Rob Oliver is a speaker, author and podcast host. At 21 years old he sustained a paralyzing body surfing injury that forced him to evaluate his life, self-worth and success. He speaks internationally and has received the “Best of…” Award as the top-rated Motivational Speaker in his hometown of Pittsburgh… twice!
John Shegerian: This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by Engage. Engage is a digital booking engine revolutionising the talent booking industry. With hundreds of athletes entrepreneurs, speakers and business leaders, Engage is the go-to spot for booking talent for your next event. For more information, please visit letsengage.com.
John: Welcome to another edition of the impact podcast. I am John Shegerian, and I am so excited and honored today to have Rob Oliver. He is a speaker and author and a podcast host. Welcome to impact Rob.
Rob Oliver: John, thanks for having me on man.
John: Hey, Rob you have a great great backstory in Journey to share with our listeners today much better than me reading your bio or anything like that. Can you please just begin sharing how you got on this fascinating journey which led to where you are today?
Rob: Sure. My life has been one of those interesting experiences. It started when I was ten years old and I had this mysterious weakness and they took me — my parents took me to the doctor and tried to figure out what was wrong with me. They could not come up with anything. They figured I must have had Muscular dystrophy and that I was going to be in a wheelchair by the time that I was thirty. Okay. So it turns out that that was absolutely incorrect. However, the weird premonition about it is when I was twenty-one years old I was on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I was body surfing. I was riding a wave in towards the shore and instead of it carried me forward it pushed me down. I hit my head on the bottom. I broke my neck, and it left me basically paralyzed from the chest down. And so their prediction about me being in a wheelchair by the time that I was thirty came true. However, it was totally unrelated to the diagnoses that they had given me.
John: When you say you got paralyzed from the chest down, what moves? What does not move? If you do not mind me asking since we are not sitting across from each other, we are doing this from Pittsburgh to Fresno today, which is a great connection. I love your City where you live right now, Pittsburgh but since you and I are doing this via the world of electronics and and speakers. What moves? What does not move?
Rob: Sure. Well, let me just start off by saying my understanding of Pittsburgh because I am not a Pittsburgh native although I have been living here longer than I have lived anywhere else. Pittsburgh is a football town with a drinking problem, is what I have been told. Well it works the other way around. Pittsburgh is a drinking town with a football problem, either direction it is the same thing but those — so for me, for any of your folks that have a medical background, my injury is at the C5-C6 level. So that means it is in my cervical region and for me that means basically from just — I do not want to be too graphic about this but above my nipple line?
Rob: Down, I can not really feel and I can not move. So on my arms the part that where you would get a sun tan, that is where I can move. The part that you do not get a sun tan on and that is what I ca not move. So I have got biceps but not triceps. I have got the ability to pull my wrist up but I do not have the muscles to take it back down. So I use a lot of gravity. I use a lot of compensation and then with my fingers and my hands I do not actually have control of any of my fingers but if your listeners do this it kind of a strange exercise, but work with me on this John. So if you take your hand and you just kind of put it out there and you relax your hand at the end of your arm, okay? And now if you draw your hand up just using your wrist, it kind of naturally forms into a fist.
Rob: That is what I have got. It is a process called tenodesis. So what I use is that grip between my thumb and my forefinger, that is that’s what I used to do just about everything. I can hold onto a can of soda. I can pick up some potato chips. I can hold a hamburger in there and whatever it is — of course in that conversation you picked up very quickly that my life pretty much revolves around food and as part of life, but it is who I am. So that is the [crosstalk].
John: It is not a bad thing. I like that. [Inaudible, so was mine. So they were pretty much just the sip some of the guys.
Rob: You bet.
John: How many years ago was that?
Rob: So that was 27 years ago. It was August 20th, 1993. Listen on a quick side note. I just did on my — I have got my own podcast as well. It is called Learning from Smart People and I had a guest cancel on me at the last minute. So I had to do what I hate to do and that is do a monologue. I have got a new presentation that I was just working on that is called more than mere survival. Because I think that going through this pandemic has a lot of parallels with what happened to me with my injury in that — at first it was just complete devastation and then it was okay. I do not think that I am ever — well I am never going to be able to go back to August 19th 1993. I am never going to get back to where I was but it does not change the fact that I still am alive. I still am essentially who I am because that is on the inside. It is not changed by my physical condition. My skills abilities and goals are — well my desires and my goals are still the same many of my abilities are the same and it is just a matter of how I engage the world to be able reach those goals is what has changed. I think that is a very powerful message for this day and age with this pandemic to realize our goals are essentially the same. Who we are as humans is essentially the same. The way that we engage the world is going to be different but it does not change the fact that we still can get to those goals if we are willing to be creative, if we are willing to persevere for willing to do it. Not like we used to and if we are willing not to just pine for the days of old but to say, “okay, we live in a different paradigm but how do we get there given the abilities and the opportunities that we do have?”
John: I like that a lot. It reminds me of when this pandemic started and as you said it was shocking for all of us no matter where we are. I was thinking back to a video that I had watched. Nelson Mandela being interviewed and the question came up of how did you survive your time in jail? Your time in prison? He looked back at the interviewer, sort of quizzically and with a lot of short tears in his eyes and he said I was not surviving, I was planning for when I got out of jail. That is how I spend my time in jail. Not surviving, planning. And …
Rob: It is awesome.
John: Yeah, and I feel that is a great what you just said about staying open and flexible to the possibilities that when we get through and get over this COVID-19 tragedy, which we will. Science will win at some point here, that we have a huge opportunity to go and face the world and make the most of what we want to be and be the best that we can be. This is not an excuse for any of us to fail on any level and taking your great strategy forward, Mandela’s and others is just a great way of looking at this as just another challenge for us to get through because it is going to make us those who really thrive when they get out of this, when we get out of this it is going to just make us more resilient.
Rob: So let me just throw something in there and that is…
John: Sure. Go ahead.
Rob: I want to talk about kind of what I view as in the meantime. Okay.
John: That is good.
Rob: Because way back when twenty seven years ago I was in the hospital and they told me that they were three to five years from coming up with a cure for spinal cord injury. That is twenty seven years ago and now the newest numbers that I have heard is that there are two to four years from coming up with a cure for spinal cord injury. Which means in the last twenty seven years they have made a full year of progress. All right. There were a lot of guys that I was in rehab with there. We are basically like three to five years. I can wait three to five years. That is not really a long time. Their basic strategy was this, I am going to go home and I am going to wait until you come up with a cure and then when you do come up with a cure, let me know and I am going to hit the resume button on my life and I will just pick up where I was. What they are missing out on is I do not know where they are today, but they have missed twenty seven plus years in the meantime. So I have no doubt that science is going to win. I have no doubt that we are going to get through this. I have no doubt that it is going to get better. However in the meantime, yes, we need to plant but we also need to start implementing. We need to say, what is it that I can do today? Sometimes that actually involves building relationships and if I can just opined for one quick minute —
John: [crosstalk]. Yeah. It is your show.
Rob: — this has been a really powerful message for me. Hey, so — well, thank you. And this has been something that really really hit home with me. I am very faith-based person. I go to church. I am involved in church. I am the guy that goes and visits all the other people when they are in the hospital. Now listen I am working full time so it is not like I am just sitting around looking for something to do but I am making time to connect with people and make sure that people are taking care of. One of the side effects of my injury is I have a turbo propensity towards urinary tract infections and because I have had so many of them and have been on so many antibiotics I am actually becoming immune to a number of the antibiotics. So when I get something oftentimes I will end up in the hospital on an IV antibiotic because there’ is just nothing powerful enough to hit what I have got. So this was going on and it was like I was in the hospital every three to six months for a week or two and after about like the fourth or fifth time that I am in the hospital, it is over Mother’s Day weekend and everybody is so busy because Mother’s Day. It is springtime. Everybody is got stuff to do and so my wife and my kids are having trouble getting in to see me. Nobody else is coming in to see me. I have been in the hospital for like four days. I have seen my wife and kids once. I am laying there on Mother’s Day morning, and I am just thinking like this is terrible. Pardon my bluntness. This sucks. Okay.
John: I am with you.
Rob: Here I am. I am trying to build other people up. I am trying to invest in other people and when I am on low side of things I get nothing for it. I am laying there feeling sorry for myself. Feeling rather miserable. In my own mind, like it is a God thing where there is something that says to me like okay, so you are feeling low about yourself. Well, is there anything that you can do for somebody else?
And I am thinking okay, well, it is Mother’s Day, so I called my mom. I called my mother in law and I am sitting here thinking and I realize I have an aunt who never had kids and she loves kids. She would have been the best mom ever and I do not know what the circumstances are. I have never asked but I I realized you know what this has got to be one of the most difficult days of the entire year for her. So I called her up and I left her a voicemail because she did not answer the phone. Just to say — listen I am really glad that I got the mom that I got, but if I did not get her and I had to choose somebody else it would be. So [crosstalk]…
John: It is a nice message.
Rob: Later on we could get a call from her and she says the reason why you could not get me on Mother’s Day is because I heard my uncle literally go away camping where there is no cell reception. Where there is no anything because they just do not want to be around people because whatever they say, it is just that difficult of a day for her. And so what I realized as a result of that experience is this when I am feeling low when I am feeling like everything is crashing it around me that is a time when I can take and turn it around and say, instead of making this about me. Instead of making this about what I am not getting. How about if I start giving?” And as I give to other people I am going to build them up and in doing so it is going to enrich my relationship. It is going to enrich their lives and and it is going to leave a part of me. I give a part of me to them and they carry that part of me with them for the rest of their lives and that is a gift that is — it is beyond value.
John: Great, that is a great message and I think you are right. I think those who are the happiest learn that giving has more rewards than just the gift itself. The gift is just as is everlasting for the reasons you just outlined and I think that is just a beautiful story in man. Who knew your aunt was suffering until you even got into your own self and and came up with that idea to call her. Who knew she was suffering that much every year, year after year that she could not even bear being around electronics and all the commotion.
Rob: And here is the rest of that story is that as a result of that I call her every Mother’s Day after that. Okay.
Rob: The funny thing about it is that she now specifically does not answer the phone when I call because she wants me to leave her a message because she actually takes and listens to that message throughout the rest of the year. When she is down and having a difficult time she goes back and revisit that so I know that she is not sliding me that she is not answering the call. She will call me back later, but she is waiting to get that voicemail [crosstalk].
John: So the message is the gift.
John: That is awesome. That is awesome. This is where talking about Pittsburgh a little bit also in your in Pittsburgh. The the great linebacker for the Steelers few years back at a spinal injury, Ryan Shazier.
John: The key benefit from any of that new technology or is it just because he was an athlete and the injury was in a different place that he was able to make the comeback that he is made. Not professional football come back, but come back nonetheless in terms of making great progress or is it been Science and Technology combined with his athleticism.
Rob: No, I am not a medical doctor, so my my opinion on this comes strictly from my own understanding.
John: Sure. Sure.
Rob: Listen, I will tell you this that I do a lot of speaking and one of the target groups that I do is medical professionals. So I have spent enough time in the hospital that I should have like an honorarium deed or something like that. Because I have a spinal cord injury I feel like I need to know everything there is to know about myself and my injury so I do have some information on this but what we are looking at is it is for me and him it is two different types of injuries. Okay.
What he had was a spinal bruised and so the nerves that go through the spinal cord or impacted, but they were not cut. So it is what would be referred to within the quote unquote industry as an incomplete injury. So yes, there is the benefit of modern technology. There is the benefit of him being in good athletic condition but there is also just the fact that it is a different type of injury. So because you remember many years ago, there was a linebacker for the Jets, his name was Dennis Byrd. He had an injury on the field of play. [crosstalk] carted off.
He wrote a book called rise up and walk which was a very inspirational book and actually on a personal note it caused me a great struggle because someone got me a signed copy of it which was a most thoughtful gift. And they told him you broke your neck, you are not going to be able to walk like we are going to do the best that we can with you and he has some determination and he has a strong work ethic and ends up being able to walk out of rehab and I am like great. I will take that. I have got my faith. I have got will. I have got determination. Nobody will work harder than I will.
What I came to understand is the nerves in my neck are cut. There is no amount of will and determination and just unwillingness to accept no for an answer that is going to regenerate those nerves. So I am just got it is a different type of injury and I have to deal with what I have got. They can deal with what they have got and at the end of the day this is really my message for everybody. Everybody has got problems. Everybody has got limitations. Everybody has got obstacles to getting to the goals that they want to achieve.And the question becomes do you focus on your your deficits or do you focus on your strengths? If you are focusing on your deficits, you will never be able to achieve anything great. John Wooden the great basketball coach said “no one ever achieved greatness by focusing on what they ca not do.”
John: It is true.
Rob: You take what you can do and you make the most of that and that is what is going to get you to the goals that you have set for yourself.
John: For our listeners who have just joined us, we have got Rob Oliver with us today. He has a wonderful website where you could book him to be as a motivational public speaker at yourmotivationalspeaker.com. Yourmotivationalspeaker.com .Rob, you are a top speaker, that is what you do. You have won twice. You have been named in Pittsburgh top motivational speaker of the year. Were you prior to your twenty one year old when you were twenty one years old, you got injured which is approximately twenty seven years ago. Were you a good public speaker prior to that or is this something and a skill you honed and learned and really molded after your injury?
Rob: I grew up in church. My dad was actually a preacher. So I have listened to more messages more people speaking and — so listen, it was like I was in church every Sunday and our church had two services. We had one on Sunday morning and one on Sunday night. Then my dad would have like special services over the summer where he would go somewhere and he would have services every single night and sometimes there were children services in the morning. So I grew up listening to faith-based public speaking. With that when I was sixteen years old, I started to help out.
So I am giving a message to the kids doing that kind of stuff. So I had been speaking a little bit before the time of my injury. I had never thought about that skill as being something that would be useful outside of the church, kind of church environment, but then after my injury, I am having an opportunity to speak in some Churches which is a great thing for me but then someone says hey, can you come talk to my school? I am like, I got a church message. Well, you can not really talk about church stuff at school, can you adapt your messages. Well, I think so.
So then it is a matter of you are going, I am going to a school and I am sharing the message of dealing with adversity and being able to be different and be okay with being different. It goes really well and all of a sudden now, I am seeing more and more opportunities open up where I am able to go and share a message that it is not what I was originally intending to do with it, but it is such a great opportunity to talk to medical professionals and give them the patient’s perspective on quality healthcare. To talk to human resource professionals and give them the other side of the desk perspective on employment and people with disabilities. To be able to talk in schools about bullying and about people having their power taken away and to be able to share what it means to be that person that is different. That looks different. That moves different that just is seen as different and how to build your self-esteem to understand that it is okay to be different and also then to understand the concept of advocacy where when you are seeing someone being bullied. To say, that is no okay.
To speak up for those that are less powerful. Those that are being picked on. Those that are having their power taken away from them Those that are being marginalized and denigrated and that really moves into advocacy in the world and it moves really into a message that I think is almost a universal message and it is the message that I said before listen everybody has got issues. We all have things and it is a choice where we focus.
One of the analogies that I use is it is kind of like a drink and there are people in this life — the Optimist and the pessimist they talk about the glass being half full or half empty. Well there has not very many people that have a glass that is exactly half full or half empty. There is a lot of people and they have got a glass and it s like ninety percent full. Then you look and there is other people and they just have a glass and it has got just a little bit in the bottom of it. The question becomes where do you put your straw? Because you know those ninety percent people who have got it just a glass that is almost folded the top and their straw is in the top and they are just — they are consumed with what they do not have. They are consumed with what is in other people’s glasses. They are consumed with that ten percent that is missing. That is where they live their life and they live a life of emptiness without fulfillment and without nurturing because they are not drawing sustenance from what they have.
You know those other people who do not have much but they have got that straw jammed all the way down in the bottom and they are living a life full of joy and happiness and fulfillment and success not because their glass is full to the top but because they have got something in their glass and that’s what they are drawing their sustenance and their life force from.
John: So you started public speaking after you were injured?
John: When did you create yourmotivationalspeaker.com and what was your ultimate goal with that?
Rob: It is really funny. I have got an intern working with me over the summer and I was just talking to her today about when did this come into because I got on the whole domain name thing way back in the beginning. Okay. So 2005 is when I registered yourmotivationalspeaker.com. The reason why I went with that name was because search engine optimization was the thing and you have got to have the keywords in your domain name. So I went and I looked on motivationalspeaker.com already taken and themotivationalspeaker.com already taken. A motivational speaker I thought well, that would be cool and everything but I do not just want to be a motivational speaker. If you are looking for a motivational speaker and you found me guess what you have found your motivational speaker. That is who I am. I am your motivational speaker man. If you needed one, I am your guy.
So back in 2005, that was when I registered it and it was kind of a side gig at that point and then three years ago I ended up getting laid off from my job and that was really a mixed blessing for me because I had been unhappy with my job as it was and I kind of wanted to go out on my own and to do this as a full-time gig. This is what I am passionate about. This what I love doing. I love being able to connect with people and to see heads nodding. To see the light on people’s faces turn on when they are getting the message.
Now we are doing that in a virtual environment and it is a little bit different but even through doing virtual presentations I have got my certification as a virtual presenter and being able to use the chat feature so that people are giving me feedback as we are going through and you are seeing the message be reinforced there and people are giving you those like ” ah, I see. I get it.” That is what is really cool. So three years ago it went from being side household to being main gig and it was kind of one of those things that I wanted to do it but I did not have the guts to pull the trigger so to speak. My employer pulled the trigger for me and it was like, you know what? Here we go. This is what I have been looking for. No looking back. Let us move forward and let us do this.
John: That is awesome. That is awesome. How is it gone since you launched the site?
Rob: So it has been good. It has been very well received. I have done a lot of different presentations and right now things are a little bit difficult and trying to figure out how to kind of adapt to the new environment. It looks like virtual presentations are going to be the thing for a while and having the necessary equipment for that is very important. However, what I have come to realize is this, getting certified as a virtual presenter and having a third party say, yes, you have the tools to be able to do this. You have the technical know-how to be able to do this. I consider that kind of like about two percent of what is important when it comes to presenting. Ninety- eight percent of it is still the content and the delivery. You can get somebody who is excellent with the technical side of things but if they stink as a teacher or as a presenter, your audience does not get anything out of that. What I am coming to this with is I am coming in with my story. I am coming in with my experience. I am coming in with what I bring as a presenter and now I just got a new way to engage the audience and is virtually it is different. But you know what, that goes way back to what I talked about at the beginning with my injury. Yes, the way that I engage the world has changed, but I am still engaging the world and now I have just got to use that new engagement style and those new engagement tools to make the most of the opportunity.
John: Got you. Speaking of — you talked a little bit about when you go out and speak some of the people you speak with are HR directors and share the experience of being handicapped person and what is important to handicapped employee when they are working for an employer. We just passed the 30th anniversary of the ADA. When you have learned about the ADA and its role in empowering those who have historically been marginalized in American society, the handicapped. What has been your experience with the ADA and is it gone far enough? And how far can we go in the next thirty years in terms of making improvements for people that have various types of handicaps?
Rob: It is funny that you say that and because when I was growing up, I used to listen to Bruce Hornsby and the range and they had a song about that is just the way it is, right?
John: That is right.
Rob: Some things will never change and because the law does not change and other man’s mind when all the — when all he sees that the hiring time is — I do not remember exactly what the lyrics are but the understanding is the law is wonderful and I am so excited and listen you talk about good timing and that not there is ever really good timing to acquire a disability. Okay?
Rob: I acquired my disability three years after the ADA passes. So I talked about the fact that I have got experience on both sides of disability. First twenty-one years of my life I am living without a disability. Then the next twenty-seven I am living with. So I know what both sides of it are like. I do not know what both sides of the ADA are like. I do not know what it was like pre ADA. I know what it is like post ADA. Yes, I think that the ADA can cover a lot of physical elements of it. So making buildings accessible and having making sure that there are opportunities and just all of the kind of the law things that you can do are fantastic.
Listen, that does not just benefit people with disabilities. When you making a building accessible, when you put a ramp up to it, you are also helping out the elderly who may have trouble with some stairs. You are helping out moms that have kids in a stroller, going up and down stairs for them also almost impossible as well. So what you are doing is you are not just making it accessible to wheelchair users, you are making it accessible to the entire community. So that is great but what my biggest thing is, and I actually liking this very much to the Civil Rights Movement for African Americans in which there were laws that were repealed.
There were all types of governmental things that were put in place to eliminate the barriers to employment and to community integration into all of those things. But what we are seeing today is the fact that all of those laws that were implemented fifty, sixty, seventy years ago, still have not changed attitudes and they still have not changed perception and we still have a problem with bigotry, with bias, with prejudice in this country. Even though we have changed the law we have not been able to change people’s minds completely. So that is really where I come from. I think the ADA is wonderful and I think that from a physical perspective it has done great things as far as increasing accessibility, but the next thing, the next hurdle that we are looking at for people with disabilities is the misinformation that is out there and breaking down the stereotypes. Breaking down the bias. Breaking down the stigma that goes with having a disability. Having an understanding my disability does not define who I am. I am Rob. That is who I am. I do not classify myself as being disabled to handicapped. A person with a disability. Those are all things that if I were to put down my list of who I am, I am not sure if they would make the top hundred.
Everything else is what defines me. Those are just part of my physical circumstances and again not to beat up on this point, but that is how I engage the world but it is not who I am.
John: His name is Rob Oliver. He is our great guest today on Impact Podcast and you could find Rob at yourmotivationalspeaker.com or on this podcast learningfromsmartpeople.com. Rob, tell us a little bit about learning from smart people. What are you trying to accomplish there? What are the type of guests that you are having on your show and how is it going so far?
Rob: So yesterday we released episode number 31, which is pretty cool. The whole thing originated because I have always thought — not always but for the last couple years I felt, would it be cool to have a podcast? Then I am a member of the National Speakers Association chapter here in Pittsburgh, and we had a guy come and present in January and he is like podcasting is where it is at. Everybody should have a podcast, like yeah, that is really cool and everything but I do not have time to do a podcast. Then covid hit and I am sitting at home and I have got all kinds of time to do whatever. I am like this is a great idea. Now, I have got time, let us do this. So I have been doing two episodes a week for the past obviously fifteen weeks and it has been really kind of — it is been fun. The concept of learning from smart people, here is where I am coming from. I am an entrepreneur. I am a speaker. I am an author. I have also run a nonprofit that does anti-bullying stuff. I have got a lot of stuff going on and so my first thought was I would love to have people on that are going to help me build my businesses.
So I am bringing in national and international experts to talk to entrepreneurs. To talk to business leaders. To talk to small business owners about how to build your brand. How to market your brand. The experience that they had of starting a business and growing their business and where their business is today, and then I am also thinking you know what? I believe that everybody has something that you can learn from them if you are just willing to listen. I know a lot about a lot of different things and the way that I have learned those things is to find people who are smarter than I am about those topics and I asked them and then I listened. So my thought was there are everyday people out there who have no idea the wisdom that they actually have and let me bring on people that I know. People that are my friends. People that are my neighbors. People that are in my community and to bring them in and to talk to them about their lives and to talk about what they are doing and to learn from them.
So I have a friend who drives a gas truck and I brought him in and we talked about problem solving and he dropped a gem on me, which was the best way to solve a problem is to anticipate it and prevent it from happening in the first place. I was like, holy cow never thought about it that way. I had a friend of mine come on. She has a child with multiple food allergies, and she talked about adapting to the New Normal and now she is completely had to her diet. The diet in her whole house because of her child with these food allergies and heard life is no less rich than it was before she had her child and her child is not missing out on the developmental milestones or on experiencing life or being a happy kid who loves excavators and tractors because he has food allergies. That is just part of life. That is the new normal but in the meantime life is wonderful and raising that child is wonderful and you are seeing that the child grow and develop and that is what life is all about. It is not about focusing on the detriments, the fear all of those things. So the answer your question is I am bringing on people that I can learn from and that involves experts in specific areas of business building and growth but it also involves bringing in everyday people to share the wisdom that they have gained from the experiences that they go through.
John: Rob, you wrote two books. Still Walking, which was a best-seller and its sequel Still Falling. What do you want our listeners to know as the top three takeaways from those two books?
Rob: So Still Walking was actually — my friend helped me come up with a title on it because I had some other title. I do not know what it was but he was like, yeah, your title sucks. You going to have a better one. He suggested Still Walking. I am like that makes a whole lot of sense because what I wanted to get through in that book is this, life is a journey and even though I may be paralyzed I am still walking down the journey of life. So the the number one takeaway is still walking as in continuing to walk on the journey of life. Number two take away is still walking in that would be still as in not moving, right? So even though I ca not move the journey is still taking place. So it is a different way of engaging it but the walking. Dire Straits talks about the Walk of Life, right? The Walk of Life is happening and even though I am paralyzed I am still doing the Walk of Life. No matter what my limitations are I can still live.
Then with Still Falling a friend of mine came to me and is like, Oliver I read your first book. It was really inspirational. It is really wonderful but it seems like everything always works out for you. Is that really the way it goes? Do you lead a charmed life? I am like look at me for crying out loud. Do I really lead a charmed life sitting here my power wheelchair? Let me think about this and I realized listen having a good outlook and a positive attitude will not prevent you from tipping your wheelchair over in the middle of the driveway or in the middle of your college campus, things will happen to you. So I wrote Still Falling with this understanding no matter how positive your outlook is you are still going to hit those down times. You are still going to wipe out and when you wipe out there are three things that have to happen.
Number one, you have to understand that you can not stay there. The cover of the Still Falling book is footprints through the snow and the idea is that when you are going through the snow, there is ice, there is danger. It is all hidden underneath the snow and the snow itself is a danger and if you fall in the snow and you stay there you are going to experience hypothermia, you are going to experience frostbite. All of those things are a danger if you just stay down, so do not stay down.
Number two, you have got to get back up and keep moving because you did not go out in the snow just to go out in the snow. You went out to go somewhere. So wherever it is that you are going you have to get up and keep going to where it was to your destination. Third, you have to realize as you look back at it, what was it that caused the fall? What happened with that fall? How do I learn from that experience so that either A I can prevent it from happening again or B, when it happens again I know how to handle it and I know how to get back up that much quicker. So those are my three quick takeaways. Number one, that life is a journey and I am still on that journey. Number two, even though the way I have engaged the world has changed and I may be paralyzed I am still living life and enjoying it fully. Number three, we are all going to have those slips and falls, but we need to make sure, A that we do not stay down, B that we get back up and keep moving towards where we are going and see that we learn from every time we fall down, so that we can grow from it and be in a better place when we get back up than when we started.
John: All those are some great words of wisdom and lessons to leave with our listeners today. Rob you are inspiring for me. I am listeners and again for our listeners who want to find you and book you to be a motivational speaker, they can go to yourmotivationalspeaker.com. Rob you are making impact. A great impact on the world, on people that you come in contact with and just you know you are making the world a better place man, and I am so grateful for your time today and for your message today and thank you for being a guest today on the Impact Podcast.
Rob: Hey, listen, thanks for having me. On your listeners if they go to yourmotivationalspeaker.com, I have got a little form on there. Fill that form out and I will give you twenty-five lessons from twenty five years. I wrote this little paper a couple of years ago and it is twenty-five things that I have learned in the twenty-five years since my injury. It is free to all your listeners. Get on there, enjoy that and it is a gift from me to them.