Today we’d like to introduce you to Erick Pettersen.
Erick, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
On the morning of July 13th, 1984, only weeks before my eighth birthday, my mother came home from shopping. I lay on our living room couch not responding to her questions.
At first, thinking my exhaustion came from the hot July day, she put away groceries. Soon, trying to wake me, she discovered me non-responsive to the point of being catatonic.
Screaming my name, she pulled me off of the couch. I regained consciousness. Sitting on the floor. Trying to stand me up. Trying to feed me soda crackers. Her efforts failed. She screamed my name. Watching her, I felt like a fish staring through the porthole of a drowning submarine. I lost consciousness.
Sometime later, woken by bright lights, I lay on a bed. Nurses hurried around me. One asked me a question. I do not remember her question. I do not remember my response.
The light disappeared. I lost consciousness.
After I fell into a coma, an ambulance rushed me to the emergency room at the Rady’s Children’s Hospital (Then, San Diego Children’s Hospital). A neurosurgeon told my mother they needed to perform brain surgery. He warned her I only had a 10% chance to live.
At first, my mother, playing the role of single parent, while my father travelled thousands of miles away, said she needed to get a second opinion. Seconds later, a nurse ran down the hall with a phone, yelled to my mother, “It’s your husband,” and handed her the phone. My father screamed, “Sign the paper! Sign the paper!”.
There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the average child’s brain. The brain surgeons needed to find at least one punctured blood vessel within the tangled mess of 60,000 miles of blood vessels. That does not mean all of the blood vessels in my brain became tangled. It does mean enough entangled themselves with one another that the doctors needed to performed emergency brain surgery to save my life.
One month later, on August 13, 1984, while lying in a coma but moved from the ICU, my parents wheeled me to a meeting with my seven doctors. The doctors were excited I made it through the surgery and beat the 10% odds against me. But they warned my parents I might never wake from my coma.
After the meeting, my parents wheeled me back to my room. Our church’s children’s pastor met us there. My father refused to accept the doctors’ words as the final authority. He told my mother and our children’s pastor he wanted to pray for my healing.
Together, the three of them laid hands on me. My father led the trio in a prayer. After he said ‘amen,’ he placed his thumb on one of my eyelids. He slid my eyelid up to reveal my eye. My eye slid shut. He pressed his thumb against my eyelid again and slid it up to reveal my eye. I opened my other eye, began to blink, and looked around the room. I only remember pure light and three images of pure light.
When I woke from my coma, like other coma survivors, I did not regain complete consciousness right away. I lay in an almost catatonic state during the first several days after my awakening. But I managed to repeat the alphabet to my speech therapist the day after my awakening.
One day, while still lying in a catatonic state, my mother and one of my nurses wheeled me to my therapy session. Arising my catatonic state like a cork from a popped bottle of champagne, I sat up in my chair, lifted my hands, and started praising Jesus. My mother and my nurse, a Christian, could not explain my sudden awakening. That nurse ran to get my atheist nurse.
When they arrived to see me praising Jesus, my Christian nurse asked me why I would not be quiet. I smiled, looked up, pointed to the ceiling, and said “because He is healing me.” Without warning, I fell back back into my catatonic state like a meteorite falls through the earth’s gravity.
On August 31, 1984, the doctors released my from the hospital warning my parents the did not know if I would ever walk again or even of my quality of life. I returned home confined either to a wheelchair or to crawling on the floor.
Then, one day, only two weeks after the doctors released me from the hospital, while crawling down a hallway, I asked my mother, who walked a step ahead of me to make sure I did not fall, to stand to the side. I told her I wanted to try something. She walked around behind me. I placed my right hand on the wall next to me, thrust my left knee forward and up, placed the sole of my foot on the carpet, pressed with all of my strength, and stood.
A few days after that, my mother and I went back down the children’s hospital. She brought the medical equipment with her they sent home with us to help me in my recovery. When we got to the hospital, I got into my wheelchair, and she wheeled me inside.
Siting in my wheelchair in the waiting room across from the nurses’ station, I waited while my mother returned the equipment. She told them I no longer needed it because I could walk. They thought perhaps she dreamt I could walk and insisted I needed the equipment. She told me to walk over to her. I stood and walked to her. Nurses and doctors came from all over the hospital to witness the impossible.
For the next two years, I went in for annual checkups. I never returned after my second checkup. The doctors said they could do nothing more for me. They said medical science could not explain my recovery.
Not only did I wake from my coma, and not only did I stand when the doctors didn’t know if I’d ever walk again, but I went on to play high school baseball and other sports. I also defied the doctors’ odds by graduating from college after they said years earlier I would never be able to go to college. I surmounted any odds my doctors ever put against me, and I continue to surmount any odds put against me.
Not only did I graduate from college with my degree in Literature and Writing, but I managed to overcome another barrier of mine and accomplish another childhood goal. I graduated on the Dean’s list that last semester of college.
Now, I write articles for publication on authority website with a focus on writing articles for other trauma survivors and those who serve trauma survivors, so I can help them to grow their personal brands by helping them tell their authentic stories.
Has it been a smooth road?
Unfortunately, the road since my recovery through my childhood to now has been anything but smooth. I spent much of my childhood riddled by depression, shame, and incessant thoughts of suicide due to the dinning taunts of childhood bullies. Thoughts of taking my own life started at only the age of ten and continued until the night I almost drove off of a cliff in San Marcos.
By the time I got to high school, I learned that not talking about the summer I spent dying and trying to act like what I considered a normal kid helped me to cope with the bullying. Children’s jeers tempting me take my own life never stopped until I transferred to a new school for my senior year a thousand miles away, but the compassionate few at the school filled with bullies gave me a reason to go on to the next day.
Even after high school, I remained silent about my time in the hospital and my brain aneurysm. People would sometimes ask me about the scar on the back of my neck or the reason for my limp. I always smiled and gave them a humorous answer like, “Oh, I’m not limping. Maybe your eyes are just crooked.” They would laugh, and I would walk away.
Then, in the early summer of 2018, I read Daring Greatly by Dr. Brene Brown. I realized then that I lived much of my life under a shadow of shame. I spent the next several months taking steps to overcome my shame. I wrote an article telling the authentic story of my brain aneurysm and the years of depression and shame I suffered through because of childhood bullying. I went to an event that summer led by Nick Unsworth (a local business coach) that helped me to release any leftover feeling of shame within me.
Though, I found that in the months following that event, shame managed to creep back into my mind. So, in December of 2018, I decided I needed to stare down my shame. That’s the funny thing about shame. To get past it, we must stare it down. We must make a mental decision that we will not allow it to control us anymore.
Every December, Nick Unsworth runs a large conference called Leadership Summit. I attended it the previous two years. In December of 2018, he held it at my church’s (C3 San Diego) Carlsbad campus. That is also the church Nick and his family attend. The church needed someone to be the facilities manager for the event. I had wanted to hire Nick for the last few years, but I could never seem to find my finances in the right place.
So, rather than attending his Leadership Summit this last December, as I had the previous two years, I worked at the conference. I was the guy cleaning the restrooms, while everyone else sat in and listen to the conference speakers. I was the guy taking out the trash, while everyone else went to lunch and dinner together. I was the guy sweeping and mopping the floors while people networked with one another.
On one of the nights of the conference, due to a mess created by a board breaking event, I found myself cleaning wood chips until 3 in the morning. At first, shame started to creep in. I started to think of myself as, “I’m just the guy who has to clean up this mess.”
Then, I remembered a trick a friend taught me that she used during her time of depression and suicidal thoughts. She asked herself, “What’s the gift in this?” I went on cleaning the mess and asked myself, “What’s the gift in this?” I realized I had the unique opportunity to bring honor to those people in attendance at the conference. Many of whom were long time friends before and many more who are now good friends.
The next day, while walking across the parking lot, I saw Nick and his wife Megan walking to their car. I stopped them, told Nick I did not have a chance to break a board, and asked him if I could break a board with a few other guys at our church’s Tuesday morning men’s prayer that next week.
Then, he said, “I’ll tell you what. I want to honor you for all of your hard work. So why don’t you come up on stage tomorrow and break a board in front of everyone.” At first, I wanted to say no, and tell him that I just wanted to do it in front of close friends. That’s when I recognized shame trying to steal the show. Shame wanted me to play small. The number one job of shame is to steal honor by getting people to play small in life. People who feel shame find it difficult to receive honor, which often results in such things as living with a poverty mindset.
So, the next day, after Rex Craine (Motivational speaker, author, and life coach) and Steve Weatherford (Former NFL Super Bowl champion, turned speaker, fitness icon, and coach to men) spoke, I walked up onto the stage to break a board. Because of all of the the lifting, sweeping, and other work throughout the weekend, I found it too difficult to break the board with my hands. The crowd cheered me on, but shame started to creep in. I had broken boards during past events on the first try, so my inability to break this board in front of 120 people brought up feelings of shame.
Then, after attempting to break the board twice with the heel of my palm, Nick Unsworth and my friend Brent, placed that board so it lay flat on the edges of two boards they set standing upright on the stage. The rule of the event is you get two tries to break the board with the heel of your palm, and then you have to try to break it by stomping on it.
On my first attempt to break the board by stomping on it, it did not break. I looked at the board determined not to allow shame to steal the show. On my next attempt, my foot came crashing down against the wood. The board split in two, the crowd erupted, and Brent hoisted me into the air.
Throughout that weekend, whenever shame tried to steal the show, I reminded myself of my distinct ability to bring honor to Nick and all of the attendees by serving them. Working at that event, instead of attending and networking at it, helped me to find the extra income I needed to get into one of Nick’s coaching programs, so I could get the guidance I needed from him to help me start my business and help other people tell their authentic stories by writing articles for them.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with your work – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
I write articles for people who want to get more online exposure and increase their personal brands, with an emphasis on trauma survivors and those who serve trauma survivors, by helping them to tell their authentic stories on authority websites.
Coming from an online marketing and SEO background gives me an edge in helping people to increase their online exposure. I not only know how to write a person’s story well, but I also know the importance of using the right keywords to attract the right type of online audience. And I understand the importance of writing an article so it not only appeals to the reader but also to the publication.
Another factor that sets me apart in the online article writing market is my entrepreneurial mindset. People sometimes mistake me for a freelance writer. I am an entrepreneur and a business owner who writes articles, but I am not a freelance writer. A freelance writer will often look for and survive financially by finding the next paying writing gig. They may specialize in one type of writing over another, but a freelance writer is often times a generalist.
Whereas, because I do one thing, which is writing articles for people who want to get more online exposure to increase their personal brands online, I am a specialist. I am a business owner with an entrepreneurial mindset who sees and ceases financial opportunities rather than just looking for the next writing gig.
I focus on serving coaches, speakers, and other people who want to build their personal brands. I am most proud of helping people to tell their authentic stories by focusing on writing online articles for them. I am not sure I am known for anything, but I would like to think I am one of the nicest most personable people you will ever know.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and the least?
Well, I’m not sure how to answer this question, but as far as San Diego in general, I love that there is something here for everyone. San Diego is so culturally diverse, as well as there is a rich history here.
I never came to appreciate San Diego’s rich history until I moved back here from living in Boston for two years. When I lived there, during my freelance writing days, I wrote about various destination spots like restaurants and museums for a travel website. I continued to write for them for three years when I moved back to San Diego. Writing for that travel site opened my eyes to the rich cultural history of San Diego and gave me a deeper appreciation for living here.
As far as what I like the least about the city, I wish people here were more aware of the devastation all around them. San Diego county has the fourth larges homeless population in the United States. San Diego is one of the highest risk cities for sex trafficking in the United States. There is much to love about San Diego, but millions of San Diegans live in ignorant bliss while thousands live through daily nightmares.
- Right now, the following article writing packages are only available to the first five respondents of each package:
- A $100 special on all articles for publication on authority websites. (Readers can purchase up to 4 articles at that price, and then the price increases to $250 per article).
- 3 months of articles (4 per month) written for publication on authority sites for $1,500 ($125 per article).
- 6 months of articles (4 per month) written for publication on authority sites for $2,500 (less than $105 per article).
- 12 months worth of articles (4 per month) written for publication on authority sites for $4,000 (less than $85 per article).
- 3 months of free articles for anyone who signs up for Speak It To Book’s book ghostwriting and branding services (must contact me first).
- Payment plans on all article writing services are available.
- Website: articlesbyerick.com
- Phone: 619-550-6539
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org