The genesis of my book, You are Unstoppable: Unleash You Inspired Life, comes from my wounded warrior visits to Brooks Army Medical Center (BAMC) in 2006 prior to my yearlong deployment to the Middle East. While visiting the prosthetics lab I took the opportunity to talk to several Soldiers and Airmen to see how they were coping with their lives. What one young Soldier said during my visit made a lasting impact on me and gave me insight about resilience, perseverance, and passion for life.
During the visit, I had the chance to visit with a young Soldier who had lost a leg, an arm, and had burns to over 30% of his body during an IED explosion that killed two fellow Soldiers. When I first entered the lab, he was sitting at a table learning how to adjust and repair his leg in the same fashion he learned to field strip his rifle. This was part of his amputee rehabilitation and reintegration development. As he worked, we talked about how his life had changed and how he was coping with the changes. He said:
Chief, I used to work out every day in the gym in order to keep myself fit and ready for the Army and life in general. I thought I was strong enough to handle whatever life could throw at me. I was wrong. The loss of my limbs crushed me and I immediately felt lost and depressed. I was very angry and mad at life. To be honest I did not want to go on.
It was not until I arrived at Brooks that I started looking at life differently. After several counseling sessions, rehabilitation therapy, and being around other wounded warriors I realized how much life I still had in me. I learned how to fight for my life again. Today, I am stronger than I first thought I was. It is not my physical strength I rely on now to get me through, it is my faith, my inner strength, and my belief in myself that makes go on each day.
I am stronger because I believe in myself and know I can do anything I want to do despite losing my arm and leg. I plan to live my life to its fullest each day.
His statement that he was stronger now than before he went to Iraq is poignant even today. In my opinion, he is unstoppable because he believes he can do anything through his faith and his faith in himself. Through his faith, he found hope again. When he found hope, he loved his life again. When he loved his life again he believed in himself and his life.
He is living an unstoppable life because he refuses to give up on himself, his dreams, and his aspirations. Life pushed in on him and he pushed back even harder and now is stronger. He is unstoppable.
His story of perseverance, positive outlook, and determined resiliency inspired me then and continues to inspire me. Despite his life changing injuries, he changed his life and his outlook on life. He chose to live each day to its fullest.
You have a choice each day. You can choose to believe in who you are and live life to its fullest, or you can chose to run and hide from who you are and live unfulfilled.
You can choose to believe in your talents, gifts, capabilities, and abilities and accomplish great things, or you cannot believe in your ability and live a life of regret. You can choose to believe in your dreams and aspirations and make them become your reality, or you can choose to let you dreams remain a dream. Whatever you believe in, you must put action to that belief. Just like the young Solider, you have to believe then apply the actions you need to make the belief your reality. You have to believe you can lead an unstoppable life and then apply the actions you need to realize an unstoppable life.