Jeff Ferreira: Go Big or Go Home

Ferreira and Banana George

Jeff Ferreira lives his life by this simple motto:  “Go big, or go home.”  At the age of sixteen, Jeff nearly lost his life as a passenger in a car accident.  The car he was riding in rolled over nine times, skidding 602 feet before coming to an abrupt stop on the other side of the highway.  “The driver was going 130 mph and there were no seat belts in 1978 when this happened,” said Jeff.  Jeff was extremely fortunate; he wound up with a broken ankle, dislocated shoulder and severe cuts in his mouth and on his hands–injuries that he could heal from.

“That accident had a profound effect on me,” said Jeff.  “I’ve always lived my life to the fullest– and appreciated life after that accident. The closer you are to death, the more you are alive.  I wish people could experience that feeling.  It’s the highest level of appreciating life, when you know it could vanish in an instant.”

School was not Jeff’s strong suit, and he dropped out of
high school and went to work for two years.  Jeff watched the movie,
“Grease,” thirty-five times, and he credits the movie for motivating
him to go back to school and finish his degree.   After high school,
Jeff started working in the food business and then switched to the
clothing industry.  He soon discovered that he had a knack for sales and he enjoyed the work. 
“I’m a natural salesman,” said Jeff.  “I was born with the gift of
gab–it was easy for me to call people all over the country and convince
them to buy an item.”

Jeff’s heart can be found in snow skiing and water skiing, and he
especially loves barefoot water skiing.  His introduction to the
extreme sport came out of the blue, when two strangers pulled up to
Jeff’s boat on Greenwood Lake and asked him to be a spotter in their
boat.   “They invited me to try barefooting and I immediately said
yes,” Jeff recalled.  “I got up on my first try, and in every photo
taken of me, I’ve got my tongue hanging out–I was so excited!”  In
that very first day, Jeff mastered barefooting on one foot and a jump on the water.

Jeff went to Florida and trained with the World Champion, Mike Seipel and began competing. He also met and skied with barefooting legend, Banana George, who is the world’s oldest barefoot water skier.

One year, he decided to leave his well-paying sales job and become a
ski bum.  “I had a success plan and a failure plan,” he explained. 
“The failure plan was to become a ski bum, but it was the best thing that
ever happened to me–I learned that if you take care of yourself, God
will take care of you.”   Jeff took a job washing dishes and spent 180
days skiing in the power and 69 days on the water.
One of the best pieces of advice that Jeff received came
from a bartender one night at Killington mountain and he’s been
following that advice ever since:  “A guy named Ron told me, ‘Do the
right thing.  If everyone does the right thing, then good things will
come to them.  It is Karma– do good things and good things will come back
around to you.” 

Three years later, Jeff landed a job with Mudd Jeans, a company that
re-created a demand for bell bottoms in the 1990’s.  He quickly rose
through the ranks and became one of the top-grossing salespersons in
the company, selling millions of dollars in jeans.   Many years ago, Jeff created a vision board of things
that he wanted to obtain or achieve.  A Ferrari. Kite surfing. Waterfront property and a boat to ski behind. Walking down the beach with a girl on his arm.  Barefooting and snow skiing.  Financial success.   “My mother
told me to write my goals down, and I did that,” Jeff explained.  “I’ve
accomplished many of my goals.  Everyone should write down goals– your
energy goes where intention goes and attention flows.”  

Jeff’s “Go Big or Go Home” philosophy also comes from losing his
friend, Jeremy Glick, a passenger on United Flight 93 that crashed in
Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.  “Just two weeks before 9-11,
Jeremy was in my boat and we just happened to talk about terrorism that
day,” Jeff recalled.  “Jeremy wasn’t supposed to be on that plane–his
flight was changed to Tuesday.”   Jeff took off for the World Trade
Center to offer his help, working with the Salvation Army to hand out
cookies and drinks to the fireman.   “The towers fell, and I watched
the whole thing, feeling helpless.   There was nothing I could do.  I
was at the truck serving coffee– the dust stopped just 100 feet from
the truck.”

Today, Jeff is a brand ambassador for SKLTN, an apparel company that
specializes in water shirts for summer sports and stylish bandanas for
winter sports.  “SKLTN focuses on 
athletes who are extreme people that play in harsh environments, and
need technically functional and stylish apparel,” said Jeff. 

While he enjoys his sales job, Jeff has a mission:  he wants to spread of message of positive thinking to everyone he meets.  “You can do anything you want in the world if you believe in yourself,” said Jeff.  “We need to spread that message.  Most people think negatively.  Keep your thoughts positive– your thoughts become your words.  A positive attitude translates to positive habits and values that become your destiny.


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