By Jeremy Vlasich
A few years ago, I was chasing the American Dream.
I was doing everything I could to make more money and do more real estate deals. I envisioned the pedestal that I would be put on and the “early” retirement plan that I had for my mid-to-late 30’s.
I would wake up in the morning and start working right away. In fact, I started working out of my home office to save myself the 20-30 minute commute to the main office. I used to tell myself, “That will give me another hour during the day to work.”
I would brush my teeth in the shower and try anything possible to shave off time during the day so I could work more.
I was super successful…or was I?
Financially, I grossed a ton of money for a mid-to-late 20-year-old. In fact, I was making more money than I had previously dreamed off. I worked 70-80 hours a week and wished I could do more.
I was looking outward, trying to find the next shining object that was going to “set me free.” During this time, I signed up for a real estate boot camp on a niche investment, an event where they encouraged working as much or more than I was currently doing.
So, I modeled what they told me to do.
I also kept investing more and more into my business to the point where I was carrying a $20k to $25k overhead cost every month. All on top of working 80 plus hours a week.
This is what I thought a man should do to provide for his kids and family.
Then, the house of cards started to sway.
My oldest daughter never really saw me. All I did was work.
Most days, I spoke more to my clients than I did to her. She had my phone number memorized by the time she was 3-4 years old. She even had a little office set up in the corner of mine so she could be like me, and she used sticky notes and paper to make a computer and phone.
By the way, this story is not something that I am not proud of.
My wife at the time never saw me. My family never saw me. I was gone all of the time doing deals. Even when I was physically present, my mind was preoccupied with deals or ways to do more.
I was so tired, stressed, and unhealthy that things started to decline. I gained a lot of weight. I got shingles. My wife and I ended our 9 year marriage in a divorce.
Then the breaking problem happened! The real estate market crashed.
I literally could not keep up with the changes in the declining real estate market, nor could I feed the hungry appetite of my monthly overhead expenses.
I’d lost everything. I’d lost my marriage. I’d lost my kid’s young years, which I could never get back. I’d lost my house to foreclosure. I’d lost all of the money that I’d “worked” so hard for.
I was beat down and beat up. What I thought was the American Dream turned into the American Nightmare.
…But today is different.
In the past 9 years, I’ve had wonderful leadership in my life through various coaches and Lifeonaire. This guidance has allowed me to understand what I really need to focus on in business and life.
It showed me I need a balance in my life.
It says in the Bible that we are to toil and work. However, this cannot be our obsession or all that we do. God created the world for us to experience.
This is my new focus!
I see many redemption stories in the Bible like Saul becoming Paul. So, I can look back at these experiences in my past for my future benefit and for the benefit of others. Don’t get me wrong, this outlook took years to get to, but I made it here.
And this redemption is the best part.
God redeems all of our choices.
He does not treat us where we currently are. Rather, God looks at us as who He intended us to be.
Since God can redeem any poor choices and decisions we make, in turn, we should exalt Him for his guidance and blessings.
God looks more at our heart and soul. He wants us to be more obedient than perfect.
The obedience is trust and faith in Him, He who is there to pick us up when we fall. He who is our biggest cheer leader when we have successes.
My hope for you is that you can learn from my past. In fact, I hope that you can learn from many other people as well that have similar stories.
(Note: If you’d like to hear more testimonies, you should really hear some of the life-changing stories coming from our Getaways lately—you might even consider joining us for one sometime soon, if you’ve not been lately.)
Doing more, chasing the American Dream, and leaving a self-induced war-ravaged past is not God’s way for us.
God does love you, and He wants you to have success in the world that He created. He just does not want the cost of misguided exuberance.
Before you move onto something else that you have to do today: stop.
Ask God for His wisdom on how to live life and how to have work be something that’s not a nightmare, but a blessing.
Do you have a redemption story you’d like to share? Let’s open up a conversation in the comments below.