Some nights haunted for a long time. One night, back when I was 17, was such a night.
I had flashbacks for years.
My friends and I had been partying, drinking and smoking some wicked weed.
My friend, who’s house we were at, figured out a way to start the old Pontiac that sat in his driveway. And thought it a great idea if we all piled in and and went swimming at 2:00AM at the local swimming hole, about six miles away. Why not? His parents were away.
Somehow I knew this a very bad idea. He didn’t even have a license to drive yet.
So, I snuck over to our house, stole the car keys to my dad’s car (we lived three doors down) and quietly pushed it out of the driveway so no one could hear me, eventually starting it.
And we started racing. Did I mention he didn’t even have his license to drive yet? I had one, even though I failed the test twice the year prior, made it on the third.
Pedal to the metal, clear summer night (it had rained a few hours before however, the roads a little damp), no traffic, four lanes…. it’s mostly a blur to me but I do recall the idea of what could have been that night.
We leap-frogged all the way ignoring all lights, stop signs and common sense.
When we pulled into the main side street that led up to the swimming hole, he being in the lead, slammed on his brakes, and skidded across the street T-Boning a parked car.
I did the same thing. But he was in the way so I slammed into him, pushing him further into the parked car that he just demolished.
Stunned, steam pouring out of our busted radiators, I put the car into reverse, and tried to drive away. He tried the same thing. Yea, right. Ain’t gonna happen.
So we did the next most logical thing we thought best….we got out and ran home.
By the time we walked home the sun was starting it’s slow reveal as the dawn rose. We were still drunk, high and stupid.
The rest is very much a blur to me. But two things that are not:
1- the fact that what we did was so off the charts stupid, and the fact that we easily could have crashed way worse (the crash that did happen was very bad too. Two cars totaled, no one hurt) haunted me for years. We easily could have died. Easy.
I had flash backs of us peeling down Falconbridge road, which had just recently been converted to a four lane highway- perfect for racing. This troubled me for years.
2- Maybe worse. Well, worse in my opinion, is the silence that occurred afterwards. Neither my parents talked to me about this event. Not a peep. I’m sure I was grounded, but I don’t really recall.
It didn’t mean much to me then, because not talking was to me the way it was. It happened often, many, many times. Jail, parole, cops & trouble…over and over. And silence. Not a word.
As I look back I now know that I was largely acting out most of my youth. Looking for attention. This does not excuse my behavior in any way.
But it helps explain. I was looking for them to talk. I was looking for attention from my dad. I needed some positive male role modeling. Even if I got it from the cops, I made sure I got it.
As I grew up, and changed my ways, I realized the value and importance of communication. I can see how the lack thereof shaped the dynamics of our family.
And how, in my parents, and their generation, keeping secrets was in some distorted messed up way better than talking about it.
I adulted okay eventually. Joined Toastmasters. Started a family, married well and run to this day a successful photography studio. Got decent at public speaking. Was never reluctant to see a therapist or join a 12 step program. Stuff I still do to this day.
All because is keeps the communication channels open. And in that I, and many others, find healing.
This applies to business as well, oddly enough. Think about committees and executives teams sitting around a table. Talking, brainstorming, tossing ideas about.
Yea, sometimes in larger bureaucratic situations this can get sticky with games, manipulation, political agendas and power tripping (something we see a lot of!), but the best place is a mastermind meeting where, according to Napolean Hill:
“Two or more people coming together in harmony to solve problems.”
In harmony is the key word. For this to work you need a goal or set of goals. Once you know where you want to go, you then know what’s in the way. This is key.
Another important key is listening. Everyone wants to input their opinion, or talk about how good they are. Simply listening is magical. Very hard for most to do.
And finally one needs to realize that meeting and brainstorming alone is not enough.
There are those who want to meet, and meet, and meet and beat the topic to death. Like as if some magical answer will reveal itself in time.
Don’t confuse meetings with action. The meeting is not the end result, even if it feels like it is. It’s part of the process.
I’ve attended many mastermind meetings. As coach, as coachee, in groups, one on one. Nothing, NOTHING has helped me more.
If I counted the 12 step meetings I’ve been in as well, the number is high. Ain’t bragging here, just trying to help.
I still run online mastermind meetings. Every month, at least three per. All under the same principles laid out by Napolean Hill years ago.
Join us. Let’s talk.
Robert N. Provencher – Your Master Coach Marketer
“If you want to be a profitable and successful photographer, then study profitable and successful photographers.”