I was one of those 20 year olds who fell into all of the personal growth seminars and books and they changed my outlook and my life forever!
Some people make fun of it, but most truly successful people can trace back to a specific event or person who opened their eyes to the world of personal growth. For me, that was a man named Mark Boyson from Bellingham, Washington, who took me to a talk on success by Brad Duncan.
I was raised on boats for most of my life, as in I did not even have a house 🙂 I lived in Florida after my mom had kidnapped my younger brother and me. We lived a pretty wild life, constantly on the run. Her love was real, as with most parents who do such things, but her decisions were unfortunately not the healthiest, and showed no respect for my father.
So I grew up as a lot of children do today – believing that the parent who was raising me was the good one, and that the other parent had such major issues that we were being kept away for our own good. I’ve learned people can take a real issue and blow it out of portion to justify stealing a child away from another parent, forgetting it was GOD who blessed them both to be parents. Often their justification is backed up by our broken legal system, which leads people to feel entitled. I wonder sometimes how many children have not been allowed to experience the love of both parents as a result of misuse of the legal system, and how GOD must feel that man has made his own laws to interfere with His decision to bless that couple with a child.
Understand, I am not talking about the horrible situations where kids actually need protection… I just believe that the long arm of the legal system has extended way beyond its original protective purpose, and is now being used as a tool to separate kids from good parents who are in bad situations.
Now there is an army of people like me now who, once we grow up, feel the horror of realizing we have been misled. We are forced to try to deal with the deception while trying not to resent the misleading parent, especially if they are still trying to justify their actions by talking about the situation without being completely transparent (or in their defense, they may still lack the ability to see it for themselves). In fact, I was not mature or wise enough to see through a lot of the smoke until after years of my own relationships and studying human behavior. It was hard to realize that you can love someone, but that does not mean you have to respect his or her chooses or lifestyle.
Being Raised on Boats
You could say I grew up outside the Matrix, as I was raised on boats in Florida, With my mom and her second husband running multiple sail boats – lets just say their income was not coming from a traditional job :). In fact, I was held for ransom at one point, and then sent to Germany to hide until things calmed down, so Miami Vice was not just a TV show for my brother and me – my mother had taken her children to live the high-flying life of a smuggler during the 80’s in Florida!!
One positive is that I never was brainwashed by the (system) schools that ‘de-genius’ our children. I realize their are a lot of wonderful teachers who are doing the best they can in broken system (read ‘Dumbing Us Down’). Some of you have found a rare school that is really helping your child; however, for the most part the system breaks a child’s spirit to dream (be on time, don’t color outside the lines, try to fit in…), much like a rancher breaks a horse.
The horse is not physically harmed, but its spirit is broken until it allows someone to ride them forever after that…
Hmm, it’s sort of like feeling that you really do have to grow up and get a 9 to 5 job, when you’ve always dreamed of traveling, seeing the world, and chasing your inspirations and talents. If your goal is for your child to have a JOB forever, then school and especially college will almost guarantee that.
The people who rented our boats were often big dreamers, very bright and outside-the-box thinkers. My first step dad, TOM was a real leader who could handle situations in the face of danger. He was what I would call a modern-day pirate – a real JACK SPARROW – a smuggler, thinker, who was a little boyish yet great with the ladies.
I truly believe that people begin with visions of living like Jack Sparrow, free and adventurous, living the American dream. However, as you see in movies like “American Gangster,” or “Blow,” the dream comes crashing down if the pursuit involves harmful products or illegal means. The lifestyle is seductive, but these people often live a temporary fantasy and end up weathered, and empty inside.
My mom once told me that once, when I was around 6yrs old, I told her “I don’t want to go to jail; someday, I am going to be someone in a good way.” So it appears I knew at a young age that something needed to change, and I am sure my environment contributed to my drive to be not just successful but also a good man.
It’s odd that my lifestyle while growing up put me around so many free people, from actors to singers to business owners. They all operated both inside, and outside the system – I grew to learn that the system itself was completely broken; but, then again, so was the world I was growing up in.
I began desperately seeking a way to combine the best of both worlds. I wanted a clean, healthy way to get free. I loved being exposed to the leadership of large organizations, whether of smugglers, gangs, music, church, or the military….. I just wanted to find people of character who were still street smart and not the emasculated type of leaders I had often seen teaching leadership.
Once you see or taste freedom, it’s hard to pretend it does not exist anymore. Some of you, I am sure, have come in contact with someone who is free from the rat race. You, like me, may have seen that many people use their accomplishments and power to lord over people, while only a few empower people. I remember thinking; “I only want power so I can uplift the other good people around me.” I didn’t realize it, but I had discovered compassion and craved social justice. “Dignity is often taken from people but very rarely given.” When I witness acts of faith, courage and character, I want to reward those people, or at least to shine a light on them. Why? Because those acts are so often done alone…….. And in the darkest of moments.
Moving to the Northwest
As I entered my teen years, my parents made a big score and needed to leave Florida, so we moved all the way up to Washington, in the San Juan Islands. I think my mom and step-dad Tom believed they could retire, or wanted to see if they could get out of the smuggling world.
They tried to adjust to a normal life, but of course the nest egg started to fade, and neither of them knew how to live in the Matrix. This led to them fly back to Florida to resume doing business. Often, my brother and I would find ourselves for weeks to months, living on our own during high school. My mom would call us weekly to tell us where they had hidden money in the house, so we could buy food. As you can imagine, this strengthened my drive to create a solid family life.
I started to create a family environment, with other orphans whose home lives were also inconsistent. Often, holidays where a lonely time for my brother and me, because traditions and holidays had no place in a gypsy-pirate life. Today, I see today my brother and I really trying to create safe home lives with new traditions.
Mom’s Second Divorce
During my third year of high school, I moved out on my own, when my mom was again getting divorced. This second divorce really hurt me, causing more instability and creating an immediate need to find a way to make a living. I bought small burger bar in a high-end resort in Roche Harbor using a loan from my mom. She was always good at those types of things – if I needed money for prom, or something important to me like my first guitar she was there for me. I believe she was trying to balance the areas she knew were not her strengths.
My First Business
In running the restaurant, I realized I could lead people, but as it was my first step across that line into business-ownership, it was a scary step for me. I find a lot of us somehow think we are just not in that class of people who “own the business,” especially if you have grown up on the street or without traditional schooling.
Once I had tasted ownership, I wanted all of my friends to experience it as well. It’s a lot like a dare, extreme sports, or even trying to become one of the cool kids in high school. Once you do it, you realize it’s nothing but a self-image thing. In fact, you might decide that even more than the act itself, you enjoyed proving to yourself you could do it. This was the first time I remember my fear of not having a family life starting to fade, because I was sensing I could create one.
I used the money from this business to go to college, hoping to make some high quality friends or connections around the world. Of course, all I seemed to meet was a bunch of kids trying to escape their parents, and learning to live on their own for the first time… All the while, I was trying to create a family environment and was tired of being alone. I was in school to get ahead, not just a degree.
My Second Business
Then one day at a gym I bumped into a man named Mark Boyson who was a Navy officer and a lawyer and a good man. I thank God for sending him to me to show me a healthy lifestyle and to act as a father figure until I could get to know my real father better. I was so hungry for a mentor that had it not been Mark, I may have made the same mistake so many kids do, and followed in my mom’s footsteps by joining a gang.
Mark took me to hear Brad Duncan speak on life and success, and my eyes were opened to a world of truth. I finally found a group who built people up, and did not care if I was certified, only if I was willing to learn. My past didn’t matter, only my dreams and my willingness to grow and change.
For the next two years I dove into the world of personal growth as I built my networking company. I was able to walk away from needing a job and have never had to look back. Of course, I tripped and fell, and people I was leading would sometimes get upset as I was learning the ART of leadership… Heck, I was only 22 years old 🙂
Mark Boyson showed me grace, always believed in me, and never judged me during these times, because failure and mistakes are part of the journey! Life, as you all know, gets messy when you try to accomplish something great. I just wanted to be standing when the smoke cleared. Dirty, I may have been, but standing I was.
Today, I am blessed to live a life in which I get to choose what I want to do each day 🙂 I am no longer a sheep waiting to die slowly and have not been in the herd in a long time. I have broken myself away from the limiting beliefs placed on us by society!
At 21 years of age, the giant inside me had awakened, and I realized how many people were living a lie. We are duped into thinking we need to join the work force and to watch our lives and passions fade away with ‘advice’ like “enjoy your freedom while you’re in high school,” or “college is the best years of your life.” Most people have never even had the freedom to discover who they really are! I, and many others are escaping this self-imposed prison. The world is a playground, and some of you need to get out of your back yard sand box!
Stop using your kids as an excuse… In fact, as a parent, it’s an even greater priority for you to be the model of how a truly free person can live. There are plenty of “wandering generalities” for your children to study – lost souls who don’t even know something is wrong with the Matrix. It’s time for more of us who have awakened to “pay it forward.”
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