Sticking with the theme of a weekly inspirational story or person, not necessarily running related, this week, I’ve chosen Jon Dorenbos. If you’ve not heard of Jon, you might want to get caught up because this guy is on a rocket ship right now and he’s only going to get bigger. That’s a good thing for us.
I first heard of Jon and his story less than 2 years ago. He was on an ESPN Radio show that I frequently listen to and was blown away by the positivity that was flying out of the speakers despite the fact that his childhood was blown up when his father murdered his mother when he was 12. More on that and how his life has played out since.
Fast forward a year or so, and I find out that the upcoming Do it Best Corp Market, that I was going to be attending for work, was going to have Jon Dorenbos as the keynote speaker the first day. I thought to myself, “I think I’ve heard of this guy.” So I googled him and sure enough, Jon was exactly who I thought he was. No one else in our office really knew who he was and I told them, I think he’s going to blow us away. His story is incredible.
At that point, I’d only ever really heard him talk on the radio and a 3 minute clip of him from Ellen. It was a pretty small sample size to say the least but I was bought in and excited for what was to follow down in Indianapolis. So the day comes and we had tweaked our schedule to where the keynote speaker wasn’t first thing in the morning on a Saturday but now midafternoon on Friday. People had a full day of running around the convention and this was maybe the first extended period of time that people could actually sit. I was worried that the crowd could be pretty sleepy and to a degree it was until….
The Metallica starts blaring in the room. All of a sudden Jon pops up with a beach ball and yells something to the effect that “if you can’t have fun with a beach ball and Metallica blasting, you might want to check your pulse. Let’s go!” He was a runaway train of fun and inspiration for the next hour and he earned a fan for life that day.
I mentioned that Jon’s father murdered his mom when he was 12. A kid could go a couple ways with that. He was fortunate to eventually be adopted by his aunt to be with family but a kid could still go the wrong way after something traumatizing as that. He dove into football and magic and eventually played for the Philadelphia Eagles for more than 10 years as their long snapper. Hint: that’s why you’d never heard of him.
Anyways, he led this charmed life as an NFL player with this bigger than life personality and used magic to wind down or perform for his teammates. Eventually the Eagles would trade Jon which led to a team physical that would reveal he had a heart problem that would require emergency open heart surgery. Magic helped him recover as he was an expert with card tricks. It would start with just taking them out a shuffling and putting them back but as time would heal him, he’d do more and more and it became a motivator for him.
In between the Eagles and the surgery, he performed on America’s Got Talent and wowed the judges on a weekly basis. His positive message, high octane energy, and off the charts skills earned him a place in the finals. Just within the last month he was back on the show for its Champions rounds and finished in the Top 10. He has a book coming out this year and a movie based on his life is in development.
In a world full of negativity, Jon is a shining example of what optimism, gratefulness, humility. He truly is remarkable. If you’ve somehow, not heard of him before, watch the below video. You’ll not regret it. This guy could be the best thing to come around in a long time.
Have a great week everyone!