Tune into the Beyond 6 Seconds podcast to hear extraordinary stories from everyday people. Each episode features inspiring stories of life and creativity, triumph and struggle. I interview people who are starting their own businesses, giving back to their communities, and working with exciting new technologies to advance our world. We also talk about specific ways that our listeners can help support them and their work, so that their stories can continue to evolve. Who knows, their stories may even provide you some extra inspiration to develop your own talents and passions!
Episodes with Smash Notes
Denayja Reese is an event strategist, producer & writer who has worked on campaigns with Uber, the San Francisco Giants, Live Nation and Airbnb, as well as on content production at Coachella. Her full-service event production company, Girl With That Laugh Productions, has worked on events including the A3C Festival & Conference and BlackTech Week.
During this episode, Denayja talks about:
- How she decided to become an entrepreneur
- Overcoming her challenges with self-esteem, mental health and addiction to build a brighter future for herself
- The book she’s been writing during quarantine about her own life story
- What it takes to make positive changes in your life
Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for all the latest news and updates about my podcast!
Jonathan Javier is the CEO and Founder of Wonsulting, a career consulting company whose mission is to turn underdogs into winners: helping those who come from non-target schools and non-traditional backgrounds get their dream careers at top companies. By leveraging his experience in Strategy & Operations at Google, Snap, & Cisco, and his successful LinkedIn networking strategies, he has provided advice on LinkedIn and through more than 75 speaking engagements in 4 different countries.
On this episode, you will hear Jonathan talk about:
- How he used his LinkedIn network to get job interviews at top companies after graduating from college -- and how he made powerful impressions during the interviews to get hired
- How important it is for job seekers to actually ask for help from fellow professionals and recruiters
- How Wonsulting helps students and professionals get into their dream companies
To get in contact with Jonathan, you can find him on LinkedIn. You can also find out more about Wonsulting at www.wonsulting.com, on Instagram @wonsulting, on LinkedIn or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for all the latest news and updates about my podcast!
Marcia Moran was a successful business strategist who had been building her business over the last 20+ years. She thought she had life by the tail, but little did she know what was in store.
After suffering a major stroke in 2014 at the age of 53, Marcia applied her skills in planning and strategy as she strived to become whole. In 2019 she published a book about her experience called "Stroke FORWARD," to bring hope to stroke survivors and their caretakers, and share how becoming her own health advocate and exploring holistic methods for healing were keys to her recovery. Marcia speaks and shares her message of hope, inspiration, healing, and a way forward across the country.
During this episode, you will hear Marcia talk about:
- Her experience with her stroke and the challenges she faced during her recovery
- How her husband Jim became her health advocate until she was eventually able to advocate for herself
- How holistic health methods helped her recover from aphasia
- How her book can help stroke survivors and caretakers navigate life after a stroke
To find out more about Marcia and her work, you can check out her official site at strokeforward.com, including some special bonuses for Beyond 6 Seconds listeners! You can also purchase her book here and connect with her on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
Subscribe to the FREE Beyond 6 Seconds newsletter for all the latest news and updates about my podcast!
Dan Ram is a 3x entrepreneur, prolific speaker, recording artist and startup coach. The son of an Indian diplomat, he draws inspiration from his eclectic background growing up in 10 countries, and he has actively worked on 5 continents.
Dan is a founder, investor and coach to more than 100 startups in multiple countries. He has advised the Irish National Government on their Entrepreneurship Policy, consulted for multinationals, hosted some of the largest startup events on the planet, mentored at accelerators and facilitated deal flows for investors. He lectures on entrepreneurship and is a regular speaker and emcee in the local and international startup circuit. He has shared the stage with some of the most influential changemakers in the world.
On this episode, you will hear Dan talk about:
- How curiosity, consistency and excellence have helped him refine his talents over the years
- How his first big event-hosting opportunity came as a result of a previous failure
- Why being an introvert is a superpower, and why “nerves” on stage are a good thing
- How he gets speaking gigs (hint: it’s not through pitching!)
- How his philosophy of “start now start simple” has had a profound impact on people
- Why he doesn’t have any clear-cut goals – and what drives him instead
Jennifer Brown is a leading diversity and inclusion expert, dynamic keynote speaker, best-selling author, award-winning entrepreneur and host of The Will To Change podcast, which uncovers true stories of diversity and inclusion. As the founder, president and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting, Jennifer’s workplace strategies have been employed by some of the world’s top Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits—including Walmart, Microsoft, Starbucks and many others— to help employees bring their full selves to work and feel Welcomed, Valued, Respected and Heard℠.
On this episode, you will hear Jennifer talk about:
- How her background in nonprofit work, opera singing and off-Broadway theater performance led to her career in training & development
- How a corporate layoff led her to reposition herself in her career and start her own diversity & inclusion consulting firm
- What to do if you feel like your career or your workplace might not be a match for you
- The damaging impact of bias and stereotypes on individuals and businesses, and what leaders can do about it
- Her own experience with “bringing her full self to work” as an LGBTQ+ woman
- Her belief that everyone has a diversity story, and how this realization can lead to more inclusive conversations
If you want to know more about Jennifer and her work, here are other links you can check out!
- JenniferBrownConsulting.com (Business website)
- JenniferBrownSpeaks.com (Personal website)
Book Website: How To Be an Inclusive Leader (or purchase the book on Amazon)
The Will to Change Podcast (on Apple Podcasts)
- Instagram: @jenniferbrownspeaks
- Twitter: @jenniferbrown
Today I get to talk with one of my most favorite comedians ever, John Heffron! John is a stand up comedy veteran and winner of NBC’s Last Comic Standing season two. His latest comedy album is called Episodes, and he just published a new spy thriller book called The Holding Deal. He also has a new podcast called Kid With a Cape.
On this episode we talk about the impact of COVID-19 on the comedy world (and life in general), what inspires John’s comedy, and tips for writing a great book even if you are not a great writer.
You can find links to all of John’s social media, his book, podcast, album and more on his LinkTree site.
Wayne Baker is the author of the new book “All You Have To Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success.” He is the Robert P. Thome Professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, and Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations. Wayne is also a cofounder and board member of Give and Take, Inc., the developers of the Givitas platform based on the principles in his new book.
On this episode, you will hear Wayne talk about:
- How his research led him to realize that the main obstacle that prevents people from getting the help they need, is their willingness (or unwillingness) to ask for help
- The importance of asking for what you need to developing your career and finding success in your life
- Some examples of how he has asked for help
- The importance of maintaining human connection in the time of COVID-19
Harris Rosen is the President & Chief Operating Officer of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. He is Florida's largest independent hotelier, having built a portfolio of eight hotels in Orlando, with close to 7,000 guestrooms, over the course of 45 years.
He is also a philanthropist who has created and funded initiatives to support local Orlando communities, including a program to provide free preschool and college scholarships to the youth of Tangelo Park, and a similar initiative in the downtown Orlando Parramore district. He has been honored with the Coretta Scott King A.N.G.E.L. Award for his impact on Tangelo Park, and he believes that the successes of these local initiatives provide a template for uplifting America, one community at a time.
Also joining us today is Chuck Dziuban, Director of the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Central Florida, who works with Harris on the Tangelo Park project.
During this episode, you will hear Harris and Chuck talk about:
- Harris’s first hotel job as a young boy, and the chance meeting with two famous celebrities that made him decide he wanted to pursue a career in hospitality
- How Harris grew his career by pursuing opportunities all around the country and even internationally, including managing a property in Mexico and working for Disney in their hotel division
- The story behind Harris’ purchase of his first hotel property
- The ingenious way that Harris secured business for his hotel during the oil crisis of the mid-1970s
- How Harris began his philanthropy with the Tangelo Park project
- Why Harris and Chuck believe that expanding this program to other communities would have a powerful impact on American society
Arlan Hamilton is the Founder and Managing Partner of Backstage Capital, a fund dedicated to minimizing funding disparities in tech by investing in high-potential founders who are people of color, women, and/or LGBT. Started from scratch in 2015, Backstage has now raised more than $10 million and invested in more than 130 startup companies led by underestimated founders. Arlan’s brand new book "It's About Damn Time" was published on May 5, 2020.
On this episode, you will hear Arlan talk about:
- What inspired her to share her life lessons and practical guidance in her new book
- How she built her own venture capital company, despite not having the background, network or resources of a typical venture capitalist
- Why she decided to focus her financial investments on underrepresented founders
- How new entrepreneurs have a unique advantage during the current crisis – and how established entrepreneurs can get themselves “unstuck”
- Success stories from the start-ups that Arlan has invested in, including CurlMix (a subscription box for do-it-yourself hair products), Paladin (a pro bono platform for lawyers to increase access to justice), and Bippy (an eco-friendly personal wellness brand)
Learn more about Arlan and order your copy of "It's About Damn Time" at itsaboutdamntime.com.
Rahkim Sabree is an author, speaker, and nonprofit co-founder specializing in personal finance and mentoring. He recently released his second book entitled "Financially Irresponsible" and delivered a TEDx talk in December 2019 on Financial Empowerment.
On this episode, you will hear Rahkim talk about:
- His early experiences with learning about finances, and how he started his financial services career at a young age
- Why he called his book “Financially Irresponsible,” and how it helps people become more financially literate
- How he believes that millennial behavior is changing the way people work and generate wealth
- Why having the right mindset about your finances is the first step to becoming financially empowered
- How his passions for financial education and mentorship fuel the mission of his non-profit, An Extended Hand Inc., to help empower and educate those who are at risk of or currently impacted by homelessness
Toni Coleman Brown is an author, small business strategist and online marketing expert, with a focus on email lead generation and sales conversion. She is the founder of the Network for Women in Business, an online educational platform that teaches female entrepreneurs her signature small business success program, as well as the host and creator of two popular live events: The Small Business Bootcamp for Women and the Online Marketing Mastermind Live.
On this episode, you will hear Toni talk about:
- How she taught herself internet marketing with a hands-on approach, which included creating lead capture pages and running Google Ads
- The value of communicating with your customers regularly through email
- Why she created a business bootcamp focused on helping women succeed with their online marketing
- How she has found balance between her corporate job and her side businesses
- Her perspective as a solo entrepreneur
Garrison Redd is a TEDx speaker, para-powerlifter, model, dancer, and most of all, an advocate for disabled rights. He founded an organization called “TheGarrisonReddProject” to provide resources and services that improve the well-being of disabled individuals.
On this episode, Garrison shares:
- Why he left his government job to start his own organization
- The job searching challenges faced by many people with disabilities
- How he realized his impact as a positive role model for the younger generation
- How he discovered his talent for competitive para-powerlifting
- How he controls his fear when doing something new or challenging
You can follow Garrison on Instagram @garrisonredd to see his workout videos and other fun & motivating posts, connect with him on LinkedIn and learn more about TheGarrisonReddProject at www.thegarrisonreddproject.org.
The episode transcript is below:
Carolyn Kiel: Today on Beyond 6 Seconds:
Garrison Redd: That's the thing that I like most about my not for profit organization, is that I get to connect with individuals who sometimes I won't say feel hopeless, but they feel as if they cannot do certain things that everyone else could do or everyone else their age can do. And it's me who tells them, you can live your best life, whatever you want to become, you're gonna become it. You’ve just got to have the determination and the will, and you can't take no as an answer. And that's the most impactful stuff that I've ever done in my life.
Carolyn Kiel: Welcome to Beyond 6 Seconds. The podcast that goes beyond the six second first impression to share the extraordinary stories and achievements of everyday people. I'm your host, Carolyn Kiel.
On today's episode, I'm speaking with Garrison Redd. Garrison is a TEDx Speaker, para-powerlifter, model, dancer, and most of all, an advocate for disabled rights. He founded an organization called TheGarrisonReddProject with an essential goal of bettering the well-being of disabled individuals through a variety of methods. Garrison provides resources and services like advice, motivation, inspiration, health and more to improve the quality of living for disabled individuals. Oh, and the place where Garrison and I are talking today is a little bit noisy, so you may hear some background noise throughout our conversation – but in case you miss anything due to the noise, you can also find a full transcript of this interview on the Beyond6Seconds.com website.
Garrison, welcome to the podcast!
Garrison Redd: Thank you for having me. Carolyn, I really appreciate you taking the time out of your day to speak with me.
Carolyn Kiel: Thank you. Well, thank you for spending the time with me. You have a really amazing story and you're involved in a variety of different things. So why don't we start off learning more about TheGarrisonReddProject? So how did you get the inspiration to start that?
Garrison Redd: I was actually working at the IRS for six years, and one day I was at my desk and I said, I'm way too cool for this. I'm a young man. I have good qualities and I wanted to leave something impactful on the world. So I woke up one day and I pretty much went to my manager and said, today will be my last day. I'm off to better things. And my inspiration really came from seeing kids with disabilities, and they would come up to me, like if I'm outside or wherever I was. And they would say things like, how I stay motivated and how much I inspire them to be something great. So through that I just woke up one day and said, I'm going to start an organization. I'm going to start speaking around the world. I'm just going to do many of the great things that will inspire and motivate so many individuals that was in circumstances like myself.
Carolyn Kiel: Wow, that's incredible. And I guess I should mention, since no one can see us on the audio podcast, that you yourself are a disabled individual, or would you describe yourself that way?
Garrison Redd: Well I consider myself able with limitations, because the reason why I say that is because I pretty much can do anything that anybody else could.
Garrison Redd: For instance, if there's a staircase, I may not be able to walk up the stairs, but I am able to get up a flight of stairs whether I have to scoot up or my backside, or someone may have to carry me. At the end of the day, I could get to the next flight. So it's just a limitation to how I would be able to get there.
Carolyn Kiel: True. So, we talked a little bit about in your bio that TheGarrisonReddProject provides all kinds of resources and services. What kinds of projects or some of the things are you working on right now through TheGarrisonReddProject?
Garrison Redd: Well, right now I offer a host of adaptive events, and those events could consist of rock climbing, adaptive basketball, hackathons, things of that nature, just to spread awareness to individuals with disabilities and to give individuals with disabilities an opportunity to participate in different activities. Because there's a lack of resources in I think America and specifically in New York, where individuals are able to get out and be in the world. And I think it was real important for me to try to showcase some of these individuals' abilities in an effort to increase inclusion, because a lot of people don't know that the disabled population is the largest minority demographic population in the world. 20 percent of individuals identify themselves as being disabled. But on the other hand, 70 percent of individuals with disabilities are currently unemployed. So I try to create inclusive events as well. So I may have an adaptive basketball tournament, but I will actually have able-bodied individuals playing basketball right along with disabled individuals.
Carolyn Kiel: Very cool! So you really provide a whole range of help with employment and sports and involvement in that way. And we mentioned that you're also a TEDx speaker. And in your TEDx Talk, you shared a little bit about your own challenges at first with finding employment. Do you find that the disabled individuals that you work with have challenges around finding employment, and are you able to help them with that?
Garrison Redd: Yes. Typically, a lot of individuals come to me and inquire, you know, ways they can find employment. And a lot of times these individuals have their degrees, have the appropriate qualifications. However, employers are reluctant to hiring them. So that's when I've decided to create inclusive events where individuals can learn from one another. So, for instance, an able-bodied manager or CEO or executive could come out to one of my inclusive events and participate with individuals with disabilities, but they get an opportunity to ask questions and to learn about some of their abilities in order to increase awareness and help these individuals find employment. Because a lot of times people feel that it's unethical to ask a disabled individual what they can and cannot do. So there'll be a misconception where they assume that this individual is unable to do certain things. When in actuality, they are completely able to do so. So like in my case, what I was noticing is that employers would think they would have to accommodate me with different types of reasonable accommodations when that's totally not the case. As long as I could wheel under my desk, I was completely fine and I was completely able to carry out all the job duties as if I was an able-bodied individual.
Carolyn Kiel: Right. As you said, you have these abilities. You know, there are just different things in the environment that need to be shifted around and then you can pretty much do anything that anyone else can do.
Garrison Redd: Exactly. And like I always tell people, the wheelchair isn't a restriction. Society places restrictions on wheelchair users. So for instance, if we made everything accessible, then there would be no restrictions and there would be no limitations at all, because we would be able to do anything anyone else could do. And that's the same for other disabilities as well. So if we work on universal design, where everybody can access all facilities and all places of employment, all social arenas, then there would be pretty much no difference in a disabled individual and an able-bodied individual.
Carolyn Kiel: Yeah, definitely. That's a really good point. I'd love to hear a little bit about some of the people that you've been able to impact or reach through TheGarrisonReddProject. You know, you must either speak with people or help them get resources, whether it's employment or participating in sports or improving health. Do you have any success stories of someone that you worked with that are memorable to you that you would maybe want to share?
Garrison Redd: Oh, yeah, definitely. All right. So I met this gentleman. Well, he's a gentleman now, but at the time when I met him, he was around 17 years old, getting ready to graduate high school. And he had spinal bifida, that's an injury that typically individuals are born with. So it's acquired at birth. So he lacked the ability to ambulate. And this young gentleman, Patrick, he reached out to me to participate in some of my organization activities. And he would come every weekend, and whatever I was hosting, whether it was a basketball event, a baseball event or a climbing event, he always made it on time and showed up with enthusiasm. So one day I asked him, like, what are you going to do after high school? And he said, I really don't know because I would love to go to college, but I don't know if I'll be accepted if I attend any universities. And so I was like, what type of school? I started inquiring more like, what type of school you go to currently? And he said he goes to a school where it's mostly disabled individuals that attend that school. So I told him, you know, like in my case, when I went off to college, I was 19 years old and I said, people are going to accept you for who you are. So once I told him that, like, instantly he felt motivated. And I told him, you know, you can stay in a dorm just like everyone else. And it will help with your independence overall, because at the end of the day, I want you to be out in the world. You're a young man and you've got to get out in the world. You got to see the world and get to enjoy your life. And you can't stay home for the rest of your life now that you've graduated high school. So right now, he's in Arizona. University of Arizona. It's his third year. He's a junior. And he just completed an internship not too long ago, and he was telling me how it was a wonderful experience and if it wasn't for my events and just speaking with me on a continuous basis, he don't know where he would have been at this point in life. Of course, I was joyful of that. But at the end of the day, he put in the work and it was him that actually went on to do what he aspired to want to become.
Garrison Redd: And stuff like that is fulfilling for me, due to the fact that I didn't know I could have so much of an impact on individuals that start out as complete strangers and then they become like family. And that's the thing that I like most about my not for profit organization, is that I get to connect with individuals who sometimes I won't say feel hopeless, but they feel as if they cannot do certain things that everyone else could do or everyone else their age can do. And it's me who tells them, you can live your best life, whatever you want to become, you're gonna become it. You’ve just got to have the determination and the will, and you can't take no as an answer. And that's the most impactful stuff that I've ever done in my life. So I love it!
Carolyn Kiel: That's awesome! And it sounds like certainly for this young man, he saw you as a role model. It sounded like maybe he wasn't sure if he could go to college or would be accepted there because, I don't know, maybe he just didn't see an example of someone who had gone to college and had a disability and still is flourishing. So it sounds like you were able to provide that example for him. And, you know, even just knowing one person who is in your situation who can achieve big goals. I think that can help inspire people. And it sounds like that's what you did for him.
Garrison Redd: Yeah. And see, another thing, when I started my organization, a big issue was that there's not too many individuals with a disability that people could aspire to become like a Wayne Gretzky or Michael Jordan or Mariah Carey or, you know, one of these influential individuals out here that people could look up to. And I said, I could be that person. So that was one of my main reasons for starting TheGarrisonReddProject. I just wanted to be a person that other individuals with disabilities can look up to and say "if he did it, I could do it."
Carolyn Kiel: That's awesome. And you're right, we don't really see a lot of examples in the media or popular culture of people using wheelchairs who are doing a whole variety of different things. So it's hard to kind of see what that example is. And it sounds like you're involved in a lot of different things. I mentioned in your bio that you're a, you've been a model, you're a dancer, so, you know, you're in the media in that sense, doing those things. And you're also an athlete as well, a competitive athlete. You were always involved in sports since you were young and now what you're competing in is powerlifting. Is that correct? Your latest thing?
Garrison Redd: Yeah.
Carolyn Kiel: How did you decide to get into that?
Garrison Redd: It's funny how I got into it, actually. One day I was in a gym and a gentleman came up to me and he's like, you should play on my wheelchair football team. So I'm like, wheelchair football? I'm like, I never even heard of that. It sounds like dangerous! Like if I fall and break a leg, what happens? Like, it just doesn't sound like something I should be doing. But he was like, no, you should come out, meet some of the other athletes and some of the other people that's involved with it. And going to that wheelchair football practice actually changed my life and my whole outlook on adaptive sports.
Garrison Redd: Prior to my injury, I played football, and my whole life was pretty much dedicated to going to the NFL, buying my mother a big house, that's all I thought about. And then when I got injured, my dreams was cut short. So I pretty much said to myself, I'm not going to get involved in any adaptive sports because I don't want to put 110 percent into something for it to not go anywhere. So years passed. I'm in the gym. Guy comes up to me. He's saying, come out to my wheelchair football practice. I come out and I meet this gentleman by the name of John Hamre, who's the president of the Wheelchair Sports Federation, and he's like, you know, you're in great shape. You should be involved in some type of athletics. And I said, like, I was like, I don't want to do team sports! Everybody does wheelchair basketball. I just wasn't into that. So he said, there's other sports, there's thousands of other sports. So I'm like, name some of them. And he says, you ever thought about wheelchair track racing or wheelchair field sports? And I said, you know, I never trained in track when I was in high school or anything, and I was an able body. So when he told me that, I automatically was intrigued. I'm like, they have that? So he said, yeah!
Garrison Redd: And he did me a favor. He said, I'm going to hook you up and put you on the best track team, junior track team in the nation, which was the New Jersey Navigators. So from there, I started doing field sports and wheelchair track racing and I was loving it. And then one day my coach, Jimmy Cuevas said, I put you in a para powerlifting meet. He said, you don't look like you weigh that much and you're pretty strong. So he puts me in this meet -- since there's not a lot of facilities I could go to weigh myself because doctors and hospitals typically do not have a scale for wheelchair users -- they did! So he's like, how much you think you weigh? I'm like, 140 pounds. I get on a scale and I weighed 120 pounds. And I was able to lift 250 pounds with no training at all.
Carolyn Kiel: Wow!
Garrison Redd: Which was at that time, and it still is, one of the strongest lifts in the country. This is approximately two years ago. And then from there, the Team USA performance manager reached out to me the next day instantly and informed me that I should vie for a spot on Team USA para powerlifting. And then from there I went to a level one camp, that's where they give you like educational stuff in regards to para powerlifting before you can even compete. And then after that, they invited me to the Olympic Training Center, which is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. And at the Olympic training facility, I was able to lift about 270 pounds weighing a little bit more, weighing about 130 pounds, which from there they knew I was like the real deal, and invited me to a para powerlifting national qualifier. And that's when I originally qualified to go to world championships in Kazakhstan, which was a year and a half ago. So it was like overnight I got into para powerlifting.
Carolyn Kiel: That's amazing! You basically could lift double your weight, you're saying, without any training, just because you were in such good shape from being athletic and going to the gym! That's amazing.
Garrison Redd: Yeah. So fast forward, I just competed in a national qualifier in Missouri, which I'll be attending world championships in Bogota, Colombia, on March 16th to March 22nd. And I'm really looking forward to that. Actually I finished 2019 competing against able-bodies, and I was second in the world competing against able-bodies at 123 pounds. I lifted 290 pounds at a powerlifting meet which placed me second in the world.
Carolyn Kiel: Wow! And how often do you train?
Garrison Redd: Typically I train three times out of the week with my strength coach John Gaglione. I'm his first para powerlifter he's ever coached, however he has over like fifteen years of experience in powerlifting and powerlifting coaching. He has his own gym and he coached a lot of nationally and world ranked powerlifters, so he's an excellent coach. Him training me, we're off to a new venture in which I'm doing pretty well. So he's actually moving up the ranks as a para powerlifting trainer and he's going to become the head trainer of Team USA para powerlifting team.
Carolyn Kiel: Wow, that's cool. And then the world championships that you're going to, is that a qualifier for the Paralympics?
Garrison Redd: Yeah, it is a qualifier for the Paralympics. With this qualifier, I have to rank seventh in the world in order to compete at the Paralympics in Tokyo later this year.
Carolyn Kiel: That's really cool. You're well on your way! That's so exciting! Wow. Very very cool.
Garrison Redd: Yes. I manifested a lot of these things, too, because I saw myself as an individual just doing great things. And all of those things are coming true. But at the same time, I'm inspiring others that whatever you believe you could aspire to be, you can become that.
Carolyn Kiel: Definitely! And you're proving that right in so many different realms from athleticism and the nonprofit that you run, and even public speaking! So I think I first learned about your story from watching your TEDx Talk, a recording of it that you did in 2018. How did you get that opportunity to do a TEDx Talk?
Garrison Redd: Well I got the TEDx Talk, actually a friend of mine's name, Connie Chi one day, informed me that I should do a TEDx Talk. And when she informed me that I should do a TEDx Talk, I said I don't even know, at the time I didn't even know what it was! Which is funny. So I did the TEDx Talk, and from doing the TEDx Talk, well, she informed me what it was. So I went and did some research and I was like, this is something I can do. So fast forward, I found out ways to go about it. I contacted an organizer that was holding a TEDx Talk in Long Island. And from there I said, let me apply. And I applied and I was selected! And that was the first talk I did on that scale. I never spoke in public ever prior to that TEDx Talk.
Carolyn Kiel: Wow! Wait, ever? That's amazing! To go from like never to something as big, like that's a pretty significant stage and, you know, I've never done anything remotely like a TED Talk or a TEDx Talk, but I hear there's a lot, you know, potentially it's a lot of pressure to get your message out in a relatively short amount of time. Did you have to coach or practice a lot before you got on?
Garrison Redd: Not really. And I'm saying that's the reason why not really, because I already had my story in my head that I've been replaying for years and years. And I just, that was my opportunity to get it out to the world. And so I did, you know, I did practice in a mirror like every night for like the 30 days prior to the TED Talk. However, I was prepared. I just felt confident that I'll be able to do it. What a lot of people don't know is that I'm a very sociable person. So like, I don't mind speaking to anyone. So it's like talking on a stage to me was just the same thing. It wasn't much different. So I think I built my confidence over the years, of just been able to express myself. And it was just another day, another thing!
Carolyn Kiel: That's fantastic. Yeah, you can tell from watching it that you have a real connection with the audience. And, you know, like you said, it's a conversation. I think that's probably the best way to approach something like that when telling our stories.
Garrison Redd: Yeah. One thing I don't have or I try to control, which is very important, I try to control my fear with anything that I'm doing. And I think that's one thing that sets me apart from a lot of other individuals, that I'm able to control my fear and I'm able to take a chance. So it works out for me.
Carolyn Kiel: That's good. Yeah, I think a lot of us are fearful when we're doing something new or that we aren't sure if we're going to succeed. But, you know, as you said, it's managing that fear and acting and doing things despite maybe being afraid. That's the action. That's how we achieve our goals and get new experiences.
Garrison Redd: Exactly. Exactly. So, yup. So if you could control your fear. I mean, that's what holds a lot of people back in life, is just fear. So, you just got to manage it.
Carolyn Kiel: Yeah. Do you have any tips for how to manage it? Do you have any like meditations or things you'd say to yourself or deep breathing or anything?
Garrison Redd: Breathing! Yeah, yeah, deep breathing. I like doing a lot of breathing exercises and that goes for everything I do with powerlifting, with speaking, with modelling. It's all the same thing in my mind. So I try to do a lot of like, breathing exercises. I take five minutes out of the day, each day, just to breathe. And I think that really helps me. And before an event, I'll take five minutes and breathe like before the event. And I do a lot of deep breathing trying to expand my stomach into my fingertips and things of that nature. Holding my breath. Also, like breathing through my nose and things of that nature. Just different ways to relax myself.
Carolyn Kiel: Yeah, it's really powerful. Most of us throughout the day don't breathe properly. So if you do take that time to really concentrate on your breath and take those deep breaths, it works wonders with a lot of things, like fear and just general health. You know, that's great.
Garrison Redd: You'll be surprised.
Carolyn Kiel: Yeah, absolutely. Well, so, Garrison, you're already achieving so many things and you're still a young man yourself. What big goals do you still want to accomplish in your life?
Garrison Redd: Well, I want to win a Nobel Peace Prize. That's one of the main goals. And then I would like to be mayor of New York City one day. I also mentioned that in my TED Talk as well. I feel that I will be able to impact the world on a larger scale if I win a Nobel Peace Prize. And if I'm mayor of New York City and I can implement so many changes, that could just benefit everyone. Because right now there's so much chaos going in the world where people just need to realize that we're all the same and we are all equal to one another. So I think I could really, you know, have a strong impact on the whole entire world in a few years, once my messages get across on a worldwide tip.
Carolyn Kiel: Yeah, that's amazing. Yeah. So you're really expanding into every sphere, you know, going into, wanting to go into politics as well. And you're right, that is a completely different way to really make policies and implement a lot of change on a large scale. Well that's great.
Garrison Redd: Exactly, yup.
Carolyn Kiel: Very cool. So, you know, how do you usually get in contact with people through TheGarrisonReddProject? Do they usually come to you? Do you do outreach? Or how does that usually happen?
Garrison Redd: I do a combination of both. So like, I will host events where I'll collaborate with other organizations. They don't have to be necessarily a disabled organization that's catered for disabled individuals. It could be any type of organization. The reason being is because pretty much everybody knows someone with some form of disability, whether it is visible or not able to be seen. It's still a disability. So I try to connect with as many organizations and partner and do tons of collaboration. I have on my website people can subscribe, which is pretty cool because I can, you know, send them out updates and mail and things of that nature on upcoming events that they can attend. So that's really helpful. And also Instagram! Social media works well also. Through Instagram, people can contact me and I always have my contact information on my page. So it's very easy to access me or reach out to me through private message or direct messaging, you know, depending on the social media. So those are some of the avenues they can go about reaching out to me. But yeah, it's tons of ways!
Carolyn Kiel: Very cool. So, yeah, I can put a link to your website, to your Instagram and any other social media, I'll put them in the show notes so that people can, you know, reach out to you and learn more about your work that way.
Garrison Redd: Yeah, and I definitely will send it to you.
Carolyn Kiel: Perfect! Garrison, this has been a really interesting conversation. I really enjoyed learning about all of the different things that you're involved in and just all the different ways that you're inspiring people. And I'm sure will continue to inspire people as you expand your own sphere of influence and enter politics and pursue winning the Nobel Peace Prize and pursue your athletic competitions and all of that. As we close out, is there anything else that you'd like our listeners to know or anything that they can help or support you with?
Garrison Redd: Well, if there's anybody out there that's looking to sponsor me, a lot of the activities that I do, I have to fund myself or fund through grants. So if there's ever any individuals that would like to sponsor or partner with me, feel free to reach out to me. Also, as far as para powerlifting, I do have to fund that a lot on my own. Typically, Team USA only gives us small amount of dollars to help each athlete. So, you know, I'm always looking for endorsements or sponsorships as well, as far as para powerlifting. So if anybody wants to get in touch with me after hearing this interview, please do so and we can discuss more!
Carolyn Kiel: Absolutely. Yeah. Please get in touch with Garrison. He's doing really amazing work. And, you know, any way that we can help him continue to do that great work is much appreciated. Wonderful. Yeah. Well, thank you, Garrison, thanks so much for being a guest on my show today.
Garrison Redd: Thanks, Carolyn. I really appreciate coming on your show. I really appreciate you taking the time to hear my story.
Carolyn Kiel: Thanks for listening to Beyond 6 Seconds. Please help us spread the word about this podcast. Share it with a friend, give us a shout out on your social media or write a review on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast player. You can find all of our episodes on our website, and subscribe to our free newsletter, at www.Beyond6Seconds.com. Until next time!