Personal Growth Series: 3 of 5

Let’s skip a few years and get to my more recent experience.  In 2005 I officially started my personal growth journey and later in 2006 I participated in the Landmark Forum.  At the time I was completely frustrated with my career and needed a change.  I changed alright, but it didn’t happen the way I expected.

2005, Career Change Inevitable

In was 2005 and at that time I had been working as an engineer for about four years.  I wanted to leave the profession, but I felt stuck.  I kept thinking, “there has got to be more to life than this.”  I felt empty inside.  I didn’t feel like my life had any meaning.

You see, I went to school for 5 years.  Four years of academics plus one year of work experience during my undergraduate studies.  I felt guilty with the idea of leaving a profession where I spent so much time preparing and learning.  It seemed like a waste.  So instead of doing something about it, I remained idle and miserable.

At the time Trisha began to catch on.  She new something was up so we started talking.  I remember our conversation as clear as day.  Trisha and I were talking in the car on our drive up to Sudbury.

Trisha: “Steve, are you unhappy?  What seems to be the matter?”

Steve: “I hate working as a project manager and engineer.  There is something missing, something else I should be doing.”

Trisha: “Well, what do you want to do?”

Steve: “I don’t know.  Something else, not what I’m doing now.”

You see, I knew there was something else I should have been doing.  I just didn’t know what it was.

Shortly after this I decided to start reading again.  Months had gone by and I hadn’t read much of anything.  I didn’t have much of a library at the time so I decided to visit a good fiend of mine, Francois.

I hadn’t seen Francois in years and we started to reconnect.  We caught up and talked about career, family, money, just about everything; you know life.  And at the end of that conversation I told him that I was looking for something new to read.  That’s when Francois handed me a copy of Think & Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.

I read his book in a week.  And at the end of that week I couldn’t stop talking about it.  It had completely changed my way of thinking.  I had literally aspired to a new way of thought.  I felt that things were beginning to move in the right direction for me.

2006, Landmark Education

Fast forward a few months.  Six months had gone by and I was studying.  I was reading all sorts of books from Anthony Robbins, Dale Carnegie and other success giants.  I was reading for the pure joy of it.  I was learning so much and I started to fall in love with the ideas I was learning.  I was feeling good so I kept on reading the stuff.

It was in January of 2006 that my friend Francois talked to me about Landmark Education.  He told me about this course and how he thought I might benefit from it.

You see, my friend Francois was a shy guy around women.  He could speak to woman, but he hadn’t mastered the dating scene.  He just wasn’t the “laddies man,” if you get what I’m saying. Well, he took the Landmark Forum curriculum and started sharing it with me.

And after taking that course I saw some pictures of him on his 30th birthday.  It had only been a few months since the course and he was completely transformed.  He was just surrounded with all these girls in these pictures.  I was so happy for him! 

He went from shy-guy to ladies man and  I remember thinking, “Well, I don’t have problems with girls, but if it helped him with women, maybe it could help me with my career.”

Conversations with Dad

I come from an Italian background.  Both my parents were born in Italy.

My dad and I used to have an interesting relationship.  We used to have these conversations.  And in these conversations my dad thought he was right and I thought I was right.  We both thought we were right.

You see, this was a real big problem.  Here, you have two grown men who think they’re both right, so then nobody is listening.  Not much communication going on there.  We did that for years.

When I played hockey when I was younger I heard my dad point out all those mistakes I made on the ice.  I always heard the corrections I could have made, but I never heard him say how good I was doing.  I never heard him say he was proud of me.  It doesn’t mean he didn’t say it, I just never heard him say it.

When I was growing up we didn’t say the words “I love you.”  It wasn’t normal for us to do that.  This isn’t good or bad, right or wrong, it’s just the way it was.  We just didn’t say those words in our family.  We didn’t fully express ourselves verbally.  We expressed ourselves in other ways that were non-verbal.

2006, Landmark Forum

In March 2006 I participated in the Landmark Forum.  It’s a Saturday and I phone my dad.  I’m at the course and I’m really nervous to speak with him.  I was really scared.  So I get on the phone and my mom answers:

Mom: “Hi Steve, how are you?”

Steve: “Oh, hey mom.  < relief > I was calling to speak with dad, but I guess he isn’t around.”

Dad: < on another line > “Hey Steve, it’s your dad.  What’s up?”

Steve: < sweating like crazy > “Oh, hey dad.  Well, there is something I wanted to tell you

……… < long pause >……….

Steve: I just realized that it must have been really tough for you and mom to raise me when you were young.  I mean, you were in your early 20’s and you had so much responsibility.  It must have been hard.  I just wanted to tell you that you did a great job raising me and that I’m responsible for raising myself from now on.  I also wanted to let you know that I care for you and that I love you very much.”

Dad: “Well, your mom and I want you to know that we are really proud of you and your brother.”

Create a New Way of Being

That one statement totally changed my life.  I had a huge mental shift in attitude and perspective.  I was in so much shock after I heard those words.  Shock and relief at the same time.  I was so happy to hear my dad say those words.  I felt loved.

Why am I telling you this?

Today, I listen to my dad a lot differently.

You see, my dad and I have an awesome connection today.  We really do.  I’m so happy and grateful that he is a part of my life because he is a great person and he does great things.  We’re going to be going skiing over the Christmas holidays and we haven’t done this in years.  I love my dad, he’s just so awesome.

I’m pretty lucky.  I’ve connected with some amazing people in my life.  I’m very fortunate.  Here is a picture of my dad and I at Niargara Falls when I was just a little tyke.

What does this have to do with you?

This has everything to do with you.  You see your relationships are a reflection of who you are in them.  If you don’t listen to others, they won’t listen to you.  If you talk too much, others will talk too much.  Every person in your life is a reflection of you.

It can also work the other way.  If you’re very loving and gentle, then others will be loving and gentle.  If you are compassionate and a great listener, then others will be compassionate and a great listener for you.  It has everything to do with you and your life.  It all begins with you.

When you begin to really love the person you are, you can start to love others.  You can’t give what you don’t have.  You’ve got to start to nourish and cherish yourself, then you can have fulfilling connections with others.

The words that I said to my dad; they couldn’t have come from me, unless I felt them for myself first.

Be Honest with Yourself

The starting point of any relationship begins with you.  If you want to connect with family, it starts with you.  If you want to improve your friendships, it begins with you.

If you’re someone who consistently struggles with relationships, then you want to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself:  Who am I being in this relationship?

When you’ve got that answered, you’ll transform every one of your relationships.  If you don’t know the answer then I suggest you go to the people in your life and ask them the very same question: Who am I being in this relationship?

If you want to learn more about Landmark Education, check out this movie from the founder of Landmark:  Transformation: The Life and Legacy of Werner Erhard

To continue reading the series, see: Personal Growth Series: 4 of 5


loving life, loving everything and most importantly loving YOU.


  • Tony Mayo

    Reply Reply December 23, 2008

    Great sharing! The Landmark Forum, in 1991, also set me on the path to a great, self-generated life as an executive coach to CEOs and their teams. I appreciate your site.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply December 23, 2008

    Hey Tony,

    thanks so much!

  • Hani Mourra

    Reply Reply December 23, 2008

    Great site Steve…love the pics!

  • Steve

    Reply Reply December 23, 2008

    thanks Hani

  • ahmed

    Reply Reply August 27, 2011

    Hi Steve,
    I am surprised after i read your story because i am the same.i am a veterinarian and worked for 5 years .And after those years i found that i am not interested in this career path .I want to stop this and start over in a new career that reflect me.I am interested in personal improvement articles,books and websites 4 years ago.And i think i am in love with this field.Plus i am a good communicator and can Teach others.I know what i love but the Question is HOW??
    I need a Road map or A plan to start this career.

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