Hi there, Zayd Jawad here and I am so happy you decided to stop by.
The greatest lesson that I have learned in my life is that no matter who you are or where you come from, you are here for a purpose. And my purpose is simple: I want to help you realize that you are the author of your story.
Let me tell you where this all came from...
I was diagnosed with Hunter’s Syndrome when I was 5 years old. Hunter’s is one of the rarest diseases there are, affecting 1 in every 150,000 males, according to the National MPS Society. It is a degenerative disease that affects every cell in the body.
This means that every function in the body is affected, from your organ placement and function, the way you look to your hearing to growth and development to immunity, to breathing, to sleep—everything!
Put simply, you can get worse and worse over time and have to learn to deal with life as it comes. I'm 4 feet 10 inches tall and no matter how much I stretch, that is not going anywhere. Learn a little bit more about Hunters here.
LIVING WITH HUNTERS SYNDROME
Living with Hunter's Syndrome has led me to have a lot of surgeries. When I was 15 year old freshman in high-school I had my 13th surgery, spinal fusion, which led me to be unable to move, and I ended up gaining more than 20 pounds.
This surgery changed my life.
Up until the surgery, I didn't really put much thought into my health. Sure, I liked to work out to look good but beyond big biceps, I didn't really care that much. I was always that guy that passed on the veggies and said yes to the mac 'n' cheese every single time. Chicken Mcnugget was my middle name. and as long as I could stay up all night playing computer games, there was no need to worry about a thing.
After the surgery, I was in more pain than I could ever imagine. I was fatter, sicker, and more depressed than ever before. I had been ignoring my body and now it was showing. Badly.
After the fall, as it was, I was faced with a big choice. It was as if my whole condition of Hunter's Syndrome was staring me in the face saying, "I got you." The worst part about living with Hunter's I realized, was not the physical challenges, but feeling like I didn't have a purpose. I was feeling unworthy to live. That was the problem at the heart of the physical trials—low Self-esteem.
I was really scared that I wouldn't be able to move again. And with low Self-esteem, I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to be there for my family and friends. I was afraid I would never make a difference in the world and always be a burden to everyone around me.
I needed to learn to be healthy. I needed to lose the weight. I needed to be able to move well. Or else, I thought, I would never be free. That drove me forward.
I realized that being fat, sick, depressed and a victim of my condition was not who I was meant to be. I realized that life was not about bettering myself to be better than others, but to be better for others.
The surgery was the wake-up call. It drove me forward because it changed my perspective on why I needed to get healthy: if I wanted to be able to help others, I would need the energy, strength, and vitality to help me do it and overcome any challenges in the way.
THE POWER OF PERSPECTIVE—A WAKE-UP CALL
The following years were transformative because during that time, I had a dream. I had a dream where a man welcomed me back to the world of the Lord, and through that the burning question entered my mind, “If all of the rest of Creation, the trees, the animals, the flowing waters and soaring clouds, possess such vitality, such beautiful fitness, such health, and such life purpose, don’t we as part of that Creation have the potential for the same?”
To answer that question I tore into the vast world of productivity, personal development, diet, nutrition, and fitness. Nothing was too "out there" for me from cutting-edge nutritional science, fitness systems and positive psychology to Chinese Medicine, Herbalism, and Native American spiritual traditions. I trained, researched, and sought deep and empowering knowledge, making sure that no matter what setbacks I faced, I kept a positive and proactive mindset. I began to see results. Big time. I lost more than 20 pounds, improved my mobility, eliminated hypertension, got rid of the pain, and felt better than I had in my whole life.
Our trials transform us to be better
versions of ourselves than we would have
been without them.
I had lived in isolation for so long. It became time to take all I had learned in my life, from pain, and from healing, from joy, and from sorrow, from apathy, and from love and use it for something significant.
Although I had a strong background of stage time as a Trombonist, and had a thriving social life in middle-school, my years of isolation had taken their toll. I had to learn to live my life and interact with others again.
Like never before in my life, I joined clubs, went to meetings and gatherings, and I learned to look at my ability to interact with others as a skill, a skill that could be improved every single day.
Shortly after, almost as if by miracle, I met a man who changed my life. Knowing him, he probably wouldn't want me to mention his name. He was that kind of person. He listened to me as nobody had ever listened before.
He encouraged me, motivated me, and gave me advice for life. He was the greatest mentor a young man could ever wish for, truly a blessing on the Earth and provided the igniting spark for my deepest purpose today.
He offered me a job as a Student Assistant to in a place I would have never worked at before: The Office of Student Life. There I worked as a presenter and guide for newly registered students.
I learned all the ins and outs of customer service.
With that newfound confidence, I dove into research mode again, learning listening skills, body language skills, and conversational skills. Soon, the guy who had been in isolation became one of the most outgoing!
I began training my public speaking skills like crazy!
- I joined Toastmasters, an international organization dedicated to helping people improve their public speaking.
- I spoke for my high school, a place I vowed to never return to.
- I took courses and won Best Speaker in my 2nd semester of College.
- I read books and watched videos of great speakers, practicing the speeches like a musician would practice his instrument.
- I received top honors in the annual college Speaking Contest, became the announcer for my Mosque (Muslim Church), and even did a talent show audition for fun.
I had overcome my fear and social discontentment and suddenly was thrown into a new world of service. I wanted to reach more people more quickly because I had developed a sense of urgency, that these lessons needed to be shared.
I looked all around me and noticed so many people making comments like, "I can't do this, and I can't do that."
While I had energy, drive, and excitement for life, so many around me did not. So many people walked around, like I once was, angry, depressed, sick, tired, and feeling worthless!
This scared me, this motivated me, changing this became my cause.
Self-Esteem, Self-Love, these were things that I learned over time, and I believe that if I can do it...anyone can!
"Your success in life is determined not by the circumstances you fall into, but by what you do to rise up out of them."
I believe that every person is created in love, for a purpose. And the first step to fulfilling that purpose is learning to love yourself. For only then will you be able to give love too.
My deepest desire is to see all people, truly love themselves as a result of their efforts to make the most of the lives they've been given.
Vital Significance was born out of love, love for God, love for Nature, love for people like you...
I want to see you succeed. I want to see you healthy and happy. Why? Because the more you have, the more you will be able to make the world we live in a better place.
We are the best of Creation! Religions all over the world have said this. Science shows this. You know this to be true. Your uniqueness, your gifts, and talents are statistically impossible yet, here you are.
I know you are significant, you are worthy, you are meant to inspire and make a difference. More than anything, there are children that are modeling off of you, of us, every single day. If there's any way I can encourage you to be a positive role model, then my life is complete.
As I reflected on how I had gotten the results I had I realized that a positive mindset towards life was key. But it wasn't just that.
Being diagnosed with a visible physical condition and having been through the myriad of social, emotional, spiritual, and existential challenges that can come with it, I am well aware that it is not always easy to break through limitations, love yourself, and live a high-quality life. Self-esteem, in particular, is one of the hardest things in the world to improve.
But we need to do it. The greatest moments in the world for me have been when I was inspired by a positive role model. The men, women, and children who have done this for me were astounding, and they all had one thing in common: high Self-esteem. In the Self-esteem is the cornerstone of a true fitness. That's what we want to have.
I believe that our greatest gift as humans is choice. Positivity is a choice! It has to start there. No matter how hard it is, as long as that gift exists within us, it is not only possible to break through those barriers, but to shatter them and move into the highest dimension of life—service.
I want us to become rich and healthy and happy and powerful and all that good stuff for one reason: the more we have, the more we can give.
Never has my life improved as quickly or as holistically, not even when losing weight and getting healthier, than after I made the choice to serve, my God, my Country, all the beloved people in my life.
You can do this too. I believe in you. As I move forward in life I always try to remember this one great statement made by Dr. Charles Jarvis: Blessed is the man who can laugh...at himself.
As we strive to live better, let us remember that. Let's choose joy over sorrow, hope over despair, love over apathy, and gratitude over discontentment. And why? Because as human people, we can.
Zayd Jawad is the founder of Vital Significance a business dedicated to teaching people how to invest their time for greater fitness in body, mind, and spirit.
Diagnosed with the rare degenerative disorder called Hunter's Syndrome at age 5, Zayd is on a mission to live with his life as an example.
His professional work experience includes interning in a biochemical research lab when he was just 16, volunteering in a physical therapy practice, working with a Naturopathic physician, and working as a Student Assistant in Parkland College’s Office of Student Life quickly rising up the leadership ranks to be conducting trainings and presentations for other veteran staff and peers.
For over 5-years Zayd has engaged in rigorous Self-education. After reading countless books on his own in a variety of subjects, by the time he graduated community college with an Associates in Science, Zayd was versed not only in traditional academics but also in leadership, business, productivity, communication, eastern and western spirituality, neuroscience, movement mechanics and much more, enabling him to converse with students and professionals alike.
His speaking experience ranges from being an advocate and self-employed consultant from the Hunter's Syndrome community to speaking for medical professionals, teachers, business executives, Federal Legislators on Capitol Hill, High-School Students and most recently, keynoting the Honor's Commencement Ceremony for Parkland College in Champaign Illinois.
Addiitonally, Zayd is the host of Your Life Blueprint Podcast where he interviews successful and inspiring people that write their own stories and live for a greater purpose.
He is currently on track to pursue a degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois, a certification as a Certified Professional Coach from the Fowler International Academy of Coaching and a certification from the leading Ancestral Health school as a Primal Health Coach.
He enjoys reading voraciously, practicing martial arts, spending time in Nature, good food, and having deep and empowering conversations with anyone who is willing to stop by and say hello.