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'Not a day goes by when my disability doesn’t frustrate or anger me. The reason why I work as hard as I do is the harder I work, the less time that I have to let my disability bother me.'

Interview: Motivational Speaker Sourena Vasseghi About His Book, ‘Big Dreams Take Small Sacrifices’

Sourena VasseghiWith his book Big Dreams Take Small Sacrifices Sourena Vasseghi pulls off an interesting challenge: using his own life experiences to write a self-help book. Vasseghi has quite a life to draw from, as he was born with cerebral palsy. He wanted to become a professional speaker but he’s admittedly hard to understand. Ultimately he often needs to hire someone to help interpret his comments.

With some luck and lots of perseverance, though, he pulled it off and now does positive motivational speeches around the world.

Why did you decide to write this book?

After taking a break from speaking, I wanted to publish another book. I had written an autobiography, but the marketer in me said that I needed to create fans before I published my autobiography. I had started Big Dreams back in 2010, and decided I needed to revisit my notes. I started writing and rewriting and now have my second book.

What sparked your Love Your Life series?

I couldn’t get a job. It’s the old adage those who can’t do, teach. But seriously. I watched people every day and I compare myself to a great coach who never played. I see things that other people might not notice. I am always in my own head. People always tell me that I am an inspiration. All those factors led me to speaking and writing.

 What are the biggest messages or lessons that you want people to take away from this book?

Success takes understanding and developing a regimen. This is not a book about imagining dreams and having them come true. I think there’s a book already about that. (I can’t think of the name…it must be a secret.)

What’s your issue with the word “overcame”?

Last time I checked, I am still disabled. Problems don’t go away – people deal with them. There are many psychological ramifications with having cerebral palsy or – for that matter – just living. Although I learned a lot about dealing with my disability, I still deal with the same issues that I did ten years ago, twenty years ago. In addition, my everyday routine involves assistance dealing with my pesky disability and keeping positive.

What have been the high and low points in your life?

The low points of my life have been any points where I assumed my disability was prohibiting me from living. The high points of my life were exactly the opposite: getting married, having a child, graduating from college, and getting on stage.

What do you mean by “undermining and understanding your excuses”?

A loose definition of excuse in my book (which we’re talking about), is why some things can or can’t, or did or didn’t happen. I could not get a job in advertising because it required somebody else taking a big risk by hiring me. That’s an excuse, but that excuse led me to something bigger and better. Plus, I could still work in advertising for my own company.

How can passion hurt you?

Passion is doing what you want, when you want it. It’s also defined as an uncontrollable emotion. Achieving your dreams is about being in control and in some instances, being almost stoic or even robotic. I love speaking and writing, but most of my time is spent on tasks that are not fun or that I don’t even like.

I recently read an author take issue with the adage, “Do what you love,” noting you may love doing something you’re awful at or that will lead to a life of failure or disappointment. As someone doing what you love, what’s your take on this?

I love speaking and writing. It gives me an adrenaline rush. At the end of the day, it’s work to take what I love and turn it into a business. Speaking and writing is a small part of what I do. It’s my reward for strategizing, marketing, bugging my staff, and doing the stuff I don’t like, such as sitting there and ordering postcards.

What’s next for you?

I have the ambition to speak between 20 and 30 times a year. My office and I are focused on making that happen. I’m also writing another book, which I hope to publish in about a year.

Last is what I call my bonus question: What question do you wish you would get asked but don’t. Here’s your chance to ask and answer it.

Do you get angry at your disability? Not a day goes by when my disability doesn’t frustrate or anger me. The reason why I work as hard as I do is the harder I work, the less time that I have to let my disability bother me. When I am out and about, my disability is more of a nuisance rather than something that holds me back. As much as my dreams excite me, what is motivating for me is the fear or even the terror of one day waking up and saying, “You know, my disability is just too much to deal with.” There are days when I’m not motivated or I don’t see a path to my dreams, but that question haunts me. (Quite eerie for a motivational speaker.)

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About Scott Butki

Scott Butki was a newspaper reporter for more than 10 years before making a career change into education... then into special education. He has been doing special education work for about five years He lives in Austin.He reads at least 50 books a year and has about 15 author interviews each year and, yes, unlike tv hosts he actually reads each one.He is an in-house media critic, a recovering Tetris addict and a proud uncle.He has written articles on practically all topics from zoos to apples and almost everything in between.

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