People who know me well, know I had one helluva upbringing and early life. To some, the horrors of adoption, prison, drug addiction and divorce are unfathomable. To me, they were just a part of growing up and doing this thing we call life.
Those who know me and are aware of my current success always ask me, “If you had to do it all over again what would you do differently?” I think the question they really want to ask is, “Was all that pain and suffering worth the success you have today?” Now, of course, the answer is YES. But as I was enduring the pain and suffering, if I could have tapped out, I would have.
You see, I had no choice but to suffer the consequences of the decisions I made early on in life.
I didn’t have a safety net, an alternative solution, a rich uncle or any of that. When I made a bad decision, I had to suffer the consequences. It’s not like you can just say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it,” and they let you walk out of prison. It’s not like you can say, “I’m not selling drugs anymore,” and they let you out of the game. There were no safety nets in my life. I had to make the most of what happened, with the resources I had.
There were times when I cried out, “WHY ME?” and even had thoughts of ending it all. I tell ya, the second time they told me I was going to prison, I thought long and hard about just giving up. When I lost my license to close mortgages in 2010, I thought I was just destined to be a loser and my life had peaked.
When my second wife left me, after only three months in federal prison, I thought about ending it again. She took it all. My money, my furniture, my heart and it destroyed me. I hate even to admit it, but it’s true. She single-handedly made my heart 50 shades darker.
When I got sued by a family of gypsies, and it tanked my company, I thought again I was just destined to be a loser. I had this operation with over 30 homes in my portfolio. Then along comes this investor who forged her husband’s signature on a deed, and then sued me, the bank, the title company and everyone else, saying we all pressured her into forgery. Everyone settled, but I didn’t because I’d done nothing wrong. I lost my company and an ass ton of money fighting for nothing; she ended up just dropping me from the suit after I was drained.
Then there were all the people who partnered with me and didn’t do the work. They really pissed me off, but by the tenth time it happened I realized it wasn’t their fault; I was just impossible to go toe-to-toe with. I work too hard to expect anyone to match me. I should have learned to delegate more, earlier on.
If I had to do it all over again, and it ensured I’d arrive at the same spot I’m in right now, I’d do it.
I went through some serious hell but it’s part of my journey. It’s been strength conditioning for me. I’ve endured some of the worst things that can happen to a human, and I’m still standing taller than ever.
In order to become great at something, you need to make mistakes. Mistakes, especially costly and painful ones, help you learn lessons. Lessons that come from pain have the biggest impact. Those painful experiences become lessons that last us a lifetime and give us a sense of wisdom you can’t get from a book or watching a video.
I can pinpoint the trigger where my life changed. I was five years old. It was my very first day of school. I was so happy to get there and meet new friends. Within the first two hours I had gotten in big trouble and since my aunt was the principal, she gave me a paddling. I don’t remember what I did, but I remember the embarrassment and resentment for school and my family boiling inside me from that day on.
If I went back and changed that exact day, I truly believe my life would have been entirely different.
That 2-degree shift in direction sent me way off track for 28 more years. I still wouldn’t change it, though. I needed to learn that lesson. It was the universe’s way of showing me school wasn’t my thing and I shouldn’t worry about it.
I’ve proven myself over and over again. I’ve started from scratch many times and I’ve always come back.
I’m not afraid to lose everything because I’ve lost it all time and time again.
Without going through all these hardships I wouldn’t be qualified to give out advice from first-hand experience. These strange and serious roadblocks I’ve overcome in life give me a unique insider’s edge on how to help people who don’t fit the mold of normal.
Extraordinary people are never normal.
So, If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t change anything. I’d learn the same lessons in the same way and use that experience to be the change I want to see in this world. I went through my pain so you can gain. You’re welcome. I’d do it again for you, too.
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