Steve and I met at a wellness conference in the summer of 2015. His infectious energy, enthusiasm for life and exceptional motivational skills made him an extraordinary person. I even endured one of his gruelling bootcamp workouts (and survived). Steve’s story is one of perseverance and survival against all odds. I hope you are as touched as I am by his journey. May it motivate you to dig deep this year and find strength through challenges and help foster a greater appreciation for the good things in your life.
September 23 1994 was a typical Friday night for me as an enthusiastic college student–having a great time with my old and new friends at the University of Maryland. It was typical until my buddy Brian and I were horsing around near the edge of a balcony with no safety railing and we fell off. We plummeted two stories onto the concrete below with me landing directly on my head.
We plummeted two stories onto the concrete below with me landing directly on my head.
ER doctors determined I had a Traumatic Brain Injury and that Brian suffered a concussion and fractured hip. I underwent emergency brain surgery to save my life and lessen the severity of the potential damage. I spent 6 weeks in the hospital, where testing showed I had brain damage with short and long term memory loss, paralysis in my face due to a damaged facial nerve, hearing loss from a crushed left eardrum, loss of smell, and a speech impediment.
One evening I was looking in the mirror and crying at a person I didn’t recognize–someone with a shaved, swollen head that was held together with almost a hundred staples and stitches. But then suddenly something came over me: a feeling of certainty, inspiration and clarity! I decided in that moment I was not going to give up on having a full recovery and that I would overcome this challenge.
I decided in that moment I was not going to give up on having a full recovery and that I would overcome this challenge.
Touched by my angel, I miraculously willed myself to get movement in the upper left corner of my lip, like a sneering Elvis. I repeated this for several minutes until I had complete control of this tiny movement. My doctors were stunned and I committed myself to a facial rehab program where I trained the muscles of my face for a year until I could no longer see any signs of asymmetry. This changed my recovery because I realized I had control over how well I could recover in spite of what I was told I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to do.
I realized I had control over how well I could recover in spite of what I was told I couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to do.
It took three full years to rebound from multiple surgeries and to get my cognitive skills up to par. It was a long and challenging journey, but staying fit/exercising was a great way for me to feel confident and build my self-esteem up again. Anyone has the power to influence their destiny. Can you tap into the courage to influence yours?