Develop Your Vision & Lead with Love: Danny Bader’s Guide to Living Your Best Life
Danny Bader ’85 was just 28 years old the first time he died—when a roofing accident sent about 10,000 volts of electricity racing through him and a friend.
“We both died,” Bader says. “I had an experience where I saw what was happening in this world briefly. Then my soul left my body and it went to the source of our energy, which I call God. And it was absolutely beautiful.”
Bader was gone—with no signs of life—for more than six minutes. During that time, he had what he describes as a "cosmic conversation with God." It was only when he expressed concern for his mother and his girlfriend that he returned to his body, his heart started beating, and he began breathing again.
“It was almost like somebody plugged your body back in. But after that event, I knew that there was heaven. Most people believe; I know.”
Bader went on to write about his experience in Back From Heaven’s Front Porch: 5 Principles to Create a Happy and Fulfilling Life. But the journey didn’t come easily.
He struggled with the fact that he came back while his friend didn’t, and even contemplated ending it all. Then, during a trip to the Outer Banks, he called his mother. She asked when he was coming home and something inside him clicked. For the first time since his accident a few months earlier, Bader could picture the future.
“Everything begins with vision—the ability for us to imagine what needs to be real. And that’s essentially what got me through a tragic time. I imagined myself getting better.”
Bader kicked around the idea of writing a book for about a decade. He even started it a few times. But an encounter with a stranger on a plane finally convinced him to finish it.
“I told her the story of what happened to me and working on the book, and she looked at me with such conviction and she was misty eyed, and she said, ‘You’ve got to tell this story.’ I’d only known her a few hours and never saw her again after that.”
Bader finished the book, and even got a helping hand from an old friend, none other than the current president of DeSales. Bader sent a draft of Back from Heaven’s Front Porch to Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, who was in Wilmington, Delaware at the time, and asked him to write a testimonial.
“He wrote such a wonderful one and it was a decent length, so I just shoved it in as the forward,” Bader says smiling. “So I may have done a little switcheroo on him, but he’s all good with it.”
In Back From Heaven’s Front Porch, Bader outlines five core principles, which he calls Jackrabbit, that helped him through his darkest days and continue to provide a blueprint for living a happier, more fulfilled life.
“A lot of what I write about is making the distinction between being alive and living. Living is just our bodies working. Being alive is you’re looking around saying, ‘Thanks for this gift. How can I show up, lead with love, serve others, and have a little bit of fun?’ That’s being alive.”
Today, Bader tours the country and the world offering people his Jackrabbit approach. He’s given more than 1,200 workshops to more than 200 companies, including Marriott, Merck, Wawa, and Comcast ... to name a few. He’s also written two more books and is working with his son, Joey, on a screenplay for Back From Heaven’s Front Porch.
Bader is living proof that the principles he promotes can—and do—work. Every year, he continues to create a new vision for himself and his family. But for him, the biggest payoff comes from helping others.
“We all have our story. Mine happened to be this one. There are a lot of people struggling and it’s just cool when something I said struck a chord with them; perhaps gave them a different way of looking at life, or the inspiration to continue moving forward through a challenge. It took a little while to figure out why I came back, but this is why I’m here.”
5 Principles of Jackrabbit
By Danny Bader
Develop Vision, Create Reality
Vision is the act of seeing something that's not real yet. This is a basic practice for people living and moving toward happy and fulfilling lives.
The practice of creating space to be still provides tremendous physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits.
Know ThyselfDo you know yourself? It's an ongoing process and requires the simple act of asking questions, and the sometimes not-so-simple act of answering them.
Many people are trying to go it alone in this life when they are anything but alone. Our support networks—both external and internal—are vital to us.
The power in reflecting on the happenings in our lives—both positive and negative—and growing from them is a vital practice.