This week’s conversation is with Jake Olson, an entrepreneur, athlete, speaker and most recently a graduate at the University of Southern California.

When Jake was 8 months old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of eye cancer, retinoblastoma. The disease claimed his left eye at 10 months old and in November 2009, Jake lost his right eye after battling the cancer for 12 years.

He has used his experience to inspire and motivate others by authoring two books, creating a non-profit foundation to help visually impaired children and support cancer research and by sharing his story openly as a motivational speaker.

Jake is also a life-long USC football fan.

While in high school he learned to long snap and was the starting long snapper for his team his junior and senior year.

After being accepted to USC, he was offered a walk on spot with the USC football team and had his first opportunity to snap in a live collegiate game on September 2, 2017 and was named the Pac-12 special teams player of the week.

On May 19, he’ll be participating in the 7th Annual Tour de Pier in Manhattan Beach, raising money for cancer research around the globe and psycho-social support for families battling the disease in the South Bay.

You can learn more at TourdePier.com.

“Of course I was angry about the situation. It’s not fair. Life didn’t treat me right in that aspect, but I still have so much to be grateful for. There’s so much meaning still in life. There’s so many blessings and I never lose sight of that.”

In This Episode:

  • The impact Coach Carroll and USC had on him from an early age
  • Doctors determining he had eye cancer soon after his birth and how it affected him going forward
  • How his parents dealt with and managed him losing his eyesight and being different
  • HIs process for adjusting and continuing to pursue his passions after going fully blind
  • How going blind gave him perspective when things would go wrong playing golf and how that translated to life as a whole
  • Pushing through frustrating times and how that relates to his philosophy
  • How he deals with anger
  • Using gratitude to manage emotions
  • Why the mental aspect of performance is so important for golf
  • What he’s driven by
  • The advantages of being blind
  • Would he want his sight back if he could get it?
  • What scares him?
  • Why he started his own business – Engage
  • Raising awareness for cancer with the Tour de Pier event in Manhattan Beach

 

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Quotables:

“My philosophy is, if there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“One of my favorite quotes is, don’t take life too seriously because you’ll never make it out alive.”

“I believe in a potential of someone, in their ability to move past what’s happening in their life.”

“I’m not going to let these excuses stop me. I’m going to get hit. I’m going to be frustrated. I’m going to go through tough times, but I’m going to continue to move forward and utilize the things that life has given me and find my way to the top.”

“I’m stubborn. I like the challenge, I like testing myself, testing the limits, testing what can and cannot be done. I think that’s just a natural thing in humans.”

 

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Jake Olson was the first completely blind football player to ever play in a Division I college football game. His story has been documented by ever major media outlet and he has been motivationally speaking since the age of 12.