An Early Vision
I was seven when I knew, with a startling crystal clarity, my life’s purpose.
I knew I wanted to make an impact on people’s lives. I knew I was meant to be on stage, in front of an audience, entertaining, inspiring.
I knew that people were my passion, and at that young age I thought I knew exactly what that meant: I was going to be the next Michael Jackson (Michael Jordan was a close second).
Boy was I wrong. It took me 26 years, and a lot of wrong turns, to figure out what exactly what my vision at seven meant. It took 26 years for me to find the right path and start down it.
And that’s ok! Because it was that journey that has brought me here today. And I wouldn’t change that for anything.
A Turning Point
I grew up with my mom, dad, and sister in a quiet LA suburb. There was always an air of tension in my house with financial worries smack dab in the middle of it. My parents fought often and it wasn’t unusual for me to wake up to the sound of angry voices and shattering plates.
Even with the constant strain, my dad was my hero. He taught me how to play sports and I idolized him.
One day when I was 10, out of the blue, my dad announced that he was taking a higher paying job and moving to Japan. He framed it as a way to help our family financially, but all I could hear and feel was that he was abandoning us. Abandoning me.
He swore that it would only be for a year, just long enough to make some extra money and get us out of the slump we were in, and I started counting down the days. I missed him terribly but tried to understand.
Finally, the year passed, and he was supposed to come home. I couldn’t wait to see him again, couldn’t wait for our family to be whole again!
Then, just a few days before he was supposed to come back, he was offered a contract for another year – and he signed it.
I was devastated. Furious. How could he do this to me? How could he do this to my mom and my sister? As a preteen I had to take on a lot of responsibility around the house, doing things that he should have been there to do. My mom and my sister struggled without him home, and I hated seeing that.
I grew angry, resentful, bitter. My temper was awful and I walked around with a huge chip on my shoulder, that took me years to shake off. Even now, decades later, I still feel echoes of that hurt young boy. Twenty-nine years later, my dad has never come back from Japan. And seeing my mom alone occasionally brings back those sour feelings.
Going In the Wrong Direction
That bitter hurt and disappointment I felt colored my vision. Though I still felt passionate about helping people, my goals got muddled together with the idea of becoming rich and famous. I felt like the only way to be a success was to become the next Russell Simmons. I was completely caught up by the idea of being in front of an audience, and helping people fell to the wayside.
Straight out of college I took a job as a production assistant at a major sports network, convinced I would become the next Rob Fukuzaki. But it didn’t take long for me to get burned out.
I leapt at the opportunity to join a band as the lead singer, positive this was the way to achieve my dream of fame and fortune. But we were told we by studio execs we weren’t marketable.
I invested in a clothing company – and lost everything.
I was given the opportunity to be on a wedding reality show on the OWN network – and was misrepresented by the editing.
My wife and I took over my grandfather’s non-profit, dreaming of creating an organization that helped people get back on their feet – and had the rug pulled out from under us.
Time after time after time the door of opportunity cracked opened only to be slammed in my face. I fell into depression, doubting myself, wondering if I was wrong about my destiny.
I was failing. Failing as a husband, failing as a man.
Don’t Call It a Comeback
If it hadn’t been for Oprah, I might never have hit rock bottom.
After the frustrating experience of being portrayed as a villain at my own wedding, I decided enough was enough. No one was going to tell my story but me. Never again would I let someone else define who I was.
I decided I was going to build a career that was true to my original vision: helping people, making an impact. I tuned everything and everyone else out and focused on personal development. I threw myself into books, podcasts, YouTube videos, anything and everything that had to do with self improvement. I took control of my journey and learned from mentors like Jim Rohn, Les Brown, and Tony Robbins.
Within 18 months I had earned certifications as an executive coach, holistic personal trainer, holistic nutritionist, and even got my realtor’s license. I started my personal fitness business and wrote a bestselling book.
It wasn’t easy. But nothing worth having ever is.
The Next Chapter
It took me until I was 33 years old, but now I know what seven year old me didn’t: I’m here to serve, to add value to the lives of others, to help people. I know, with absolute certainty, that I can help you find your path, find your clarity.
As someone who’s lived through tough times, I understand what it’s like to feel lost, alone, abandoned, rudderless. I came out the other side stronger, and I know I can help you do the same.
We’re not so different, you and I. We’ve both faced disappointment – in ourselves, in others. We’ve betrayed and been betrayed. We’ve tried, we’ve failed.
And you know what? We keep getting back up. That pain is your friend. That pain allows the possibility of your breakthrough.
No matter what hardships you’ve faced or what circumstances have held you back, you have a purpose, you have meaning. I am a living testament that you can take your biggest disadvantages and turn them into your greatest advantages.
At one time I thought I was meant to be a king, surrounded by throngs of adoring crowds, pockets overflowing with wealth. But now I know what I really am – a kingmaker, a champion-builder, meant to build up others and make their lives better.
It’s not too late to change your narrative. What’s your comeback story?