Seven years ago, upon completion of a life-changing, two-year sabbatical that concluded with the realization that middle age had been reached. I was fifty-seven years old and had beat many negative medical situations. I began slowly losing weight and realized that physically I was becoming younger through becoming healthier.
The main reason for the sabbatical was to allow me to study and examine my own spirituality as a Christian Minister along with the time and solitude to finally complete advanced academic degree requirements in Theology and Divinity. During this timeframe many people began reaching out to me. They want to thank me for helping change their lives in one way or another.
At first, I took the complements and thanked them for reaching out. I didn’t really acknowledge how much of an impact my being had on them. As expected, some were in response to my book “Successful Sober House.” However, as more people began to contact me with praise that was not related to my sobriety programs a different realization set in. I became overjoyed listening to those whom I deliberately helped through my life’s journey, sober related or not.
Then the unexpected and most amazing were and are those who have never met me. As I listen to their stories it moves me so emotionally that I am in awe. I am shocked that I have had such an impact on so many lives, especially when those lives have had positive influences on those that they have helped along their path – especially their personal families – their legacy.
You may not have written a book. You may think of yourself as not being famous. However, let me assure you that you have affected the lives of many people in a positive manner. You know that people have had major positive experiences happen in their lives because of you, the things you have done, and the actions you have taken.
Stop thinking about those who have attacked you for negatively impacting their lives – they are only dumping their crap and insecurities on you – especially if they are your children. The truth is that whatever example you left in your past, more people were affected by the positive aspects of your actions and deeds than those with negatives.
At my Dad’s death, hundreds of people showed up with great stories about how great a man he was and how he helped them in this way or that. He literally impacted the lives of thousands of people who looked up to him in powerful positive ways.
All I knew about my dad was the horrific beatings that I received almost every day for no reason. My dad was an alcoholic, gambler, and nasty negative person at home. Not many tears shed at his funeral, but to everyone except immediate family he was a loving, caring hero. What I’m saying here is that my Dad and us kids had no idea how much of a positive impact on so many more people – than the negative he had on my Mom, my sisters, and me.
We all dwell on negatives – especially we dwell on our own negative actions. It’s time for you to start thinking about all those you have already helped and how you can help more before your time on earth is done. No matter how bad you may think of yourself there are hundreds whom you have affected in a positive way with a positive lifechanging outcomes.
Please allow me to share a couple of stories so that you can see that when you step up to be kind, friendly, open, honest, and most of all take action to help others, your deeds can have a great impact – more than you will ever be able to calculate or define.
For example, several years ago I traveled to the wake of someone that I respected. Someone that I looked up to. Someone who had many life experiences and real estate adventures. I retold several of Dick’s stories over the years while educating others. I sent many people to him for his “hard money” loan program. We both ran real estate investment meetings and occasionally attended each other’s meetings. He came to several of my real estate investment seminars. Once in a while we would actually get together for some one-on-one discussions.
His health began to diminish, and it became very rare that we spoke. Then he died. I got to the wake early, didn’t recognize anyone except his wife, and briefly spoke with her. I paid my respects and left. Halfway through the parking lot I heard my name being called. A man I didn’t know approached and introduced himself as one of Dick’s sons. He had asked his mother who I was and recognizing my name, ran after me. He wanted to tell me how much I had helped not only Dick but his whole family. He said that I was the talk of the dinner table all the time and was a household name. He continued by telling me several ways that I had changed this man and his family over the years. He presented to me how much his Dad had respected me and used my stories to teach his family many things that brought them closer together. I was shocked at the affect that I had on this man and his family. I had no idea.
In another instance, while driving with several of my investor friends, we were checking out several properties in the city of Brockton, Massachusetts. It was a hot summer evening and the sun had set a few minutes earlier. I made a wrong turn down a short “dead ended” street in a bad neighborhood.
Immediately my car was boxed in from behind! It was alarming! We became very uneasy as my mind became very conscious of every movement on the street around us. Then out of nowhere there was someone standing in the dark who saw us and began yelling as us. He said: “Are you Alan? Are you Alan Kosinski?” My thoughts were racing as my mind attempted to place this person. Was he a former tenant I had evicted? Were we in harm’s way? He jumped a chain-link fence and was followed by another. I checked the rear-view mirror; the vehicle was simply dropping someone off and was backing out of the street. I slipped the car into reverse. The guy was now at the window! He stopped. My heart was beating hard. He stated: “That is you! Alan, I owe my life to you!” I slowly opened my window. He began to tell me and my companions that he is a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser. Several years earlier he was enrolled and living in one of my sober recovery homes known as Scholar House Communities. He told his testimonial of being back with his wife and kids, currently owning the house that we were in front of, just purchasing another house in a better neighborhood, owning an auto dealership in the city, and having just purchased another dealership in a neighboring middle-upper class town. He said that the sober house rules that he had to live by when in Scholar House were so strict that it set him straight. He understood that if he didn’t abide by the rules he would never be where he was today. He needed the strict discipline received as Scholar House and he was succeeding on all levels of life because of the decisions he made while there.
I had never realized how many people that passed thought my life were inspired by my actions, speeches, writings, courses, seminars, and just about everything I have done. I am continually meeting people, even from my younger days, that have changed the course of their lives from me being here.
You will probably never know how much you affect others. I had no idea.
My father died in 2005. At his funeral wake there were so many people that he had affected in his life. He had more friends than we ever knew. Many had lost contact with him over the years and wished they could have told him how he changed their lives. Simple things like showing where the best “fishing holes” were or giving them advice on auto repair, or construction, or an abundance of other advice he offered. My sisters and I were shocked at the many stories they shared. My dad and I didn’t have the greatest relationship, but in retrospect, reviewing my successes and where I am today, much of that was from my Dad. I now miss him more than I ever have in the past.
What I want you to realize in your own lives, is that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. Being friendly to others is also a gift that is appreciated. Helping others, friends or not, is what I believe we were all placed on this earth to do.
You may not have the opportunities that I have had to hear how I affected others. You may not have heard the great stories at your Dad’s funeral. Believe me you are affecting the lives of others. Make it a positive experience for both them and you.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. Others are always watching and listening. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life either for better or for worse. Be conscious of this great power that God puts us all in each other’s lives to impact one another in some way. Look for good in others. Look for good in yourself.
Now the choice is yours. Move on with life as you have been or begin to be conscious of the power you already have, which will improve the lives of others and take action to improve the quality of life for both yourself and others.
It’s easier to be positive
when you know you are helping others. It’s easier to become wealthy when you
are helping others. It’s easier to enjoy what life has to offer when you are
Hopefully you will begin to make a conscious difference in the lives of others both professionally and personally.
I’ll See You Over the Top,
Alan David Kosinski, Life Extraordinaire