9/11 Survivor Mike Jaffe Is in the Life-Changing Business

Ten years ago author, life coach and motivational speaker Mike Jaffe was doing corporate marketing for an insurance broker. He was unhappy in his job and resented the time it took him away from his wife and 1-year-old daughter. Between his four-hour daily commute and his lack of passion for his work, he was living on auto-pilot.

In a recent interview with Jaffe he commented, “I was loosing precious time… Do you ever feel like that? You’re just running in place. You don’t know where you want to go, but you know you don’t want it to stay like this.” So one beautiful late summer day he ate his lunch outside. He recalled, “I was looking around and I had that moment of truth for myself, where I just realized very clearly this is not the life I want — This is not the dad I want to be.”

Mike Jaffe Makes a Life-Changing Decision

At that moment he decided to take a very small step in regaining control of his life. He made the choice to go into work a little late the next day so that he could enjoy breakfast with his wife and daughter. He noted, “Not a life changing decision. A 20-minute change in my routine and I made it count. It was a good start. And what was really interesting was that after I made that decision I felt this empowerment. When I went back to my office [that afternoon] everything had changed. The work that I was doing hadn’t changed but my relationship to it had completely shifted.”

But Jaffe had no way of knowing just how significant one tiny choice could be. He explained, “The next morning happened to be 9/11 and I worked on the 96th floor of the World Trade Center. When the first plane hit my desk, I was still on the subway on my way in. Most of my team were killed instantly… That small decision I made basically saved my life.”

Make Jaffe Chose to Give Back with the Gift He Was Given on 9/11

Like many 9/11 survivors, Jaffe spent some time dealing with his conflicting feelings. “I had to figure out how I felt about it all. ‘Why me? Why them?'” He continued, “It couldn’t be that I was chosen and they weren’t. I couldn’t accept that — I can’t accept that I was spared and they weren’t for a reason like that. I needed to look forward with a completely new sense of responsibility. What was I going to do with this gift I’d been given?”

What he has done with the gift is use his experience to pay it forward. Jaffe has become what he calls “The Human Wake-Up Call.” He works with companies and individuals and tells his story — a story that begins the day before the rest of the country’s lives changed forever. “I took control back on September 10th, when my day looked like any other day. Is today you’re September 10th? September 11th for me just confirmed that I could never go back.”

The Human Wake-Up Call Helps Others Begin to Change

He described his profession saying, “I wake-up people and companies who are overworked, overloaded overwhelmed. So in a matter of months my personal clients reignite their passion, rediscover their power, they stop being a victim of their situation — For my business clients it’s really a matter of getting all of their talent to rise up to their potential — to bring that passion, the meaning, back into the work they’re doing.”

Jaffe has worked with large companies like Yahoo!, Discovery Channel, National Cash Register (NCR) and Goldman Sachs. He has also consulted with non-profits like the American Cancer Society and the American Diabetes Association, as well as entrepreneurs, small companies and individuals. He has also penned an e-book called “Wake Up! Your Life is Waiting For You!” and plans to release a full book in August called “Tomorrow Starts Today.” He began writing because he realized he had learned so many lessons from the 9/11 tragedy.

He professed that it was “the prospect of being able to help people make a change” that motivated him to write the books. He wanted to figure out what he could do to guide people so that they can give themselves a wake-up call. “Rather than waiting for a life changing event, or a near miss or a loss… something negative to happen that’s going to create that sense of urgency. I wanted to define what are those key elements so that I can be that catalyst.” Jaffe added, “I provide perspective and support. I unlock their potential and tap into their power.”

Mike Jaffe Has Three Driving Philosophies

He has three driving philosophies behind his work. Number one, “Life is a gift and every day counts.” He reflected, “Every one of my friends that was up there [in the Towers] would give anything to have my worst day.” The second is, “There’s always a way.” He urged, “If you can’t see it, if it’s not obvious, if it’s not clear, find that small step that you can take and take it. For me it was a 20-minute breakfast with my family that ultimately saved my life.” And lastly, “You can’t round up.” In other words don’t put off ’til tomorrow what you can do today. “It’s the same groove that we have in our head. We need to disrupt that and create a new beginning, a new ritual, a new behavior based on things that are really important to us.”

Clearly Jaffe takes his own teachings to heart, he professed, “It’s great to be in the life changing business.” He concluded, “Don’t lose any more precious time. In every situation there’s one small action waiting for you to find it. Find it and do it and don’t wait until tomorrow. Because that someday that you’re waiting for is never going to come.”