How To Answer Why Did This Happen To Me? with Aaron Keith Hawkins

Aaron was a Police Chief, Husband and Father when he experienced a close call with death. After realizing he could have suffered a heart attack, mini-stroke or aneurism he experienced a change in his life. He shares his journey through more than a decade of personal growth and a shift from surviving to now living an intentional life that is thriving.

Throughout his career, he was often asked, “Why did this happen to me”?  He shares his experience answering this for himself as well as how he helped others navigate through this process to understanding. Listen: Here




A Trip To The Hospital

Aaron’s life direction was changed in one night when he woke up in pain. He had realized in about 10 seconds that he couldn’t walk it off and had a light bulb moment in the realization that his family may possibly find him on the floor in the morning.

He asked his wife to call 911 just before collapsing to the floor. At the moment he was checking out, he experienced a wave of regret as if someone slapped him across the head and told him to look at all the missed opportunities he had experienced. Aaron made a promise to God that if he let him live, he would change.

After a short stay in the hospital, Aaron was allowed to go home. They sent him for testing for a couple of weeks and he did receive a full recovery in his health. In the end, he was not given a certain diagnosis although they suspected he experienced a mini-stroke.


He felt guilty when he came to the realization that he had been coasting through life instead of thriving through it. Aaron found it difficult to shake off the regret he felt. He didn’t know what he needed to do differently and that was the beginning of a decade long journey through personal development. He had felt that something changed and knew he needed to take a step in a different direction. The biggest changes he made were

  • Moving from living life to fit into living life to impact others and for his loved ones
  • Going back to school and finishing his Graduate Degree in leadership
  • Reading Tony Robbins, Unleash the Power Within
  • Began reading books in Personal Development, Human Performance and Motivational Development.

“When I changed the way I started showing up in the world it really changed the way I felt about myself, the level of gratitude that I had for the people around me and my perspective about what I was influencing in my life.”

 The more he learned about the world of Personal Development, Motivational Theory and Human Needs Theory, the more he learned it and applied the changes relationships evolved in

  • Career
  • The relationship with his wife
  • His relationship with his daughter
  • Friends.

Being in Law Enforcement allowed Aaron to use everything he was learning every day. It increased the success he had helping others. His position allowed him to deal with people on what could have been their worst day ever.

Light Bulb Moment

One day Aaron’s Wife asked him what he loved about his job. He realized that he loved teaching. He loved getting someone from point A to point Z. It was a lightbulb moment that he needed to teach others from his learning. He took the following steps

  • Picked up Brendan Burchard’s book
  • Built a website
  • Recorded a Podcast episode
  • Stepped out of his comfort zone, terrified for each first
  • Coached someone
  • Began doing Social Media on his own

Using what he went through, he encourages his clients to share something that scares them and tells them to go do it.

Aaron knew his Law Enforcement career was coming to an end and began to really grow his Social Media, website and podcast. Today he helps people get clients using LinkedIn and now has somewhere around 15k followers.

Hitting The Wall

If you have had something happen in your life that has left you feeling like you hit a wall Aaron shares some advice. Choose why you think it happened. He believes that we get to assign the reason and meaning to what has happened and no one can tell us it is right or wrong. If you have hit a wall

  • Decide what the meaning is
  • Decide why it happened.
  • Don’t let anyone tell you if it is right or wrong
  • Make it a good reason.

The Fear of Public Speaking

Aaron has a physical reaction each time he presents a key-note. Just like riding a roller coaster, there is a fine line between fear and exhilaration. He feels safer working on a Swat team than standing on a stage. He tells us he is never safer than when he is with his team.

Despite his workplace success he still experiences the physical fear when he begins speaking including, a racing heart and sweaty hands.

Favourite Book:

Man’s Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor Frankyl

Favourite Podcast:

The Brendon Show by Brendon Burchard

Aaron’s Bio:

“Aaron Keith Hawkins is the inspirational author of Million Dollar Influence, a leadership keynote speaker, podcast host, LinkedIn sales trainer, and influence expert. He thrives on helping others improve their business and personal lives by mastering the skill of authentic influence, personal leadership, and value-based decision making.

Aaron completed his graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma where he majored in Administrative Leadership with a focus on Professional Coaching. He’s also honoured to be a rare alumnus of the invitation-only FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Aaron spent over 2 decades as a public servant, serving as a Police Captain in his New Jersey community. He and his wife of 23 years currently live in New Jersey with their 13 year old daughter.”


Finding Meaning with John Graham

Have you ever felt like something was missing deep within you? Many people try to fill that void with money, fame, drugs, and alcohol. John began life as an adventurer. He took on climbing mountains that have never again been climbed, was active in wars, revolutions and many thrill-seeking adventures that brought him near death a dozen times.

In the midst of a war, he had a light bulb moment and realized that all the thrill and adventure had not brought him meaning in life. He shares his story and journey of how he found the life of serving and helping others that he lives today.

Some areas of discussion:

  • Life as an adventurer
  • Taking enormous risks in the battle in Vietnam
  • Solving difficult public problems
  • Life in the Foreign Service
  • Life as a Diplomat
  • The power of story to change people
  • Creating a curriculum for students to provide the best service-learning free on the planet.
  • Realizing the fullness of who you are
  • Overcoming PTSD
  • Life’s moral compass in asking big questions such as: what will build justice, end pain?
  • Men struggling to find their feminine side

-Loving your kids is meaningful

-Playing catch, being a coach to your kid’s team, taking your grandkids for a while

-Being compassionate to someone that hates your guts

  • Finding what you’re meant to do
  • Creating meaning in your life that lasts


Devastating Horse Accident to Thriving Business Coach

John Ramstead  

I am blessed to share an inspiring story that touched my soul and filled my heart. John overcame tremendous injury in an accident that he miraculously survived. This is a story not only about becoming Christian but also really connecting and feeling our creators love.

Today he is the co-host of The Eternal Leadership podcast, as well as a successful business coach.

JohnRamstead Blog

As a kid, he had a dream to be a fighter pilot and never thought he could achieve it. John went to college on a ROTC scholarship, then Navy Flight school and through a lot of hard work became a F14 pilot. He flew in desert storm, flew combat sorties.

Then he had been given dream orders to go back and instruct at Top Gun, but he had a softball accident and suffered nerve damage to his eye.

No longer able to fly, John was completely unsure about the path of his life. His dreams were taken away and that was the only thing he wanted to do since being a child.

He needed help, direction, and purpose as his life didn’t have any meaning. John was lead to the Gospel in April of 1995 and he became a Christian. It gave him a foundation and a grounding for the rest of his life that was invaluable for him. It opened incredible doors.

A year later his wife became a Christian, he tells us it was an interesting year!

Imagine what it would be like, being given orders to go to Top Gun, flying F14’s and F16’s to selling cell phones door to door, with the planes flying above.

“When you don’t have a purpose in your life you don’t understand who you are, what you want to do and the meaning you want your life to have.”

This was 1995 and he started his own company.

He did three different tech start-up companies, then worked for a fortune 100 company, then to a Wall Street firm, then in 2011, he left to start a new company. Then 5 1/2 month into it, he was involved in an accident that radically changed his life.

The Horse Ride That Changed John’s Life

John was invited by a friend to a non-profit called Family Talk. He was invited to learn more, and perhaps become more involved. He flew himself up, and they gathered at a Ranch in Montana.

Friday, they were going to ride to the back of the Ranch, and John had his horse saddled first. He had a picture taken just before, and he had a big smile on his face, having no idea that in the next five minutes his life was going to change permanently.

John’s horse began to trot, then all of a sudden the horse did a 90-degree turn and bolted and threw him backward. John was holding on with his legs, as hard as he could.  John was able to get himself back up in time to see a steel fence coming up.

John grabbed the reins and pulled left, the horse nearly pulled the reins out of John’s hands. John pulled the horse’s head left again, but the horse pulled his head back and kept going towards the fence.

John was thinking he needed to jump, starting to panic, but would have broken his neck. He didn’t feel the horse would be suicidal and run into the wall. Soon John realized there was no way one of them wasn’t going to get really hurt.

He was a fighter pilot, he flew in combat; low-level missions, 500 mph at 100 feet and never felt this feeling before in his life.

About 20 yards from the fence, it was as if someone hit the pause button and everything slowed down. John recalls thinking, “This is not going to end well.”

The horse bucked so hard he slammed into the fence rump first. He launched John into the top bar of the fence. About a 3″ solid steel beam.

After The Accident

The beam hit John across the face, from his teeth to his left eye.

I can hardly type as I listen to this, let alone imagine what it must have been like to go through.

John lost 7  teeth,  shattered his cheek, crushed his left eye orbit, broke all the bones behind the eye socket; which severed the nerve and he lost his left eye sight. He shattered his forehead, the center of his skull, the base of his skull, his head snapped back from the impact and broke his neck in a couple of places.

He crushed 4 ribs, punctured a lung and tore up his right shoulder pretty good.

An EMT was there and helped right away. John passed out briefly and when he came to he could feel people holding down his head, shoulders, hips and this woman was holding his hand. He heard her say he was going into shock.

The pain he was in was beyond anything he could tolerate.  “It was like being underwater and running out of air when you still have 20 feet to go, that type of fear and panic, but even greater than that.”

His face was cut open, not a pretty sight, he was yelling and moaning and it was hard for the people there to comfort him.

They describe how they thought they watched him pass away, because he suddenly relaxed, and his body sunk into the ground.

The Presence Of God

He felt the presence of God come and completely surround him. It was the most intense and personal unconditional love. It was about Jesus and John Ramstead, one on one, being loved beyond comprehension.

The first thought he had, had been, “I’m not worthy of someone loving me like this.”

He had fallen away from a close relationship with God because of his business career and some of the success he had.

In scripture, they talk about that peace that passeth all understanding.  That feeling was washing over him like waves from the ocean, it was taking away all his pain, and panic and fear and it was like it had never happened.

He basked in this intense love, and as he was laying there God spoke to him.  It was not to his ears, but like a stream of consciousness flowing through his soul.

What God said is  “All things work together for good for those that love the lord. I am going to heal you and use this for all my glory. The Lord giveth the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”

John told me he still wonders about that because he knew with total certainty his left eye was blind. There was no reason for him to know that at the time.

He woke up and opened his eyes, and told everyone very calmly that they didn’t need to worry because God was there and he said it was going to be ok. They were a little surprised.

For the next hour he chatted calmly, he asked questions every couple of minutes, about why his teeth were broken and about how the horse was doing.

He waited for an hour for the helicopter to arrive. He remembers looking forward to the ride, It was a beautiful Montana Day. He could only see the blades and blue sky.

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Being in God’s presence has profoundly changed who he is and what he is all about.

He was told by multiple doctors that his accident was not survivable, he should have died.


In the last 2 1/2 years he has had 23 surgeries, 2 brain surgeries where they had to take most of his skull off to repair it with titanium plates, his entire sinus cavity was removed and a traumatic brain injury.

A hospital in Denver treats traumatic brain injury, and he spent 18 months there. When he did his testing in the end, he was 100% in everything except for visual processing. This was miraculous because they had only expected he would recover to 50% at most.


The path to John healing was long and treacherous. He battled Meningitis, a fever over 107 degrees, John had post-accident amnesia, brain surgeries, and every time, they told him about the possibility of complications, and that he may not be the same person if he made it through.

His wife was his caregiver, for a year. He has three children and it was a hard time for all of them. All of his friends and family came up, especially for the first week or two all his friends and family would come up.

He tells us his wife prayed to god for some help while waiting for his second surgery. Just after, a pastor from a local church came to visit to see what he could do.

He sat with her as a friend, prayed with her, and waited 4-5 hours until the surgery was over. He came back a few more times. Just having someone there gave her the strength and courage to get through it gracefully.

Financially this made a huge difference in their lives. It challenged their boys’ faith and put them all through a really tough time.

It has been a huge blessing over the years, watching their boys come through this, watching their journey.  He and his wife have a  relationship,  he would never give up.  John no longer works 70- 80 hours a week and has more time with his family.

John is going to try to make as big of a difference, with what time he has left. He doesn’t know if it works this way, however,  he envisions seeing Jesus one day, and seeing his face break out in a smile,  and having him say, “good job buddy, come on in.”

 Community and Friends

The community was amazing. Over 400 people brought meals and thousands reached out.  People offered to take his kids to sports, mow the lawn, fix things around the house and for the 5 weeks he was away in the hospital good friends took his kids, and would not take any money for groceries.

If you’re in a situation like this, reach out and find a relationship, a book, someone who can help you hang on to hope. If you know someone who is going through something like this, reach out and serve them, do something that is inconvenient for you but will mean the world for them.

 Moving On

I asked John how he moved on? He told us that, “Every single day you wake up you have a choice”.

I reached out to mentors, read books, kept putting one foot in front of the other to keep moving forward.

When we have a funeral someday, it is more than just being a great husband, dad, provider, and co-worker. He wants to leave a legacy to be so much bigger than it would have been if he died two years ago.

I asked John if he thinks there is a way one can tap into these things without having a near death experience. He told me absolutely!

Our experiences made us realize that we have this incredible potential we can live up to.  If we make decisions, surround ourselves with people who are doing great things with their life. We can make a choice every day, every single day we wake up we have an opportunity for a second chance.


If there is something stopping us, an obstacle or a roadblock, there are people out there that will help you, to give you the courage, give you the skills to get past whatever you think is in your way. It is not as big as you think!!


He went back to work and could not put in the kind of hours he had before. In February of this year, he felt god talk to him again. He said, ” I want you to use this life that I have given you, to pour this life into other leaders, to equip and inspire them to work in my kingdom. ” It was very clear.

He left what he was doing, very advanced business, estate, and tax planning for business owners. He went and got certified as a coach.

He found a lot of people ask, ” how do I really understand my purpose, who I am, what are my values, what are the gifts God has given me and how do I work in those? How do I create a life outside of me that is in complete alignment of who I am inside?

When he helps those individuals, and bring those two into alignment, amazing things happen.

Life has a new colour to it, a joy and a light, it becomes fresh and exciting.  All of us know they can get there but they don’t know how.

 Contact Information

Career Burnout with Claire Yeung

Claire Yeung contracted a mysterious virus that took her out of life for over 6 months. Looking back she tells us she believes it was caused by career burnout. She quit her job as a lawyer with no plan, thankfully with the support of her partner. Today she is certified as a Whole person coach, speaker, and teacher at the Justice Institute in Canada.

Hear the story of how she made it through the tough time and healed, turned her life around and now, is using her experience to help others as the author of, The Eighty-Year Rule. You can listen to the audio interview on the Podcast: Here 


After Cancer What’s Next? with Louise Ennis

“After the rollercoaster ride of Chemotherapy, you’re told that you are healed. What’s Next?”

Her Second Chance Story

 Louise had just completed 4 years of university and began her dream job as a Dental Hygienist when she was given a cancer diagnosis and only 4 years to live without life-changing surgery.

In this interview, she courageously shares her story for the first time. Thank you for spending your time with us today, if this story brings you hope or inspiration please connect with Louise through the links below or share her story so it may reach many others.

Louise Ennis is a Self Discovery Coach and Solution Focused Hypnotherapist based in Llandudno, a seaside town in North Wales in the UK.

Her Worst Moment

She was tired and having stomach pain quite a lot and her Mom told her to go and get it checked out.

She was put on medical treatment for IBS and then it was found out on the follow-up, she had polyps in her stomach that were cancerous.

Her Dad told her not to worry, that everything was fine and going to be ok. She was Daddy’s little girl and believed him, and he was right, everything was really ok.

It was stage 3 Cancer and her large bowel was removed. It took 5 years after, for the surgeon to tell her that the concern for it spreading to her liver was over. This was a real celebration point!!

Having Chemotherapy and Surgery was the worst point. She was not going to allow it to defeat her and she worked up until the last couple of treatments. Louise learned that it was all about having a positive mindset to get through.

You can listen to the entire interview on the Podcast: Here 

The Turnaround Point

As a stubborn child when she was young, she turned it into survivor mode. This helped her to get through. Tragically, her Mom suddenly passed away and she had to work through a lot of grief.

She began to run, starting one night while waiting for the bus. She signed up for the London Marathon and stuck to the training plan and completed it, raising money for charity along the way.

She speaks about the powerful healing running had to help her get through all the emotion from losing her Mom.  

A Closer Look

What about you changed the most from this experience?

Louise found a love of yoga, running and living a life that is fulfilling. She began helping others that have physically healed from Cancer yet need support for the, What Now? Question.

What wisdom would you share you gained?

Helping others is very healing. It has made a huge difference in her life and she feels happy and blessed to share in being able to help them.

Hear the whole story by listening to the audio interview below!


Naval Fire Fighting Training Accident with David Rachford

David Rachford wanted to get off the farm and joined the military.  He had a dream of going to explosive ordnance disposal school. First, he had to do some time as a Naval Fire Fighter, stationed on the USS Abraham Lincoln,  which was an aircraft carrier, on the Persian Golf.

An unfortunate accident happened while training and took away his chances of leaving him crippled and devastated at only 23 years old. David slipped into depression and ended up facing a narcotic addiction.

Today he is a successful web developer, host of two podcasts and a blog. He has succeeded in healing and has come today to share the story of his difficult journey.  He tells us how he overcomes his injury and addiction, weight loss of over 70 lbs, and how he created a healthy lifestyle.

There seems to be a definite link between mental and physical health. By listening to others, my hope is that you may be able to avoid going down some of these dark allies by finding positive people to surround yourselves with and finding ways to keep your head up while you follow your own healing journey.

Listening to Davids story is sure to help you get a good leg up on your own journey! You can hear the audio on the Podcast: Here

The Accident

They were training in Somali off the Coast of Mogadishu and while doing a drill David was pushed down and suffered a really severe back injury, he felt things pop in his back, his legs collapsed under him and wasn’t able to get up.

At only 23 years old he had been in the best physical shape of his life, being able to do over 100 push-ups and could run forever. Going from being, really fit to crippled, was devastating.


A military hospital is equipped for triage, not for treatment. They are not known for the best of care. He was given a couple of Advil and a light duty certificate.

This went on for a few months until he went back to the US.

The Accident

There was a fire that was pretty big in a chemical storage room when David was on duty. Acids and chemicals were on fire and became a toxic soup that they were wading through. It ate holes through his coveralls and flesh and gave them second and third-degree chemical burns.

They were the only fire team on board so they weren’t able to leave until the next day. David experienced shell shock and a PTSD moment. He never felt that there was any gratitude for what they did and no one was there for them.

The Slide Into Darkness

David’s back injury became worse and led to his discharge. This meant the loss of his dream as he would no longer be able to go to the school. He joined the Veterans Administrations Treatment Program.

It was pain management, which was narcotics and the option of surgery. The prognosis was not that great, so he decided not to have it. He was now 24 and tells us he became addicted to the medication and received sympathy and money for college.

A friend told him he looked like Santa Clause when he was ready to graduate. He had put on about 70 lbs while eating burritos nightly. He was so mad and knew he needed a change.

David became attached to his business credentials and had an ego and ended up staying in his new career too long.


David was guided by some traditional and non-traditional healing methods.

  • Chiropractic
  • jiu-jitsu
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Meditation

He began to walk better, lift weights and run for a couple of minutes. He was able to work up to running for 30 minutes. He began to think about the training he wanted to do in the Navy again as he began dreaming about running long distances.

He felt that was his ego talking. I love the quote he mentions,

“The ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them”  ― Jim Rohn

It took him about 6-8 months to lose the weight and then he began to train to run his first marathon. He trained for about 6 months to run his first marathon and had a base of about 20 miles that he had worked up to over about 6 months.

Situational Depression

David’s back injury recurred and his mother passed away. For a couple of years, he felt really down as he had lost his fitness ability for some time and grieved his mother. The meditation really helped him to become more open and he found yoga. Yoga led him back to fitness.

He had a limiting belief that yoga was only for, “bendy housewives”!! He decided it wouldn’t be a bad thing to join in with, “bendy housewives” and do yoga, this led to some good laughs, it is so good to laugh!!!!!

David went to the Vipassana yoga retreat twice. The second time, he found easier having a solid yoga foundation that gave him strength.

Parting Advice

He would have sought out instruction in breathing and mindfulness much earlier on. When he went through this there weren’t podcasts with so much free information. If you are listening to one of these shows and you know someone in pain share the resources. Someone may not be ready to hear it when they are acute, but, keep talking to people, always be looking to help someone and do whatever you can to shine a light where it needs to be shone for them.

If someone is in pain, seek teaching and training in breath and mindfulness. The breathing is the window into the parasympathetic nervous system and subconscious. By changing the way we breathe, it can allow us to get into the subconscious parts where all the healing happens.



David Ratchford’s website

David’s story on his podcast, epi 6,  The Better Human Show

Hal Higdon Marathon training:

The Strategic Coach with Dan Sullivan

Book mention: Never Eat alone Keith Ferrazzi

Vipassana Meditation

Yoga Journal

Music thank you to


Mindset Monday with Terri Fry

Do you ever tire from hearing about how positive you should always be while juggling all that life demands each day? There is a time for positivity and reality that there are negative things that happen, we must acknowledge, feel and move through. That is what Terri, podcast host of Mom Like that, wife and working Mother has come to share.

Today we deep dive into the life of a working Mom, mindset and how to be real in a world of pseudo-happiness. We learn about how to set a schedule at the beginning of the week, have grace when things go wrong and all about self-care.

Terri is the Mom of a 3 and 5-year-old boy, wife and currently in the transition of a new career. She is a podcast host and has a passion to bring different motherhood perspectives together.

Some key takeaways:

  1. How do you keep feeling that you are growing? You can ask yourself these questions.
  • What did I achieve this week?
  • Where did I fail this week?
  • How can I improve upon?

2. How having self-care allows us to give back more to others and be there for our family.

3. Allowing yourself to feel sad, to hurt, to be a little bit miserable for a short time is helpful to your happiness.

4. How to set a schedule at the beginning of each week and have grace for it’s unfolding.

Favorite Book:

Favorite Podcast: