From Drug Dealing In A Wheelchair to Regional Director of a Worldfamous Fitness Franchise

Amanda Goolsby and me, starting our story adventure together

Amanda Goolsby and me, starting our story adventure together

Why you must pick the powerfully inspiring 27-year-old Milennial Amanda Goolsby for this honor.

(Dear readers — I wrote this for a former client. A recommendation for her to give the opening talk for Deepak Chopra’s Portland appearance at the end of September, 2016. The next day, they chose her as one of only 7 people to give a 7-minute live audition talk about “The Future of Well Being” September 26 at the Sanctuary! One will win. Catch her and support her if you can. You’ll be hearing a lot more from her soon.)

She is the Prodigal Daughter of Portland Come Home.

Her story will cut you to the bone.
Break your heart.
Then motivate you to reach for the stars.

Picture this.

It’s a sunny end-of-summer afternoon on the Snake River, at the border of Washington and Oregon.

You’re tearing through the bright water on the fitness company’s Waverider, your 21-year-old body tanned and strong like the competitive fitness girl that you are.

Never mind your troubled chilldhood.

Life is good.
The future’s rosy.
Senior year of college is only a few weeks away, and the world is yours.

Then, the Waverider spins out, whips you across the surface of the water like a rag doll.
Time slows.
When you come to a stop, your left leg underwater is corkscrew-wrenched and limp as a noodle.

“You may lose your leg,” says the doctor later.

That’s when your whole world crashes.
Forget college.
Cut to a spiral down into drugs and dealing, hanging out with a dangerous crowd.

There you are, at the lowest point, dealing drugs at the most popular downtown Portland club — from your wheeelchair.

That’s when you make the decision — no more drugs, no more bad people, no more killing yourself every day because you don’t care, don’t even recognize yourself anymore.

In the dead of night, you take off before anyone notices.

You hide out for a few precious years and rebuild yourself, your life, your body — from a sanctuary in the Arizona desert.

You listen to positive thinking tapes, you read books — Deepak is one you return to over and over — you start, slowly, working out again.

Something shifts.

You step into a new life and now, here you are, returned to your hometown of Portland, way up there in a penthouse apartment overlooking the city that once brought you so low.

Amanda, you embody well being.

You radiate health in such a way that you bring hope to everyone who struggles — to everyone and anyone who’s so sick, so broken, so caught up in drugs and self-loathing they can’t even yet imagine a way out.

But they can choose it.
Like you did.

And you’re not even frakkin’ 30 years old.

Now you return to Portland, become regional director of a worldfamous fitness franchise, Orange Theory.

You inspire people every day to push past their physical and psychological limits.
You bring a smile to people’s faces.
Your wisdom is far beyond your years.

I cannot think of a better person to open for Deepak.

You fed on his positive vibrations and brilliant wisdom like mother’s milk, and it helped make you whole again.
Your story — your very being — is a testament to the power of personal story and personal choice.

Here’s Amanda’s message:

Do you want a life of well being?
Then no excuses.
It’s up to you.
Tell a better story.


I had the deep honor and pleasure to work with Amanda on her story, so I know her dynamism and her story well.
Here is a photo of the day she made the decision to work with me and face the trauma and triumph of her journey.
She’s been steadily building toward this moment, this bigger stage, for years now.
It’s time for her story and message to reach and inspire a larger audience.
I cannot recommend her highly enough.


When Amanda asked me to write a comment to help support her — I was able to express her story vividly because when we worked together, I deep listened.

What is Deep Listening?

Think of it as the Casanova effect.
Without the seduction.
The same way Casanova made every woman feel like she was the only one in the world.
The most beautiful.
The one and only.

Deep Listening is the art of being fully present, listening intently.
With focus.
With care.
With attention to signficant detail.

It is a kind of listening that comes from the beating, blood-bold heart.
The kind of listening that illuminates your genuine curiosity.


Pick a partner.
Meet in person.
Set a timer and tell your story — without apology — from a deep place.
Face your partner and let them listen.
Let them in.
Keep a steady gaze.

Never mind the discomfort.
The awkwardness.

Stop speaking.
Keep looking your partner in the eye.
Now let them tell their story.

Take the story in, take their soul in.

When you are both finished, set the timer again.
Make sure to refrain from interrupting.

Now let your partner tell YOUR story.
See what he/she remembers.
Soak in the story, reflected back.
Bask in the honor your partner does you.
How they see you.

Now, it’s your turn.
When you speak, soften your gaze.
Let real emotion color your words, your phrasing.
Watch how your partner’s face changes as you speak.

Capture your insights in some timed journal writing.

Next. Set an intention to use this same powerful Deep Listening with a client. Or a friend. Or a lover. Perhaps you can try this with a family member. Your partner. Your parents. Your child.

If you are so moved, I’d love to hear how this worked for you.

Imagine if we all deep listened, every day…

Yrs in truth,

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