Here's my backstory.
It's hard for me to remember a time when I felt comfortable.
As a kid, I can remember these moments. I can still feel it in my body if I send myself back there. Heart pumping in my ears so hard it would hurt. Wishing for nothing more than to melt into the background as to not be the target of a grown-up's bitter anger, counting the seconds hoping that the cutting comments would come to an end, trying desperately to just take the aggressive bully tactics on the chin.
And so I got really good at hiding, trying to get in front of things when they were on edge, and when things got bad, dare not do anything that would make things worse.
But there were times, those heart-pumping times, where I stood frozen, unable to move. Hitting the point where anger overtook fear, where consequences be damned I was going to try and hit back. Where I'd hold my ground. Stand straight and stony-faced. Look them in the eyes. Not hide. Not pacify. Pull the pin and throw the grenade, full well knowing it would make things worse.
But my shaky voice and the tears I struggled to hold back betrayed the boldness I attempted muster.
This was my childhood. Because from the age of seven onward I was raised in a home where I was always on edge, never sure if what I said, or what I did, or how I acted would get me into trouble. One moment everything was fine and the next I was told I was the most ungrateful, worthless, and pathetic waste of space.
That's what comes from growing up with a bitter, alcoholic step-father who had mental health issues.
And so that was my home life until I moved out at 16. It took me a long time comfortable with my childhood and to understand how it shaped me into the person I am today.
How the anxiety, the fear, and the constant feeling of never being good enough lead me to my ultimate purpose: to help people crush the fear & doubt that's keeping them from building an #Extraordinary life.
Fight the feeling of not being good enough.
And so as I write this I have everything an outsider, even my friends would see as indicators of success. At 37 I'm a father of four amazing kids (ages 6 to 13). I've been with my wife for 20 years (yes, we're high school sweethearts). I founded a marketing agency (phanta.com) and over the past 14 years have grown it from nothing to a multi-million dollar business. I have helped launch startups and transformed international brands… and yet, I still wake up every morning with the feeling that I have something to prove. Because I can't shake that feeling of being the little boy who's a waste of space. The feeling of not being good enough is something I have to work on every day. Every day I have something to prove; to my family, my ex-coworkers, my high school friends, to my staff and to myself.
I have to prove that I'm good enough.
My greatest hope for you.
There used to come a time in client meetings when I'd have the overwhelming sensation to jump up and get down on my knees in front of the client and beg. The feeling would become so real that I'd almost have to hold myself back. Otherwise, there I would be, literally begging. Not for the business. Not for the money. But for the opportunity to help them. Because more than anything, deep down I want to help people like you build the most extraordinary and meaningful things possible: a business, a product, an experience - it doesn't matter. I love being a part of the process, as small as it may be, that leads to the moment when others look at what you've done and say, ‘you did that?’ Because I know what those of us who have something to prove are capable of. You have the chance to build something that you’re proud of. To do something that matters. And I can't wait to see what you do.
Mark // #Extraordinary