The passing of Robin Williams has generated an overwhelming number of responses but the bottom line is that his death sparks a search for understanding within us all. We reach down within our deepest self to find an explanation. We assign meaning, belief and judgment in a futile attempt to make sense of tragedy. This is human. But, what can we learn?

Full disclosure: In 1997 I was fortunate to be on the set of my brother-in-law, Steve Simons’ film, What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams. Not only did I get to watch him perform his magic as an actor, I gave him a copy of my book and had a few conversations about creativity and thinking. He was a thinker – present and inquisitive. So, although I didn’t really know him, I felt I had a powerful connection.

So, like others, his death has affected me in a surprisingly deep way. It has caused me to reflect on my own beliefs. I know depression well. My mother literally disappeared in hers and I’ve had my own bouts. But, the question is, on top of all the other psychological issues with which he battled, what would I have done if I discovered I had Parkinson’s? An answer came to me today. I would have reached out for support, massive support.

Through my years of coaching clients, working with leaders and helping patients prepare for surgery, I have learned that having support of friends and family is an absolute necessity to living an exceptional life. Support creates a positive impact on the mind and the body. So, if the loss of Robin Williams causes you to turn inwards to look at your own life, my suggestion is to examine the support you have and perhaps, just perhaps, began to strengthen your own support system and have the courage to reach out and ask for help.