When I ask people what they want from life I always get many different answers. Some tell me they want a lot of money. These are usually the people who seem to be struggling with finances at that very moment or feel they have always struggled with finances. Others tell me they want to be healthy. Most often it seems they, or someone they care about, is ill or has been seriously ill. When I ask them to think deeper than the moment, to tell me what they truly desire, most often the answer is a common one.
The answer most often shared is they just want to be happy.
Unfortunately, they say they just don’t know how to “be” happy. The thought is that someone, or something, can, or will, make them happy if only they knew what it was.
There is an old saying, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
But where is the happiness?
It seems an accepted thought that happiness is the product of other things. For some, it is a new car or...
I want to talk to you about taking risks. I'm not talking about risks that can get you hurt or cause you harm.
I'm talking about emotional risks.
See, in life, not everything is always going to go the way you can control it. For me, that's a big word, CONTROL. It was something that I worked really hard to have in my life, especially with all that I had been through as a young person. I figured that if I finally was in control of my life, that nothing else was going to hurt me like it had in the past. You can't control cancer, or your father having a stroke, a heart attack or falling down and breaking his hip, but you can control your daily activities. You can control who you allow in your life, and you can control who you move out of your life.
For me, I look back and I say one of the biggest risks I ever took was when I met my wife, Deborah. Deborah was living in Manhattan and I was living in Connecticut. From the first moment I saw her, I knew that I needed to do whatever it took...
When Deborah and I decided to start a family, or at least try to start a family, at that moment I realized that I needed to look forward in my life and come up with a plan. Well, I had grown up in a family business and I always remember my father saying, "If you have to work for someone you might as well work for yourself."
It was at that moment we decided to start a business. We opened a small restaurant in a neighboring town, where I used all the skills and things I had learned from my parents growing up to start this business, move forward and to try to grow it into something great.
Thinking back on my life with Murphy's Law always plaguing me or you could might say in today's terminology, Murphy's Law was always trolling me. Well, here we are getting ready to starting a new business and taking the time to prepare to get the doors open.
We never really thought that we could get pregnant as quick as we did. Sure we were trying, but friends of ours had been trying for months and...
So, here we are...having built our business to a successful point. And that took almost nine years!
Things were good.
We were moving forward.
Money was coming in, and we were happy.
Have you ever gotten to a point where you've built something to a crescendo, to a big moment, to a level of success, that you had desired?
And then you realize...Hey, maybe it's time for something different. Maybe it's time to let it go, and to move on.
Well, for me, that's exactly where I was. We had built the restaurant to a level of success that we had always hoped for. And at that moment, I realized I was a little burnt out. I was ready for a new challenge.
It took some courage to go home and tell Deborah,
"I think I want to make a change. It's time for me to do something different."
Well, what we did next was we marketed and sold the business. I moved on to a new venture.
I can tell you, it wasn't easy, but at the same time, it was satisfying.
I had built this business from the ground up. This was a...
One of the most important things I think in life is commitment. Not only do I believe that you have to have commitment and be committed to whatever it is you're doing, you have to be committed to your commitment. You have to be committed to the process.
You know, marriage isn't easy. If you look at the statistics in the United States, almost 63% of marriages end in divorce. I went through a tough time in my marriage. All marriages go through tough times, I think. The only thing that really saved us was our commitment to our commitment.
I can remember traveling to Long Island to meet with a counselor, someone whose book I started to read and had that AHA! moment. When I called him, and honestly I didn't even think he was still alive because of the picture of him on the back cover of the book he looked like an old man already, and the book had been published years earlier. When I called the number that I had found on the internet, a woman answered the phone.
I burst out telling her...
There was a time in my life I got stuck in what I call, survival mode. My life was moving so fast. As a young person, between my father getting sick and then my mother getting sick, and then my father getting sick again. Then, ultimately, my mother passing away. I started to just live from moment-to-moment, day-to-day.
That's what survival mode is. See, survival mode is meant to help you get through something.
It's not meant to be a way of life.
Unfortunately, I was getting through something constantly. Survival mode was where I was stuck.
It took me a long time to let go of survival mode. To understand that I had survived but I needed to now move forward and start thriving in life. Survival mode is a dangerous place because, for me, in survival mode I was never really making plans for my life. I wasn't looking toward the future. I didn't even think about the future. All I was trying to do was get through life...one day at a time, one occurrence at a time, one bad lemon at a time....
When I was 15 years old and about two weeks before I started my sophomore year of high school, my mother passed away from lung cancer. Unfortunately, leading up to her death, she never took the time, or the opportunity to talk to me, and to tell me what was happening. And for me, I struggled with that my entire life.
I can remember going to her one evening while she was laying in her bed. They had brought a hospital bed into my parents' bedroom by that point and there were large tubes of oxygen in the corner. I can remember my mother struggling and hating those two little oxygen tubes that she had to wear to help her breathe.
I tiptoed past my father's chair, because in order to get to my parent's bedroom, you had to go through the TV room. And as I tiptoed past my father's chair, so that he wouldn't see what I was about to do, I entered my mother's room. She greeted me with a smile so I had hope that things would go well.
When she asked me what was going on, I mustered up the courage...
People often say they don’t speak up because they fear no one will listen, or worse, they will listen and not care about what they have to say. But you were given a voice for a reason! Even if your words only fall on one set of ears, what if those ears have been waiting for those exact words all along? Communicating is sharing and sharing is caring. By sharing your thoughts, hopes and dreams you just might inspire someone else to do the same. If the person you are speaking with doesn’t want to hear what you have to say, SPEAK TO SOMEONE ELSE!
There was a time in my life when I was younger, I idolized my four older brothers. There was quite an age gap between us. My oldest brother is 13 years older than I am, the youngest of my four oldest brothers is seven years older than I am. So needless to say, we weren't hanging around in the same circles. I want you to think about and envision that picture of older kids peeking over the fence at what is going on, on the other side, and the younger child trying to desperately climb up to see what they're looking at. All he really wanted to do was to be a part of what was going on, and for me, that's what I wanted. That's how I wanted to feel.
I wanted to feel like I was included.
I wanted to feel like I was wanted.
I can remember a time where I used to bat boy for one of my brother's baseball teams. This team used to travel from town to town and play other teams. I'll never forget the time we were riding home on the bus from a game, and one of the kids took my hat. They started to...