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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Share Your Story to Inspire Others

Hi Everyone!

Over the last month, I have been really honored to have the opportunity to speak at quite a few of the local Santa Barbara High Schools and Jr. High Schools.  It has been a really fulfilling experience for me to share my story with students and inspire them to make choices that will help them to live their dreams.

Each of the talks I give are about 45 minutes to one hour long.  I am not telling them any sort of hidden secret or anything like that.  I am simply sharing my story and I weave it into a theme about choice and the power of it. 

One of the points I hit home again and again and again to students is that we all always have a choice.  We may  not be able to choose some of the events that happen to us, but we can always choose how we handle, how we deal with, and what we ultimately choose to make of those events that happen.

Stories, I believe, are one of the most powerful tools we have.  And it is a tool we all have at our disposal, as WE ALL have a story to tell!  How we choose to tell our story is where the real power lies.  Do we choose to tell the story from the point of view of victim?  Or Victor?!

What do I mean by that?  Well it is the perspective you choose to tell your story from that matters the most.  You can choose to focus on all the wrongs and the injustices that the world has shoved upon you, or you can choose to focus on all the amazing life lessons you learned from those experiences.  The story is the same, what changes is the perspective you tell it from.

The video below really illustrates this concept.  The video is about a kid named Zach, who recently died from a form of bone cancer.  He was 18 years old.  Rather than feeling sorry for himself and be angry at the world, he chose to really make the most of his time and live and love to the absolute best of his ability.  His story has now gone viral (not viral enough in my opinion) and has appeared on news casts, facebook pages, etc...

The video is about 20 minutes long and worth every second of it.  I cried while watching it.  I did not cry because it was so sad he died, I cried because it was so moving to watch someone exist who really got what life is all about.

While you are watching this video, think about what your story is.  What have you learned from it.  How can you use your story to inspire others?  Please share your thoughts, your stories, your insights below.

Carpe Diem,



  1. Hi Jesse!
    In recent days I've been thinking a lot about your words above. And you know what, I am convinced that every one of all of us always has a choice. Of course we can not have influence on everything that happens to us but it is up to ourselves how we handle it and what we make of it. No matter how tough or sad it may be sometimes, we have the choice to change anything. So I would like to share some of my story.
    You know, I have not always thought this way. For this setting, I had to find myself at my lowest point. But beforehand only one thing that matters to me. This here is MY story and MY way to deal with it. I want to offend anyone. There is still a serious issue for me but I do not want it shaped my life.
    It was on a warm summer day in August 2011. I have never again felt such an emptiness, despair and hopelessness as on this day. I was 25 years old and I wanted to commit suicide by letting myself fall before an oncoming train. At this point the question may come: What went wrong? Sorry for that sarcasm! I can not say exactly what ultimately kept me from, but it was like a reflection of my body, he developed a kind of independence that made me freeze and waited until I was in the standing train boarding to go home. No matter what it was, I am very grateful! In contrast, for example, to Zach I have the opportunity to live.
    The time on the way home I can not remember. It seemed unreal. I only realized what happened when I was home. That was the moment when I decided that I needed help, because something goes horribly wrong. Later been diagnosed with depression with suicidal thoughts.
    What had happened? How could something like that happen? Well, in short, the cause was a failure during my embossing phase and a development phase. I call it deliberately cause rather than blame, because blame is irrelevant. No matter what happens, whether positive or negative, there is always at least two aspects to be considered or lead to something. That's the first thing I learned for myself. Only a few examples to say what I mean: It was the loss of two important people in my early childhood, a sexual assault, bullying in high school because of appearances, a rather unemotional relationship with my parents and my consequent decision at the age of 16 years to leave my parents' house.
    It is so important to give young people especially something positive with on their way. Many can not even imagine what can cause a single hug already positive. Or if you say to someone that it's great to know those. These little things are so important.
    After a psychotherapy I decided to make a change. I need to change something, otherwise I will eventually be at the same point. But this therapy has taught me a lot about myself and made ​​to deal with some different things.
    My experience of sexual assault taught me one thing: I am not guilty and that I am not ashamed of it. It is important for me to inform the person concerned, which had similar experiences.
    I also try bullying victims to explain my current views about bullies. I think that bullies have less a problem with other but with themselves to enhance their own self-esteem, they try to pull others down.
    I continue to try to help people with depression. Even if I can only tell my story and what has helped me, I hope that I can make them a little courage. There is much more I could say but I think that would be too much. I apologize in advance for any spelling mistakes and hope that it makes sense according to course, because English is not my native language.
    Sincerely, D.

    1. Thank you D. for sharing your story. It is very inspiring. Keep moving forward with your life and keep doing the things that you love. I wish you the greatest of happiness!

  2. Hi D,

    I am happy too that you did not jump in front of that train. If you did you would not have been able to share your story with us. I promise you that it is going to make a positive difference in someone else's life. It definitely did in mine today :)

    Thank you

    Carpe Diem,


  3. Jesse,

    Thank you for sharing Zach's story. Great reminder to all of us to Live Life to the Fullest that we can. To Anonymous D. above you very inspiring as well. Stay brave and keep telling your story to whoever will listen and never stop believing in your inner strength!

    Here is my story: I have survived two major illness in my life once at age 5 and the second at age 37. When I was 5 I had HUS kidney failure which at that time in the 1970's 1 in 3 children died from. I spent 1 month in ICU at the children's hospital. The doctors finally told my family, they could not do anything else for me. All we could now was pray. The day I was to be transferred to another hospital for dialysis my kidney's started working on their own. They did tests on me twice to double check. I have not had any issues since or had to have a transplant. In 2009 at age 37 I went through emergency open heart surgery for an ascending aortic dissection and spent 10 days in ICU. Aortic disease to this day has an 80% mortality rate. My aorta tore from the arch to right above my kidneys. When I got to the ER I had lost a lot of blood from the arch of my aorta. They told us had I not gotten there when I did I would have maybe last two more hours. I am so grateful to my ER doctor that he decided to do the CT scan that saved my life! My recovery has had it's ups and downs and is now causing the end of my marriage of 6 years. However I am alive and trying to live my life much fuller now and trying to cherish every moment I have with family and friends. I also try to share my aortic dissection story every chance I get,in hopes I might save someone's life. Thanks for reading this and take care E.

  4. Thank you for the post, Jesse and thanks to the others who shared their stories. Sometimes when going through rough times, I feel like I'm the only one who has ever hurt. I know that's not true, it just seems like it. It's so inspiring to me to hear others' stories of triumph. While I believe that we can never know how someone else feels, we can know that there are others who understand our pain. I've had a lot of abuse in my life - both physical and emotional - by the time I was 21, I didn't trust a single soul on this planet. I still have trust issues, but I have found there are some wonderful people in this world. People who care and that if we just hang in there long enough, things DO get better. For me, it's all about faith, hope, and love. I don't think you can have one without having the other two and without those things in my life, I honestly don't believe I would still be alive. After sexual abuse, being battered, and being lied to, lied about, being betrayed and left, not mention many health issues, I'M STILL HERE! Thank you again, Jesse, for all the positivity and encouragement you give us. It's appreciated more than I could ever put into words.

  5. Thank you everyone for sharing your stories. I cannot begin to tell you the impact they will make on the lives of others. One day someone will stumble across this post, searching for answers to their own pain. They will read your stories and they will find hope... it very well could be the hope that they need to change their life.

    Thank you for giving hope to people.

    Carpe Diem,


  6. I related to this post alot....just wanted to say that.
    Thank you.