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Only You Can Save Yourself


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Steve Emt suffered a near-fatal car accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He’s an advocate for taking control and creating an action plan to change your life because only you can save yourself.

In this episode of Motivational Mondays, Steve shares how he overcame the darkest place in his life to become a successful educator, author, motivational speaker, and two-time Paralympian wheelchair curler.

why steve wrote his book

When Steve was 25, he was in an accident that paralyzed him from the waist down. When he wrote his book, You D.E.C.I.D.E., his goal was to empower people to be the hero of their own lives with a 6-step plan. Steve emphasizes that you can do great things when you have a plan and you’re motivated and inspired. 

After Steve’s accident, he had to learn to live all over again. He was an All-American soccer goalkeeper who went to West Point and played basketball. Steve went through a dark place and even contemplated suicide at one point. He finally made a decision to stop allowing negative thoughts to consume him. He went to rehab and turned his life around. You have the power to change where you are but first, you have to accept where you are now.

Create an action plan to change your life

Steve points out that there will be curveballs in life, but if you shift your focus from what happened to how you respond, you’ll move forward. The first three steps of his plan are all about action: 

  • D - Determine that a change needs to be made in your life. Steve’s catalyst was his accident, but everyone has a different story. 
  • E - Educate yourself on your situation. Do your research and surround yourself with people who expect you to be great.
  • C - Create a plan and write it down. Steve journaled every day, set goals, and wrote them down where he’d always see them.

He emphasizes that you have to create goals, attain them, and set even more so you can improve one percent every day.

how to be your own hero

When Steve woke up from his coma and was told that he would never walk again, he knew his childhood heroes couldn’t help him through it. Neither could the doctors, nurses, and therapists. Ultimately, he was the only one who could save himself.

When you look back on your life, you get to claim all of the great things that you did. You also get to claim all of the poor choices you made. But at the end of the day, you made them. Steve emphasizes that there’s no losing in life—there’s only winning and learning. 

Why is it important to surround yourself with the right people? How does Steve encourage others to remain optimistic? Listen to the whole episode to hear his motivational story.

Listen to this episode to learn about...

  • [0:25] The sport of curling
  • [3:36] Why Steve wrote his book, You D.E.C.I.D.E.
  • [7:55] Why you must take accountability for your actions
  • [10:01] Creating an action plan to change your life
  • [13:07] Surrounding yourself with the right people 
  • [14:44] How to encourage others to remain optimistic
  • [17:05] How only you can save yourself

Listen to the bonus episode to learn about diversity in the sport of curling and how Steve hopes his book can help readers feel less alone.