It's All For You: How to Turn Tragedy Into Transformation


I had a funny thought today in the shower.

Sometime between rinsing my shampoo and drenching my strands in conditioner, I remembered an interview I did a few years ago with Canadian fitness mogul David Patchell-Evans, affectionately known to many as “Patch”.

My Canadian readers (holla!) might recognize him as the CEO + Founder of Goodlife Fitness, our country’s largest chain of gyms.

Goodlife has become a wildly successful business. Today, they have over 1 million members working out at more than 350 locations. That means one in every 30 Canadians is a Goodlife member. Crazy, right?

There’s no doubt Patch is an immensely successful entrepreneur at the helm of a profitable and purpose-driven business. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, Goodlife is the product of one of the most painful and difficult times in Patch’s life.

And that’s what got me thinking this morning.

While studying in university, Patch got into a devastating motorcycle accident that completely tore his upper body apart. With broken bones, terrible muscle damage and serious injuries to his chest and shoulders he was a hot mess it was ultimate low moment in a young man’s life.

I can’t even imagine the gut-wrenching depression and physical pain he would’ve been feeling in the days and weeks following his accident.

But that experience, the tragic accident that nearly took his life, was actually the ultimate blessing. Because during his rehabilitation Patch fell head-over-heels in love with exercise, completely amazed at it’s power to heal the human body.

Eight months later, he fully recovered from his ghastly injuries and began his mission to bring the healing power of fitness to the Canadian masses. And, man, did he ever hit that goal.

My point about Patch echoes something super profound I once heard Oprah say.

Seriously, it affected me so much I had to hit pause, run and grab my journal and write it down with a big, black sharpie.

Here it goes…

“Everything that you believe is happening TO you, is actually happening FOR you.”

All of those low moments, painful tragedies, serious accidents and devastating failures are pointing you in the direction to your destiny. All. Of. Them.

If Patch didn’t crash his motorcycle back in the 1970s would more than a million Canadians be sweating their buns off at Goodlife all these years later? Would he have built one of the most successful fitness brands in the world? Maybe yes, but maybe no.

Everything happens for a reason. Everything.

We all encounter tragedy in our lives. We get hurt, our loved ones die, we lose our jobs, we suffer heartbreak ... pain is an inevitable part of the human experience. But it’s what we do with our pain that makes all the difference.

It’s easy to get caught up in playing the victim when life punches us in the gut. But if you can learn to accept tragedy and move through it with an open mind and open heart, it has the power to transform your life.

So the next time life gets rough, hang in there.

And remember, no matter how bad things seem, life is always working in your favour.

Love + Light,