Growing up I was a pretty happy guy, but I always felt that something important was missing. I knew I had potential, but I didn’t know how to live up to my own expectations and those of others. I felt lost trying to figure out who I was and how I fit in, and I wasn’t sure what my future looked like. I had so many questions about the deeper things in life – I just wished I had someone or something to help me find the answers I needed.
Life wasn’t easy, and over time, I realized that might be the point. I just wish I had been prepared for it.
My teens and twenties were a roller-coaster of life-altering events. My parents were on again, off again. That was hard. When I was 16, I contracted a rare brain virus that took seven months before it was even diagnosed. During all that time, I didn’t know if I would live or die. That was scary. Fortunately, once the doctors learned what it was, they were able to treat it.
While I was battling my illness, my mom was battling something too – she had severe bi-polar disorder. People didn’t really talk about mental illness then, and like so many other people in her situation, she tried to hide it from us. As I got older, her illness got worse. I didn’t know how much pain she was in until she took her own life. I felt blind-sided and heartbroken – it crushed me to learn that no matter what I did, there wasn’t anything I could do help her. Just like that, my mom was gone. Her passing is the single hardest thing I’ve ever been through.
After all this, I wondered if life was ever going to get better. I saw how easy it would be to let my circumstances define me, how easy it would be to be a victim of my situation. But I didn’t want to be a victim—that wasn’t the kind of life I wanted to live.
I was tired of feeling powerless – it was time to take control. So, I asked myself the single most important question of my life: who do I want to be and what kind of life do I want to live?
I promised myself that I’d discover who I was capable of being – the greatest version of me – and live the happiest, most fulfilled life I possibly could.
I was going to Live My 10.
I didn’t know how I would do it or where to even start, but I knew that nobody was going to hand it to me. If I was going to Live My 10, I couldn’t keep living a mediocre life. I knew I had to take full responsibility, make no excuses, and create it for myself. And I knew that I couldn’t sell myself short, play it too safe, or settle for anything less than what I really wanted.
Living My 10 led me to building and running a very successful business. I enjoyed what I did, but still felt something was missing. Deep down inside, I knew I wasn’t living up to my greatest potential. I also didn’t feel as though what I was doing had purpose. I quickly learned that potential and purpose were two non-negotiable pieces to Living MY 10. I knew what I had to do: I sold the business and, at the same time, ended a 2.5-year relationship with an amazing woman because deep down, I knew she wasn’t ‘the one’.
It would have been so easy to settle. In many aspects, my life was great. It certainly looked great: I had a growing business, a nice car, and a beautiful girlfriend I thought I’d marry. Even though I had worked so hard to Live My 10, I found that over time, my priorities had changed. My job and my relationship were great things that were hard to walk away from, but I promised myself I’d Live My 10.
Two years later, I met my incredible wife Erica and I’ve never been happier. As I write this, we’re celebrating seven amazing years together, and every day just keeps getting better. That’s also led to the greatest honour, responsibility, and joy of my life: becoming a father to my two beautiful boys, Brooks and Callan.
When my boys were born, things suddenly became clear. By this point, I had already taken my lifetime of learning and thinking differently to develop the “OOS” (Optimal Operating System). I used the “OOS” to Live My 10, and I knew it was my mission to share with others the strategies I used to make my own life successful.
I want my sons to grow up to be great men – empathetic leaders, critical thinkers, and confident decision makers. I want them to know how to unlock their potential and never settle for feeling average. And I want them to grow up in a world where the people around them are empowered with this same understanding and drive. I think it’s possible for each and every one of us to Live our 10, we just need the willingness and the tools to say goodbye to mediocrity. That’s why I created the Personal Greatness Project – to help young people everywhere step into their greatest selves and help make the world a better place for my little boys, and for all of us.
I couldn’t be prouder of the incredible and inspiring impact our mentoring programs are having on teenagers, twenty-somethings, teams, and organizations. And every day I am so proud and excited to be a part of something that really matters.
Be great today,