My name is Ashley Kohl and I am a BIG fan of yours. I met you about 8 years ago when you spoke at a Springfield YMCA breakfast event. I attended the event to support the Springfield, MA youth and wasn’t aware that there would be a keynote speaker. Before the program began, we crossed paths while mingling. I shook your hand, not knowing who you were or what you were there for. You looked at me and said, “You have a certain energy about you. I feel it. It’s really special.” At the time, I remember feeling flattered to have a stranger tell me that. But it wasn’t until after I saw your performance that I fiercely held onto that quick comment you made to me.
I remember listening to you speak, and holding onto every word. I was captivated by your energy and the intense sincerity behind your words. You didn’t just say these words, you believed them. You lived them. I got choked up listening to you speak. I left the event and like everyone does when they feel impacted by something or someone … I googled you. I was so happy to see that your speech was on youtube. I watched it again. And again.
There are so many quotes I have repeated to myself.
“We were not sent here to invest in someone else’s idea of what we should be”
“Because if you set yourself on fire the world will come watch you burn.”
“I know that the richest place on the planet is the cemetery. There you will find books that were never written, loved ones that were never forgiven, ideas that were smitten and dreams that were forbidden.”
“So don’t you dare die with your greatness buried within you!”
“And I’m not leaving until what I came to give has been given.”
These have been my mantras! There I was, working as a TV host/producer, with 2 kids at home and a marriage that was falling apart. I would listen and watch your speech often, until I decided to change my life:
I quit my day job, filed for divorce, and pursued my passion. Was it scary? Yes. Why did I take the chance? Because I didn’t want to die with my greatness buried within me!
I opened a dance studio for all ages & abilities to come together, celebrate life, flourish, grow, learn & dance. It has set my soul on fire. I feel full. I feel as though I have purpose. I know that whenever my time is up on this earth, I will feel content knowing that what I came to give has been given. And I’m not going to stop sharing this message because more people need to hear it.
Kirk, your message and your performance served as a catalyst for me to change my life. I continue to share your speech with others. I speak of you and your words often. I will not stop sharing this message, and have made it my mission to share my story so that others’ stop investing in someone else’s idea of what they should be. So that others’ believe and realize that there is no such thing as the impossible dream.
I wholeheartedly believe in “everything happens for a reason” and fully support the idea that the energy of the universe guides us to where we need to be. At that moment, at that breakfast, 8 years ago…it was less than 20 seconds of my life that consisted of a brief interaction with you that will forever be engrained in my memory and my heart.
Thank you for sharing your voice, your words, your passion. You have changed my life. I am forever grateful.
Peace, love & good vibes always,