Finding My Freedom
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in EO so far, it’s this: The power of shared experiences goes beyond just business. In 2011, a close EO friend told me about a seminar he had attended, one that freed him from a painful struggle. It occurred to me that we had a lot in common. I was turning 42 and experiencing a relationship crisis with my own father. It was a destructive relationship that created the kind of wounds that wouldn’t heal. While I had tried to improve our relationship over the years, I had made little progress.
Inspired by my friend’s experience, I signed up for the seminar. In true EO fashion, I decided to “Boldly Go!” and make a change in my life. My father was very important to me, and I no longer wanted to shy away from what it took to achieve the freedom we both de- served. If that meant putting myself in a vulnerable position, then so be it. Throughout the seminar, I discovered the importance of being brutally honest with yourself and taking responsibility for your actions … two things that are tough to do when you’re a hard-charging entrepreneur. Still, I kept an open mind.
As the seminar progressed, I found myself opening up to self- criticism. And I began to understand that the answers I had been looking for were inside of me all along, just beyond my pride and ego— those two elements of entrepreneurship that both fuel growth and hold you back. Best of all, I Iearned how to broaden my perspective, which helped me see the cracks in my relationship-building process. I discovered that every time I sought help externally, I was simply looking for sounding boards to tell me that I was right. What’s worse, I created “stories” to frame my relationships and mask the reality of difficult situations.
My father was the biggest recipient of this story-telling. I had long ago decided that he didn’t love me, and I started building on this foundation to reinforce that “fact.” When I realized during the seminar that my perspective was skewed, I began to understand just how much he loved and admired me. It was an emotional awakening, and one that brought with it much-needed clarity. After the seminar, I reached out to my father, opened up and laid the groundwork for a new relationship. For so long, I had created this image of who my father was and how he treated me ... I had lost sight of reality. By accepting the truth and taking ownership my actions, I was finally able to create a new future for us.
We both achieved a sense of mutual liberation, and found happiness again. We were ready and eager to start a new chapter in our relationship … but as it happens in life, we were dealt an unexpected blow. My beloved father was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and just three months after our reunion, he passed away. Looking back, I’m saddened by how long I waited to reconnect with my father, but I’m happy that my vision of him changed, and that however short, we were able to share our love for one another again.
All in all, this has been an emotional but rewarding journey for me, one filled with plenty of lessons learned. Because I made the decision to go out of my comfort zone and attend that seminar, I’m able to speak about my father and his passing with great freedom. I’ve also learned not to get caught up in the stories we tend to create for ourselves. Instead, I’m focused on reality and appreciative of the time I have with my loved ones. I thank God, my Forum, my EO peers and my family for making all of this happen.