This is Ron with your Motivational Message:
The ocean sparkled as we gazed out from the Huntington Beach pier. We could see surfers among the breakers. A flood of memories filled my soul; it was a bittersweet moment. “Girls, this is where my life both ended and began,” I said.
Some months ago, I received a call from a gentleman named Ed who coordinates conferences for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. To my surprise, he had been using my short promotional video as a motivational tool for LA officers. “Your video has made more of an impact on their attitudes than anything else, particularly because of your motto ‘I’m paralyzed from the neck down, what’s your excuse?” he told me. I was flattered to hear that, of course. His encouraging words came at a much needed time.
During our conversation, Ed extended an invitation to me to present to the Sheriff’s Department in person. A bonus being that it was during Summer Break so I would be able to bring my two daughters along.
We were greeted warmly by a group of officers and administration after driving for 40 minutes in heavy Los Angeles traffic. With all eyes on me and the cameras rolling, I felt instantly accepted. I was presenting to individuals who have seen some of life’s worst circumstances.
I told my stories, focusing on purpose, perspective, potential, planning, and lots of persistence. I wrapped up my speech by emphasizing that in the midst of life’s darkest moments, we still have control of our attitude. I challenged them, along with myself, to get better and not bitter. I closed by inviting my girls to come forward for a question and answer session. They, of course, stole the show. The conference ended with laughter and a sense of hope.
During lunch with a few officers and their family, I noticed that one young man hugging a young girl that I learned was his sister. I was so taken by it that I said, “You must really love her.” “Yes, she and my mom were the only things that got me through the five years I spent fighting overseas. I realized how many things I took for granted.” He replied. I told him what a blessing he was and thanked him for his service and asked “Is there anything that you want to share with me?” He stared right into my eyes as if he was waiting for that question. He stammered through his tears, “I want to thank you, Ron. I’m not an emotional man.” I reassured him, “It’s cool and very manly to admit to emotions.” “I just want to thank you for demonstrating with your life and your struggles. Now I, too, feel that I can proceed with confidence and hope.”
That evening, I brought the girls to Huntington Beach where I re-lived the accident. As we sat watching the sun set, I told them that I was so glad that they could see where my life abruptly changed 32 years ago. I wanted them to know that I wouldn’t change a thing about what happened that day because without the tragic accident I would not have two beautiful daughters and the experience with the LA officers.
A thought for the day: don’t let circumstances, pain, or problems with the past destroy you. Like orange juice, some of the sweetest moments occur when our dreams are crushed. From that, something new is created. Keep believing!
To your inspiration,
You can view my presentation to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:
If you cannot see the video, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6RCSbCy23s&feature=youtu.be