As I’ve flown around the country these past few weeks, Life has been kind enough to teach me at almost every corner.

Note from Marcus*** This post is not about marketing, it’s about life. Now you know.

The Man with One Leg

As I stood in the Charlotte Airport last week waiting for my flight, I noticed a stocky, burly man with a shining countenance and smile. Based on his athletic stature and crew-cut hair, I surmised he was ex-military. Apparently, the war had left a mark on this man, as he was missing an entire leg and crutches were now used in its stead.

Shortly after, an attendant approached him and asked if he’d like to go ahead and board the small plane (with its steep steps) that was waiting for us on the runway.

Curious to see how the gentleman would handle getting in the plane, I stood at the window and eagerly watched his approach. With the same smile continuing on his face, he slowly took the first step onto the ladder.

As the captain stood on top of the steps and a stewardess stood beneath him in case he couldn’t make it, I was mesmerized as the man slowly hopped up the steps, looking gratefully at the captain above and seemingly unfazed by the fact that so many eyes, mine included, were watching his every move.

Moments later, the man had entered the plane, but his positive attitude had left me impressed, grateful, and incredibly inspired.

First Impressions

On another flight coming home from Texas two weeks ago, I was seated behind two young siblings, one a boy about 7 and the other a girl about 9 years old. Within minutes of watching these two, I could see it was going to be a long flight. They were fighting, arguing, slamming the arm-rest that was between them up and down, and doing just about anything they could to cause a commotion.

Even worse, with each new disturbance the mother surprisingly said very little, and simply put her finger over her lips as to say “Shhh” to the children, only to go back to reading the book she was holding.

Being a dad myself of 4 relatively calm kids, my thoughts wondered as to how anyone could let their children act the way they were acting.

After two hours of watching these two go at each other with the mother saying so little, the plane finally landed.

As we were disembarking, a man sitting next to me asked the young boy if he was glad to have landed. His response was telling:

“Yes. This is our second flight today. On the first flight, my mommy was crying because we left Daddy in Georgia.”

As the boy said this, I looked at his mother flinch a little across the aisle. It was also in that moment I saw she was reading a book entitled, “Understanding your spouse.”

Suddenly, the previous two hours began to make so much more sense to me.

The two children had just said goodbye to their father.

The mother had left her spouse.

Tough times indeed.

It was in this moment my entire perspective changed. Instead of feeling frustration I felt compassion and my heart broke for these two kids that obviously had no idea how to deal with what they were going through.

Timeless Love

As I boarded a plane heading to Arkansas two weeks ago, I noticed a man in his 70s with his aged wife leaned up against him. Her eyes were closed and her head buried against his neck, but what was so striking was this dear lady was shaking uncontrollably. Yes, Father Time had taken his toll and now she was essentially helpless, unable to control her movements, leading to a trembling that wouldn’t cease.

What touched me though was this man’s stoic nature. His face was stern yet loving, with something about it that seemed incredibly protective of his dear wife of what I’m sure was decades of companionship.

In short, he represented everything a friend and spouse should be, and I was moved by his example.

A Small Hand

As I hopped on a plane headed to Boston last week and saw what row I was sitting in, I could see a mother sitting in the first seat and in the middle was a little girl, 2 or 3 I’m guessing, buckled into a car seat. As I looked at the mother, I could sense her nervousness—likely worried as to who would be sitting next to her daughter and what the reaction would be.

Once I sat down, I could see why she was worried. The small child was handicapped and struggled to perform many of the functions the rest of us take for granted. Her eyes seemed to wonder, her arms would occasionally flail, and she appeared to be mute as well.

But amid all of this, she was a beautiful little girl with a magical smile. And when I would look at her and grin, she would return the favor.

After a while, she started grabbing my arm so as to hold it. Her mother would quickly ask her to stop and at first I acted like I didn’t notice.

About the 4th time the little girl grabbed my arm with her small hand and the mother began to ask her to stop, I gave her a simple look of assurance and told her everything was OK, and that as a father of four little ones myself, it was nice to have someone the same age of my youngest, sitting next to me.

The mother seemed relieved and for the rest of the 90 minute flight, I felt a little hand across my forearm.

Once again, gratitude filled my heart as thoughts and reflections on my own life, health, and children flooded my mind.


Life is an interesting adventure my friends. And if our eyes and minds are open, there are lessons to be had at every corner.

Such has certainly been the case for me over these last 3 weeks as I’ve flown around the country to do something I love—teach.

But in the midst of me attempting to be the teacher, I’m amazed at the ways in which life has found precious moments to instead make me the student.

To say I’m grateful would be an understatement…

Have a wonderful Monday everyone, and thanks so very much for all your support.

71 thoughts on “The Man with One Leg

  1. Awesome post Marcus. Yes, I agree with you – life truly is a gift and like one TV house in my city said, “we’re pencils in the hands of the creator.” We need to appreciate every passing moment of our lives and give back to others.

    And guess what? Living is a form of marketing in itself. When you live the best life you can, both as a blogger, an entrepreneur and a responsive person, the right audience would get engrossed to you.

    We attract what we feel inside – that’s the law of correspondence.

    • It’s funny Michael, but I’ve not heard it worded the “Law of Correspondence” before…karma, reciprocity, etc. are a few I’ve heard, but I love how the word “correspondence” fits so perfectly.

      You know, some people ask me why I write posts like this sometimes even though this blog is very “business”…and my reason is simple:

      1. I need to write about what life teaches me.
      2. This helps people see how my mind really works, therefore allowing them to know if they want to work with someone like me or not.

      Thanks so much for dropping by Michael.


      • Yes, really funny.
        But I’ve heard the word “law of correspondence,” which looks similar to law of reciprocity and karma.

        People should know the business is about living. Come to think of it, you can’t do business without first, appreciating the essence of life.

        Thank you Marcus.

      • Now I know!
        You’re successful, Marcus, because you’re good at the greatest and most fundamental business of our lives, i.e., living a rich life. Perhaps Plato had said that an unexamined life is not worth living. I believe an unobservant life is even more so!

        • Well said Raheel! Ty!


  2. I was on a 12-hour flight last week. I got a 4-seater to myself and I lay down sleeping the whole way.

    The airplane gods hate you lol.

    But I agree, sometimes we should think before we think(?) because things are not always as they seem. Being at peace with everything is a good way to live.

    • Yes, being at peace is a huge deal for me Jamie. In fact, I’m at the point in my life where I seek it but also run from the opposite…which might explain why I don’t watch the news, even during this heated political season.

      Thanks for stopping by bud and hope your day is a great one,


  3. A beautiful, kind, vulnerable post.

    Really, Marcus, no matter how much we may know, there are always ways that Providence will show us more. The way you absorbed the things happening around you and expressed it here is very human.

    I’ll make a jump: the way you absorb these kinds of things is why people feel attracted to your energy. There’s a connect there.

    I wish you a wonderful week, Marcus.

    • Your part about “the connect” is incredibly true in my opinion Diana, as I’ve seen it too many times.

      It’s funny when we’re intentional about our thoughts and intentions just how things are placed before us again and again.

      Thanks for being who you are Diana, I can’t say enough positive things about you. :-)


  4. Susie Newday

    That post really touched me. I even had tears in my eyes.

    They say (who they are I am not sure but still…) that the best way to really learn something is to teach it. These flights you had were an awesome way to learn about respecting life, each other and showing kindness as well as giving the benefit of the doubt. Thanks for helping to teach others to do the same.

    • Yep, they were certainly that Susie. :-)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and hope your Monday is a great one.


  5. Hey Marcus,

    Great post. I’m away from my family at the moment and when you’re away you miss your family but it also gives you a chance to reflect.


    • Isn’t it funny how being away from them puts us in a different mindset Ian?

      I look forward to hanging out this week bud. See you soon.


  6. Regis

    All extremely valuable moments… So important to stop and reflect on those lessons in life. Thanks for the insight.. And allowing me to look inward

    • Thanks Regis…here’s to hoping you’re having a great day off ;-)


  7. Marcus, great post and very moving. thanks for sharing these observations. As an audience member in two of your seminars within the last week I can definitely say that you have found your passion with teaching. Awesome job last week at Inbound 2012! You’ve got me so excited about my future that my hair is on fire! LOL…
    Rock on my friend.

    • Hahaha, hair on fire, ehhh Owen? I’d love to see that brother!

      Just don’t let it burn out my friend,


  8. phil

    tour bus…naw your having to much fun flying…finger/phone broke???need to talk

  9. Rebecca Livermore

    I enjoyed this one a lot, Marcus. It’s amazing how easy it is to judge based on appearances.

    This reminds me of one of my flights from India back to the U.S. At a long layover in Frankfurt, I couldn’t help but notice a guy it n the airport. He was one of the grungiest people I’ve ever seen — ripped up jeans, dreadlocks, a ratty t-shirt, etc. I was traveling alone, and I did my best to avoid this guy because he actually kind of scared me.

    As I was boarding the plane and making my way to my seat, I couldn’t believe it when I saw that not only was this guy on the same flight, he was occupying the seat right next to mine.

    When he realized that I had a seat next to him, he got up to help me put my stuff in the overhead bin, and we went from there to a really great conversation for much of the flight. He was one of the nicest guys, and he didn’t even smell bad like I anticipated he would.

    This was one of my greatest lessons on not judging by appearances, because he was so different from what I thought he’d be like.

    • Wow, that is a great story as well Rebecca. :-)

      Appreciate you sharing like you always do bud,


  10. The map is not the territory. We must all remember this. I have these discussions continually with my wife. Thanks for a rather sobering post Marcus. You have a great Monday too and thanks for all that you share with us.

    • You’re a cool cat Wade. Thanks for your thoughts and kind words my friend.

      And keep having those conversations with your wife,


  11. Leena

    That was a beautiful post. There is a lot to learn every moment, if only we keep our eyes open. Have a wonderful Monday and more wonderful days ahead!

    • Yes Leena, to more wonderful days ahead.

      Thanks so much!


  12. Brilliant stories AND brilliant execution, Marcus. It was a nice way to gain focus for the day. Thanks for using your blog for this stuff. : )

    • You’re a kind man Nate Riggs.

      BTW, you’re going to CMW, right?

      Let’s have a nice chat, K?


  13. Matthew Stock

    You’re a good man Charlie Brown. One thing I noticed when you came out to our offices was you spent the most time with those who needed it most. Both coaches and teachers can learn from that.

    • You’re a good man yourself Stocky.

      And thanks for the kind words big cheese.

      See you tomorrow?


  14. Marcus, thank you for sharing your experiences with being aware over the last few weeks. Time seems to fly by and when we are so caught up in our own thoughts we tend to miss experiences like these, that show how much good, love and thoughtfulness are needed and exist in the world if we just open our eyes. I hope I can share the same goodness you did to the small child and thank you for reminding us all how much a smile is worth.

    • What a kind comment and thoughts Mary. This was great. And yes, it’s really a matter sometime of slowing down, truly being aware, and making the most of each opportunity.

      Have a wonderful day Mary,


  15. Hi Marcus,

    Truly touching stuff buddy!

    I have traveled through Southeast Asia for the past 16 months. We’ve seen quite a bit: gorgeous spots, abject poverty, and people…lots of people…

    Here in Vietnam I’ve noted more people without arms, legs…with deformities…some severely retarded…due to the War. Either these individuals were injured during the fighting or they continue to suffer from Agent Orange or other chemicals which seeped into water supplies, etc.

    Amazing, how seeing these people has struck a compassionate chord in my heart. I am moved to tears when I see people who do much more – with a smiling, cheery face – than able-bodied folks in the West, or around the world.

    Marcus…these people are so incredibly friendly and get this…they LOVE America…lol…no BS line, they are all over Kelli and I when we chat with them. So keenly interested in us…it’s an amazingly touching thing, feeling someone’s deep sentiment, someone’s true genuine interest in you…and on top of it all, these folks have been through so much over their lifetimes, it really is a study in courage, and heart, despite all that they face each day.

    Thanks for sharing Marcus ;)


    • Ryan, awesome comment man. Seriously. You seem to have lived a few lifetimes of experience in your travels over these many months. It’s cool to hear your thoughts, and I certainly hope they’ll find their place on the pages of a book at some point.

      Cheers friend,


  16. Molly Blevins

    Thank you Marcus. How inspiring…

    • You’re welcome Molly, and thank you for taking a moment to stop by :-)

  17. Marcus,

    Great post.

    In life, we take so many things for granted. It’s these small moments that truly teach us the importance of living life to the fullest; to live in the present and be thankful for what we have.

    Life is too wonderful to be described in words :)

    • Amen to that Adarsh, it’s certainly in the little things…we’ve just got to notice them as they come by.

      Hope you’re well brother.


  18. Marcus,

    It was awesome to see you speak at Inbound 2012. I appreciate these type of articles as it is important to feed the mind to stay thankful, inspired and motivated.

    Next time, I’ll make sure to have more patience and wait for the 20 people in front of me in line to shake your hand.

    Keep up the good work. You now have a new follower and I’m looking forward to learn more from you.

  19. Hey Marcus, inspiring stuff sir : )

    I read Stuart Mills post today and although very different, these two posts go together brilliantly : )

    In today’s hectic world, many folks have one foot in yesterday and another in the future and no time for the beautiful, meaningful things right in front of them.

    Awareness and being in the moment is where the magic of life happens. You’re best days haven’t passed you by and tomorrow is still just a dream; right now is the only thing that can make or break the quality of life your experiencing.

    I love this: “But in the midst of me attempting to be the teacher, I’m amazed at the ways in which life has found precious moments to instead make me the student.”

    If you’re aware, you’ll notice all kinds of cool things all around you everyday that will inspire and teach you beautiful lessons of life…

    Thanks for the inspiration Bro : )

  20. Truth be told, Marcus, I don’t normally read your blog, but Peggy Kriss at Postwire linked to it in her blog post. I’m glad that she did. Sometimes we’re so busy that we forget about life, Thanks.

    • Thrilled you stopped by Rick!

      Stay well and thanks again,


  21. Marcus,

    Buried under piled-up work from last week on this rainy Tuesday, I had only read your other post, the one on HubSpot. Then Owen called and asked if I’d seen your post on the one-legged man, so I sought it out.

    Really, what a great, open, very human post. It reveals a dimension almost hard to reconcile with the wacky drill-sergeant persona that works so well for you when speaking to a large group. It was great to meet you briefly last week before your second session, and you had better believe I’ll be following more closely from now on. Thanks for all the inspiration.

    • Ken, honored to have you reading my stuff and so nice to meet you as well.

      Yeah, I’m certainly whacky, no doubt…but beyond that I think so often about the subject of this article, which is why you’ll find every 4th article or so is more of a “life” post.

      Thanks again,


  22. This truly touched me Marcus. It’s so true we are often too quick to judge a situation only to discover we were way off base. We can all learn from that. There is no doubt why you teach. You are a keen observer of life with a huge heart.

    • Thanks Barbara, I always appreciate your kind words, I really do.

      Stay well :-)


    • Appreciate that Steven, you do the same!

  23. G’Day Marcus,
    Wow! Memories…….. Back in the 1980s I, like you now, spent a big slab of my life on airplanes. At the same time, Australian entertainer, Rolf Harris, was immensely popular here. Although he lived in England, he had his own TV show and visited Australia frequently.

    At the time, Rolf had long hair, a beard and glasses like those that I wore. He was some inches taller than me, had a longer face and lots more money. But the resemblance was close enough for many people to think that I was he.

    This was such a frequent occurrence that I’d developed a friendly but polite way of explaining that I wasn’t Ralph.

    One Sunday afternoon, I’d just flown into Melbourne airport. I was wandering down the concourse to the luggage collection area . I noticed a vary well-dressed elderly gentleman coming towards me. Experience told me that he’d decided that I was Rolf and he was going to say “hello.”

    He came towards me with a big smile on his face and an outstretched hand and said; “You are, aren’t you?” I knew immediately what he meant. He continued, “You are Rolf Harris?”

    “I’m terribly sorry,” I replied. “Lots of people think I am but I’m not. I’ve met Rolf a few times. But I’m not him.”

    The smile became a scowl. He clearly believed that I was lying. “Well you look like him.” he said in a very aggrieved tone and walked off. Incidents like this were common at the time and I dismissed it as just another Rolf Harris story.

    About 10 minutes later “the penny dropped.” The elderly gentleman was delighted to have met and spoken with Rolf Harris at the airport. He may even have been flying off to see grandchildren. What a story to tell them: what an autograph to show.

    I didn’t just rain on his parade. I swept it away in a tidal wave of indifference!
    That’s when I realized that I should have lied. I should have stopped and chatted briefly, asked him about his grandkids and shown what a pleasant fellow Rolf was, even though an international star.

    I could have absolutely “made his day.” I didn’t realize that something commonplace for me was very special to him.

    Interesting activity, this air travel caper. Thanks for reminding me.

    Have fun

    Best Wishes

  24. It is too easy for us to judge people based on the brief moment in time we happen to be sharing not knowing where they have been or where they may be headed. I know I do this too often. Thank you for this post as it reminded me that I should give strangers the benefit of the doubt as to why they may be acting the way they are.

    • Hey Michael, good to see you man. Yeah, I think we all suffer from a bit of too-quick-to-judge-others here and there. Heck, I know I do.

      I guess that’s why I write this stuff. It makes me thinking much harder about it the next time I’m viewing a similar situation. :-)

      Have a great one,


  25. Nice post Marcus.

    If someone close to me has a little moan about someone, I’ll often say that we don’t know other people’s stories and sometimes have to remind myself of that same truth. When you see someone you think is acting up or seems unnecessarily rude (perhaps out of their usual character) – you don’t know what’s going on in their lives so it’s best to try and give them the benefit of the doubt – they could actually be doing really well under their given circumstances.

    I love to see old couples holding hands and taking care of one another – our respected elders often put aside petty arguments which can serve as a useful reminder to the rest of us.

    And there’s me and my wife arguing about who’s turn it is to put the bin out…

    Funny creatures humans…

    • Yep, funny creatures we are Alan ;-)

      So glad you liked the post bud and really appreciate your thoughts too.

      Stay well,


  26. It’s amazing how much we learn while teaching others…

    Open mind. Open Heart my friend…

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the journey.


    • Yep, absolutely enjoying it brother. :-)

      Hope you are too,


  27. Just this morning I asked my Facebook friends – what’s one thing you are grateful for? I’m grateful that you took the time to write this inspiring post, which has reminded me that there are amazing lessons in every situation – if you take the time to recognize them.

    Thank you, Marcus!

    • Awww, thanks Annemarie! And I’m grateful this morning you took the time to write this comment ;-)

      Have a wonderful weekend,


  28. Brian Kolb

    Ok, Marcus. I read it tonight after the awards dinner and I get it. I know what to do. Thanks for the convo and for the affirmation, man. Onward.

    • Brian, really nice chatting with you last night, loved hearing your story.

      Best to you sir and I hope we’ll chat again,


  29. Hey Marcus

    Thanks for an inspirational post.

    It just goes to show that you life has so much to offer, whatever your circumstances. You just have to open your eyes and mind to it and not be judgemental!

    Have a great weekend.


    • Yep, it certainly does Tim.

      So glad you enjoyed the post and hope your weekend is a great one as well. :)


  30. And now I’m crying at work.

    Thank you for your compassion to those children and moms. As a mom who is parenting very daddy-starved children alone frequently (thank you, military), I know people who are kind in the extremely stressful environment of an airplane are a blessing. Thank you.


    you really are the sales lion!

  32. The ideas you’ve shared here are fantastic and no doubt so great and it may really improve the variety of individuals visiting your website.

  33. Eyes wide open! What a brilliant post!

    • Thanks Wade, I appreciate that :)

  34. This was really well written Marcus, thanks for sharing these moments.

    • Hey buddy, thanks for the kind words…Just don’t show this post to Steve, I can already hear him grumbling about it ;-)

  35. That was a really great post to read, refreshing and humane. There’s far too many people in this world who are judgemental and have no idea of what’s going on in other peoples’ lives. Many years ago I decided I would practice not judging anyone and so far it has served me well. It pays to stop and think for a moment that someone could be really suffering and perhaps this is the reason for their discontent. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    • Hi Midge, so nice of you to stop by :-)

      I love your approach, and yes, I’m sure the benefits you’ve experienced because of such a mentality cannot be counted.



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