FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Who’s your hero? The Everyday Hero – The Ultimate Life Hack.

I like the concept of Life Hacks. They’re simple, ingenious solutions to fix some of life‘s problems. I marvel at their simplicity. Sometimes I think “why didn’t I think of that?”

But sometimes, there’s no simple solution – there’s no hack – there’s only hard work.

Popular motivational speaker Tony Robbins says if you want to change your life you have to take “massive action.” If you’ve ever heard Tony Robbins speak you know he says that in capital letters with an explanation point: MASSIVE ACTION! There’s nothing easy about massive action. It’s not a hack. It’s hard work.

Meet Francisco Padilla

If the key to changing your life is motivation, then Francisco was destined for change – or disaster. Francisco told me he’s had five second-chances. Turns out, pain can be a powerful motivator for massive action.

His past includes: dropping out of high school, drugs, gangs, jail, prison and getting burned over 70% of his body. If anyone needed a hero Francisco did.

Here’s his story:

“Hi Ken Malloy, my name is Francisco Padilla. Well, my story is pretty interesting because I feel like I have had five different chances at life.

“At a very young age, I was involved with drugs and gangs which led me to doing 5 years in prison at the age of 19.”

“After I was released from prison I realized who really cared for me and was there for me through hard times. So I decided to stay away from old friends and those friends that were involved with drugs as well and started working in the oilfields.

“I decided to do good so I started working in the oilfields and I was only out for 1 year and 2 months when I fell asleep behind the wheel of my car and it caught fire with me in it.”

A Painful Blessing

“I was burned over 70% of my body and they flew me here to Community Regional Medical Center from Bakersfield. I was a patient here for 10.5 months, and underwent 30 surgeries.”

Think about that. That’s almost a year. With 30 surgeries. Most people with other procedures spend a couple of days or a week in the hospital.

“What helped me to keep moving forward after my burns was my family and the great staff there at the Burn Center. My family would always encourage me to keep fighting that things will get better. Also, the staff at the Burn Center treated me like family, I was there for 10-and-a-half months so we got pretty close.

“I call everything that I have been through in life my Painful Blessing because it has led me to the life I’m living now.”

Who’s your hero? Everyday heroes in the burn unit.

“I was always a fighter and I lost myself through the depression but, with the great encouragement from everyone and the support from family and friends, I started working with my therapist even through the pain even when I didn’t want to.

“I was inspired by the therapist, nurses and doctors at the Burn Center to go back to school.”

Heroes inspire. Heroes protect. Heroes preserve. Heroes restore. Heroes rescue. Heroes heal. Heroes set the bar.

The everyday heroes in the burn unit did that and more. They restored Francisco physically and mentally. They urged him to go back to school.

“Which I did end up doing a few years after my release from the hospital to pursue a career as a Physical Therapist.”

A Physical Therapist.  Perfect right? Paying it forward.

Francisco‘s life hack was massive action inspired by everyday heroes.

“One message I want to give everyone is: you only get what you put in. So set some goals, and don’t let anything stop you from reaching them.” 

So how’s Francisco doing?  

He took massive action. He dropped the drugs and hit the books. He got new friends and a new attitude. The pain of physical therapy that nearly crippled him now inspires him. The physical scars lingered, but the inward scars were healing.

Francisco, the former drop out, gang member and convict was transforming into an everyday hero himself.

“I now live here in Fresno as I attend Fresno State University which I will be completing my Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science this Fall.”

But there’s more.

“I also was just accepted into a Doctor of Physical Therapy Program which I will be starting next year.”

So, who’s your hero?

Turns out Francisco, you are the hero of your own story.
Joseph Campbell said that If you’re looking for a life hack, that’s a pretty good place to start. 

Be the hero of your own story – Francisco is.

~ Ken

P.S. Francisco, I wish you continued success as you pursue your Doctor of Physical Therapy program this January. Thank you for the courage to share your story with us. You have inspired all of us. You are an everyday hero. Please keep us posted on your progress!

Encourage each other.  Pay it forward. Be a light. Be the hero.

Our community. Our Valley. Our second chances.

On a personal note, thank you all so much for allowing me to share your stories. May God bless you and watch over you this holiday season. This Thanksgiving we all have a great deal to be thankful for, our families, our friends, our community and our second chances.