The Story of Joe and Sean
Joe & Sean
Both of us in our different ways have always lived in the context that anything is possible. Joe – as a former homeless addict, who transformed his difficult life to become a successful businessman, has personally experienced the power of possibility thinking in the face of some of life’s biggest obstacles, and he is dedicated to sharing this possibility mindset with others who are going through their own challenges. Sean as a former elite athlete and a PhD in performance psychology, has seen that there is always more potential in a person than they or others see themselves, and he has dedicated his career to helping draw that out of them. Together Joe and Sean have a shared passion to help people see more in themselves, in others, and in their circumstances than they currently see, and to help them understand the processes for getting past their biggest obstacles in life.
Passions are amazing.
Possibilities are awesome.
But without action, we are only left to dream… and nothing changes.
Small actions taken to make a difference are important, but over the past few years, there has been a momentum building for Joe and Sean to take on bigger goals, to step into a greater space of action and to do the scary things that could really have a widespread impact. It is a heightened sense of urgency that has driven each of us to ask a bigger question: How can I do something that makes a profound difference in this world… starting right now?
The answer for us is to combine our experiences, knowledge and passions to create a major project.
What if we worked together to design something that would do three things?
- Inspire a nation with the idea that anything is possible
- Raise money and create change for a significant cause
- Engage the people in this country to take personal action to make a difference
On a business flight from Vancouver to Calgary we were talking about this idea of making a difference, about chasing ideals. Joe asked Sean – “What is this really about?”… Sean replied: “I guess it is simply about choosing a big goal and figuring out how to achieve it.” We both acknowledged that in going after big goals, you have to start with a strong purpose, which needs to be supported by action, and the inevitable personal and situational roadblocks along the way have to be identified and resolved. Since that conversation, we have referred to this idea as the One Goal project – this is about doing the one thing that you would choose to do if you could do anything.
Choosing to Make a Difference
Canada has a history of spawning extraordinary individuals who have fought the odds and taken on personal journeys that make a difference – Terry Fox, Steve Fonyo, Rick Hansen come to mind…
On that flight, an amazing idea hit us, which would champion Joe’s transformational experience and leverage Sean’s expertise… an idea that Joe was born to act on and Sean equipped to make happen…
We agreed “Let’s work together to create a national odyssey project, built around a cause close to our hearts – helping @risk kids, who are struggling, to change their lives for the better – to prevent them from ever having to go through what Joe went through (ending up addicted to drugs and living on the street).
Focusing on a Cause
Why help troubled youth? Other than the personal connection for Joe?
Because we want to make a difference at the level of causation, at the level of prevention, for homelessness amongst youth. It is an oft ignored issue but one that the statistics suggest is not one we can ignore any longer.
The latest federal estimate conservatively places the number of homeless individuals in Canada at about 150,000. Some sources estimate Canada’s true homeless population to be between 200,000 and 300,000. It is estimated that roughly 65,000 young people are homeless or living in homeless shelters throughout the country at some time during the year.
These are the children of families from all walks of life. These are the children, like your own, who have for whatever reason been driven by personal adversity to the lowest levels of existence in our great nation.
The situations for @Risk Kids result from various factors, including substance abuse, domestic violence, sexual and emotional abuse, social isolation, high unemployment, racial discrimination, discrimination against the poor, and untreated or inadequately treated mental illness. Homelessness is the most desperate end state for any troubled youth – but what leads to it are the things that will touch most people’s families in this nation in one way or another.
The Idea of the Trek
So back to that fateful flight to Calgary… the idea that naturally floated to the surface involved Joe as a front man, and Sean as his ever-constant team-mate. The idea is for Joe, formerly a homeless addict himself, to push a shopping cart across Canada as a symbol of hope and courage for the young people who are often left out in our society, in our communities, and in our school system. The purpose of the Trek is to raise money, awareness, and stimulate action from people to get involved to make a difference to the hundreds of thousands living in the street. Together, we plotted the idea of a national trek beginning in St John’s Newfoundland, finishing in Vancouver BC.
Would that work?
Would people be inspired?
Could we teach something profound in doing this?
We thought YES!
Drunk on a dream we began.
Read more about JOE
Read more about SEAN