In 2020, Brett Blair’s life was tragically upended when his wife, Kim, was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. Brett turned into a 100% caregiver as Kim’s disease progressed at a rate neither of them anticipated. When she passed in 2021, Brett spent time grieving and doing the things he knew were good for him to process the death of his loving spouse.
In this episode, Brett shares his story of caregiving for Kim once she was diagnosed with ALS. He walks us through the day Kim was diagnosed and how they dealt with the prognosis. Brett explains the different stages of Kim’s disease and the ways he took care of himself as her caregiver. He reflects on what he learned during that trying period of life and how anyone facing an awful diagnosis can face it by living fully.
- Brett’s motto: “Let’s live each day one at a time and live each day fully.”
- How Brett stayed mentally strong – he’s been working on his personal development for years, he was clear on priorities, kept setting goals, and taking care of his physical and emotional health (therapy).
- His grieving process started the day Kim was diagnosed. After she passed, he traveled for a year, spent time with his son, spent time alone, didn’t try to rush into work or a relationship, and trained for a half marathon.
- Life is challenging for everybody. He said to himself – “Why not me? Why not Kim? Why would we not be the ones to experience such a terrible thing?”
- The #1 thing he’s learned is to try to put his thinking on the present moment more often with the belief that whatever mistake he made in the past he can learn from it, and tomorrow hasn’t shown up yet.
- Don’t compare different diseases and ways of dying. They’re all bad.
Dr. Brett Blair is the founder and president of Best Life Global, LLC. Headquartered in Durham, NC, Best Life Global is a high-performance coaching and organizational consulting company. Brett is also the founding partner of Sanford Rose Associates, an executive search firm based in Brighton, MI., and is a Principle with the Brentwood Advisory Group based in Chicago, IL. Brett and his team help executives improve performance at work while achieving well-being in their personal lives.
Prior to founding Best Life Global, Brett was employed with 3M Corporation and Alcoa in a variety of executive leadership positions, including General Manager of Alcoa’s $200M automotive electronics division headquartered in Detroit, Michigan.
Brett holds a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, with an emphasis on applied positive psychology. Originally from Blue Springs, MO., Brett attended the University of Missouri where he earned his BS-Industrial Engineering degree. He also holds an MBA-Finance from Tennessee State University and studied at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.
Brett’s academic passions are in the fields of Positive Psychology and adult personal resilience. As a part of his PhD dissertation, Brett qualitatively examined the lived experience of job loss resulting from layoff for mid-career executives. The themes that emerged from this academic research proved to be beneficial on a deeply personal level as Brett soon transitioned to full-time caregiver of his wife, who was diagnosed with and then died from ALS.
Brett has published two books, From Autopilot to Authentic and Living at the Summit, and is currently writing his next book, Born-Live-Die.
Brett lives in downtown Durham, NC, where he is active with his church and local community organizations. He is the past president of the Rotary Club of Research Triangle Park, a member of the RTP Capital Angel Investment Group, the American Psychological Association, and is ACC certified with the International Coaching Federation.
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