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The Lost Boy Scout

Updated: Sep 24, 2023

Act 1

I had a lot of privileges growing up. But I often felt insecure. Even still, I wonder how to tell my story and which parts are worth sharing. It will resonate and make a difference for someone looking to find a sense of strength and resilience. As a coach, you can only take your clients as deep as you have gone. The spirit of reflection on my experience has been the key to my learning.


I don't remember much about my childhood. I have flashes of memories, some positive and some very negative. Both my parents loved me in their own capacity. That is to say that they were dealing with the trauma of their own incompleteness. My parents were married young, and as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, this is an accepted practice. That is to say that when two incomplete people come together without solid identities and with an outside influence like a religion, the religion acts as a crutch, filling the void of personal identity with the veneer of love shadowed with shame and guilt. Ultimately broken people create little broken people. Large parts of my childhood have been disassociated; my brain pulls up a 404 error when recalling birthdays and past events. My parents divorced when I was 8 years old.


I felt a deep pain of loneliness; the world was cold. My container and sense of self were cracked. My abandonment left me feeling lonely and obsessed with being chosen. Being chosen became an addiction. I became a prostitute to people pleasing; I served a mission for a church I did not believe in for a hit of validation. I wanted to be loved but did not think I was enough or worthy of love. I said and did things so that other people would like me, and then I resented them.


Post-LDS mission, I quickly found and married the woman of my dreams. Here is an actual poem I wrote about my first encounter:


Captured by her eyes; In them, a connection to the Infinite; A gateway to all intelligence; The desire for harmonious coordination.


I'm so romantic.


We married after a three-month courtship at the age of 19 and 21, respectively, in the Denver LDS Temple. We lived in LDS "harmony" for 11 years. Harmony is in quotes because the church was a crutch for my incompleteness. I used God as a way of absolving myself of any responsibility for developing and living by my own principles and values; who needs those when you can answer everything with empty platitudes. In 2010 a sister-in-law reintroduced my wife and me to some content I had long since dissociated from.


Act 2

I was introduced to Ed Decker and Dave Hunt's movie adaptation of the God Makers on my LDS mission. Widely considered anti-Mormon propaganda God Makers was taboo and nearly impossible to find in the culture of my youth, But this was 2010, the sunrise of the Internet of things 2.0, and the information age was in full effect. Enter Google, Facebook, and Mormonthink. It did not take long for the veneer to start to crumble by this point in my life; The church's narcissistic traits and tactics were becoming more apparent to me. (here are a few if you need some help identifying them: groupthink, superiority and entitlement, lack of boundaries, splitting, and using fear, shame, and guilt as teaching tactics.). When my wife approached me with her desire to leave the church, I initially put up a fight. I had seen other couples in our situation and the void of removing this institution from their homes. I was likely still operating from the cognitive delusion that the church monopolized happiness. Subconsciously I was still needing to be accepted. The culture of the church was the majority of my identity. My partner and I clasped hands and boldly left the church institution together to start Act 2.


"Your God is a manifestation of your own level of consciousness. In choosing your God, you choose the way you look at the Universe. There are plenty of Gods; choose yours. The God that you choose is the God that you deserve." ~ Joseph Campbell

Post-exit, I felt a new connection to self, or so my ego would have me believe. I was lost; I did not realize the toxic traits that I had picked up from broken institutions and personalized as "self." I have never understood my purpose in life, as I was so used to sacrificing for the sake of others. Growing up in a household divided by my parent's divorce, I felt a lot of pressure to take sides and make decisions that would please them both—something that seemed almost impossible. This has had a lasting effect on me, causing me to often second-guess my choices and not feel confident in making decisions. Without knowing what I truly want and what will be best for me, it's difficult for me to find direction or meaning in life.


When I help someone achieve a goal, there is comfort in knowing that at least one person is satisfied with what I am doing. However, this also leads to feeling taken advantage of and worthless, as if nothing I do can ever truly benefit me personally. Furthermore, the sense of powerlessness only reinforces my hesitation when making decisions and pursuing long-term objectives. I was constantly seeking validation from those around me, trying to gain some semblance of control.


ACT 3

"I want a divorce." Hit me at a low point in my career and family life. I now had to confront the words I had worked so hard to avoid. Was the love-struck lightning I had felt for her so many years before just dysfunction? I had spent many years allowing other people's values to dictate my life. Life was happening to me. I didn't know where to start rebuilding myself. But something had to change. Out of respect for my former partner, her story will remain hers. I will say that I was a miserable fuck, and when you seek a partner while in fight or flight, you seek from your childhood attachments because it is all you know. When you are in fight or flight, you rely on your instincts; they are not always healthy for you.


I was at an impasse. I could fall into old behavior patterns and succumb to the fear of making choices, or I could man in and start taking a good honest look at who and what I was becoming. At the time of our divorce mediation, I was recommended several books as well as confronted with the need to seek some professional help. As men, we rarely seek out help; this is a stigma that needs to change. 85% of the homeless population is men. Men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women. Why are we, as men, so reluctant to seek help?


Reflecting on my journey, I am proud of the discipline that allowed me to experience true freedom. Jocko Willink's phrase resonates with me deeply - "discipline equals freedom" - and I find it more powerful daily. I share this story to help guide others on their path to success. Even if you feel inadequate or overwhelmed, don't be afraid to find yourself. Through resilience and strength, we can achieve much more.


So take a step back, reflect on who you are and your goals, then determine what actions need to be taken to move forward. Remember to reach out and seek help when needed- whether through therapy or coaching sessions; having a second set of eyes can provide invaluable perspective. As well as connecting with friends, family, and communities that support positive connections based upon growth mindset principles. If you'd like additional guidance on how to get started on this journey, feel free to book a coaching session, follow our podcast for motivational lessons and advice and connect with our community for support.


By committing to growth through self-discovery, one can unlock the kind of internal freedom led by discipline which will bring forth greater opportunities even when things seem impossible at first glance. So search within yourself for resilience and power; it will be worth your effort in the end!

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