I recently spoke at my good friend, James Malinchak’s Big Money Speaker bootcamp. James and I have been friends for a few years and had common friends for many years. It was great fun to speak at his event and spend 3 days learning from him. I had the opportunity to hear some great speakers including James, Glenn Morshower (actor from tv series 24), Stedman Graham and Sean Astin from the movie Rudy, The Hobbit and others. But the speaker that left perhaps the most lasting impression was one I was not expecting…
When I arrived at the event I began memorizing names as I normally do at every event. There was a young man named Clayton and I shook his hand and went on my way memorizing. He was nice but I had no clue of his story. Then on the last day of the event (3 days later), James introduced Clayton and I was captivated. In the middle of Clayton’s talk someone texted me to meet them in the lobby they had a business idea to share. I texted back they needed to wait 20 minutes. Afterall, I needed to hear Clayton’s story.
At age 6 Clayton was locked in a small closet inside a metal cage by his mother and step father. The abuse is so repulsive I won’t even mention it here. Here is an interview with him when he was rescued and I honestly don’t know how you could listen to it and not want to cry. http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Claytons-Chilling-Interview-Tapes-Video
If you want to read his entire story go here http://www.oprah.com/oprahshow/Claytons-Survival-Story
I was so struck by Clayton because when I met him in August he was at a program called LEAP where students go to learn and grow. Then I saw him at James Malinchak’s seminar, once again taking notes and learning. How easy would it be for this now college age student to say, ‘I am going to stay home and complain about how I was abused and blame everyone else for my lot in life.’ It would be EASY for him to do that. Heck…I hear people do it EVERY DAY and they don’t have HALF the excuse Clayton does. He has a REAL reason to blame others in his past but he doesn’t. He simply focuses on the future and continues to grow and learn. I am sure he has struggles and has ups and downs. We all do. But he is continuing to grow and move forward and we don’t all do that….
This was powerfully inspiring to me so I stayed for his talk. Clayton is an inspiration to not blame your past but take charge of your own destiny. During the seminar I only asked Glen Morshower and Sean Astin for photos but I couldn’t help but ask Clayton as well. His attitude is beyond inspiring and the next time I begin to blame those in my past all I need to do is look at this photo we took together. Thanks for the inspiration Clayton….