One day, when I was 8 years old, my father accused me of having lost some of my mother's nice jewelry. He looked me in the eye and told me to go find it. Now.
Knowing nothing about the missing jewelry, in a confused state I wandered off to look for it anyway.
Not being able to find it anywhere I looked, I returned to my father and told him so. He glared down at me, said I was lying and punished me with a hairbrush on my small rear-end. The red welts hurt… I was in a complete state of shock as I had told him the truth!
After spanking me, he again said to go find the jewelry and bring it back to him.
I was heartbroken that my father did not believe me, and once again I stumbled off to try to find it.
Unbelievably, this happened seven or eight times in a row: each time I returned to him empty-handed, got punished, and each time was sent off, again broken-hearted. I was ultimately devastated that my father had not believed me when I had told the truth.
Reflecting back many times on this experience so many years ago, I've realized that it was in this state of shock, confusion, and fear that I made the subconscious decision to stop and think about whether or not I would be punished for telling the truth to my father from this point on.
That afternoon, the innocent, childlike spirit of possibility deep within me had been snuffed out.
This fear became so embedded that I turned into a very shy boy, afraid to even raise my hand in class, through grade school, high school, college, and even beyond.
As a freshman in college, I came out of my shell and made two varsity sports, baseball and soccer. I was thrilled and for the first time in years, felt great about myself. The endless hours, which had been an escape from life's other realities, of practicing, throwing the ball against the brick wall, getting out on the field and dribbling and shooting, had really paid off!
In high school, I had gotten used to not only starting, but playing in every game, and when this didn't happen in college, the dragons of my old fear of self-doubt fiercely resurfaced. I became disheartened and very frustrated.
No one, including my father, had ever spoken to me about setting goals, much less about how to pursue them and what it would take to achieve them.
Again reverting to my shyness, I walked away from my two biggest passions. Simply because I was too afraid to go talk to my coaches about what it would take to play more and to be a starter.
I know now that this was a fear-driven, subconscious choice, one I have deeply regretted ever since, and which also further fueled my deeply embedded self-doubt, the biggest obstacle of my life.
Fast-forward to getting married, going through seven years of fertility to have a child, to the day we learned we were finally pregnant. I was beyond excited!
Every night I would lay my head on my then wife's ever-growing belly and sing a special song to my future daughter about her being born soon and being able to see the beautiful moon (yes, a poet at heart…).
The day she was born, she came out crying like a little banshee… I immediately went over to her and started singing her moon song. Instantly, she quieted and seemed to gaze into my eyes, smiling.
As a father, I felt instant and unconditional love and was connected to my daughter Alie forever.
I committed to be the best father I could be, to developing and having a trusting, loving, and open two-way father-daughter relationship.
When she was an infant, I would put her in a front facing harness on my chest, taking her with me just about everywhere, always describing everything I saw, felt, thought, and experienced.
Today I realize that this was when I began to ignite the spirit of possibility within my daughter. In hindsight, it was also when I truly began my own lifelong journey of self-growth through my life's experiences, to re-ignite my own spirit of possibility, and in doing so redeeming the negative and defeating voices from my own past.
My daughter Alie is now 19 and a freshman in college. She is one of the most aware, responsible, caring, giving, grateful, and loving people I have ever known.
Whenever she commits to something she is passionate about, she spreads her wings and soars… The spirit of possibility is burning deep within her.
And today, thanks to a newfound awareness, commitment, and to ever-growing self-belief, I have finally been able to rekindle and ignite the spirit of possibility deep within me.
I am committed to live my life courageously to Inspire COURAGE and Impact Lives.
This all began with having clarity for what I wanted for Alie, and for asking msyelf, "What if… What if I truly pursue my passions and commit to take Responsibility for the choices I make in my life?