“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Ian MacClaren
Everyone hits rock bottom at some point in their lives. It may seem like the end of the world as you know it – and you’re right. Your life is going to change when tragedy strikes – like someone you love passing on, getting arrested and having a criminal record, or breaking up with the love of your life. But your life is only 20% what happens to you and 80% how you react to it. Life changing events are catalysts and you make the decision of whether you will grow or succumb to the change. At the end of the day, we all meet the same fate. It’s what we do with the time before then. As Eric Thomas says in one of his motivational speeches, “Are you going to live in a world that was given to you or do you want to live in a world that you created?”
Rock Bottom is Your Catalyst for Change
“Rock bottom” is a negative phrase for an actually positive event. What it really means is that the decisions you are making are not improving your life and you need to make a change. Rock bottom is a catalyst. A successful entrepreneur in Fort Myers, Florida recognized this and made changes to his life that not only re-earned him his future wife, but built a secure future for her and the employees of his company.
While living in another state, the future entrepreneur (we’ll call him Jim) worked in a corporate job that paid very well. Everyone went out to drink every day after work. Jim met the love of his life at this job (who we’ll call Mary). Jim and Mary began dating, but Jim spent a lot of money partying and ended up receiving three non-moving DUI violations. Between his legal fees and party lifestyle, Mary decided she couldn’t be in a relationship with so much instability. She needed someone who could be her rock, someone to rely on.
Change Begins with You
Mary left Jim because of the bad decisions he was making that were bleeding him financially and emotionally, which, in turn, affected Mary. After she moved home to Florida, Jim realized he lost the love of his life. No matter how unfair he thought the DUIs had been or how much time he wasted partying every night, Jim realized that he alone was responsible for his actions. He knew that Mary was leaving him. The financial and legal burdens were red flags that begged change in his life.
So Jim quit drinking, smoking, and partying altogether. He moved to Florida, where he happened to be from as well, and decided to start fresh. He ran into Mary, who was wary at first, though she took note of the strides he had taken to change and they began to date. Together, they built a new, healthy relationship and began a new business that took off. Because Jim was able to recognize his problems and use them as catalysts to make the necessary changes, he was able to grow a strong and healthy company. Now, not only does Mary rely on him to be her rock, he has employees that he is committed to growing personally and professionally every day. He knew rock bottom was not the end, but a turn in his story that led him to a successful and fulfilling life and career where he can be surrounded with young, ambitious people who seek opportunities to grow.
When life throws you a curve ball, be like Jim. Recognize that it is an opportunity to create a stronger, better version of yourself. If you have hit rock bottom and feel like you are in a vicious cycle, evaluate yourself. What do you need to change to live the life you want to have?
Are you like Mary? Who do you have to forgive to open up your future? Mary made a decision, like Jim, to do what was going to make her happy. She pursued her own path and, in the end, she was fortunate enough to run into Jim and be able to forgive him so they could have a second chance together.
It’s your life and your decision. You have to make the change.