Confidence Matters

Last August my wife Priscilla almost died from a failed bowel resection. She was in the hospital for 51 days over four visits. For more go to: www.LeeCockerell.com

After Priscilla finally recovered she was left with a colostomy and a large hernia. She and I discussed never going back through another surgery again after the disaster of the previous one. Not only did her failed surgery almost kill her, it almost killed me too. I ended up with high anxiety and depression through this ordeal and went immediately to a psychiatrist who told me on the first visit that I would get better.  It took me four months to recover. His confidence made me feel better on the first visit.

 But time heals all wounds and after a few months Priscilla and I were talking about getting her colostomy taken down and the hernia repaired, but our main concern was getting the best surgeon. We talked to lots of people including other doctors and everyone told us the best colon rectal surgeon is Paul Williamson. We made an appointment with Dr. Williamson to discuss next steps. Priscilla was not feeling well physically or mentally when we went in to see him. When Dr. Williamson walked into the examining room it was like John Wayne has just arrived with the Calvary to save us. I even thought I heard a bugle when the door opened but I did not see a horse. Dr. Williamson had reviewed Priscilla’s history and said, “Priscilla you are going to be fine. You are the kind of patient I get when something needs to be fixed. We can do the surgery in about three months.”  He took his time on every visit and never rushed us.

We left his office that day with Priscilla immediately feeling a whole lot better both physically and mentally….me too!

Dr. Williamson is a great doctor for sure but he also is a great leader. Whether he knows it or not, his confidence was half the battle for us. We left completely trusting him and we put all of our faith in him. I remember that he told Priscilla that every one of his patients is a gift from God. I have never heard a doctor say that in my whole life. Dr. Williamson performed eight hours of surgery on Priscilla yesterday and everything is good today.

 He came out of the operating room and said to me, “That was a tough one but I did what I said I was going to do.” That is another quality of a great leader. When I asked a nurse why the surgery took so long, she said, “Because Dr. Williamson goes slow and is meticulous.” There is another great quality of a leader. Dr. Williamson not only cares for his patients, he cares about them.

I have also been impressed with the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC). They have done a terrific job with the patient medical care and the patient mental care, which puts me at ease as well. I learned a few lessons this last year. I used to say to myself, “Why don’t these depressed people pull themselves together.” I thought that I would never have a depression problem because I am so positive. I found out that I could not pull myself together without medical attention and medicines. I learned that I used to love Priscilla but now I am madly in love with her after 40 years of marriage. We both found out what really matters in life and that is life. I also learned that there is a big difference between business stress and loved one stress.

Go out today and be a great leader and a great parent and give everyone you come into contact with a big dose of self confidence. It is one of your main responsibilities….Lee

PS: My book came out in Portugal last week. The title is: Magia…Estrategias De Lideranca Na Disney. We now have the Brazilian version in their Portuguese and the version in Portugal with two different titles.

9 Comments
  1. Lee–very well said. So glad Priscilla is
    doing well today; we are thinking of you all
    all day long…and will send some good
    strong bear juju your way from Katmai!

  2. I’m very glad to read that your wife is doing so well. I remember reading some of your posts from when things were darker. It also took a lot of confidence to post what you did about depression. Thank you for sharing that. Your book has been a big help to me professionally, but it helps to know that you aren’t super human.

  3. Your story is an inspiration. Everyone experiences depression to varying degrees throughout life. Some never have the courage to admit it. You and Priscilla are courageous. May your love continue to grow and the magic be with you always.

  4. I have a similar tale , but it is too long now. Maybe someday. I will recount a little now. Suffice to say, my husband’s business in the UK suffered through the 1990s recession, he was sick and I took the reigns of a business I had no knowledge of.
    We do not know if depression caused his tumour or the tumour caused depression The eye Dr told us weeks!We went to disney thinking this was our last hol.A brilliant brain Dr found a benign pituitary tumour!He exuded confidence and trust from day 1

  5. I am so glad Pricilla is well. That is awesome! As usally Lee, you make my cry. You have such a great way with words. Your honesty is a quality I admire. Depression is real and your inspirational story will touch many. Thanks Lee!

  6. I am so glad to hear that Priscilla is doing well. While I was honored that you took the time to keep our interview date last year (moved so that you could meet with the doctor at our original time), I could tell that your heart was still at the hospital.

    I have seen so many instances of positive outlook being a game-changer, both the influence of the “authority figure” and the power of the individual needing help. While I haven’t managed to make it work for me every day, I still try every day.

  7. Great, inspiring story, Lee. Your Dr.
    said, “Every one of his patients is a gift
    from God”. It takes confidence to talk
    about God. I’m glad he did and you did.
    Like you said, “Life is what matters”. A
    toast to Life & Love! jeff noel

  8. It’s amazing what true confidence and the ability to convey that confidence can do to the human soul. In any situation, it can start a healing process, fill our hearts with hope and give us the courage to reach for the stars. Throw in the skill level and the ability to back up what you say and you’ve got a winner.

    Sounds like your upcoming anniversary may very well be one of the most cherished. Hold onto your faith, courage and one another. All the best

  9. Lee – the leadership lesson for all of us is family comes first. It’s the strong foundation we need to perform in our professional lives. Thanks for your inspiration and personal reflections. May God richly bless you and Priscilla in these magical and majestic times.

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