University of Southern California

LOVE YOUR LIFE, AND IT WILL LOVE YOU BACK
November 25, 2009 • by Sourena Vasseghi

Dear Friends of Marshall:

My name is Sourena Vasseghi and I'm honored to bring you a special USC Marshall School of Business Thanksgiving message.

I was born in 1977 with severe cerebral palsy.  That's a nervous system disorder that occurs when the brain is denied oxygen for a certain period of time, causing damage, the extent of which is different in each case. In mine, it's purely physical; it has no effect on my mind or my ability to think clearly. It is like having a USC brain in a UCLA body.

I grew up in Los Angeles rooting for USC, and while not easy, I graduated in 2001 with a degree in Marketing from the Marshall School of Business.  I met with Dean Ellis before I graduated and he asked me what I wanted to do.  The last thing I wanted was to have no career to inspire me, and to just be "the handicapped guy who graduated from USC."  I didn't want that to be my legacy.  So my answer was that I wanted to become a motivational speaker.   If you've ever heard me talk, that might seem like a challenging goal - my mouth has trouble articulating the words I want to say.  But at Marshall, we aren't in the habit of giving up.  We're USC.  We figure out a way to succeed and Dean Ellis had an idea.  He suggested I start toward that goal by writing a book, and he put me in touch with screenwriter Jay Lavender.  With Jay's help, I wrote, Love Your Life and It Will Love You Back. My book won an Indie Excellence Award in 2008.

I often think of Coach Pete Carroll's favorite expression:  "Win Forever."  I use that in my own life every day.  I truly need to maximize everything I've got, give every bit of energy, passion, strength I can muster, whether it's giving a speech, writing this e-mail or just interacting with people, because I don't want a substandard life. I want a wonderful, exciting, rewarding, passionate life, like the one I'm living now. And every day, I keep trying to find ways to do more, to give more, to help more people.  

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful to USC, the Marshall School of Business, and for having a wonderful life.  I've learned that if you love your life, it will love you back.  That, to me, is winning forever.

FIGHT ON! 

Sourena Vasseghi
USC Marshall School of Business, BS '01
loveyourlifeseminars.com