There is no preparation for tragedy.
Despite all our best efforts, ingenious planning, and ambitious goals, no one can manipulate the future. The result of this ineptitude is that you can also never be sure what is waiting right around the corner for you.
For Rodney Flowers, it was quadriplegia.
Rewind all the way back to 1993, it was Rodney’s sophomore year in high school, and the first game of the football season. Hoping to impress his skills upon the college scouts and make further headway towards his dream of playing in the NFL, Rodney took to the field with passion in his heart and a willingness to go the distance.
What no one could have predicted, however, was that an ill-fated tackle would break Rodney’s L5 and L6 vertebrae that very first game. Though he tried to get up and shake it off, his body remained unresponsive.
He was paralyzed from the neck down.
In an instant, the dream he had lusted after for so long became a veritable nightmare. The doctors told him he would never walk again, that he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life and that it was unlikely he would ever regain muscular control of his upper extremities. The only consolation they could offer was that had the tackle been one vertebra higher, he would have lost the ability to breathe on his own. With one fell swoop, Rodney’s life had been taken out from under him – he was just fifteen years old.
If ever there was a situation in which one could blamelessly wallow in self-pity and play the victim of life’s cruel circumstances, Rodney had the trump card. But, he didn’t. He fought back. After the initial shock had passed, Rodney got to work. He would defy the doctor’s prognosis, he would walk again, and he would take back his life.
And miraculously, he did.
After eighteen years in a wheelchair, Rodney did it. He began walking again. Today he is a 3x best-selling author, keynote speaker, CEO and resilience trainer. His motivational story has inspired millions of others to rise up and face the seemingly insurmountable challenges of their own lives. Through a relentless spirit, an inability to give up and the unyielding support of his family, Rodney did what no one thought was possible.
Today, among his various other pursuits, Rodney is the host of the acclaimed podcast Game Changer Mentality. According to Mr. Superman himself, the ‘game changer mentality’ can be defined by four characteristic pillars: relentlessness, resilience, freedom of choice, and creative mindset. By applying these principles of behavior in engaging and lively interviews, Rodney chronicles the history of some of life’s toughest survivors and how they were able to overcome their darkest moments. Rodney believes, and credits this belief to his own journey, that sometimes life’s greatest tragedies can propel us into our best selves. Thus, the essence of his podcast is about finding, “what makes the struggle something to be grateful for”, because, “after all, isn’t that game changer mentality is about?”
While Rodney’s message is out there for everyone to benefit from and enjoy, his primary audience is single women, particularly those who have been the victim of domestic violence. As he describes, it’s not only physically that people can be “paralyzed”; emotional trauma can also reap unimaginable destruction within the body and mind.
While Rodney’s story is truly incredible and a viable source of strength for millions of others around the world suffering from their own personal crisis’ and tragedies, we had to ask…why podcasting? Between the books, public speaking events and coaching, why add another burden to the pile of responsibilities? He summed it up like this:
“It’s just such a beautiful platform to get your message out there. I’m able to serve in a more powerful way.”
Spoken like a true game-changer!
He did also mention, with the hint of a smile, the ease of use might have played a factor as well:
“I love that I can come to my office and do a podcast show and I’m done. You guys [Podetize] are a full-production workshop. I send my request in to produce it, and I wait for the magic to happen. The best part is my audience loves it too.”
Given his warranted success in nearly all avenues he’s approached, we were eager to learn what sort of advice Rodney might give to someone who is just starting out in the realm of podcasting, or perhaps only a few episodes in.
True to form, he was as quick and charismatic as ever:
1.) Give From the Heart
While it may sound corny or cliché, it’s a legitimate suggestion. Often what makes us the most nervous about beginning a podcast is about the way we will be perceived by our audience members: Why does my voice sound weird? What if they don’t like my topic? What if I’m not interesting enough? Etc. In reality, though, you will never be able to sell someone on something you are not. So don’t be nervous. As Rodney says, “It’s your show, you can be who you want and say what you want. Get all those nerves out of your head and just give from the heart.”
2.) It’s Going to Be Uncomfortable – Do It Anyway
When first starting out, it’s going to be uncomfortable. There’s really no way around this fact, especially if you’ve never been on air before. But just as with anything else, the key here is repetition. The more times you get in front of the microphone the easier and easier it will be to speak naturally and let your personality shine through.