Q: Do you go by Josh or Joshua?
A: I usually go by Joshua but most call me Josh.
Q: Graduate from BGM?
A: Yes, BGM
Q: Any college and where?
A: No college. I traveled the world, wrote books, created clothing, and followed my dreams instead.
Q: Why all the ink and piercings?
A: When I was a child I was uncomfortable in my own skin-so I chose to make my skin comfortable for me.
Q: When did you realize you had the gift of motivational speaking?
A: I am not sure it is a gift but it was always a dream of mind to change lives and I knew that this was going to be my method of doing it. I realized this was my method when I would go to rock shows and enjoy the speaking between songs as much, or more, than the music itself.
Q: Do you still work @ Brownells?
A: I do. I am a promotional marketer for Brownells and really enjoy what I do there. I am blessed to have a team of people that support me in my personal endeavors as well.
Q: How did you go about getting set up for this tour?
A: I have an awesome team in The Please Line that really made this happen. Lots of planning, marketing, and networking makes the Manners & Motivation Tour happen.
Q: Your age?
A: An amazing & beautiful wife. I am a lucky man.
A: Yes, 2 wonderful children that teach me more about who I am than anyone ever before.
A: Yes, Don Coburn & Donna Baustian.
Q: The hardest hurdles to overcome growing up?
A: Connecting with a family that often misunderstood my interests and dealing with the impacts of alcoholism in my family.
Q: How many books have you written and published?
A: Written five, published three. (If anyone can name the unpublished ones I'll send you a PDF of them!)
Q: What do you wish to accomplish during the 2014 Tour?
A: I will accomplish reaching both students and adults across this great nation in a manner that allows them to believe in who they are, strive to reach all of their dreams, and treat others well.
Q: Your inspiration?
A: I am inspired by all things. Music, art, people, landscapes…life really. I am excited to be here and blessed to have experienced so much. My drive, that comes from always wanting to prove to myself that I am worthy, that I can live up to my words, and that I can walk the talk.
Q: How do you stay so positive throughout life's challenges?
A: Very simply, I work at it. Every second of every day, I work at being positive. How do I work at it? I choose happiness when I wake and I strive to put smiles on other people’s faces. I do my best to always pay it forward, to go out of my way to make the day of anyone I come in contact with, and focus on others. When you see someone else’s eyes light up and you receive that warmth through your body, even if the individual will never know it was you that made their day, you’ll never be the same. Give it a shot, it works. No more being selfish, give your all to others and you receive all back.
Q: I didn’t want to ask this question where everyone could see it...watching you grow I would have never guessed that you were dealing with depression. You seemed so together, bright, respectful, kind, and none judgmental. So my question is do you still battle with it and hide it? And how do you keep it at bay? I know I have become a master at hiding it.
A: I was, and like to think I still am together, bright, respectful, kind, and none judgmental. These traits reflect the values deeply instilled in me by my family and have little to do with the fact that I was struggling beneath the surface. I wasn’t deliberately hiding my depression; I just assumed it wasn’t anyone else’s problem.
My depression stemmed directly from my personal choices and my avoidance of specific issues that always haunted me. After directly facing the bad choices I was making, addressing the lessons I needed to learn, and diving head on into the issues that tortured me from childhood I was able to be free. I emptied out my personal closets and moved on. I have nothing to hide; I have made terrible decisions in my life, and learned from them. Now I can do, and be, anything I choose. Do I still struggle, yes, but not as I used too. I post my daily quotes as my reminder. As much as everyone loves them, they are still for me.
Q: I do have a question, and if you do not want to answer it, that's okay. Do you feel you are spiritual, that your joy for life comes from God? Being a Christian, I know that God is Joy, but, man, I still have down days and am awed at your great attitude and love of life. Thank you for sharing yourself and your positive outlook with all and everyone.
A: I would certainly state that I have a spiritual side to me. In all honesty, I am on a journey in faith and still have a lot to learn. Due to my lack of confidence in a straightforward answer I cannot give you one. I believe that my journey through hardship has led me to a place of admiration for all things in life, both the positive and the negative. If one believes in God or a God that is the creator of all things, then Yes, my joy comes from God.
Q: What made you get rid of that lovely hair?
A: I assume you are referring to my sweet, flowing locks of raven colored hair I had for years. I simply decided that I was over it. I am an ever evolving individual both mentally and physically. Understand that what you saw then is not what I am today. Not only that, what you see today is not what you will get in another ten years.
Q: Tell us about your ink, what do u wear, artist, inspiration, etc.
A: This could go on forever so I’ll address it from a very top level view. My right arm is related to my childhood, left arm dedicated to family, stomach relates to living life to its fullest, my back is an image of Jesus as a model for life, right leg is associated with my struggles with religion, and my left leg is used for collecting art from various artists.
Artists are mostly Darren McKeag & Scott Bruggeman of Slingin’ Ink Tattoos, Alex Vance of Studio 938, & Hank Bertka of Hardcore Tattoo.
I was inspired to get tattooed early on by National Geographic images, retired Navy men, and musicians.
Q: Are you always super positive about everything? If so how do you do it?
A: Yes, I try my best to be. I wake up in horrible moods or have days that start rough but I write quotes to get my day started right. The quotes remind me to stay focused, keep positive, and appreciate all I have. I wrote quotes before anyone cared and I will continue to write them long after others stop caring that I do. I am beyond honored that others find value in the quotes I write but also know that I write them to keep myself positive. I believe that it is this which allows me to deeply connect with others, because I am doing my best to stay positive just like everyone else. I couldn't be happier that there is a positive impact on the rest of the world as a result of my actions.
Q: Why do you think people see you so differently?
A: I am not sure what you mean specifically by “see you differently” so I’ll simply answer a couple of ways. I think people see a heavily tattooed/modified individual and make judgments based on society’s norms. Once others get to know me they very much note that I don’t fit the norms/standards of society.
To answer in another manner I will state that many people struggle to be positive and they see me doing it every day regardless of what is going on in my life. I am often seen as an anomaly due to my positive state of mind. The truth is, anyone can achieve this state of mind with a bit of work, some additional focus, and avoiding selfishness. I hope that answers your question in the way you intended me to.
Q: Have you ever done anything to harm yourself?
A: It depends on how one would define this. I am tattooed, had scarification done, have subdermal implants, and been pierced which some define as self-harm. If referring to harming oneself to manifest a physical representation of internal or mental anguish, often related to teens and pre-teens, the answer to this is “Yes” as well. When I was a teen I did experiment with cutting my left arm. Scars are no longer visible due to tattooing, except under where my watch sits on the top of my left wrist. This is where I also experienced a self-inflicted burn.
When speaking at schools I see this often and am asked often if I ever did this. I would never condone this behavior but I do answer honestly to create the connection. For anyone wishing to know more about this type of behavior, or its causes and treatments, I would be happy to refer you to some additional sources.
Q: In your so-called "darker days" did you have intimate relationships or did you shut people out?
A: I isolated myself when at my worst. I withdrew, lost confidence, and ended up afraid of even being in public at times. I had a comfort zone and I did my best to stay within it. I even withdrew as much as possible from my immediate family.
Q: In your mind... what's the craziest insane thing you have done in your life?
A: Fun question, boring answer J. I am not really sure how to answer as my personal limits are often way beyond those of others (meaning I don’t think covering myself in tattoos or having huge earlobes is crazy while others would define it as such). I have not participated in skydiving or extreme sport so that really narrows it down. I was once charged by a moose while hiking. It was something the moose did so I am not sure it was the craziest thing I’ve done but it was sure a crazy thing that happened to me!
Q: OK, here's mine: I wanna know what your inciting incident was in relation to your super positive outlook on life!
A: There was never one specific moment but it took a lot of experiences to get me to this point but the big one was that I shouldn’t be selfish. I needed to give. It is the giving that changed everything. I give as much as I can and that is what makes me love life. I get to create smiles and what I get back from people is unimaginable.
Q: Growing up in the same school... Looking back seeing everyone's opinions about you now, when did you decide it was time for a change and why?
A: I like to think I am much the same as I was way back when but I’ll say I liked to push limits in all facets of life. I knew I had to make a change in life back in 2001 when I hit rock bottom. At that point I thought “Why not live my life exactly how I want? What more could I lose? I was already at bottom.” It was from then on that I pursued my dreams with no limits. It took some additional time though before I learned how to properly treat people.
Why? Because I was sure I wouldn’t make it to this age and I am thankful I’m able to get up each day. I get to see the most amazing people every day and experience things I never thought I would ever experience. I plan to leave a legacy behind, and for what it’s worth, I am going to do my best to make it a great one!