What is your life’s purpose?
My mission is to use my life as a light to guide people through whatever dark times they may be facing or have faced.
How are you living your purpose?
I’m fulfilling my purpose in a macro way through my profession of motivational speaking and coaching. I not only speak on the subject of overcoming adversity, but also on the power of hope and finding strength in diversity. I believe that the key to success no matter the obstacles is found in setting the right goals, finding and creating pathways, and building a personal culture by establishing a core set of values and surrounding yourself with individuals who fuel you and your goals.
On the micro level, day-to-day, I seek opportunities to make people smile and feel good. Changing the world and living out my purpose isn’t just done by creating the biggest business or reaching fame and fortune. It’s done in every day interactions with people. It’s noticing that someone is having a bad day and cheering them up. It’s seeing the kid who feels invisible. It’s giving the cashier at the grocery store the best part of you even when life has exposed the worst. My purpose is tied to people and every day for the rest of my life, I will live it out to the fullest.
How did you find your purpose?
In 2009, I was playing football for the Oklahoma Thunder, a semiprofessional team in Tulsa, OK. I was 21 years old and living out my dream when tragedy struck. While making a tackle, I broke my neck and sustained a spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from the chest down.
I was completely lost. I watched as people from all walks of life came to my rescue by giving me hope through simple things like words of encouragement, prayers, and a helping hand. I learned that life is about helping people and I felt empowered to pay it forward. Not until I began serving in a local youth group did I realize that my life, as broken as it was at the time, had meaning. With my story, I could encourage others to overcome obstacles that they may be facing. A painful time in my life was giving me the power to encourage other people through painful moments in their lives. My life had purpose again.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
LOOK INTO YOUR PAIN. For anyone looking for purpose, I think it’s important for people to not overlook the pain in their lives but rather allow it to propel them into their purpose. Pain builds character and leaves clues to the problems that we’re supposed to solve.
What resources do you recommend?
The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential by John Maxwell
Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by the Arbinger Institute
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Ben Zander
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Emeka Nnaka is a professional motivational speaker and leading advocate for individuals with physical challenges. He brings a message of determination, inspiration, and hope to audiences of all ages, young and old. Emeka is uniquely qualified to present life, its challenges, and its opportunities from the perspective of someone who found strength through tremendous adversity. He has addressed audiences across the Midwest U.S. including schools, professional groups, and corporate events.
He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Services from Langston University and is currently studying to receive his master’s in Human Relations from the University of Oklahoma. As a speaker, coach, and advocate, Emeka inspires others to find hope, take action in their lives, and live beyond the labels of their circumstances.