Thank God for Unanswered Prayers

Feb 01, 2023

In this article I’ve got to admit something that’s not easy to admit. I typically don’t get what I want. I know that I teach that you can have whatever you want in this world, but I’ve got to come clean.

I almost never get what I want. I get better than I want. Let me explain.

In March of 2016 I was fired for the second time in 20 months. I was upside-down. Everything in my life was in a state of chaos. I was 300 pounds, I hated myself, my marriage was brutal and abusive, I was drinking heavily, I would swing from being an intensely loving father to an emotional monster and to top it all off I was suicidal. Reflecting on that today, that’s a lot for any single human being to handle. When I began my adult life, I certainly didn’t want any of that.

After my termination I failed at ending my life because I didn’t possess the courage to pull the trigger. When I didn’t, I set out to transform my life. From my perspective that all started with getting another job. I’d clean up my diet, exercise and drinking so that I could appear healthy enough to appear employable in another executive level position – I figured that to keep my family’s lifestyle together that’s again the level of employment I’d require to keep everything together.

I started losing weight rapidly and applying for jobs, and before long I was interviewing with local companies for leadership positions. In a dream one night I wore a specific shirt to my first day at a new job, and I asked my wife to go shopping to buy me that exact shirt. I was ready, and I took this as a sign that a new job offer was close at hand. However, I went on 4-5 interviews with my rapidly shrinking body and increasing confidence, and I ended up runner up in each one. Every time I received the phone call informing me of their decision to hire someone else, I’d get angry, frustrated, and disappointed that my prayers of getting a job were not coming true. I just wanted someone to give me another chance, but doors kept closing.

After I received the last phone call telling me I was no longer being considered, I knew that my career as a corporate executive was over. I had no clue what I was going to do next until I had an idea. I would start a business. I named the business Hope Works Partnership, and in this business, I would work with businesses who were laying off or terminating employees land a new position after separation. (I know, I know… but it made sense to me at the time.) I formed an LLC, got business cards, and I even made shirts with a logo that I found through an online logo maker. I visited a few businesses to tell them what Hope Works was all about, and one business owner asked a question that left me speechless. She asked, “Why do you want to help people find work?” Instead of telling the truth and responding, “Because I need money and I don’t know what else to do” I replied with what was a lie for me at the time: “I like helping people.”

That question and response embarrassed me so much I folded the company before I ever made a single sale. However, that didn’t solve my income dilemma, but launching that business opened me up to a new world.

When I began my transformational journey, I hired a coach. He was a friend of mine who had decided to start business coaching and consulting, but he served as a guide to help me get clear on what hadn’t worked for me up to this point in my life and make changes to shift my life and circumstances. We would have calls each week where we’d review the week, my decisions, wins, challenges, and progress. For me having that guide was super helpful. I literally paid him to believe in me while I was learning to believe in myself again. He wouldn’t allow me to focus on the past, but to let go of the past to create a more powerful future. The calls were easy and effortless for the both of us and literally helped save my life.

When I reflected on my time being an executive leader, I hated everything about it except for two aspects: developing people and developing teams. Those were always so easy and natural for me and brought me so much joy and fulfillment. When I thought deeply about the next phase of my life I thought about what my coach was doing with me, and how he didn’t have to do any of the other minutia that came with it in my days as an employee. It felt impossible, but I decided to put some energy into launching and building a coaching business.

I set a clear intention to sign 10 clients and earn $10, 000 per month in my new business. I went all in on learning as much as I could about coaching. I started having breakfast, lunch, and coffee meetings with as many people as I could find who were interested so that I could tell them all about my new adventure.

In one of my sessions, I mentioned that I was looking for my first coaching client. The statement got me nowhere. But after my passive request to be my first client was dismissed, I asked the fella a question that changed my entire life: “What kind of problems are you facing in your life and business?” Shocked, he answered: “My team has big goals for the year, and I’m struggling to get and keep them motivated.” I answered, “Would you be open to some help with that?” He asked, “What do you have in mind?” I confidently responded, “How about a workshop focused on helping them get clear about their objectives and the clear actions it will take to accomplish them?” Before I left that meeting, I had made my first sale in my own business. He agreed to 2 workshops for a whopping total of $300. I wanted private clients, but instead I received 2 paid opportunities to teach.

After I finished those two workshops, I signed my first two private clients.

From that point on, coaching business essentially built itself. This has been the hardest lesson for me during my new life. Please understand that I am not exaggerating or inflating the truth of this next statement. When I hit the gas on activity and effort to drive my business, it slows. When I take my foot off the gas and let my business build, it builds itself. I have not been able to will it to higher levels of growth. I don’t get what I want because I want to drive the course and direction of my business. Instead, when I apply effort and intensity, it stalls. But left alone it grows. Very confusing indeed.

I hope you see the pattern. I wanted a job, instead a business blossomed. I wanted private clients, and instead I got workshops which created those clients. Instead of being the builder of a business, I am the recipient of a business which naturally grows itself.

While I’m writing this, I’m on a plane heading to New Orleans, Louisiana to speak at a Real Estate Mastermind. I am the first speaker – the sparkplug – in a full day seminar of speakers. Those workshops showed me that in my professional life, speaking is my favorite activity. Speaking is the most effective way for me to positively impact the most people. The business also grows most when I speak – naturally. I am on a plane so that I can do what I love. It’s surreal.

Sometimes I wake up and can’t believe I get to live this life. And all of this happened because I didn’t get what I wanted.

Thank God for unanswered prayers.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

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