When I worked in Corporate America, my seasonal co-workers would mention old-school tv shows, sayings, and events. It would always go over my head. Since I never joined in on the punch line, they would always stop to question my recollection of the subject. Each and every time, I would shake my head, signaling NO, and laugh. One day, my mentor at Fidelity said, “You know Mike don’t know about that; he was sheltered growing up”. He didn’t say it to be mean or negative; it was in a joking manner. But I found it really found interesting. I couldn’t stop thinking about his comment. The truth is, I was no where near sheltered growing up. I couldn’t blame him for thinking that. It’s hard to see the story through the glory.
My colleagues had grown to know the polished, clean cut side of me, which is the end product of over 7 years of personal growth and development. The misunderstanding conveyed by his comment motivated me to share my story. I was also motivated by my close cousin Tony Williams, who said the following to me before I gave my first speech, “Burn the Boats” at Toastmasters a few years ago, “Don’t be afraid to share your struggles. What you are hiding, could potentially propel you forward. If you share it.” I’ve always been ashamed to talk about the things that I been through. Some of my past was outside of my control, but the rest of it came from flawed decision making. I did a ton of dumb shit growing up. It’s funny now, but at the time, the consequences weren’t so funny. It was painful!
For years, I’ve been sharing personal development content with friends and associates but very few actually know the story behind my passion for encouraging people to Expand, so I thought it would be a good idea to share it. I’m lying; it wasn’t my idea. Truth is, I was challenged to share more about myself from my good friend, Maurice Bunn. He asked if he could give me constructive criticism and said the following, “people need to know why they should receive personal development from you. You need to tell people more about yourself.” Challenge Accepted!
Here are the key Struggles that gave me Strength:
➢ Raised by a single mom in a low income neighborhood with no positive male figure around
➢ Lived in a homeless shelter after my Mom escaped a domestic violence relationship
➢ Watched my aunt die at age 28 of AIDS
➢ Walking back from the grocery store with my immediate family, we came within 30 feet of a drive-by shooting and were saved when our mom pushed us into the bushes
➢ In the backseat of a stolen car in a high speed chase with police at age 15
➢ Experimented with drug dealing and was set up, robbed, and pistol whipped by “friends” at age 17
➢ Drank 2 ½ liters of Long Island Ice Tea during “Senior Skip Day” in high school, went into an alcohol induced coma, and woke up 7 hours later in hospital
➢ Broke my knuckle in a group fight and, due to lack of health insurance, was forced to let it heal abnormally without professional care, meds or a supporting cast #painful
➢ Older cousin went missing in 2006 and has yet to be found (dead or alive)
- To date, I’ve lost over 16 friends and family members – all below age 65, and most to fatal gunshot wounds
➢ Got into a really bad, head-on car crash leaving work just weeks before leaving for college. After being rushed to the hospital, I survived.
➢ Arrested for petty theft at a supermarket during my freshmen year of college (not a good look for a 3.8 GPA student) – record expunged
➢ Obtained a full academic scholarship from the university but was forced to take out over $10,000+ in loans for survival; flat broke
➢ Cut dreadlocks, took additional credits, and interviewed nine times to obtain a job at Fidelity Investments. On my last interview, they flew me to Texas and I went without one cent in my pocket to pay for a cab to get back to the airport #determination.
➢ After battling over 10 years of extreme hatred towards my father for not being around, I made a decision to forgive him after he was a “no show” at my college graduation; we are now good friends.
➢ No money to move to North Carolina for training, I was forced to sell my car (1990 Classic Mercedes Benz) to the junk yard for quick cash
➢ Reached what at the time was my salary goal, but felt unhappy. I was an established corporate IT professional, but silently wanted to escape from corporate America
➢ Challenged myself to go a year without receiving a paycheck to discover my true passions in life (harder to find when your blinded by money, status, and corporate perks)
➢ Saved up enough funding to quit my job and started “The Carr Matthews Group”
Good news: Found my true passion and I’m on a mission to help 1,000,000 people expand toward their highest potential.
*Picture on the left is actually freshmen year of college, when I moved away from my environment.
As you can see, the environment was still in me a little. LOL
I want to hear your Story. .. …