Just like that my whole world was turned upside down—my mother's fiancé committed suicide in the master bedroom. What was supposed to be another care-free day in my senior year of high school, ending up being a life altering event.
Upon getting home, I heard screams from outside walking up the steps to the front door. Before even walking in I could feel the grief and pain hanging in the air like a dark cloud. I paused wondering what to say to my mother or if my two younger brothers were home, how terrified they must be.
I stood staring wondering what's going to happen next? I then wiped away tears, took a deep breath and opened the door.
“Johnny this is your grandmother you need to come home immediately... Ray just shot himself.“
Truth be told, that wasn't the only adversity I had lived through up until then and it definitely wasn't my last either. Starting from age seven when my parents were divorced, things only compounded from there. It was around then, I started to search for meaning and fulfillment in my life that seemingly escaped me in my immediate circles.
I'll lay it out to understand, but bear with me: a few years after the divorce, my mother married an alcoholic, in my early teens I lost two siblings. All this loss culminated in my own struggle with addiction in my late teens early twenties, causing me to be academically dismissed from college twice. Later in life, my wife and I lost our first then second child, only to then find out we may never be able to have children. Struggles to find meaningful work forced me into entrepreneurship, only to have multiple businesses end up with failure. After all this, my mother who endured more pain than anyone in their life should, was suddenly diagnosed with cancer. It was around that time that my journey for purpose and meaning took a whole new meaning:
My mother told me she couldn't believe it took learning she was dying to start living.
Everyone has their own journey and my mother finally started on hers, even if it was with her time suddenly running out.
However, my journey up to this point had some silver linings as well. Highlights I look back on include first meeting my beautiful wife, adopting our daughter, becoming a successful financial advisor with Merrill Lynch and launching a real estate investment company along with several other successful businesses. I've been married for 19 years now, have three wonderful children, and serve on the Board of Directors for Keller Williams Kids Can along with mentoring millennials across the country.
That all said, my journey toward fulfillment still continues. Follow along as I search for meaning through interviewing others on the same path, with engaging conversations that hopefully help you find your purpose.
My message is simple—Stop listening to the noise. Seek your purpose. Join me on the journey towards fulfillment.