Opportunity often presents itself in the weirdest ways.
Just when we think life is over, we can find a glimmer of hope that leads us to a new opportunity if we will look for it. You just have to look away from the tragedy you are facing long enough to see the opportunity. Prison was that way for us. It wasn’t prison that made us better. Prison was the most terrible experience my family has ever endured, and yet it opened the door for the most amazing opportunities for us to grow closer and stronger together. Like I said, opportunities can be weird. It took prison for us to fight for our marriage, family, and legacy.
Today, as I talk about the next step in the Cycle of Self-Improvement, I am reminded of the incredible ways my family has grown since Ron first went to prison. It was during those 15 years that we learned to find the courage, hope, and perseverance we needed to stay together as a family. We learned so much about ourselves and each other in the midst of the pain. Most importantly, we learned how to connect to each other and help each other along the way. Nothing compares to the deep bond we formed through those difficult years. And what we have today is—I can hardly believe I can even say this, but it is true—worth the price we paid. It is worth every dollar invested in visits, phone calls, and stamps. It is worth every long drive, every early morning, and every tearful good-bye after visits to all the different prisons they moved Ron to across Ohio.
"We rebuilt our family culture in the midst of living out a prison sentence."
You can make it through the crazy world of prison and come out stronger and closer than you ever imagined. Knowing and navigating through all the phases to achieve your dreams is all it takes. I have shared all the steps in the process of moving into healing and a creating a new legacy by breaking the negative cycles in previous blog posts. If you haven’t read the posts on each level of Self-Destruction, you really need to, so you will understand the journey you are taking and the dangers that lie in getting stuck.
I also shared the first 2 phases of the Cycle of Self-Improvement – Recognize and Renew. These are huge steps toward your future! As you move through each of those phases, you are being prepared for the next level – Rebuild. Rebuilding is the process of healing your reputation, relationships, and radius. All these things have been damaged or destroyed by your actions and now by prison. This phase is where you must step out in faith and begin to believe your own live can be changed. You are awake to your influence in the lives of your children and community. What you do matters. When you believe you can change the future, you will act on that belief and begin to rebuild. Rebuilding involves a lot of effort and confidence.
Rebuilding relationships, reputations, and your radius will create a catalyst that will move you toward achieving your dreams. When I use the word “relationships” I am talking about your family members. This includes your parents, siblings, children, and spouse. Rebuilding relationships with them is the hardest of all because their response to you is outside of your control. Perseverance! Do not give up.
Remember that when you were stuck in the negative cycles, you were taking and making everything personal!
If someone did or didn’t do something your expected them to do, you were offended and angry. You either lashed out or you rejected them, because everything was about you. Now, you need to rebuild that relationship with trust, patience, and caring. Reestablishing trust and rapport will not happen quickly. Don’t get discouraged if it is taking longer than you had hoped. Keep practicing DTIP (Don’t Take It Personal) in your life.
Your consistency in living up to what you profess will convince them your change is real.
Changing your reputations will begin to happen as you work toward healing your relationships. Because relationships are tough, you will be developing the character necessary to sustain your new legacy as you invest in making your relationships healthy. Word spreads fast. People share how they are treated by others. As the word gets out, your reputation will begin to be rebuilt. At first, others will talk about what you used to do compared to what you are doing now. Sadly, most people won’t believe that your change is real. They’ll think this will be temporary because they can’t see what you have already overcome to get to this point in your journey. Your reputation will slowly begin to become better and better as your relationships become stronger and stronger. Once you have repaired your reputation and redeveloped it, your opportunities will grow.
This leads to the final rebuilding – rebuilding your radius. Your radius is the circle of influence and impact you have. When you create chaos (live in denial, anger, or grief) you minimize your sphere of influence. Others cannot take you at your word and don’t seek your advice or counsel. But as you rebuild your relationships and reputation, your radius will increase. As you remain steadfast and consistent, it becomes obvious that a change has taken place, and you will be seen as authentic. People are drawn to authentic people they trust. Rebuilding creates a foundation for family strength and opens doors for opportunities.
Rebuilding creates a foundation for family strength and opens doors for opportunities.
The really important thing for me to point out is that if we had NOT looked up, we never would have seen the opportunity to change and grow. Maybe this goes without saying, but prison does not automatically create positive change. If we had not looked up from the cause of our pain, we never would have seen a better way to live. Then, like so many millions before us, our story would have ended tragically as we would have been stuck in the cycles of self-destruction. Recognizing, Renewing, and Rebuilding are vital phases to master to move beyond prison into your purpose. As you rebuild your relationships, reputation, and radius, you will be building the foundation for your dreams and your family’s success. Keep going. Do not give up. You can do this. We thank God every day that He rescued us out of that pit of despair. He set our feet on solid ground and made His plan for our lives plain.
I am rooting for you!