Before Global Child became a globally distributed television show and a recognizable travel brand, I was a TV Host that had been recently let go along with all of the employees of the now-defunct NBC Mun2 network. Additionally my girlfriend of almost three years had broken up with me the day before because, amongst other reasons I wasn’t successful enough to her liking and I was already under a lot of criticism from several people close to me who had deemed that I had chased my Hollywood television dream for a couple of years too long and with not enough results to continue.
When I studied feature film writing at UCLA extension, I learned that most stories have these moments where the protagonist has to overcome challenges, including a pivotal moment of seeming overwhelming darkness called “the dark night of the soul.” It’s in those “all is lost moments” the protagonist must push through, rise up, change and grow to finally overcome what was holding him back, which often times is their own fear or a lesson they were yet to learn. Fortunately, in our lives we don’t need a lot of supporters, we just need the right supporters at the opportune time. Along the journey, there are also key friends that show up at just the right time to give them enough support to keep going. In my Global Child journey, I definitely had a “dark night of the soul”. Here’s how…
I had just returned from filming seven of my first ten Global Child Season one shows. My manager and agent at the time had pitched it to traditional networks, but objectively it did need work and needless to say, at that time they all passed. They began to suggest I stop being so “myopic” about this travel show and work on other projects. However, being a faith guy I prayed for signs and it’s almost like I heard this little voice inside telling me to keep going, to keep building, to keep improving. People who see our lives from outside might mean well, but they see our present situation often at the expense of seeing our progress. Progress is a process that those on the outside often fail to see. One of the hardest things to do in life is to continue when the doors seem shut and many of our supporters stop cheering or to keep trying to break a bad habit or achieve a goal. Perseverance is progress.
Growing always means improvement and improvement means growth in the right direction. I remember I was going through major changes in my life, in who I was as a person, in my understanding of faith and in what I wanted to dedicate my life to. Hope without a plan leads us to unfulfillable expectations, that’s why it’s crucial to discover what our purpose is in life and set a course. Besides traveling and trying to get Global Child off the ground I was also starting to study theology. I decided to study Theology (the study of God) because I had dropped out of university years before and hadn’t completed a degree. Part of me believed that perhaps if I understood who created me then it would help me to discover what I was created for. Growing up I was always a bad student because I didn’t care. It was never a lack of capacity; it was a lack of motivation, which came from a lack of purpose.
Going from the top club promoter in Miami to volunteering in the Jails of Los Angeles on a weekly basis as a Christian Chaplain requires a lot of transformation. Transformation is messy and those who are near it and in it enjoy it the least. When we improve, when we really want to change you’ll notice two types of people: group one will be those who love you and will cheer you on, but those are usually a minority. Then there are those who will suddenly just not call you or will actively avoid you for no good reason or call you a hypocrite because they believe that your not changing, you’re only pretending to have changed. These can be good friends of the past who, consciously or not are disturbed by the positive changes you’re making in life because it makes them aware of changes that perhaps they need to make in theirs. Perhaps they’ll believe your change isn’t genuine because what they’ll choose to focus on is your last mistake instead of your current breakthrough. Either way, change isn’t easy, it hurts and it requires sacrifice.
Have you ever notice how humans like to surround themselves with like-minded people? When I was throwing parties every day in Miami that’s who I was surrounded by, party people. When I was doing the struggling actor thing in Hollywood those were my friends and when I began to try to learn about Jesus and give back suddenly I was around more faith-filled people. See, the art of transformation, regardless of what you believe in begins by understanding that ultimately the choices we make are telling the story of our lives. Those stories are directly impacted by who we choose to surround ourselves with.
In San Francisco, my friend Mauricio helped me at one of my lowest financial points and offered me to go film with his Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Shelby Cobra’s when I owned none of them. My friend Paige joined me without asking questions and had her dad let us film in his Bison Ranch to our mutual delight. My friend and travel expert Steve Mannshardt organized our activities in San Francisco free of charge and then came to show us around. All of these generous friends believed in me when I was going through a seemingly dark moment in my journey of bringing Global Child into the light and a moment of self-doubt. It turns out out that transformation is internal, but we must remember that we don’t have to do it alone. I’m so grateful for everyone who has been a part of my own transformation and perhaps, these words will encourage you to continue walking along the path of your own transformation. Even when we are in a storm, somewhere above the clouds the sun is still shinning! Remember that where some might think our dreams are buried, if we water them with work and love they’re most likely growing just beneath the surface and will spring up at the right time. I hope to be that voice of encouragement for you today. Keep going. Transformation can be scary, but it’s always worth going through because you’ll love the masterpiece you’ll become on the other side… perhaps that’s why we call it the Art of Transformation.