Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Meet Patrick Combs

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Do you know who this guy is? If you don't, you will want to by the time you're done with today's article.

About ten years ago during the late 90's, I was just getting started as a motivational speaker and author. Ravenous for advice, I went hunting for inspirational articles that were geared towards beginning speakers/writers.

Good ole Google swamped me with a dizzying array of information on that subject, which could have easily overwhelmed me. But somehow I was divinely led to Patrick Combs' Good Thinking website. From the moment I entered the world of Good Thinking Company, I was hooked. Like a crazed crack addict, I kept going back for more, frequently downloading articles and motivational statements so that I could inject myself with more faith whenever I needed it the most.

A short time after that, I fired off an introductory email to thank Patrick for his wisdom. His humble reply was filled with graditude. Pretty soon we became cyberpals with the intention of meeting in person at the right time.

One day, in the middle of a hot, humid afternoon in New York City, the flashing lamp in my living room alerted me to an incoming telephone call. I walked over to the table where I kept a small TTY device with a screen and keyboard that was plugged into the telephone jack. (For those of you visiting this blog for the first time, I'm deaf and use a special device for telephone communications - Click here for a description if you're curious).

Switching the device on, I typed "Hello."

I was met with a blank screen. Thinking it was the wrong number (as was often the case), I shrugged my shoulders and hung up.

Then it rang again. And again. Each time I entered "Hello" on the keyboard, there was no answer.

When it rang the 5th time, I almost ignored it. But something told me this call was not to be missed. So I turned the TTY back on and typed yet another greeting.

Silence.

Frowning at the lack of response, I murmured to no one in particular, "What is going on?"

Then an idea hit me. Pick it up, pick it up and say something!

Wondering who this persistent caller could be, I voiced into the mouthpiece, "Hello, is Stephen Hopson and it looks like someone is trying to call me but I'm deaf. I'm going to give you the number of a relay service so that you can call me the proper way. You'll need a piece of paper and a pen for instructions."

Silently counting to ten, hoping that was enough time for the caller to get organized, I proceeded, "Okay, the relay number is 1-800-xxx-xxxx. Dial that first. Wait for a live person and then instruct the operator to call 212-xxx-xxxx. That's it. If you've never done a relay call before, don't worry, they'll walk you through it."

After repeating myself just to make sure, I simply hung up and hoped for the best.

Not more than thirty seconds later, the phone rang. "Hello?" I quickly typed.

A message flashed across the screen: "New York Relay Service, with a call for Stephen Hopson from Patrick Combs."

I nearly fell off my chair.

"Patrick, what in the world are you doing in New York!?!??" My fingers were flying furiously on the tiny keyboard.

The operator bounced back with: "I'm here for a speaking engagement with some time to kill. Want to meet for dinner tonight?"

"That sounds great!" I typed back.

And that was how our friendship began nearly ten years ago. Since then, our personal and professional lives have taken us in different directions, but our paths have managed to cross once or twice, with the rest of the time communicating online.

Had Patrick given up at the first, second, third or even fourth try, we might have never met that day!

Over the years I've had the great pleasure of watching his professional career soar to greater and greater heights. If I were to describe him in one sentence, here's what I would say:
Patrick Combs is a man of incredible passion, genuine love and integrity who wants nothing more than to lift other people up and does so with tremendous class.
This guy has an unbelievable treasure trove of gut-wrenching stories to share with you. He writes with raw and unparalleled emotion, passion and stunning clarity. His heartfelt words literally pull you in, causing you to root for him, especially when the going gets tough. You actually feel as if you were right there with him.

Every time I read a story of his, it always lifts and inspires me and I think it will do the same for you. Sometimes I go to bed unable to sleep after reading a Patrick Combs story because of the stunning power of his words.

Finally, Patrick is like the actor who doesn't give a shit about the Oscars. He just wants to hone his craft. And hone it he does!

Are you ready to meet someone who could easily be a professor at Adversity University?

Then like "Larry the Cable Guy" would say, "let's get er done!" Check out these two stories and tell me if I was right to introduce you to this amazing, resilient guy:

1. Watch how he bravely cornered Jack Canfield at the Maui Writers Conference

2. Watch how he endures the ups and downs of a speaking career on the college lecture circuit

Food for thought: Persistence, faith and lots of courage are key ingredients in unlocking the doors to your dreams. If someone like Patrick Combs and I can do it, so can you!
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Tom Krieglstein said...

Stephen, thank you for this post. You perfectly stated my affection for Patrick as well.

I met him when I was a college student and he spoke at my college. After the program I went up to him and said, "I want to do what you do." He said "Great! But I have to let you know that 99.99% of the people who say that to me don't do anything about it."

From there, I emailed him the next day and we started as cyberpals. He then helped me grow my speaking career for the next 4 years to where we are today as, humbly, one of the top speakers on the college market.

So thanks to you for writing this and thanks to Pcombs for being Pcombs.

9:11 AM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Tom:

Thanks for stopping by and letting me know your history with the amazing Patrick Combs. Congratulations on sticking with your dreams and becoming one of the top college speakers in the nation! That is no easy feat.

I enjoyed your story of how you met Patrick and how he reached out to you. That's him. He's like that if he knows you truly want what you're after. His heart is in the right place and you and I are lucky to know someone like him.

Now that you've introduced yourself to me, who knows, maybe we will one day cross paths? You never know!

Stephen

9:28 AM  

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