for a dance crew, and at this performance it was in front of a large audience, with many industry people. During my performance was a part where I took to the front of the stage and this time I fell off stage. Because I am persistent and didnt give up, I jumped back on stage and and hit my knee with my hand to get it moving, and I finished my performance 🙂 When I got to the hospital and did xrays, we found that I broke my left patella- the whole knee cap and another piece of my knee. I had a great surgeon who at the time was the surgen for a major pro-hockey team. I was so thankful and lucky to have him do my surgey. But the work to get back to walking and get back to dancing was so important to me for I had a scheduled gig less than 2 months after surgery. I believed I could do it. As soon as I got out of surgery, 4 hours after, I had to get up and start walking. It was such a scary pain, but I told myself if I could take this pain, then I can dance in 2 months. Positive thinking and having no fear of pain. The pain meds didnt do anything. I held on to my goal and I got the best therapist and trainer. And I reached my goal in 6 weeks plus did a whole dance routine 🙂

    I encourage you Derek, you will have to walk just hours after surgery, but you can do it, for the body can take anything, its the mind. Loose the fear and embrace the pain, become one with your self and you will be up and going in less than 6 months 🙂

    Sending you loads of light,

  7. Derek, thanks for sharing! Love your positive attitude. Take care and speedy recovery. Will see you and Fabienne in December.


  8. Alooooha, Derek!

    So sorry you’re in a world of pain but like Stacey commented, you must have needed a STRONG message to slow down and be flexible. Well, no matter why you’re in pain, it’s no fun watching your ski buddies having fun without you. And you’re absolutely right – you’ll be up and skiing with them after your knees have completely mended. I’m rooting for you!! Your msg came on the heels of my hearing a teaching about staying positive and drawing towards you what you want. With your steady optimism, you can’t help but successfully magnetize full recovery to you!


    1. Thanks, Ruby. Yes, I do see the message and am optimistic on a safe and swift return – definitely with the bigger picture in mind! So appreciate your comment…

  9. Derek!
    Your words are inspiring and RIGHT ON! I know that when you write “This is by no means a life altering accident” you mean physically. But, from my own perspective of having to embrace two surgeries, recuperation and recovery, it is and will be life altering! It’s up to us- those who go through it- to determine what that means. Your perspective on this being a time of reflection and focusing on the valuable things in life can not be more RIGHT ON!
    Am hoping the pain is bearable and the healing that has already begun continues to embrace you today and throughout your recovery time! Am looking forward to seeing you manifest that and all your desires!

    And, as always, without that sense of humor, we have very little ~ KEEP SMILING

    1. Thanks, Laura. Yes, the sense of humor definitely helps and I agree life will never be the same – but more about my perspective than anything else. So appreciate your comments here…

  10. Derek, so sorry to hear about your accident. I know how long it takes, mu son-in-law did the same damage playing hockey – only one knee though – and had surgery last Tuesday. I printed your very positive comments at the bottom and will give them to my son-on-law. He is a bit of a moaner-groaner right now. Wish you the best with your surgery and an easy recovery. My prayers will be with you.

    1. Thanks, Carol. I hope my comments and words of encouragement will help your son-in-law and his recovery. All the best to you and him…

  11. Derek, this is such a wonderful blog post. Everything certainly does happen for a reason and I can’t wait to find out what your bigger purpose is this winter. I’m sure it will be something big, marvelous, and extraordinary.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  12. I blew my ACL about 20-years ago while playing basketball. Had reconstructive surgery and I have to say that it’s a stronger knee as a result.

    I’m glad you learned early how to think beyond the injury. Me, at 18-years old, had no clue. So I spent a few years in my “angry period” wondering why me.

    Basketball was a huge part of my identity. Anyone who knew me knew that basketball meant more to me than going out on dates, hanging out with friends or going away on vacation. Basketball was everything.

    With this injury, I couldn’t play basketball for almost a year. Everything unravelled. And I felt a part of me die. What would I be without basketball? I just couldn’t imagine.

    While recovering, I read Michael Jordan’s biography. The book was a gift from one of my teammates and I reluctantly started to read it. What gave me a glimmer of hope during this time was reading how Jordan got through his own season ending foot injury. It was inspiring to read and it helped me focus on the bigger goal – to get back on the court and reunite with my only true love.

    I ended playing another two years for a college team, but “retired” because my knee just couldn’t keep up. Of course being an athlete, I can’t sit still, so I ended coaching and then officiating basketball games. I also started swimming which has been amazing for my knees.

    While you focus on the long-term goal of returning to the slopes, also remember to be adaptable if your recovery takes a different path. While I wouldn’t wish this injury on anyone (the recovery is PAINFUL), it’s how readily and quickly we embrace whatever path this hiccup places us on that matters most.

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Leesa. I loved reading your story and got so much from your journey, experience and perspective. I will take it all to heart as I begin my road to recovery and so appreciate your contribution here!

      1. BootB believes the ostpoipe, that for some bizarre reason an amateur with no incentive to do great work will somehow create something on par with a contracted professional. What happens if that amateur is talented and looking for a break? We all have to start somewhere.Spec work is a fact of life for creative people. Unpublished writers write entire books without a contract, then send them to publishers. Young filmmakers produce short films to show to studios. Freelance writers write articles, then send them to magazines to try and sell them. Musicians record demos. Artists create their art, THEN try to sell it.The key point is that, while most people need to do some pro bono or spec work to get a portfolio going and start getting work, professionals can’t survive on it. Truly talented people as well as those with a good business brain will be the ones who make a career of it. People who aren’t good will have to scratch around with the good amateurs and newbies looking to make a name for themselves.As a freelance writer, I face more competition than designers, as everyone can write or thinks they can. Yet I earn a living and don’t worry about ads on Craigslist or bloggers picking up the odd paid bit of work. I accept that there are different scales of clients. Small businesses will not pay good rates for writing work when they can get it cheaper. The key is to cultivate good, long-term clients and personal relationships with large businesses.And I started out by writing for free. This whole No-Spec idea is flawed. Designers and writers MUST do spec work to get started because you can’t get work until you have a body of work to show!

  13. You are SO right, Derek. Everything does happen for a reason, yet in the moment, the reason/blessing may not be too obvious.

    As you recover, those blessings will be revealed and you will become a better teacher, father, husband, skier because of the blessing. You know it, so it will be.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery and the unveiling of something bigger for you! 🙂

  14. Hey Derek,
    So sorry to hear of your experience. And istn’t that what it is. My knee issue from 5 years ago was a volleyball one (and yes, I had to give up volleyball and it interrupted my ski time and other high impact activities.) AND you are on the right track.
    1. really do rest (more than you think you need) as it will serve your longtime recovery stronger
    2. watch sugars as they create inflamation, inflamation leads to pain and can limit range of motion (and usability)
    3. use more cinammon and tumeric in your food and beverages (help with inflamation and recovery)
    4. consider taking up cycling and spinning–work up towards it (I know the athlete in you will want to be competitive)–the difference is to go at endurance pace or what we call “Broccoli rides” (The word we use in place of the F word!) Makes it more fun that way. Think of it as the pace you would go to head to a coffee shop for a visit with a friend. (By the way, cycling got my hubby and I closer as there are a number of sports I do that he doesn’t or he is allergic too–such as horseback riding–so now, we were able to get back into the saddle–just a different kind. We rode 200km in one weekend for annual rides and charity rides and now with the kids Never know what new opporutunity this will bring you this winter and future–keep your eyes and heart open.
    5. modify future knee workouts. They will serve you well and you can still do everything (such as reverse lunges instead of forwards.)Need help with any–feel free to ask.
    6. Remember that SURGERY is about having it fixed and the journey after surgery is about healing and growing from where you are to better and better (unlike a sprained ankle that aches more and more each cold winter and never truly did heal)
    7. Here if you want to chat!
    Love & Positively,

    P.S. I played Beach volleyball in Domincan this summer and we are skiing Les Arcs in France this March break. So YES–you will recover

    1. Thanks so much, Pauline! So appreciate your thoughts and suggestions and will definitely take them to heart as part of my recovery process! Can’t wait to see you again soon in December! Thank you…

  15. Thanks for sharing this. I had a sporting injury two years ago where I broke my elbow so I can sympathize with what you’re going through. Your points on how to move forward when faced with difficult challenges are right on. I’m looking forward to the breakthrough that follows this breakdown.

  16. Sorry to hear of this! It’s good that you were able to avail yourself of excellent medical care at the Vail center (pun intended! — a little humor for you…) 😉
    It makes a difference when you know you are in good hands. I just sent you some Reiki healing energy via distance healing. Can’t hurt… Speedy recovery to you!

  17. Hi Derek:

    I truly sympathize. Four years ago, I tore my ACL and Meniscus in one knee. That was painful enough! I too went through surgery and rehab. Thank you for sharing your journey. Please keep us all posted as to your recovery and I will be praying for a speedy healing for you.

    God Bless,


    1. Thanks, Cathy. It seems to be a very common (and unfortunate) injury and I’m hopeful for a speedy and safe recovery! So appreciate your comment here…

  18. Oh, NO! I just caught your tweet about this post and… oh, NO! I’m so sorry to hear about your injury, but I am thrilled by your turnaround – how you’ve reframed this incident as something to propel you forward, bring you closer to what you want and enrich your life in many, many ways. Additionally, I think this means you’ll be skiing better than ever next winter.

  19. Ouch! So sorry this happened, Derek, but love how you’re making the best of a disastrous situation. Lucky you only broke your knees and not your head!

  20. Derek,
    I, too, agree everything happens for a reason. I was on the livestream with you & Fabienne (awesome!) & ‘having a break down before you have a break through’ totally resonated with me. I was in a horrible car accident in July – my SUV flipped on my side, my windows were down, & as my car was sliding down the street, my left arm was sliding with it. I ended up with 2nd degree road rash & if it had been any worse I would’ve needed a skin graph. Since then, I’ve realize my life has a greater purpose, especially after seeing my SUV smashed! – I’ve been given a 2nd chance at life. My car was total’d, I’ve been without a car since, I’m obtaining my Executive MBA, starting my own Internet Marketing firm…lots of things going on & not the ‘right time’ to be without a car but I’m doing it!!! This accident has allowed me to be more focused than ever!!! Incredible how life happens. Something has been knocking at my door but I didn’t listen so it took this accident to make me hear the banging at my door & it now has my full attention. I was introduced to Fabienne by 1 of my business partners & I’m so thankful to be aligned with you & your wonderful wife. I know great things are ahead for you with your ski accident. I love you guys! See you at the top!

  21. Derek
    I can so relate to everything you write.

    Skiing is among the best things in my life, too. And I have survived a healthwise-skiing-free winter…. and skied better afterwards, than ever before.

    and to the many winters that lie before you: my dad is 86 now, bought himself a new pair of skis last spring and is planning his skiing season to the brim.

    there is no limit!

    Do get well thoroughly and as you do everything else: with diligence

  22. Just found out now about your accident Derek. I know how much you love skiing. Your attitude is marvelous!

    For some reason it seems like these things happen to us in the areas we love most, either when we need to slow down a bit in life or to change direction, or even to see how strong our determination is!

    A little over a year ago I rolled my car 1 & 1/4 times only a few miles from home after having driven on several road trips- thousands of miles in a few weeks. Many life lessons have been learned because of that accident.

    I’m absolutely grateful to still be alive. I feel I still have lots to accomplish here on earth and so was spared. Driving is something I love doing, and there was a lot of fear afterwards to work through-in fact I am still in that process although making much progress. The past couple days I have been driving on snow & ice again!

    You will get through this and be stronger for it. Allow yourself time to heal and seek what lessons this experience has for you. For me, the healing period was a spiritual experience full of new insights and love for myself,others, and my Creator.

  23. Yes Derek…there is a REASON for EVERYTHING – even when things don’t go like we planned, wanted them to go the way we thought it should go and even getting hurt (ugh). So sorry, for the pain and the loss and I KNOW the “GOOD” and “PURPOSE” will continue to present it self to you and those around you.

    Sending you much healing energy and I am so GRATEFUL and THANKFUL you are on a road to speedy recovery with ease and clarity.

    This time is truly about and for you. Take it!

    Sending vibrant healing light,

    Marilyn Angelena

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