Men have standards to uphold; many have something to prove, but when the bottom drops out, it can feel like your life is over.
I’m an entrepreneur at heart, always driving and trying to overcome the challenges that want to hold me down. I’m a hard one to stop, even after horrific failures, but it’s taken a lot of pruning. I think it’s because I have a strong reason for winning. A lot of the reasons come from pains that have sunk me lower than low and I never want to feel that little again.
Those lows zapped my freedom away, something I value so much, and put me in a self-made prison created by my choices.
Here I’m highlighting the stake driving pains that brought me to this lowest of the low and darkest valley of my life when I lost my business.
My False Truths Surfaced
Memories of inadequacy became real again of always coming up short of my goals. Ever since I was a child, I always had to prove myself in some way because I never really measured up to anything. I was one of the scrawnier kids, and the bigger kids seemed to enjoy pushing their weight around me. All of this, of course, put me on a path of revenge and destruction along with thug-like behaviors trying to prove how bad I was.
I may have made my point, but I took some heavy blows in the process; right to the grill. This resulted in me failing as a big brother, a son, and I began to lose the respect of people who were most important to me.
When I joined the Marine Corps, I was even belligerent there. It’s as though being a Marine wasn’t enough, and I had to prove to the Marine Corps who I was and as a result still ended up in trouble a lot. In college, I was always coming up short in competitions. All my plaques say, “2nd place.” Nothing I did or said was ever good enough, and I feel like I lived a life trying to prove something–that I was worthy.
I Failed as a Provider
My dad was an excellent role model of sacrifice and dedication to his family. I wanted to be like him. In all his humility, I watched my father with how he sacrificed and worked very hard to provide and take care of his family, and to teach us true values in his marvelous example.
He was killed in an accident a few years before I lost my business, so there I was lost and already feeling like I wasn’t living the values he taught me. It felt like all the years of up and down was a waste. Like everything I did, was in vain.
Then, finally as more relationships were ending, I would hear those heart-piercing words from multiple sources of how inadequate I was. How I’m not a provider, how my business was a waste of time. All I heard was “failure”. I felt like I could not give my children what my dad gave me. I felt less of a man.
As I let my children down, my dad down, the Marine Corps down, and my country down, the feelings of letting other people down all around the world was more vibrant than ever. I let people down, point blank.
I was Isolated and Abandoned
After I had lost the business, I seemed to lose everything. One by one more things went out the door.
I lost hope; I lost relationships. People just seemed to disappear. I felt abandoned, and even by God Himself at times though ironically I grew closer to God in the process. It was like I was nailed to a cross except no one was there crying over me. Any tears that fell were just my own, but I tried to imagine it was the tears of an Angel embracing me throughout it all. That’s part of what kept me going. My holding on to what I could only see with my broken heart.
I’ve heard it said that if you want to see what a man is made of, take him through the fiercest furnace and burn him right to the core. If he makes it out alive, you will see the sharpest sword and the makings of a great warrior.
And that’s exactly what happened!
I’ve used this season of isolation to grow, muster up my strength, and I found a much deeper sense of purpose in the life I’m living. I’m now writing again, I’m coaching awesome clients from my website, and I get to help people re-create their stories and build amazing lives too!
The beauty in that is we become inspirations; we become a hope; we become a path for someone else that’s facing the same problems. We become their opportunity to one day be knighted and fully adequate, and fully capable of providing, adventuring, and embracing our battles with an intense love and victory in our hearts.
If becoming less of a man has made me more of a man in the process, then I call that victory!
Photo: Flickr/ leeroy09481