By Lonny Reardon
As a kid in Newfoundland, Canada, I grew up through some very hard times. My dad was an alcoholic, we were poor, and I saw many terrible things that a child should never see. As a result, I had a lot of shame in my life and, as I grew older, I tried to prove myself to others because I felt unworthy.
I focused on activities like weightlifting and wrestling in high school, and won many medals in wrestling. Then, at the age of 18, I competed in a weightlifting sport called powerlifting and ranked first in Newfoundland at a professional level. However, in retrospect, I can now see that these accomplishments were more about compensating for my shame and insecurity than anything else.
Although my exterior was tough and physically fit, I have always had a very big heart filled with compassion and empathy. There is nothing I enjoy more than making people happy and seeing them smile. I can walk into a room and sense—very strongly—the emotions of others. However, I sometimes think my heart is too big. When I was young, I found myself embarrassed at times because I would cry from watching something emotional on TV; it just wasn’t something that “guys” did.
All my life I had a huge sense of purpose—to help others—but I was never sure how to do it. As a teenager, people always came to me to talk and get advice. Some told me I would make a great motivational speaker, and I even considered becoming a psychologist. I just knew I wanted to do something to help others.
As I got older, however, life took me in a different direction. I ended up going to college for business administration. A few years later, I went back to school for computer technology.
There was a time when I was well-off financially, I guess you could say, with two houses and a couple of cars, basically everything I needed or wanted. I had great jobs: I was a supervisor and then I worked for another company where I served as a process training coordinator. The latter was a high-paying position where I oversaw the training of all the new process operators in my area.
Despite my achievements, my life was a roller coaster ride. I got married, had two beautiful children and went through a long, drawn-out divorce. I later had another relationship, lived common law and had another beautiful child. Then we ended up going our separate ways, too. While going through the divorce, I lost everything and, as a result, I went through depression and anxiety for many years.
Now here I am, back in school for office administration, working to gain more knowledge, get my confidence back and surround myself with people—which is something I love. I am also pursuing my passion to help others as a Life Coach.
I have found that the key to moving past difficult times is to frame them as learning experiences rather than negative experiences.
I believe strongly that we are pushed to set new goals in life through our experiences. Right now, for example, I have lost most of my material possessions, yet I am finding my true Self. I am alone—something that I have been scared of my entire life—yet I find myself happy. Sure, I would like to meet someone new and fall in love, but know that I need to first love myself before I can share love with another. I kept attracting the wrong partners just to fill a void in my life because I did not have the confidence to realize that the only person who can fill the void in my own life is me. I needed to stop repeating the same cycle and focus inward.
Over the past 10 years, through many hard times, I have been doing a great deal of soul searching. I also have conducted a lot of research in psychology and neurology; read many books; taken several online courses in Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), hypnotherapy, self-esteem and confidence building and public speaking; and completed Life Coach training.
I am now at a place in my life where I see myself at the bottom of the mountain with a purpose in my life, happiness in my heart and the readiness to climb to the top—with nothing other than the knowledge and tools I have received. I am sure I will reach the summit, but I always remind myself and others I coach that a climb is the best part of any journey.
Lonny Reardon is now following his passion and dreams as a Life Coach. A lifelong learner dedicated to improving the lives of others, he currently is working on offering services that combine both his fitness background and life coaching. He is determined to help people better their lives by having a balance of mind, body and spirit. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit www.lonnyreardon.com.