Amazing Grace

Writing

22 January/Posted by aaronplaat

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When I first started my entrepreneurial journey, I bought a used copy of Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. I’m thankful it was a used copy. When I cracked it open, I saw a beautiful letter written to the prior owner. It seemed the book was a gift for a dear friend who was moving to the Big Apple in order to pursue their dream of being a Broadway star. The letter encouraged them to sing, act, and dance their heart out to the sound of applause.

While I’m not sure the fate of the hopeful star, I certainly appreciated having their copy of the book. I, too, was headed on my own journey, and any bit of encouragement (even if for somebody else) was appreciated.

If you haven’t read the book, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy. You’ll find inspiration for life as only Dr. Seuss could author.

I’ve referenced this book on many occasions. Often, when I was in need of encouragement during times I didn’t know which way was up, or if I was on the right track. To this day, I can’t read the book without shedding a tear at its’ closing statement:

“And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 guaranteed)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

Similar to the character in the book, I started the journey with a real pep in my step, encountering enough early wins to feel confident I was on the right track. I found that when I put my hand to the grindstone, opportunities would surface and bring their own share of reward.

The work didn’t come without the hours. Often, I’d sleep on the floor of my office for a few hours before slamming whatever coffee was left in the carafe. Coffee soon turned to Adderal, and I’d go days without sleeping.

Then, I’d crash. Hard. Sometimes, for days.

It wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle. Eventually, I imploded and spiraled into a dark depression.  In one year, I watched as I lost everything I worked so hard to achieve. The low point was selling almost all of my beloved possessions to a greaseball for $1,500 so I could pay bills.

I remember the morning when things closed in, and I walked to the front door to grab a dog leash to hang myself. I felt like there was nothing left to live for, and that I had somehow wasted whatever potential I thought I had.

It’s a really difficult position to be in where you feel ashamed to ask for help. However, the older I get, the more I realize there are countless humans in this exact same predicament; they don’t know who they can turn to, which spirals them even deeper into their darkness.

I’m thankful to walk away from that situation, aided by a supernatural voice that demanded I call my older brother, Steve, and share with him the pain I was in. If you’ve ever wondered, angels/God does use profanity – because that’s what I heard when the voice said:

“Pick up the phone and call your f*cking brother.”

Years have passed since this moment, and the time has provided me with a better understanding of why those times needed to exist. They served to remind me that I am a human being, capable of being broken, ashamed, and afraid. In fact, it’s these moments that help define you a lot more than easy success. “Anything easy ain’t worth a damn” said coach Woody Hayes.

With no cost, there is no value.

You never know what somebody is going through when they give you a smile. Sometimes the biggest smiles can mask the deepest hurts. Be nice to the person at the check-out counter. Ask them how they’re doing – and mean it.

Now 33 years old, I sometimes wonder why God put me on this planet. I realize the purpose of being here wasn’t to climb a corporate ladder or wear a Gucci suit (made by underpaid laborers), but to experience these sorts of moments in life and share your experiences with others.

COVID-19 made the term “We’re all in this together” a household phrase. To that, I say that all of us are in this life thing together. And we need to operate as a team that looks after its own.

Healthy relationships are composed of two people who operate as a team – not opponents facing each other. Whether it’s a friendship, romantic partner, or even relationship with the people who serve you coffee every morning, I believe we have an obligation to authentically love others, as we are – and accept them, as they are.

Every second we have is an opportunity to serve and love others. What helped change the internal conversation I had with myself about life, and work, was realizing I don’t ‘have’ to do things – I ‘get’ to do them.

Behind that idea is a fountain of joy, which I’ve learned to translate to my relationships, clients, family, and my own sense of well-being. Every day truly does get better, because it’s another opportunity to wake up and hear the birds, love others, and soak in the experiences the day is eager to bring you.

Today, I hope you are able to see your life, circumstances, and even hardships as pages in the story that is your life. Sometimes you can see the path ahead with xenons, while other times you’re crawling on the ground with dying matches to see the next step in front of you. Joy lives in both places, often hidden behind gratitude.

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

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