For those of you who have read my book, you know that several years ago, things got pretty rough for me.
It’s time to dive into my (Coach Mike) Personal Journey.
As I stated in my book:
“I didn’t know it at the time but it was the beginning of the most challenging and difficult times of my life. I would see my world as I knew it, over, in an instant. My marriage of 15 years ended in literally one day. My once successful business became not so successful and those events would set a string of events in motion that would lead me on a path of hardship like I have never known. But, it would also prove to be one of my greatest moments and a time that would shape the rest of my life.”
Even reading that quote from the book brings back memories from many years ago that aren’t really a ‘feel good’.
That said, it was all of those events and many more that lead me to the knowledge, understanding and awareness I have today while also giving birth to what is now No Limits Nation.
But truth be told…things were pretty rough for a while.
About 5-6 years ago, my oldest daughter was at the point in high school where she began to look at which college she was going to attend.
She was going through the process of attending the college fairs at her school and others, researching which schools had the curriculum she was looking for and also giving consideration to the location she would prefer.
In addition to that, she was making sure she was putting herself in the best position to be accepted by as many schools as possible.
For example,she took the ACT test three times and raised her score each time until it was at the score she desired.
She had a plan and was working the plan.
In addition to being a good student, she was a pretty good softball player and a captain on her high school golf team, so she was garnering some interest from some smaller schools for a golf or softball scholarship.
To me this was ideal, as I could use all the help I could get.
I was fresh off a really ugly divorce and another subsequent relationship which left me fairly beaten up.
In fact, it was more than pretty ugly as I think my ex-wife and her relatives invented a new sport which was called…”let’s leave him in a ditch somewhere,” or more appropriately, “let’s see how we can F#@* with Mike this week!”
And, they were really good at it.
I think they had something like a war room with charts, graphs and strategy boards where they would meet each week to decide the best way to plan the attack.
Like every great strategist, they would hit me when I least expected it.
Every time I thought we were done, they would come back for more. Because my ex-wife had a free attorney in the family, money was no object!
And, the only person in the world who hated me more than my ex-wife was her free attorney, so it made for some really fun times.
So, right on the heels of these fun experiences, my daughter had completed her due diligence.
She came to me one day and said, ‘Dad, I think I want to go to Arizona State University!”
I replied, “Great! How much are they giving you for softball or golf?”
I knew the answer to that question before I asked it and also knew that she had no desire to play organized sports in college, she only wanted to focus on her education.
She had researched and applied to many Big Ten schools, some local schools in Illinois and a couple of small schools who were after her for sports.
She was lucky enough to have her choice but, when all was said and done, ASU was the only choice for her.
As a dad who has always taught my children to set a goal and let nothing or no one stand in your way, I was completely supportive of my daughter’s dream.
She knew how tough things were for the last few years and told me if it’s too much she would make a different choice but I told her absolutely not.
Like everything else in life, we will make it happen and what we need will be there when we need it.
Inwardly, I thought…how the hell am I going to this?
Things were just starting to get better, yet they weren’t exactly peachy.
I was still licking my wounds. I was also in the process of launching a new business which wasn’t exactly bringing in a windfall of revenue.
I knew I wasn’t going to get any assistance from General Patton and her troops. In fact, some my daughter’s relatives were telling her that she didn’t deserve to go to college, especially a college like ASU!
I know they told her these things to hurt me because my daughter and I were so close, but it still didn’t diminish the hurt it caused for my daughter at the time.
That said, it ignited a fire inside my daughter to prove them wrong. It also ignited an additional fire inside of me to make sure I did everything I could to support her in helping her realize her dream of attending and graduating from ASU.
I told my daughter that we will give no thought to anything other than making her dream come true and her job is to focus on school and leave the rest to me.
I wanted her to enjoy and soak up everything her college experience had to offer.
Well…later on today I will attend my daughter’s graduation from ASU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication with a minor in Media Analysis.
She not only reached her goal of graduating ASU, she was one of the 29% of students who graduates on time in four years while also making the Dean’s List of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
In addition to all of that pretty cool stuff, she was accepted in the Graduate Program and will continue on to get her Master’s Degree with the goal of one day owning her own P.R. firm.
While things were fairly challenging at times, especially early on, things always worked out and everything was there when it was needed.
My daughter was resolute in her goal and I was resolute in helping her.
Despite the challenges and the outside opinions, she let nothing or no one stand in her way.
Were there rough times for her? Yes. Was there some doubt from both of us? Yes.
But we always re-focused on the end goal.
We knew that everything would happen the way we were choosing it to happen, if we believed it would
The more we stayed focused, the more things flowed in the direction we wanted.
But, this isn’t a story about a young person graduating from college. Many amazing and bright young people accomplish that goal each year.
This is a story about setting a goal and reaching it; overcoming whatever obstacle is in your way and staying the course…no matter what.
Everyone has something going on in their life…
- Challenges they have to overcome
- Goals they are striving to reach
- Times where they have the opportunity to reach deep inside for the strength to keep moving forward.
Those road blocks we experience in life just make us ordinary but in my opinion, overcoming them usually leads to something extraordinary.
Remember, no challenge is too big to overcome and as I have said many times before, things will always be O.K., no matter how grim things may look at times.
Personally, I learned a long time ago that I had to go through those challenging experiences, like my divorce, for a variety of reasons and I am thankful for every one of those tough times.
Do I desire to go through them again? No.
But I am thankful.
I also learned that outside opinions don’t matter as no one knows exactly what you are trying to be or what you are trying to accomplish.
With No Limits, we celebrate people and their accomplishments. So, today I will celebrate my daughter’s accomplishment with her as I have visualized many times in my mind.
I will celebrate the fact that she is a good person, a kind person who is creating her life in the direction she chooses.
I will celebrate that she has the ability to overcome obstacles and lives her life through her own eyes knowing exactly who she is and what she wants.
I am proud of the fact that she didn’t take the easy route which was presented to her time and time again.
Instead she choose the tougher route that lead to her goal, no matter what.
I will celebrate the fact that she has taught me when I was always the one thinking that I was teaching her.
And I will celebrate the fact that I will be one of the proudest parents in the auditorium watching one of my heroes in this world and one of the best people I know in their moment of glory and triumph.
There will be no fanfare, no music like in the movies and no one else in the place will have any idea of our personal story. They all had their own personal and wonderful stories to celebrate.
But for me, it will be a moment that I will cherish forever, not because my daughter graduated, but for all of the wonderful reasons I mentioned above.
Thank you for allowing me to share this personal journey and remember to never let anyone or anything stand in your way to achieving your goals.
If you can see it in your mind, then it will be so, if you believe.
So, always reach high, never stop believing and keep moving forward.
– Coach Mike