John's presentations take his audiences journey of his fall and rise into a life he ever expected to have. John tells stories showing how vital understanding our emotions are, how fragile life can be, but how resilient every person fighting a battle is. Whether you are a person helping others, a person struggling, or a person who needs a new view into the mental health struggle, John’s stories will have you laughing, inspire action, and remind us all of the power of the human spirit.
I Don't Fit The Mold
A never supposed to be at-risk youth became suicidal
When you picture an at-risk kid, you do not imagine a kid whose parents were married for 25 years, a kid who grew up in a stable, safe, and emotionally safe home. John entered into the world of at-risk teens through the death of his father at age 14 and witnessed the death of his best friend at age 17. He found himself firmly planted in the world of depression and suicide. Through John’s battle with his shortcomings, he realized the beauty, tenacity, and wealth of greatness this population possesses. John takes the label at-risk and turns it around to show no matter our background we offer the world around us value. He creates an environment with this talk allowing for laughter, introspection, and compassion around the problematic topics of mental health, grieving, suicide, and trauma.
At Risk Of Being Awesome!
Survivors have the potential to transform the world
Some of the coolest people John has ever met have had life kick the crap out of them before age 14. We view abused kids as victims, as people who need our help to navigate the world, as people who need saving. Until we transform our view to these kids have something to teach the world, we will continue to see poor outcomes and diminished returns on our efforts. John tells the story of six youth he worked with who changed his life for the better. He quickly realized these youth were adding just as much to his life as he was to theirs. You know the old saying, “iron sharpens iron.” The last, great, untapped potential in this world is abuse victims, and until we realize they have a lot to offer us, we will fail them. The only thing they are at-risk of is being remarkable.
Culture, Environment, Emotions
The stuff we can’t measure, so leaders pretend it doesn’t exist
When the options are getting punched in the face or working your butt off to craft a culture and environment where any and all emotions are freely expressed, and it's free of violence. You get terrific quickly, at understanding the invisible connections we create. We love to measure, and what we can’t measure, we tend to discount as no longer relevant. That is why we often shy away from working on our culture and environment. We are afraid to work in the invisible connections that create our culture and emotions in our environments. John shows why it’s important to continually work on what we cannot see, to reach those elusive outcomes. John shows his audience what he learned as a former at-risk youth in a dangerous environment, and what he learned as a behavioral interventionist with the at-risk population. His teams turn every environment and culture into a healthy place for the people they serve. It’s not magic, and there are ways to measure the invisible, we have to be willing to chase what we cannot see.
You Looking At Me?
What we focus on is what we get from people
Was John a kid who had an attitude problem, who challenged authority at every turn and used his anger to bully and intimidate others? Alternatively, was John a kid battling a harsh shift in his life who was trying to find his way with off-putting humor and being an independent thinker? The answer is: John was both, depending on who was talking. John uses the story of how six people focused on different parts of his personality to pull out the best in him. They are a big part of the reason why the best parts of John grew while the less than stellar pieces shrank. It all starts with the best advice he ever got, which came from his mother. Whether John tells these stories in front of people serving others, or people receiving services, the audience walks away knowing they have a choice about how to view and treat people, and that can make all the difference in the world.