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  • Writer's pictureJake

Up From The Ashes

Lessons learned from surviving the worst, only to experience the best!

Amateur Lifestyle was born in the mindset of a depressed and disparaged man who, hesitantly must admit that for a moment, wondered if living a happy and successful life would be possible for him. That man is me and from falling forward, cutting out the negativity, working hard and making critical decisions that no one else was capable or willing to make, I am relieved to say that I feel like I am finally on the up and up, I’ve made it, I am stable and I feel great!

I have always been one to believe that no matter what entity or being you find faith in, there are universal laws that govern all our lives. These laws, despite our best efforts to outsmart them, bind us all to the inevitability of our final fated destinies. The good thing is that I also believe that these laws give us our own free will to use them as we wish and to ultimately determine our successes, our triumphs, our happiness but also our destruction or demise. I think it is important and inevitable that we experience both sides of this cosmic contraption that governs us through time. It is only by being burned in the ashes of defeat that we can learn to protect and grow the embers in our hearts into an unstoppable force that blazes us upward toward our desired destinies.

In my own experience, I can trace the beginning of my adult life back to my 200 square foot apartment in Lincoln Park where I decided that my circumstances would not dictate my future. I would have to retreat from Chicago, rally my forces and then launch a new campaign for conquest. This time I would be smarter, I would work harder and I would not let anything come between me and my success. This put me in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I found opportunity in my new property management role to lead and inspire others and to taste success. We led my property to outperform the market and amid a sale of the property, I found myself promoted to the ultimate position of leadership, the General Property Manager. Nothing in my life to that point could have prepared me for the enormous responsibility that would be thrust upon my shoulders. In this moment, I again would be lying if I said that I did not doubt myself, especially at the outset of the property sale.

I found my ability to lead in the necessity to lead. I did it because I had to, there was no other option other than to do. I needed to lead a staff of 25 through a messy transition of ownership and management with virtually no other professional full time staff for support. I was a general without any lieutenants. From this point, I felt the need to rally and inspire my troops for support and fortunately there were some who rose to the occasion.

In the end, I successfully saw the property through the transition and effectively prepared it for the upcoming year, both processes known to be especially messy in student housing. It was a messy job and some of the decisions that I had to make in order to get us across the finish line may be worthy of their own post one day. I learned what it meant to lead, what it meant to have people depend solely on your ability to perform and how to politically navigate the troubled waters of corporate America. In the last year, I can say that I have had an unexpected adventure and I surely am not the same man who showed up in Baton Rouge a year ago.

I now write from my new position in my new city, Athens, Georgia where my next adventure inevitably awaits around the corner. As new man, I can take on my new challenges expertly because I was forged in the fire of doubt and despair. I have risen up from the ashes and I can only go up from here. I know what the bottom feels like and I cannot forget that feeling. It is in remembering the boy in Lincoln Park that I continually construct the man who now sits in Athens. From here, there is really no telling how far I can go but if I have it my way, I am going to continue upward, from the ashes.

Follow me on Spotify for my New Playlist: Up From the Ashes. Look for a new post next week about coming Up From The Ashes and what I have learned about starting so many new jobs and how to make yourself valuable and reliable!

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