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Kara, Finding JoyA friend keeps describing himself to me as being a “glass is half empty” type of person and questions risk with “what is the worst that can happen?” type of questions. While it is good to be conscious of the potential failure side of a situation, isn’t the very act of taking a risk the definition of living?

My view is that the glass is refillable, that taking risks is the very source of feeling alive – that taking action and stepping out of a comfort zone towards something unknown – with the promise of it being ‘amazing” and exciting and worth exploring – is the very foundation of living, of being “closer to life” (a quote from a friend of Peggy Payne’s).

I love this phrase, “closer to life”, for it’s the heart-racing moments in our lives that define us. These acts, where we step in the direction of something unknown, pursue something on faith because we are drawn, become unforgettable life experiences. These are the moments we never forget, either because the act caused pain, or immense pleasure.

Each step taken in faith, towards whatever we are drawn to, is a step worth taking. We explore outside our comfort zone to expand ourselves and to grow. Some of the best lessons in failure lead to the most amazing, and unforeseen, discoveries.

Upon completing my book, Finding Joy (to be released soon), I realized it is about risk. A 90 year old man took a huge risk – by sharing a deeply personal regret. He asked me to find Joy, literally. What I did not realize at that time is that he was sending me along a life changing journey to find joy in my own life. He asked me to live my life with joy – he asked me to live, to be “closer to life”.

We have an obligation to live. We are here, so why the hell not?

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Peyton ManningIn the book Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football, Richard Cohen shares the story of the greatest season in Bears history. In my opinion, this is one of the best books ever written honoring an NFL team. The description Cohen gives of the run to the Super Bowl for the Bears’, with back to back shut outs with the NY Giants “swims with the fishes” and LA Rams, “dead to me” painted a picture of Godfather-esque football.

Cohen said he wanted his book to be “about the Bears, but also about the ecstasy of winning and what it means to be a fan. … I would delve into the Bears as another journalist might delve into the Amazon. I would die in the jungle, or return with the answers.”

Recently, Zach Keefer of the Indianapolis Star wrote an article on Peyton Manning. It’s in the same league with Cohen. He should turn it into a book.

Keefer not only captures the sentiment of a city that lost a prodigal son, but the sense of Manning’s tenacity of purpose that drives him.

“If you draft me, I promise you we’ll win a championship. If you don’t, I promise to come back and kick your ass.” Peyton said this to Colts owner Jim Irsay. A promise is a promise.

But it’s Keefer’s reference to the future Hall of Famer “He was winning three straight…reviving a career that sat on its deathbed in late November, storming into his fourth Super Bowl two months shy of his 40th birthday. How many 39-year olds could have pulled off this miracle?”

Peyton will need a miracle, perhaps just one more, to wrap up his career.

Regardless of outcome, Manning accomplished something that Denver should be proud of – and regret the booing they serenaded him with two months ago.

Looking around this city the last couple of weeks, I’d almost forgotten that the Colts are blue and white.

“A Colts town is a Broncos town for a few days. A Peyton Manning town, forever.” -Keefer.

Once a Hoosier, always a Hoosier.

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