Have you ever been in a public place and a stranger came up and started talking to you? I have. In fact I met quite a unique individual today and I want to tell you about him.
His name was Blake. He approached me as I was reading outside on the patio of a coffee shop. He came up carrying these giant white boards with bright colored signatures all over them. He said he wanted to share something special.
I immediately looked up from my book, curious as to what this man was up to.
He sat down across from me and began to explain his project. He was on a mission to tell as many people as possible about his journey. He had something tragic happen in his life that left him with Post Traumatic Stress Disoder (PTSD). He wasn’t in the military - simply a victim of an unfortunate circumstance. He spent months battling the PTSD and almost took his own life. Until one night he had an epiphany.
He was lying in bed one evening watching the Stephen Colbert show laughing away at how much he enjoyed it. He realized how much that show made him happy - something he was struggling since the PTSD
He decided he wanted to be on the Stephen Colbert show and he was going to make it happen. So he got some white boards and walked out his front door to the nearest coffee shop.
That’s where it all began.
11,000 signatures later is where he found me. His mission was to stop hiding behind what happened to him and to start speaking about it. He no longer wanted to hide; instead wanted to break free and speak freely about his tragedy.
That night lying in bed, he realized Stephen Colbert made him happy. If Colbert made him happy, he was going to get on the show to talk about PTSD. How? By finding as much support as he could and talking about what happened to him. This was part of his action plan to fight the PTSD and gain back control of his life.
As I sat there listening to Blake and what he was trying to do, I felt inspired by him. Here’s why:
1. He was taking action
2. He was vulnerable to the world about one of the hardest experiences of his life
3. He had a goal and was willing to do whatever it took to achieve it
Blake could’ve easily sat around telling himself that he doesn’t know Stephen Colbert so why even try. Instead he didn’t make excuses. He took action and despite the fear, rejection, and complete uncertainty he went out into the world. In my eyes - Blake is already successful in his journey.
Human interaction is quite incredible. This man was completely sharing the deepest parts of his soul with people he had never met and he was healing in the process. Because he was so open and fearless about what happened to him, others opened up to him in return. Some were able to relate, be honest and vulnerable because he opened that door first. People could confide in him. A complete stranger. They found a commonality and shared a bond over it.
I am 100% confident in Blake’s abilities to achieve his goal of chatting with Stephen Colbert on national television. More importantly I have more confident in the human race because of our ability to take struggles and use them to our advantage.
How will you take your adversity and turn it into an opportunity?