More about Joel:
At age five, I nearly lost my life in a freak accident that involved a 30-foot bridge, a train, a head-first fall, multiple skull fractures, and so much blood loss, the rescue team was unable to start an IV on my five year-old arm, because all the blood vessels had collapsed.
However, because of heroic Divine and medical intervention, my broken body was stabilized for the 45-minute drive to downtown San Antonio and I was admitted to Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital, where I would spend the next 3 weeks of my life, fighting for it, in a deep coma.
Pulling out of the coma, then at age six, I spent an additional three weeks in the hospital beginning an extensive recovery, which took me years to pull through.
I got a second chance at life. Many don’t.
It took years to come to peace with my gifting and to understand and accept the limitations that came as a result of the accident. And, while some of the limitations are still met with my own internal resistance, the ability to move past and beyond what I can’t do, and to harness what I can do, has been a game-changer for me on multiple levels.
The fight for that type of self-understanding was hard won. And, while I was surrounded by teachers, leaders, and family members who all wanted the best for me, it came at a price. And, because I wanted so much to please and be accepted (remember I had a lot of catching up to do on different developmental fronts), I often took the advice and opinions of others, over my own. And that was a recipe for long-standing frustration.
Clarity is more than just knowing what you’re good and not so good at; it also involves an intimate understanding of 1) Who you are; 2) What excites you; and 3) What you stand for.
Confidence – One of my favorite compliments to receive is when someone says “… you believed in me …” Personally, I think that this is one of the biggest confidence difference-makers there can be in someone’s life – to have one person who believes in them. I love being that person.
For me, growing up as an only child, at-risk, with a variety of physical and intellectual challenges, while I had many who believed for me (for my recovery), after the initial recovery from the accident, and my re-introduction into the school system, oftentimes, I had to be the one who was the believer – in my abilities, style, values, dreams, and passions.
I have stacks of documents from physicians, specialists, educators, attorneys, and psychologists who somewhat of a bleak picture of my future. It has always been my driving goal to prove them wrong. I do whatever I can to motivate and inspire my clients and audience to do the same.
As a teenager, I was a martial arts instructor; as a college student, a swim teacher; as a grad student, a personal trainer; and then in adulthood, a therapist and then life coach.
And while the mechanics of what I was helping people with changed over the years, what didn’t change is that my desire is to help them learn to be confident and certain in themselves.
Because of my own training, and the spiritual understanding I had, I knew that if I could get them to the point of believing that all things are possible, they could do whatever they put their minds to. That was my real goal – to help them believe and see themselves in a different and more empowered way.
I guess it goes back to my accident and recovery. To accomplish even the easiest tasks at first, the challenging ones later on, took a massive buildup in my own confidence.
As a speaker, helping others find the confidence within themselves is my way of paying it either forward or back.
Direction – I know in my bones, that we are all here on purpose, for a purpose. I’ve probably known that for a long time, which is why I’ve struggled in earlier years with well-meaning input from others. I would often question whether or not their guidance measured up to my “purpose”.
What I’ve learned in my own life, and what I’ve seen for others, is that clarity (an understanding of giftings, personality style, values, dreams, and passions), plus confidence, equals direction.
A big motivator for me is in not just helping people learn how to make a difference, but in helping them develop their own clarity and confidence, so that they can make a difference, in a way that makes a difference for them.
Productivity – Not as important of a word for me as is “clarity”. However, I realize that it’s a word people understand and want for themselves and for their businesses. Maybe there is a blending of “clarity” and “productivity” we can work with, since maximum productivity can only be realized once someone understands and acts upon their best features and enduring qualities.
Like with many things in my life, productivity didn’t come easy. Probably because I spent so many years trying to shore-up and improve upon what other people thought I should be better in; instead of maximizing what I knew to be true about myself.
I remember a client I worked with who was under the misunderstanding that if there was a chore around the house, no matter what it was, he needed to do it. So in this example, he spent the lion’s share of the weekend on his hands and knees, digging up sprinkler heads, trying to replace the broken ones and fixing leaks that had sprung.
Once he realized he could hire someone, at a much cheaper pay rate to do the work for him, his enthusiasm soared and his productivity multiplied. This meant a lot to me, because I got to see the light go off in his brain.
Meaning – For me, meaning relates to “calling”, “purpose”, “mission”, or as I call it in my book, “Finding your Voice”. It’s the deeper reason someone takes an action. I believe that we are all looking for meaning in our work and life. And, when you find your voice, you not only understand what moves your heart and why, you also understand how you can be a part of the solution. This is meaning.
Success – We all want it. But only a few are knowledgeable and willing enough to do the work necessary. I think that many people come up short in their search for success, because they chart their path toward it, based on someone else’s recipe, trying to mimic exactly what they’ve done, hoping for similar results.
And, while the idea of duplicating someone else’s actions may make for good theory (and I’ve tried this failing formula many times), it doesn’t always play out well.
I’ve been fortunate to have helped many people reach higher levels of success in their career, relationships, health, and spirituality. However, an individual’s awareness of what success means for them, must come first.
In this respect, success circles back to clarity; and being clear on what it means for you.
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