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When Disaster Becomes Victory

How the worst day in my life brought about the best years of my life.

Phillip Swindall, Business Growth Consultant

I could almost write a book about this event in my life. But, I won’t.

Just imagine yourself as a 42-year-old man, who loved children. With (at that time) 9 nephews and nieces, and three married younger siblings – who had never found his special life-partner.

Then, imagine how you’d feel if you’d been engaged once before (in the 1980s) and she had been killed by a drunk driver just weeks before you were letting the world know.

Now, imagine finding out your “one” was cheating on you, and she and her children would no longer be a part of your life. And, you found this out just four days after you moved three hours from your home to her home town, signed a job contract and a one-year apartment lease.

I wanted to die. And, I thought about ways to do it a few times, I won’t lie.

That happened to me in 2007.

Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up

Two years later, after finding another job, I moved back home. Started working, and a month before my 45th birthday, I made a decision. I was going to live my best life and if I was single, I’d just choose to be alright with that.

And, that’s what I did… until 11 months later.

It’s almost like the universe was testing me to see if I meant it. For the next eleven months, I existed by myself. With some family nearby, but, by myself.

I socialized, I worked, I went out to movies, I dined at the local restaurants, I even went to Chamber events and other social events. But, I never had a date.

Little to my knowledge, I became a topic of discussion for many in my circle. Some would even ask me about how I lived to my face. I addressed the questions, and just moved forward each day.

One day, in August — just 11 months after my birthday and the day I made the commitment to live my best life ever, single or married — it happened!

The Day My Life Changed — Forever

After building my first online business six months following that commitment, a friend asked me if I knew her. I didn’t.

Seems she was a 46 year old widow. Her husband died after a 105-day hospital stay following a repelling accident off a 100-foot tall cliff. And, she, as I was about to discover, was made for me, and I was made for her.

That was 11 years ago. I could write another book about the three-month courtship and the wedding that happened just 90 days after we first met.

I could write a third book about the nearly ten years we’ve been married. And a fourth one about the lessons I’ve learned living this story.

Instad, I’ll share a few of the lessons here below:

  1. Don’t give up on yourself
  2. Always work to improve yourself
  3. Stop looking for the “magic pill” you won’t find it
  4. When you stop looking, it comes to you

Don’t Give Up On YourSelf

When I discovered Mel was unfaithful, I almost gave up on myself. I mean, I’m in my 40s, desperate to have a family of my own, never married. I took her actions as confirmation that I wasn’t worthy of having a family.

But, deep inside, there was still a small piece of hope. You can’t let hope die — it is the elixir of life. Hopeless people commit suicide. Hopeless people give up.

To be honest, I came close to both during the time after Mel and I broke up. Really close.

But, my parents, my siblings, my nephews and nieces, and my students, wouldn’t let me… they made it very clear that they needed me. And, it revived a need in me — for them, and for myself.

I couldn’t give up! They needed me! So, I held on.

Always Work to Improve Yourself

During my two years of teaching, I learned more about myself than any two years of my previous 40+ years.

I lived three, then six hours from home — from family.

I had lived six hours from family years ago while I was earning my Master’s Degree. But, this was different. I didn’t need my family support like I did after Mel and I ended things. And, they weren’t there.

This deep need percolated a knowledge within me that I needed to work on many areas of self-improvement. First, I needed to restore my self-confidence. So, I went to work.

I was teaching, so, I knew I could speak well in front of people. I knew I could organize thoughts. I knew I could influence others for change. So, I started speaking well to myself, and influencing myself to change.

That two year long process of self improvement was preparing me for meeting my wife. Ironically, I knew her former father-in-law, her mom and I worked together in retail sales about a decade before we met. Her dad had delivered supplies to my grandfather’s farm decades ago. But, when I met her a few weeks before my 45th birthday (and her 46th just a day before mine), I had never met her before in my life.

Almost ten years later, at the time of writing this, we’re getting ready to celebrate our 113th “monthiversary.” That’s the term I coined just a month after we were married.

Hey! I had a lot of lost anniversaries to make up for!!!!

To be honest, I don’t make as big a deal of each month as I did that first year. But, it’s still an awesome reminder of how we’ve been blessed. And, I attribute those blessings to my concentration on improving my life each day.

Stop Looking for the “Magic Pill” — You Won’t Find It

There are no pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. There are no geese that lay golden eggs. No magic pills you can take that turns your life into a perfect existence.

Not even lottery winnings are capable of doing it. Have you seen all the stories of lives destroyed from the millions of dollars won in a PowerBall? Heck! Who wants THAT?!?!?!?

A year before I met my wife, I made up my mind.

My life’s focus wasn’t going to be marriage — it would be making myself ready for that day. I stopped looking at those women I met based on if they were “dateable” or not. I started looking at me based on if I was “marryable” or not.

When you’re looking for the “magic pill,” your focus is an external gaze, and there won’t be any positive change resulting from that.

If you want to influence others, you must influence yourself first. Start there. Work on improving your weaknesses, not on trying to find something that will “fix” you. The rewards will amaze you.

When You Stop Looking, It Comes to You

I’ve found this principle of life is true. Stop looking for those lost keys. Relax. Stop worrying about them. Time and time again, I’ve uncovered that thing I was stressing about by just picking up a book, or a magazine, or even a pillow that I had already moved in my panicked state and found what I was panicking about.

Have you done that before? When you stop looking for it, it will find you.

When I stopped looking for a wife, we found each other. Well, someone else introduced us to each other.

My point is this: stop wasting time and energy looking for something to change your life. Just start making the changes in your life. When yo start making the changes, those “rewards” you were looking for will appear!

It’s the formula of life. People who follow the teachings of “The Secret” will tell you that you must prepare yourself for the blessings of life by preparing yourself to receive them – the Universe wants to give them to you, but only when you’re prepared.

What Do you Desperately Want?

Whether it’s a family, or a business, or a new job. Whatever it is, let me challenge you.

That desperation is trying to tell you something. Especially if you’re having the hardest time “finding” that success.

  • Don’t give up on yourself
  • Always work to improve yourself
  • Stop looking for the “magic pill” you won’t find it
  • When you stop looking, it comes to you

Take a breath. Don’t give up. Work on getting ready for that day when, as it always does — at just the right time — your blessing will land in your lap and you’ll want to scream it to the world!

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