One busy fall afternoon, as I sat doing paperwork at the Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC), I overheard a club member who was spending time directly outside of my office. He was engaging with other club members and our club employees. At one point, he even peeked into my office to say, “Hello.” I looked up and responded, “Hello,” but I kept working on my day-to-day operational tasks.

Thinking for a moment about his extremely high amount of energy and positivity, I couldn’t help but to get up and introduce myself to him. I learned that his name was Joe Torcivia. After talking with him and getting to know him for a few minutes, I praised his high spirits and positive outlook. He then told me quietly that on February 18th, 2012, he had suffered a grand mal seizure. Soon after, he had been diagnosed with stage 3 astrocytoma or terminal brain cancer.

His cancer hadn’t appeared to stop Joe in the least. I’ll never forget what he said next. “I try to have such a positive attitude and try my hardest to live a stress-free life because stress can literally kill anyone.  None of us know when we are going to die.” [It has been well established that stress is the most likely trigger of a recurring grand mal seizure.] Joe went on to say, “I’m ecstatic to be here… as I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty with my brain, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the things that work well.”

joe torcivia team picture 2016 two-year-anniversaryA month later, I again ran into Joe at the club, during his workout. Coincidentally, that same afternoon, I saw him again at a hospital where I was attending a work meeting. Both times, Joe was living in the moment with high spirits. He was such an inspiration to me that I asked him if he would be interested in speaking to our leadership team about the benefits of possessing a positive attitude. Joe willingly accepted.

A few months later, Joe and I sat down together for a cup of “Joe.” I revealed to him what I had been considering for some time, and said, “Joe, I want to hire you. You embody our mission, vision, and values perfectly. Would you be interested?” Joe quickly responded, “Unfortunately I cannot. My doctor said that working would be too stressful for my condition.”

Disappointed, I refused to give up. About a week later, I ran into Joe at the club. This time, I said to him, “Joe, here’s our mission card. You see, our mission is that ‘we make a difference in peoples’ lives,’ and we get to have a lot of fun doing it. We’re a team. Do you think your doctor would change his perspective if you showed him what we really do here?  Would he or you still consider it too stressful?”

After hoping and praying that we could help Joe while he helped us, I received the great news.  Two weeks later, Joe started working with us and the rest is history. Joe’s doctor had changed his perspective on Joe’s stress level.  I’m happy to say that Joe continues to live years past his doctor’s expectations.

A couple of months ago, Joe celebrated his two-year anniversary in his role. I believe that Joe, his doctor, and myself have all grown through our experience together. My buddy Joe, who’s in the “inspired” shirt in the photo, would tell you that it’s simply a matter of perspective that makes the big difference.

ACTION: Where in your life would a simple change in perspective possibly make a big difference to you or to someone else’s life? 

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Derek Deprey

Derek Deprey

General Manager for the Wisconsin Athletic Club (WAC) where I teach my staff the core principles of leadership, training, and personal development. Working at the WAC allows me to fulfill my passions – personal growth, wellness and building relationships – each day. I’m constantly given the opportunity to meet unique and talented people and spend my day with many people I’d consider friends. I’m so passionate about my work that it often doesn’t even feel like work to me.

Shortly after becoming a GM at the WAC, I delved into the world of personal growth and development.I couldn’t get enough of what I was studying, learning and applying, so much so that I created my own business, Move Results, as an avenue to engage and impact others.I feel that the best business to start is one that you need yourself.I just knew it was right because, still to this day, I go to bed and wake up every morning excited to pursue my business. It truly blends my day job and my dream job.

My diverse career endeavors also include Wisconsin Lutheran College and the John Maxwell Team.With the former, I’m an Adjunct Professor of Adult and Graduate Studies as well as an active member of the Alumni Board.With the latter, I partnered with the esteemed John Maxwell Team after years of being inspired by him. I personally use his teachings to enhance my productivity, development and decision-making skills.Saying that I like to keep myself involved and professionally connected is an understatement.

In my past life, I spent four years as a Video-Scout in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, two years as the Coordinator of Basketball Operations in the NCAA with Marquette University and one year as the Director of Player Development with the University of Utah.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past decade, it’s that now is the time to build your career, to build your life, and to strategically work on laying the foundation to accomplish your dreams and prosper to your true potential. While there are many people who try to accomplish this, very few of them are given a blueprint of where to start; thus, I hope you will find me as your resource for getting your compass pointed in the right direction.
Derek Deprey

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