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Bill Sherman’s Personal Story (Heart)

In 2022, my cardiologist and I will run a half-marathon together.

🏃‍♀️ He has a 9:30/min race pace. 💔And I have complete heart failure.
My heart can’t beat on its own anymore.

I’ve hidden this fact professionally for years.
But it’s become a core part of who I am.
And how I live and work.
So, as much as this scares me –
I’ve got something I want to share.

Most days, I write about thought leadership 💡.
Today, I want to focus on striving for a “personal best”.

I shouldn’t be here today.
Nope, not at all.
I was diagnosed with heart failure in 2014.
My cardiologist was shocked I could walk across a room.
I felt awful — constantly short of breath.

Whenever I stood up, I risked falling down.
I’d suddenly hear a windy, rushing sound – like an arriving subway train.
(My heart wasn’t able to pump blood to my brain).
Then, I would crash to the floor, unconscious.
Crumpling like a marionette after it strings had been cut.

My cardiologist told me I needed to take this diagnosis deadly seriously.
So, I did two things.

First, I helped prepare my family for the worst.
Second, I immediately asked my cardiologist a question.
“What do I need to do to be your star patient?”
And I committed myself to that path.

My doctor installed a very clever pacemaker.
The device does what my body cannot.
It keeps my heart beating.
But what type of life would I have?
That would be up to me.

So, I made a choice.
I would strive each day towards my personal best.
I committed myself to running.
Not because I wanted to win races, but because I wanted to:
💪Make my heart stronger.
⏳ Live a bit longer.
🎉 Enjoy a bit more life.

Soon after surgery, I set a goal for myself.
I jokingly called it my “hospital bed to 5K” training program.
Some days were easy to get out walking.
Other days I struggled to climb the stairs.
I remember a day when I sat on the bottom step and cried for at least an hour.

But each day I focused on finding my personal best for *that* day.
Whatever it might be.
And 14 months after surgery, I completed my first 5K race.

It’s been seven years since I had my pacemaker installed.
For the past seven years I’ve been running – pushing further and faster.

Now, I know I’m incredibly lucky.
I’ve had excellent medical care.
Most people with my diagnosis never get a second chance.

As long as my heart beats.
As long as I have breath.
I’m going to pursue my personal best.
Whatever that might be.
Each day. Every day.

That’s why in February 2022,
I’ll be running alongside my cardiologist, trying to match his race pace.
We’ll run in the Las Vegas half-marathon.
Down Las Vegas Blvd. together in a nighttime race —
Underneath the glittering casino lights.

I don’t know your situation.
But my advice to you is simple.
Seek your personal best, every day.
Whatever that means *that* day.

Some people compete in Ironman events.
I am Iron Man.