The old me was a huge jerk!
I don’t really talk about myself on The Daily Helping Podcast. (Are you a listener yet? Check it out here.) But I want to take the time to introduce myself and talk a little bit more about why I do what I do.
All my life, I’ve always challenged the status quo. I thought about things differently than most everyone else.
I ate spaghetti for breakfast and French Toast for dinner, I questioned rules I thought didn’t make sense, and I never wanted to get married or have kids.
After college, I worked in the technology sector for many years. In my first role as a business owner, I served as an Executive Director for an Information Technology consulting firm where I provided solutions for clients like the United States Army, state agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.
It was everything I wanted (or so I thought). I knew I was going to be a real-life Tony Stark! I filled my head with fantasies about owning yachts, jets, and even an island I had intended to name after myself. I only really cared about having things for the sake of having things.
Then, on an otherwise ordinary Saturday, everything changed.
I was involved in a car crash
I was heading out to dinner and made a left-hand turn when a 17-year-old kid came screaming through the intersection.
For me, what lasted maybe three seconds —the car hit me, my airbag inflated, and I crashed into a telephone pole— felt like an eternity.
I saw everything as if time slowed— the center console crushing into my ribs like they were empty cans of Coke and bits of my windshield floating in the air as the light of the setting sun reflected off them.
At that moment, I said to myself, this is the end of my life. I'm about to die. And I suddenly became overwhelmed with a sense of guilt. I felt guilty that my parents were about to get a call about me being killed in a car accident, guilty that I was so focused on the material, and guilty that I’d not really contributed anything meaningful to society.
I survived the accident. But I broke my spine, nearly tore all the ligaments in my neck, and suffered a number of severe contusions internally.
Then came the journey to finding my purpose
After healing, I went back to work, but things never felt the same again.
I was extremely unhappy and very much unfulfilled in my career. I wanted to do more. I wanted to be more.
Wishing to make a more meaningful contribution to society (but not knowing how), I resigned from my position to seek more altruistic work. With the knowledge and experience I gained while working in IT, I began collaborating with law enforcement agencies to help promote community-wide Internet safety.
I spoke publicly on this subject and helped school districts draft Internet safety policies for their students.
In the process, I obtained my master’s degree in Social Work. I was privileged to work with at-risk students in both K-12 and university settings, providing therapeutic services including crisis intervention to students following the violent deaths of their classmates and direct assistance to children and families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
These experiences were humbling and powerful, cementing my commitment to serving others.
I continued my graduate education earning a doctorate in clinical psychology. During my training, I was fortunate enough to gain experience seeing patients at the Emory School of Medicine and training in an inpatient forensic hospital.
Afterward, I completed a residency in neuropsychology where I worked with patients from the Cleveland Clinic and assessed NFL players as part of the league’s concussion protocol. I also gained extensive experience working with physically and sexually abused children.
Around the same time, I picked up a book that changed my life. Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning Feeling made me realize that by shifting your mindset, you could do anything. I started to gain confidence in my belief that I could make a bigger, more global impact. So I launched a podcast to help people everywhere improve their lives.
Are you in search of your purpose and a more meaningful life?
I was living my best life
(or so I thought)
I had become increasingly concerned about how we as a society were more focused on the superficiality of selfies rather than celebrating what’s actually awesome about ourselves and how we can use that to help others. That’s when The Daily Helping podcast was born!
The show’s mission is to help you be the best version of yourself and in doing so, make the world a better place. I began encouraging my listeners at the end of every episode to commit acts of kindness for others and post them in their feeds using #MyDailyHelping. (Now that’s a good use of social media!)
When I first started, I never imagined it would reach millions of people all over the world. The podcast allowed me to connect with listeners from all walks of life and share insights from the most inspirational leaders in personal development, wellness, and success. I was connecting on a regular basis with heroes of mine and bringing their insights to those who needed them the most.
I felt so alive recording podcast episodes and was blown away by how the podcast touched people’s lives. A teenage girl in India where they didn’t always have water but had solar power, laptops and satellite Internet (which was donated to her village) shared the show with her community because it inspired her.
A young man who was literally moments away from putting a gun in his mouth and pulling the trigger discovered me in his Twitter feed as he was about to compose a suicide tweet. He told me this show inspired him and that he wanted to live. I was overwhelmed when he emailed me about this the next day.
Find out how The Daily Helping Podcast can help you on your journey!
During this time, I also did my first TEDx talk and co-founded Your Success Insights, a technology company that uses predictive algorithms to improve people’s lives in amazing ways.
From identifying at-risk children to improving access to mental health resources, these platforms have made a positive impact on communities around the world.
Life was glorious. Then, much like my car accident, something unexpected happened.
Around 2:00 AM, I awoke suddenly, feeling very strange. Instinctively, I yanked the pillow out from under my wife’s head. As I was groggy and confused, rather than asking for her to take me to the hospital, I apologized and went back to bed.
My brain continued to bleed while I slept for the next three hours until our new puppy, Crusher woke me up. When I got out of bed I was confused and made my way downstairs with some difficulty. When I got Crusher to the front door to take him out, I pulled out my cell phone to turn on the flashlight. And I had no idea how to use my phone.
In panic mode after realizing my brain had been bleeding for several hours, I woke up the kids and threw them in the car as my wife drove me to the hospital. My children who were around seven and five at the time kept asking what was wrong. I told them I had to go to the doctor because I had a headache which as Obi-Wan Kenobi would say was true “from a certain point of view.”
Having a stroke is hard enough; having one during peak COVID was another type of challenge. My wife had to drop me at the hospital as they would not allow any visitors in.
After receiving a negative PCR test for COVID, I was admitted to the “regular” ER where a doctor asked me a few questions, poked at me, and ordered a CT scan. He returned some time later to tell me there was no evidence of stroke on my scan and he was discharging me.
He had totally missed it, and I knew if I didn’t convince him to treat me, I was in huge trouble. While in survival mode, I remembered something my first supervisor, Milton taught me in my first job out of college. He told me that when you make your best offer as a salesperson, you need to look the prospect in the eyes without speaking. We’re uncomfortable with silence by nature and usually, whoever talks first concedes.
Remembering Milton’s teachings, I told the doctor he was wrong. I explained that I was a clinical psychologist with extensive training in neuropsychology and that a CT can miss an ischemic stroke. I then told him he was going to order an MRI immediately and then provide me with blood thinners.
We locked eyes and after what felt like an eternity, he agreed. My MRI showed the focal point of the stroke less than a millimeter off of my basal ganglia, a part of the brain heavily involved in speech and motor movement. I was lucky to be alive, although now my speech was severely impaired (to the degree that my phone’s voice assistant wouldn’t recognize me). My fine motor skills were also shot (I couldn’t make my fingers hit the right letters to text), and I had facial palsy where the whole left side of my face was drooping significantly.
I’m so grateful I was able to fully recover but the fact that my ER doctor was so overwhelmed and notably stressed to the degree that he missed my stroke on an MRI really stuck with me. In fact, it led me to become a partner in another company, Joy At Work System (J@WS) which has two remarkable missions:
Reduce the cost of healthcare for businesses and empower hospitals to address the mental health care of their medical professionals to minimize unnecessary deaths caused by medical errors.
After my neurologist informed me that the stroke itself was caused by stress from working too hard (80-100 hours a week on average), I immediately began pouring over research on productivity and time management. I used what I learned plus a little trial and error to create a system for myself that allowed me to work less, achieve more, and all the while be present for my wife and children, while still making time for hobbies.
Today, I’m committed to helping entrepreneurs, business leaders, and high achievers realize their goals while maintaining balance and fulfillment in their personal lives.
To me, success is not just about what you achieve, but how you achieve it. I also firmly believe that everyone deserves to live their best life, and I'm passionate about helping others achieve that.
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