No path to success is linear; in fact, it’s an incredulous journey of peaks and valleys that is painful at times and downrightunbearable at others. That is what my mentors taught me, and I have never forgotten it!
This Blog post is a little long, but I guarantee that reading it will immediately change your state, make you cry, and give you hope all at the same time. So don’t quit on me and please re-post and comment if you like it!!!
Many people who have met me in this past year or two have met me while I am on a big up-swing in my life, and yes it has been a great year so far; but all to many times I meet people who have some kind of self limiting belief about themselves as it relates to me and my life; and how they don’t believe that they themselves can achieve a level of success that I myself have achieved or any successful person for that matter.
I want you all to know, that the story you tell yourself is your reality. Change your story, and it will change your life.
Something happened to me this week that made me remember a painful time in my past that I haven’t shared with most people. In fact there are probably only a couple people in my life who know about it. I want to share it now with you because I think that it is a very valuable story that will hopefully help some people who may be struggling with similar things in their own life…
So here goes:
Back in the summer of 2008, I came back home from the trip of a lifetime. I had been vacationing with my girlfriend of 2 years in Western Europe. We were at the peak of the Real Estate boom; I owned a successful brokerage that was allowing me to pull down about 18k-25K of income per month. I had gone back to college for fun, bought my first house the year earlier for a half a million dollars and was at the top of my game. I WAS only 22 Years old!!!
In September of 2008, the Economy went to absolute shit, with the DOW dropping 477 points in a day and the housing market turning in to an absolute frenzy. It began a series of events that would change my life forever. Nothing could prepare me for what was about to happen in my life.
A week after the Crash, my brokerage was shut down because our parent company closed the doors over night. I paid out my sales team from my own pocket ($50,000) and told them good luck. I brought the 28 deals we had left in the pipeline to another broker house but watched 2 out of those 28 deals actually get closed as the economy melted down and multiple banks and business shut their doors. Needless to say, it was over, my dry cleaning bill that month cost more than I took in.
I was hemorrhaging money and very quickly going in to debt as my overhead and lifestyle cost me 15k-20k per month. My investments lost substantial value, and my income was cmpletley gone. I was starting to get desperate.
Meanwhile, My sponsor/Mentor in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) was diagnosed for the 4th time with Esophageal cancer. For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been sober for since I was 16 years old (12 years now!!). (Check out my book The Rich Kid Syndrome if you are interested in hearing that whole story). A week after I got this news I found out my father was be federally indicted by the FBI for Medicaid fraud and was looking at some serious legal problems despite the fact he was innocent. To make matters even more bleak, my girlfriend who I was in love with decided to break her 3 years of sobriety and went from an incredibly beautiful and intelligent person who was Psych major attending Pepperdine University to a full blown alcoholic drug addict who would disappear for days at a time with no recollection what happened or what she did. The women that I knew and fell in love with had ceased to exist, and when I needed her the most, she checked out emotionally and I was forced to break it off.
I was 23 years old, and in my last year of College for my undergraduate degree in communications. I was scared, in over my head and every time I would try to cheer myself up and say something like, “it could be worse,”, it got even worse! My best friend at the time decided to move out with our mutual friend on very short notice skipping out on rent and leaving me in an even more desperate situation. Then my father on the advice of his attorney took a plea bargain with the federal government that was supposed to be a slap on the wrist type case, but resulted in him losing his medical license and being sent to federal prison for 5 months. Just when I thought this nightmare couldn’t get any worse, all my credit lines were frozen and I couldn’t find employment to generate some kind of income.
Within 6 moths, all of this happened and I was now $140,000 in debt. The house I bought 2 years before was worth $100,000 less than I bought it for. The two men who I looked up to in my life and went to for advice and guidance were hurting, one was terminally ill and dying and my father in Jail. The two closest people two me were gone, my best friend and the love of my life.
I was broke, lonely, depressed, and in the most pain I had ever been in my life.
The breaking point happened 1 month after all of this. I found a tenant to rent a room in my house to help cut my overhead cost down on the mortgage payment. He seemed to be a descent tenant, good credit and had good job. It turned out that he was actually a con artist. The job was fake. Social Security Number was someone else’s, and he had people posing as his former employer and landlord to get passed the rental application process.
I came home from job searching one day and checked my accounts and realized that all of my money was GONE! I immediately called the bank and they told me that I had cleared checks pulling the money from my accounts. This guy ended up taking the last $10,000 that I had set aside so I could survive over the next couple of months. My cards stopped working and I couldn’t even buy a $0.99 taco.
I went to the police frantically, but they sent me away saying that it was an identity theft case and because there was no immediate threat of danger they couldn’t assign me a detective right away. I’ve never felt more angry and helpless in my life. My Bank couldn’t help, the police couldn’t help and I was so desperate that I just snapped.
The con-artist roommate of mine did not know that I had found all of this out and was due to come home in a couple hours. So I went home, I loaded my gun, and shut the lights off in the house waiting for him to come home. I decided I was just going to shoot him, maybe not kill him, but I was so angry and desperate at the time, I may have done so. I just snapped, I lost it and I wasn’t thinking clear. All of the pain I had been feeling just got channeled and put on him, and I was determined to make him feel how I felt inside.
While I was waiting in the dark for him to come home, my mentor Mike Watson called me out of the blue and asked me “how I was doing.” I told him “horrible” and explained the story of what had just happened. Mike asked me what I was going to do about it, and I told mike “I’m going to shoot him.”
Mike realized that I was not thinking clear and told me to go put my gun away and call him back. He didn’t give me a choice. I hesitantly complied, and called him back. When we got back on the phone, Mike told me:
“Steve, I know you’re angry, and feel violated, but bad things happen to good people and the only thing that separates us is how we react back to the world when people do us wrong.”
Mike went on to tell me that unless I immediately forgave him, that I would carry this anger and obsess about it, that it would eat me alive unless I just dropped it and moved on. I couldn’t imagine forgiving this person given the drastic nature of the situation, I mean come on, what would you do if someone stole your last penny in my same situation. I’d been in full-blown fistfights over much less; I was planning on shooting the ass hole.
This was a dose of humility that I really didn’t want to swallow.
Mike made me promise him that I would call the scumbag and forgive him immediately before the guy had a chance to come home and meet my wrath face to face where in that moment, I probably would have done something incredibly stupid out of sheer anger.
So I called him, after he tried to make some bullshit excuse of what happened with the money, I stopped him and said this:
“I know what you did, and it’s ok. I forgive you.” He replied, “huh? What do you mean you forgive me, you don’t just forgive someone for something like this.” I then explained that…
“Yea, well I wasn’t going to, in fact when you came home today I was planning on shooting you, but then something happened, I spoke to someone who loves me and he told me to let it go, and to forgive you. I realized after talking to this person who loves me, that guy’s like you who operate like this and are sick, and that even though you took 10 grand from me, I wouldn’t trade 100 grand for the life and the people I have in my life. Guy’s like you live in a world where you look over your shoulder every day wondering if that will be the day you run in to me, or any of the people you have hurt before in the past. Guy’s like you end up getting shot in the back over 200 bucks. So yea, take the money, you will have to pay for it one way or another in the future, but don’t ever come back here, because if I ever see you again I am going to hurt you real bad!”
I hung up the phone and I never heard from him again, that is until about a month ago. I will finish that little story at the end of this blog.
I went to sleep that night and woke up the next morning and drove to the beach. The beach always made me happy. So I went there and sat on the rocks and watched the waves break on the shore. I was fed up, and sick of being depressed and in pain. In that moment right then and there, I promised myself that I was going to live through this, and not only live through it, but that I was going to fucking knock it out of the park. I reminded myself that I was a survivor, and that it was not in my nature to quit or give up. I remembered everything that my mentors taught me, and all of the people who made sacrifices for me to get me as far in life as I had come. I stood up; I looked at the sky, and I declared to God that I was going to fight through this and come out shining or DIE trying.
After this change of state and paradigm shifting moment of clarity, what I needed to do became clear. I went home, I organized my thoughts, set some crazy goals and got to work.
Over the next 3 years, I ate shit, trudged through very hard times and endured the storm. I kept reminding myself that what ever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger, and that everything that I was going through was preparing me for something.
My dad went to prison for 5 months but then got out, I buried my sponsor and Mentor Mike Watson and spoke at his funeral, I finished my last year college strong with a 3.8 GPA and got my bachelors degree. I helped build RevvNRG (The Multi-Level-Marketing company I work with) to 20,000 + Distributors in less than 3 years hitting the top rank in company, I Settled and paid down $120,000 worth of the debt I owed with out a collection or a bankruptcy and to top it off, I published my latest book “The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.”
During this period in my life, I remained in a peak state. I found some of the best friends that I have in my life. I attribute that to the fact that the only energy I was putting out in the world was positive. I had no time for anyone’s bullshit. Not only that, any negative people in my life went away very shortly after I made that declaration to the world, they had to go, I had nothing to give them, and if they weren’t adding to my life I was in no position to waste any spiritual or motivational energy, I needed all the positivity I could get, and if they weren’t with me on that, they had to go. My dreams and family became to important for me to risk failing on the count of mediocre people around me, after all, the people around me is one thing I actually have a lot control over.
As things leveled out in my life I starting taking more time for myself. I wanted to keep the positivity going, so now that I had time and a little money, I took up skydiving, and fight training (Krav-Maga), got back in to my music, and started to travel again.
5 months ago, I took a trip to S.E. Asia. I started in Bali, and then went to Malaysia, Cambodia, Viet Nam and Thailand. I spent about 3 months on the trip booking a one-way ticket, selling all my stuff and left with a backpack and a surfboard. I spent my time surfing, trying new things and amercing myself in those cultures. I had plenty of time to reflect on the past years and I was in a constant state of gratitude. I had won; I defied all odds and handled my shit! I was so happy. I came home from that trip high on life with an even greater conviction to keep going.
I have come to some new realizations in my life lately. My time is my most valuable asset and I have reached a point in my life where I realize that I need to spend even more time then ever to give back!
I am sitting in Bali again presently as I write this blog. The week before I came here, I was invited to attend the Tony Robbins Seminar in Los Angeles with my Cousin Jordan Adler (A top producing MLMer in Send Out Cards and Author of the book Beach Money).
Remember that con artist roommate who stole the 10 grand from me. About a month ago, I received a call from the district attorney in San Diego telling me that they had caught him and he was trying to straiten his life out, this meant that he was willing to pay back the money he stole from me back in 2008.I honestly didn’t believe that the guy was going to give me 10 g’s but the day before I left to meet my cousin for Tony Robbins, the lawyer called me and told me that he had a
$10,000 check for me. Astonished, I flew down to his office, grabbed the check and cashed it immediately! I couldn’t believe it, the guy actually came through, and I just put 10,000 bucks in the bank that I never planned on ever seeing again 5 years earlier.
I got to the event up in L.A. and met up with my cousin who was with couple of his friends ranging from MLM industry leaders to formal American Idol finalists. Jordan has the coolest friends; they are always incredible people doing cool shit in their lives. Like-minds attract other like-minds.
I sat there listening to Tony do his thing and I was again overwhelmed with gratitude. Here I was sitting in the Diamond VIP section with Millionaires, great thinkers and successful people in all industries. I thought to myself wow, what a gift. I couldn’t have even imagined that I would have been this far along 4 years prior. Not to mention, I was $10,000 richer and was leaving to go to Bali for a month the Sunday that the event finished.
As I met my friends at the Airport yesterday and started writing this blog post I was in a surreal space saying to myself “yes! This is your life Steve! You are not dreaming, you did it and guess what… you’re just getting started, so live it up, you deserve it kid.”
I imaged Watson looking down from heaven smiling, and saying, “that-a-kid Stevie, I knew you could do it.” I imagined what all the other people in my life would have said who are no longer here. I thought of what might have happened to me if I ended up shooting that roommate of mine. I thought of the smiles that I bring to my parents faces when they think about how I came from almost dying on drugs when I was 16 years old to where I am at in my life now. The people I’ve helped, the places I have been and the things I have done are truly a testament to what happens to someone who never quits, and continues to do the right thing NO MATTER WHAT!
Life fills me up now. I am so rich, so blessed and so grateful to be alive. I wouldn’t trade the past for anything; I love every part of my life good and bad.
As I watch the sunset tonight over the beach in Bali while drinking a coconut next to a palm tree, I am going to think about the future, and all the people I am going to get to be of service too! I am going to thank my higher power for this life and soak it all in. My hope is that who ever reads this does the same…
Live your dreams, don’t just talk about them. Do what ever it takes to get what you want, then give back what was so freely given to you. Let go of your fears, they don’t serve you, helping others and remembering where you came from does. It does not matter what happened in your past because it doesn’t determine your future…
You are strong, capable, and worthy of all the great things in life as long as you are willing to work for them.
Today is my Late Sponsor Mentor Mike Watson’s Birthday; he would have been 60 years old today and almost 30 years sober.
Lots of Love from Bali Mike I love you and will never forget what you taught me, see you on the other side of the world.