Any time I get a chance to speak to rehabilitation facilities, sober livings, jails, detention centers etc, I get really excited. I get excited because i'm going into an environment that I know and understand from personal experience. I know what it's like to feel defeated, hopeless or incapable of cleaning up the destruction created from past but I also know what it's like to turn things around from the depths of desperation to being the most successful i've been in life and I want others to have what I have been able to do.
Motivational speaking in these settings can often be challenging to engage your audience. I've been pretty lucky to have such a gnarly story that i'm able to connect with some of the toughest crowds. When I was asked to speak to a pod of inmates at the Fresno County Juvenile Hall I immediately jumped on the opportunity. These are young men that are far to young and filled with potential to do great things to be stuck in a jail and beginning the habits of bad choice making that could possibly lead them in and out of prison the rest of their life.
I vividly remember a speech I heard while I was in prison by Bobby Macado and just how much that motivated me to do better and make the changes necessary for it to last in the long term and my goal is always to be that person for these kids when they hear me speak. You never know when that one person is in the audience listening to you speak and the entire time they feel like you are speaking directly to them. While I was speaking to these young men there was one kid in particular that was on the front of his chair, eyes wide open, listening and holding on to every word. I always leave my engagements deeply reflecting on the time and meditating that someone in that crowd had an open heart and mind to receive my message and use it to fuel whatever it is they are trying to overcome.