Joe Rhea
Not Your Average Joe


February 25, 2011

Hello to all of my friends!

I want to let you all know that even though times are tough for all of us, that we all have the capacity within us to still overcome and be successful. All of you know that I was once paralyzed from the neck down, and was told that spending my life in a wheel chair was a real likelihood. But with opportunity, one can accomplish the near improbable. My spinal cord gave me an opportunity to have a recovery that most Neurologist's just shake their head at in disbelief. But it wasn't just the opportunity, it was also my desire, effort, my focus and my belief that propelled my recovery. Now imagine the opportunity before you, whether it's that promotion, to start a new business, to grow your business, to be a better person, to lose weight, to be lower your golf handicap, etc. Now matter what it is, it can be done.
The point of this newsletter is; that you too can accomplish whatever it is you set out to do, as long as you have that opportunity. So many people in our country settle for mediocrity. Don't let that be you!
I have proven myself with my recovery over my spinal cord injury, but there is more to life than just that. Yet what I learned about myself all came from that accomplishment.
Five years ago I set a goal to be a single digit handicap golfer. That's an individual that shoots scores of high 70's to low 80's consistently. To do this, I had to overcome many obstacles. The biggest obstacle was the fact that I am still partially paralyzed in my upper extremities. For a business that would be like having 40% of your work force gone, and yet you still want to grow your business by 40% or more. This would pose a problem if you allowed it to. But you have to work with what you've got. No excuses. So I set the goal to be a single digit handicap golfer, and I wanted to reach that goal in 3 years, and drop my handicap from 17.6 to at least 9.9.
The beauty of golf is that it teaches you a great deal about life and even business. In golf, you have to learn to be tremendously focused on every thing you do. You also need to work extremely hard to improve your game. It won't happen just because you want it to. You have to be able to learn from your mistakes, and then be able to incorporate that lesson, so you don't do it the next time.

By the year 2009, my handicap had gone from a 17.6 all the way down to an 8.7. I had accomplished the goal I set for myself. It took everything I had ever learned from my injury to achieve that goal. There were so many times while on the course where I would hit a terrible shot, or shoot a very high score and my frustration levels were through the roof. Yet I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, anything worth accomplishing never is easy. If I can accomplish that goal, than I know for a fact that you too can accomplish your goals.

Never give up, never quit trying, Thomas Edison once said; "That are greatest weakness lies in giving up, and the best way to succeed is to always try just one more time."
Good luck with your goals. I know that you all will accomplish them if you really are prepared to do what it takes.

Next post I will talk more about goals. Why you need them, why you must write them down!!

Take care,

Joe Rhea

December 02, 2010

Happy Holidays!!

I can't believe we are done with yet another decade. It seems like only yesterday when we were all concerned with Y 2 K. This decade has been one for the ages. 50 years from now, if we are still fortunate to be walking this great planet, we will all look back and still know where we were exactly on September 11th, 2001. You see September 11th, 1984 was the day I broke my neck, and my life changed forever. So it had already been a day of reckoning for me. I had used that day to reflect on my life and what I had learned as a result of living through a catastrophic event. I learned that life is short, that it's not guaranteed. I learned that life can be forever changed in a split second, and it is never exactly as it seems. But mostly I had learned that life is meant to be cherished and embraced. To be lived to it's fullest, and to live it exactly how you want. Because there are no promises of tomorrow. So when I saw those planes hit the World Trade Centers, I felt the pain and anguish and terror all over again. The incredible fear that life is so fragile. Yes the terrorist's took something away from us all that day, a little bit of our freedom, our trust in our fellow man. But what they did not expect was that some of us, learned to appreciate life even more, to live life even better, and love life even deeper. Yes it can be very difficult to find a silver lining in tragedy, but when you do, it's even greater.
Yes this has been one crazy decade. We have seen our nation elect an African-American as President in Barack Obama. I was watching the election with my wife Jenny and our beautiful daughter Molly Jayne. We both knew that we witnessed the kind of history that will be remembered by all who saw it forever. It truly was an amazing moment in time. We also witnessed two wars, and thousands of young men and women lose their lives. Whether you agree with the wars or not, any loss of life is tragic in my book. I live with the notion that we only get one life, and to have end to soon is indeed a terrible waste.
I could on and on about this past decade and what I learned from it. But that is not necessary. What I most want to convey to you the reader and to you my friend, that no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, remember that tomorrow is not promised. Love deeper, speak sweeter, give forgiveness, live like you are dying, yes Tm McGraw said it perfect.

Happy Holidays!!!


July 23, 2010

Greetings everyone!

I know it has been a long time since my last newsletter. I promise that I will write more this upcoming year. I wanted to let everyone know that my book is now in the hands of an editor/publisher, and I am really excited about it finally getting published. Please let me know if you would like a copy. It is titled "Why You Got Screws In Your Brains?"

Last year was a tough year for the Rhea family. The economy really hit hard. Schools had slashed their budgets so much that I only had a few opportunities to speak. But with a new school year brings new hope. I have several schools that are planning to bring me in this fall. I hope that the trend continues. So if you know of any school that is in need of a alcohol awareness program, please pass them my website.

Times have been tough for most of us. But each and every one of us has the ability and the strength to work through it. Why? Because we have to. We owe it to ourselves and our families to persevere and be strong. Yes it can be difficult, but life is difficult, life is unfair. We all know this. So it should not be a surprise that there are going to be tough times. But when we work through those tough times, when we come out ahead, man it sure feels good. The reward of knowing that you did it is awesome. So remember that no matter how tough the times are, you can get through it! I know you can! Just believe in yourself and great things will happen!

I want to thank each and every one of you for your support and all of the kinds words that you have ever spoken to me. It means so much. I want you all to know that I am always available if any of you would like to speak with me. All you have to do is email.

Until my next post, wishing you all success and happiness.


December 18, 2009

Greetings Evereyone!

I hope that everyone has a very happy holiday season!!! Yesterday I was asked to speak at the United States Military Academy at Westpoint!!I am so honored to have been selected to speak to the young men and women who will one day serve our great country. I may not have been able to enlist, but I will use that day to do my very best to make our country a better and safer place.

Happy Holiday's,


August 26, 2009

As guest of KU's Mangino, Rhea delivers heartfelt speech on football, life success
Joe Rhea
Written by Joe Rhea
Wednesday, 26 August 2009 00:00

Editor's note: In the Nov. 15, 2006, issue of The Sun, sports editor Mark Dewar profiled Joe Rhea.

Sept. 11, 2009, will mark the 25th anniversary of the day Rhea, then a talented Olathe youth athlete, broke his neck and suffered a spinal cord injury in a junior high football game.

JOE RHEA He was told to be prepared to be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
But in the years since, Rhea has made a strong recovery.

His spinal cord gave him the opportunity to work at a recovery, and he did.
After more than two years of physical therapy rebuilding his body, today this Raytown, Mo., resident is what the medical profession refers to as a "medical miracle."

He can golf, snow ski and play tennis while still suffering from partial paralysis in the upper extremities.

So many have been inspired by his story that he chose to become a professional speaker.

These days Rhea ( speaks more than 100 times a year to students and corporations.

He especially enjoys speaking with young and aspiring athletes.

On Aug. 13, Rhea received the opportunity to address the University of Kansas football team.

His account of that unique experience follows.

As I drove to Lawrence on the morning of Aug. 13, I could feel the excitement swell within me.

This will have been the second time that I have spoken to the University of Kansas football team.

I can remember the very first time that I spoke with Coach Mark Mangino.
It was his first year as KU's head coach. I had called his office and left a message with his secretary to have him call me.

You never know if a head coach, especially one in his first year, will give you a call back.

Then one Saturday night, the telephone rang. I turned down the television set and answered the phone with a "hello."

"Joe Rhea," the voice on the other end of the phone said. "This is Coach Mark Mangino of the Kansas football team."

In a split second, I jumped up from lying down on my couch and stood erect, as if I were standing at attention.

I could not believe that Coach Mangino was actually calling me.

Here is a man, a head coach who probably had a million things to do, yet he took the time to speak with me on the phone and listened to what I had to say.

We spoke for 40 minutes. He did not have to give me that kind of time, but he did.
I hung up the phone and thought to myself that if this man would give a complete stranger that much of his valuable time that he was really going to be the kind of coach who took the time to know his players.

Eight years later, his record speaks for itself.

So as I walked into the doors of the new Kansas football offices, Coach Mangino was there to greet me.

"It's great to see you again, Joe," he said as he shook my hand. "You ready to get after them?"

"Oh, yeah!"

As we walked into the conference room, the entire team was there already.
Senior quarterback Todd Reesing and senior wide receiver/quarterback Kerry Meier were in the front row, sitting right next to each other.

As Coach Mangino walked to the podium, I watched as his players followed his every move. Every single player was paying attention, ready to listen to what the head coach was about to say.

"Men, today we have a gentleman who truly understands what it means to go through adversity, to have overcome incredible odds," Mangino said.

"When you hear his story, you realize that what we do is really just a game. So please help me welcome, Joe Rhea."

Then they all clapped in unison, two claps.

My heart pounding, palms feeling the sweat within them, I began to speak.
As I told them my story, I could see them look at me, and I could feel their intensity.

They looked at me and understood what it meant to go through real adversity.
I told them that having the right attitude when faced with tough times will help get through it — that tough times do not build character, but rather, reveal it.
I told them that if they don’t believe that they can win against an opponent, they won't.

I told them many things, but most importantly, I told them that no matter what they did on the football field to give all that they had. So that when they look back many years later, they can remember about what was, and not ever have to think, "what if."

As a speaker, you can only hope that maybe something you said will get through, will help them be better, work harder, appreciate more.

I admitted to them that I was a Jayhawk, and talking to them was a real treat for me.
Now let’s watch and see how the season turns out.

March 13, 2009

I want to share this letter with you. It was very moving. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


My name is Chris Hayes and I came up to you this afternoon to thank you for taking the time to come speak to us today. I was inspired by what you said and took not only your message about good decisions (specifically buckling up), but also the reminder to be incredibly grateful for the opportunities and blessings we often take for granted.One of my best friends in High School didn't have nearly the traumatic injury you sustained, but he did have a malignant tumor on his C4 and C5's so when they did surgery to remove it, he had to wear a halo for almost a year. To this day, he has no mobility in his neck and suffers some of the same issues it seems you deal with on a daily basis. I know how hard it was for him, and can only imagine what it is like on a kid. I know you mentioned a number of times you in many ways live vicariously through us, but

I wanted to share a few thoughts I had.I have two main goals with my baseball career. The first is to win a World Championship with the Royals. Secondly, I want to be able to reach out to people and help them in any way I can with the additional exposure and notoriety being a baseball player brings. The story you told of Frank White made me yearn for a day when I can brighten a kids life if only a fraction as much as Frank was able to with you. Neither of my goals have been reached yet, so today, when you were delivering your message, I had to experience my second goal vicariously through you. I can't imagine the frustration it must be, probably even to this day, to know God blessed you with the ability to play for the Royals and then have it escape in the blink of an eye. But today I hope you take pride in the fact that you have risen above all the adversity and been able to reach out to people and benefit their lives in such large numbers. I admire you equally for your recovery and for your ability to deliver such a message to so many people. As far as my second goal, I'll say it again, today I was living vicariously through you.When it comes to my first goal of winning a World Championship with the Royals, I know perhaps nothing will be able to replace actually being there on the field, but I hope you will feel like you are as much a part of it as the players on the field. I meant what I said today about our organization going in the right direction. I honestly believe it and plan on being in KC in the near future to help the team win it all. When that amazing October evening comes, I hope I get a chance to come in for a few late inning outs. And when it does, you will be on the field with me in my thoughts. You said something today along the lines of "No matter how tense or stressful the situation in the biggest game, just think of me and know that I would do anything to be in that situation."
Again, I know you'd rather be in my shoes than in yours when that time comes, but I hope when it does, you feel like you are right there in the game. Regardless of who's on the mound or at bat in that game, they will have your message in the back of their head whether they know it or not.I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I have been given in my life. What you said today was a great reminder and strengthened my gratitude. I very much look forward to reaching both the goals I have within baseball, I hope you realize you have already achieved my second and I look forward to being able to "share" the first with you in the near future.Take care and again, thank you.

Chris Hayes

November 17, 2008

Hello Everyone

I would like to share with you all a story about me that was done on KMBC Channel 9 News.

Just follow the link to

I hope you all enjoy it!

Thanks so much for coming to my website.

Joe Rhea