For motivational speaker Nick Santonastasso, changing your circumstances starts with adjusting your mindset. To illustrate this tenet of his philosophy, the 26-year-old entrepreneur and author tells his origin story.
Before he was born, he was diagnosed with Hanhart syndrome, a rare condition that affects limb development. His parents were told their baby had a 30% chance of survival.
“The decision my parents made in that moment was to focus on the 30% chance of me living versus the 70% chance of me dying,” he says. “When you identify how the brain works, what you focus on in your life, you get more of.”
This lesson is at the heart of Santonastasso’s work as a speaker. Through sharing his unique story, he trains professionals around the world how to reach their full potential. In 2018, he released his first book, Victim to Victor: How to Overcome the Victim Mentality to Live the Life You Love.
On. Dec. 14, Santonastasso hosted a webinar for Founders Network where he provided his strategies for personal and professional success.
Learn from Mentors
Santonastasso started out his career as a bodybuilder.
During one of his competitions, he shared the story of his disability and was approached by someone who told him, “You’re going to be on stage with Tony Robbins one day.” That early supporter believed in the power of Santonastasso’s story and pushed him to make a career out of it.
At 21, Santonastasso didn’t know who Tony Robbins was. So he looked him up and attended his first Robbins event. As Santonastasso watched Robbins captivate an audience for hours at a time, he knew he wanted to do the same.
He looked into Robbins’ background and started to study what Robbins studied, from neuro linguistic programming to timeline therapy and hypnosis.
“There are a lot of gurus and teachers out there, but 99% of them haven’t had to overcome the physical and mental things that I’ve gone through, and so I have a unique perspective on overcoming specific things and obliterating specific challenges,” he says.
Do You Understand Your Mindset?
During his lectures, Santonastasso takes participants on a journey, informed largely by his study of psychology.
He starts with the psychological limitations of the human brain.
We are naturally predisposed to focus on threats, failures and insecurities, says Santonastasso. As a result, change is challenging, because your brain disincentivizes risk.
“The big idea is: look at me. I have no legs, one arm, and I built a business, ” he says. “I have the cars; I have the house; I have the amazing relationships; I have the body that I nurtured. But I’m not different. The only thing that’s different is I’ve trained my brain to act a specific way, and you can do it, too.”
To reach this conclusion, he leads audiences to examine their emotional states and invites them to visit their younger selves to heal past trauma.
Practicing What You Preach
Even therapists have therapists.
When Santonastasso started preaching to others how to optimize their mental capabilities, he was forced to look inward and examine his own relationship to himself.
Like the people he encounters in his audiences, he’s also on a journey of self-love and compassion, especially after his brother’s death from a drug overdose two years ago.
To maintain his inner stability, he has some non-negotiables. They’re like guardrails he practices on a day to day basis for the health of his mind. That means moving his body, consuming valuable information and being very intentional about the company he keeps.
“So, I’m constantly practicing what I preach, but I also fall off my wagon. I’m not perfect,” he says.
In his webinar, he covered:
- Identifying where you live emotionally
- Training your brain to be happy
- How to extract wisdom from the past
- Addressing mental health