Decoding Your Past is a book about overcoming and making change in your life.  It’s more than a story about a boy who went through many terrible things in his life; abuse, abandonment, depression just to name a few.  It’s a story of how that boy had a significant life changing event. He made changes and put himself on a completely different path than he was heading.  He struggled to overcome his issues through sheer determination.  It’s ultimately a story of happiness and success despite the dismal beginning.  The book serves as a guide for others to make significant changes in their lives by changing their patterns of behavior and creating a new direction.

I had wanted to write a book about my life for many years but I never had the courage to sit down and put pen to paper.  Most of my reservation was FEAR.  I was afraid my story wouldn’t serve much purpose to an audience.  About two years ago I decided that I was going to write the book.  Despite my fear, I sat down and started the process.

My first draft was about 60, 000 words with little direction.  It was my life story but there wasn’t much meaning to those words.  I had finished what I set out to do, which was writing a book about my life, but it needed something more.  I wanted the reader to get something out of the story but I wasn’t sure what direction to take it.  So it sat for a year.

About a year ago, I came up with a direction for the book.  I would use my life as the background story and I would provide key strategies for the reader to incorporate into their own lives.  In the end, it would be a self-help book written as a guide to help others find happiness and success.

The concept was the easy part.  The actual strategies took me months to refine.  I have always been an avid reader of self-help and leadership books.  The problem I found with all these self-help books were they all had different opinions on what path to take in life.  Everyone had their own recipe for success.  Some of the strategies seemed valuable and some of them… not so much. 

I started writing down these strategies I found in books and ended up with four pages worth of notes.  At that point I was just confused.  I knew I couldn’t write a book with four pages of self-help strategies.  I also realized some of these strategies were so immersed with psychobabble, that it was difficult to understand them much less try and apply them to your life.  After dwelling over this for a couple of months, I came to an epiphany. 

My life as a child was tumultuous to say the least.  I had been through a great deal, which is why I had always wanted to write a book about my life.  Not only had I overcome my issues, but I had changed my life and put myself on a successful path.  So I began asking myself how I accomplished that and what strategies I had used in my own life.  I came up with a very short list, much shorter than the four pages I had written down from other books.

With this I had my direction for the book.  I would disregard all the psychobabble and the four pages of items I had written down.  My book would be about the strategies I used in my own life.  The issues I overcame in my life were significant so I knew there wasn’t anything my strategies wouldn’t apply to.  They were universal and could be applied by anyone to overcome a diverse range of issues. 

I compared my short list of strategies to the four pages I had from other books.  I found most all of my strategies buried within some of the hidden meanings of these other books.  But, I did notice one key strategy on my list that wasn’t in any of the other literature; a true understanding of your past because it dictates your future.

One of the most important aspects to putting my life on a new path was understanding how I got to the point I was at.  Not to spoil the book, but at one point in my life I contemplated suicide.  Not just fleeting thoughts of suicide, but actually intending on doing harm to myself.  I needed to understand why I was at that low and desperate point so I had to understand the road-map which led me there.  I quickly realized that in order to change the direction I was heading, I had to get off the path I was on.  Moreover, I needed to understand how I got on that path to begin with.  

I am a strong believer in the idea that we must understand where we have come from to understand where we are going.  We can’t change our patterns of behavior if we can’t understand why we do the behaviors we do.  We can’t change our thoughts if we don’t understand why we think the way we do.  All of this is dictated by our past experiences.  This was such an important revelation to me yet it was nowhere in the pages of the books I read.  So that became the underline focus of the book.  In fact, that’s where the title “Decoding Your Past” originated.

In the end, the book is a common sense approach to bringing about change in your life; putting your life on a path to happiness and success through a true self-understanding.  It contains real life examples and strategies, not clinical psychology talk. The strategies can literally be applied to any issues in your life, minor to severe.  I don’t discuss concepts of psychology; I provide a common sense approach to understanding your past, changing your patterns of behavior and putting your life on a new path.

Enjoy the book!

I want to acknowledge a couple of people for making this project come together.

Laura Matthews of – Laura did an amazing job of helping me focus this project.  She is an amazing story analyst and editor.

Jerry and Michelle Dorris of – I had one phone conversation with Jerry about the book cover design.  My parameters were that I wanted the cover design to represent the content and focus of the book and I wanted it to “pop.”  That’s all I told him because I really had no idea what I wanted in a design.  Shortly thereafter, I had a cover that I fell in love with.  They also did an amazing job with the interior design and layout.

A special thanks to the loved ones in my life and my close friends who encouraged me throughout this process.  Without your encouragement and support I may have never completed this project.