Evento Awards chose Pekka as the Speaker of the Year in April 2016.

In 2010 I had just finished high school and turned a professional free skier. I was living my dream. I also had just won the Finnish national Championships and was finally invited to compete in various top competitions around the world.

To end the season in style, I joined the best film crew in Finland and we headed to Lapland to film a short movie. On the last day of filming, a difficult trick, which was meant to be the last jump of the session, became the last jump of my life. I suffered a very severe traumatic brain injury, laying in coma for three weeks.

After a half a year in hospitals, in the middle of my first precious rehab period, I fell into a deep depression, not seeing a way out of it. The life as I had known it, wasn’t there anymore. It felt unbearable to think that I would be stuck in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.

The following three shifts in my focus and in my mindset helped me not only to fight my way back to living a meaningful life, but also to hang in there when consistently building my business.

1. Not giving up on what’s important

Realizing what are the most important things in life and not giving up on them. I wasn’t the only one suffering in that situation. My family and friends and folks from all walks of my life, even people I didn’t know before, like doctors, nurses and therapists – they all cared. Many of them had made huge sacrifices for me and turning my back to them, to this second chance I’d gotten, would’ve been a betrayal to all. Our ability to tie connections with each other, even in times of global crisis, is one of the most important things in life. That’s what has motivated me to hang in there, whether it’s been about my own recovery or me helping and inspiring others through my current business.

2. Persistence

After reconnecting with my desire to live, I decided to persistently go all in, in everything I do, for the rest of my life. I learned how to talk, walk, and even ski again, all unbelievable quickly. I continuously educate myself through reading and writing. I take care of my body in best possible ways, even when it means painful treatments and unpleasant exercises. Even though it’s a constant fight back for me to improve my overall condition despite the brain injury, I’m doing it through positivity. I’m convinced at sacrificing my immediate comfort in order to live an easier life in the longer term. And where I am today is amazing. Persistence takes us a long way, in business and in life.

3. Positive thinking

I could have spent the rest of my life blaming the blast of wind that ruined the trick I was doing. I could have blamed the time that it took to get me to the nearest ICU, cause the rescue helicopter was under repair. I could have found many reasons why life may seem unfair. Instead, I chose gratitude and to acknowledge how blessed and fortunate I am to be alive. We always have a choice of how we view any situation and how we respond to them. I am not only grateful for the good days, I’m equally grateful for the bad ones. Those are the times that build our character and make us who we now are. They make us appreciate life much more deeply.