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Pick up your pen and start writing your own story – before someone writes it for you. Paul Forchione brings his own inspiring story about learning to walk when all his doctors said he never would due to his Cerebral Palsy. He catapulted his determination and grit into a business helping others write their stories – no matter how big and impossible they seem. And don’t miss his surprising way to get anyone out to the comparison game. Today’s discussion will give you a big dose of happiness and inspiration. 

Guest Spotlight: Paul Forchione

Paul Forchione

Paul was born with cerebral palsy and it was so severe that the doctors told his mom that he would never be able to walk. Thank goodness for a wonderful mom and a great mindset that wasn’t his story. He was able to overcome it and is now able to live a very active life. It wasn’t easy however to get to that point. Today as a Mindset Coach, Paul shares his story with his clients to help them rewrite their own stories to go after their true dreams and desires. (Get your free guide How to Rewrite Your Story

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Paul Forchione
Hi, everyone. I want you to get ready to meet one of the nicest people. Seriously. Paul Forchione has an amazing story full of sheer determination and grit. He was born with cerebral palsy and his mom was told that he would never walk. Let's just say that's not how his story ends. You'll learn how to believe in yourself, even when things seem like they're stacked against you.
He also has a surprising way to stop comparing yourself to others. That really works. And at the end, we have a juicy conversation about the amazing things that come from, giving yourself just a little bit of grace. Paul was so great to talk to you. In fact, I dare you to listen to this episode. And not have a little more spring in your step for the rest of your day. Please enjoy this week's episode and visit andrea hanson for more on Paul Forchione resources we talked about in this show and transcripts from today's episode
Welcome to the Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast. I'm [00:01:00] Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker. And master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told. I would never reach my goals. But I did. And I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people, living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds. Do you inspire you? To achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw. Uncensored and judgment free.
This means that there may be some adult language sensitive topics and
possible triggers for listeners. Listener discretion is advised
[00:01:44] Andrea: I am here today with Paul Forchione, who has such a great story. I can't wait for you to hear all the wisdom and good stuff that he has. Paul was born with cerebral palsy and it was so severe that the doctors told his [00:02:00] mom that he would never be able to walk. Thank goodness for a wonderful mom and a great mindset that wasn't his story.
He was able to overcome it and is now able to live a very active. It wasn't easy. However, to get to that point today, as a mindset coach, paul shares his story with his clients to help them rewrite their own stories, to go after their true dreams and desires.
Paul fortune. How are you?
[00:02:28] Paul: I'm very good. Thank you so much for inviting me on your podcast. I'm so excited to talk with you today.
[00:02:34] Andrea: Thank you for being here. I am too. I am too. To me when I see your story. The very first thing that pops out to me is just a lesson in determination. And it just starts where you say thank goodness for a wonderful mother. Thank goodness for mothers. Right? You were able to overcome at a very, very young age.
This idea, that doctor said that you weren't gonna walk and your mom said, no, no, [00:03:00] that's not going to happen. And so it's almost like your very first life lesson was determination.
[00:03:07] Paul: Absolutely. I've had numerous conversations with my mom about that. And when she first got that diagnosis, that I'd never be able to walk. Obviously she was devastated. Cried herself to sleep. And she woke up the next morning to get me ready for the day. And she told me this. She said that once she saw me, she saw a look on my face if, to say, mom, Don't let this be my story.
I want to walk. And that mama bear started raging inside of her that she wasn't going to take no for an answer. And that's when she got a second opinion, a third opinion, a fourth opinion, a fifth opinion finally found a physician willing to help. So, yeah. My mom was my first advocate. I can't say enough good things about my mom because without my mom right now, I wouldn't be walking, doing the things that I'm doing.
[00:04:00] So I owe a lot to her.
[00:04:02] Andrea: Do you think that even though you don't, I don't know if you necessarily consciously remember that it was still instilled in you and something that was internalized.
[00:04:13] Paul: Yeah, no question about that. And even more so, when I was walking at age two and three, I didn't walk that well. And I remember being put into soccer when I was five. And at the time I probably could run about 25 to 50 yards before my, my leg would give out. And I'll never forget this lesson that my mom taught me that during that soccer season, I remember I had a rough practice falling down a lot and I was just over it.
I didn't want to play soccer anymore. So after practice one day, I said to my mom, I go, I don't want to do this anymore. Kids are teasing me. I'm just staying there where the other kids are playing soccer. I'm not having fun. I want to just quit. And I remember what my mom said to me that day, cause it still holds true for me today.
And she said, [00:05:00] Paul, if you do not want to play soccer anymore, that is fine. But you need to honor your commitments. So you need to finish out that soccer season. And if you want to play soccer after that, that's your prerogative. And, and that's hold true in my life to this day at 41, I hold that lesson true that I honor my commitments,
[00:05:20] Andrea: Even if you don't want to do.
[00:05:22] Paul: even if I don't want to do it.
[00:05:23] Andrea: Yeah. Well, and I think that's, that's a really, that's the big part, right? I'm the same way. I think you should absolutely honor commitments. And it's always that much harder when you're dreading them or, you know, you don't want to do them or you think it's going to be a disaster.
How does that help you today? How do you apply? What kind of a mindset. Do you use cause we all get into things and then we think, oh, why, why did I do that? Right. Especially all the introverts out there.
[00:05:52] Paul: Well, that's the thing a lot of times, and I think a lot of people can feel that way. Like when you make plans, especially if you're making plans quite an advance, you [00:06:00] think at the time, oh, that's cool. And it's got to be a long way away. And. Two days come by two days from the event or whatever you're doing.
They're like, okay, you're ready. And I'm like, oh no.
[00:06:11] Andrea: No, no, I'm really not.
[00:06:14] Paul: But then, like I, I go back to when I was five years old, I committed to something I'm going to do it. And then if I don't want to do it after that, after I committed to it, then I can make another decision going forward.
[00:06:27] Andrea: Right, but, and that follow through also is such a confidence boost, right? Even like, especially if it's something that you didn't want to do or something that's hard, the fact that you're like, Nope, I'm doing this. And you follow through with it. Even if it's still something that you were like, I didn't want to do that.
There's still that confidence boost that comes with following through.
[00:06:47] Paul: You're so right. That, that feeling is so great. Especially if it's a challenge and you're like, oh, I don't want to do this, but you, but you figure it out. Over it, you get such a, a [00:07:00] high off that feeling. It's such a great feeling. And even if it's something that you really didn't want to do, and after you did it, even most of the time after that, you feel good, because again, the honored, your commitment, you did it and, and you're committing to something.
So somebody else is probably getting a benefit of that. So you feel good? Hey, you didn't let anybody down.
[00:07:20] Andrea: One thing that I think is really interesting. And you touched on it earlier especially, when you were growing up, is this idea of your peers and what other people are thinking, what other people are saying.
I think we all do this. I think everybody can resonate with this pretty deeply it's even if we don't know. Specifically what someone's thinking. It's what we think. Someone else's thinking and it can really affect our, our follow-through. It can affect what we want to do. It can affect our, making goals and it can affect so much.
So talk to me a little bit about how you [00:08:00] overcame that, especially at such an early age, or even now, because I'm sure there are still times. I know for me, there's still times, I wonder what other people are thinking.
[00:08:10] Paul: So, um, for a while, uh, well, first off, let me go back. I had surgery on my right foot, right after that soccer season. And it was a game changer for me. I didn't know how big of a game changer was going to be, but it gave me a little more spring in my step and it take away the pain that I was feeling when I ran.
So I'll never forget this. When I was in first grade, we did, PE was my first year at the school. And then the teacher goes, okay, guys, run a lap. And I'm thinking to myself, here we go again. I'm going to run 25 to 50 yards. I'm going to have to stop. These kids are going to see that. And they're going to start teasing me because of the surgery was different.
I was able to go past that point where I normally have to stop. And I remember saying to myself, come on, Paul, come on, you got this, but keep going, keep going. And I finished the lap with the other kids. And on the outside, it kept it cool. But on the inside, I was [00:09:00] like, yes, yes, yes. The first time in my young life, where I fit in, I didn't stand out and due to the surgery, things got easier for me, but I wouldn't consider them easy.
So these kids kind of were used to me cause I was in at first grade. So they got used to me limping and holding my right arm differently. So I grew up with these kids when I was 12. My parents got divorced, so I had to change school.
[00:09:24] Andrea: Oh,
[00:09:25] Paul: and
a tough age.
Middle school. Yeah.
[00:09:28] Andrea: Tough.
[00:09:29] Paul: Yes. Kids are going through hormonal changes.
They're becoming teenagers and most of these other kids have been going to school with each other for years and years and years they've already formed their cliques. They don't have time for anybody new. And so I'm new, which would just be tough alone. But I walk with a lip and I hold my right arm differently.
So it was extremely tough for me. So during this period of time, I was bullied and teased quite a bit spit on tackled. And I, I came from this silly old school mentality where you, [00:10:00] you didn't tattle, you didn't squeal.
So I internalized all this. I didn't say anything to anybody. And on top of all this. I was raised Catholic.
So my mom wanted me to go to Catholic high school. So I had to take an assessment test to see where they were going to place me when I got to high school. Well, I must've bombed it because when I met with the principal and my mom. The principal tells the both of us that she's going to put me at the lowest level possible.
And she doesn't expect much from me. I do not seem like I'm college material after one test. This principal says this to me. So now I'm thinking I'm stupid. Plus I'm getting bullied and teased in school. I'm crying myself to sleep. Most nights, one, why me? Why do I have to go through this? And the answer question midway through eighth grade. I was sick and tired of being angry and sad all the time. I knew deep down those weren't my go-to emotions, but because of the environment I was in, those are the emotions that were coming up most of the time.
And I thought, if, what if I set a goal for myself [00:11:00] and I focus directly into the goal, and that will help me ignore the noise that's going on outside of that.
And I thought, well, what can I do? And I thought, well, I love baseball. So I thought, what if I could make my varsity baseball team?
[00:11:15] Andrea: That's an amazingly mature way to look at it like a very introspective. And I think at that age, Those were not my thoughts as far as like how my normal feelings are that's a lot of foresight right there.
[00:11:32] Paul: Yeah. I think that a lot had a lot to do with my mom growing up. Because with my mom, there was never problems. There's always solutions. I would come to my mom with something and she would, she would come up with solutions and it would drive me crazy. I just, a couple of times, I just want to feel in the wall of the wool of it.
And she's like, no, let's, let's follow up a solution. So that was always my mentality. So I think I was ingrained with that. So in my head, I was [00:12:00] trying to come up with solutions and that was the solution I came up with in my head
was, was that. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:12:07] Andrea: Which is awesome.
I think a lot of people can attest to sometimes when you're going towards a goal, arguably a big goal. We get a lot of static.
I love people. But sometimes other people are mean, and sometimes it's because other people get uncomfortable because emotions are contagious and so they almost, feel the uncertainty and. Nervousness about watching somebody else go for a big goal. So what was that like for you going out to this huge goal, but it sounds like you had a lot of, besides your mom, who sounds amazing.
You had other people who weren't so supportive.
[00:12:46] Paul: Yeah, well, when I was going through it, so I was playing all the time. I was playing fall season, winter season, spring season. If I wasn't doing that sort of tennis ball against the wall. So I was doing, I was playing all year round and a coach came [00:13:00] up to me one day after practice and said, Paul man, you play a lot of baseball.
You have any goals with. And when the first time he told me that I was like, no, no, I just want to play this and that. he didn't really believe me. And he was persistent. He kept asking me that question. And finally he got out of me. He goes, Paul, what do you want to do with baseball? And I told him, I said I wanted to make my varsity baseball team.
And I was bracing myself for him to, to, to laugh at me, to tell me that wasn't going to happen, whatever, but he paused. And he said, that's doable. And I'm like, what? That's doable. He goes, yeah, it is doable. But you got to have other people keep you accountable for your ball. I'm like, what's happening. He goes after practice tomorrow, you're going to go in front of the team and you're going to tell the team that that's your goal.
And I'm like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I do not want to do. I'm finally gaining friendships with these, these kids. I don't want to [00:14:00] tell them that they're going to start teasing me again. I don't want to do it. He goes, Paul, if you really want this goal, you got to tell your team because other people need to keep you accountable for the school.
So I said, okay. So the next day after practice, I'm shaking and I get in front of the team and I tell the team my goal, and I'm again, bracing myself for them to laugh at me, but they didn't, they, they started clapping. And this goal that I set for myself was bigger than just just, just making the varsity baseball team.
I started changing my energy. I started seeing a different energy out towards the other kids. I started to gaining more confidence in myself, my head up my shoulders back. And as a result of this new energy, I was sending out to these kids. They started seeing in me at different energy back in other words, instead of bullying and teasing me, they serve rooting for me.
So my high school career was much, much different than my, my middle school career, [00:15:00] all because of my energy shift. And that, that alone was the, win.
[00:15:04] Andrea: And I think that's, such a crucial moment because it really speaks to how important connection is. And part of connection is feeling each other's energy and playing off of each other's energy. And it goes back to emotions being contagious, right? Like if you are working with somebody who has a certain energy say they're upset, It's hard.
Like you have to work that much more to try to cheer them up or change the energy in the room, so to speak. And it can be really hard for you to be the instigator of changing that energy exchange. It takes bravery to be able to be the one that stands up and stops that feedback loop and starts a new one. And it takes courage on your part, but that also takes a little bit of trust that the other people are going to reciprocate [00:16:00] instead of just sending back the same negative energy.
I think that's really, I think that was a really fascinating thing that, I mean, I'm sure your coach knew exactly what he was doing, but I think it's such a courageous thing, especially for a kid in high school, to be able to do that. How is that something that you still apply today.
[00:16:21] Paul: Well, I mean, it changed my life because, um, the cherry on top of the whole thing was I was able to make my varsity baseball team as a junior and a senior.
And I graduated high school and I really started to think about that goal a lot because when I made that goal, like I said, It was just a way to spoke us in on something and kind of ignore the note, the outside noise of being fully.
That was the number one reason why I made that goal. I really didn't think I was going to do it, but I was able to do it. So I started thinking about what that principal said to me around that same time saying that I wasn't
material. Yeah. Because all through [00:17:00] high school, I accepted that story. I just did enough to stay eligible, to play baseball because in the back of my head, I was saying to myself, what's the point.
I'm not college material. Why waste my time? Just do enough to get by and, and move forward. That's because that's, what's going to be.
[00:17:18] Andrea: It's tough. Especially when you have an authority figure saying these. And no matter how old we get, there's always going to be authority figures. And so when you have an authority figure telling you, like, I, not only is this not going to work, but I know better than you and I have all this experience, it tells me I have all this evidence in my head that it's not going to work for you.
And it's really hard to stand up to that.
[00:17:41] Paul: It absolutely absolutely was. But because of that goal that I set of making the baseball team, I had a different shift. I had a different mindset. So I thought to myself, why not? Why not be college material? So I enrolled into a junior college because I was the only place that would accept me at the time I got myself a math [00:18:00] tutor, cause I was my worst subject.
I had a tutor for other subjects at once in the math lab. I did everything necessary to increase my grade point average. And with all that hard work, I was able to take my barely at two point, oh, if not a little bit lower than. All the way to 3.5, where it was able to transfer to a four year university and become polished material.
I still want to go back to that principle and say you were wrong,
but in the end, I think
[00:18:25] Andrea: done that.
[00:18:26] Paul: what's that,
[00:18:27] Andrea: I said, I can't believe you haven't done that already. I totally would have.
[00:18:30] Paul: you know, I, I thought about it and I think, you know what, I should probably thank her because all through college, I heard her voice saying that I wasn't college material. And my thought after that is I'm going to show you. So I hit the books much, much harder because of those words. So I should thank her and, and that's how I feel.
And I, and I, and I've forgiven her and I've actually all. And I also forgiven all the kids that I dealt with in middle school, [00:19:00] because I don't know what they were, what was going on in their lives.
[00:19:02] Andrea: Middle school is so hard and everybody's going through so much.
[00:19:06] Paul: Yeah.
[00:19:07] Andrea: Yeah. I mean, I'm sure those kids were probably projecting so much that they felt
I think there's a cleansing aspect to that too, I would still write something. I would still send off an email or something, but I would do it the same way. I would say, look, you know what? I always remembered what you said to me and thanks because actually you were wrong and thank you. But , Yeah, there is something to it where we get these voices in our head from our principals or our third grade gym coach or our, certainly our parents or other, other authority figures.
And they can either turn into, , feeding our internal critic and these negative things that we start believing and [00:20:00] start holding us back, or we can decide to use it. And turn it into something that's more motivating that actually helps us.
[00:20:08] Paul: Yeah. I mean, that's exactly what I did. I took that negative into a positive and, um, it's held forward for me in my whole life. Is, is, is those lessons of, of challenges and it all starts with believing in yourself, having. It because if you don't have belief in yourself or new, or you don't have a strong self-esteem, it's very, very hard to go after your goals or your dreams, because you're going to hit challenges.
You're going to it's life challenges will come up and if you don't have a good foundation in yourself, And you hit a challenge. You start going well, you know, I don't know. I don't think this is going to be for me and you start making excuses, but if [00:21:00] you truly believe in yourself and you truly believe in the goal, you're going to hit a challenge goal.
All right, this is extremely tough right now. All right, let me take a step back. Let me examine it, how I'm going to get over it because I am going to get over it because this is a goal that I really really bought. So I'm going to figure it out. It might not, it might not be today. It might be tomorrow, but it may not be until years from now, but I'm going to figure out a way to get over that challenge.
[00:21:26] Andrea: I think that's such an interesting distinction between believing in yourself and believing in your own abilities, trusting that when you hit those roadblocks, you're going to get up. You're going to figure something out. Can we set a goal that is so far that we think I have no idea that if that's going to work or if I'm going to reach it, but I do know that I have confidence in myself.
[00:21:52] Paul: Yeah, I think that. I think, I think belief is very, very important in, in my work and what I do. [00:22:00] Because a lot of times it's, it's about, what people are like about results. Like, oh, if this works okay, then, then I'll keep going. But a lot of times when you do result, especially if it's a big goal, You're going to, and you're going to take action.
And a lot of times that action is going to fail, especially if it's a lofty goal, right. And it's complex, and there's a lot, a lot of moving parts. So if you're just going off of your actions and don't have the belief, it's gonna be very tough. You got to have belief in yourself. Even if it's, even if it's a lofty goal, I mean, you look at things and you know, it could be a very, very big goal.
But your, your goal could be something. And then when you're going through, it could be something else and that's fine. Like we go through things and we, we learn what we really want and go, okay. That was like, well, but going into it, maybe I want to pivot. And that's not an excuse. That's just, you know what?
I went through this and actually [00:23:00] now going through it, I want to pivot this way. And I think that's part of it. And I, so for me, belief is extremely important.
And that's tough because like we talked about earlier when you tell people goals and this and that, a lot of people reflect their negativity on you and they could tell you, oh no, no, no, no.
Don't give that a go. That's just too tough God. And they could be close friends. They'll be close, friends and family, and that's tough to shake. So you got to have that internal belief in yourself. To break through that. And if you fail, who cares? Who cares? Nobody cares. I had a client. She's okay with me telling the story.
She was so, scared about changing careers.
She really wanted to get into broadcasting and she's like, I don't want to do it, this and that. And he goes, if it does not work out in broadcasting, if it doesn't work out, [00:24:00] what is, what is the, what is the. And she said it and she said this and she laughed. And she said it because it was because it was a crazy thought.
She goes, I feel like I be in a room and all my, between my friends and family, and they're going to point at me and laugh. And then she stood back and laugh because when she said it out loud, she goes, that's not going to happen,
but you know, our mind goes crazy like
that. But when you put it out in the universe, you think, well, wait a minute, that's just not going to happen.
[00:24:33] Andrea: It's funny how, how many thoughts we can have when we keep them internal. When we keep them as just thoughts in our head, they feel so real and they feel so possible. And then the second you say it out loud, or write it down and get just a little bit of space between. Your mind and what the actual thought is, and you can look at it.[00:25:00]
It can sometimes just like that become instantly very apparent how absurd it is or how it would never happen or how, even if it did happen, who cares, it's not the end of the world. Like who cares if everybody in the room like literally turns and points to you and laughs at you, like that would be such an absurd thing.
[00:25:22] Paul: Yeah. And if that did happen to where I go, then you need to change your friends and family
circle. Cause they're not really, they're not liking
[00:25:30] Andrea: who you.
are now. I think there's so much to that. I, I always call it like calling your own bluff. Like what's the worst that can happen. For a lot of people with chronic illness, there can be this fear of the future fear of what to come.
Because a lot of times it's, it's very unpredictable, what can happen. And so you can develop like who knows what's going to happen. And so when you call your own. And do that say, okay, what is the worst that's going to [00:26:00] happen? And this is no small thing. It's not like it's a, a small, easy thing to do.
But when you do actually say, okay, I'm afraid that people are going to point and laugh at me, or I'm afraid that this other really big thing is going to happen. I'm going to go, I'm afraid. I'm going to lose for some people I'm going to lose mobility or I'm going to lose my eyesight. It can be very big once you call that.
And you, you, I always say it's like finishing the story. Like we say, afraid, because that's where our story ends. This is this huge thing that's going to happen and people are going to put in laugh and then that's it. It's like, okay. But what if that let's say that does happen? How does that story end?
Like what happens then? And once you play that story out, you find that self-trust because you realize even if that does have. Even if I do go into the room and people are reporting and laughing and my hopes and dreams are all gone. I can hold my head high. I can [00:27:00] learn like, okay, these are not my friends.
I can learn. You know what? I've got my own back. I can handle something. I can look for a treatment. I can do all sorts of things to make myself better. And you do develop this immense self-trust to where, even though we have no idea what's going to happen, nobody does. You know that you've got your own back and you know that you've got that belief and that self trust that you're going to get yourself through it.
[00:27:26] Paul: And you look at people who were quote, quote, unquote, successful people, and one common denominator with all of them is they weren't afraid to fail.
Most of them have failed their whole lives. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant. I'm sure they didn't like it, but they did it and they went through it over and over again.
And we had a product that the person that comes to my head all the time is Thomas Edison,
over and over again. And now he's one of the greatest inventors [00:28:00] in us history. If not. And it was all because he wasn't afraid to fail. He was one step closer to figuring it out. That's how his mentality was.
And that's how we should be. Like, if we quote unquote, I hate the word failure anyway, but use it because it's a word that everybody uses is, uh, if you fail, you might just be one step closer on what you want to do. Cause you, you figure out that's not the way to go.
[00:28:25] Andrea: Right.
[00:28:26] Paul: able to pivot.
[00:28:27] Andrea: Yeah. Yeah. And I think, yeah, I'm the same way. It's not that you shouldn't be afraid of it. I think you should expect it because if, if you're not failing, it means that you're not doing it. Because you're right. I mean, failure has, has a very negative connotation just because of how people look at it, but really it's just answering, you know, you go in with kind of a theory, no matter what you're doing, if you're setting a goal, you go in with a theory, like, okay, this is going to be my first step towards this goal.
And I think it's going to get me closer. I think this is going to work. [00:29:00] And then you find out that it doesn't and you think, okay, so let's. And I think this next step is going to work, but it's like, if you're not, if you're not trying, you're never going to find out if things are gonna work or not work.
And you're never going to find that right path.
[00:29:16] Paul: Yeah. And it goes back to belief, belief in yourself, right? The only way you're going to make that a source of that you just said is having belief in yourself, belief that you're doing the things that you're supposed to be doing, I think is huge. And giving yourself grace, I think is another really big thing as well.
I never tell anybody not to feel their fields. So like, if they're angry or sad, you're a human being. You should be entitled to have those feelings, but you're going to get to a point sometimes where you're going to see yourself. I don't want to be angry anymore. I don't want to be set anymore. And then that's when you can do the change and the easiest way to change, that is what is going well in your life.
Right now. Think about. Things are going well. And you're like, there's always something and it could [00:30:00] just be as simple as I'm breathing and I keep continue going forward. That's positive in itself, right there.
[00:30:05] Andrea: Yeah, I think that's such an important thing. I, cause I, I talk about people's stories and. Finishing your story and if you don't like what's going on, I think mindset is such a powerful way. There's so many mindset tricks that can help us feel better, help us become more determined, help us reach that goal or whatever it is.
But at the same time, I don't feel like it's there to not feel feeling. I think, like you said, I think it's so important because if we have these feelings of, quote, I always like air quote, negative feelings because they're negative because we're assigning that really feelings are just vibrations in our body is just what that is.
But if we're having them, we need to feel them. But there is that difference between feeling those pure emotions and then realizing you get to that point where you're like, I'm sick of feeling. [00:31:00] And that's because you're perpetuating it because your mindset is doing that. And then that's when a change in mindset can help you away from feeling that feeling over and over and over again.
[00:31:11] Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Well said. Yeah, absolutely. It's it's changing. It's changed those patterns because you keep going, you keep you're in that loop and the only way you can break it, it's by changing that thought pattern, the easiest way to do it. Is what is going well in my life right now is that, that gratitude piece.
And that's something that that's, that's lifted me, especially with having cerebral palsy and having things not as easy as some other people.
I can't look at that. I can't look at what other people are doing. I can't compare myself to anybody else. Reason being is. I don't know where their starting line is.
And I do not know where their finishing line is, so why even bother with it because it's impossible to do. I just have to worry about myself and what is [00:32:00] good for me and what I can do. And I'm running my own race and I'm staying in my own lane and I'm doing what I need to do to get to where I need to get to.
[00:32:09] Andrea: I think that's something that's really important, especially when you're someone who has a harder time of doing things or, your health is a little bit different. We can really benefit from staying in. But it's, it's very difficult. So what if there's somebody listening? That's thinking I've heard this before.
I know. I shouldn't worry about what other people are thinking. I know I need to stay in my own lane, but the comparisons are so hard to not to, they're hard to get away from. It's hard not to look at what people in your life are doing and compare yourself, especially even if it's things like you have to rest.
Then somebody else does, or you need more time to figure something out than someone else does. It's so hard to stay in your lane. So what, what are some ways that you can do that?
[00:32:58] Paul: The biggest thing I [00:33:00] think of, and I've done it in my own life. Is this, if you feel like somebody is quote unquote ahead of you in some way, some fashion ask that person how they got. And I'm telling you right? Most of the time, when you say that to somebody like, Hey, you know what, I'm really impressed that you're, you're here and X, Y, and Z, most of the time you say that to somebody they're going to be touched, they're going to be like, oh, that's, that's great.
I didn't think you thought of that of me. And they're going to be amped to tell you what they did to get that point. And what happens is when you, when you actually talk with that person, You'll hear their struggles. You oh, you're like, whoa, whoa. I thought you just woke up and were that great? you you didn't, they didn't know the story about their struggles on how they went there.
And there's a relate-ability between the two of you at that point. So I think that is huge. If you feel like somebody ahead of you ask them what they did, what they're doing. Cause I'm telling you 95% of the time [00:34:00] they're going to be like, this is what I did. And then you're going to be like, oh wow. It wasn't that easy where you read.
[00:34:06] Andrea: right. My favorite is also, they they're like, I can't believe that you think that about me
[00:34:11] Paul: Yeah, yeah,
[00:34:13] Andrea: because every, in your own head, like other people see you differently than you see yourself. And so often in their heads, it is not as easy. And it's, it's almost surprising to hear somebody say, it looks like it's so easy for you.
And they're really thinking well, Oh my gosh, no way, but I love that because so often when people say like, stay in your lane, it's like, shut it out. Don't think about what other people are doing. Don't worry about it. And, but you're saying like, be open, communicate, talk to them.
[00:34:47] Paul: Yes.
Yes. and and they, and lot of times when you do that, they'll give you some tips and that will you'll get to that level, the level that you want to go to. But the only way you're going to do that is by, by, [00:35:00] like you said, communicate, asking.
[00:35:02] Andrea: So tell me a little bit, we touched on this earlier, you talked to people about writing your own story. So you tell people to, definitely it's not about bypassing emotions. It's not about, pushing down the negative, which I think sometimes. People get confused. Like I need to just think positive.
I need to just find gratitude and it can turn these amazing tools. I think gratitude is, I mean, I can't talk enough. I had a, I have a whole podcast about gratitude. But you can take these tools and actually turn it against yourself and use it to beat yourself up and, and use it that in a way that actually deters you from going after your goals.
So talk to me a little bit about your method and helping people write their story.
[00:35:53] Paul: Well, for me, it's all about taking back your pen and writing your story. Because lot of [00:36:00] times you start, you get to a certain age, you start get married, started having kids. You have a job, and all sudden you go into autopilot, you know, you're just living your life. Just like, like a zombie. You're not really living life in any. And that's so wrong. We, we don't have that much long and this planet, so we might as well do the things we want to do. Uh, I, I tell people to take back your pen because all through my life, people wanted to write the story for me, starting with the doctors, starting with the principal, and I can go on and on about that.
But all through my life, I said, no, giving back my pen. This is going to be my story to write and my story to write alone. And that's what I want to do. That's what I do for my clients. It's like, no. Take back your pen. You can, it's not too late. I've worked with somebody in her seventies and, and wants to do some things.
And the all, all I hear from her is I'm [00:37:00] too old. I'm too old. And I'm like, no, no, take back your pen. You are not too old. Go forward. Do it. And go back to that thing about fear of failure cares. Let's go. So it's all about being intentional in your. Doing what you want to do. And I'm not telling you to be just go out, quit their job and move away. There's a plan to it. You got to have a plan, but once you have a plan, you can put things in action. And it all starts with ourselves and wanting to live the life we want to live. And that's what I always say. Let's take back our pen and start writing our store.
[00:37:35] Andrea: And, sometimes it's, I want to, I've always wanted to do this. Like your client who's always wanted to be a broadcaster, but sometimes it's just, I know what's happening right now. For me, like, I know I'm an autopilot, but I don't know where I want to go because sometimes it's really hard when, and I get it in that autopilot.
You're not used to allowing [00:38:00] yourself, you're not giving yourself permission yet to dream about what it is that you want to do. And, and so how is it if, if people don't have necessarily the story that they want to write, they just want to get out of that autopilot. How do people start that?
[00:38:21] Paul: Well, first off, um, in that situation, if, if you really don't know where you want to take it, what, what purpose you want to live or any of that nature? First things first, don't beat yourself up because you don't know your purpose.
I think that huge.
[00:38:35] Andrea: Oh my gosh. Say that again. That's amazing.
[00:38:38] Paul: Don't beat yourself up if you don't know your purpose. And another thing about that is this is as we get older, our purpose changes because our likes and dislikes change as, as, as we evolve and grow.
And so sometimes we have. Reinvent ourselves and reinvent our purpose. And that's fine too. It's not starting over. You already have the knowledge of what [00:39:00] you like and don't like you starting at another level. So think of it as starting over. We're just pivoting and adjusting. So, um, to answer your question about somebody that really doesn't know where their purpose is, is just kind of floating.
And one of the things I have I have an exercise I have my clients do if they're in that situation. Write down, everything that you like and not like you don't have to sit down and do it, but any time I thought comes in your head that you like to do, put it down. Don't judge yourself. Just write anything that comes to your mind.
And if you're in a flow, keep going, just keep flowing, whatever you like, like, like, do that for, do that for a week. Do that for two weeks. Cool. And just write don't judge yourself. Don't even look at it.
Just anytime you have an
[00:39:48] Andrea: like, I like gardening too. I like ponies,
[00:39:55] Paul: yes. Anything that comes into your head that you like, write it down, [00:40:00] don't judge yourself, just do it, do it for a week, do it for two weeks. And after you get everything out, you feel like, okay, I guess you may have a gut feeling about it. So like every, after a while you feel like, okay, I got all of it out on paper or on your phone or whatever you want to do it. Go over that list that you wrote. And put a check. Mark buys things that you truly like to do. Check mark, check, mark, check mark. And then experiment, like you said, earlier, experiment going. Okay. I really liked that stuff. Let me try this. And if I don't like it all, well, I got this big whole list of things that I. And a lot of times that just drudges, your mind of things that you want to do. And most of the time when you do that, you're like, oh dude, I've found something that I really enjoy. And it doesn't have to be something crazy. Like you said, it could be darting gardening. That's fine.
[00:40:51] Andrea: Right. It's crazy
[00:40:53] Paul: Yeah.
[00:40:54] Andrea: gardening,
[00:40:54] Paul: Yeah, yeah.
[00:40:56] Andrea: I have people talk about that a lot with me. It's like, what's my [00:41:00] purpose. And they feel like they have to have this grand purpose. And so we discount our gut feeling because we don't think it's big enough.
We don't think it's a grant enough gesture. We don't think it's going to help enough people. It's like we try to see the end result instead of looking at the small next step
[00:41:24] Paul: Yeah,
[00:41:24] Andrea: and when you're judging and when you're writing things down and thinking, oh, that's not big enough or that can't be it. And you're often, like you said, you have a gut feeling, you kind of know.
But you ignore it because you don't think it's big enough or bold enough, because a lot of people say like, just jump off the cliff, just go do it. Your passion has to be huge and bold. And so I feel like that leads to people, maybe overlooking what it is that they truly want to do. And understanding that even if what it is that you, you, like you said before, it's like, you truly want to do this.
And it might be the small thing that's gonna, [00:42:00] boom into something. Bigger and bigger and bigger, and you're going to pivot and you're going to learn and you're going to pivot. And then the big end result, even if you want to call it, the end result of living your passion is something that you couldn't even thought because at that point, like you don't even know it existed.
[00:42:18] Paul: we're working progress and we're going to be a work in progress to the day we die. So there's not really any destination it's, we're just on the journey path. And I think sometimes we get caught up in the, and that the goal itself Um, people, uh, you know, who accomplish their big goals, like Steve jobs, for instance, I mean, created apple.
I mean, top of the mountain kind of guy, I mean, did everything right? He truly wasn't happy. He truly wasn't happy. Because it wasn't about the journey for him. It was about the end result. And he didn't realize that it's. So I just feel so horrible that, I mean, with the cancer that he had, and he started to get that realization [00:43:00] on what was actually important.
And if he was able to beat that cancer, I guarantee you'd be a different person today. Changed so many people's perspectives because he had a perspective change because of, uh, a illness that he couldn't shake. And I, and I think that is so important in, in our lives that we embrace the journey more than we do the results. I have this analogy. I like to use a lot when you're a little kid and you're, you're, you're building the Legos, right? You're having the most fun when you're actually creating and building Legos. You may have fun after you're done to show your siblings or your parents and what you built. But when you're having the most fun is when you're actually creating an actually building.
And that's what we have to do as a society is. Building our levels keep creating. And because that, where that's where the sparks going to happen.
[00:43:51] Andrea: Yeah. And it's funny to, to take that analogy further. It's like sometimes you've built this, big thing you bought the, your millennium Falcon out of your, out [00:44:00] of your Legos. And now it's going to sit on your shelf and it's going to get dusty and you're going to stop really looking at it.
And you're going to see it so often that you're not even really going to see it anymore. And it's, it's forgettable at that. So, yeah, I think. What are some of the things that can help us embrace the journey? Because sometimes it's frustrating. Sometimes there's huge roadblocks. Sometimes we have to pivot in a way that we don't want to pivot because of our, the way we want to go.
Isn't working or because of life circumstances, some things happen. Um, especially if you have a chronic illness or a health issue, sometimes things happen that you can't even control. So what helps you stay in that mode? To continue to enjoy the journey.
[00:44:45] Paul: And mentor of mine once told me this, and it's stuck with me since, to this day. And he said this, he goes, Paul divorce, the results and marry the process. [00:45:00] it's a simple thing, but it's that that's what's. Don't worry about the results. Worry about the process. Keep working at the process.
That's the most important part stop worrying about that. Didn't work. This didn't work. Are you going on the process that you want to go to? And if it's a yes, then keep going. What is lighting your, what is lighting you up inside? That's the most important part? And we talked about that with goals, whether you have big goals, small goals, whatever.
It's it's about you as the individual, what lights you up? And if it's gardening, being a good mom, getting good dad, and that lights you up. Keep going down that process. If you want to be an astronaut and go to the moon or go to Mars or whatever, and that lights you up, it.
[00:45:48] Andrea: 'cause you never know when you're focused on the journey, you never know the little results that are going to come along the way, because when you're, when you're moving forward and however slow or [00:46:00] however methodical it is, you're going to be getting little results because everything you do is going to have some kind of a.
[00:46:08] Paul: Yeah, it's all about taking action. And just back to that, just believing in yourself and not being worried about the failure because that's failures all just relative.
[00:46:22] Andrea: For sure. How about, so going back to belief in yourself, I think that's such a big, I think it's a game changer. I think it's something that's really essential, but I think sometimes it can be hard to come.
So what is something that if there's somebody that isn't, they're not so sure they can believe that they're going to be able to do something.
They're looking at something that they feel like is just insurmountable or really, really hard. And they know they have to believe in themselves, but they just it's. You can get into this learned helpless. [00:47:00] Right. When you keep trying and it just doesn't seem to work. So what is something that can help break that cycle that can help put you on that trajectory of believing in yourself?
Truly not just lip service, not just like that fake confidence, fake it till you make it. Which I don't like, but like actual, true deep confidence.
[00:47:21] Paul: When I hear a person say stuff like that. And one of the questions I asked them is how often did you do something for yourself? W, you know, whether you, whether it's go for a walk or get a massage or whatever that is for you, how often do you take time for your self? The me time? How often do you do that?
And a lot of times when people talk like that, they don't do anything for themselves. They're constantly doing other things for other people and that, and the people that have the most trouble with this, our mother. They're selfless. They're always worried about their kids or kids. First kids, first kids.
First, I put myself [00:48:00] second. It's selfish to put myself first
[00:48:04] Andrea: selfishness.
[00:48:06] Paul: Yeah. And, and I argue with that is like, no, you have to put yourself first because if you do not put yourself first, you're not going to have the energy to fully take care of the kids that you want to take care of. I have the analogy when you go on the plane, right.
They tell you to put your oxygen mask on first, before you assist anybody else. And that's the same thing in. You got to take care of yourself first. So for people that have that, that lack of belief or air that itself, how much time are you investing in yourself? Because when you start investing yourself on a daily basis, Even if it's just reading a few pages of a book, whatever, you know, religious, the Bible, whatever you read, whatever, but doing something for yourself.
Just if it's even if just a few minutes a day, but you got it, take time for yourself. [00:49:00] And if you don't do that, it's going to be very hard for you to believe in yourself because you're not investing in your.
[00:49:07] Andrea: Yes. I, I love that. I think that's so true. And it doesn't have to be these grand gestures. It's. Allowing yourself, giving yourself permission to do things for yourself. And it could be resting. It could be taking a nap in the afternoon, which some people think is this audacious thing. Even if they feel like they need it.
And it's, it's giving yourself permission to take care of yourself and not beating yourself up for it. Not thinking that your selfish. 'cause, I don't necessarily think selfish is a bad thing cause it's like, you're right. You have to cultivate and invest in yourself
I think part of it is just appreciating and respecting yourself.[00:50:00]
[00:50:00] Paul: Yeah, it appreciating definitely first seeing yourself. And it goes all the way back to the ground to piece what is going well in my life right now.
And, and, and if, if you can put that in the front of your mind every single day, what is right in my life right now, because it just sets your day off, right?
Because you start, your mind will start seeking out all the positive things that could happen in here. You could get something on your phone, free coffee, whatever you spilled and bill, because you go, you can go the opposite way. Right? You can have that negative, like, oh, the world's out to get me and you can get a flat tire and you go, that's what happened to me?
Things like this do happen to me. And I'd say to that individual. Yeah. Because your mind is seeking that. And
it goes to the point where when you buy a car, right. All of a sudden you drive that car around and you see that same car all over the
[00:50:52] Andrea: Everybody's driving a green Explorer.
[00:50:55] Paul: Yeah. Yeah. your mind is looking for.
[00:50:57] Andrea: Yeah, for sure. And it's, [00:51:00] it goes back to what you were talking about in the very beginning. It's it's stopping that feedback loop..
[00:51:04] Paul: Yeah, it absolutely is. It's it's, it's breaking, it's breaking the cycle. Going after seeking the things that you truly want and, and it's, and it's, and it's, and it goes back to it's a working progress. I mean, there's days where, uh, you know, I'm a pretty positive peer person and everybody's saying, oh, Paul, you wake up and you're positive, blah, blah, blah.
No. There's days where I'm like, oh, I just want to put the covers over my head. I don't want to do anything today. um, and I have to give myself grace on those days.
[00:51:34] Andrea: Yeah, I think that's, on a very, very micro level where it all starts, it starts from giving yourself grace. It starts from that kindness towards yourself.
[00:51:45] Paul: It really does. You gotta be your own best friend.
[00:51:50] Andrea: Well, Paul Forchione thank you so much for coming and sharing your story and sharing all of these nuggets to help people. I know it's [00:52:00] inspired people to even take the tiniest step towards a goal in a way from living in autopilots, living in a sense of thinking that this is never going to happen.
You've given them a way to start taking those steps towards writing their own. And doing some things that they probably never dreamed that they would even be able to do. So thank you so much.
[00:52:25] Paul: I really, really enjoyed our conversation. We went deep and I thought it was great. And I think it went out well,
thank you
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About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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