Every Hero's Journey must take him through The Ordeal.

Here's my latest one that almost killed me (plus the 2,000 year old mindset hack that saved me).


April 21, 2021 - Remember the knife

"Joe call 911! I just cut my leg and I'm bleeding out...". Not quite the ending I expected to my scheduled phone call that day.

One second I'm mid-sentence catching up with a friend, the next I'm laying on the floor frantically fumbling with my belt as a tourniquet. It's slowly sinking in that I won't get it tight enough before I lose consciousness. I'm staring at the 4" pocket knife sticking straight out the side of my leg and more blood sprayed everywhere than most TV murder scenes (only this time it wasn't ketchup). 911 needs to know my address and my memory is getting hazy...

I guess this is how it ends for me.

But I was wrong. I must have more work to do.



And that's how I ended up in Dr. Mihir "The Nerve Guy" Desai's office.

The Procedure

The Good Doctor tells me to expect 3 months to walk again, with a brace. 6-9 months to run again. 12-24 months until the incessant electric shock feelings subside, feeling in my leg returns & my calf muscles can move my foot again. Hopefully.

Since my injury was time-sensitive (nerves start dying immediately and only heal one inch per month), the Good Doctor rushed me in to surgery right away. His bedside manner is the best! He kept me hopeful by telling me an inspiring story of a famous NFL quarterback who won the playoffs after suffering the same injury I had. That mindset shift was the turning point for me – I knew I could make it and I was in good hands.

He carefully explained what he would do in (mostly) non-medical jargony words that I could understand. The nurses and anesthesia team were fun to joke around with – they laughed extra hard as I was trying to recruit the anesthesia doc to run this October's Spartan race with me. (They don't know who they're working on...).

I woke up two hours later (apparently saying all kinds of crazy things as the meds wore off - thankfully no one took videos!) and left the clinic grateful to the Good Doctor and the whole team that all went well.

The Transformation

I realized the hospital can't write a prescription for what's needed to Endure and Prevail – a strong mind, one that's hardened, one that can endure life's crushing burden when (not if) it comes. The work I've done over the past 2 years to DO HARD THINGS and transform into the Bulletproof Hero literally saved my life – mentally and physically. But not everyone is so fortunate.  

So, The Cadre was born to unlock my Legend Vault and give that same transformation to everyone who is ready to change.

“It’s unfortunate that this has happened? No. It’s fortunate that this has happened and I’ve remained unharmed by it – not shattered by the present or frightened of the future. It could have happened to anyone. But not everyone could have remained unharmed by it. So remember this principle when something threatens to cause you pain: the thing itself was no misfortune at all; to ENDURE & PREVAIL is great good fortune." – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations (circa 160 AD)
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

The Overcoming

Good news! This story has a happy ending. Exactly 3 weeks after the accident, I'm walking (even mowing the grass), off the pain meds and #strongereveryday. 3 days after that I walked 3.7 miles.  At my first session my physical therapist was very excited that my leg nerve has a little flicker and can move my foot out a few millimeters. I actually accused him of moving it because I couldn't move it at all a couple days ago! After exactly 1 month I was back to burpees and even ran my first mile. Miracles! Tiny steps add up.

After extensive research I found a real Iron Man leg brace with built in shock absorbers that allows me to run again. That means I'll still be able to take my 9 year old on the birthday backpacking trip next month (he's been looking forward to it since getting all his gear for Christmas)! Now I'm training to run the hard Spartan race course in the fall. Life goes on.

You can do more than you think you can. Endure & prevail!

– Daniel