This keynote presentation designed for high school students shares my personal story of challenge, courage, compassion, and taking risks to fulfill your higher purpose and answer your life’s calling. Through storytelling, I inspire an understanding of how challenges and adversity can shape us into the person we were meant to be.
As someone who grew up as a rebellious ‘punk-rock’ youth, living on the streets and out of school, I faced significant challenges. But a chance encounter with a world strongman mentor helped me break a world record at the age of 17, using visualization and goal-setting techniques. I share my extraordinary journey from rock bottom to reaching the peak of Mount Everest, where I honored the memory of my friend and mentor Dr. Sean Egan, who passed away during his own Everest climb.
What many don’t know is that my troubled youth led to a serious eating disorder while working in the entertainment industry as a male model and actor, despite achieving a world record in powerlifting. Coping mechanisms developed from feeling abandoned and written off by others creating a double-edged sword: a superpower in the high mountains and an incredibly addictive personality.
Through surviving two avalanches on Mt. Everest, breaking my back while paragliding, investigating deaths on the world’s tallest peaks, rescuing friends, and recovering deceased climbers from altitudes above 8000m, including K2, all while leading on the front lines and filming in hostile environments, I’ve come to realize that these extreme adventures serve as mirrors to the true mountains we are climbing inside ourselves.
The high performance on the battlefield above the clouds came at an extreme cost, including an overdose and a near-death experience just weeks before an expedition to Mt. Everest. My entire world was on fire after I summited K2 and led the most important expedition of my career.
In this deeply personal presentation, I interweave stories of reconciling childhood wounds, healing the relationships with my father and life partners, and ultimately reconciling the broken relationship with myself. I help the audience understand the transformative power of nature, the dangers of buying into trends and the facades of the online word and the importance of fostering values, ethics and remaining true to who we are.
My presentation is a multimedia experience that brings the audience into the world of the ‘Death Zone’ above 8000 meters. With the use of props, HD video, and soundtracks, I bring the beauty and danger of Everest to life. I share incredible stories of life in remote environments and my lessons of success and failure during my ascent to the summit.
While most people struggle to take one step at a time, I climb, shoot, broadcast, and communicate to thousands during my expeditions. My presentation explores themes such as fitness, wellness, goal setting, teamwork, courage, calculated risks, resilience, believing in oneself, and giving back to society.
My presentation often moves audiences to tears and inspires them to take action. Are you ready to join me on this incredible journey?