Life Doesn’t Always Go According to Plan… Hospitals, Applications, Hackathons, and Other Adventures.

Image from Murray Mitchell.


That’s the word of the week.

First: I am grateful. For you. ALL of you. You’re stunning. More updates on the Start Something Project project in just a bit.

As you know, it—LIFE—sometimes doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Scratch that – it never goes according to plan.

Yet here was the plan last week: a quiet worknight, reading applications to the Start Something Project, putting together the final touches on an article with Metropolis Magazine, and reading a bit more of the history of SWA Group for a project I’m working on with my company later this summer. I was really looking forward to reading all of the Start Something applications, but for some reason, my stomach wouldn’t stop hurting.

On Tuesday I woke up in the middle of the night, and my stomach hurt pretty badly. You know the kind: Fall out of bed, lie on the floor, curse at the ceiling, wonder if it’s just “lady problems” you’ve got, worry about over-sharing to your very public blog audience, and then, SHIT, you think to yourself—you know, this doesn’t feel like anything I’ve ever had before.

I couldn’t sleep. The next day, my colleague asked “Have you had your appendix out yet?”

Right. Stomach. Intestines… Appendix.

Cue four hours in urgent care; a lot of doctors prodding my stomach, nodded, and said yup, head across the street. Go check yourself out for an Appy. (Lingo for “Appendectomy,” if you didn’t know. I didn’t. Learn something new every day).

Thursday night turned into 10-odd hours in the emergency room, which were possibly more mentally frightening than physically scary, if only because the last time I was in the ER (2009), I walked into the ER and came out less one rib and was out of work for two months. So, given the doctor’s orders to walk across the street to the ER, I got pretty scared.

When I walked across the street, a stranger stopped me and said: “Are you crying?”

I nodded, crying.

He said, “Oh. Okay.”

Then we parted.


The good news is that I didn’t mortif[y myself by having an excessive case of bad gas (In the back of my mind, there’s always that little chatterbox of worry that perhaps I’m making a mountain out of a molehill), and the other good news is that I didn’t have an appendix problem.

What the CT scan did show, however, is that I have a 6 centimeter cyst in my stomach, that is, very, very fortunately benign and therefore harmless, but causes pain in the stomach until it goes away on its own.

It also means that instead of writing and reading, I was a bit tired from a long night in the ER, and I had to miss 2 days of my streaker challenge to do a handstand every day.

I’m okay with that.

Life is short.

Life is not easy.

And you can’t predict it, or know exactly what’s going to happen.


And the applications? Your applications? The wonderful, amazing, stunning people who have already reached out to me to work together? I’m blown away. I was reading through some of the responses on my phone, mobile google docs open, lying in that awkward hospital bed (with a hospital gown that does NOTHING for modesty or decency) late at night, waiting for the machines to open up, amazed at the tenacity and perseverance and accomplishment of each of you.

For everyone who applied to the Start Something Project: thank you. I’m reading through 60+ applications this week, and I’ll be combing through to pick two people to work with. I want to keep many of the applications on file, because there are so many people I want to work with. I’d like to re-open the applications again after the first pilot group.


For everyone who applied–and even those who didn’t, but still want to make things happen in your lives:

  • What’s one thing that you can do this week to start your project?
  • Why is this project so important to you?
  • What is the biggest thing holding you back right now?

I encourage everyone to take a small step, and to be encouraging and inspiring towards yourself for each step you take along the way. It might be opening up a word document and jotting a few notes down. It might be emailing a few people and telling them about your project. It might be asking for feedback. It might be switching off the TV and dedicating Thursday nights each week to going to a coffee shop and staying there until you have 2000 words written each week.

Whatever it is, make a commitment, and then honor yourself by doing it. You deserve it. If you don’t stand up for you—and your dreams, and your ideas—then who will?


After a whirlwind week, this past weekend I was part of the inaugural frog design, LRN and Fast Company‘s “Reinvent Business Hackathon.” It was a 2-day intense creative event with 180 people from around the world to break into small teams to change business and re-humanize the structures by re-thinking how, why, and what we do in business. I learned an incredible amount, met some stunning faces, and am still processing all of my thoughts – more in an upcoming article soon! Check out the comments on Twitter (#reinventbiz or @sarahkpeck) where I’ve been posting updates.

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading and thinking about this week:

Enjoy, and good luck to all the Start Something Applications! I’ll be in touch soon.

With love,

10 Responses to Life Doesn’t Always Go According to Plan… Hospitals, Applications, Hackathons, and Other Adventures.

  1. Jay says:

    That suuuucks about the hospital trip, but glad to hear you’re OK! I really like you’re outlook on the whole ordeal though; life can be hard and unpredictable, not much you can do about that but keep moving forward.

  2. Hey Sarah,
    First off, glad to hear you are pulling through and that it wasn’t something more serious. Take are of yourself and get healthy!
    Second, wanted to answer your questions:

    -What’s one thing that you can do this week to start your project?
    This Wednesday I am launching my first guide book called The Unboxed Guide To Serving Others. It is the first in what will be a three part guide series on centering your life around service to others. I have been excited about this project and am nervous for the launch but looking forward to see if it can help some people. So that is my step this week!

    -Why is this project so important to you?
    For so long I have searched and thought about putting my life on a path toward living a life that matters. You talk so much on your blog about finding happiness in work and in life in general. Creating, serving, and sharing my experience and thoughts has shown me that I can do it. This project is a huge step toward building my legacy and impacting the lives of other people.

    -What is the biggest thing holding you back right now?
    The biggest thing would probably be knowing what to do next and how to best utilize the limited hours I have in the day. I have the drive, passion, and resolve to make this happen but maybe not exactly how to make it the most impactfull it can be. I have learned so much from reading your work and thank you so much for it. I know that as I build this project your writing will be a huge part of it.

    Thank you and again, get healthy and take care of yourself. We all need your work too much for you to stop :)

  3. zimt-peppermint says:

    Sending you love! It’ll be fine :)

  4. Amazing post. I am glad you are okay! Keep rocking :)

  5. Glad that you’re doing okay! Looking forward to watching and learning as people Start Something because of you.

  6. Clare says:

    Oh Sarah, that stinks! You’re seem in great humour despite it all. Hope you recover quickly and get some you time too. Clare.

  7. John says:

    I had appendicitis as a child, so I can relate in some way. Good to know they have such great technology to diagnose it as a cyst. I wish you hadn’t suffered so :(, but good to know that you attended to it proactively.

    I never really enjoy it when I get some condition and people volunteer their opinions….unless they say it’s something really harmless. How about you?

    A prayer for you and Hope for your speedy recovery.

    Take care,

  8. Clara says:

    First and most important: congratulations on the good news that your cyst is benign. It must have been a huge relief to hear that. And about the good news that you won’t have to have surgery!

    Learned too late about the Start Something Project. Great idea.

    I enjoyed the article by Dov Seidman in today’s NYTimes. I met him eons ago when he was starting LRN. I had no idea then that things would go the way they’ve gone, but it was clear that he was a man on a mission. Good to see the evolution.

  9. Donna West says:

    Maybe too late, hopefully but hopefully not! I can identify with the fear hospitals and doctors can produce! A couple years back, went in for a routine exam and came out with third stage breast cancer, of which I was told, but stubborn enough not to believe it, “you might not make it”! Well, for once (so far) I was right, I’m still here.. Thats the good news! The bad news, no matter how much I try, I can’t seem to find the thing or things that make me feel alive, energized, and excited to get up each morning! I’ve been successfully employed in corporate real estate for many years, made good money, had nice things and one day…it was over! I lost my job and with it, my identity!

    After applying endlessly for jobs without success, I’m finally waking up to the thought or realization that maybe I am suppose to do something different, maybe something I really enjoy. But the fear of not knowing what is is that I enjoy, is both ridiculous but unbelievably frightening!

    How do you go about finding out what it is you really enjoy? I’ve never thought about it, because it has really never been an option. Now, not only is it an option, but a must! I have no other options…what I’ve been doing is no longer available! No one wants me, which I must admit sucks!
    I’ve worked my whole life doing a great job for others, working my ass off and just because I decided to move to another city at a time when the job market wasn’t ideal, the person I was before is no longer the same person!

    All that aside, now what? There has to be more to life than sitting on the couch filling out hundreds of applications and waking up the next morning, greeted by the same number of rejection letters (which only makes me to apply for more more and more jobs, until someone finally recognizes what treasure they are missing)! It’s total insanity!

    Is there help out there for someone who knows what their doing is not working, but continues doing the same thing? I am open to all comments! Believe me, after receiving hundreds of rejection letters, I’m very thick skinned! I invite you to fire away!!!!

  10. […] lows: My grandmother passed away; I was hospitalized in the middle of the summer for a cyst in my abdomen; I dropped the ball on more than a couple of […]