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The World Ain't All Sunshine & Rainbows

The World Ain't All Sunshine & Rainbows ft. Rocky Balboa

This post is part 6 of My Leaders Lyceum Experience blog series. I'm writing in exchange for the opportunity to go through the multi-corporate program

Life is hard. Wouldn't it be awesome if someone could help us through it? Like Rocky Balboa? Let me rewind a moment, and bring you along my personal development journey. 
I'm going through the Leaders Lyceum development program. This post continues to describe my second of five sessions and what unfolded afterward. While the majority of day two was geared towards understanding and exploring our personality, the end of the second session was geared towards refining our personal and professional developmental goals. We asked ourselves if our GO statement (Growth Objective) and associated action items were actually helping us move forward.
While the work I did to generate my GO statement was on point and well done, my statement itself (Consistently Spend Meaningful Time With My Kids Weekly) was too specific. It did not allow me the opportunity to apply this growth mission towards aspects of life outside improving my relationship with my children. Keith, the founder of the Leaders Lyceum, suspected this towards the end of the day, and as a result, he scheduled a call with me the following week to help dive into my Go Statement and get it right. 
In day-to-day life, something like this could happen to any of us. There is something that needs more attention in our personal development, but life gets in the way and we don't ever get around to it. Going through the Leaders Lyceum program provides accountability from the staff and our cross-mentoring group to help us continue moving forward even when circumstances make it challenging to do so. We're capable of a lot more than we realize.
Diving into my personality during day two was an intimate process and it jostled things in me that I wasn't expecting. This program is designed to prod us enough to grow, but not too much that we can't handle what's ahead. The long day of learning more about myself and others let loose a few thoughts and emotions on my way home.

It's Time To Grow Up

You see, I've had to do a lot of my own growing after moving to Atlanta. Part of it was self-inflicted by choices and pride, but regardless, it was tough. My wife and I married shortly after high school and on our return from the honeymoon packed up everything we had and known and moved across the country from Arizona to Atlanta. We were excited to explore our ambitions and desires, but we were not equipped for the challenges we would face. We soon both landed jobs and transferred to local colleges. Shortly afterward, we launched a marketing company out of our home. 
I had no idea what I was doing, and I needed help. Newlywed, going to school and working full time while launching a new business was a bit insane, looking back. What most people do in a lifetime, we did in a weekend! Every part of my life spiraled into chaos and I was lonely and broken. To make matters worse, I ended up attracting toxic mentors, peers, and employees that further took its toll. 
It felt much like the scene in the movie casino where they took the guy to the hole they had dug for his burial in the cornfield. The group slowly and thoroughly beat him just short of death and then placed him in the hole to be buried alive. While I had not been physically tormented, I certainly felt that way emotionally.
And there I was, beaten, broken and left for dead. It was very much like the story of the good Samaritan. The people that should have helped me simply walked on by as I struggled to survive. Now to be fair, my pride made it difficult to see my suffering and hard for me to accept the very help I needed. Regardless of this larger perspective, I didn't see it that way a the time. There is something about pain and suffering which makes it challenging to see the broader more accurate picture. I'd soon watch the movie Rocky Balboa in 2006, and it was in this scene below that connected with my soul. 
It's a powerful tear-jerking scene. I encourage you to watch it, but if you can't, here is the transcript of what Rocky says.
Rocky Balboa: You ain't gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here [in my hand]. I'd hold you up to say to your mother, "this kid's gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid's gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew." And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watching you, every day was like a privilege. 
Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you're no good. And when things got hard, you started looking for something to blame, like a big shadow. 
Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. 
But it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done! 
Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! 
Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that! 
I'm always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You're my son and you're my blood. You're the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, ya ain't gonna have a life.
Don't forget to visit your mother.
When I watch this scene now, it feels like he's talking to me directly. It sums up my story perfectly and puts me right back in that moment. 

My Breaking Point Was My Starting Point

In 2010, I hit a breaking point in my life. It was a crisis of identity and purpose. This crisis was forced as a result of the chaos I found myself in. But, in my moment of brokenness, I realized I had received a gift. It was a gift from my parents, family, and community growing up. It was one where I experienced thriving and togetherness. I was given life, love, and opportunities to play and grow as a child. It was wonderful and centered around the life of Jesus Christ. When I looked down the road I was heading, I knew where it was going, and as a result of my upbringing, I knew this was not my target destination. 

So, I began to let go of my way of doing things and asked God to show me his. And while I couldn't change all the people around me, even the close ones, I could change myself. I could look in the mirror and recognize my pitfalls and embrace my strengths. It wouldn't be easy, but I could do it. I took a step forward, feeling as if there was no God, and immediately God showed up. He was there all along, even when I didn't always feel Him.

In one way, he showed up through a good Samaritan, one who volunteered to help pick me up and carry me to the metaphorical hospital. And then there were others, and just like that, I was surrounded by people that loved and cared for me. Within a year of this moment, one of these friends would also connect me with the Leaders Lyceum in 2011. As I healed, grew, and set new healthy boundaries, the unhealthy people began to fade away as this new life began. A new life and community would begin to take shape and help me move forward.

As you've now read, there was a lot running through my mind after the second session. The program has a way of driving deeper more meaningful self-discovery. Over the subsequent week, I'd continue processing these thoughts, ideas, and reflection in preparation for my upcoming call with Keith Eigel. 

Rocky Balboa, Sunshine & Rainbows

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