Walking the Mile - Story Behind RYM!

Above: The beginning of E-TV, and the full Season II that inspired an ABC / Extreme Makeover episode.
It was the summer of 2008. I had just shattered my wrist, requiring major surgery, a plate and a bunch of screws. In explaining it, the doctor spoke of a sledge hammer hitting chalk. Add to that, five broken ribs. I considered myself blessed. I could have died. The doctor told me to tell my boss that I would be out of work for at least six months. Well, that was impossible-- because the boss was me, and I needed my work to provide for my family of eight.

I remembered a quote on our fridge as a kid: "Sometimes God knocks you off balance so you'll take a step forward." Stepping back, I realized that I didn't die, and in fact had partial use of my broken wrist. Enough to use my cameras. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my family and friends... for life.

It wasn't a time to surrender, but to go deeper. Something compelled me to bring my camera down to our city's big event, "Celebrate Erie." I was very moved by the awareness of so many different people, each having a different story - thinking of each one as a gift, a treasure that could make my life richer.

It took some risk and courage-- to ask three strangers of very different backgrounds if they would share their gift... if I could follow them, capture their lives for six weeks... walk a mile in their shoes.

It became a personal calling, a huge walk in faith. The two seasons were a huge investment in every way, but the most important return was surpassing: many thousands ventured with me beyond our comfort zones into the lives of others, awakening within us our individual, human capacity to be gift to other, and to embrace other as a gift to us. If each of us could learn to do this, if we could find the love to go there, our lives would be different. Our world would be different.  On a more visible scale, the second season inspired an episode of ABC/ Extreme Makeover, featuring Clara Ward (there was no money in this- just great joy in playing a part in seeing dreams fulfilled).

So now I'm passing along this treasure to you. The price was my life for six months. It will be worth it if you receive the treasure I received. Even more, if you inquire: What is your purpose and mission in life? What does success look like? What assets do you have? What stands in the way? How will you overcome? What will it take to get there? What is your plan? How are you helping others fulfill their purpose and mission?

These are some of the big questions I came away with-- which inspired my establishing a nonprofit called Rock Your Mission! (at RockYourMission.com).

We have a big vision here, to invite our community to dream big dreams-- to share the great adventure of mission discovery and fulfillment. I invite you to please join us. And while I hate asking for financial support, that's one thing I learned with my series-- we have to be humble enough to ask for what we need. So here I am asking... pledging that every cent will be accounted for by our board, and go toward fulfillment of this great mission.

Please go to http://RockYourMission.com and join us.

Thank you, and God bless,

Greg Schlueter