Inspiring * Transformational * Courageous * Personable

E-Zine for January 2007

Wake Up and Shake Up- It’s About You!

Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day

as another special gift from your Creator, another golden

opportunity to complete what you were unable to finish


-Og Mandino

Life is full of second chances.

I’ve recently discovered some truly amazing stories simply by

asking people if they’ve ever received a second chance at life.

There was the woman I met just last week who found herself

with a gun to her head, the victim of a road rage incident, or the

young man who narrowly missed being caught in a deadly

avalanche by mere minutes. Their experiences have transformed

how they see their lives.

What about you? Have you ever received a second chance at life?

Maybe you haven’t survived any life- threatening situations

(lucky dog!), but almost everyone has experienced a second

chance in one way or another. Unfortunately, it often takes

experiencing some sort of loss to fully appreciate the value of

another chance.

Perhaps you were devastated when you got laid off from a job

you loved, only to discover later that it was the best thing that

could have happened to you because it opened the door to an

even better opportunity. Maybe, as a result of your own “issues,”

you walked away from a great relationship but truly found

yourself in your loneliness, and were lucky enough to get a

second chance at love with your soul mate.

Have you had a health crisis that led you to cherish your health

and the precious time you have on this earth? Have you lost a

loved one, but with the passage of time have been able to

celebrate the joy that person brought you and find it within

yourself to help others overcome their grief?

Whether you realize it or not, each and every one of you has

been given a brand new second chance at life. The mere fact that

you are reading this ezine today is proof that, yet again, you

were blessed to be able to wake up and face the challenges of a

new day. Think about it – each new day truly is a precious gift, a

brand new second chance.

Likewise, this new year is a fresh start, a brand new second

chance to have the relationships, career and life you desire. You

are in the driver’s seat to reach your dreams and attain

fulfillment through the attitude you possess, the choices you

make and the actions you take.

How many second chances we will be granted in the days and

years to come is not in our hands, but we do have total control

over how we chose to use them. Too many people take their

second chances for granted– don’t be one of those people. I

cherish each day as another day to live and work with passion. I

carry that responsibility with honor, knowing that each day I’ve

been granted is a day 160 other people who died on a mountain

in Colombia didn’t get.

This new year, make it your resolution to embrace your second

chances for all that they’re worth!

A Call To Action

Community Inspiration

My motto is simple: Every day that you wake up, you’ve been

given a second chance at life. What are you going to do with your

second chance today?

No, that doesn’t mean live each day as if it were your last.

(Images of half of you not showing up for work tomorrow and

booking flights to Vegas come to mind!)

But it does mean live each day is if it were your best!

Too often, we find ourselves living in Survival Mode, doing

whatever it takes to get by and keep our heads above water. But

when we focus all our energy on merely surviving, we don’t have

any left for thriving.

You know the feeling you get when you receive a bonus at work?

As soon as you find out the money is coming, it’s like you feel a

hole burning in your pocket. You get excited about all the things

you can do with that money.

Why not view each new day with the same burning enthusiasm?

Why not get excited each morning about all the things you can

do with that day? Use your “bonus days” wisely, with a focused

drive to Learn, Achieve, Forgive and Delight. At the end of the

day, if you can say you LAFD, you’ll know you embraced your

second chance well.


Whether it’s trying out a new software program, reading a

chapter in a personal development book or looking up a word

you’ve been hearing on the news, strive to learn one new idea

each day.

We allegedly use only 10 percent of our brain power. Yet the

brain is just like every other muscle in the body – it stays healthy

and strong through exercise. Don’t let your brain suffer from

muscle atrophy! Play a game of Sudoku, try writing with your

non-dominant hand, experiment with a new hobby. Do anything

besides what you’ve programmed yourself to do on a daily basis.

Breaking your neurological routine sparks creativity in the

untapped parts of your brain.


Daily achievements don’t have to be monumental in nature to

give us a sense of accomplishment. Victories, small or large,

increase our energy and sustain our momentum. Focus on the

activities that are most important to you and tackle them with

gusto. Don’t make the mistake of waking up each morning

worrying about all the little things you didn’t finish the day

before. That will just set you back before you even get started.

Instead, move and think forward, make and enjoy progress.


Allowing conflicts with family, friends or co-workers to build up

only poisons your life. Conflicts have a way of eventually finding

a release valve and may come out at a time or in a manner that

you may regret. The person you are today is the product of all

that has happened in your life – good and bad. And yet, what’s in

the past is in the past. You can lament it or celebrate it. It’s your

choice to become bitter or better because of it.

Forgiving past transgressions is a powerful way to free yourself

to enjoy your second chances. On a piece of paper, write out a

past transgression and all the aspects that really made it sting.

Maybe it was being let go at work, having your trust betrayed by

a friend or something hurtful you said to someone you love. As

you write, relive all the disappointment, anger and pain this

situation caused you. The more you remember, the more you

write, even if your hand gets tired!

Once you’ve gotten all your emotions out, take the paper to the

fireplace or outside and burn it. If you feel the need to sip on a

margarita or an ice cold lager while you watch it burn, do it! All

the negativity you’ve kept inside will go up in flames, and the

emotional bonds that kept you tied to the situation will be

destroyed. When we forgive others – and ourselves – for the

past, we do not forget. Instead, we learn from it and ensure that

the ashes of regret won’t litter our lives ever again.


Have you ever known someone who makes other people feel

appreciated, respected or cared about? Have you noticed how he

or she always seems to remember things that are important to

you? These people take delight in delighting those around


Being delighted brightens your day. What a wonderful way to

“pay your second chance forward”– by delighting someone who

needs a boost. Making the time to delight others takes the focus

off your challenges, even if it’s just for a few minutes a day.

Bringing joy to others gets you out of the Survival Mode rut and

allows you to pass on your gratitude.

Delight at least one person each day, and your gesture will

multiply tenfold. Need suggestions? Offer a genuine compliment,

lend a helping hand without being asked, give comfort to those

who are suffering emotionally or physically. Or, think about what

would delight you, and then turn around and do it for somebody


Community Inspiration

As I continue to research and write my book, the importance of

second chances continues to be a profound theme. Many of you

out there in the Wake Up Call Community have either received or

given a second chance. Perhaps you’ve experienced a brush with

death, or maybe your second chance was figurative – someone

was willing to give you a chance that changed your life forever.

I’m inviting you to share with me your stories of second chances

– whether you got one or gave one. Through this ezine, my

website and my upcoming book, your Second Chance Stories can

transform the lives of others. (Your story will only be shared

anonymously unless you give me express permission to use your

name.) What a powerful way to make this world a better place –

one story at a time! Please call or email me to share how second

chances have changed your life at 972.333.9629 or

Let Me Be Your Wake Up Call

What people are saying about Mercedes:

Mercedes’ presentation added a very thought provoking and

entertaining element to the closing session of our leadership

development program. Based on feedback from our program

participants, we’ve invited her back to be one of our standing

keynote speakers. -T.M., HR Consultant


Portions of Wake Up Call may be reprinted in your

organization’s newsletter, provided the following credit line is


Copyright Mercedes Ramirez Johnson. For more information and to subscribe

to the free monthly ezine, visit

About the Author
In 1995, Mercedes Ramirez Johnson narrowly survived a commercial airplane crash that killed 160 people, including her parents. As one of only four survivors of this tragedy, she vowed that she would make her second chance at life count…and that she has – not only for herself, but also for the tens of thousands of people who have heard her story and her message.

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