Jesse Cruz is living his "Dash" to the fullest.
Army Vet, program coordinator of the Wayne County youth advocate programs incorporated and author of "Live Your Dash, Discovering the Eight Fs of Freedom" Jesse Cruz discusses what inspired the book and how he uses it to live his dash to the fullest every day.Be sure to Like, Comment, and Subscribe on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and at www.teddhuff.com. THINGS TO GET STARTED NOW!1. Do something you love2. Live your faith3. Be a life long learnerClick Here and Enter to win a Flight anywhere in the USA from Author Jesse A. CruzBuy Live Your Dash, the Eight F's to Freedom HereEpisode Links:Social Media INSTAGRAM — @authorjessecruzFacebook — Jesse A. CruzBooks Mentioned:BiblePurpose Driven LifeThe Big LeapTranscript:Tedd Huff: Welcome to the Tedd Huff show. I'm your host, Tedd Huff. Tedd Huff: In 2009, returning from a deployment to Iraq. This army vet was left alone in a field of many people being welcomed back from the deployment. At that moment, he realized that he needed to make a change upon reflecting on the future. He discovered a passion for helping this guy, that teens find a positive direction. This passion has led him to graduate Nazareth college in Rochester, New York, with a BA in community, youth development. And then after graduating, he continued his mission by speaking to inmates at correction facilities and becoming the program coordinator of the Wayne County youth advocate programs incorporated. Most recently He added author to this list of accomplishments and with the release of his book, live your dash, discovering the eight Fs of freedom. Please welcome to the Tedd Huff show. Jesse Cruz. Jesse A. Cruz: Thank you. Thank you, Tedd, for having me on the show. It is an honor and privilege to be here. Thank you so much for your time. Tedd Huff: Oh no, it's, it's great to have someone like yourself on the show. First. I want to congratulate you on the book. That's a pretty big deal. Your book title is called live your dash. What was the inspiration for that and what does it mean? Jesse A. Cruz: So for people who don't know the term live your dash, it represents if anyone has ever been to like a cemetery or graveyard and looked on a tombstone and saw that the, the date that, that someone was born is usually on the left. The day that they pass away is on the right. And dash in the middle is telling a story and everyone has a story with what they do with the time they'd been given. And that dash represents what you do with the quality and quantity of life that you've been given. So when I say live your dash and the title says, live your dash. What it's basically saying is that live the life that you've been designed and called to live. Cause we all have a purpose. We all have a calling, we all have a mission and we don't know what our expiration date is going to happen. so before we get to the end of our time on earth, that we need to do our best to help as many people as possible. Tedd Huff: Where did, where did the passion for helping the at risk teens come from Jesse A. Cruz: I think it comes from growing up as a kid who struggled in school tremendously and not feeling I had that guy Ben's from a strong support of peers to guide me and mentor me, and then having the support of other adults that I thought would have been there. I realized that I was just kind of coasting to Life. Like I didn't really have a passion. I didn't have a mission. I wasn't driven by nuts and I just take life as it came to me, there was no burning desires within me. And as I got older and, you know, having a family and, and doing the things that I've been able to do, like I realized to get to anywhere worth getting to in life, you're going to need a team, a dream team of supporters, a great support network, a strong faith. You're going to need family. You're going to need friends and working with the youth. I just want to be there to help them because you know, that's something that I needed when I was kid. Tedd Huff: So what are the types of things that you do to, to really help them move forward? Jesse A. Cruz: It's really just being there for them. I know that sounds so simple, but that's really the truth is that, you know, you have people struggling to life and they need support. It's just knowing that they have someone who's going to be there for them, regardless of what they do. It's to have that kind of unconditional love is that I have your back. I may not always agree with everything that you do. We may have opposing viewpoints, but that doesn't mean I love you any less. I'm not going to be here for you. So it's just building that relationship, building that trust with love and respect on a, on a regular basis to be consistently there, no matter what Tedd Huff: Consistently holding that space for them, for whatever they need at that particular time. It sounds like there probably been a few times in your life where you felt like you'd reached your breaking point. I mean, obviously you've been deployed in a war zone, which ones stands out the most and it doesn't have to be the military one, but which one stands out the most Jesse A. Cruz: The one that stands up to the most is what inspired me to write the book to begin with. Jesse A. Cruz: T hree years ago, my wife and I, we had a child, she was born premature. She struggled every day to just breathe. So she was on a ventilator and a machine that helps her breathe. Every single breath was on a machine and watching her struggle and fight to survive, you know, and then I've watched her flatline multiple times and watched her come back to Life. And then after 42 days of, of her fighting, she passed away. And from that moment I was, I mean, obviously I'm crushed and I still am. I still have rough days. I still have days where it hurts deeply. And I have huge struggles because of what I experienced with her in the hospital room. But I didn't use that as an excuse for it to ruin my Life. I want to carry on her life and her legacy and her life was an inspiration. And she's been able to touch people all over this country and in other countries around the world. So I just want to make her proud and carry on her legacy. And that's where my motivation comes from. My biggest hardship has been my biggest motivation. Tedd Huff: You mentioned that she was the inspiration for the book. I'm assuming before the book started, or the idea of the book happened. There were some things that you were doing that maybe lent itself to the book that helped you get through those, those tough times with our past, Jesse A. Cruz: Just having, going to a go into with being in the military and have that feeling of, you know, I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy enough, then going to be, you know, moving back home up to New York, I was living down in Texas at the time being in Iraq, all those things, they're all playing a role on a couch. All these little things that I did, were all preparing me for that moment. They were because I had faced tremendous adversity at a young age and I could have let it destroy me and ruin my entire future. But I, I, I let it instead build upon something that I was called to do. And that's the reach people through speaking and writing. And, you know, I have, I had a hungry appetite for reading. for years prior to her passing in reading is kind of what helped me out during tough times and stressful times opening up a book and, and reading something encouraging has always helped me get through the toughest of times. So I would say reading has been a tremendous influence in my Life. Tedd Huff: I want to find out which books are, have been like the biggest influence for you. Cause you're, you're an avid reader. So which, which are the three, let's just pick three. Cause I know you probably have a big list, right What are read books that, that like the, you think about like right off the top of your head, that these three changed the way that I look at everything. Jesse A. Cruz: Well, first and foremost, the Bible second would be the purpose driven Life. And then third would be a book called the big leap. Those are three books that I've been able to, which I built my life upon and my family upon his, his, to his love and to care for others and practical wisdom to help those in need. I mean, all those books points to the direction of, of love and giving and generosity and that's, what's helped me get through everything. Tedd Huff: So you mentioned growing up with adversity, what, what do you think is the biggest thing setback that happened then that really sets up for the success that you're you're at today Jesse A. Cruz: Not doing well in school. Tedd Huff: what does not doing well mean? Jesse A. Cruz: So for me, that was, I was basically not going to pass, you know, I was failing classes. I was struggling my way through school. I was diagnosed with a learning disability, which I still have, you know, that didn't go into where I'm going to have that price forever. You know what I mean And I have a tough time processing words, reading comprehension. Those are the things that I struggle with tremendously. I'm having one of my teachers tell my, my parents that college is something that will not be for me. that's not a part of my future and, and those are challenges, but I just decided, I said, I'm not going to let other people dictate where I'm going to go on my path of my future. You know, maybe I'm not the most intelligent kid in the class and yes, I do have a learning disability, but I'm not gonna let those labels. I've been placed on me, limit my capacity to continue to grow. Tedd Huff: You wrote a book, which, which is like, if that's like coming, like head on with, with that disability, what are the eight Fs that we mentioned earlier And how did you decide on just eight Jesse A. Cruz: Okay. So the first one is focus. I believe everything that every human being does at any given moment starts with what they're focusing on, which is related to what you think about all your, the greatest decision you will ever make in your entire life will be based on your greatest thoughts. So you cannot separate the two, the worst decision you will make is usually rooted in the worst stock of your Life. So your, your actions will never be greater than your thoughts. So everything starts in the mind. What we think about is what we're becoming. That's what we do. Jesse A. Cruz: I shift over to concepts of fitness and how I believe that the importance of working out how important it is to exercise. Because if anyone has a dream, a goal and a mission, like you're going to need your physical body to make it happen. Jesse A. Cruz: We need to be physically active. And I go a little bit deeper in the book. It's not just fitness of the body. It is all fitness of the mind. Like I referenced earlier, you need to challenge your body physically, but also your mind mentally, you know, whether that's reading books, whether that's taking classes, getting a degree, going to conferences and workshops and seminars. So the fitness of the mind and the body working together will help a person become more healthy. Jesse A. Cruz: I make references to finance. You know, where our money goes, our heart is going to follow. So what we love, we will put our money into. So if we're putting money into things that can be destructive to our future, then what we're saying is that we don't love our future. So we need to be very careful with what we do with our financial resources, because they are going to influence the direction and path that we take in Life Jesse A. Cruz: One that is the most underrated in the entire book, because adults almost never do this and they should, and children always do. And that is the importance of fun. I truly believe that we must all have fun because when you're having fun, life is more enjoyable. And when life is more enjoyable, you're able to reach your potential. There are people who have great success in life and have done many great things, and they can still be very miserable and unhappy in life. And to me, if you have all that success and you're miserable, that's not true. Success Tedd Huff: Got four. What are the other four Jesse A. Cruz: Friendship You know, I truly believe that we become the people we hang with. So we need to be careful who we allow into our circle and into our Life. Because whether they're doing amazing things in this world, or they're destroying this world, we spend time with these people. They will influence to do one of those two things, no matter who you're spending time with your influencing, our decision, how we talk, how we behave, how we act, all those things. So we need to be intentional about selecting people that can take us from one place in our life and elevate us and influence to another place of striving forward towards progress. Jesse A. Cruz: tipped over to the importance of family. What just won't get complicated, especially if you come from a family of origin, which we all do when there's family problems and certain situations that may be uncomfortable or abusive or neglectful. Jesse A. Cruz: But when we are coming from our family of origin, we need to make the decision. When we grow up, what parts of the family of origin are we going to leave behind And what parts of the family origin are we going to bring with us So we need to be very intense about leaving the toxic things we experienced from our childhood. Leave it behind. Not that you forget about it and pretend it never happened. We need to be intentional about what we, what we bring into our, our new family that we create ourselves because of family can sometimes have many challenges with it. Jesse A. Cruz: We need to focus on the importance of forgiveness, learning to forgive those family members or those friends or those people who have heard us, because one, we do not forgive. We cannot move forward. And once, once you get stuck in the past, you can't even think about the present moment. Jesse A. Cruz: You can't even plan for the future because you're so stuck on something that happened a month ago, a year ago, 10, 20 years ago. And if we want to live that dash effectively, that we got to, we got to move forward in Life. And all the way to move forward is to go backward briefly not to live there, but to visit briefly to address the pain and hurt that we suffered or the pain and her, we may be inflicted on somebody else and ask for somebody. Jesse A. Cruz: And then the final F, which is the basis of the whole book is faith is to know that we not, we're not always going to have all the answers. You know, I mean, that's part of Life. When we have that faith to keep pushing forward, to keep striving for greatness. And we never let that faith, limit us. Jesse A. Cruz: You know, some people have faith in, in small things and they, they have small faith, but they don't have, they don't have big dreams enough to think that they accomplish them or be successful because their faith is too small. And I challenge people to step out into faith and to know that there is a great plan for all of our lives, a great gift and a great talent, and we need to be bold enough to step into it because there are people all over this world who are depending on us to share our gifts with them. Tedd Huff: Those are eight really, really good items. How did you narrow it down to those eight Not 10 or five. How did it end up being eight? Jesse A. Cruz: Well, originally, actually it's funny. It was nine to begin with. And then, I was like, you know what I think people are going to get sick of me after eight. So I cut it down. I got it. I got rid of one. and I, what I noticed is because I wrote this right after my daughter passed away. And so while I was writing it, I didn't know I was writing a book. I just knew I needed to write. I just needed to get my feelings out. And once I started writing, I started to see that all these ideas all started with and I said, okay, let me, let me stick with that. And then when I wrote through it, I said, man, these eight areas of my life are going to be either cripple my future or get me through this tough situation that I'm in. You know, I've been blessed and fortunate enough to, to have, you know, to support it's in those eight areas of my Life. And by focusing on those eight areas, I was able to, you know, begin the healing process. You know, those eight areas. I don't think w no matter what you believe in or your experiences in life, all eight of those areas will influence our, our decisions in some way. And definitely to the worst time of my entire Life. Those eight areas were a building block to my future to move forward. Tedd Huff: When you feel overwhelmed or have lost your focus, which is the first F which of the eight apps do you leverage to get that first F back in place and to, to eliminate that overwhelm Jesse A. Cruz: When I'm struggling in any area of life, if I'm having a rough day, I have to ask himself what AF is out of priority, because all the apps are important, but once the priority can be mixed up, or one can be obsessed about, or another one is being neglected, then all of a sudden our relationships have a lot more problems in it. We are facing a lot more adversity. Stress becomes a part