I’m often asked about my career history, so let’s chat…
Growing up, I always knew there was a call on my life. Growing up in the Church, I can remember my grandparents friends telling me,
"Young man, when you grow up... you're going to change the world!"
Funny thing is, I believed them.
Now don't get me wrong, it's not been a road without potholes. From a pretty dark early childhood that led to a frustrating and misguided season of being a teenager, it wasn't until after high school that I was able to really step into finding myself and my confidence.
You get it.
At 19, I stepped back into the Church after a 6 year absence. From there, it was on. I committed everything to my career.
I traveled the country: speaking, influencing, leading, singing... From 40 people to 40,000, I found a home on the stage and in leading others into their own victory.
I was surrounded by the most influential names and artists in the evangelical church, a part of the conversation in how the Church moves forward into a new generation, but it didn't come without a price.....
I’d built a foundation on quicksand.
I was lying: lost, frustrated and without hope. I was pushing myself through classes and courses to prove that I had the credentials and paper to "belong" in a community as a leader.
It didn't matter that I was good at anything and everything. It didn't matter that I was charismatic and captivating.
It didn't matter that I was “successful.” It didn't solve the problem that every morning I woke up feeling unworthy of anything I'd earned or been given.
YOU KNOW THE FEELING?
Like, you grow up believing something but not really knowing why… and your whole identity becomes wrapped up in what you DO, not who you are, because when you grow up seeking affirmation and love but it’s not found in healthy ways, you sort of become addicted to doing more things because
1.) You can
2.) It’s easy for people like us
3.) Our 60% is someone else’s 100%
We naturally love people and want to fix problems
The problem is; pressure I put on myself to perform and nurture and "show up" for everyone, 24/7, left me anxious at night and needing to do “more” to feed the never ending abyss of feeling like the rug could be pulled at any time. The stress of being good at things left me overwhelmed with too many ideas and no clear direction.
I was successful on the outside, probably like you. I had it all. But it was masking the things inside of me that I thought the accolades and accomplishments would solve.
That version of me died just over 5 years ago, and over those 5 years, I pushed through my own personal hell to come out the other side: stronger, focused, and successful. So, what happened to cause the change? Where did the pain convert to power?
Well, in 2016 I walked through a very public divorce.
I became a single parent.
My younger brother went to prison.
I buried 8 family members and friends in unrelated tragedies; including an 18-month old niece, my mentor and hero, my best friend of 17 years, and my little sister.
I found myself dying in a hospital bed, septic and in complete adrenal/hormonal shutdown due to stress and anxiety of the above, all while trying to show up and play the pastor role. They called my family in because i wasn't supposed to make it.
Throughout all of this, I was maintaining the role of a pastor; a position I’d held for 13 years. While I loved my season of occupational ministry, it became clear that I was sacrificing my soul on the altar of my success.
That wasn’t the life or legacy I wanted to leave for my son.
I recognized, as 5 other pastor friends of mine would take their own lives due to the same stress over the course of 18 months, that something had to give…
I didn’t built Embrace the Lion as some grand idea to liberate the masses. I created the 4 Pillars of Embrace the Lion (ETL) as I was fighting to put my own life back together and become the man I was called to be. It was to answer the question,
WHAT NEEDS TO DIE IN ME TO BECOME THE MAN I’M CALLED TO BE?
After I’d proved it and built a life I was wildly proud of, mastering what it means to have it all, I started leading others through that proven path..
Now, I am the guy 7-10 figure founders hire to continue scaling without sacrificing their souls on the altar of their success.