There was a time in my life when I lost absolutely everything. I was devastated. Not only was this devastating to my finances, my sense of self-worth, and my sense of purpose but also to those I loved most—my family. I went through a bankruptcy, lost all of my friends, experienced a very painful divorce, and lost my job and my public standing.  

I was in a place of absolute and utter despair. It was so awful that I actually contemplated suicide. If you know me, you know I’m a very positive, buoyant, and happy-go-lucky person.  

And yet, the depression and anxiety gripped my soul; I couldn’t leave my house; I didn’t want to talk to anybody. And I ended up having a failed suicide attempt. And at that moment, lying on the floor in my condo, realizing how I lost everything, I started asking myself, “What is the reason I have to live and keep on going?” 

Finding Meaning in the Mess

I want to talk about the meaning in the mess. When I was in that place of darkness, despair, and depression, I decided I didn’t want to do to my kids what had been done to me. I was abused and abandoned as a child; in fact, my dad walked out when I was really young (I don’t even have any recollection of him). And I didn’t want to give that awful curse to my children.  


I wanted to give them a vibrant and fulfilling life. And in that moment of discovering my purpose that I chose to live. Now, I don’t know what you’re going through right now, but I’ll tell you what, when I went through those dark moments, I found 3 things that kept me alive. And this is the meaning in the mess I want to share with you today. 

  1. My Dysfunction Does Not Determine My Destiny

So many people go through life thinking their dysfunction (whatever they’ve gone through) determines their destiny.  

“If I was abused, I’m going to become abusive.” 


“If I was abandoned, I’ll probably abandon someone else.” 


“If I was raised in an alcoholic home, I’ll most likely become an alcoholic.” 


Let me tell you, I’ve experienced all of these things. And so this comes from personal experience when I say you don’t have to let dysfunction dictate your destiny. Just because you’ve experienced it doesn’t mean you have to reproduce it.  


You can rise up; you can become somebody new; you can make a decision about what kind of person you want to be.  

  1. My Past Does Not Determine My Present

Many times people say they aren’t succeeding because of the stuff they’ve done, the mistakes they’ve made, or the things that have happened to them. Now, I’m not belittling any of the stuff you’ve experienced but let me give you a word of encouragement. What you have been through is nothing compared to where you’re going to. There is a destiny and a purpose for your life!  


Now, I know what my purpose is; it’s to Live, to Love, to Matter, to Serve, to Give, and to Lead. That’s my purpose—what’s yours? Many people struggle with this concept because they’re so busy focusing on: 


  • The past and the pain associated with it 
  • The hard things that have happened 
  • The difficult situations they’ve endured 
  • The dysfunction that consumes them 


Your purpose awaits; however, it’ll be much more difficult to step into it if you have these mental battles consuming your mind. What you gotta do is do what I did at that moment I was laying on the floor in my condo, and that is dig deep enough to discover your purpose. And even more important… Understand that your past does not determine your present.  

  1. My Future is About My Flourishing 

Flourishing is this idea of not only feeling good but also performing good. You can feel good but still not perform good; you can also perform good but not feel good. Feeling and performing come together in this beautiful concept we call Flourishing. Now, flourishing starts on the inside. What that means is you find your sense of purpose, belonging, and relationship. But then what happens is it evolves from an inside job to an outside job. This allows you to flourish in: 

  • Life
  • Relationships 
  • Career 
  • Business 
  • Health  


When I think about finding meaning in the mess, I think about that moment I lost my sense of purpose and dignity—I forgot about the business potential that was in me. Now, I’m happy to say, since then, I’ve built a multi-million dollar coaching and speaking business that I’ve been able to reproduce again and again year after year for over a decade.  


But at that moment, I had completely forgotten about that. I forgot about my destiny, my potential, and the purpose that was in my life. And part of the problem was that my pain was so overwhelming that I stopped seeing my potential.  


I stopped seeing the tribe that was all around me. And so what I want to encourage you to think about is this; who is in your life right now?  


  • Who can encourage you to step into your greatness? 
  • Who can bring life back to your dreams? 
  • Who can reawaken your hope and desire for more? 
  • Who can support you? 
  • Who can call you higher?


    If you’re going to go higher, often times, you need to trade the people who are around you for the people you want to emulate. I think this is one of the hardest things about growth. But the hard truth is you can’t do all the things you’ve always done, hanging with all the people you’ve hung around with if you want more for yourself.  


    You need to get around people who will challenge you; you can’t hang around with the same buddies who are going to rub your back and tell you that your life is all good. You have to find a new group of people who will call you higher—your future depends on finding those people.  

    Final Thoughts – Don’t Flourish Alone 

    Here’s what I want to say as I conclude this: Don’t try to flourish alone; flourishing is never a solo project. If you want to find meaning in the mess, you have to move from where you are to where you want to be by getting the support that you need. So if you’re ready to flourish, contact us today to learn more.  

    About The Author

    Abe Brown, MBA, CMCT, CPHSA is the Coach’s Coach, and is an Entrepreneur, Professional Speaker, International Best-Selling Author, and High-Performance Leadership Coach. He is the founder of Certified Flourishing Coaching™, the Flourishing Life Coaching Program™, and Flourishing Workplace. Abe is also the author of the Certified Flourishing Coaching™ Programs.

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