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I speak on mental health and Greek Life has been kind to this talk.  By way of this post, I would like to share some stories from the road:

  • I typically disappear before I speak. I’m about to open my heart up and I find a quiet place, pray about it, get psyched, and then run onstage.  I was on my way outside when I got caught holding the door open for a bunch of men coming to hear me speak at a fraternity event at a major university.  As I was standing there one student walks by and says to his fraternity brother “I cannot wait until this sh!% is over with.”  He was talking about my talk and it cracked me up!  I totally used it in my opening. I get it.
  • A sorority sister hits me up on Instagram telling me how she used what I talked about to help her brother. I asked her “when did she hear my talk on mental health?” She mentions her national convention and that was 2 years ago!  I was blown away that she remembered!
  • Fraternity boys again! I call up looking for my payment after I spoke, and the president of the chapter relays a story to me on how they used some of the techniques we went over to help a brother in need.  I almost said keep the check dudes—I was so proud—but this is how I pay the bills.  But that was some payment right there!
  • Sorority girls can be funny too! I was speaking at one school and it was the Panhellenic presidents last function before a new exec team took over and they were all commenting on how wired she was for her “last event as prez!!”  The girls talked me into pretending that I lost my voice when I got to the auditorium to meet her.  I went along and they were behind her just doubled over with silent laughter as I pretended that I had no voice.  It was funny to us—not her!
  • I can’t tell you how many students will come up to me and share their stories after the talk. I typically do not do a big question and answer session after the talk, but I will stay as long as they want me to.  At one school, I got done speaking at 8:00 and by the time I was done meeting and talking with the students who stayed after it was so late that I had to ask one of the remaining students to drive me to my car!
  • Ok—last story and I did this one. After the talk the officers of the interfraternity council and the Greek Life Director wanted to take me out to dinner, and we went to this local steak house.  On the way into the place I told one of the students to tell the director that I was vegan (I’m not) right as we were about to open the door to this fancy steak place.  He paused and looked over and said they have great salads!  I was impressed with his ability to think on his feet and we all had a good chuckle.

I’m not your normal speaker and neither is my topic or the way I explain it, but here we are.  For some reason I am pretty good at connecting with people both young and old, and I am on a mission to help reduce the number of completed suicides in America.  If I can have a little fun while doing it—so be it, but when it comes time to be serious and talk about the loss of my two brothers to suicide, you can hear a pin drop in the auditorium.  I know what I am doing…. just need to do it more and you can help.  Bring me in to speak when you can…. that’s all I can ask, and I will take it from there.

Who knows, we may even save a life that night.

#mentalhealth #campusactivitiesboard #greeklife #keynotespeaker