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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM MARCH 2010
I was flying in from a speaking engagement in Rochester, NY when I heard there had been a shooting at a downtown office in Orlando. The shooter was described as living ‘every headline of the year,’ his home was foreclosed, he lost his job, and he was in the middle of a divorce. I thought to myself, “bad things happen but that doesn’t mean you have to make it worse.”
My year had been similar. Without burdening you, I had a rough year last year. I had taken out a loan on my home to start a business and then the economy happened. People didn’t pay their bills, so it eventually came to a point to where keeping my home just didn’t make sense if I wanted to save the business. I could after all, buy another house. Well, the financial stress continued and that caused my wife to decide one day to leave with our kids and go to live with her parents 5 states away. Now, I was alone, fighting to keep a business running without my children who I adore (and they me), and dealing with a loneliness I had never felt. I lost my home, my wife, my kids and it looked like my business too. Add on top of that, ridiculous rumors started spreading that were not even close to true. I don’t know where these ideas came from (I suspect it was my competition) but the rumors were hurtful and mean. I was still working to fulfill what I had promised instead of dropping everything to be with my kids.
I would love to tell you that everything has turned around and that everything’s peachy happy. Not yet, but I am working to make it happen.
In a year I feel I will have a wonderful story to tell you. In the meantime, let me share with you some lessons learned and some lessons cemented.
1. Life is filled with seasons. Seasons may be long, but they have a beginning and an end. I have been through one of the biggest trials of my life, perhaps you could describe it as a winter. I know there will not be any 2 winters in a row- never have, never will. This season is ending and spring is coming
2. Keep moving forward. I have had times during the past year when it was hard to get out of bed, let alone push forward into great action. Doing something small that is going forward is better than standing still. I have had to summon up whatever strength I could and do a little. It may not have been much, but it was something. No matter how big the tree, as long as I take some swings with a sharp ax everyday, eventually I will fall that tree.
3. I have always overcome everything I had to overcome and I will overcome this too. So far in my life, every problem or challenge I was handed, I overcame. At least I was alive to fight another day. This is the same. I will stay in the fight as long as I am alive and eventually I will overcome this.
4. There is purpose in struggles. If I learn from this set of challenges, I have a better chance to not repeat it. I can go through this time and simply suffer without learning or I can go through this and really grasp the situation by the horns and get the most out of it. This part of my life is similar to a rollercoaster. Sometimes people get a great thrill from a rollercoaster, and it makes you hurl. It is not the struggles that matter, but the reaction to them.
5. People are overall good. While I have faced some who don’t even know me who are willing to throw me under the bus, there have been 10 times as many who have lent me their ear and offered their support. Further, people are forgiving. One thing I would have changed would be to act more like David Letterman rather than Tiger Woods. In other words, I would have owned my issues sooner rather than later and been more open about them. People will allow for you to be human (most will- those that matter do~!)
If you are facing struggles or challenges in your life, push forward and overcome them the best you can. Too many times the phrase “I’m only human” denotes some frailty that can’t be overcome. Being Human means you are prone towards greatness. You can overcome and you should. The economy may be less than perfect, your relationship may be rocky, your health may worrying you; but you are human and that means you can conquer your problem. People become millionaires in recessions, relationships heal and become stronger and health returns and heals.
Surround yourself with anything and everything positive. Write down what you want and how you can get it. Plan for success, think of success and go for success-You deserve it!