Pep talks and practical advice for whatever challenges you’re facing
I’m Josh Martin: a cancer survivor, author and motivational speaker. And welcome to Badge of Awesome. Here you’ll find a growing collection of stories and personal development resources focused on helping you make the tough times in life less tough.
Wellness webinars, books, guest speaking & more
Cultivate wellness in your team with UpLift: a motivational webinar series featuring 16 entertaining modules and a slew of practical resources. Learn more.
Enjoy my latest book, “Simply Blunderful: A cancer survivor’s illustrated guide to flaming tennis balls, camping catastrophes and the many obstacles life throws our way.” Learn more.
Book me as a guest speaker for your next wellness or mental health event. Learn more.
Stories: rev up your resilience while enjoying a few laughs.
Chapter 1: The coin Flip – What a cancer diagnosis taught me about life exploding into a bazillion pieces
I flipped a coin into the air and said, “heads I live, tails I die.” A tad dramatic, I admit. But I had just returned from the hospital where my doctor had told me I had a 50/50 shot of surviving leukemia. I figured I’d see what luck had to say about it. A few […]
For many, kindergarten conjures up fond memories of finger painting, playdough and sing-alongs. Not me. Instead, I’m haunted by two moments of spectacular mortification. Both involved bodily fluids — some mine, some not. The first incident happened during art class. To minimize the mess caused by a room full of five-year-olds armed with paintbrushes, Mrs. […]
Chapter 3: The Great Burning – What a million paper monsters taught me about things going up in smoke
Fortunately, peeing my pants during art class in kindergarten didn’t squash my creative interests entirely. Unfortunately, my mom seemed intent on finishing the job a couple years later. For whatever reason, I got in the habit of creating paper monsters with my younger brother, Nicholas. For weeks, we invested countless hours sketching, colouring and cutting […]
Chapter 4: The Crayon Candle – What the lamest science project ever taught me about putting in the extra effort
When it came to tasks like making paper monsters, my work ethic was unparalleled. I could crank out a dozen demons in an hour — even if the marker fumes left me woozy and wondering if the monsters were starting to talk to me. Unfortunately, that gung-ho effort didn’t always manifest at school. Consider my […]
My spectacularly underwhelming poetry recital wasn’t the only time I’ve appeared on stage. In fact, my theatrical CV stretches all the way back to my breakout performance as Ant #2 in our kindergarten concert, “The Ants Go Marching In.” A meaty role to be sure: my character’s arc involved stopping to tie my shoe as […]
Even at a young age, you’d often find me hunched over a notebook writing short stories. So when our grade 3 teacher told us we had to submit a bit of fiction for the local fall fair, I was more than a little excited. Because it was time to introduce the world to one of […]
As the assessor from the school board quizzed me about my pastimes and interests, I knew well enough to omit a few details. Bleeding all over the place during the interview was bad enough. If he knew about half the moronic things I did with my siblings, there’s no way I’d have qualified for the […]
Rest assured, I wasn’t the only Martin bested by a pit of clay. When we were kids, the arrival of spring’s warmer weather motivated Saturday outings to a place we lovingly referred to as the Death Cliffs — a section of high muddy riverbanks near our home in southwestern Ontario (and not nearly as terrifying […]
Growing up, my family’s idea of a good time extended beyond dunking various body parts into clay. In fact, there was no shortage of creative shenanigans whenever we got together with our cousins. And we got away with a lot of it, as my mom and dad weren’t exactly helicopter parents. In part, that’s because […]
Although our antics outside the home may suggest otherwise, our lives were far from lawless. Like most households, we were governed by a variety of rules — from strict bedtimes and cookie limits to the schedule of chores taped to the door of the kitchen pantry. The fart chair was another law of the land. […]
Chapter 11: The Haybale – What a tough day in the barn taught me about having someone to watch your back
We never received an allowance for doing chores like drying the dishes. Which was probably fair, considering how much we owed Mom for all the dish towels we ruined in our snapping wars. And since my pitiful pitch at the board game company failed to attract the million-dollar contract I was hoping for, I needed […]
Chapter 12: The Babysitting Gig – What banshee babies and buttered butts taught me about failing forward
Farm work was just one way Nicholas and I made a few bucks. When we were teenagers, our aunts and uncles would also hire us to babysit their little rugrats — a questionable decision considering how bad we were at keeping a watchful eye on our boss in the hayloft. And in many ways, stacking […]
“We are in a mental health crisis now that will last for years to come due to covid, and there are limited resources. So it’s wonderful to see things like this popping up!”Sarah, Therapist – Winnipeg, MB
“You took a terrible experience, turned it into art and are finding ways to use it to help others.”Chris, Social Worker – Kitchener, ON
“I love the stories. They add so much to the lessons, rather than just a list of resilience ideas.”Dr. Karen Armstrong – Timmins, ON