A boy without his father is forever set in finding his own way, someway somehow… A true fight for survival without the single most cherished guidance a boy could have.

For 13 year old me, this became a harsh reality one January night. Little known at the time, this would set the course for an unexpected series of life long limiting beliefs and events that would play part in what is known today as “Setback Slingshots”.

As a lost boy in my teen years, I looked towards gangs and crime, which turned a false sense of belonging. At 17, choosing the U.S. Military over jail, I still longed acceptance and purpose. Four short years later, I would be force discharged early from a surgery malpractice, only to receive a call, on the final day in service, of the death of my lifelong childhood best friend.

Unbeknown to me at the time, this would be the first of 7 more “I’m sorry to tell you, but your best friend has passed…” calls spanning the next few years. With each call driving home the same emotions I felt as a child with the death of my father. 

Each call triggering thoughts like;

“I’m not good enough”,

“I can’t do this”,

“Things will never get better”…

…Each call yet another setback.

…Each call, I turned more inward to prove myself. Prove myself through working harder and longer for personal gain… prove myself through putting work first, blinded by the world and relationships outside work.

During this same period I turned to someone who would become as close as a brother, a mentor, and perhaps the closest to a father figure I know in my young adult life.

Until one day I received a call. “Kris, he died two days ago and was found today.”

…This wasn’t the call that broke me though. It was the call two months later with his significant other…

“All he wanted to do was hang out with you more. He was depressed because you didn’t have time for him and were working all the time.”

The hard reality of this, it was true. And worse, here is someone I looked up to, my mentor, someone who charges others for time spent with them. More importantly someone who decides where to spend their time and who to spend it with.

He chose me but I didn’t choose him.

I was crushed. I passed up on the opportunity I had waited so long for and didn’t know it until it was too late…to be a better friend, be a better mentee, have a closer bond with someone I looked up to.

I hit rock bottom for a second time in my life with no where to turn. Yet another setback.

I had a choice to make….One which would lead to the same or worse outcomes as I had experienced…

…or one that would serve at the highest level.

This was the defining moment. I decided to slingshot forward from this setback.

To use all the anger, sadness, regrets, and pain from my entire past towards something bigger and better than I was.

It was the hardest thing to do. It required more work, however work was part of the previous problem.

I needed to change. I looked to blame everything else but myself. The change needed to occur within.

I realized life is too short and never to wait until tomorrow.

I realized I was focused on the wrong things, chasing money and achievement and still empty and unhappy.

I realized the opportunities were staring me right in the face but I was blinded by tunnel vision in my attempt to fulfill a void versus serving myself or others.

This setback slingshot me forward to now, more so than any prior.

I now understand the true value of life and helping others.

I find just as much value in helping those as the value received by those receiving it.

This transformation is available in everyone, you just have to activate it.

I’ve learned happiness comes from the journey itself, not the destination. From providing opportunities to those that seek to find them. And from seeing others happy, successful, and not make the same mistakes I made.

I now live to help others and be the mentor to those that was once there for me.

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