Why This Day Matters

To be honest I was hesitant to write a blog post about September 11. Thinking to myself – what does this memorable day 10 years ago have to do with Internet marketing?

First, I concluded nothing.

Then, after some consideration and thought I realized – EVERYTHING.

Ten years ago today I worked at One World Trade Center in NYC. My office was on the 38th floor and I was headed to work that day like so many others in lower Manhattan. Fortunately for me I was able to get out of the elevator (I was literally in the elevator heading up when the first plane hit) and then escaped through the black-lit fire stairway by climbing down all 38 floors to the ground. Once I ran outside and scurried to safety – the second plane had already hit.

After running 20 blocks north to get away from the catastrophe, I turned around and the last image I saw was the towers crumble to the ground. I was speechless and left having an enormous sense of remorse and guilt for having been lucky to escape. To this day I constantly think back about “what if” – and feel blessed to be here today.

I’ve had a lot of different emotions about how to feel today based on what happened 10 years ago. At first, “guilt” was a big part of it – but I’ve been able to embrace and appreciate so much more in my life from that horrific experience. I think like many other New Yorkers who were there that day – we’ll be forever changed – and have a different perspective on life. What always comes to mind is that Fabienne would have lost her fiance and my 3 beautiful children would never have been born.

From that perspective – is how I try to live my life every day. I try to live more in the moment – enjoying and savoring the little things that make each day special. It’s why I chose to leave my corporate job and join the ‘Entrepreneurial World’ with Fabienne. It’s why I put all of myself in coaching our clients on what I love to do most. And it’s also why I never take for granted an opportunity to kiss my wife, hug my children or say hello to a close friend. THIS is what matters most – and I’d ask you now – what matters most to you? How can you use your life to make a difference in other peoples’ lives through your business?

At the end of the day it’s not your email list or the marketing or the business that matters. It’s the connections and relationships that you have and the fortunate experience to live life to its fullest each and every day. And it’s also the way that you make a difference in peoples’ lives by doing your purpose here on earth.

I’ve never shared this publicly like this before, but I wanted to share it in the hope that you realize the tremendous impact you have on people every single day, even if you don’t realize it.

So let’s do this – make the most of the time that we’re here together. You’ll never know when you get another chance.

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

118 thoughts on “Why This Day Matters”

  1. Wow derek – I had no idea you’d been through this – I can’t begin to imagine what a terrible experience this was and I am so glad that you’ve been able to take something from it so positive and move forwards with your life.


  2. Thank you for sharing Derek. I hope that you no longer feel any guilt. You were meant to be here. I want to express my gratitude for the reminder and the to focus on the truly important things that matter. I’ve been so busy lately starting my company and trying to do everything “just right” that I have neglected the most important things in my life; my husband, daughters and family. It changes today.

    In gratitude,

    1. Michelle, I’m so glad my article helped to shape your perspective on the things that matter most. Family… Thank you so much for commenting.

  3. Thanks for sharing Derek. Great article! Good reminder to us all. Blessings to you, Fabienne and your three lovely kids always…

  4. Thanks for sharing, Derek. It’s universal power embedded in the action. It’s my guess that you probably felt a sense of it once you decided to release your feelings.

    May you and yours have a great Sunday!

  5. Thanks for sharing, Derek. Anyone who knows you can see in your eyes the love you have for Fabienne and your beautiful children, the love you have for life and how much your enjoy supporting your clients. I’m so honored to know you and so fortunate to have worked with you.

  6. Derek, Your article is extremely important. Thank you for sharing. We must always remember to count the moments and live life to the fullest every day and be kind to one another. You are helping us to remember to do this.

  7. Derek, only you and those who went through this can truly understand the experience. These rest of us can remember the day and celebrate with you the gifts of life. Thanks and peaceful blessings to you and Fabienne.

  8. Derek,
    I applaud you for writing this and I have to say your story stopped me in my tracks. You must have been running alongside of my brother that day. I know at times he’s felt the same but he cherishes his wife, children and life far more as a result.

    My Best,

  9. Hi Derek,

    Thank you so much for sharing your powerful story. It gave me goosebumps to think about what it would be like for you to live with that “what if?” And I simply can’t imagine experiencing 9/11 first-hand like you did.

    That same week I happened to be facilitating a Franklin Covey workshop called “What Matters Most” for a group of corporate employees. SO powerful for us to come together and reflect on what matters most during a time of such sadness.

    It’s a question that’s important for each of us to ask ourselves every single day.

    Sincere thanks to you and Fabienne for the impact that YOU have on all of us…and for helping us stay in touch with what matters.

    Michelle Stimpson

    1. Thanks so much, Michelle for your comment. Lot of irony for what you were doing and happy we can share with each other together.

  10. Derek
    What a great article. What a sobering experience. Most of us will never be that close to such a monumental disaster. Thanks so much for reminding us that life is short and our blessings are abundant. We should all learn to take time everyday to reflect on what is REALLY important in our lives.
    God bless,
    Barbara Sandridge

    1. PAGLIACCIO E IMBECILLE. Sai cosa sono le pensioni comltemenpari? Sono INVESTIMENTI. Se il fondo VA A PUTTANE, CHI GARANTISCE? A quel punto uno si prende i soldi e li investe per conto suo, VISTO CHE GLI ALTRI HANNO UNA TESTA, A TUA DIFFERENZA.

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    4. Jennifer,Thanks so much for adding Writer’s Notes to your list! That was certainly quick! I’ve added All Freelance Writing to my Helpful Sites for Writers list, as well!Jeanne

    5. Én Frank Júlia fagyis könyvétől indultam, és rájöttem hogyan fotózzák a tökéletes fagyiképeket.Szerintem kikanalazzák a fagyit gombóconként valami síma felületre (például egy szilikonlapra, vagy egyszerűen sütőpapírra), be a mélyhűtőbe, és mikor csontkemény, akkor összeállítják a fagyikelyhet, és addig biztosan formtartó és szép, amíg a kép elkészül.Mit gondolsz?Zsuzsa

    6. Tam – As it turns out, Barry was exercising his American right to say "None of your business."I have to take exception to this. There are a couple of legal requirements to be the president, and "natural born citizen" is one of them. Captain Bullsh*t was asked to prove that he meets that requirement. "None of your business" isn't a good answer when dealing with a legal requirement.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story re 9/11 Derek. I vividly recall watching it unfold on the News here in the UK, as I was feeding my then 6 month old twins. As you say – at the end of each day we’re blessed with, what matters MOST is making a positive difference to those around us. Kind regards to you, Fabienne and your beautiful family 🙂

    1. You’re so welcome, Tanya. 10 years so much has changed and I’m glad my post has helped us all to remember the little things that matter most in life.

  12. Derek,

    I got this blog from Sarah Hathorn. Thank you for sharing your story it means so much. In a post 9/11 world were at times it seems like the Twilight Zone your story helps us remember what is important… the lives we touch each and every day.

  13. Wow, Derek – I had no idea how profound your experience was in 9/11 and I am deeply grateful to you for sharing this with us. Your heart and commitment to living full out is so apparent and you’re so generous in how you support others (as does Fabienne!) – and this puts another piece of the puzzle into place as to the power behind your choices. Inspiring as always, Derek!
    Love and light, Carolyn

    1. You’re so welcome, Carolyn. Thanks for your comment and love knowing you. So appreciate your words and sending you love.

      1. s’il y a des animaux au ciel, le Président viendra: mais ne risque-t-il pas d’insulter les séraphins broutant dans les champs élyséens ? (Noli me tangere … vaut ici pour « me touche pas tu m&lpouq;saris&nbss;»)

  14. Hi Derek,
    Congratulations on going public with your story – it will positively affect far more people than you could ever know and THAT is a great reason for sharing it. Clearly there is a reason why you are still here – God still had big plans for you. You stepped into those plans with gusto and now contribute to and enhance the lives of those around you. And you bring joy to countless thousands. Bravo! Never, ever doubt there is a reason why you are still here – make it count 🙂
    Be bold,
    P.S. I too am enormously blessed. I shudder to think I’d have to account for what I did with all these blessings if my response was “Oh, not much. I played it safe, looked out for myself, and was content with being average.”

    1. Wow, thanks Ann for sharing. Your comment means so much and thank you for reminding me (and others) of our “bigger” purpose here on Earth. So appreciate you.

  15. A great day for you to share this story. A very sad day for all and our thnsk for the reminder that yes we should all appreciate adn LIVE eacg day to its fullest.

  16. Hi Derek

    Thank you for reminding us what really counts – I have a few ideas what kind of a difference my own business can make it the world once it takes off, I am just starting out and your post is a great inspiration.



    1. Mike, we all have the ability to make a big difference in the world each and every day. I’m glad my post helped you remember this and so appreciate your comment.

  17. I’m glad you posted this Derek. There is a reason you are here. You may never know that reason but God does. 😉
    I work with folks whose memories haunt them. Reliving our memories can make us sick….and I hope you have found a way not to let it traumatize you.

    May God bless you and your lovely family.

  18. Derek – thank you for sharing this very personal experience with us. I’m grateful for the reminder to live my life to the fullest and to always look and go for the gold (big and small) at each and every moment. Thanks for the inspiration. Blessings to you and your family.

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  19. Awesome story Derek !! Thanks for sharing. As hard as it is knowing what happened to those less fortunate, its great to hear a story like yours from a survivor who appreciates the life you have and show it !!

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  20. Derek, Thank you for sharing, and you do have a beautiful family. Praying blessings in all you do, professionally and personally.

    On another note, I LOVE how you’ve taken the time to respond to everyone who has left a comment. That really shows genuine authenticity and care for others. I have seen so many people who have a blog where people comment and leave deep thoughts and the blog owner never responds. It is very cool that you take the time to validate people and show that you care. Keep up the great work. 😉

    1. You’re so welcome, Casey. Thanks for commenting and glad you appreciate how I respond to each and every comment. They individually matter.

  21. Thank you Derek for sharing this. You have certainly made the most of the days you have been given these past ten years. It has been a joy to watch. Ali

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  22. Derek, Thank you for sharing your story. September 12th is the day I try to focus on. It is the day I learned that the person I thought I’d lost on the 11th had survived. She is a dear friend and I am deeply grateful that she’s a part of my life. Now I know to be thankful for you too. The work that you and Fabienne do touches me every day and is helping me to improve my life – every day. I’m sure if you had not stepped off that elevator my life and so many others would not have been positively impacted the way they have been. Thank you for making that chance decision, and for all the great decisions you’ve made since!

    1. You’re so welcome, Suzanne. I’m so glad to hear your fortunate story on the day after and thank you for reflecting on what I had to share as well.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing this! It must have been very emotional just to think back at it, but actually living it, wow! We are so lucky you are alive and able to pass this simple but powerful message to us.
    I will enjoy life more, like you said and cherish all the small things it has to offer.

  24. Derek,
    I was very touched by what your wrote today-“It’s the connections and relationships that you have and the fortunate experience to live life to its fullest each and every day. And it’s also the way that you make a difference in peoples’ lives by doing your purpose here on earth.”

  25. Wow what a powerful story Derek. It wasn’t your time to go. You had/have an angel watching over you and making sure that you use all your powers within to help people.

    We need to sit down every day and take a moment to be thankful for everything we have. Life is so precious and we need to make sure we do not take it for granted.

    Isn’t it sad that a tragedy pushes us to make a change and do great things. I lost my father and went through such a hard time dealing with his death, however throughout the turmoil I managed to start a business! Now I help businesses grow. It’s like the tragedy pushed me into making a change and seeing life from a different angel. It makes us wiser and stronger.

    Bless you and Fabienne for making such a difference in the world! Sorry to hear that you had to suffer throughout the 9/11 attacks. I am glad you made your way out!

    1. Thank you, Serena for commenting and sharing your personal thoughts and reflections from that experience. It means so much to learn from the tragedy and move on to share our gifts with the world in our own unique way. I appreciate what you said so much.

  26. Derek,

    You are one of my favorite people on Google’s G+. Sharing your feelings about something that everyone is so passionate about and doing it in such a positive way is exactly what is needed for people to continue to heal.

    I used to hate when 9/11 when come around every year because I was so deeply affected and knew so many people like you that were there that day. Some of them were not able to take the out look you did. That is why it’s so important for people to see that you can find a way back from any situation no matter how tragic it is.

    Thanks Derek for not only sharing this but always sharing the best posts with your friends like me on G+. Tell Fabienne I said Hi.

    1. Thanks so much, Dawn for your kind words. I’m glad you get so much from what I have to share in my posts and especially from this story. It’s important to look at this experience in a positive way and move on to share with those who matter.

  27. Derek,

    Wonderful post- thanks for sharing it. All day long I have been avoiding reading things about 9/11 and Melonie said your post was wonderful and told me to read. It is a great reminder to be grateful. I find it fascinating how lives and paths cross- we were there that day, too. About 20 blocks from WTC (where we lived). I really appreciate you, Derek. Thanks for writing this and thanks for all that you do.



    1. Thanks, Suzanne. I remember you saying you were in NYC as well that day and so glad we’re both here today to share with everyone we can. So appreciate you and Melonie and thank you for your kind words.

  28. Wow Derek, that was a poignant reminder that we should embrace life. Sometimes it takes a life-changing event to remind us to do so. That is what happened to me.

    Now I tell people to live light (don’t sweat the small stuff), live liberally (get out of their constraining “box”), and leave a legacy.

    Life is too short. If we live each day joyfully, we will have less regrets.

  29. Derek, what a beautiful way you share your experience and help people to see the way that you have lived your life since this experience. I’m grateful for everything you do and how you share it, you make us all better people. I remember that day vividly too as we lived in the City too, Abby was days old so I was fortunate not to be at work that day. Mark was on his way to the Javitz Center, and had to turn around. Love you! Sandy

    1. Thanks, Sandy. I never knew you were in NYC as well. Being grateful is what I focus on most now from this experience and so appreciate having you be a part of my life.

  30. You’re so welcome, Suzanne. I’m so glad to hear your fortunate story on the day after and thank you for reflecting on what I had to share as well.

  31. Derek ~ My wise old grandmother once told me that you must always tell your stories for there are always lessons in them for the people listening ~ no matter how many times they’ve heard that story!
    I spent the afternoon yesterday with a girlfriend from my teenage summers…hadn’t seen her in over 25 years. It was great sharing stories of life. She became very quiet when it was time to leave and said, “It’s a hard day for me….I lost my fiance in the WTC bombings.” 🙁 I never knew. She has a great life– a husband, 2 beautiful step-children. Her parting words: “You never know what makes the world go round like a clock….you must love and cherish all the SECONDS!
    You are blessed…you were exactly where you were meant to be that day and today! ENJOY all the seconds of your day 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!!

    1. Thank you so much, Laura. I’m glad you were able to share your story as well and we can both learn from this lesson on the you never know when you’ll get another chance. I appreciate your comment.

  32. Dear Derek,
    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I, too, am thankful you made it through that day. Even though we don’t see each other as much as we did before, you have contributed to my life. And by sharing this story, you have contributed again. I wrote a blog post about 9/11 too, but I have to say I appreciate yours very much because of the hope it offers and the positive, forward-looking, live in the present perspective.

    In fact, I am going to write a short addendum to my blog post right now, because of what you wrote.

    Thank you Derek.

    Keep on sharing. Keep on contributing. Never stop being yourself.


    With warmest wishes and a big hug,

    1. You’re so welcome, Peter. I’m glad my post inspired you sharing as well and feel we’ve known each other for a long time even though it’s barely been over a year. Thanks so much for your comment and being a friend.

  33. Derek,

    This is a real life changer when it comes to priorities and clarification. An experience no one wants to have but an experience that that has helped you live life powerfully. Thanks for sharing your personal power with us. You are blessed. I so respect you for sharing.

  34. I remember thinking on that Tuesday and the days and weeks that followed this period was a rare moment in our society where you had a strong sense and empathy of what complete strangers were thinking and feeling.

    It’s so vital to connect and share our stories and stay open to healing during loss and rebirth and everything in between. Derek, your sharing is a reminder of how much our community is brought together by authenticity and heart felt stories of life changing proportion.

    Life is precious and you were fortunate enough to learn that in time and treat it as such.

    1. Thank you, Ruth – for commenting and sharing your thoughtful words and inspiration. I so appreciate you and contributing to the post.

  35. Amazing, Derek! I didn’t know you had been through the harrowing experience of 9-11. You were spared for a reason and now you’re living that reason. I’ve always felt blessed and special for the privilege of learning from you and Fabienne. Your story makes this even more meaningful to me. Wow! Aloha…Donna

    1. Thank you, Donna for your kind words and posting a comment. So appreciate your gratitude for what you’ve accomplished from being with us and thankful for having you as part of our lives.

  36. I posted something on the 11th, Derek but don’t see it here so I’m not sure if you received it. I just wanted to acknowledge you for sharing this experience and express my gratitude for reminding me to live my life to the fullest at each moment. Thanks so much and I look forward to our time together as I just signed up for Gold. 🙂 Blessings always to you and your family. You and Fabienne are a dynamic duo – it’s inspiring to see a truly authentic power couple making a difference in so many people’s lives! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Karla. So excited to have you as part of our Gold Program and what we can contribute together – it’s going to be an amazing time. Thanks for the kind words and for posting a comment.

  37. Thank you Derek for sharing that. I have been so inspired by you and Fabienne. I attended the mindset retreat and I just love the energy that you and Fabienne give off. It’s one filled with love. You have inspired me to give more in my business and not be afraid to be who I am. Thanks!

  38. You’re so welcome, Erica and I’m glad you’ve been inspired by Fabienne and I. We know for certain you are inspiring just as many from everything you do. Thanks again for your comment.

  39. Derek, didn’t email you earlier, but was very grateful for the blog you posted last Sunday- very touching and emotional. I am so grateful for you, Fabienne, and all the work that you both are doing to make positive change in the world!

  40. Derek,

    Thank you so much for sharing. As I began reading this blog, I got shivers thinking about your experience that day. By the end, a smile had spread across my face because your perspective is such a powerful reminder of what’s truly important. You can bet I’ll hug my kids upon their return from school today (I’m sure they’ll be thinking, “Oh, gees. Mom’s gone cuckoo again”). I truly appreciate this blog, Derek.


  41. After chasing the 6 and 7 figure dream that so many internet marketing gurus peddle, I’ve come to realize as I get older that owning a business has little to do with the money. It has everything to do with (as you pointed out) relationships and connections.

    Once a client enters my funnel, my team and I do everything to make sure they have a great experience with my brand. I now spend my efforts matching the right solutions with my client’s problems instead of bouncing from one list building scheme to another. So, I’m on the phone quite a bit with my existing clients. This is a far cry from where I was a few years ago when I was pushing out countless programs and services into the marketplace and attracting, what I call, drive-by customers (here today, gone tomorrow). There was no loyalty because I showed none in return.

    Things have changed. Loyalty is the new black in the marketplace. Businesses and brands that reward loyalty will get ahead. And I’ve also gotten VERY clear on my “why.” I enjoy a lifestyle where I’m not tethered to the Internet or my phone 24-7. I have volunteer and church commitments that keep me engaged and focused on relationships.

    It does take an event like 9/11 for us to realize what’s really important. And while it’s sad to hear about experiences like yours and the countless others who had to make awful decisions on that awful day, if anything, 9/11 should remind us that it’s people – and being of service to them – that matter the most.

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