The Power of Positivity
Mick Heron has an early memory of running on a gravel road, racing his brother, sister and mum. His shirt is unbuttoned. It billows out behind him like a Superman cape. When his mum lets him win, Mick feels like the fastest kid in the world.
This was years before he died in a car accident.
Before medical teams brought him back to life.
At age 16, Mick was pronounced dead at the scene of a horror motor crash. Against all odds, emergency services resuscitated him and took him to the hospital where he was put in an induced coma. Miraculously, Mick was able to claw his way back to a full recovery. The thought of never getting the chance to see the light of day again, plus the love and support Mick received during his time in hospital, taught him how powerful positive energy and a great network of people around you can be in helping to rise from the depths of something so serious. He was able to finish a building apprenticeship and make a living in his hometown of Port Augusta in South Australia. He was able to play footy against his mates. He also kept running and competing in triathlons in the offseason.
What could have been a life-shattering event turned into a life-affirming one.
"That accident helped me realise how precious life is,” says Mick. “It can sound quite cliche sometimes but the small things are often the biggest, most exciting parts of my day. You’ll often see me wearing a huge smile no matter what the circumstance. I believe one of the most important things in life is to be as happy as you can with the tools you have.”
This positive outlook is infectious when you meet Mick. After falling in love with running and triathlons, Mick got the urge to move to Adelaide where he could train and compete with people like him. After lots of hard training, he started competing in state titles. He even took out the South Oz 4 x 800m relay championship with his teammates. However, it’s not those kinds of results that keep Mick going. It’s the enjoyment of the pursuit itself.
“We aren't all here to break records and be the best there ever was,” Mick explains. “It’s about enjoying what you’re doing, clearing your mind and making the most of the time we have.”
Mick has definitely done that. He competed in Europe for a month of the summer season at his preferred distances and qualified for the national titles in Australia too. Eventually, he moved to Queenstown to soak up the adventure the place presents. He’s able to run weekly with the community he has created there through his run club, taking in some of the most incredible views of anywhere in the planet. That’s where Mick’s most in his element, grinning from ear to ear, even though he’s pushing up steep hills.
“I love the feeling of being free with the wind in your face,” smiles Mick. “All you're accountable for at that point in time is just making sure you're getting one foot in front of the other. You really discover what you’re capable of when you let go and give something your all like that.”
You might be tempted to think Mick is all sunshine and rainbows with this talk. That surviving a death experience has made him over-optimistic. However, that’s not the case. It’s part of Mick’s charisma that instead of just telling people to cheer up, he listens and puts things into perspective. This is the truly inspiring part of his attitude - being able to roll with the punches and come out with a realistic, yet positive outlook.
“It’s very easy to just say everything is going to be okay when sometimes it’s not okay,” continues Mick. “Every emotion has its place. I like to encourage people to just ride the waves, enjoy the good times and understand that something you might view as a bad situation is more of a life lesson. We all make mistakes and things go wrong. If you can understand that putting your best foot forward and not making the same error twice will help you grow as a person, it will have a positive effect moving into the future.”
So next time you’ve got a hurdle ahead that seems impossible, stop and pause for a second. Think about putting it into perspective. Ask if some training and effort and support from friends can help you improve and come back stronger? Hopefully, it’s not something as radical as a car accident that has you pronounced dead at the scene. Hopefully, it’s something more easily surmountable. Whatever it is, think of Mick and his trials of ups and downs and take heart. Then dig into the hard work knowing it pays off in the long run, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too.
“I encourage everyone to get out of their comfort zone and look beyond the end of your nose,” says Mick. “There is a lot out there ready and waiting for you to capitalise on. If you can be honest with yourself, you’ll realise what fills your cup, what you need in your life and what you need a little less of.”
When you find positivity, hold onto it and make it grow. Mick stands tall as an example of this. He spreads those good, positive vibes wherever he can. We all need a Mick Heron in our lives.