Youth motivational speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden is a big believer in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [CBT] because he can attest to its positive results in his own life. Yalden has long been transparent about his own struggles with mental illness and dealing with major depression, bipolar II disorder and PTSD. He has been through major spinal cord fusion and recently became free of diabetes as a result of a lifestyle change following gastric sleeve surgery. “I’m down 85 pounds and I’m feeling great,” he said, adding that he still goes through the peaks and valleys in life, just like everybody else. In this episode of The BOOM Podcast, Yalden drills down on the topic of success – and specifically the question of how to measure success. One of the takeaways from his counseling was that he was really dependent on being a numbers guy – calculating his success based on a spreadsheet: Was he losing a pound a week or two pounds a week or saving ten percent of his income – issues that everybody struggles with at times. “If I would fail or not come close in one category, then it was like I just let go of everything else,” he said. His therapist went to work with him on lessening his dependence on playing the numbers game with his progress. The proving ground for the elimination of numbers-based tracking is at his fitness boot camp at iSi Elite Training in Garden City, South Carolina – not far from his home in Murrells Inlet. He simplified his approach by taking a much less rigid view of his progress there. “My goal is to work out – to show up, to just be committed to doing my best – and to be consistent. That specifically was by goal back in January,” he said. Many people in the gym wear a heart rate monitor, including Jeff. After every workout, he receives an email with his ranking for the day. To be blunt, Yalden works his ass off at iSi – sometimes burning up to 1000 calories per hour class and easily twice as much as anybody else – but he noticed that he is always in last place. “I gave it that 10 percent – I pushed a little bit harder today. I was sweating like crazy, my heart rate was up and I felt great. I still came in last place.” But when he got home and saw the results, the realization hit him: Who cares? “I am not competing and I think this is one of the messages that I want to share with you: Are you measuring your success in life in comparison to somebody else? Are you measuring your success by who lives in a bigger home – who drives a nicer car – who makes more money – who’s got a bigger boat?” Are you measuring your success by who goes on a nicer vacation? Are you measuring your success based on who is a better parent? “When you get caught up in that game and you get caught up in that cycle of keeping up with the Joneses, it’s hard to break out of it.” We discover newfound freedom when we realize that we’re not competing against anybody else in our journey and that everybody’s journey is different. “I came in last place today. I came in last place every day, but I am not competing against anybody. I am competing against being my healthiest. Competing against being a better person today than I was yesterday,” he said. According to Yalden, sometimes we stress ourselves out by trying to be who we may never be – or by trying to be somebody that we are not. Listen – sometimes we stress ourselves out – with trying to be who we may never be. Sometimes we stress ourselves out with trying to be somebody that we are not. No matter what age we are, it’s really important to get to know who you are and to become comfortable with who you are not. “I am not one of the top fitness competitors in my gym,” he said. “That’s OK. I don’t need to be. My goal is to show up every day, be consistent, do the best I can – and to cheer, support and encourage other people in their workouts.” Because he pushed a bit harder in today’s workout, Yalden said he got an epic feeling of fulfillment and joy – and plenty of energy to tackle his day. Coming in last on a graph made absolutely no difference. He cited good friend and fellow author Richie Contartesi and his theory about the three percent. “You grind every day. You give it your best – you get up early – you really push towards those goals – you are part of that three percent. Anybody can be part of that three percent. You make less excuses and you get the job done. That’s kind of like the BOOM.” As Yalden wrote about in his Amazon bestseller, BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day, the BOOM is a factor and an effect. The BOOM factor would be getting up in the morning and going to work out even if you don’t feel like it – and the BOOM effect would be the rewarding feeling of having done it and given it your best. “BOOM! One word changes everything,” he said. How do you measure success every day? Are you measuring it by comparing yourself to others or are you measuring your success based on the plan you are exercising every day? “Set a plan. Make sure the plan is clear. Take action. Let’s not complicate the big picture. Let’s simplify it – and I think you will be greatly successful.” To find out more about Jeff Yalden, go HERE. Subscribe to The BOOM Podcast HERE. LISTEN to this episode of The BOOM Podcast. GRAB your copy of BOOM! JOIN the BOOM Nation Facebook group and share your BOOM moments.
On June 27, youth motivational speaker and author Jeff Yalden was one of the showcase speakers at the National Association of Student Councils’ [NASC] 2017 national conference in Derry, New Hampshire. The three-day conference [June 26-28] was hosted by Pinkerton Academy, a secondary school serving more than 3000 students, and making it easily the largest high school in New Hampshire. NASC is a program of the National Association of Secondary School Principals [NASSP], and has been around since 1931. According to the organization’s website, the goal of NASC has been “to help all student councils become more effective organizations. NASC represents middle level and high school councils nationwide. It seeks to provide a valuable leadership partnership between students and their school. It creates the opportunity for students to become effective leaders, thus encouraging and influencing a positive school climate.” Yalden was happy to be back. He was a showcase speaker at a previous NASC national conference 15 years ago in Cupertino, California. “The conference is for student council and National Honor Society kids and advisors from all over the country,” he said. “They learn all of the things that student council does to make the school and the community a better place.” He added that it is always an honor and a privilege to speak at this conference because the advisors have in many cases been with student council for as long as 20 years. “I grew up right down the road in Hollis, New Hampshire, so it was nice to be able to go back home and speak,” he said. His talk centered around personal leadership. “It was about who you are and what leadership is,” he said. “Leadership is influence – your influence on other people. I talked about life and the fact that, as a leader, not everybody is going to like you. You have to be OK with that.” He talked about student leaders being comfortable with learning to know who they are – but just as important, also knowing who they are not. “I also talked about leadership and mental health – celebrating your victories but being someone that is real, authentic and transparent with other people – not trying to impress people, but trying to earn their respect.” Yalden said he tried to keep it simple with the teenagers. “Get to know who you are before you try to impress and win the popularity cote from people,” he said. For student leaders, Yalden stressed that winning a popularity contest should not be the purpose or the direction, but rather a more substantive approach with authenticity and example at the core. “In the end, I wrapped up with this simple question: Are you as beautiful on the inside as the world sees you on the outside? I really invited them as student leaders to take care of the person they are when they look in the mirror in the morning. Focus more on who you are rather than on how you look – and how you look will take care of itself when you focus on who you are,” he said. To discover more about Jeff Yalden, visit www.jeffyalden.com. Grab your copy of Jeff’s new book, BOOM: One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day HERE. Check out Jeff’s BOOM Podcast HERE. Join the BOOM Nation Facebook Group HERE.
Many know Michael Oher from his football career – he now plays offensive tackle for the Carolina Panthers – and from the Oscar-winning film, The Blind Side. At 6’ 4” and 315 pounds, he’s hard to miss. For Oher, it all started at Ole Miss – The University of Mississippi – and its legendary NCAA Division I football program. When Richie Contartesi walked on to the practice field at Ole Miss, he was 5’7” and tipped the scales at 155 pounds. By an awesome twist of fate, he was given one chance – and one chance only – to prove himself. In classic “feel-the-fear-and-do-it-anyway” fashion, Contartesi made the team and became an Ole Miss Rebel – eventually garnering a full SEC scholarship to the University of Mississippi. In the ensuing years, Contartesi became an in-demand public speaker, with a focus on kicking off and closing conferences. He is also the bestselling author of In Spite of the Odds: A True Inspirational Journey from Walk-on to Full Scholarship at Ole Miss. Reader Pat Canuso had this to say about the book in an Amazon review: “Reading In Spite of the Odds was like watching the movie Rudy, but with a machine gun.” Youth motivational speaker and Amazon bestselling author Jeff Yalden hosted Contartesi in the third episode of his BOOM Podcast. “Richie and I have a relationship that goes back a couple of years now, and I knew from the beginning that he was going to do some epically awesome stuff,” Yalden said, adding that he helped Contartesi get into the speaking market and mentored him from the very beginning. Contartesi grew up in Palm Beach, Fl., where there was a lot of competition for Division 1 and Division II scholarships. And he was already at a perceived disadvantage because of his size. But he said he was lucky enough to attend a new high school in his sophomore year. “There was not as much competition, [and that] gave me the opportunity to touch the field as a sophomore. I got to learn a lot early on,” Contartesi said. By the time he was a junior, he said he could play because he knew what was expected – and he was able to outsmart some of what he called the talent just from experience. But he hit a major snag in his senior year. A broken ankle sidelined him, and the colleges that were looking at him about potential scholarships fell by the wayside. Contartesi shared his story on the BOOM Podcast – how he had a chance to play at Jacksonville University, a non-scholarship school – but redshirted his first year. The next year didn’t go well either, after a change in coaching staff. “He took a look at my size without really getting a chance to see me play, and basically just cut me from the team,” he said. He had a decision to make: Hang up his cleats and quit, or continue to follow his dream of playing Division I football. He resolved to keep going, putting together a spreadsheet of 119 Division I schools, including phone numbers and the names of the head coaches. Contartesi picked up the phone and started dialing. Most conversations didn’t last more than 30 seconds, especially when he got to the height and weight question. But he kept grinding. A silver lining appeared when he found out that a man by the name of Kyle Strongin was interning with the Ole Miss football program. Strongin, who eventually became director of football operations at the University of Mississippi, went on to work for the San Francisco 49ers and is now coordinator of football operations with the University of Tennessee. Contartesi said he built a relationship with Strongin when he was 12 years old, and Strongin also coached Contartesi’s football team in high school. “He saw my character, leadership and playing style. Because of the relationship I built with him, I called him and said, ‘Hey man – can I play football at Ole Miss and can you help me get in?’” Strongin told him that if there was one person that he would help get in, it would be Contartesi. This was three weeks before school started and way past the admissions deadline. “He was able to get me in academically, and was going to give me one shot – one try,” he said. In this episode of The BOOM Podcast, Yalden and Contartesi talk about the importance of overcoming fear and self-doubt, while holding fast to perseverance – pursuing an important goal with bulldog tenacity. Contartesi mentioned studies that show only three percent of Americans write down their goals, and uncovered an interesting correlation. “When I was playing [youth] football, my coach said to me that only three percent of high school football players play Division I football,” he said. “When I was studying about goals and the fact that only three percent write them down – the same three percent get whatever they want in life. They live a lifestyle by design, and do what they want to do every single day.” Powerful stuff. “I wasn’t the given size. I wasn’t the most talented. I wasn’t the fastest, but I pushed myself into the top three percent by always putting myself in the position to be successful – by getting there early and leaving late – working with coaches, being in the film room every day – being in the weight room as much as I could, and doing everything I could that was humanly possible every day. It wasn’t given to me, because I didn’t have all of those other gifts.” In this episode of The BOOM podcast, you will discover Contartesi’s empowering views on healthy competition and how to find the fire within yourself, and more. Yalden and Contartesi work together in the youth speaking market and speak often on leadership, character and resilience, but they have a great relationship and help each other out – the exact opposite of cutthroat tactics and self-preservation. For them, it’s all about service. “Healthy competition is when you are secure with who you are – and you want to see other people grow and succeed as well. I think that’s awesome,” Yalden said. Contartesi’s daily routine involves affirmations, personal development study and a few minutes of meditation and regular workouts. He utilizes a vision board and a goals spreadsheet, taking the main specific goals and writing them down on a Post-It note every day. He also uses a task management app called Todoist. Yalden mentioned that Contartesi’s routine was like a customized version of the principles laid out in Hal Elrod’s The Miracle Morning. Contartesi is currently implementing the principles laid out in the Dale Carnegie classic, How to Win Friends & Influence People. Both Yalden and Contartesi are huge proponents of self-discipline, and Contartesi laid out his three-point plan to bring the BOOM and make a huge impact in a person’s life.
- Build Relationships/Find a Mentor
- Overcome Fear
- Be Persistent
Youth motivational speaker and author Jeff Yalden is heating things up with his BOOM Podcast. The perfect companion to his Amazon bestseller, BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day, the BOOM Podcast drills down on principles from the book, but also features folks who have brought the BOOM into their lives – with awesome results. Episode 2 does just that. For the first interview, Jeff welcomes speaker, author, entrepreneur and fellow podcaster Mark Minard. Minard is president and CEO of Dreamshine, an adult day program and facility developed to serve individuals with special needs – including vocational training, life and independent living skills training, social skills coaching and much more. He is the author of the bestselling book, The Story of You: Transforming Adversity into Adventure, Taking Your Dreams to the Next Level and Beyond and co-host of the podcast, Elevating Beyond, which currently boasts more than one million downloads on iTunes. Pretty impressive for a guy who will tell you that he was in jail at 17, the culmination of the choices he made involving hanging with the wrong crowd – using and selling drugs. His transformation has been astounding. “I wanted to reach out to a friend I have great respect for,” said Yalden. The Story of You is all about helping people transform adversity into adventure, and this is because he did that in his own life. When he woke up in a jail cell at 17, his face was smashed in because of a beating he took as a result of an incident in a fast food drive-through where he rear-ended another vehicle. He said he was not only going down the wrong path, but he and his roommates were doing and selling every type of drug. Both of those roommates are now dead. “I didn’t even know how I had gotten there,” he said. “I found out that my blood alcohol was so high that – normally when they read that on a report, they would just assume someone was dead from beyond alcohol poisoning.” He had also been drugging, and the guy who beat the living daylights out of him had priors for assault. Minard said that at the time he was still in a victim mindset, but this was rock-bottom. He was so scared that he really wanted to change his life. Slowly but surely, Minard started associating with positive people. “I realized that I was going to end up dead – or I was going to end up killing somebody else from the way I was living my life.” Jeff often says to his audiences that you don’t do drugs. Drugs do you. In this fast-paced BOOM Podcast, Minard tells the story of his rise, Phoenix-like, from the ashes of failure and into the bright light of service, success and hope – from graduating from high school by the skin of his teeth to successfully completing college – to starting Dreamshine (with sister Amy) – and the eventual publication of his book, his speaking career and the launch of his podcast. Some people think Minard just arrived on the scene as if out of thin air. Nothing could be further from the truth. “The thing about my speaking and the book launch is that a lot of people don’t know that I had ten years before that of building a company from the ground up and starting Dreamshine. They thought I just came out of nowhere,” he said. Minard said he is thankful for the adversity he has encountered in his life precisely because he was able to transform it into what took him on his adventure – and gave him the desire to help change the lives of others. And Yalden notes that nothing changes if nothing changes. “That’s part of the BOOM. It’s like something’s got to go off and you’ve got to suddenly take responsibility. You are not the victim. You are the victor.” Minard said his college experience was not easy because, unlike many people, he did not have a photographic memory and learned differently. But he came away with some awesome revelations. “I learned that the true factors for success were perseverance, determination and grit,” Minard said. Yalden asked Minard why some people call him “the man that never gives up.” “I’m going to go after it harder than anyone else and longer. It’s the long game.” Minard is a big believer in believing in something bigger than ourselves. “That’s really what it’s all about, and so I get fired up my not giving up. I live by actions – and I think your actions speak for you. Your fruits speak for you much louder than words,” he said. There is so much in this podcast: The value of family [Minard is married with 5 kids]. Celebrating small victories. Taking action. The power of purpose. It’s all here, including the story of how Mark met and eventually interviewed serial entrepreneur and four-time New York Times bestselling author, Gary Vaynerchuk. Yalden was also a guest on Minard’s podcast last year. Listen to the BOOM Podcast HERE. For more about Mark Minard, go HERE. Grab your copy of BOOM HERE. Join the BOOM Facebook community HERE.
In tandem with the release of his Amazon bestseller, BOOM! One Word to Instantly Inspire Action, Deliver Rewards, and Positively Affect Your Life Every Day, author and speaker Jeff Yalden has launched his BOOM Podcast – the perfect companion to bring the BOOM into your life, reinforcing the principles laid out in his life-changing book and digs even deeper, featuring people who have implemented the BOOM in their lives as well. A leading youth motivational and mental health speaker for more than two decades, Yalden has addressed more than 4000 teen audiences in all 50 states, every province in Canada and 49 countries including Singapore and Vietnam. His message has always been hard-hitting, bringing a world of actionable principles to the table and inspiring his audiences to take personal responsibility in all areas of their lives. And now he has taken these principles and given them life in his book and in his podcast. In this inaugural episode, Jeff explains with astonishing honesty and self-reflection where the BOOM comes from, what it means to him and why he decided to write the book. “It’s pretty simple,” he said. “In this first episode, I want to come clean and give you guys a sense of where I have come from to where I am now, and how the BOOM really impacts everything I do.” As he talked about in the book, coming to his BOOM moment involved a series of major setbacks that could have stopped him in his tracks, or worse. About four years ago, Jeff went through a divorce which ended a 14-year marriage. Instead of placing the blame on anybody else, he went straight to the mirror and asked himself tough questions, coming to the realization that his mental health issues were much more severe than he thought them to be at the time. Jeff was pre-diabetic and putting on weight. He said he knew what to do and what to eat, but was basically ignoring the warning signs. “All of a sudden I was a full-fledged diabetic, but I still didn’t pay attention,” he said. He vividly recalls the time he went to his parents’ house, physically exhausted and mentally drained and with his diabetes flaring up. “I told them I felt like I was going to die and I didn’t want to die alone. They gave me some orange juice and something to eat, and I went home a few hours later.” But his parents intervened that night. Jeff’s dad came to his house, woke him up, and called an ambulance for him. Jeff was a mess. His triglycerides were a jaw-dropping 2784, his blood sugar over 500 and his A1C level was 15.5. “My endocrinologist said to me that at any moment something catastrophic was going to happen,” he said, adding that even despite these serious warning signs, he still didn’t make the necessary changes, citing his grueling speaking and travel schedule as a deterrent to a healthy lifestyle. And that’s not all by any means. He endured a spinal cord fusion because of a CrossFit injury and was immobilized for six weeks. “I couldn’t speak for almost four months and I ended up having a mental breakdown. My diabetes was flaring up and my depression got worse. I wanted to give up, and I did,” he said. He quit speaking and got a 9-to-5 job, thinking at the time that he just wanted to have what he calls a normal job. He packed up his office – his life – into cardboard boxes: Computer, fax machine, mementos, awards – even his varsity letters and photos – essentially getting rid of everything near and dear. But something awesome began to happen when he started going back to counseling once a week. “When I walked in there, I was emotionally broken. I was not the Jeff Yalden that many of you know. We started at the beginning and built a toolbox, and I began rewarding myself for small victories.” As a result of building this toolbox, Jeff eventually made the decision to go home and restore his office and get back to doing what he loves. This was his first BOOM moment. Jeff also started taking care of himself – including a gastric sleeve surgery that might well have saved his life. “That was something I needed to do for me, and when I did do it – it was like – BOOM! That was the reward. I don’t have to let my weight be something that monopolizes my every waking thought anymore. I am down 80 pounds. I am free of diabetes. I brought the BOOM into my life. I celebrate with the BOOM every single day.” Jeff Yalden has come back stronger than ever, reestablishing his place among the best of the best. “The BOOM is about you taking responsibility. The BOOM is about you saying, ‘I can do this.’ And the BOOM is about rewarding yourself for your accomplishments and little victories. Remember: Nothing changes if nothing changes.” To listen to the BOOM Podcast, click HERE. The BOOM will change your life. Grab this Amazon bestseller now by clicking HERE. Join the BOOM Facebook community HERE.