Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.– William R. Burroughs
Is this my time to die?
My heart pounded, blending with the popping of gunshots in the background. All I wanted was to open the sliding glass door and run outside, escaping the craziness in the house. That locked door was the only thing that stood between me and freedom.
But the lock was stuck, and the door wouldn’t open. I slammed the lever up and down vigorously, tugging harder and harder. The door finally unlocked, but I still could not get it to open!
With a final heave, I busted it open, noticing too late the rod that had been placed in the bottom track for security. As the door broke loose, I thought, freedom at last!
But hope drained out of me as a dark figure suddenly appeared in the doorway, blocking my escape route. Its arm was raised. I froze, my eyes fixated on the M&P Smith & Wesson .380 in the shadowy hand. The gun pointed directly at my head.
It was midnight, and everything inside and outside the house had finally gone quiet. The large, shining moon lit up the backyard I so desperately wanted to run out into.
But I just stared at the gun. I did not move. Neither did the unknown individual. Those few seconds seemed like an eternity. The gun’s barrel was such a small circle in the moonlight. Less than the diameter of a penny. But it held the power to end my life. That was the only thing in my mind.
Could this be the day?
How did I get myself here?
That thought didn’t come into my mind at that moment, but it would go through my mind more than once during the next few months. And you might be wondering about it, too.
How had I arrived at that point where I was staring down the gun barrel pointed right at my head?
I say, “get myself here,” because I had been the one making the bad decisions. And because of them, my life did not resemble a life I would look back on and be proud of.
It wasn’t anyone else’s fault. I had ambition; I wanted to succeed. I wanted to make something of myself. I didn’t want to live in poverty. There’s nothing wrong with those desires.
I also had received good advice — advice I didn’t take.
There were so many things that I had not accomplished in life. And now I was faced with it all and had no chance to fix it. Especially not if this guy pulled the trigger.
Is this the end?
I closed my eyes and bellowed, “Ahhh!!!” My body tensed up like a football player preparing for a high-impact tackle. Then I retracted back and put my hands up, begging for mercy, surrendering, and using body language to say what my voice couldn’t.
Please do not shoot.
This is not how I want to end.
I have more to do in my life.
Do not shoot.
I don’t have to tell you that he didn’t shoot — but I’m not proud to admit there were times after that when I wished he had pulled the trigger.
The events after that night took me to some of the darkest places in my life. But something also got me out. And that’s why I’m telling you this story.
Flash forward from that night to another one, many years later. I am sitting in a large auditorium with plush, comfortable seats in the upper balcony, where I have a perfect view of the front stage. Tears drop down my face as the speaker mentions my name: “Entrepreneur of the year, Donte Wilburn.”
The crowd of dignitaries and the hundreds of thousands of people viewing are all waiting to hear what he has to say about this young man. My wife, who has been the backbone of my accomplishments, sits behind me, gorgeously attired in a beautifully pressed, all-black suit, smiling as the governor begins his state of the state address by talking about… me.
“As a troubled youth, Donte served his sentence in community corrections. He paid his penalty to society and now owns multiple businesses….” (Before you read on, watch the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy4RF_F_2e0.)
As I sit there while the Governor of Indiana and hundreds of other people applaud my success, I realize how far I have come from that desperate guy with the gun pointed at him.
And it’s funny, but that same question flashes through my mind again.
How did I get myself here?
You know what? It was the same answer. I had been the one making the decisions. But they were different decisions — better ones. They led me to a different, better outcome. They led me to pull myself out of the deep hole that I had dug myself into.
That night when I had the gun pointed at my head was the beginning of something new. It took me out of my normal mode of thought into a way of thinking I hadn’t even realized existed. That new way of thinking got me out of my situation. It was simple.
I decided that I could remake my own life — that I had the power to do it. That I would do whatever it took.
Somehow, I knew I was made for MORE — and I was going to find out what it was.
I know there are others out there experiencing the same things I felt. Maybe you are one of those people. I am here to say that no matter how monumental the setbacks are, never give up. While there is breath inside of your lungs, there is still hope.
What I learned was that my darkest time was the beginning of my best times.
I’m not writing this book for myself; I’ve already found my success. I’m writing this book for you. I want you to find your dreams, too. I want to help you do what I did because I know something you may have suspected but never admitted to yourself.
You have something inside you that needs to come out. Something that will help you find your real path. No matter where you begin, you can do it if you believe in yourself.
You were made for more!
As an assistant pastor at a local church, I mentor young kids with past records who are coming into the workforce. In this role, I have come to understand that there are two kinds of people. Some individuals want to change, while others say they want to but do not. I’ve developed a keen sense of who is serious and who is faking based on the simple principles of change I will share in this book.
I’m not going to lie to you. Positive change usually doesn’t just happen. It takes work. You have to decide to do the work. But the results are worth the effort.
I challenge you to answer the question, “Am I serious and willing to do what it takes, or am I faking and want to keep doing what I am doing?” If you answer the second, you’re done reading. I won’t waste your time anymore.
I challenge you to answer the question, “Am I serious and willing to do what it takes, or am I faking and want to keep doing what I am doing?”
If you answer the first, my second challenge is to believe it can happen, no matter your situation. My story is proof that there is hope for a better future and a roadmap for coming out of any ditch you find yourself stuck in. Let’s take the journey together!
In this book, I will unlock the success secrets of change through a simple formula that I call the “3 R’s”: Realize, Redirect, and Remain. This is a proven system that people have used in different forms for ages.
How do you know this will work? Because this is what I used on my journey. It can work for you — and anybody, for that matter. After you master the 3 R’s, you can even use them as a test to see if others are serious about changing.
Let’s go over a brief synopsis of what these actions really R (get it? ).
Realize — This is the act of “looking in the mirror.” Every result you have in life right now is because of you. I understand bad things happen sometimes that are not your fault, but success is 10 percent based on what happens to you and 90 percent based on how you respond. Realize starts with
you back from getting where you want to be. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.
Redirect — This is the fun part. Redirect is the phase where you get to dream. What do you want your life to be like? Where do you want to go? It’s important at this phase to not think of the means to get there; just have the idea of what you want. Then you simply strategize a plan of attack. Though you’re in a hole, you can learn to prepare the ladder and start climbing.
Remain — This last phase, Remain, can sometimes be the most difficult. How many times have you seen a person lose weight just to gain it all back? Guilty as charged! After you change, you must understand how to stay the course long afterward. The last R will give you tools to keep on track and stay focused on what’s most important. When you’re out of the hole, don’t fall back in!
Remember: It takes work, and it takes belief. You have to be willing to not only take a chance on yourself but to also give yourself a chance.
That starts with giving me a chance to tell you more. So, I’m asking you to set aside your skepticism and give this book a chance, too.
I wish I could encompass everything in only a few sentences, but I can’t. What I want to tell you requires a whole book. Everything that happened, up to and after the gun was pointed at my head, is a miracle. I want to tell you about it. And I want the same kind of miracle to happen for you.
If you are serious about succeeding in your life and want to know how now’s your chance to read on and find out.
I hope you take it.
© 2023 Donte Wilburn. All rights reserved.
Share your story
Book a keynote speaker
Buy Born Hungry
When following the path forged by Donte Wilburn, you’ll learn to achieve success in all aspects of your life.
Many people function in a stagnant or negative mindset. This paralyzes them from making life-altering decisions because they can’t see beyond their present situations.