Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

(228) 424-3896

Inner Strength insights from the world of sports, disability, entertainment, business, politics and everything else I’d like to share with you.

From Death Bed to Biggest Dreams!

Why I Feel an Energy I Haven’t Felt Since My 20′s!

I thought I was dying. From late summer through the winter in 2012, I could never get right. I had been taking my medicine properly every day since being diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2005. That is a rough diagnosis for a man with muscular dystrophy. But I endured with it. I had surprised my cardiologist. The meds had worked for seven years.

But for several weeks at the end of last year, I found myself in grave condition, coughing endlessly, unable to clear my lungs of endless thick mucus. There were times I was so congested that I literally panicked because I didn’t believe that I could get any air into my lungs for the next breath. I thought to myself, “Is this the way it’s going to go down?” Somehow, through it all, I kept my sense of humor and sent this video Christmas card to some friends.

But this was serious. I was laying in bed for 18-20 hours every day. I was losing strength. I was rushed to the emergency room twice. My computers were turned off. My nebulizer and my cough assist machine were turned on, hissing and spewing like a deadly snake. I painfully realized, or so I thought, that I was on my “death bed.”

As I lay there, I began to reflect on my life and think about all my accomplishments. And what came to mind was the fact while I was proud of much, I had wasted so much time. How many healthy days did I spend doing nothing productive? How many healthy nights did I sit and watch TV or surf around endlessly in search of nothing good on the Internet. How many effortless inhales and exhales did I take for granted during those days, weeks and years that I merely “existed?”

Before I switched to the iMac, I remember sometimes my computer would freeze up and the only thing I knew how to do was hit “control-alt-delete,” which reset the machine and made it run smoothly again, most times. I feel like that’s what happened to me with my illness at the end of 2012.

As the year turned new, so did my condition. Slowly and surely, I was breathing easier. Gradually, I started spending more and more time in my wheelchair. And by the third week of the new year, I was feeling strong. And I thought, “Now that I’m up again, I’m going to make the most of it.” So I decided to resurrect my speaking career. I found Blake Watson and we set up this web site. I started making calls and setting up speaking engagements, and I started writing. I’m back again. “The Strength Coach” has returned. But this time, he’s “re-booted.”

I’m hungrier than the 28 year old who started “On A Roll Radio” back in 1992. I have more fire than the 30-something guy you saw in the documentary, “On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream.” I have a clearer vision than the 42 year old you see on the marquee speech on my web site. This time, at age 49, my sights are set higher. My ambitions loftier. My dreams bigger. Some might call them unrealistic. I don’t care. I’m shooting for the stars. I’m putting them out there in hopes that you know someone who can help them along. If you know someone who can help in any of these areas, send them a link to this article.

“The Strength Coach” has Big Dreams! Among Them:

  • Get back into radio! It’s what I do best. I have a voice and a message. But it needs to be the right opportunity. Well established. Well funded. No more buying airtime. No more ‘vanity’ radio. I am a greatly talented radio talk show host who can bring a commanding, yet soothing, comforting, inspiring voice to the airwaves. I have expertise about a subject that people should be hungry for: “inner strength!” I have excellent interviewing skills from 14 years of weekly broadcasts, combined with my BA from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State and 5 years at the top news/talk radio station in Phoenix. “The Strength Coach Radio Show” is a great concept just waiting for the right radio industry executive to give it the green light. Do you know that person? Send ‘em a link.
  • Get a reality TV show! The success of the documentary film, “On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream” (Audience Award Winner, 2005) is a clue! Hello? I’m a “telegenic” rolling sound bite who drives, travels the world, parents, and runs a business. I have a pretty assistant who gets me up in the morning and gives me showers and helps me when I travel. I’ve raised two boys to adulthood and am raising a 15 year old daughter. And I have a pair of amazing parents who are very cool, good looking people who offer me support. I have the same stresses as anybody else: medical bills, parent loans for my kids’ college, the pressures of dating. Great stuff for the flat box. Don’t you think? Do you know any reality TV producers? Send ‘em a link.
  • Take my speaking higher! I’m already a professional speaker, but not to the level that I aspire. A year from now, my schedule will be completely full, or as full as I want it to be. And I will be quadrupling my speakers fee. I know this because I’m good and getting better, fast! I’ve delivered 7 keynotes this year already and recorded all of them. I’m learning and gaining confidence. I’m spitting fire! If you know someone on a conference planning committee, let them know that they should get me now, while they can still afford me! Send ‘em a link.
  • Write more books! “On A Roll: Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude” is a great book but it is outdated. I need to write another memoir about the past ten years. And I need to write a series of self-help books about “Inner Strength.” But no more self-publication. I’m swinging for the fences this time! When I have the first final manuscript complete, I’ll ask you for some connections, or if you know someone who would like to advance it, I’m game! Send ‘em a link.
  • Get a movie made! I have a story that is every bit as compelling as Mark O’brien’s (The Sessions), every bit as revealing as Christy Brown’s (My Left Foot), and just as dramatic as Ron Kovic’s (Born on the 4th of July). The book could easily be turned into a screenplay. I suppose I could do this. I don’t know how yet, but I can learn. But I’d rather just get it to Tyler Perry or John Singleton or (God Forbid) Clint Eastwood and let them handle it! (inside joke between Mr. Eastwood and the disability rights movement!) If ya’ know someone who could make it happen… Send ‘em a link.
  • Become a great disability advocate! If I can reach my lofty goals, I will, in the process, raise the level of awareness about the issues impacting the disability rights movement. If I don’t reach my goals, I believe I will have still accomplished the same because there are young people with disabilities who can use my vision as inspiration to pursue a path that is clearly laid out. But I think I can make it. There are hundreds of great disability advocates, but do we have a “star?” Can you think of a famous person with a disability? Someone who wasn’t already famous before the onset of their disability? We need one. If I make it, “we” make it.

Sources of Strength

Pretty big dreams, huh? I have inspired myself by making this “comeback.” And I hope that I’ve inspired you as well. I’ve also been seeking inspiration from different sources. Once source is an “Audible” book I listened to on my iPhone this week called “The 10X Rule” by Grant Cardone. Grant is an International Sales Expert, Sales Trainer, Motivational Speaker and NY Times best selling author. The 10X Rule unveils the principle of “Massive Action,” and teaches you to take concrete steps to be successful. It demonstrates why people get stuck and how to move into making the 10X Rule a discipline. The book teaches exactly where to start, what to do, and how to follow up each action you take with more action to achieve Massive Action results. Basically he states that it takes ten times the amount of work most people are willing to do if you want success. And if you set your goals ten times higher, those goals require an equal amount of work as “realistic” goals.

Grant Cardone will be my guest next week on the blog in an exclusive video interview! We will examine the differences between success and failure and I guarantee that after you watch this, you’ll be writing down your lofty goals as well. As a matter of fact, go ahead and list your ultimate dreams in advance, and then check back for my interview with Grant next week.

Now, make a fist and seize the day!



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5 thoughts on “From Death Bed to Biggest Dreams!

  1. Greg, you continue to inspire. I knew you’d gone ‘quiet’ at the end of 2012, but I thought you were taking some time off. Now I know!

    I’ll keep my eyes and ears open for you– and keep writing, these are great!

  2. Thanks Greg….I needed that today. Never stop inspiring and challenging us “TO NOT JUST BE(EXIST)..BUT EXIST TO BE OUR VERY BEST INSPITE OF THE OBSTACLES WE ALL FACE.” Love you Cousin

  3. Greg,
    I applaud your “new” drive to succeed. I know how you feel, as I’ve been, and still might be, in that valley of doom. Despite the fact that my disability has been “in my face” for the past year, despite my negative bank account, and despite the fact that I can’t name more than a handful of people with SMA my age or older, I still believe there are greater things to come in my life.

    Set your bar high. If you reach it, great. If you don’t reach it, who cares, you can enjoy the great view on the way down.

    Too often society enjoys crushing the dreamers rather than being the dreamer. I hope you reach your set goals. I’m glad to know you.

    Good luck!

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