I firmly believe that our stories are not just gifts to ourselves, but to the world.
One day I was living the dream; the next day, I was in a bottomless pit of despair dancing with death himself, ready to end it all.
These experiences, harrowing as they were, became chapters in a story I was meant to write, a story that would eventually lead me to question everything and redefine my own narrative.
The Places I’ve Gone
Like so many people do, I crafted an identity throughout my childhood.
At six years old, I experienced my parent’s divorce, and my hopes as a little boy were shot down. As the firstborn son in a Greek family, I cultivated a strong work ethic from my father and a fiery side of life from my mother.
Despite feelings of abandonment and rejection, I was told to grow up and be a man. A phrase so powerful it fueled my life with shame and the need to continually prove myself worthy in everything I did.
I was told to grow up
and be a man by many
lost souls. Protection mechanisms
stamped on their hearts. Never
happy I suppose.
But everything changed after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The Warrior Mask
I joined the Marines to prove to everyone
I wasn’t a failure. It wasn’t enough to be
a solider, an airman, or even a sailor.
My first few years as a Marine included a lot of personal hurdles I had to clear. I lost my best friend in the Iraq war, and the battle with addictive behaviors and depression began.
As I climbed the ranks and gained valuable life experiences, I got the chance to play America’s superhero. From training with the FBI in Quantico, Top Secret clearances, combat deployments, and traveling to over 40 countries, I realized that perhaps each of us does have a unique reason for being here.
I chose to hang up my uniform after ten years of honorable service.
Though I wasn’t sure what would come next, one thing was certain, I wasn’t ready to face myself, and I didn’t know how to sit in the discomfort, so I defaulted to what I always did- run.
I took what seemed like the most logical route after one would leave the military. I applied for MBA programs and started a family in hopes of finding something greater. Through years spent transforming hundreds of lives as a personal trainer I found my passion for helping people unlock their potential and mine.
From endurance races, powerlifting, bodybuilding, and everything in between, I trained hard for hours and used my body like a machine.
But there was a double-edged sword to this life: I had confidence issues within myself, I was in and out of the emergency room for years with a medical condition, and I never saw my family and ran around like a headless human.
To me, life felt like a checklist. Marriage, fatherhood, and pursuing a big dream felt like those things I needed to do. I had no reason to believe those things, but each day I sank deeper into a dark vault of depression.
I felt trapped by the outside world as I watched familiar patterns of my past repeat in my life, and suicidal thoughts became a regular occurrence for me.
Meanwhile, I felt the rage of a man with a broken heart. I felt guilty for everything that happened in my life, and the excruciating shame forced me to a place in which I almost took my life.
Several months after everything came crashing down, I got sober and started to write about my experiences.
I found retreats, yoga, meditation, coaches, single parenting, and myself.
I connected with my family, joined men’s groups, fell in love with nature, marketing, and immersed myself in the studies of human behavior and the school of heart-knocks.
With time, I began to see the power in storytelling.
Nowhere To Go
Left my comfort zone behind for a world of uncertainty and truth.
I decided I was no longer a slave to other people’s lives or the limitations and stories that held me hostage. Through my pain, I created a new story. One that gave me the courage to open my heart and clear space for whatever needed to move through me.
I turned myself into a writer because I knew my life would become a reflection of my heart and soul in the form of words that would allow others to heal their wounds by sharing my story.
The same stories that had once confined me now provided a release. I recognized that just as my story had shaped me, stories can also shape brands.
WHAT’S YOUR STORY?
Today, I focus on showing up authentically and diving deep into understanding the power of storytelling.
By taking responsibility for my story, I’m shaping my future and helping my other entrepreneurs shape their brands through the power of words.
I’ve traded the warrior’s armor for the writer’s pen, recognizing that my battles are now fought on a different kind of frontier—one where emotional authenticity is my greatest asset.
As a copywriter, I use my storytelling abilities to breathe life into brands, just as life breathed new chapters into me.
My journey isn’t about persuading you to change.
It’s an invitation to understand the transformative power of stories—in our lives, and in the brands we build.