On Friday I had some minor surgery.

Why?

Because I finally listened to a little voice (growing every louder) that kept on yelling at me, “Shut Up Craig and take your own advice!”

I know, I know, that sounds a little weird. So let me explain in this week’s personal note to you, because there’s a big lesson for you in my wild little surgical adventure.

It all started over breakfast with a friend a couple of years back and I finally made the big decision when we were having another breakfast meeting at a seminar in Nashville at the Opryland Hotel.

Craig, it was the best decision I ever made,” my friend Rich D. said to me. This was the fourth time we’d had the same conversation at breakfast over the past two years.

Every few months we’d meet up at a seminar, sit down and catch up on all great things going on in his business (his family owns Equity Trust in Cleveland, a bank in Texas, and a few other non-fitness gigs) and inevitably the conversation would turn to this one little thing that annoyed me in life.

“You really need to do this. You won’t regret it,” Rich would say as we stood to leave the hotel restaurant.

In the past, I’d just nod my head and ignore his advice for another 6-12 months and not do anything about it. And so at our next breakfast, the conversation would come back to my eyesight and how wearing glasses was a pain in the butt for some of the adventures I was going on (like surfing, hiking, and even during my daily workouts, etc.). And Rich would again recommend LASIK.

Finally, I’d had enough of my procrastination. After all, I was practically becoming a hypocrite. Each day I’d recommend to you and hundreds of thousands of other TT and ETR readers that you needed to “Take Action” and “Get out of your comfort zone”, and here I was doing NOTHING.

This was unacceptable.

There was that voice in the back of my head yelling – ever louder – “Shut Up Craig and take your own advice!”

Finally, I did.

I resolved to fix the situation. The first step was to schedule a consult with a world-renowned Bochner Institute in Toronto. That was easy enough. Unfortunately, so was cancelling the first appointment. Ugh. Why was I self-sabotaging myself? Sure, I’m busy, and yes, I hate interrupting my workday to leave the house, but this was important to me.

After the first false start, I rebooked the appointment and it went smoothly. “You’re a perfect candidate for the surgery,” said the clinician. Even better, they had an opening just two weeks later. “Put me down for that,” I said, “And let’s do this.”

Finally, I was taking my own advice and taking control of fixing a problem in my life. (If you want to hear all about my experience, just read Part 2 below.)

Change in my life and your life all starts with commitment to taking action. It will be with little baby steps at first, and then big, giant steps, towards solving a problem in your life.

If you need to change, here’s what you must do. This is politically incorrect. It is not warm and fuzzy. So I’m warning you, these words are a little harsh. But it worked for me and they will work for you to. Here goes…

Stop saying you want to change if you’re not actually going to do anything about it.

BUT if you want to change, take action today, even if it is just the tiniest step in the right direction. Visit a website to learn more about how to achieve your goal. Buy a book. Start reading the ones you have.

Contact people who can help you. Take that first action step. And then take another one tomorrow, and another the day after that. Every single day from now on take another step forward toward your goal, toward the change you want to make. Never stop and never give up on something that is important to you.

Because…

“You are responsible for exactly who, what, and where you are in life. That will be just as true this time next year. Situations aren’t important. How you react to them is.” – Kekich Credo #58

And understand that there might be setbacks. So if there are, remember these words:

Put your head down and get the work done that you can control. Don’t get upset by things you can’t control.

Go with the flow. Breathe. Work on improving everything else. Don’t take setbacks personally. Keep on moving ahead. Don’t allow yourself to get knocked off course by negative people. Stay strong, get stronger, and keep on pushing.

You hear me?

Commit to your decision. Take action. Keep pushing. And stay connected to positive people that are going to support you on your journey.

That’s the most important advice I could ever give you about making changes in your life.

You can do it. I believe in you.

Stay strong and get stronger,

Craig Ballantyne, CTT
Certified Turbulence Trainer

Part 2 – So you want to know more about my LASIK experience?

Ok, here it is. Uncensored. If you’re squeamish or not interested, skip this part. Rich was right, I don’t regret having the surgery done because the results are amazing, but it is an intense procedure and quite the experience.

On Friday morning I showed up for my surgery and started going through the regular pre-operation gauntlet. One assistant did a few last checks of my eyes and asked, “So, are you nervous?”

“No,” I replied with a sideways glance at her. “Should I be?”

“Most people are either nervous or excited,” she replied. “Oh, well, I guess I’m curious, but not nervous or excited,” I told her.

“That’s a unique response,” she said before adding, “Do you want a Valium?”

I laughed. “No, I’m good.”

The reason I wasn’t nervous or excited all came down to how I approached the surgery. In situations like this, or when I did my first rappelling session down a cliff in Aspen, Colorado, or when I flew fighter jets in the Nevada desert, or when I’ve driven race cars at 168mph on the Las Vegas speedway, what I’ve learned to do is simply put my faith in the experts (just like you should when using a Turbulence Training program).

You see, when an expert has built decades of experience and thousands of success stories, it’s just wasted energy to second guess their work or to be nervous or to think that you can improve upon what they do.

Instead, the best approach that causes the least stress and best results is to simply put your faith in them and follow instructions. When you do that, everything will work out.

Next up was a chance to meet the Doc before the surgery. The first thing he said after greeting me was, “We’ll have you seeing like a hawk. You’re going to love it.”

That was well done on his part to manage my expectations, and would have calmed any worries had I had them. He knew what I wanted to hear.

But then it got weird.

The next 20 minutes of my life was what you’d expect an alien abduction and oracular probing to be like, should I ever get abducted by extra-terrestrials.

To be honest, I don’t feel like the company literature or anyone that I talked to in my consultation fully prepared me for the actual procedure.

It was intense, and now I understood why they offered me the pre-surgery Valium.

Ten minutes before surgery you lie down in a separate room and something gets put in your eyes to stop them from blinking during the surgery. First, they apply anesthetic drops. That’s fine.

But then the doctor and his assistant use a machine that generates intense pressure on your eye socket, one at a time, to get some equipment in place over your eye to prevent the blinking.

You also lose your vision. It becomes incredibly blurry.

And if I hadn’t placed full faith in the doctor and “let go”, it could have been quite traumatic. Instead, I just relaxed, trusted that all was going well – as they said it was – and focused on doing deep, meditative breathing.

Fortunately, you are quickly led into the operating room where the final procedure, while still intense, is actually less stressful than the pre-operation experience.

The surgery requires your full concentration. You must stay focused on a small green light while the doctor pokes and prods your eyeball. It’s tough, and then there’s an awful smell as he fires up the laser for 20 seconds and rearranges your eyeball shape. It’s similar to the odor your smell at the dentist’s office when he drills into your molars.

Fortunately, the laser doesn’t make any noise and it’s all over soon. The assistant counts down from 20 seconds, and when one eyeball is done they quickly switch over and complete the process for the other.

Now you can breathe easy. It’s all over.

They help you up, and the doc is in good spirits as he sends you on your way.

See, nothing to worry about, just like I told you.

For the next hour my vision was blurry. It felt like those days back in college where after too many beers I’d fall asleep still wearing my contact lenses (the kind you have to take out at night).

But after 15 minutes of recovery, my sight was already improving and they gave me the “OK” to head home. I put on my sun blocker shades that I was instructed to wear for the next 5 days, jumped on my motorcycle, and raced home on the highway (just kidding, you’re not allowed to drive for at least 24 hours).

In reality, I grabbed a cab and closed my eyes for the 20-minute ride home. It was too annoying to try and read anything on my phone. Focusing my eyes for the next couple of hours proved difficult, so I followed the doc’s instructions by putting in my eye drops and taking a 90-minute nap.

That will forever be known as the Miracle Nap because when I woke up – wearing the sunglasses as instructed – it was amazing. I could see clearly now my nearsightedness was gone.

Over the rest of the day it just got better and better. There wasn’t any pain, and I had no need for the pain medication that they give you. A day later and the only side effects are slightly dry eyes.

Today, I’m still reaching my glasses out of habit, and I also think that I’m wearing contact lenses. It might take a while for the reality of my new HawkEye vision to set in.

Post-Lasik

Rich was right. It was a great decision. No regrets. I’m still in awe of the changes and how fast they were made. It’s borderline miraculous.

But that’s just one tiny improvement in my life. There are many, many things I still need to work on.

And so surgery did not completely silence that voice in the back of my head. It’s still there yelling, “Shut up Craig and start taking your own advice! Make a commitment to living better. Take action. And never give up!”

It’s so loud that I hope you can hear it too.

Stay strong, my friend, and get stronger every day.

Craig Ballantyne

Craig Ballantyne is the author of The Perfect Day Formula: How to Own the Day and Control Your Life. Craig has been a contributor to Men's Health magazine for over 17 years. Today he teaches his gift to high-performing entrepreneurs how to squeeze more out of their days, increase their income, and make more quality time for their families in his Perfect Life Workshop and Work-Life Mastery programs. Craig used his own advice to overcome crippling anxiety attacks in 2006, and he'll teach you his 5 Pillars of Success so you can increase your income, decrease your work time, and live the life of your dreams. Learn more about Craig at craigballantyne.com

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