I am sure many of you have experienced the art of digging yourself out of a hole. I have spent my most of my adult life coming back from many poor decisions I have made.
I was on a perpetual merry-go-round of highs and lows as a criminal until 2005 when I was finally finished with the streets. I had the next two years to work on myself and figure out how I was going to live as a normal citizen for the rest of my life. My main objective was to keep being myself and doing things I was good at, but this time without breaking any laws.
In the past, I didn’t have to worry about anyone but myself. I did whatever I wanted. In my new life, I would have to consider how my decisions would affect those around me. The stakes were much higher. In my past life, I had many experienced criminals mentoring me. Now I was unsure of what steps to take or even who to speak to for advice.
Life presents many opportunities to us, we must keep our eyes and our minds open. I had to change my way of thinking and my outlook on life. Writing this now, I can tell you it is much easier said than done.
I had to learn to trust that God had a plan for my life. I had to have faith, which is something I never put much thought into other than believing in myself. I stopped looking at what I could do to bring in the most money and instead starting thinking about where I felt God could use me the most.
It was hard to walk away from the life I had built in Los Angeles because it was comfortable to me. It was even harder when life did not go my way in Illinois right away and I had very few friends. I felt like I kept hitting dead ends, and to be honest I felt like giving up and moving back to California at times. Instead, I kept pushing forward, putting in the days, with the belief that with hard work and prayer the right doors would open.
One of the turning points in the past year was when I threw myself completely into my work and decided that no matter what I was doing, I would do it to the best of my ability. It was hard when I could not see immediate results, when doors always seem to close as I was looking for a space to teach or open a gym. Even when I found space and started out, there were so few people I wasn’t sure if we would make it. But I kept at it. Kept showing up, putting in the work and praying for direction and God’s blessing.
Life is by no means perfect, but I know I am on the right track. I wrote out my goals and started chipping away. Slowly but surely I have made progress. We all can…. with hard work, determination, and prayer.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead