Q & A with Josh Rivedal, Creator of The i’Mpossible Project
First of all, I am so excited to announce that I had the privilege to contribute to Volume 2 of The I’Mpossible Project book series. (Available for pre-order April 12!) This book, like the first, features 50 authors and their inspiring real-life stories of triumph. The first book was incredible, and to have been chosen to write for the second, is such an honor. I owe this opportunity to the creator of The I’Mpossible project; author, actor, public speaker, and survivor, Joshua Rivedal.
Here’s what Josh has to say….
- Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m originally a New Yorker (NYC) living in Los Angeles the past 15 months. I am a former actor (Broadway, regional, and I still do voiceovers) and playwright. I have three books out, all on mental health in one way shape or form, and have a fantasy novel series I’m working on selling where all the spells are in Spanish. I created a mental health based curriculum called Changing Minds, which incorporates lecture, storytelling, and improv theater. I like boy bands (don’t judge), bacon, playing the piano, writing, and my kids have two bunnies and a guinea pig that make me smile (the kids make me smile, too).
- What’s the i’Mpossible project?
Our mission statement says that we’re an organization that creates seminars, workshops, curriculum, books, music, and plays designed to entertain, educate, and engage on Suicide Prevention, Mental Health, Storytelling, Anti-Bullying, and Diversity. Yes, I wrote that for our website so we could look a little fancy schmancy because sometimes that’s how you have to roll. But basically, I started this project back in 2014 first and foremost to help other people tell their stories. I had already been telling my story for almost 3 years and it was saving and changing lives. I also wanted to give back and make my work go beyond and last longer than just me, Josh.
- Why did you decide to write these books?
Initially it was a blog and then I saw an opportunity to go beyond the web and create something on a different platform that could be passed along from one hand to the next. I then saw possibilities that went beyond it being just a book but more so as a Swiss army knife of sorts, or a multi-pronged tool, one of which would enable research that would: educate on both the art and science about why storytelling is an important component of a healthy society; inform peers and clinicians on how to tell stories more effectively in an effort to leverage action from the listener; demonstrate how stories can be used to drive change from top down (administrators, clinicians, assistants, to consumer) and bottom up (consumer, community representative, legislator); provide framework for peer advocates to tell stories in order to provide hope and healing; and to drive change to better inform media messaging (blogs, copywriting, film, ad placement, marketing) on social justice issues, specifically mental health, suicide prevention, and diversity. #booyah
- What types of stories are featured in this second volume? This one is all on stories of mental illness with hope, healing, and humor sprinkled in. These true tales from real people who have achieved incredible feats in the face of overwhelming odds, showing that impossible is just a state of mind—and that anything is possible: an entrepreneur using his battle with alcohol abuse to empower others; an award winning high school student who battled bullying, self-harm, and an eating disorder to become her best self; and an actor who calls his depression “my frenemy Dewayne” (you can read a couple of the stories HERE).
- How do you find your authors? Selecting storytellers wasn’t super easy. I knew about half the people in the book and the other half were a mixture of people whose work I was a fan of, bloggers, or people doing good work in their field.
- What is your ultimate goal for the I’Mpossible project? Ultimately I’d love to have a multi-volume book series (at least one per year and a minimum of ten different volumes). I want our messaging, seminars, curriculum, and media work to help reduce or eliminate the stigma around getting help for mental health conditions and speaking out about social justice issues. I’d like to reduce the suicide rate to zero. And I’d like our curriculum to be adopted in schools and workplace setting all around the globe.
- What’s one more thing you would like to leave us with? Be the change you want to see. Someone had to affect change for it to be the way it is now, why can’t you be the spark that lights the fire to change the world. No one is too insignificant to do big things—a mosquito would be considered insignificant until you spend the night with it in your sleeping bag. Get your inner mosquito on and change the world in any way you can.