What you’ve been through doesn’t define you!

I haven’t written anything in a while, guess I’ve been in my own funk-writers block (mind you I am a wanna be writer, but I always try). I realize it’s time to snap out of it. So in thinking of what to write about I figured I’d just go with what I’m always thinking. I’m always positive, no matter what the situation. So why not write about it!

Anyone who knows me or has read what I’ve written on here, Facebook, twitter etc. knows that you won’t ever see a sign of quitting, nor will you see whining or negativity. I have my reasons and in short they’re pretty basic. Why dwell on negative things, why allow them to take time out of your day that you can’t get back? Seriously, you won’t get those moments or in some cases days back so why dwell on them.

As a former police officer I have seen some pretty horrific, gut wrenching things that most thankfully don’t have to ever witness. I’ve had to respond to calls where someone overdosed, suicides, sudden deaths of infants and of people from all walks of life, and the most disturbing…a murdered child, sometimes on holidays as families were preparing to enjoy them. I had to be that guy that broke the news, sat with the deceased while awaiting the medical examiner or funeral home to come and pick them up. Pretty dark, I know. Grim and really not a fun experience. But I always wondered a few things.

Who are they? Like really who were they as people? Especially the ones who overdosed or committed suicide. What were they thinking? What part of their journey in life led them to this? And most importantly I used to wonder and now truly believe that mindset, friendship, and guidance could have prevented those two situations. As for those who passed from illness or natural causes, I still wanted to know about them as well and their deaths were no less significant.

Depression, alcohol, drugs, suicide are such a huge factor in our society that it’s insane. I’m human, I’ve battled my own depression from things that I’ve seen, failed relationships, mistakes in life, I’ve had days where I just wanted to quit, stay in bed all day and escape reality…Really who doesn’t have bad days right? But I never quit. Yes I have had my “timeouts” where I lay on the couch and watch TV, avoid my phone, social media etc. But I never will quit. I’m always going to push forward. I’m going to win for those who didn’t. I embrace all the sadness and negativity that I witnessed and learn from it.

The young man whom I knew as a kid, chased as a “criminal” and ultimately ended up performing failed CPR on when he committed suicide sticks out in my mind. Just days before his death I ran into him while walking a beat downtown, we talked, laughed, smiled and joked. Our conversation was more about growing up, we never had the me vs. you mentality. He did what he did, I did what I do but in reality we lived in the same world. Our paths were different as adults than when we were kids. But in his eyes, he couldn’t turn his life around, his past was holding him back and he couldn’t get past yesterday. When we last talked he kept telling me how much he wanted to make it, but he also in the same breath would tell me that he just can’t. Believe me I tried to convince him otherwise. Two days later he jumped off a building, I got the call on the police radio….

Within a minute I was on scene, bystanders just watching and starting CPR, more police and EMS roll up on scene and we rotated CPR to no avail…he was gone. it’s a vision I’ll never get out of my head. I can still recognize the smells in the air, hear the sounds of more help coming, distinguish and between the sirens of the police, medics, ambulance, and fire coming. Gauging and hoping that the medics were first and could do something I couldn’t. Sadly no one could change the outcome that day. When we focus on bad things, our mind leads us to continue to focus on the negative, we get that I can’t, I don’t deserve mentality…and it’s such a false reality. But yet it guides us in the wrong direction.

So I choose positive!

From all my experiences I’ve gathered my own hypothesis of my personal thought process. How many times has something bad happened, have we attempted something and it failed? We’ve all been there. How we react to it is truly going to guide us on this journey we call life. Trust me I am deeply saddened by some of the situations I’ve encountered but I’ve learned to take the good from the bad! I had too! I have two beautiful children that need their dad.

I learned from grieving families, I learned from people dying that life is short. That today matters, tomorrow is not promised. In that lesson I learned that life may deal me a negative hand sometimes, opportunities will sometimes seem dismal…I need to play that hand the best I can, create opportunity, implement things in life that will help me grow personally and professionally.

Everyday I get up is a gift, my life may not be going the way I want it to right now, but I will get their. I won’t quit. I won’t give up. I will not mask my pain to bury it inside me and hide from the world. I will learn from every experience, I know and believe that for every bad experience comes two good ones. Learn from your what is. Create from that your what will be.

I don’t focus on the negative things anymore. I’ve learned to let negativity roll off my shoulders and focus on what I learned from the experience. More so focus on my goals. What I have to do to achieve them. So you ask why I shared the darkness in my journey? Because that’s my past…I’ve learned from it, I’ll never forget it…but I PUSH FORWARD! I WILL SUCCEED!

I believe in myself, even through quick instances of doubting me, I recover and tell myself that the world is in my hands. I can achieve greatness. Success in my life to levels incomprehensible. I’ve come to the mindset through my own trials and tribulations that how I think will directly impact my path in life. So I choose to focus on the good and learn from the bad. You can too!

How to be positive

Being positive is easier than you think. When you wake up in the morning you will wake up with the attitude you went to bed with. For the past 7 years I always fall asleep thinking about my children, riding the motorcycle I don’t have yet, and things that make me happy. I end up dreaming about the same. I wake up not dwelling on the problems, but rather focusing on chasing my dreams. And I am chasing them!

Smiling, even if your stressed or upset, will automatically make you feel better. Seriously, even when I’m having a bad day I smile. It works. Sharing a smile with a stranger can make both of your days. I say hello to people where ever I am. Getting a coffee and I’m standing in line, there’s someone to say hello to. Sometimes it may lead to a conversation, maybe even business. Either way I lose nothing by initiating that hello. Who know’s what’s going on in that persons life, maybe they have no one and you made their day?

Pay it foward

I won’t spend a lot of time on this one. I do this a few simple ways. I pay the toll for the car behind me, buy someones coffee, stop and help someone stuck on the side of the road, talk to the elderly (they love when you take time). I could write a book about paying it forward but again I’m not a writer.

Learn from examples of great people

I can’t begin to expound on the people who have influenced my life! It’s insane! I can start with my parents Ronald and Janet Sylvester. If you want to talk about adversity….here are two people that faced it. When I was younger my mom chose to stay at home and raise my brother, sister and myself while my father worked second shift at a printing company. She was an entrepreneur in her own right creating a home day care. My father worked diligently to provide for his family. One day after running errands, I think I was 5 or 6, we came home as a family and my father suffered a serious injury falling through a glass door. I vividly remember as my mother screamed for help, ran into the house to grab a towel. Before she could wrap his arm I could see the muscles, tendons and the bone in my fathers arm as the flesh hung in the balance. I remember the hell ride to the hospital. Hundreds of stitches later, I think maybe even a surgery or two, a long recovery time he returned to work. I never saw him dwell, I only saw him push forward.

In the coming years my father continued to work eventually arthritis set in. In these years my parents made the decision to help various children in the community. From those that they took in who had been arrested then on to foster care and eventually adopting 18 children (I could be off by 1 or two I always lose count). They’ve impacted the lives of so many and through their own adversity have pushed on!.

Never doubt yourself or let others create self doubt in you!

Not everyone understands your goals and your dreams. It amazes me how many people are content with mediocrity and the norm. Don’t let those people discourage your dreams. We all have those people in our life. The one’s who always play it safe because they are afraid of risk or failure. Risk and failure are part of the journey. Nobody likes to fail, but you never truly fail if you learn from something and utilize that knowledge to push forward.

Instead surround yourself with people chasing theirs. A positive attitude is contagious and they become a source of influence and encouragement. Think about it…they are already on their journey so they  have seen success even if only in the sense that they made their choice to chase their dreams. Know that you can to.

Things aren’t always going to be easy

No matter what your dreams are it’s up to you to take that first step. It’s a simple one. Make the decision to create the life you want. Establish your winning mindset and believe that you can accomplish anything you want to. Educate yourself, read books, watch motivational speakers on you tube (It’s free). The most important thing to remember is that it doesn’t matter what obstacle gets in your way, find a solution, learn from the experience and move on to the next challenge.

Best of luck on your journey!

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