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LESSON: When you confront conditions you neither chose nor can readily manage, it is helpful to shift your perspective. That shift can take many forms. But the common element is by thinking or doing something differently to change yourself or your situation. Shifting one’s perspective expands the imagination, increases focus, and streamlines the main goal of leaders: to find clarity.


The below lesson is an excerpt from my recently released Amazon #1 Best Seller, When Not If: A CEO's Guide to Overcoming


My goal in all my investment businesses was to genuinely improve the financial lives of the people I served. I strove to find win–win scenarios, because I’ve always believed in abundance, versus scarcity. For my colleagues, I sought work environments in which everyone in the organization could achieve their own desired objectives.


But it wasn’t entirely altruistic. I had my eyes on my own interests. Still, I had learned early on, that helping others achieve would in turn reward me tenfold. This was my philosophy of personal success.


Now, imprisoned as I was, I realized that this set of perspectives was not enough to protect me in my current environment. After being locked up for four years, I realized I needed a new set of perspectives. Circumstances called for me to adopt a completely new paradigm in order to survive the adversity I was facing.


Some people believe because you come in peace you aren’t prepared for war. I needed to now show that I had the strength to wage a war for my survival as well as the truth.


I believed I had followed all the proper steps. I had patiently exposed the injustice and inaccuracies. I patiently allowed the system to correct. But it was like spitting into the wind. None of my efforts showed results. I didn’t know what to do. Maybe I had to redouble my efforts? Maybe, I realized, my perspective—that the extreme adversity I was facing could be addressed by strong and persistent effort—was no longer rational.


I faced the possibility that a new perspective was in order. Maybe win–win scenarios don’t work in prison or with the Department of Justice. I saw I would have to adopt a zero-sum perspective and implement a scorched earth, take-no- prisoners strategy, the strategy AUSA Brian Samuels practiced so effectively on me.


I changed my whole approach to dealing with adversity. And for that, I had to shift my perspective. Here’s the thing. I thought I was pretty good at thriving on change. But like most CEOs, I was only pretty good at adapting to changes I chose or could control. What is adversity but unwelcome change?


I needed to learn how to harness change that blindsided me and transform it into a force for growth instead of destruction. As I headed into what looked like years more of incarceration, I needed to strengthen my relationship to change. A shift in perspective is what the situation required.


If it’s not working, do something different! Be open to completely changing yourself and how you interact with the world. This made all the difference in achieving my freedom. 


Have a great week!


Order Amazon #1 Best Seller When Not If (Hardback, Kindle, Audio):


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