Missing The Birth of My Niece – What I Learned On The Road

by Dan Gheesling


Without a doubt these past two weeks have been very exhausting, eye opening, and rewarding.

Most of the time when I travel for speaking it is a 1-2 day trip, sometimes even there and back in the same day. This month we packed a bunch of presentations into a two week stretch and it taught me a lot.

It made a lot of business sense to do it this way – to visit all the schools in a short period of time collectively on the road, but sometimes things happen that are more important than business.

Unexpected Surprise

When planning this two week speaking tour, we planned it around the “due date” of my niece Chloe, so that I would be able to be home to see her be born.

My niece Chloe had plans of her own, and I was devastated at first.

She was born about a week late, while I was on the road, and there was very little I could do about it.

At first, I was frustrated because the birth of your first niece is a pretty big moment to miss.  When we planned this tour I knew it was a risk I would be taking.

Most of the time I take calculated risks, and the majority of the time it pans out, but when this one didn’t pan out it hurt.

After I let that hurt sink in for a while, I had a choice: dwell on something I couldn’t change, or move on and not let it affect the people/things I could change.

Instead of dwelling on the fact I was going to miss Chloe’s birth, I looked at the positive and focused on the students I would be getting a chance to speak to and connect with.

Focusing on the people I could affect helped me get over the fact there was nothing I could do to be with my family for Chloe’s birth.

When she was born, I came to grips with the situation and instead of being sad I wasn’t there, I was happy she was born healthy!

This Happens All The Time

When something pops up that we want to control, yet in reality we have no control over it, we are always faced with a decision; dwell and sulk about it, or move on.

Was I disappointed that I missed her birth? Of course I was, but I still had a job to do, and a responsibility to the students I was going to be speaking to.

Focusing on what is within your control is simple, but not easy.

The sooner I got over the reality of the situation I put myself in, the sooner the frustration subsided.

I share this with you because it ties into some of the best advice I have ever gotten. A coach I worked with while I was interning from the Detroit Lions once told me:

“Nothing is ever as good as it seems, and nothing is ever as bad as it seems.”

In this case, was the fact I was missing Chloe’s birth going to doom me into being a bad uncle forever? No, of course not, not unless I let it.

Because if I let it, then I would be doing a LOT of people a disservice, not just Chloe.

Sometimes taking business risks pays off, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Walking away from this situation, I learned there is a huge difference between taking a business risk, and a risk with your family.

Needless to say, I learned my lesson.

MacEwan University

I was brought back to speak at MacEwan University and the surrounding community on the same day I spoke there last year, which I had no idea until I set foot on campus.

It is strange to think of the fact that you could be doing the exact same thing, in the exact same location, 365 days apart.

The great part about speaking at a campus for the 2nd time, is reconnecting with all of the people you met the first time, both students and staff.

I felt really lucky to see a lot of the same faces that attended the talk last year, to have the kind of support means a lot (thank you to those people who know who they are!).

Towson University

This past week in Maryland, I had a chance to meet another one of the 2%!

I was brought in to speak at Towson University thanks to student ambassador, Aakash Pancholi.Dan-Gheesling-Aakash

He brought his girlfriend Victoria with him to lunch and we had a great time.

It was impressive to hear Aakash’s story, and even more impressive to hear about all of the things he has planned for his future.

While there is an application process to become a student ambassador, it is even more difficult to actually convert on the duties of an Ambassador. After sitting down with Aakash I wasn’t surprised he converted.

A Type A personality with a lot of drive, a ton of involvement on campus, and a lot of personal drive will always find a way to get the job done, which is exactly what he did.

The presentation went very well, and there were a lot of students I was lucky to meet after the presentation!

After each presentation, I’m always tuned into the audience on Twitter to see how they reacted to the message.


Screen Shot 2014-11-23 at 7.29.04 PM

Going back to check Twitter after is something I have found to be extremely useful in tweaking the presentation and making it the best it possibly can be. It is also a great way to follow up and stay in touch with the students who attended the event.

Home Sweet Home

After having the opportunity to speak to and meet with a lot of great people on the road, it was good to come home!

Why? Because I finally got to meet my niece (and she wasn’t mad at me for missing her birth):

A photo posted by Dan Gheesling (@dangheesling) on

Wishing you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you’d like to book me for your speaking event, you can find out more here. If you are a student that would like to help bring me to your campus, you can find out how to do that here.

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  • Miranda Kaye

    I had to use this advice a few weeks ago. It wasn’t as big as a niece being born but I had waited so long to see a band, bought the tickets right when they went on sale two months prior, was counting down the days and then they cancelled. Super bummed. Great advice though. :-) It worked.

  • Colleen Kelly

    I love people who hustle to get things done. Aakash sounds like he did!. I admire “Drive” so much in people. It can inspire you as well!.
    Sometimes you just can’t control things. I am not a fan of that. Not a control freak by any means. I just don’t like being told I can’t make it work. I will refuse that idea, to the end. I always think there is a way. –BUT–
    A situation as this though, all you could do was your best to be there. You did!. I have a feeling Chloe, would agree and will one day appreciate she has an Uncle who tried so hard to be there. Thanks Dan! Great post! :)

  • Barbara Behan Brown

    How is your Chloe and how are you? Hope 2015 is proving to be fantastic to you. Thought of you as we are awaiting the birth of our first grandchild!!!

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