If you had met me when I was 35-years-old, you would have never guessed that I’d “grow up” to be a life coach. In fact, what I really needed back then was my own life coach. I had spent my adult life  as the President and CEO of our family steel business, driven by the need to be “successful,” to live up to my parents’ expectations, and to provide financially for my family. Stress was a big part of my life. 

 By all accounts and purposes I had a wonderful life. I had a wife and three children, a beautiful house, and a few yearly vacations to look forward to. But, I was so caught up trying to be something I wasn’t and living up to everyone’s expectations of me. I had not yet met my authentic self. I didn’t even realize that happiness was an option. 

 Unfortunately, my health was the first thing to go. I had Crohn’s disease and ulcers — both linked to stress and causing debilitating symptoms. By the time I was 50, in what was supposed to be the height of my career, I was in and out of the hospital awaiting my first Crohn’s surgery. And, while it might sound cliché, as I lay there in the hospital (with my middle son down the hall also undergoing his own gastro intestinal surgery for ulcerative colitis) I realized that something was not right and I could no longer go on living the way I had been. There had to be more to life than this.

So I took a metaphorical leap into what I’ve come to call my journey of self discovery. What followed was a series of small steps including a lifelong commitment to learning and growth and a shift toward radical, unconditional self-love. In the beginning I consumed as much knowledge as I could get my hands on about self empowerment, self help and healing. I learned to meditate, I sampled many alternative healing modalities and put into practice all the things I was learning. I had an insatiable appetite for understanding the secrets of life.  More than 15 years later, I’m happier than I’ve ever been, my relationships are stronger and more genuine, I make my health and well-being my priority, and I have let go of much of the fears and guilt that held me back most of my life. I have connected with my spirituality and found true joy in helping others on their own journeys. I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. And I’m  here to tell you that significant and meaningful change is completely possible and within your reach — no matter what you’re going through. All it takes is the desire to begin and that one first step.

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