Episode 053 -- Making an Impact on the World with Stroke Survivor Pete Smith

I talk a lot about public speaking. Long time listeners to this show know that I also host a podcast about that topic where I help folks become more effective public speakers in as little as 2 minutes a week. Visit 2minutetalktips.com for more details.

I was listening to Grant Baldwin's show "The Speaker Lab" one day when he was interviewing a guest who's focus was on how you can build a life in such a way to have an impact on the world. The guest came to have this perspective sitting on the kitchen floor having just suffered a stroke. Of course, my ears instantly perked up, and I knew I wanted to have Pete Smith on Strokecast to share his journey.

There are a number of valuable insights in this discussion.

We talk about the importance of language. We get to define our own context and choose how we see the world.  Are you a stroke victim or a stroke survivor? Is this the end of life or the beginning of a new type of life? Am I an unemployed middle-aged brain damaged cripple or a young, entrepreneurial survivor sharing a story of adversity and helping others along their own journey? 

The words we choose to define our context can expand or limit our future. It's up to us.

Another thing that's important is the significance of sharing our stories to connect with one another. Pete shares his initial surprise about how when he started talking about his stroke, he got more audience engagement. Folks would come up to him after the talk to share their own stroke or stroke adjacent stories.

That's one of the reasons I started this show to begin with -- I want to help connect folks through the power of storytelling and sharing one another's stories.  I firmly believe that the growth of social media and the importance of representation in traditional media is rooted in a fundamental human need to be heard. To be seen. To have an impact on the world outside of ourselves.


Pete Smith HeadshotPete is an international speaker and coach in the fields of leadership, management, personal growth and development. His energetic, edgy, and interactive style is complimented by his ability to provide practical takeaways that actually work, while having a little fun in the process.

He is the author of Dare to Matter, which hit the best seller list in the Business Motivation and Self-Improvement category in 2017.

Having a stroke at the age of 35, Pete has since used that experience to inspire, educate, and entertain audiences throughout the world on the importance of pursuing significance in their personal and professional lives. As he says, “If you relentlessly pursue success and happiness in your life, you are settling for far less than what you were created for.”

Married to an incredible wife, proud dad of two amazing boys, and part-time chew toy for an Irish Setter, Pete resides in Arlington, VA.

Hack of the Week

Managing life, relationships, appointments, accessibility needs, etc. can be a challenge. The way we approach those challenges is up to us. Reframe the context in which you find yourself. Change the language in your internal monologue, and you can change the thing that you accomplish. You can change what comes from treatment, and you can change the things you encounter in the rest of your life.


Pete's Website


Dare to Matter: Choosing an Unstuck and Unapologetic Life of Significance


Pete on LinkedIn


Pete on Twitter


SmithImpact on Facebook


The Speaker Lab Podcast


Pete on The Speaker Lab


2-Minute Talk Tips


Where do we go from here?

  • Check out Pete's website and book by visiting his links above.
  • Make an impact on folks around you by sharing this episode. Use the link http://strokecast.com/impact.
  • Choose the mindset that will help you extract value from this experience.
  • Don't get best…get better

Strokecast is the stroke podcast where a Gen X stroke survivor explores rehab, recovery, the frontiers of neuroscience and one-handed banana peeling by helping stroke survivors, caregivers, medical providers and stroke industry affiliates connect and share their stories.

Here is the latest episode of The Strokecast

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