Josh Coburn is an unlikely motivational speaker to come talk to seniors at Winsdor Manor in Indianola Assisted Living Community about reaching for and achieving their dreams. Why you ask? He is a young man, covered in tattoos. That’s right, 91 percent of his body has ink on it and he has multiple piercings. He’s not your average boy next door.
It all started with a few encouraging words, and a friendship was born between Stormy Reynolds, activities coordinator at Windsor Manor in Indianola and Joshua Coburn, motivational speaker and the author of Inspiration on Demand. Through their friendship, Reynolds invited Coburn to come talk about achieving your dreams no matter what your age and to help fulfill the dreams of a few of the residents at Windsor Manor in Indianola.
It was risky when Reynolds booked Coburn for the event, open to the public. It was hard to say how people in rural Iowa would receive a young man covered in tattoos and piercings, especially those at this local retirement community who were obviously a few generations apart from him. Reynolds decided to take a chance on it. She loved his message and hoped others would see past the tattoos on his body and face and hear his amazing message.
Coburn’s message comes from a place of being judged for his appearance. He talked about how people judge him for his appearance, but he hasn’t let that stop him from achieving his dreams or his position in the corporate world. He calls himself a corporate oddity. His message is about not judging others and also about reaching for and achieving your dreams no matter the circumstances. With the aging population, he encouraged them to continue to reach for their dreams no matter their age or physical limitations.
“Josh has a back story about how he is covered in tattoos and how he is judged by the way he looks and how you should never judge people. He talked about how it is never too late to achieve your dreams no matter how far away they are and the only person keeping you from your dreams is yourself,” said Reynolds.
In addition to giving Coburn a platform for his message, Reynolds wanted to do something special for the residents to tie together the motivational speaker’s message to the residents involvement.
“We decided to do the Create a Dream program, starting off with this motivational speaker. We are still trying to do them, as we can,” said Reynolds.
The week before Coburn was to come speak at Windsor Manor, during social hour at the assisted living community, Reynolds asked the residents to tell her the one thing, a dream, that they thought they would never be able accomplish before they die. Reynolds used that information to kickstart the Create a Dream program. Together, Reynolds and Coburn helped to make the dreams of two residents come true during his talk.
“The day of the event, there was a huge crowd. We invited people from outside the community. The local news, Indianola Tribune, came. Channel 13 news from Des Moines, Iowa came and a couple of different Hospice organizations came,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds introduced Coburn and told the back story about how they met and how he touched her life with his words about her son who was born with Cerebral Palsy. Then he told his story and talked about not letting anything hold you back from your dreams.
Reynolds described the overall reception of the crowd to Coburn and his message.
“Everyone absolutely loved him. There were so many who listened to him and appreciated what he had to say. It was really touching and so neat. We were all bawling through the whole thing,” said Reynolds. “I would to bring Josh back. It was just the coolest thing ever,” she added.
Along with his message, Coburn also has a way of showing affection to his audience.
“He has this big sign that says Free Hugs and he walks around and hugs everyone. They got a kick out of that. They thought it was really neat,” said Reynolds.
After he told his story, Coburn announced that he wanted to touch someone’s life by helping to fulfill a dream.
“I had told him about a resident, Erma Speck. Her dream was to write her second book. She had already written her first book about her life with her husband raising her children on a farm as a stay-at-home mother. You have to buy rights to publish a book. He gave her the serial number, the rights to that book, to help her publish her book. He announced that to her and gave her an award for being able to fulfill her dream.”
Reynolds invited Speck’s family to come and be a part of the event and the Create a Dream presentation.
“Erma was so surprised and so happy. She was shocked. She’s been writing her book. It’s not done yet. I haven’t read any of it. When we do something, she tells me she is going to put it in her book. She writes nearly every day,” said Reynolds.
Speck wants her second book to be about living at Windsor Manor, her second life, one without her husband, without her farm and after raising her children.
Another resident, Vicki is an artist. Her dream was to do a painting for each of her grandchildren before she passes away so each of them has a piece she has painted for them.
“One of the hospice organizations, Harding Home Health was on board with helping to fulfill Vicki’s dream. They created a giant basket of canvases, paint brushes, paints and stuff for her. We presented those awards that day to both residents,” said Reynolds.
Since that day, other dreams have been realized. A staff member, who is also a piano teacher, is teaching a resident who always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument to play the piano. She is now playing full songs. Another resident used to be a semi truck driver. After an accident, he lost his license. He had to move to assisted living, but wasn’t ready for it or to give up driving. So, Reynolds arranged for a few truck drivers to take him for a ride in the cab of their trucks so he could at least be in a semi truck again, even though he cannot drive one. Another resident wanted to learn to line dance.
Since Coburn gave his talk at Windsor Manor, his book is used every morning during devotion time at the senior living community. A quote from his book is read for a morning inspiration. Reynolds posts the quotes on Coburn’s Facebook page, which inspired him to send a good morning inspiration via email to people and corporations who have signed up on his email list.
Because of the attention the event and the Create a Dream program got from the local newspaper and channel 13 news, the response from the public was huge.
“It turned out so good. Our phones blew up the next week or two afterwards of residents looking for a place to move, because we got so much publicity from this,” said Reynolds.