By Christina Rice
Renowned motivational speaker and life coach Jeff Yalden inspired students and community members through his message March 8.
Yalden travels the world. He has visited 48 countries and all 50 states. He speaks to teens, inspiring them to move forward in life, take advantage of opportunities that come along and help their friends. He offers practical advice for dealing with tragedies and hardships that surface along the way.
During the day, he met with each class at South Nodaway, helping them to process, heal and find closure from events that transpired earlier in the month. One of the coping strategies he shared with the students was called “take time to think” about every situation, asking yourself if this is going to affect me much in the future and then let it go. Other techniques included living in the present with a state of mindfulness, breathing, asking for help, opening their hearts to people, communicating and others.
In the afternoon, Jefferson students came to South Nodaway where both schools listened to a presentation from Yalden.
Yalden shared his personal struggles with depression and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He addressed hard issues with laughter and teen language.
“Remember, it’s going to be okay. Nothing is worth taking your life over. Life is hard. Life will never be fair, but don’t give up on yourself, your family, teachers and friends. What you are dealing with is temporary,” Yalden told students.
He said they needed to follow their dreams and that overnight success takes 15 to 20 years. He said you need to wake up willing each morning to do the little things it will take to get there. In order to succeed, you need to value yourself, have the right attitude and make good choices.
He encouraged students to focus on their dreams, to write them down and not to spend life searching for meaning and not grow. He urged them to appreciate the journey and to embrace the now, so when they reach their goals they won’t wonder where life went.
Yalden also stressed to students not to compare themselves with others because no matter how wonderful their path looks, everyone experiences trials and life will periodically knock you down. He told them not to let their friends down, but to help them when hard times come in their lives.
“When our time here is done and we walk out the doors, take your ego and put it aside and open your hearts. Trust the adults in your life that you respect,” Yalden said.
After school, Yalden met with area teachers and counselors. That evening, Yalden spent some time with members of the community as he highlighted the signs, symptoms and red flags of teen depression and suicide.
“The kids were absolutely amazing today. It was good to hear the kids laugh; they needed that today,” Yalden said.