What I would have given for a mentor as a kid. Someone or something to show me the way to success… to happiness. Seems like life would tease me with it at times but then, like a cruel joke, pull the rug out from underneath me and leave me flat on the floor reminding me that I was not worthy of either. My biological Father had a business when I was very young (roughly 5). He was in the process of opening his second shop after successfully opening and running his first floral…. things were looking up. We literally had the “house on the hill”. We shared a beautiful country plateau with only one other home (my Dad’s Brother and his family) where my days were spent in a child’s paradise playing outside with my cousin. We scaled the hillsides looking for critters, navigated through large rock formations and hunted in the sage brush with our BB guns. Words cannot describe how much I loved that time in my life. Then the divorce hit and everything changed (age 6)… it all went away. Step Dad was a good guy…. I still call him Dad and love him very much but Mom and I had major issues. By 13 I was living with extended family, in foster care and struggling to stay sane and alive. Thoughts of suicide and misery were steady companions with moments of reprieve afforded only by drinking, drugging or just pure rage. So much of the pain and frustration in my teens came from lack of direction. I had to say and do a lot of stupid things to learn what was appropriate behavior, how to keep my ego and emotions in check… how to function in society. I felt lost in the world, abandoned and scared. Respectively I copped a LOT of resentments toward authority figures; coaches, teachers, extended family, and friends. I felt betrayed by most people I met save a few good freinds along the way. Despite my ability to become a chameleon in any circumstance, I developed an inherant anticipation that anyone I relied upon, for anything, would turn on me eventually. That their support was temporary and/or conditional…. that I would be left to my own devices, again…. left to my own ability to survive, again. It was easy for me to blame others for my problems in life and I could sell excuses for my shortcomings to anybody in my circumference very easily (armed with the sob story of my past). The problem with that, I realized, was that it just didn’t get me very far. I caught on, at some point, that results are what matter and the excuses were useless. I was roughly 20 years old when I realized I was not going to play college football or baseball and I needed to start focusing on life…. on how to be successful and happy.
I had no clue what to do. I considered school, the military, and other options. I decided to work full time and focus on making money. I did collections at a bank and even though it was pretty boring, the money was good (for back then) and there was room to climb the corporate ladder! (yawn)
My buddy talked me into attending a network marketing meeting (despite warnings from my Dad to stay away). Problem with most advice I received from my Dad was that I didn’t trust it because he had very little that I wanted. At that point, it had been a long time since he had presented anything of value in the form of influence or otherwise. In fact, he was a liability for the most part. So, with that, I attended the meeting and was immediately drawn in. The guy in front of the packed room was dressed in an awesome suite, was charismatic and talking about financial freedom as a result of these great products and a “simple system”. Dollar signs went off in my head and I absolutely LOVED the prospect of a vehicle to wealth. I thought “if he can do it, so can I”, not fully aware, at the time, that I was an egomaniac with an inferiority complex (recipe for disaster). I signed up shortly thereafter.. was talked into getting a bank loan for $3000, quit my job, and started selling the same dream to anyone who would listen… it was obnoxious. I should have quit well before I did. Now I understand that (quitting can be a good strategy sometimes) but I was hellbent on making this thing work and once I commit to something….. well, I don’t know when to say when. The reality is that I was not ruthless or clever enough to make money at it, but I LOVED the beautiful, healthy people, the positive material we studied, the seminars – all of it! We would echo “how often do you get the opportunity to learn from somebody who is successful?”. Then we would travel the country and drive attendance to seminars or meetings in our local offices to learn from said “successful people”.
A few years went by and I gave it my all. I learned a LOT, but from a fiscal standpoint, it was a bust. I was absolutely broke, defaulted on all my loans, lost my car to repossession and knew what it was like to be hungry. It all came to a screeching halt and I found myself sitting, alone, with no clue what I was going to do. The only person I knew who had surely found themselves in such a pathetic and desperate state was my Dad. So I swallowed my pride and called him for advice (the only thing I knew he could offer). Thank goodness, this time, it was good. The solution I still leverage today for everything.With confidence, he
With confidence, he said, “you know what to do, you just need to go ask the question and wait for the answer”. He said, specifically, to shut myself in my room (or a quiet place) and shut the world out… to ask for guidance and the answers will come.
That’s exactly what I did and as if guided by some unseen force I got up and started things in motion, confidently and with a renewed sense of purpose. Like everything else in my life, it was a challenge and I had to battle every day to make it, but I did it. That time and so many others like it have come and gone and with a steady combination of work, luck, persistence I have made it to this place…. a place that I love and am so grateful for.
One glaring and simple truth I realize today is that we are entitled to NOTHING in this life. Aside from the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as Americans, currently), we must earn it(period)
The rich, famous, smart, handsome and pretty play by the same rules. Nobody is exempt from suffering and a deep desire for progress. The surest way, I can think of, to put a halt to the potential of a great human experience is to develop a strong sense of entitlement. This is a skewed paradigm that will not serve you well. I’ve heard that ALL frustration comes from unmet expectations. That’s what a strong sense of entitlement guarantees you a LOT of…… frustration.
If things aren’t the way you think or feel they should be in your life, it’s a result of YOUR choices, thoughts, and actions. Therefore YOU must fix it. Even with obstacles or issues outside of your control, there is always a way and the responsibility to find a solution rests squarely upon your own shoulders. If you are fortunate enough to receive help from friends or family along the way, be grateful for it but know that it is an opportunity for you (and them) to convert that action it into one of two things; more enablement of your poor choices OR a means to get you to the positive place you were headed anyway (just a little faster). With full accountability for your actions, it will most likely be the latter.
We all play by the same rules in this life. We all have an internal compass that lines with our moral code and tells us when we are on track or not…. when we are moving in the direction we are supposed to be or not. Beyond stopping the addictions (s), recovery helps you get to this point. We clear everything out of the way that was preventing us from walking with God, Source, whatever you choose to call it. Addictions are just a symptom of the problem. Once they are out of the way and we have completed the steps (for those of us in recovery) we can truly start to discover and live our potential.
So, maybe I stand corrected as it pertains to my title “The Cavalry Ain’t Coming”. We could just say the only Cavalry coming for you is you (and God/Source).
The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous offered me a mentor when I desperately needed it. I was so grateful for that and still am. In turn, I am blessed with the ability to do the same… to keep what I have by giving it away.
Humility came easy for me. I’ve always felt inferior and knew that guidance in life was something I was denied at an early age. So any opportunity I receive be it a book, person or otherwise is received with open arms and gratitude. It doesn’t mean that I subscribe to every theory and/or opinion I come across but I am eager to learn and thirst for knowledge so I can break the cycle, become successful and be happy. There are no excuses today when so much information is available to us for free! It’s amazing what you can get on YouTube, for free, that would have cost hundreds or thousands not long ago – IF you could find it!
I heard Dr. Wayne Dyer say “There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way”.
That’s’ where I live today. I’m happier than I’ve ever been and can’t imagine life’s blessings as they continue to grow. I feel so blessed to have made it this far and to feel what it’s like to finally thrive.
During a very dark time in my teens, something told me to stick around.. that it would be worth it. That the light on the other side of that darkness is worth it. This is certainly the case and it keeps getting brighter and better.
Stay humble, do the work and stick around. It’s worth it. I know this and promise it is available to you as well.