Building the Life You Want with Inspirational Speaker Nick Santonastasso


Exclusive Interview with: Nick Santonastasso

Inspirational and motivational speaker, Nick Santonastasso is a medical miracle. Not only is he one of four people alive with the rare genetic condition, Hanhart Syndrome, the inspirational keynote speaker is an internationally known bodybuilder and fitness model – despite missing both his legs and one arm since birth. The high-energy youth shares his amazing story, showing people that anyone can thrive if they have the determination and willpower to go after what they want. Recently, Nick’s accomplishments in the gym and the area of competitive bodybuilding have been featured in Men’s Health, The Independent, and CNN’s Great Big Story. However, lifting weights is just the surface of Nick’s mission. A powerful keynote speaker, Nick’s passion for helping others shines through as he takes his message of gratitude, tolerance, and overcoming difficulties to schools, universities, and Fortune 500’s.

As I got older, my parents would sit me down and tell me “Nick the world isn’t going to stop for you because you were born like this. You are going to have to figure out how to do things Nick’s way.” They instilled their same beliefs into me telling me that, “The only person that can dictate your abilities and potential is you.”

SPEAKING.COM: You have this powerful perspective on life that centers on personal responsibility and this idea that “the only limits we have are the ones we put on ourselves.” How did you develop this attitude?

SANTONASTASSO: I started developing that perspective from a very early age. The moment I was born, the doctors handed my parents a list basically saying, “These are all the things your son WON’T be able to do. Right then my parents promised each other that not only would they raise me like my three older siblings, they would never let the doctors or a list they wrote dictate what their son could and couldn’t do.

As I got older, my parents would sit me down and tell me “Nick the world isn’t going to stop for you because you were born like this. You are going to have to figure out how to do things Nick’s way.” They instilled their same beliefs into me telling me that, “The only person that can dictate your abilities and potential is you.”

SPEAKING.COM: You’ve said you went through a period of depression in middle school. Could you tell us a bit about that and how you were able to overcome it?

SANTONASTASSO: I label the beginning of middle school as my lowest point. It was right when I began to realize how different I was from the other kids: I was in a wheelchair and had an aide pushing me and sitting with me in class, so my classmates thought I was slower than them even though nothing was wrong with me mentally.

Physically, I was out of shape and emotionally, I struggled with confidence. I struggled with self-love. I wasn’t comfortable in my skin and it got to the point where I didn’t want to go in public or look at myself in the mirror. I hated the fact that I was born with no legs and one arm.

Part of me, though, realized that I had one shot at this thing called life, and that regardless of the hand life had dealt me, it was up to me to play it to the best of my ability. I knew I needed to find things that made me feel fulfilled and happy so I looked for a hobby or a sport that would give me a sense of progress.

My sophomore year, all my best friends were wrestlers for the school. They would always ask me to try out. I always tell people to try everything and anything, but wrestling was really something else. After trying it, I knew that being a part of the wrestling team would make me feel more confident and like I was a part of something, but there was one big problem: my right limb was growing faster than the skin and it was very sensitive. If I were to hit my limb hard enough my bone would come through my skin.

I persuaded my parents to schedule an amputation that year which led to me wrestling my junior year as a JV Athlete and my senior year as a 106 lb Varsity wrestler – and that’s how I found my WHY.

If I can make them say “wow, look how happy Nick is, making the best of things with no legs and one arm,” then I can be a little bit happier with what I have.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing zombie prank videos?

SANTONASTASSO: I wanted to create an outlet where I could inspire and motivate people while making them laugh and smile, too. There are millions of kids and adults that aren’t comfortable in their skin or are unhappy with their lives. If I can make them say “wow, look how happy Nick is, making the best of things with no legs and one arm,” then I can be a little bit happier with what I have.

SPEAKING.COM: What were some of the reactions you got from the people you scared after they realized it was a prank?

SANTONASTASSO: The reactions were mostly positive. People said that they had never seen anyone do something like that before and that they were inspired by how I was turning something that most people might see as negative into a positive.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some goals you’ve set for yourself for the next few years?

SANTONASTASSO: Some of the goals I have set for myself for the next few years are…

• Get more exposure and events in Europe.
• Speak at places where people are translating my message.
• Create an educational program on mindset, attitude, gratitude, etc.
• Get my book published.
• Create financial freedom for myself and those around me.
• Break into the entertainment industry as a DJ/ Producer/ Singer.
• Help out my family financially.
• Travel the world while helping others.
• Take over the mainstream modeling industry.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some habits you have that enable you to see your goals through?

SANTONASTASSO: As an individual and team we surround ourselves with our goals. We have vision boards and whiteboards in the house of all the micro goals we need to get done in order to move closer to the bigger picture. Having a vision of the “end result” is key – something that drives and pulls you closer each and everyday.

I always tell people that confidence is a skill that you have to continuously work on and improve. It’s like a muscle.

SPEAKING.COM: Speaking of goals, you’re writing a book about the “skill” of confidence. How is confidence a skill and what are some ways people can build it?

SANTONASTASSO: I always tell people that confidence is a skill that you have to continuously work on and improve. It’s like a muscle.

Some of the ways you can build confidence include learning more about what you want to accomplish and how you are going to accomplish it. When we don’t know much about what we’re pursuing, we simply don’t have confidence in our abilities.

Also keep your word with yourself. Self-confidence is basically self-integrity, which is doing what you say you are going to do. For example, if you tell yourself you are going to wake up earlier tomorrow and you do, you should mentally applaud yourself.

Once you build that muscle of always doing what you say you are going to do, you build that relationship with yourself. Eventually that self-relationship is so strong that you could care less what other people say or think about you, because you know who you are and what kind of person you are. Nothing else can affect you.

SPEAKING.COM:What’s your advice for people who are having trouble finding their “why”?

SANTONASTASSO: My advice for those struggling to find their why is to tap into your emotions. What makes you HAPPY? What makes you feel fulfilled? Whether that is a hobby or a job, you need to find out what makes you so fired up that it would get you to jump out of bed every morning ready to crush the day.

What are your core values – the values that you live by day-to-day? If you don’t know the top 5, then you need to figure them out. After that, you make rules so you can meet those core values.

For example, one of my core values is contribution. In order for me to give as much as I possibly can to others I need to fill up myself and contribute to myself. So the rules I made for contribution is whenever I do cardio, I’m winning. Whenever I learn ANYTHING new, I’m winning. Whenever I read a book, I’m winning. You need to set the rules up for your life so it’s easy for you to feel good.

To bring inspirational and motivational speaker Nick Santonastasso to your organization, please contact Michael Frick at: Mike@Speaking.com

© SPEAKING.com, published on August 29, 2018

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