Never before have I had a year with as much hardship and challenge as 2016. I am happy to see it behind me and also know it was one of the most transformational and humbling years of my life. With everything that happened to me as a husband, as a father, and as an entrepreneur, I felt bombarded from every direction. Most people know me as an extremely positive person, almost to a fault. This year challenged that mindset and I begin 2017 with an even more positive outlook on my life, with one big change; Humility.
I have been humbled by how life can throw changes at us that we don’t expect, that we can be so sure about something only to find that it’s not what it seems. I’ve learned that health and wellness are critical foundations of our life, and when our health is challenged our world can be turned upside down in an instant. It starts to put things into perspective. As a father, seeing our kids go from children to teenagers has been transformational as well. There is so much that I want for them, but in the end they need to want it for themselves. We have been given so many gifts as a society, yet I feel like we take so much of it for granted.
In 2016 I dealt with depression, I mean deep seeded depression, like I’ve never felt before. I went almost 30 days without a good night sleep. I went for 2 and 3 hour walks at 2 am and went looking for certainty in a world that provides none. I went seeking answers from others, asking for help from everyone I came in contact with. I have come to learn that the only answers come from within. I was in a time of re-invention and it was so much harder than I had expected. I forgot what it was like to start from scratch, but here I am 18 months later and still plugging away learning how to start again. The most humbling part of the process was learning that this transformation was not about me, that the work I am being called to do is all about we. The more I focus on “me” the harder my life gets. The more I focus on “we,” and helping others get what they want the better my life gets.
In 2016 I learned what I am as an entrepreneur; I’m a business development machine, a human connector, a team builder and a business archtect. I leave my home every morning looking to help others and on that journey I see opportunity everywhere. I love meeting people and finding out what they need. I love connecting them with others that have similar needs, and especially love connecting them with people that can solve their challenges. The more people I meet the happier I am. The more people I meet the more valuable I am. The more people I deeply connect with and see “who they truly are” the more I find joy. This is who I am. It took a lot of pain to find this out and I look forward to using that pain as fuel for the future.
As a parent I’m learning compassion and acceptance. The more I push and blame the worse the problem gets. The more I accept and take responsibility for my own feelings and for my own disappointment the better things get. Each experience seems to be a mirror to my own life. I want so much more for our kids than I got myself, and when I see them doing what I did I get so mad because now I know better! The only problem is that they are only 15 and 16 years old, they don’t know better yet. I wish I could take all their pain away, but that is forming the people they’re meant to be. I now better understand the conversations my father used to have with me 🙂
As a husband I was challenged in so many ways in 2016. Early in the year we were talking about Ilise going back to work, and then we got the news about stage one breast cancer. From late May through the end of the year our major focus was her health. We went to more doctors visits over the past 8 months than I’ve been to in my entire life, times 10! I learned more about breast cancer through doctors visits and overhearing phone calls than I could ever imagine. I have tried my hardest to be there for her, sometimes I do a good job, and some time I’m not so good. Trying to balance being a husband, being a father and starting a business has proven to be a huge task, but it’s one I take on each and every day with as much passion and excitement as I can. Even though 2016 provided so many opportunities for learning, I’m glad that it’s behind me. I’m excited for the possibilities in 2017 and the relationships I’m building in my life. I know who I am, what I am and why I am. It’s time to live that every day and let the chips fall where they may.
To a life well lived!