525. A Life-Saving Attitude
After careening headlong into a tree at 45 miles per hour and suffering a major brain injury and many broken bones, Steve believes every interaction with another person is a bonus that might never have happened. “It’s a powerful way to live and get through whatever comes up in your daily life.”
Steve H. Lawton holds a BS and MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University, as well as an MBA from St. Edward’s University. He has 27 years of business experience in roles from an engineer in the Astronaut office at NASA to an executive at Dell. He is the author of “Head First! A Crash Course in Positivity,” a story about how his attitude literally saved his life from a near fatal skiing accident. Steve enjoys helping others by sharing his story and practical advice on how to create a positive mindset, lead with positivity, and achieve better outcomes for individuals and organizations. He has given a TEDx talk and spoken to employees at Dell, Accenture, EMC, VMware, and others, and has also been a guest lecturer at Texas A&M University and the University of Texas. Steve and his wife of 26 years, Deanna have two teenage children and they have grown quite fond of them.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
As a pre-schooler, Steve was an avid fan of the space program. On the morning of a Saturn V launch he would be up and in front of the TV as early as 5:00 or 6:00, eagerly awaiting another launch. Years later, after earning his degree in engineering, his first job at NASA had him working directly with astronauts and was a dream come true. He helped design the various scientific experiments the astronauts would perform in space, making sure their movements with the hardware would be as efficient as possible.
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“I had a near-death experience when I skied into a tree at 45 miles per hour, head first, on Amen Run at Breckenridge, Colorado. I’m lucky to be alive at all, it really should have killed me! I think I was brought back for a reason. A big part of it is to share my story and help people improve their own attitudes. Three years after the accident, I still maintain the attitude that I’m living on bonus time, and that every interaction with another person is a bonus that might never have happened. It’s a powerful way to live.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
Steve’s leadership role in the huge annual Student Bonfire Project taught him that his success as an engineer was not only about science and math. “That bonfire project was as formative to me as my engineering classes. I recognized how important interacting with and leading people was to me. To this day, the hardest role I’ve had was in leading that large student construction project. It helped me recognize that I need interactions with people. Those interactions give me energy. It was a super formative experience in my life.”
On His Bookshelf
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
Head First! A Crash Course in Positivity, by Steve H. Lawton
Steps to Success from Steve Lawton
1. Recognize life is short and how fortunate we are to be here.
2. Recite your intentions each morning as a way of living more intentionally.
3. Cultivate life-affirming attitudes: your attitudes can save your life!
4. Commit that everyone who comes in contact with you will be better off as a resul
Connecting With Steve Lawton
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