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Digging in the dirt

Last week I had the pleasure of doing a talk for the Rotary Club of St Catharines South. After the talk I then went for a coffee with a new friend who is helping me by passing my info around to different places so I can reach more people and help as much as I can.

We talked for a long time and she asked me a great question. “What is your long-term goal? What is your ultimate dream for what you are doing with your books, signings and talks” Well I answered the best I could. “ I like digging in the dirt, it is were I belong” what I mean when I say this is, I am met to be at ground level that is were I am most effective. That is were the people are who need the help, the people who connect with me and my story resonates with. That is the reason why my books and talks are working.

I don’t need bright light’s, TED talks, Shinny suites, one of those fancy head set mic’s, big events with 200 or 300 people in the audience. I stopped looking for that kind of out side approval when I started therapy and when I sat down and wrote ”Why I Run”.

Where I need to be is in back rooms of churches, coffee shops, board rooms, university class rooms, college’s, community groups and events, Running rooms and hopefully someday correction facilities. I need to be were people are everyday, people who struggle to get out of bed, people who act like things are great on the out side but are dying on the inside. People who are afraid to get help or talk because they are afraid of what will happen if they do.

If anything, I would love to be able to dig deeper into the dirt. Instead of squeezing what I am doing in between the cracks of my every day life. I would love to be able to help people all day, everyday, reach them were they live..were it matters.

I am a ground level man! Sitting in a Chapters, indigo, Coles books and striking up conversations with strangers is heaven to me. Hearing real people’s stories, there struggles and their triumphs is what it is all about. Answering extremely personal questions after a talk to help someone or a family member is one of the greatest feelings I experience. Bell let’s talk day is everyday for me, because there is only one way to reach people and change things and that is one person at a time, one conversation at a time and one book at a time, and it needs to happen all the time.

So my long term goal would be to do what I am doing now but more often, getting as dirty as I can, looking into peoples eyes and seeing a spark of hope appear were there wasn’t one before. If I can keep reaching people and helping people at ground level I feel I am right were I am supposed be. There is truly no better feeling then knowing you have touched someone’s life and given them hope!

I would take a back room of a church with 15 people over a stage in front off a sold-out crowd.

A running room with 10 or 20 people followed by a 5 or 8km run with great real-life conversations, as we run together.

A college or university class room with bright smart students who have a chance to learn from my experiences and make changes so there is a brighter future for all of us, over any bright lights and some shinny suite that I have no business wearing!

Give me a board room talking about mental health in the work place and that is success!! not margins, not percentages of growth and profit. But the value of a healthy, happy employee, a fair work place with a healthy culture far out weighs all the numbers you can count. Because only with healthy, happy employee’s will there be numbers to count.

Give me the opportunity to dig in the dirt and I am there! I am there with my heart and soul wanting to share my tools and inspire change. Give me the opportunity to be myself! I measure success differently then the normal world does.

When you talk about branding. My brand is being real and being human and being there for people and helping the best I can. Thank you Marnie for our talk and your question which has given me even more focus and drive to realize that helping people is what I am truly met to do.. Give me a shovel I want to dig even deeper.

“Only with open conversation can we break the stigma behind depression, let’s start talking and do it together!”

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