IAN GREENLEIGH

Author | Marketer | Speaker

I help companies turn data, ideas and relationships into reach and influence. 

Hands On a Miracle: Life, Loved Ones and Resolve

I don't often shell out advice. I'll be 25 this year, I'm not yet successful, and I've got a lot more to learn than teach. But my sister, bless her soul, needed it. She's 21 and has had difficulty sticking it out and getting things done--a problem I'm all too familiar with (see: unfinished screenplay). She was in Austin last year checking out UT, and the prospect of committing to it was scaring her. I remember that feeling. All the bright possibilities swirling about with the hazards of life, imagined pitfalls and bumps in the road.

"It is scary as hell", I told her. I couldn't articulate what I wanted to say next. I looked up at the TV (not normally a source of wisdom), and it all clicked.

"See that guy?" We were watching Foo Fighers: Live at Wembley Stadium and I pointed at Dave Grohl as he was joined on stage by none other than Jimmy Page. "That guy is who you need to learn from. That guy has earned his dream."

How many musicians get to play with the famously-reclusive guitar god? Watching and listening, I could tell that this moment was the apex of Dave Grohl's entire career--more likely, his entire life.

It would have been so easy to give up. Who would have blamed him? Kurt Cobain was his close friend and band mate. "It was probably the worst thing that has happened to me in my life," he said of Cobain's suicide. He could have put away the drumsticks and lived the rest of his life content that he was in Nirvana, a band that changed music forever. He could have given up so many times. He could have, but he didn't.

He picked up a guitar. And he started Foo Fighters. Blood, sweat and tears made them the epic band they are today. Hard work and passion got him to that moment on stage in front of hundreds of thousands at Wembley, playing with perhaps the most idolized rock star of all time.

Instead of Cobain's death causing the death of Grohl's music career, it seems to have strengthened it. In a small way, I know what that's like. I lost my best friend in 2004 to a chance aneurysm. He was 18 and full of life, and just like that, gone. I was having a difficult time already, living in Texas so far away from my friends and family in California, working menial jobs, feeling uninspired by community college and thinking about moving home. Looking back, I think my friend's death made me reevaluate everything. As a few grieving friends of mine turned to drugs and alcohol, I flew back to Austin with a new understanding of the fragility of life and the need to make the most of every day. It would have been so easy to quit and return to my comfort zone. But I stuck it out, transferred to UT and eventually graduated--the biggest accomplishment of my life so far.

My sister had recently lost a friend, too. She was at that juncture with which I'm all too familiar. Instead of doing what seems so natural, what makes people like Dave Grohl so successful, and hopefully, so happy, is taking the leap and not looking back. They showed resolve when everything in them screamed "give up" and no one would have blamed them. I tried to convey this to her, to be a good big brother. But ultimately, she'll have to learn this herself. I have no doubt that she will.

As I sit here, I try to imagine what my on-stage-with-Jimmy-Page moment might be. Honestly, I haven't the faintest. But I know it will feel damn good.

Something that I felt today, something that I heard Swingin' from the chandeliers, hanging on your word I remember watchin' you, once upon a time Dancing from across the room, in another life

A little bit of resolve is what I need now Pin me down, show me how A little bit of resolve is what I need now Pin me down, show me how

Lookin' back to find my way, never seemed so hard Yesterday's been laid to rest, changing of the guard I would never change a thing, even if I could All the songs we used to sing, everything was good

A little bit of resolve is what I need now Pin me down, show me how A little bit of resolve is what I need now Pin me down, show me how

One more year that you're not here has gone and passed you by What happened to you, what happened to you? One more tear that you won't hear has gone and passed you by What happened to you, what happened to you?

A little bit of resolve is what I need now Pin me down, show me how A little bit of resolve is what I need now Pin me down, show me how

A little bit of resolve One more year that you're not here Has gone and passed you by (A little bit of resolve) A little bit of resolve One more year that you're not here Has gone and passed you by (A little bit of resolve)

Foo Fighters, "Resolve"

© 2016 Ian Greenleigh