Positive progress. I’m convinced that it is the most important element to life — it brings purpose, passion, mission, outcome-based thinking, and growth. It sustains and allows one to love, be grateful and selfless. Personally, if I’m not positively progressing in my marriage, parenting, business and health, then problems will only fester and I will regress.
This wasn’t always my way of thinking. For years I led a very different life — one of self-absorption, negative thinking and blaming. It led me to a pretty dark place in my personal and professional life. I really hit rock bottom when I started dreading the work in my business, emotionally disconnecting from my wife, and making any excuse to not spend time with my newborn baby.
To the outside world, my family and friends, they might be surprised by this revelation and to them I say, I was a good actor in those days. I’m also incredibly sorry for being a soulless and selfish man, instead of a kind, vulnerable and loving soul. Frankly, I didn’t know why I was this way, it was deep inside of my subconscious — and it needed to be explored and understood.
And at the ripe and young age of 40 I had an epiphany, one of those moments that hits you like a brick — when you say, “no more.” In that moment I committed to changing — everything. To understand, learn and grow.
Three years later, I’ll admit, I’m not perfect but I’ve positively progressed thousands of miles from the man I used to be. My marriage is 100x more loving, happier and fulfilling — never perfect, but positively progressing. My daughter is now the light of my life and our bond has never been stronger. She’s “my girl.” I’m “her boy.” I am committed to having a personal and positive moment with her every day — and we recently took our first Daddy/Daughter trip to Chicago and it was the most fun I’ve had in years. And it’s only going to get better.
In addition, I started a new business in 2015, Go BIG Media, Inc. that has grown 500% in two years, gone from three employees to 16, and from one office to four (DC, Seattle, Dallas and Seaside, FL).
As part of my transformation, I didn’t just create a media company, I created a culture company that kicks ass in the media space. Our culture is about service first — to our team, clients and community. In a little more than two years, we’ve won over 90 political races, increased the the bottom line of our corporate clients, won an award for “best company culture” in all of politics, donated $75k+ of company profits to local charities and our team has volunteered over 450 hours. That’s positive progress.
But through all of that massive progressive action, I kept neglecting one area of my life, my health.
As my initial “Moonshot” post described, in 2012 I was diagnosed with a very rare esophageal disease called Achalasia. What is Achalasia? Basically, the nerves in my esophagus are dead and thus the muscles don’t contract to push food into my stomach. Anything I eat lodges and the only way to get food down is to drink tons of liquid (and as you can imagine, soft foods are easier to eat than hard foods). There are a lot of problems that are created in such a scenario — and I’ll explain more about the disease in future posts.
The bottom line is that there is no cure. I’ve had three major surgeries and over 12 total procedures on my esophagus. It’s so problematic that I choose to eat 1–2 meals per day in liquid shake form. The doctors at the Mayo Clinic tell me I can only have one more surgery to improve my situation and after that, it gets “dicey.” Most likely, without a cure, I’m on a 10–15 year trajectory where they will remove my esophagus and I will be on a feeding tube the rest of my life.
And THIS is the one part of my life I neglected in my commitment to positively progress?!?!
Well, I don’t kick myself because I’m never going to be perfect. I’m full of flaws and sometimes paralyzed by problems I don’t want to face. The key is to identify it, resolve to change, and take massive action.
In late January 2017 I attended Peter Diamandis’ Abundance 360 conference and in that moment it hit me square in the head. I’m going to cure my disease in five years — a disease that has never been cured.
Why not, right?
Well in the last few months since my original moonshot post, I’ve made progress and I will share my story more consistently going forward. Stay tuned.