Today we get to chat with Steve Lawton, author, IT executive, and mover and shaker around the Austin community. Steve relocated to Austin in 1994 and has never looked back since. He is one of the most positive and inspiring people we have had on the podcast, and we are happy he chooses to live in Austin! We talk some friendly sports rivalry, his time at NASA, Motorola, and Dell, and how the tech industry has grown since he moved here. Then, Steve opens up and shares his incredible story about how his attitude literally saved his life from a near-fatal skiing accident. Through speaking engagements and his book Head First: A Crash Course in Positivity, he helps others by sharing his story and offers practical advice on how to create a positive mindset. Finally, we hear how a rubber chicken helped to save the day and get his top picks on what to do and where to eat when in Austin.
[1:48] Steve was born in California, moved to many locations throughout his early adult life, and moved to Austin in 1999.
[6:00] He got a BS and MS degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M, as well as an MBA from St. Edward’s University. His first role out of school was as a contractor to NASA, where he worked in the astronaut office as a support engineer. This was a dream job as he helped design experiments that flew onboard the spaceship.
[7:02] When he decided to make a career move, he knew he wanted it to be based in Austin. He spent every government holiday networking and eventually landed a job at Motorola. He was there for four years and then moved to Dell.
[8:03] Steve has been with Dell since 1999 and has held many positions over the years, which led to his current role in IT.
[11:33] In 2014, Steve took a spring break ski trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. During the second day on the first run he came out of his skis on a steep slope and slid headfirst into a tree going 45 MPH. He was flown to Denver and had severe injuries including bleeding between skull and brain, nerve damage, bleeding into his ear and eye, collapsed lungs, and 11 broken bones.
[13:41] There are a number of reasons why he survived; his brother in law was skiing in back of him and saw the accident.
[17:43] During a very tough recovery he heard a voice inside his head telling him to continue and this gave him the strength and intention that he needed to soldier on during this time. This also saved him from a complication in the form of a lung blood clot.
[19:25] Thank you to our Sponsor, the Papasan Properties Group.
[23:26] On day four, he received a get well gift in the form of a rubber chicken named Henrietta, who became his Good Luck Chicken. This added a little bit of levity to the mood of the room.
[29:17] He studied a great deal on neuroplasticity and how he could rebuild his brain to relearn the things he lost due to the accident. The more you practice having a positive attitude, the more the brain rebuilds and retrains this as your main positivity offset.
[32:15] We reflect our environment, so it’s powerful to give others great recognition on how their actions positively benefited you and others around them.
[34:24] There are very specific things to do to boost your positivity. Steve gives eight detailed ways in his book, so readers could get started right away with things that don’t cost a dime.
Torchy’s — Crossroads Taco