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  • Jeremy Raeszler

Success Is The Best Revenge

Why do I embark on these audacious journeys and share them with the world? The short answer is simple: I want to empower other disabled individuals so that they live the life they want to live - a life by design. The long answer is a little more complicated. And to understand it, you first have to know a little about me.

When I was 30, I had just gotten married, bought a new house, and started a business all at the same time. I was in love, confident with my abilities to provide for my new wife as I had promised her I would when we first moved to Las Vegas in 2002 and my entrepreneurial mindset was in full swing. Owning my own business this early in our new lives together, and with the burden of our first mortgage together was a risk. But I was young and ready to take on the world. How tough could it be?

Despite challenges - some self-imposed - I made it through the early days and grew my business rapidly and almost to the limits of my potential. Looking to grow the business further, I started to reach out to other small business owners and groups to network. I found those things by connecting with other leaders, but I also discovered something more important; and that was I wasn't alone.

"The power of peers". I started to see patterns in the entrepreneurial experience - growing pains that nearly every owner went through. It dawned on me that while some struggle is natural, many challenges can be minimized or avoided altogether with the right information and support.

Empowered with this knowledge, my business took off, and I became a better leader....but new and difficult challenges lay on the horizon.

I was riding high, my business was thriving, and I had growing leadership ability. Driven by my renewed confidence, I aspired higher and higher....Than in 2008 disaster struck. I was an avid motocross rider and participated in amatuer race events to take my mind off work and give my wife and I an opportunity to be together. During a race on February 24, 2008, I lost control on a double jump and landed in such a way that my spine broke, crushing my spinal cord. I immediately lost feeling in my legs, but the pain was so strong I never opened my eyes...I just lay there screaming for help with my eyes closed tight. My mind was telling me that my legs were stuck up in the air. My wife was the first one to me on the track and she tried her best to comfort me. Hearing her voice calmed my nerves to the point I never really comprehended what had just happened, that I was paralyzed.

It was a severe financial hit. But even worse, and even though other business owners navigate similar waters where they are not able to be a part of their business, I took it personally. Why did this happen to me? The accident was baseless and unfair. I began to hold a grudge against my business and my friends. I was adrift and had forgetton why I was doing what I was doing. My wife, peers and therapists had helped me realize a path forward to recovery, providing valuable advice. But I was still beset by worries, and I'd lost my way - my purpose.

As time went on I sold the business, my wife and I moved to a smaller community, we went to church, and we supported each others adventures. I had done many things since my accident and since I had sold my business, but none of them were fulfilling - they just temorarily filled a void. I worked on a farm, I raised cattle, I built fences from scratch with railroad tie posts, and I drove a semi. And I reached out to my wife one day and I told her I wanted to try ride a bike.

I enrolled in an online exercise program called iFit, bought an exercise bike, and once again set out to prove the world wrong hoping to find my place and be satisfied and happy again. While sitting atop a stationary bike and pedaling till. my heart was full I remembered my why....and remembered how reaching out to others had served me well in the past in my business. I reached out to an iFit trainer, Yuri Hauswald. His support and kindness for seeing what I was trying to do helped me realize a path forward. The results of the bicycle and him were powerful and revealed a fundamental truth. I realized that my business, the cattle I raised, the semi truck I drove were not at all what motivated me. Instead it was helping others - empowering others whether in my similar situation or not, to live a better life.

At the end of the day, after a lot of deliberation and soul searching, my Why statement had become clear - "To empower others so that they live a life by design". And I did this by sharing vulnerably, sparking action, and spreading passion.

I had finally labeled with words something I had experienced my entire life. But putting words and intention to my actions now allows me to filter my decisions. It has helped me understand my purpose, and I have immediately applied this knowledge toward being a better person with renewed energy.

Put simply, I do things I love with people I love.


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