Motivational Joe is an expert in the fields of motivation, positive thought, and the law of attraction. He is an American musician, speaker, writer, internet marketer, adventurer, mountain biker, baseball enthusiast, and all around awesome guy. Motivational Joe is also not a big fan of referring to himself in the third person so from here on out he will give it to you straight with a ‘Real Bio.’ He hopes that is cool with you.
Early Life of Motivational Joe:
I was born Joseph Dennis DePalma on February 23, 1975 in Orange, New Jersey located about ten miles outside New York City. I was raised in the ‘down-the-hill’ section of West Orange (the next town over) as the only child of Frances DePalma (Marketing Assistant for Gannett Outdoor Advertising) and Joseph “Buddy” DePalma (Independent Courier). My mom says that I was an “easy kid.” I didn’t cry much, no tantrums, didn’t ask for a lot, kept to myself, and I usually only had to be told something once. I had a great time growing up in the 1980’s filled with action figures, Atari games, pro wrestling, and BMX bikes.
The only real concern I had early on was being diagnosed with moderate dyslexia after first grade. I fell behind in reading which really made things tough until I discovered comic books. They were a lifesaver and I devoured them daily as I built a passionate excitement for reading. Then I focused my enthusiastic reading on my school books which eventually helped me catch up with my classmates. I learned early on how crucial reading was for success. Being an active reader also took center stage for me years later at age 15 when I first picked up books on philosophy when my father died.
Even before my father’s death, he wasn’t around much and my mom worked hard to keep things together, so that left me alone quite a bit. I learned to enjoy the solitude and the inward exploration it promotes. Vowing not to be a burden on my mom, self-reliance took a strong hold on me. I began working a multitude of teen jobs mostly with my best friend Danny until he died of leukemia five months shy of high school graduation. All told I lost five close loved ones during high school and I dealt with most of it by myself in quiet contemplation.
I’m mentioning these obstacles from my youth so you can get a sense of who I am and where I’m coming from. It’s the storms of life that really shape us; not the sunny days. I had tons of sunny days filled with baseball games, Boy Scout trips, and Christmas mornings. My childhood was great; however playing with toys and trading cards didn’t make me who I am today. It’s the hard times that eventually push us forward; much like the butterfly who needs the struggle of breaking through the cocoon in order to build strength within its wings to fly.
These obstacles built the strength that supported me in those times when I was having trouble sleeping after my friend passed away at 17. I would stay up very late watching the same station for hours because the television in my room didn’t have a remote and I would marvel at the life possibilities promised in the classic infomercials from Tony Robbins. After I watched those late night infomercials again and again everything changed. I didn’t see the world the same way anymore. My early life was over.
Educational Career of Motivational Joe:
I graduated from high school in 1993. My entire high school experience is a big blur. I didn’t enjoy it nor did I adequately apply myself. My head always seemed to be elsewhere contemplating life, the universe, and what my role was or would be. I didn’t study much, I didn’t hangout much, and I didn’t party much. I got by in school with a wink and a smile. That little bit of charm combined with some natural athletic gifts made it easy for me to glide through high school without much effort or problems. I even managed to attract a couple of baseball scholarships for college without ever taking time to hone my skills. The ironic thing was I never went to baseball camp, I never trained with a professional coach, I never stayed late after practice, I never watched any training videos, and I only went to the park with my father to play catch once in my life; yet I still received scholarships to play after high school. Those scholarships were a gift of opportunity. However, I didn’t see it that way at the time. I turned them down. It was a mistake of guidance. I had none and sought none. It taught me my greatest youth life lesson which was; I don’t know everything, so I better stop pretending I do.
I started county college right after high school. It was easy. Most people who sign up for classes don’t want to be there so they don’t show up. I showed up every day with a smile and was rewarded for it with kind grades and the benefit of the doubt. I learned doing what others won’t when you feel like it least means everything. I transferred out of community college after a year and was accepted into the local university.
After four years of doing very little in high school and then one year of marginal effort in county college, I found myself sitting in the same classes at the same university with kids from my hometown who had prepared, studied, and fought their way through the education system. I had done very little heavy lifting and yet here we all were together. I was onto something here and I knew it. What if I started caring? What if I really applied myself? What if I sought out guidance? What could the possibilities be? After asking myself these questions I stopped to sit on a campus bench and for the first time in my entire educational career, I got excited.
At that point I started doing very well in class, around campus, and at work. I always worked during my school years. Sometimes I’d work two jobs up to 30 hours a week. I learned that an object in motion has a greater chance of staying in motion than an object that is sitting still. So I never stopped. I did it all. It became a way of life for me. I was doing very well at this point, but a mentor was needed to push me to the next level.
Enter Dr. Rob Gilbert, a sports psychology professor. The ‘sports psychology’ moniker was just a front. He taught classes with many different names, but they were all based on strategies for successful living. He didn’t teach facts, he taught frames of mind and concepts for achievement. He wouldn’t assign much homework. He didn’t give many quizzes or tests. He was an easy grader. He would hire guest speakers out of his own pocket. He taught out of a classroom in the basement of the gymnasium. He’s the professor I’m sure all the other professors snickered at when he walked out of the faculty lounge. He was way outside the box, and I ate it all up like cold pizza.
I took every class he taught. When I ran out of classes to take with him I developed an independent study course which allowed us to work together for college credit. I was exposed to decades of motivational speeches, programs, and books. It was incredible. After that, the rest of college was a cakewalk. I had a seemingly permanent residency on the Dean’s List. I became one of the founding fathers of a local chapter of a national fraternity. I worked hard, I played hard, and I studied hard. I had everything in the palm of my hand.
When I graduated from college with honors in my major, it was sweet victory for my mom and I. She kept her promise to pay my tuition and I kept a promise to never ask her for a nickel along the way. Throughout college I bought six different old cars to commute in. I never missed a car insurance payment. I never had a computer at home. I never owned a cell phone. I never had a dorm room, I never had a meal plan, and I never failed to clear the balance on my credit card each month. I was never lonely, hungry, and I always had a bed, a couch, or an inviting floor to sleep on at school. I didn’t do it the conventional way, but I made it to college graduation. It’s the single proudest day of my life.
Working Career of Motivational Joe:
Late in my college career I set up an internship which quickly lead to my first job after graduation at the Economics Press, which at the time, was a leading training and motivational newsletter publisher out of New Jersey. Economics Press’s flagship publication was the little magazine that had been motivating the world since the 1960′s called ‘Bits & Pieces.’ I joined the sales team and assisted in the production of some of the publications for about two years until I left to go on an old fashioned American cross country road trip.
After returning home a few months later I put my degree in communications to the test by taking a job as a success and career speaker for high school students. I traveled all over the tri-state area speaking to high school audiences every day. I was preforming my 50-minute presentations excellently, but I was working myself to exhaustion and heading straight for a wall. I conducted 503 presentations in less than two years. In addition to my own presentations I was also training other speakers. My hectic schedule and the lack of microphones or amplifiers at any of my talks started putting a bad strain on my voice. It all came to a head one day at a high school in Paterson New Jersey, when during the middle of my presentation, I suffered an acute vocal fold hemorrhage. My throat was on fire and I could no longer speak. Not even a whisper. My throat was burnt toast.
This led my doctor to enforce a period of complete silence for a couple of months. After the silent period and many visits back to the doctor for grueling throat scopes, I spent several more months in vocal therapy to relearn the mechanics of better speaking. I know it kind of sounds awful, but it really wasn’t that bad. I had a note pad to communicate specific things when I needed it, however I didn’t use it much. I was surprised at how many things I didn’t really need to say. I was amazed to notice how many words we all tend to speak without saying much at all. I would also find people reducing themselves to spouting out utterances to no one in particular simply to avoid the silence. As it turned out, being silent was a very eye-opening experience for me.
I also used this period of silence to finish writing my first book. It’s a ‘how-to guide’ for students on maximizing their overall college experience. The book has gone through many revisions over the years and I’m proud to say it’s more powerful now than ever. It’s called College Success Code EXPOSED: Campus Secrets Professors Don’t Know & Parents Can’t Tell! (MEGA EDITION – 223 pages – Available in my store)
When I completed vocal therapy my doctor cleared me to speak casually again but encouraged me to find a new line of work for the foreseeable future. Heeding his advice I cross searched the internet for the two key terms that were the most relevant: “New Jersey” and “Self-Improvement Company.” I quickly found SelfGrowth.com, the leading self-improvement website on the internet and its founder David Riklan were only forty-five minutes from my apartment. I called David and immediately discovered he wasn’t hiring, however I convinced him to interview me even though I knew nothing about internet companies at the time. He agreed and five minutes into the interview I was hired as the company’s first full time employee. I had created my own employment reality.
With David leading the way, we dramatically expanded the company’s size, created new products, and extended the reach of SelfGrowth.com until it received more traffic each month than Tony Robbins’s website, Deepak Chopra’s website, and Dr. Phil’s website. The first product we created at SelfGrowth.com ended up becoming one of the most successful self-published e-books in self-improvement history. The release of the e-book Self Improvement: the Top 101 Experts Who Help Us Improve Our Lives was greeted with an amazing opening campaign which generated over $108,000 worth of sales in the first 24 hours. In addition to self-improvement products, we also branched out to assist self-help entrepreneurs build their online platforms with a series of top selling internet marketing programs titled ‘E-book Marketing In-A-Box,’ ‘Email List Building In-A-Box, and ‘Search Engine Optimization In-A-Box.’
Over my ten plus years with the company, SelfGrowth.com has grown into an online juggernaut of self-development. Along the way I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with the biggest names in self-improvement such as Chicken Soup for the Soul creators Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, Hay House, Landmark Education, Trump University, Mind Valley, and all of the experts from The Secret including Bob Proctor and Dr. Joe Vitale. I’ve rubbed elbows with just about every expert or organization that has ever made a worthy contribution to the world of personal development. My adventure with SelfGrowth.com continues to this day as I never know which amazing guru or company will be on the other side of my phone when it rings.
In continuing my journey of self-discovery I created my own message, mantra, and website called ReadySetRise.com which I ran from 2007-2014. In early 2015 I transitioned all of my work into MotivationalJoe.com. Now MotivationalJoe.com is the headquarters for all of my motivational content, ideas, concepts, opinions, music, and much more. I have also created the following products for the site’s store.
* 75 Greatest Motivational Stories Ever Told! (Free ebook)
* Motivational Quote Of Destiny! (Free ebook)
* Best of Motivational Coaching! (Free ebook)
* 1-Minute Motivator: Special Reports For Instant Motivation! (Free reports)
* Original Motivational Music Collection (Free music)
* College Success Code EXPOSED: Campus Secrets Professors Don’t Know
& Parents Can’t Tell! (ebook)
In addition to my schooling and career activities I’ve also enjoyed:
* Landmark Education’s: Forum, Advanced Course, Leadership Program.
* Setting a goal to visit and explore every National Park in the U.S.
* Owning and operating Party Joe’s DJ & Karaoke (2002-2007)
* Fronting the Jersey Shore party cover band – Have Mercy (2007-2011)
* Co-creating a tribute to NJ rock music & more – Bruce Jovi Acoustic Duo (2014)
Thank you for taking the time to read my ‘Real Bio’.
I look forward to seeing you soon.
– Motivational Joe
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