Lessons from my Losses, Part 1

Hi guys, Franklin Cruz here – REI Drill Sergeant and Mentor …

Today I want to share a personal story that taught me that you should embrace your past mistakes and use them as tools to craft yourself into a better person.

Most of you know I’m out there in the trenches of the investing world doing deals all day long and that I am passionate about teaching others. As a coach, I let my students walk along with me and I help them do deals. Most of them go out there and do amazing things and I am extremely proud of my students’ success rate.

There’s Some Crazy in Every Bunch

But, there are always 1 or 2 crazy bananas out there that you are going to encounter – who you just can’t make happy. As a coach, I expect this, but recently I crossed paths with a really nasty banana – a disgruntled, former student of mine. Mr. Crazy Banana decided to dig into my public records and used some rough patches in my life to discredit me by trying to prove that I am a bad guy that’s not fit to lead others as a mentor.

What Mr. Crazy Banana didn’t realize is the points in my life he is trying to use to discredit me are actually my points of strength

These invaluable lessons from the past are what shaped me and continue to shape me today. I am completely unashamed of these things and actually like to share with others the important lessons I have learned.

(Personal) Mistakes that Shaped Me

Okay, here goes…

My wife and I were going through a very bitter divorce. I was at the lowest point in my life. I didn’t care about my highly successful real estate business and it totally fell apart, my kids were seeing the whole ordeal unravel, and I was severely depressed and borderline suicidal. I was done. I didn’t want to do anything anymore.

At this point, we had racked up $200,000 in debt and we had been separated for a year. I was sleeping on my father’s floor – not because there wasn’t anywhere else to sleep, but because I truly hated myself and I didn’t think I deserved any better. Yea, it was that bad. As I was falling apart, my 2 year-old and 9 year-old sons watched – and that made me hate myself even more. I was in a really, really bad place...

Then about a year in (when the divorce is about to be finalized) my future ex-wife and I were at court and the judge says, “Hey, your divorce is about to be final. Everything has been finalized and you will be officially divorced next week.” So we parted ways with plans to reconvene the following week to make it official.

When I got home, one of my buddies called and asked me to go with him to take one of those ‘get out of the dumps and improve your life’ courses in Fort Lauderdale. I told him no because I had already taken an 18-week course, 5-week course, 4-week course, and a week long serenity course. None of it seemed to help. It was pointless.

So my buddy says, “Hey man I will pay your whole way there and if you don’t get anything from the course, I will give you an extra $1,000.” So, yeah, I went. Let me tell you, I am so glad I did because this seminar totally changed my life around.

Aha Moment

I called my -wife and said, “Hey, I just want you to know that I take full responsibility for my actions and I’m sorry I didn’t before.” I explained that I was at a self-help workshop and it would mean the world to me if she would come to my graduation.

She came and she saw how committed I was to making the necessary changes in my life. In fact, she signed up for the next seminar and I came to her graduation. Afterwards, we took a walk on the beach, and we were actually communicating. We realized we still loved each other and that instead of getting a divorce, we were going to reinvent our marriage.

Fighting fires is what made us stronger and we morphed into better people.

Today, we are happily married. We look back at that time in our lives as the critical point that shaped us – we learned more about ourselves, our own marriage and marriage in general. In fact here is a cool video I shared in 2011 about the lessons I learned (way before Mr. Crazy Banana).

The Takeaways

Here’s the deal…

Your past should make you better, not bitter.

Take it as any soldier in battle would take it – as a wound. Look back later at the scar and say, “This is what I learned and this is why I am stronger because of it…”

Don’t hide from your past or be ashamed of it.

No matter how rocky it is, let it shape you and be a part of your story. It’s what you do with your story – whether you let it be a demon that haunts you or whether you let that it be a source of strength – that propels you and encourages others.

Hopefully this was a good introduction and reminder to not let stuff get you down, but to learn and press on ahead…

Coming up in Part 2, the follow up to this post, I’m going to tell you how I almost got arrested, twice, during this period of my life and how that really taught me a few lessons that make me who I am today.

It’s been a pleasure.

Until next time…

Franklin Cruz

PS. Got a Mentor?

Whatcha Think?

Do you have a down in the dumps story that turned you into a better person? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

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