In 1996, I left my job in the Public Schools to go and pursue a dream. I took 5 of my students under my wing.
None of this would have happened had I not taken that leap back then AND also trusted this inclination I had inside to take 5 of my students with me…
Though I was only 26 years old then, I’d realized two things:
#1: Our public education system is fundamentally flawed. There is no way any teacher or counselor can work inside that system, within its limits and by its expectations and truly empower young people to thrive. The education they’ll truly need, will have to come primarily outside of school. (15 years later I have still yet to meet any truly happy and successful person who disagrees with me)
#2: If I continued to stay working in it, 20 years later I’d look and sound very much like most of the faculty around me looked and sounded then – and would still be struggling to pay my bills.
When I left my last school job that spring, I left with several dreams in mind:
To go discover and fully live the life that was possible for me if I had the guts to really go after it, which included the willingness to face and address what I really needed to address in myself to become the man I really wanted to be.
Simultaneously, to take these 5 students from the inner city schools under my wing, and mentor them through their high school years, but doing this the way I’d always sensed it needed to be done – out of the office, away from the institutions, in the world and in the mess of real life.
Now I have one amazing story to tell, including meeting the Mentor I’d always been seeking for myself, and am living a life now that I could hardly of dreamed of having then. The same is true for the three boys who went the distance with me.
My work with them and what I learned from it, became the foundation of Evolution Mentoring. The work I did to get my own life in order, plus the experience of now playing this role in the lives of hundreds of other young people, has became the rest.
When I took these 5 boys on back then, I told them I had only two expectations that they had to meet:
- Never lie to me.
- Keep your commitments with me.
Two of the five didn’t meet the expectations and I cut them loose within the first two years. I don’t know where they are now.
The other three – the three who stayed the course with me- have grown into extraordinary men. All are deeply in love in long-term relationships with amazing women. All are successful in their chosen careers, having done what it takes to ensure they not only pay their bills and keep their commitments, but that they stay on top in competitive times and do work that they truly enjoy. Two of them hold Masters Degrees, one from the top graduate program in the country in his field.
All of them did this with virtually no family support, no financial support and while living primarily in communities where their success stories are by far the exception, not the norm.
They have grown into the caliber of men that most parents would dream of for their son – and they did so against overwhelming odds.
The relationship we formed was not just critical to their success – it is what made the difference. They still contact me regularly. I visit them when I am in their cities. Two of them came to my wedding. One of them sends me a symbolic Father’s Day card each June.
To say I am proud of them as I would be of my own sons, is an understatement. Together we learned about the potential of what having the right relationship in one’s life at the right time, can mean. Knowing what happened to so many of their peers, this experience also magnified the enormous detriment it can to be to the countless young people who do not have an adult like this in their lives.
It was that experience of guiding these boys through their teen years and into their adult life that inspired me to build the practice I now offer.
If this approach could work with kids from such disadvantaged backgrounds, imagine what is possible for those who aren’t starting so far down…
Hundreds of success stories later and with more than a million miles now traveled offering these services to clients around the world, I now offer my services to a select group of teens and young adults and their parents who, like me, refuse to follow the popular crowd down the long slow road to an ordinary existence where good enough is good enough…
My clients are the ones who say good enough is never just enough, being ordinary when you have the potential to be extraordinary is never okay, and that no matter how jaded and cynical the world has become, believing in the magic of possibilities and approaching each day with a sense of excitement, aliveness and adventure is what makes a life worth living.
If this is you, welcome. You are in the right place.