Underdog stories are legacies that never die. Tune in every Tuesday to discover underdogs who persevered and overcame the adversity they faced. Hear their stories. Be inspired. Find the will to never give up.
87: Tough as They Come with Travis Mills
Travis Mills served in the Army 82nd Airborne and was sent on three tours to the Middle East. On his third deployment, a bomb exploded near him and he lost all four limbs. Recovery was difficult across multiple facets of his life but he decided to never give up and never quit. Today, he is a businessman, motivational speaker, author and philanthropist. In this episode:
Trying out college but learning that the military was a better path forward Joining the Army 82nd Airborne and going on three deployments Marrying his best friend’s sister and how they navigated long distance dating and marriage Best advice for young married couples before deployment … don’t call each other everyday! This will prevent mundane repetitiveness and dry conversation. Losing all four limbs by a bomb explosion during his third tour in Afghanistan Over 400 units of blood given to Travis on the operating table to save his life which is the most blood that has ever been given to someone in Afghanistan Overcoming the internal question, “Why didn’t I just die? How is this life better than death?” Why his wife decided to stick by his side through thick and thin Switching from questions of reasoning of his new reality to a mindset of “In it to Win it” for his wife and daughter Depending on nurses and family to help dress him, feed him, and assist him in the bathroom for the first five weeks No thoughts of suicide because he knew he could honor his fallen comrades by living his life to the fullest in memory of them Building the Travis Mills Foundation which helps injured veterans learn indoors and outdoors adaptive activities in Maine Living life with the motto, “Never give up. Never quit.” You can’t always control your situation, but you can control your attitude Writing the book Tough as They Come You can learn more at travismills.org or find him on Instagram @ssgtravismills
86: Type I Diabetes: Bitter or Better? with Tracy Herbert
Tracy Herbert was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes at 17 years old and her life dramatically changed forever. She chooses to not let diabetes control her lifestyle and is soaring to new heights within the diabetic community. Her most notorious accomplishment is biking over 3500 miles across the United States. In this episode:
Diagnosed with Type I diabetes at 17 years old while fighting for her life in the ICU The stress and hopelessness that comes with a diabetes management regimen plan including the news that she will never have kids Deciding to be better or bitter How the flu was a catalyst to set her autoimmune disease into motion which initiated late onset, Type I Diabetes Why Type I diabetes patients need insulin shots multiple times a day and cannot live without it The partnership between a patient and doctor in improving treatment plans Mind. Mouth. Move. Becoming a diabetes coach and helping others thrive with this diagnosis Find Your Why is important Finishing a new “celebration” each decade including biking 3500 miles across the USA Hearing inspirational stories throughout the entire journey From San Francisco to Brooklyn and finishing on the Dr. Oz show Riding with no food and limited water and getting lost on a mountain while trying to maintain her blood sugar levels Speaking on stage and her goals for the future You can find out more information at www.tracyherbert.com and you can email her at email@example.com. Tune into her podcast, Your Diabetes Breakthrough.
85: The Happy Body and Olympic Weightlifting with Jerzy Gregorek
Jerzy Gregorek is a World Record Weightlifting Champion. He grew up an alcoholic adolescent in communist Poland before weightlifting saved his life. Later, his wife and him fled to the USA and settled in Southern California where he began his personal training career. A few world championship titles later, he wrote "The Happy Body" which inspires millions worldwide on how to live a healthy and fulfilling physical and mental lifestyle. In this episode:
Learning obedience at an early age in war-torn and communist oppressed 1970s/1980s Poland Falling into alcoholism as an adolescent Entering the fire department at 19 years old How weightlifting saved his life from drinking Suffering temporary paralysis from a squatting accident Finishing high school at age 24 Snatching 115kg at 132lbs Finding a best friend through strike and then losing him to torture and murder by the government “Truth, Love, and Forgiveness” Traveling through Europe as a refugee making his way to the US with his wife Bringing Olympic Weightlifting to Southern California Winning 4 World weightlifting championships Why the snatch lift is the purest form of power and his favorite exercise Starting the UCLA weightlifting team Forming The Happy Body and sharing his methods throughout the world “Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” Aligning with stoicism – our responsibility to become the best version of ourselves and serve the planet. You can learn more about Jerzy and The Happy Body: https://thehappybody.com/
Discover more underdogs: https://scottkujak.com
84: Blind Flamekeeper with Michael Cleveland
Michael Cleveland was born blind but he knew he was born to be a fiddler at four years old. Described as “untouchable” by Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, Michael was awarded the 2020 GRAMMY for Best Bluegrass Album - Tall Fiddler, and is the IBMA’s most awarded Fiddle Player of the Year with 12 wins, has won Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year 6 times, and fronts their 6-Time Instrumental Group of the Year. In this episode:
Determined to be a fiddler player after hearing “Orange Blossom Special” on the fiddle at four years old Learning to play at the Kentucky School of the Blind Finding and refining passion for the fiddle every single day as a child “When you go to the school of the blind, you’re nothing special because everyone else is visually impaired, too.” The Grand Ole Opry, his favorite spot that he played in as a teenager Forming the band, Michael Clevelend and Flamekeeper, with musicians he grew up playing with Grammy award, 12 time Fiddle Player of the Year, 6 time Instrumental Group of the Year How Michael is trying to transform the stigma of bluegrass music by blending it with other music varieties You can learn more about Michael & Flamkeeper at flamekeeperband.com as well as MC Flamekeeper on Facebook and Instagram
83: Find Your Inner Gold with Karen Darke
Karen Darke became paralyzed from the chest down in a climbing accident but became a Silver Medalist and Gold Medalist in the Paralympics representing England. In this episode:
Growing up with a passion for rock climbing What happened during her climbing accident in Scotland? Running out of strength under an overhang and falling onto rocks below Waking up 3 days later and hearing that she is paralyzed from the chest down Her friend’s climbing accident death helped her live life to the fullest after her accident Removing herself from the mountains temporarily to heal emotionally Cycling through the Himalayan Mountains with friends for six weeks Kayaking from Vancouver to Alaska without transporting her wheelchair Crossing Greenland on a sit-skit Winning the Silver Medal in the 2012 Paralympics in her home country England Winning the Gold Medal in the 2016 Paralympics Breaking the land speed record at 41.86mph The number 79 and the Quest 79 mission – Find Your Inner Gold at the Pole of Possibility You can learn more about Karen at karendarke.com and on Instagram @handbikedarke
82: Constructing Forgiveness with Derek Stone
Derek Stone grew up in small town Alabama and pursued a music career just after high school. His up-and-down journey brought him to Nashville where he made the difficult decision to give up music and start a construction business. Years later, he now runs a million dollar company and shares why he decided to forgive those who hurt him the most. In this episode:
Growing up without his biological father Handling abuse from his stepfather as a teenager and blaming his father for the lack of protection Growing up in the Deep South learning how to fight, work, and live day-to-day Pursuing a music career and moving to Nashville Changing life directions and opening a business in construction Handling the unknown of his wife’s cancer diagnosis How a musician grew a construction business to over $1 million gross revenue per year Learning how to forgive his father and reestablish a relationship with him Publishing his book, “Why Should I Forgive?” You can learn more about Derek at derekstone.online
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Underdog Podcast is a great listen! Hearing stories of underdogs and how they preserved through life’s storms is a inspiration! Scott does a great job!
Scott came to my school a couple weeks ago, and presented some of the stories so I thought I’d check them out. I fell in love instantly!
Listen to this well organized and researched podcast. The stories are inspiring and a wonderful testimony to human resilience!