It is hard to believe it was just three years ago I made The Call. The image in my mind is as clear today as it was then.
Earlier that night, I was sound asleep in my uncomfortable bed at a discount motel. I wasn't on vacation--this was my home. I didn't pay by the night--I paid by the month.
The sound was loud and abrupt. I thought someone was breaking into my room. Startled, I jumped up to see what was happening. I looked out the window and saw the police with a battering ram, breaking into the adjoining room.
This was surreal and deeply humbling at the same time. All I can remember thinking is, "How did I get here?" Just a few short years ago, I had it all. I was a married man with five beautiful kids. I had seven years of college, a net worth of over $2 million, and a $1.4 million house at the foothills of the mountains.
How did this happen? How did I end up in this crap motel where most residents pay by the hour?
At that moment, I knew I needed to reach out to someone. I reflected on all the relationships in my past for just the right resource. I was embarrassed, and wasn't looking to be judged, but rather nudged in the right direction. As dark as everything felt around me, I always maintained a sense that "things are going to be okay." In my core, I just knew I needed to get back on the path that I had strayed from some time ago.
I thought back to my internship 15 years earlier and a guy I knew back then. You probably know a guy like him. In short, I remember one of our mutual friends tossing him a gold horseshoe about the size of a half dollar and telling him to stick it up his ass so he could have a matching set. You know the guy--lucky with 0's on the end.
Everything he touched seemed to turn to gold. He was just lucky ... or so I thought. During my internship, as I spent time talking with him and learning from him, I realized it wasn't luck. He worked hard at keeping his life in balance. He made a conscious effort to grow in the important areas in his life. This reflection reconnected me to the path, the pursuit of Oola. I knew who I needed to call.
I walked outside and looked at my neighbor's door, which was dented from the battering ram. I remember thinking that the door looked like I felt. I walked through the rhythm of the lights from the police car reflecting off the buildings around me and made my way to an alley protected from the wind. I remember it was cold outside, but I was not cold. I was humbled, ashamed, and oddly optimistic all at the same time.
I had the phone in my hand, hoping to gain the courage to make that call. I knew this was the call I needed to make. I felt it. With vulnerability I called the OolaGuru.
The call was exactly the call I needed to make at exactly the time I needed to make it. I hadn't spoken with the OolaGuru in quite a while. Miles and months had come between us, and this one phone call revealed how our paths had diverged. At one time we were almost of one mind. We had similar dreams, goals, and aspirations. But while my life hit rock bottom, the OolaGuru seemed to have it all.
The OolaGuru is a very private guy. He's far from shy, but his anonymity is based in humility. He listens more than he talks. And, let's just say that he has what most of the world wants. He has always been the guy in the group we looked to when we wanted to up our game, in any category of life.
He was completely debt free by the age of 40, he has been married to the same gal (whom he met in kindergarten, by the way) for more than 22 years, he formally retired at 42, and now does what he wants, when he wants.
I remember when he couldn't run a mile. He then set his mind to it, and began running marathons, and even completed an Ironman. He spends a ton of time with his kids, and works on his faith, dare I say, faithfully.
His personal passion is travel, and he has been to 50 countries and counting. Sounds like fiction, but he is the OolaGuru.
When I called him, he was at his winter home in Arizona. I did most of the talking, and he did most of the listening. I needed to talk, and he was good at listening. After an hour of dumping my problems on him, all I can remember him saying was, "Well, I think you have found the bottom. The good news is it's only up from here!"
He then told me a story about how they design a car so you can see both in front of you and behind you. They provide a rearview mirror, which is small, but adequate. The front windshield is large and unobstructed. It's designed so you can easily see what's ahead. He pointed out how the views ahead and behind are designed to scale. You do need to look behind you, but only briefly, from time to time. The majority of your energy and focus, however, should be on the windshield in front of you.
In that moment, I learned that my life is the same way. I do need to look at my past, but only briefly from time to time, and only to learn from it. The majority of my time should be spent looking forward, planning where I am going.
The purpose of this book is clear. We want to lead you to an OolaLife. We want to show you what Oola looks and feels like, and how to get there.
We will define Oola and share our stories regarding our different paths to Oola. The heart of the book is the 7 F's of Oola. Here we will clearly define the seven areas of life that deserve balance and growth.
We will identify the seven roadblocks that can get in the way of the life you want, and introduce the seven accelerators that can get you the OolaLife faster. We will close the book with the three simple steps to the OolaLife.
We will provide two perspectives to educate, entertain, and inspire you on your journey. One perspective will be from the OolaSeeker, who once had Oola, lost Oola, and is now committed to getting his Oola back.
Another perspective is that of the OolaGuru, who is committed to the OolaLife.
By opening up and sharing our true stories, knowledge, and experiences, we hope to inspire you to pursue a life that is balanced and growing. An OolaLife is worth the effort and pursuit. Please hear us, that regardless of where you are in life, and what's in your rearview mirror, you are worthy of better ... you are worthy of Oola. Congratulations on this noble pursuit.