I’ve been a keynote speaker, consultant, trainer, and coach for over thirty years and a magician for over fifty.
I’ve worked with more than 130 organizations worldwide to revitalize their cultures and develop workplaces where people can thrive. I also teach leadership at American University in Washington, DC, and the White House Leadership Development Program.
It’s been my privilege to work on 39 multi-year leadership and culture development projects. These projects have been my “laboratories” where I work side-by-side with people, guiding them as they try new ways of thinking and acting.
But for many years, I didn’t feel fulfilled, even though I helped my clients achieve massive growth and millions of dollars in new revenue.
Worse still, I felt hopelessness lurking in the shadows of my life.
Deep down, I thought everything was meaningless.
All the success in the world couldn’t overcome the pain of a childhood where I lost my entire family.
It wasn’t until I lost everything twice that I discovered a pathway to restoring my whole heart and building a fulfilling, hope-fueled future.
My childhood was beautiful, thanks to my grandparents, but it was also marked by incredible loss.
At 3, I lost my mom and sister to a drunk driver.
At 4, I lost my dad when he remarried and started a new family. He left me with my mother’s parents, Nin and Grandpa, and they raised me.
At 13, Grandpa, my best friend, had a mental breakdown and was in and out of institutions for the next three years.
At 16, I lost Grandpa to suicide.
At 24, I lost my beloved Nin to a deadly disease that left her quadriplegic and gasping for every breath during her last nine months of life. She was my last parent.
When she died, I lost hope.
But I had to keep going, so I focused on building a successful career and, later, a company.
And I was successful. I used a unique blend of magic and powerful leadership development principles to help companies across the globe — something my mentor, H. Ross Perot, encouraged me to do (You can read more about my work and clients here.)
But my life and career were based on an empty, self-centered pursuit of more, not on a hope-filled purpose. I believed that the pursuit of external validation was the only meaning to be found in life. So I tried to alleviate my inner pain by gaining approval from others.
And then I lost everything…again.
My wife and I had just built our dream home — the ultimate symbol of my pursuit of success. But six months after moving in, we became very sick. Our house was infested with toxic mold due to mistakes made by the builder.
Our dream home was condemned, and we had to leave.
I spent every penny I had trying to recoup our loss from the builder and had to file for bankruptcy.
Then lightning struck the apartment we had just begun renting and started a fire in the attic.
The roof collapsed and destroyed everything, including three of our four beloved cats.
I had no money, nowhere to live, and no possessions (except for one bag of clothes and a tent).
Soon after, my fifteen-year marriage ended.
This time, all the losses broke me.
It was too much, and I fell into a major depression.
My days were filled with hopelessness, distorting my beliefs, feelings, language, and actions.
My life was crumbling right before my eyes.
I had hit rock bottom, and I knew I needed help.
One night after my divorce, I was lying in bed, struggling to manage the pain. I wanted relief. But I also wanted to understand why all of this had happened.
So, I looked up to the ceiling and asked this question,
In that moment, I heard something say,
That's when things started to turn around.
I began to hope, and it gave me the courage to change my life.
This beautiful, small moment sent a shockwave through me — restoring my faith, resurrecting my hope, and paving the way for a fulfilling life.
It took years of suffering alone for me to reach out to the one who could help. After this experience, I began to believe that a better life was possible.
Restoring My Whole Heart
I immediately made some significant changes, but the real work began after I was reminded one day of the very first lessons of magic that I had learned as a young boy:
Everything began to change as I answered these three simple questions. The pain of my past shifted and became a source of great strength. I experienced blissful peace and found a fulfilling purpose for my life.
And the greatest gift of all? My wife, Jennifer, showed up. She stands next to Nin and Grandpa as the third angel in my life.
I soon realized that this model which had transformed my life could help others build lives, careers, and organizations of purpose and joy.
As I began sharing this model with others, they experienced profound changes in how they lived and led others. It took the work I’d been doing my whole life and elevated it in a way I’d never thought possible.
Today, I call the Appear, Disappear, Restore approach “The Restorative Mindset,” and I use it to help people and organizations restore wholeness and build a future they love.