Seven years ago was the worst year of my life. Now I am on track to do something grand next year that will propel me to the next level. It’s been a hard road, but I rolled up my sleeves and moved forward.
Only I didn’t do it alone.
A Personal Reboot
Less than a decade ago I moved to New York. My life was in shambles. It was as if an atom bomb had gone off in my life. I was twice divorced and had been separated from my two youngest boys. Although I found ways to travel from Georgia to New York nearly each month to see them, the time and travel were taking their toll.
When I moved, I had barely any possessions: clothes, a computer, monitor, and similar gear, but little to no other stuff. I had no car. I simply had a U-Haul moderately filled with a few items of furniture that friends had given me. I drove into a small town in the Adirondacks without any idea where I would live.
The Year of H-E Double Hockey Sticks
Fortunately I found a small apartment in the top of a 19th century home. It was small, but serviceable even if the summers regularly brought the rooms to around ninety degrees and the winters brought a chill that couldn’t be challenged through the crusted-old windows.
I was alone to care for my kids and find ways to still travel back to Tennessee once a month to spend time with my oldest son. I had no friends or nearby family, no visitors, and just enough cash to get by. It was a struggle to get out of bed most mornings. It was hard to see the point.
But I did get out of bed. I did move forward. I was fortunate enough to keep my job, while now working from home, and I plugged away.
I was able to get in the best shape of my life, eating well and enjoying a good run around the block during my lunch break. I made connections and was able to speak at universities and Fortune 500 campuses in various states. I kept my expenses as low as I knew how and started paying down my debt. I read more and more books and spent my time learning new skills.
I was determined to dig out of my pit.
I finally was able to get my life in a much better position. I bought a house and paid off all my debt except the mortgage. I published three books in two years. I’ve written nearly a thousand blog posts on several blogs and published several videos.
And I took some smart chances in business that gave me several opportunities. I improved my business and just reincorporated my company in New York to do video production in Saratoga Springs and Ballston Spa, but also to prepare for a much bigger project to take off in 2019.
Life has changed for the better. The sun has started to shine. It definitely has to do with a lot of hard work. But it’s more than just my effort. I simply couldn’t have done it alone.
I Needed Others
There are obvious ways that others helped me. For instance, I had good landlords, co-workers, and people who helped me make connections with the schools and company campuses where I was able to speak.
Additionally there were friends and family that helped in various ways. I remember one time I was stranded on the highway in the dead of winter in the middle of the night, and a friend offered to drive 30 miles to come help me.
I was broken at that point – low and feeling like life was just wanting to watch me die. To know that someone still cared and would sacrifice to help me out was a huge blessing that bolstered my faith.
There were people who bought my dinner time and time again and people that simply encouraged me when I needed it most. There were people who helped with small gifts, a listening ear, and by simply having faith in me. And, of course, people like my girlfriend Cristi who was always there for me, even when we were just friends.
We Can’t Do it Alone
As much as we want to think that we have to do it alone, we can’t. Just like the guy who tried to build his own toaster found out, we are inexorably intertwined.
But we need each other. We need to accept help and be willing to give it. We need to take what is passed down and pay it forward.
Wherever we land in the scheme of it all, we need to know that we need others. The sooner we admit it and embrace it, the sooner we succeed.