This Challenged Me – Part 1

by Lance Ekum on · 38 comments

Creative Commons License photo credit: Oberazzi
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” ~ Bernice Johnson Reagon

Today, I have the great honor of being interviewed by Stephen Hopson, from the Adversity University Blog.  Stephen really does ask the tough questions, ones that have made me think very deeply.  Check out Part I of the interview, and see how I did with these challenging questions!   Part II to be aired next week…

Stephen writes very much from the heart.  His works always impress me, with the level of detail he shares, and with his very honest and authentic words.  When not blogging, Stephen fills his time as an inspirational speaker, author, and pilot.  That’s a pretty cool combination!  (…and I wonder if he’s really a therapist too!?)

The Adversity University Blog is all about how we all have adversity in our lives, and yet – how we can all overcome these adversities we have, and go on to achieve the dreams we have in our hearts!  Stephen has first-hand experience dealing with adversity, and overcoming it.  He has been profoundly deaf since birth, and yet has went on to accomplish much in his life, not letting this be an obstacle to his success!  And that is a very powerful story, and message of hope for all of us!

A couple of random posts from Stephen:

How Making an Irrational, Last-Minute Decision Can Change Your Life

Knock, Knock: “Can You Come Out to Play?”

Thanks, Stephen!  You can check out Part I of the interview here.

Lance writes stories from his heart, aiming to inspire and motivate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he's not here, you can find him hanging out with his family, riding a bike, or just generally acting goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Treehouse newsletter and get additional inspiration in your email inbox!
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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

J.D. Meier December 24, 2008 at 4:37 am

Congrats Lance and great interview.

Too bad about chocolate, but you can’t win them all.

I should have guessed you’re a coach, simply by the fact that you’re one of the most supportive people I know in the blogosphere.

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

J.D. Meier´s last blog post..My Favorite Personal Development Books


Betsy Wuebker December 24, 2008 at 6:56 am

Hi Lance – This was a great interview, very honest and heartfelt. Stephen’s questions have a way at getting right to the core, don’t they. I really enjoyed learning more about you and am looking forward to the second part. The spotlight often illuminates more to ourselves than it does our audience, doesn’t it? Merry Christmas!

Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post..AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE REVEALED . . .


Stephen Hopson December 24, 2008 at 7:23 am

I’m at my brother’s house in VA visiting for the holidays, using my new laptop (where I posted my interview with Lance last night) and am enjoying the spotlight being shined on a very deserving person. I hope that despite the hustle and bustle of the holidays being tonight is Christmas Eve, you’ll have a moment to get to know Lance at my site.

And no, hahaha, I’m not a therapist, however, I have been told that I have very good “listening” skills despite being deaf. Apparently, I pay more attention to what people are saying (not that I don’t have a choice since I have to look at the person talking to me!). So perhaps I should have gone into therapy practice. LOL.

Anyway, you all have a great holiday and enjoy the festivities.

Stephen Hopson´s last blog post..Stephen Hopson Interview with Lance of Jungle of Life, Part I of II


Mindful Mimi December 24, 2008 at 7:44 am

Great interview. I agree with Stephen that you come across as someone I’d like to meet in person too. I still seem to be stuck on the anonymous level though and I am wondering what that says about me. And I love the Last Lecture by Pausch too. It made me cry to think about his kids. But I remember him saying that he was allowed to draw on the walls of his room. When our son did the same in the living room (see the two little men blog) we told him off of course. I am now thinking of creating a room (in the basement) where they can mess around and paint and draw on walls all they want.
I know the silence problem. My husband is like that too. Maybe it’s a guy thing. I always want to talk it out in all details. He just shuts down and crops it up and mopes in a corner. I have learned to respect that. Because I know it is his way of dealing with it before getting it out – because eventually he does and I am sure you do too. It may hurt your loved ones at first, but if they love you, they get you and know that this is just the way you are. There is nothing dark about it.
I enjoyed reading the interview.

Mindful Mimi´s last blog post..Do schools kill creativity?


Karl - Work Happy Now December 24, 2008 at 8:17 am

Great interview. I can’t believe that was only part 1. There are some great questions form Stephen. I also like that you gave credit to your wife as the defining moment in your life. Shows a lot of your true character.

Karl – Work Happy Now´s last blog post..Day 23 of 30 – Change Spurs Complaining


Stacey December 24, 2008 at 8:40 am

Hi Lance! Thanks so much for coming to visit me at my blog and letting me know that you enjoyed my guest post! I also love your quote today – I LOVE Sweet Honey In the Rock! – and really appreciate you sharing your story. Take wonderful care! (And let me know if you’d like to be entered in the give-aways. 🙂 Stacey

Stacey´s last blog post..Guest Post on Christine Kane’s Blog!


workout mommy December 24, 2008 at 8:42 am

great interview Lance, it was nice to get to “know” you better.
and no worries about the chocolate, I personally think it should be considered a (small) food group. 🙂

workout mommy´s last blog post..It is time for Fitness Festivus!


Rupal December 24, 2008 at 9:05 am

Great Interview lance! Oh and thanks for introducing me to a new blog!

Hope you and your family have a fantastic holiday!!

Rupal´s last blog post..Aero-plane remorse


Sagan December 24, 2008 at 11:22 am

Really great interview! There isn’t many more rewarding things a person can do in life than to follow our passions and make others happy- and you succeed in both of those:)

I love how you define yourself as a student. Living is all about learning. (Also the silence/communication thing? My biggest problem too).


Davina December 24, 2008 at 12:45 pm

Hi Lance. I don’t know what to say… “You’re a natural.” You have a knack for making everything sound comfortable. Your wife and kids are lucky to have you in their lives.


Julie December 24, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Wow, Lance, that was a tough series of questions! (Stephen, you’re good!) I’m with Davina, speechless with amazement. You really filled out, here, in the interview, what I feel I’ve learned about you from your posts and comments, here and elsewhere. You’re very authentic (which is so refreshing!), showing your strengths and vulnerabilities. That’s was draws me to you, what enables me to call you friend. Those questions, gosh!…I can’t believe there’s more! You deserved some chocolate after this! 🙂


Lance December 24, 2008 at 1:41 pm

@J.D. Meier – Thanks much, J.D. Chocolate is definitely a vice! I coach a group of 10 year old boys in soccer – it can get pretty wild at times! Thanks for stopping by. You, too, have a wonderful and abundant Christmas!

@Betsy – Thank you! Stephen’s questions were challenging for me – whew – they do go right to the core. This whole process has really made me think, and you’re right, it’s like I know myself better after doing this. Merry Christmas to you and Pete!

@Stephen – Enjoy you time away, and your new toy, Stephen! And, thanks again for this opportunity – it has been enlightening for me, just in answering the questions you’ve asked. Merry Christmas!

@Mindful Mimi – Thank you Mimi! There is something comforting about being “anonymous” – maybe it’s easier to be really open. So, I wouldn’t read too much into it, Mimi. Randy Pausch did such a great job on his “Last Lecture” – in spite of what he was facing – he still came across as so positive and full of life. The silence thing…hmmm…I don’t know, maybe… In any rate, it’s good to hear I’m not the only one. Thanks for your very thoughtful reply Mimi, I really do appreciate it. Have a wonderful holiday!

@Karl – Thanks, Karl! I know, these were TOUGH questions!! Stephen really made me think, and dig deep. He has a real knack for gettting to your core – all in a very good way! My wife really has been an integral part of me becoming who I am today – she deserves it!

@Stacey – You did a great job, very inspiring! See, I’m now checking out some of their music, very cool! Thanks for stopping by and reading the interview – very challenging for me, but in a very good way. Have a wonderful Christmas!

@Workout Mommy – Thanks, Lisa! It’s official then, chocolate is it’s own food group (and it’s a healthy one too!!) – does that sound good!! It sure does to me! Have a great Christmas holiday!

@Rupal – Thank you, Rupal! Stephen’s blog is excellent, I think you’ll really love it! You, too, have a wonderful holiday!

@Sagan – Thank you, so much, Sagan! Wow, what wonderful words you write, I am moved at your thoughtfulness. Really, that means a lot to me. Being a student, we all are, or at least should be. There is just so much we can learn – and it seems like the more I know, the more I realize that there is so much I don’t know. And, you’re helping me to feel better about this silence thing. First, it was Mimi’s husband, and now you also. It really does help me to feel better about this (even though it probably doesn’t make my wife feel any better, especially when she is on the receiving end…). I appreciate you sharing that, though, it really does help me. Have a wonderful Christmas!

@Davina – Thank you, Davina! I will say that answering all these questions didn’t feel all that natural! Stephen really challenged me. And…I’ll pass that on to my wife and kids (we’ll see how that flies!! – they’ll just think I’m getting a big head!) I really appreciate your comments Davina! Have a wonderful holiday!

@Julie – You aren’t kidding, Julie – Stephen IS good! I do try to be authentic, so hearing that I’m coming across that way really is wonderful to hear. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the case… That’s a draw for me, too, in the places I visit – authenticity – and I find that very much to be the case with you, too Julie. Thank you, my friend. I’m off to have some chocolate… Have a very merry Christmas!


Caroline December 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Great post! Our family made an irrational decision to pick up our lives and move last year (we did it in 2 weeks)…it was the best thing that happened to us. I believe that if something that seems “crazy” feels so right…you should follow that path. Actually much of my life has been like that…decisions based on knowing, not understanding.
Have a very Merry Christmas…it has been so nice meeting you this year through blogging!

Caroline´s last blog post..Enjoy the moments…


Mike Foster December 24, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Hope and peace for this holiday season and for a fantastic 2009!


Mike Foster´s last blog post..Happy Holidays!


Stephanie Quilao December 24, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Rushing over now to go read the interview as I so need some learning from adversity inspo now.

Your blog is a gift Lance!
Happy holidays 🙂


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet December 25, 2008 at 2:57 am

Hi lance

Having the same old problem accessing the interview on Stephen’s site (I’ve let him know). But now, my curiosity and anticipation are rising.
Looking forward to it.

When you taking that break? 😉


LifeMadeGreat | Juliet´s last blog post..What Are You Denying Yourself?


Arswino December 25, 2008 at 4:30 am

Wow, great interview Lance. I like your point when you shared about the dark side of yours. It needs a strong heart to admit that. I also like your motto : “Don’t give up”.

Arswino´s last blog post..Bend, but Don’t Break


Cath Lawson December 25, 2008 at 6:06 am

Happy Christmas Lance – I’m looking forward to reading the interview. I remember when Stephen interviewed Barbara Swafford. He really does ask some thought provoking questions.


Stephen Hopson December 25, 2008 at 9:09 am

To everyone who has responded to Lance about his interview with me, THANK YOU! I’m thrilled and delighted you all enjoyed learning more about Lance as much as I did.

I have a question for Juliet – are you still having problems accessing the interview at my blog? Let me know because I was able to view it using my brother’s computer. One other person reported a problem but the rest of them seemed to have been able to see it. Thanks in advance.

Merry Christmas, by the way! Today is Christmas and I hope all of you are enjoying yourselves. Stay tuned for Part II next Wednesday!

Stephen Hopson´s last blog post..Stephen Hopson Interview with Lance of Jungle of Life, Part I of II


Stephen Hopson December 25, 2008 at 9:13 am

It’s me again – I found the culprit (I’m speaking to Juliet) – I went back to my blog to see why you weren’t able to access it and found the problem inside the HTML thing. Somehow some weird programming language finds its way in and screws up the formatting making it difficult for some like Juliet and others to see it.

Sorry about that folks – it’s been fixed now – Juliet, you can try it again. Thanks for your patience.

Stephen Hopson´s last blog post..Stephen Hopson Interview with Lance of Jungle of Life, Part I of II


Jannie December 25, 2008 at 12:10 pm

Lance, you are truly a special person. Wouldn’t it be cool if we all could get together somewhere and meet in person? Call it the Jungle Of Life Blog Fest?? What da ya say, people?

Jannie´s last blog post..Holly-Jolly 2008


meleah rebeccah December 25, 2008 at 12:34 pm

Oh I cant wait to read the Interview! How col is that.

PS: Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays and All That Jazz to you and your family!!!

meleah rebeccah´s last blog post..Merry Christmas Everyone!


Laurie December 25, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Super interview Lance. You are a genuine person, true to yourself, your God, and your family. It was fun to get a little more insight on you but I have to be honest, no surprises. You are a great guy, through and through!


Lance December 26, 2008 at 5:00 am

@Caroline – Thank you Caroline! So, sometimes all the changes in our lives can be good, right! Yes, that first year for us – even though it brought many changes – was still a very exciting time. And one that took us to new places, and gave us many new experiences. It’s great to hear that your move is working out so wonderfully! That’s also a great attitude to have – being “willing” to go after those crazy things in your life when they feel so right! It’s been great getting to know you, too, Caroline! And I’m looking forward to a growing relationship going forward!

@Mike Foster – Thanks, Mike! Enjoy your holidays, and the year ahead! (without shoulder pain!)

@stephanie – Stephen’s site is a wealth of information, and he really is a gifted writer. Check out some of his other great stuff while you’re there! And, Stephanie, thank you. Words like you’ve left here, they really make all the difference. Thank you. And know that I find your writing to, very much, give me hope and lift me up. Enjoy the remainder of the holidays, and I’m looking forward to see where 2009 takes you!

@LifeMadeGreat | Juliet – Juliet, you’ve become the technical eyes and ears around here – thank you! And, I see Stephen’s got it fixed! I don’t know what we’d do if you weren’t around – probably go along blindly thinking everything was okay! Thank you!! And…that break…I’m trying right now… must. leave. computer. (soon….I promise…after I finish here!) Thanks for keeping me honest! And thank you for all your continued support!

@Arswino – Thank you, Arswino! Stephen really asked some tough questions, and that whole dark side was one of them! And yet, it felt good to dig through some of this, it was like I was learning more about myself as I really answered the questions… Thanks for all your continued visits Arswino – I really appreciate it!

@Cath – The questions are not only thought-provoking, they are down right challenging! And I still have more to answer! It’s all good, though. And I’m thankful to have had this opportunity that Stephen provided. Thanks, Cath!

@Jannie – Thank you, Jannie, very much! A “Jungle of Life Blog Fest” – whoa, that sounds cool! There are so many fascinating people out there in this jungle of life I’ve discovered these past many months! You’re one of them Jannie – you’re awesome, and you’re support has really been incredible! Thank you!!

@Meleah – Hope you enjoy the interview – it challenged me, but only in a good way! Merry Christmas to you and your family, too, Meleah! It’s great having you here! Here’s to an awesome year ahead!! Thanks again for making my 2008 as great as it was – you are indeed a large part of that!

@Laurie – Thank you, so much, Laurie! No surprises – good (I think)! We’ll see what Part 2 says about me next week! Laurie, I value our friendship very much, and your continued support of all the writing I do! Thank you, really, for all of it!


Stacey Shipman December 26, 2008 at 8:27 am

Great interview – always nice to learn more about people I haven’t met yet! We all have interesting experiences to share that make us who we are – I think if we all shared (not everything, of course!) a bit more we could unite and see that we are all just human trying to find our way! No one wrote the rule book of life, though I think we are all trying in our own special way to do that today.

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

Stacey Shipman´s last blog post..Get Back to Your Senses: Take a (mini) Vacation


brandi December 26, 2008 at 1:33 pm

I think my favorite part was about meeting your wife and the influence she had on your spiritually.

Loved the interview! I feel like I ‘know’ you a little better now. 🙂

brandi´s last blog post..a merry christmas to all….


Robin Easton December 26, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Oooh this is a topic dear to my heart. I am a firm believer in the jewels of adversity. My greatest lessons and wisdom have come from the challenging times of my life. I no longer look at Life as having to ALWAYS be perfect. I see it all as Life, all lessons. We may not get what we think we want but we ALWAYS get what we need to grow. That doesn’t mean that we can’t shape and direct our lives, but it does mean looking for the gems in every experience we have. I just love that!! It makes Life a thriving adventure and never dull. It offers endless potential and possibilities.

Thank you my wise friend for sharing such a key to robust and full living. Very exciting things you’re sharing here.
Robin 🙂 🙂

Robin Easton´s last blog post..Madcap Christmas Magic II


Lance December 27, 2008 at 4:37 am

@Stacey Shipman – Thank you, Stacey! Sharing a bit more – not always easy, yet it does make others feel more “real”. And that’s a good thing. My Christmas was wonderful, I hope yours was too!

@Brandi – My wife really has been a big influence in my life, and continues to be today. Thank you for stopping by!

@Robin Easton – I love that too, Robin – looking for the gems in all of our experiences! What a great attitude to have on life. And, as we approach the new year, I’m embracing these moments, these gems that are there! Thank you, so much, Robin – for all your continued support!


Mindful Mimi December 27, 2008 at 7:09 am

To thank you and because I do think your blog is great, I have passed an award to you on:
Feel free to ignore 🙂 or pass on.
Have a great start into a sparkling 2009.

Mindful Mimi´s last blog post..Do schools kill creativity?


avtcoach December 27, 2008 at 4:04 pm

You really scored on this interview Lance. Your authenticity is what draws people to your blog. I am so glad that Stephen recognized it and chose you! It is an amazing gift you gave to readers in this interview and it will bless the lives of those who read it. I look forward to reading more of your posts in 2009!

avtcoach´s last blog post..Celebrate! Celebrate! Dance to the Music!!


Barbara Swafford - Blogging Without A Blog December 29, 2008 at 1:33 am

Hi Lance – What a fabulous interview. It’s great to read more about the man behind the “blog”. I’m looking forward to part II, and seeing what compelling questions Stephen comes up with. Thanks for sharing more about yourself with your fans in blogosphere.

Barbara Swafford – Blogging Without A Blog´s last blog post..It’s A Time For Celebration


Lance December 29, 2008 at 8:07 am

@Mindful Mimi – Thank you for the award!

@Avtcoach – Thank you, so much, for your very kind words! Really, you have said some wonderful things, and I am deeply moved by your comments.

@Barbara – Thank you! I guess you know how these questions that Stephen asks can really be challenging, huh! It’s all good, though! It’s like I’m learning about “me” in the process too!


Jennifer December 29, 2008 at 12:49 pm

Great interview Lance. It was great learning more about you and how you deal with life and adversity.

Jennifer´s last blog post..A Source of Huge Frustration


Lance December 30, 2008 at 7:16 am

Jennifer, thank you! Stephen really has a way of getting so much information in the very probing questions he asks!


Cricket December 30, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Wow…you are a huge person. I don’t mean in weight I just mean in person. You have so much to share and do it with grace and style. Great interview Lance. Stephen really did a great job pulling the best from you.

Cricket´s last blog post..Sometimes


Lance December 31, 2008 at 7:29 am

Cricket – Thank you, so much! You are a wonderful friend, Tammy. I’m lucky to have “met” you here this year!


Liara Covert January 1, 2009 at 10:28 pm

The nature of this interview offers your readers new insight into yoruself. It is a courageous thing to open yourself u pto people and to interact with someone who inspires you. One point worth mentioning about adversity is that some people actually dream of adversity. They actually invite it in because they thrive on it. Thses people do not view it as an obstacle to surmount to achieve dreams somewhere else, but view adversity as the process of dreaming and transforming in and of itself.

Liara Covert´s last blog post..How do you evaluate your sixth sense?


HIB January 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Now you’ve enticed me to go check out his blog. Thanks for mentioning the interview and blog.

HIB´s last blog post..Interview: 2 Million Dollars Made in Network Marketing – It’s All About Leadership!


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