For the last twelve years, I have received countless messages from strangers and letters from people incarcerated. They have found themselves down a similar path that I once walked. At every presentation I deliver, I'm approached by individuals seeking advice on how to overcome their personal struggles.
I am not a therapist. I am not equipped to counsel or support anyone. I’m the woman who shattered countless lives with one decision. I was the eighteen year old girl who drank, drove, and killed my best friend.
I may not be able to counsel these individuals but I have to do something for them. I am someone who understands exactly where they're at right now: paralyzed with the unknown, wondering if survival is even an option, and feeling completely and utterly alone on that journey.
They need a light at the end of the tunnel.
They need to know that yes, this road DOES continue forward… no matter how bumpy it may be. They need to know that others have made it out the otherside. They need to know that (with a whole lot of heart and hard work) they can use their mess for good. They CAN find light in the darkness.
Twelve years ago I searched the shelves of a Barnes and Noble Bookstore.
I was looking for something, anything, that would give me that light. Something that would tell me that my journey didn’t end here… that there were things I could do to keep my friend’s memory alive and prevent others from repeating my mistake. I broke down in the middle of that store when I couldn’t find anything.
I FELT OBLIGATED TO CREATE A TOOL THAT COULD SERVE AS A GUIDE FOR THAT UNCHARTED PATH.
It’s taken me eleven years to feel comfortable enough sharing a message of hope rather than one of uncertainty for my future. Trust me, it's not all rainbows and sunshine over here… but those beautiful beams of light are starting to creep their way through. I knew I was called to share my message in a big way and I knew part of that would include a book… but I had no idea what those pages would hold. I have been approached with a two different book deals over the last few years. I turned them both down. Why? The vision those individuals had for the book was not my own.
I responded with “no thank you.” I wish I could have countered with another angle or message… but at the time, I had no idea what those pages were supposed to include. I didn't know what message I wanted to share with my readers.
When you experience the roller-coaster like I have, sitting down to write a book is overwhelming. “What stories am I going to tell? What parts do I need to leave out? What is the message that will best serve my audience? Who is this book for? What difference do I want it to make for them?” Everyone wanted to know “my story.” They wanted to know what these years have been like; the good, the bad, and the ugly. They wanted the over-dramatized hollywood version they had become accustomed to through the major media outlets who covered my story.
But that didn't feel right. That angle never felt right.
How would a hollywood version of my story serve others? I couldn't stand behind that. I knew this project needed to be so much more than that. I shifted the focus. My story couldn't be the thing that guided the book writing process.
I reverse engineered my own journey by asking myself, “What were the most significant parts of my journey? What were the moments that pushed me forward? What were the stops along the way that others could relate to?”
These answers set the stage for the 6 Pillars that make up Shattered. Removing my own story, these pillars can apply to anyone experiencing adversity in their life. Now THAT could certainly serve others much more than the Hollywood pitch I was given.
Once I outlined the key pillars, I knew that wasn’t enough. Sure I could deliver the pillars, thought provoking messages and actionable takeaways… but that wouldn’t be enough. We’re all skeptics, aren't we? People can tell us to do (or not do) something time and time again… but until we see ourselves in those shoes or make an emotional connection, we don’t take action. I knew that I needed to use my story as the example. I needed to take my readers on my own journey to illustrate the importance of each pillar.
Shattered shares with you my journey on a mission to “put the book on the shelf.”
Each pillar (chapter) shares a part of my personal journey. At the end of each chapter, you’ll find either a “What Can I Do?” or “Consider This” section. Those sections are a special part of the book with a message just for you. Although my story may be different from your own, my hope is that the messages and action steps will resonate with you and your own story.
My story is simply being used as an example on this journey the reader and I are taking, together.
WHERE CAN YOU BUY SHATTERED?
WANT TO PEEK INSIDE FIRST? GRAB THE INTRODUCTION TO THE BOOK FOR FREE HERE:
When Jessica Rasdall was a freshman in college, she made a life-altering decision that resulted in the death of her best friend. In an effort to raise awareness, cope with her guilt and keep her friend’s memory alive, she began sharing her story. Jessica spoke to over 15,000 young adults across the country before she was later sentenced to four years in prison. Upon being released from prison, she returned home to pick up the pieces and continued to share her message.
Today, Jessica is an Author, Motivational Speaker, and Transformational Coach to female business owners. She helps her clients unearth their signature story, tap into their inner strength and evoke radical change. She believes that what most people consider to be their limitations are actually their greatest asset.
Jessica has shared her story of turning her “mess into a message” for nearly ten years and has been featured on major media outlets such as ABC's 20/20, Katie Couric, Seventeen Magazine, The Guardian, MTV’s Series Premiere of One Bad Choice and much more.
"Shattered is a deep but actionable read for anyone that has ever had the wind knocked out of them by a sudden life event. Jessica tells the tragic story of how she killed her best friend but also how she pulled herself out from under the enormous weight of the worst mistake of her life. She guides the reader with thoughtful questions and advice throughout the book which makes it a must read for anyone looking to create meaning from life’s curveballs and challenges. I couldn’t put it down!" – Kristin Kaplan
“Jessica paints such a great picture in Shattered. Every place they went, I felt like I was there with them. I was there in the car. I was there at the hospital with her. I was there when they were getting ready, putting on makeup with their feet in the sink. I was right there holding my breath for every moment.
But then, she gave tangible tips and advice on how to overcome those moments and rewrite my own story and I could breathe again. The whole time I read I was “hold my breath… breathe….hold my breath…. breathe.”
I cried when she said, “Jessica is gone.” I cried again when she was hyperventilating as she walked down the hall. We’ve all been there. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, we all know the moment that your life changes -- the moment the person you once were is gone. We’ve all had those panic attacks ‘in the hall’ facing the consequences of choices we’ve made.
This book needs to be in everyone’s hand.” — Aubrey Mathis of Life's Lemon-Aid
"Shattered will break your heart and give you faith that we can serve a bigger purpose even in the toughest of circumstances -- sometimes at the same time. Jessica bravely shares her own mistakes and open wounds, and the lessons she's learned, to illustrate that we can all make a message out of our mess. Our mistakes might be different from hers, and our circumstances might not look just the same, but the journeys will be similar so that her takeaways can help every single one of us who struggles with the consequences of a decision we've made." — Jodi Brandon
"Much more than a self help book, Shattered is a brave memoir filled with helpful direction for those hard, unimaginable moments when you don’t know how to take the next step forward. I felt as if my best friend and my life coach combined to talk me through the hardest times of my life when I read this book. And even though Jessica’s experiences are far different than my own, I felt that my own suffering is not smaller or larger, more or less painful than hers. Her words are relatable, courageous and honest.
The direction Jessica provides at the end of each chapter is so helpful, inclusive and motivating. The overall message finds the commonalities in all adversity. My feelings of, “this happened to me” has transformed into ownership and forward thinking action.
Simply, I couldn’t put the book down – and I always struggle to read nonfiction. This is a book I would buy in hardback to return to again and again with highlighters ready. Jessica has accomplished exactly what she set out to do all those years ago in that pivotal moment at Barnes & Noble – Shattered is a book every person experiencing real adversity needs." — Illiah Manger
“Jessica's story has changed the way I hope to approach every obstacle brought my way. I was shook to the core with each page and I have never felt so driven to lead a more meaningful life. I am thankful she has the courage to share this message of hope and light even on the darkest of days. Jessica is truly a survivor in every way!” —Alicia Bauer