Written by: Tricia Brouk, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
When you’re faced with a challenge or adversity, what do you do? Being able to support speakers in sharing their powerful expertise is a privilege, and I caught up with Nick Prefontaine where he shares his thoughts on overcoming adversity, why it’s important to remain open and coachable and lastly, why it’s important to never take yourself too seriously. His insights come from a place that few have been.
You survived a snowboarding accident when you were 14. What did you learn from this experience?
Wow Tricia, so much. I learned so much about myself and how much I can actually take. Fortunately, I had a very supportive family that never left me by myself for a second the entire time I was in the hospital. I think without that I would never have been able to see how much I could overcome. Family support made everything that I accomplished possible and that can’t be overstated. It showed me the importance and this is true, I’m not just making this up. It showed me how important being coachable is in life. A big part of being coachable is taking it one step at a time. That is why I focus so much on ‘one step at a time,’ because it is the perfect recipe for effortless living.
How did this experience help your leadership skills?
Going through an experience like my snowboard accident allows me to more easily connect with others and helps them bring their “walls” down. Having to learn how to walk, talk and eat on your own certainly changes your perspective. If anyone is being difficult with you there is usually a reason. Leading them becomes difficult because they don’t trust you. Once you’re able to help them bring their walls down they will be more apt to let you help them. This happens by relating to them. What I found, if you don’t relate to someone then there’s no opportunity to lead them.
You talk about taking one step at a time as a philosophy for life. What does this mean to you?
It’s interesting. Learning how to walk again isn’t even the main reason for this. It’s a part of it, yes but not the main reason. Taking one step at a time will allow you to accomplish anything in your life. What’s more important is taking the first step, no matter how small, will allow the next step to become possible. Then all you have to focus on is, “What’s my next step?”
You delivered a speech at The Speaker Salon in New York City, where you shared your story and it also had tons of humor in it. Where does your sense of humor come from?
I’ve always had this ongoing dialogue in my head that comments on everything that is going on. It will comment on everything, no matter how serious, life threatening or painful it is. That voice will always look for the humor, “what can I say that will lighten this situation?”
And how does this help in your work inside of Common Goal, your coaching company?
By looking at the funny side of things, you can get through anything whether it’s a life threatening snowboarding accident or any other challenge in your life. When your only focus is on, “what can I say to lighten this situation,” you’re not focused on the pain of what you’re going through. Instead, it keeps you focused on, “What’s my next step.”
How did you come to be so optimistic and full of determination and tenacity?
This goes back to how I was raised and my family. To be candid I don’t even remember being “taught” this. It was instilled in my sister and I when we were growing up to always look for the good out of a situation and always do the absolute best that you can, no matter the stakes. If I see something that I want to do, experience or accomplish I am going to do it. Now within reason of course. I’m not going to walk into a burning building just for the fun of it! To me there are not any risks. There are not any risks because if anything, I am betting on myself.
What do you see for yourself in ten years?
I see myself positively touching the most lives possible with my message and strategies for hope. I feel this deep in my soul that this is my calling and I want to help the largest number of people that I can in the world. I see myself with a girl or woman that brings out the very best in me and I bring out the best in her. Candidly the material trappings of success don’t motivate me. I just want to meet a great partner and make the biggest difference that I can in this world in the short time that I have on this planet.
Nick Prefontaine is a speaker, Founder and CEO of Common Goal. He’s also an Amazon Best Selling author of The New Rules of Real Estate. He also is co-host of “Not Just a Transaction” Podcast. “Not Just a Transaction” is the podcast that explores the many creative options available for buying or selling a home. Nick and their family team have helped hundreds of people buy and sell even when they thought it wasn’t possible.
Tricia Brouk, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Tricia Brouk is an internationally award-winning director. She has worked in theater, film, and television for three decades. Tricia founded The Big Talk Academy, where she certifies speakers in the art of public speaking. She was the executive producer of Speakers Who Dare and TEDxLincolnSquare, and now The Big Talk Live. She is currently being featured in a new documentary called Big Stages, which highlights the transformation of her speakers. Tricia’s commitment and devotion to inclusion are priorities as all of her shows, events, and communities are diverse. She curates and hosts the Speaker Salon in NYC, The Big Talk, an award-winning podcast on iTunes and YouTube. The Influential Voice: Saying What You Mean for Lasting Legacy was a #1 New Release on Amazon in December 2020. She was awarded Top Director of 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals and Top Ten Speaker Coaches in Yahoo Finance in 2021. Her documentaries have received critical acclaim— winning Best Documentary Short at The Olympus Film Festival and Los Angeles Movie Awards. Tricia has spoken at Forbes, Pride Global, New York Public Library, I Heart My Life Live and The National Organization for Rare Disorders.