Set backs and temporary failures are a part of life. Although we are equipped with the necessary tools to overcome obstacles, the fact is some falls are more devastating than others. Mountain tops are high and mighty. Most look at their beauty in awe without understanding the giants and valleys that lie before them.
Early one summer morning in 2008 I was introduced to the grandfather of all giants and valleys when federal agents raided an Anti-Aging & Wellness Center I shared ownership in over alleged FDA (big pharma) violations. These violations were based on the distribution of human growth hormone (HGH) replacement therapy and the sources in which the substance was obtained from during the center’s initial months of operation…almost 4 years prior to that time. These sources were providing non-FDA approved products and marketing them to licensed healthcare providers. Unknowingly, HGH is one of the few controlled substances that the FDA doesn't allow to be prescribed for off label use. Regardless of the lack of intent or fact that I had no professional contact with any patient, my affiliation with the center placed me in violation of specific federal conspiracy and distribution laws. This violation resulted in a lengthy, stress filled, 4-year investigation that ended in an ultimate guilty plea during trial. Based on the draconian federal sentencing guidelines at that time, I was later given a 27 month sentence to a federal prison camp in Pensacola, FL. I self-surrendered to the camp on April 1, 2013 and was released 18 months later on September 24, 2014. After a thorough investigation by the state board of examiners my professional license remained in tact. Needless to say, I have never looked at life the same since.
Having an impeccable reputation in the professional community and no prior trouble of any kind, I have held tight to what I was taught growing up: Don’t blame anyone, forgive everyone, accept full responsibility for your actions, respect all authority and stand firm on your faith. Regardless of human shortcomings, America remains the greatest country on the face of the earth. Irrespective of what happens to you in life, you must always strive to finish strong.
I share this short, yet life-changing story with you for one reason...to emphasize how easily and unintentionally you can fall when you lose focus. Recognizing the direction we are headed is key to avoiding a tragedy. You must remain focused in all you do, avoid being sidetracked, make wise decisions and associate with the right people. Those that lift you up and possess the same fundamental belief system as you do. You must also understand that ignorance and lack of intent are not excuses. Casting blame won’t change things, resentment won’t make things better and unforgiveness only injures the one unwilling to forgive.
Change is a big word. Many want to change but very few are willing to take the necessary steps to make it a reality. The problem often lies within. Once we are willing to change how we see things, the things we see suddenly begin to change. You must come to a place where change is no longer an option. It is at that place you will find the freedom you are seeking and the resulting peace that follows.
Regardless of your circumstances, there is hope. Hope for a tomorrow, hope for a meaningful life and everlasting hope in knowing that there is a God that unconditionally loves you more than you can imagine. Having hope when times are good is easy. To maintain hope through the hard times, however, we must possess an unwavering faith to endure and persevere.
Charles Stanley said it best in the following quote, “Just like muscles, our faith must be exercised against some resistance. When we face trials with wisdom and endure them with godly perseverance, we will find blessings we never thought possible.”
Today, I am honored to have the opportunity to help others around the world avoid the travesties that losing focus, a lack of proper due diligence and naivety can produce.