I was in Maryland earlier this month and happened to hear about a thing called “Zaching.” For those of you who haven’t heard of it, think “Tebowing” (the prayerful pose that college and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow used to strike before games, down on one knee, hand on his forehead) but way more inspirational.
Zach Lederer, I learned, was a young man from just outside of Baltimore who courageously battled brain cancer first as an 11 year old and then more recently as a college student at the University of Maryland. He passed away earlier this spring, just 20 years old. I heard about what an incredible inspiration he was and was compelled to learn more about him. I discovered that Zach was an amazingly positive individual who inspired others to live life to the fullest. He never felt sorry for himself and always responded “I’m wonderful” or “living the dream” when asked how he was doing. Understand, Zach was battling cancer for the second time in his young life. At 11 years old, they told him survival was unlikely. Now as an 18 year old, he was fighting again. Hospital visits. Chemo treatments. The strong body of a young man who loved sports being weakened by an awful disease. But Zach, always the positive, courageous rock of strength was living the dream.
Zaching was created when Zach, in the hospital and wanting to show friends and family that he was battling and determined to win, struck a strongman pose with fists clenched and biceps flexed. The picture reached far more than just his family and friends. It went viral and Zaching became a sign of courage, positivity, strength, and inspiration. In the hospital, Zach would put on a cape and visit the children’s wing and strike the Zaching pose. Always more concerned about others than himself, Zach inspired these kids and gave them hope.
As leaders, we will face many different types of adversity. At these times, we have a choice. We can be negative and pessimistic, believing that things won’t get better. Or we can choose to be positive, strong, courageous and hopeful that we can overcome the challenges and achieve our goals. I promise you this, the adversity we face in our organizations will never equal the adversity that Zach Lederer faced. Yet Zach never wavered. Zach never let negativity enter his life. He was “living the dream” even in the midst of the toughest battle imaginable.
I didn’t know Zach Lederer. But just reading about him has inspired me to be more positive, to enjoy life to the fullest, to be stronger when facing adversity. I hope learning about Zach inspires you to lead more courageously and to live the dream.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. – My new website is now live at http://www.jvearle.com. Please visit the site and let me know if you have any feedback.