“There is no education like adversity.” Sir Benjamin Disraeli
Every September, I am reminded of what was one of the toughest periods of time for my wife Carol and me. That journey is a powerful and emotional story told in my new book, The BET.
“On September 12, 1979, our fragile life took a turn that we did not anticipate. We went from a bad financial situation to complete disaster. September 12th was the day Hurricane Frederic (“Freddy”) roared into Mobile, causing indescribable damage. Trees lined the streets with powerlines down throughout the City of Mobile. Commercial buildings were damaged or completely destroyed. The city looked like it had been hit by a giant tornado. Decades later, it remains on record as one of the worst hurricanes to hit the Gulf Coast.
At the time of Freddy, our company consisted of just one single operation. Our business operated from our home because we did not have enough money to rent office space. We lived from check-to-check. We had food on the table and rented a small home.”
The disaster of Hurricane Frederic and the subsequent challenges eventually had almost worn us down. We faced bankruptcy.
“For a month, I probably did not sleep over two hours each night. Each day would begin with the thinking that it might be the last day of operation. The last thought before my eyes closed for sleep was that this might have been our last day. Finally, I could stand it no longer. Walking in from a delivery run, I told Carol that we needed to sit down and talk. She did not need an explanation. She knew the topic and what was coming.”
Frederic represents one of the toughest journeys that Carol and I ever experienced. It also represents one of the best gifts we ever received. We came to understand the power of belief during that fateful time.
“If you can succeed, when all the odds are against that success, your life is never going to be the same. To see victory and know in your heart that you will win, when seemingly everything is a loss, is to change your life in a way that can never be unchanged.”
Frederic tested us in every way we could be tested. Carol and I passed that test. How? Belief. Unwavering belief. Belief is seeing the invisible. What cannot be seen with our eyes.
The toughest challenges we may face in life may also become the best gifts we will ever receive. Our strength going forward is often developed in these moments. Such was the case for Carol and me. We were blessed in the early part of our marriage despite dealing with one of the most difficult times in our life. And the challenges we faced eventually paved the way for much of the success we have enjoyed.
Today, I will embrace the challenges I face.
Tomorrow, I will be stronger.