“Now one thing I’m not afraid to admit, I like adrenaline. I like that experience of doing something that most people can’t. And while I was there, I got that fulfillment … I found peace in combat, as crazy as that sounds. But it was being part of a unit, being part of a brotherhood that you just don’t find every day, and I loved it.”
Noah Galloway found his passion early in life, in the military. When he came home from his first deployment he was a changed man. Not like the thousand-yard-stare stuff you see in the movies, but because he had found fulfillment in his life by being part of a unit and going into action with his brothers in arms. That all changed when he woke up one day in a German hospital missing an arm and a leg.
Losing your purpose doesn’t mean your life is over. You just have to find it again.
When Noah was injured he lost a lot more than an arm and a leg—he lost his purpose and his identity. He ended up coming out of it better than he ever thought possible, but he’ll be the first to tell you that it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies.
When I asked him about what it felt like to wake up in that hospital, he mentioned that when he had first deployed he expected to either die in combat or come out without a scratch. There was no in-between in his mind, so he wasn’t prepared for this realization that he all of a sudden couldn’t do what he loved to do.
While this is an extreme scenario, it’s something that many people face at one time or another in their lives. Maybe it’s an abrupt divorce or losing your dream job or a sudden death of someone close to you. The transition time where you lose your sense of purpose can be mentally painful and is an extremely hard obstacle to overcome.
When his son came to visit him in the hospital, he was reminded that he still had something to live for, he had something else to drive him forward. But it wasn’t just one moment that turned his life around. There were a handful of moments that made him realize that he was ultimately responsible for how his children acted and what they grew up to be.
Noah’s life started to change when he made the decision to get some mental help, get back into fitness, and be a better father and better person. Those aspects became his new purpose in life.
You can’t take care of anyone else if you’re not taking care of yourself
I talked with Noah a lot about mental health in this episode, and how there is a stigma around seeking help for mental health problems in our society today. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed.
I loved one anology that Noah made. He said, “If you have heart problems, you see a cardiologist, and nobody thinks twice about it. Mental health—the brain—is the most complicated organ in our body. … Sometimes we have to get that checked out. … This negative image of mental health has to go away.” I couldn’t agree with him more.
And it actually goes beyond just mental health. As human beings, we seem to be more apt to care for other people than ourselves. We take a lot of pride in sacrificing ourselves to help others, but we don’t seem to take the same pride in helping ourselves.
Noah and I touch on how incredibly important it is to take care of yourself in this episode. If you’re the type of person who seems to always take care of others before taking care of yourself—just take a step back and look at how selfish that is. What kind of burden will you be on the people around you if you don’t take care of yourself?
If you’re going to do anything for anyone else, you have to be at your best first.
What it means to be a role model
Many of us are role models, whether we realize it or not. Whether you’re a father, uncle, business owner, boss, husband… Chances are, someone looks up to you. Noah had this realization when he walked into his living room one day and realized that he was the only one that would teach his two boys how to grow into men. That made a big impression on him.
Somehow I think many of our listeners are in similar situations. Take a look at your life and try to think from the perspective of others for a second. Do people look up to you? Who? Can you help them or make an impact in their life?
Noah and I talked about an interesting example during our conversation. He was in jail at one point in his life, and he decided to make a change there. But he was surrounded by people who had been in and out of detention centers for most of their lives. Although it may not seem like it, these men had a chance to be role models that they never would have anticipated.
Noah pointed out to one man in particular that he—as someone who has been in correctional facilities his entire life—can talk to kids, tell them his story, and connect with them to help prevent them from getting in a similar situation.
That really hit a chord with me. It just goes to show that no matter what your situation in life is, you should always help others and make a positive impact on people’s lives. Someone out there is always looking up to you, so you should always try to be the best person you can be.
I challenge you to do this, regardless of whatever situation you’re in.
Guest bio: Noah Galloway
Noah Galloway is a motivational speaker, author, fitness expert, father of three, US military veteran and double amputee. He has a fascinating story and is a true inspiration to listen to.
Noah’s book, Living with No Excuses: The Remarkable Rebirth of an American Soldier, is a fascinating read that sheds light on how he overcame the loss of two limbs during Operation Iraqi Freedom and much, much more. And Noah will be the first to tell you that there’s a lot more to him than just his military experience. Noah has been on ABC’s hit series Dancing With the Stars, he was the first amputee and veteran to grace the cover of Men’s Health magazine, and he has been featured on shows like Ellen and The Today Show. He continues to compete in adventure races around the country including Tough Mudder, Spartan Races, and various marathons, but he is mostly focused on speaking to others about his NO EXCUSES philosophy. Whether it’s to an audience of elementary school children or a corporate sales team, Galloway’s passion for life and his unique experiences allow him to help others in a way that few can.
Personal website: http://noahgalloway.com/
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Editing & Mixing by: Aaron Johnson