Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Short Interview with a Robot Ninja Shark

OK, so I didn't ACTUALLY talk to a shark that is both a Robot and a Ninja - but, if you know of the increasingly popular moniker of Ryan, you'll understand that he might as well be. Here's the thing, RNS is the kind of guy who can make it big in pretty much anything he puts his mind to - and I know that because he's already traveled so far.

I approached Ryan after sending a call out for people to tell their stories. I am fascinated by the obstacles that individuals have to overcome and the incredible tales they are able to tell - and I want to use my platform as a jump-off point for people to share their experiences. If that's something you'd like to be a part of, then please do contact me and let's get started, sharing the best and worst that life has to offer

It is very difficult to interview a man who is trained in the art of getting YOU to talk. Responsible for the sale and movement of back-up generators for nearly every major power infrastructure in the US, Ryan is a guy who knows how to pull information from you and make you actually enjoy the experience. With this in mind, you may understand that our half-hour chat ended up becoming a 4-hour heart-to-heart, complete with tears and laughter. That said, Robot Ninja Shark is a fascinating guy, with an incredible story to tell.

You see, Ryan was once homeless and lived in the second most violent neighborhood in America, an issue, he says, which came from making bad choices. Yet, when he met his now-wife, everything changed, "we had a mutual friend and he got sick, so she invited me to travel with her and go to see him. By the time we got there, he got better and we had fallen in love". Two months later, the couple were engaged and, not long after that, our Shark friend had found a job that allowed him to set up for the future with his new wife.

"I knew the rules of how to be successful but I had never applied them until that point. But then I set myself up to succeed - I told myself 'this is how much I'm going to make in the first year, the second year, the third year... When I told my boss about my projection, he laughed, but - while I missed the first year projections, by the second year I had hit my 5-year target". On this note, we go on to discuss the difference it can make to someone - anyone - who finally feels that another person has faith in them, and wants them to succeed. It doesn't have to be a love interest - it just has to be someone who genuinely thinks the best of you and can see the potential you hold.

The lovely Susannah!

Of course, for those who are aware of Ryan's video over on Twitter, you might also be aware that the family's hardships didn't end here, with a view to living happily ever after. Both he and his wife suffer from a range of health issues, including celiac disease - but it wasn't until his wife, Susannah, who was already dealing with Hashimoto thyroiditis, began to struggle with movement and her sense of touch that things suddenly took a sharp downturn. Her nervous system was being attacked, but nobody could figure out why, or seem to slow it down.

"It started when she was pregnant with our second child, in that she was dealing with major exhaustion. Being pregnant meant that most doctors would just pat us on the head and tell us that this was part and parcel of the experience - but it had gotten to the point where she physically couldn't get up the stairs to see to our first-born, when he was crying". And, while he wasn't aware of this at the time, the guilt that came with that was also having a major impact on her mental health. As any parent will tell you, a lot of their self-worth will come from doing the best job that they can. When your physical or mental ability fails you to the extent that you can't provide for them anymore, there is a huge crossroads to overcome in how you see yourself, long after any barriers have been knocked down and your capabilities have returned.

And through it all, one memory that sticks with him is closing a multi-million deal wearing shoes that he had to fill in with a Sharpie, to cover the holes. "It was the first time that I got a great paycheck, after spending so long struggling. It was the first time I knew we were going to be OK. Up until this point, I had been doing all of the same work - but for pennies. I ended up breaking down and crying in the back office". Being able to pay for carers and get the help that they so desperately deserved and needed helped Ryan and his family enter the next phase of their lives - one where they could push to find answers and not just seek a way to survive the next month.

"I was at the point where I was literally banging on the doors of the medical centers at the weekend, demanding answers and finding out what was going to happen next. It took 8 months to find the answer to our problems and it would have been so much longer had I not had the capability to take those extra steps and push the professionals to give us what we needed in terms of information".

Despite all of this, Ryan does not offer himself any credit, referring to this trying time as simply "the human experience" in that our struggles and pains have resonated through us, since the dawn of time. "This is not unique to us," he tells me, before going on to tell me how Susannah lost the ability to use her arms and legs, having to move onto a catheter and how each and every single test came up with nothing, time after time. The answer, after 8 months of physical and emotional pain beyond anything I could imagine, was Lyme disease.

Now, Susannah can walk (although not always when she wants to), and has even come off her oxygen - a huge step, given that her sats were in the 60% range toward the end of this life experience (90% or lower is considered dangerous, and where people can often become confused or even begin to lose consciousness). Still, he considers himself incredibly lucky to have had his own experience up until that point, to show him how to keep fighting so hard for answers - and it's fair to say that his tenacity and love for his family saved his wife, despite his own downplaying of the strength of his character.

So, what's next for Robot Ninja Shark? It's time for him to enjoy his own passions and work with what makes him happy. Better still, he wants to get a very particular message out; "If you are in a darker place, if you don't have the support, no matter what - if you're willing to work on yourself, it gets better. If a dumbass like me can figure this out, then you've definitely got this!". Keep fighting folks, and - in the same way that Ryan and his family found a way to the other side of one of the toughest moments anyone could go through - you can also work your way into the next phase of your life. Your time to play and to return the value you provide to the world is coming.

No comments:

Post a Comment