This argument escalated quickly. The room was a tense stand off with my mother in the middle trying to mediate. God bless her, but it wasn’t helping. Someway, somehow I was going to get him to see that he was wrong, and that I was right, but at the moment it didn’t seem like it was working. I could see the beet red look on his face, even though I was sitting 20 feet away in the living room. I don’t remember what I said that set him off but I do remember what came next…
I sat back for a moment letting it all come in, and realizing that all of my darkest beliefs about my parents were true. My parents actually didn’t love me. I was only 12, I didn’t know what to say back. No smart comeback could come to my mind, only retreat. I got up and went to my room, defeated.
Did I get caught stealing and was facing legal consequences? No.
Had I been caught skipping school and doing drugs? No.
The apologies never came. There were many more incidents over the years. Throughout high school I had given up on my father. As long as I stayed out of his way, he would stay out of mine.
After I got out of high school, with a bit of help from a few books (more on that later) and a lot of experimentation, I started to see the world as it actually is, rather than what I wished it would be.
There was something changing. All of a sudden, I could be more expressive around my parents. Seemingly almost any action I would do would be praised, and at worst I would get a weird look and everyone was fine.
Was this light at the end of a long dark tunnel?
Ten years had passed
As usual, the wind was whipping over the mountain top. Normally this home is the sight of beauty, but at this moment it was the sight of ruin.
Everyone in the house was feeling the sting that only a broken family can feel. Each person in their own room. Disconnected. Unsure how to proceed.
One by one I went to each person to try and manage the damage from the preceding blowout, that I was involved in, again. There was only one person who could not be found.
Where was my dad?
After looking around, I moved the curtains and saw him. He was outside by a fire he had started in the backyard just before all the commotion. He intended it to be festive, yet nobody was in the mood, and half of the family was gone.
I quickly grabbed my coat and decided to go check on him.
His head was down. He was bundled up and not moving. He clearly had a lot on his mind.
Despite his best efforts, he was unable to hold this family together through adversity and he knew it. My father’s dreams of having a central place for family Thanksgivings was crushed in one event.
I sat down beside him and could feel the tension. However, this conflict was different than years past. While I may have been involved, my parents reactions were completely different this time. They were aligned WITH ME, rather than against. This has never happened before.
My father’s actual medal stack.
We sat silently, while the the fire crackled. I decided to ask a surface level question that I hadn’t realized was so powerful…
"How’s it going…"
What followed was an avalanche of thoughts and feelings. I have never seen him so broken up about something. He was a hardened decorated war veteran with 20 years in the Marine Corps. Nothing seemed to shake his spirit.
It was hard to reply with anything positive. I did not share his overwhelmingly negative sentiment, however, his beliefs were justified by years of facts that pointed to this conflict being unavoidable despite our best wishes.
I decided to get up and head back in, but before I could get anywhere he stopped me. Instead of being angry about the events, he turned his attention to me, and grabbed me for a big hug. With tears in his eyes he said…
Speechless. I was paralyzed. I had never heard those words come out of my dad’s mouth with such passionate feelings. I didn’t know what to say, so I just mumbled something.
"oh, uh thanks. Love you too."
Yeah we’ve exchanged hugs and said "I love you" in the past, but this was different. Things had really changed and turned the corner. Never had I caused such a big stir, was thanked, told "I love you" and "you’re f**cking awesome" from a person whom I had such a poor relationship with.
After our unusually long hug, I walked away. As I stepped towards the house I knew that something was accomplished here. While we as a family have never been so split, we have never been so together, aligned, and working in the direction we should be going. The previous dark chapter was over.
While his words struck me because they were a first, this big change was actually no surprise. The sporadic 10 years prior to this experience seeded the conditions for this change.
This massive change didn’t "just" happen. I discovered something so fundamental that it completely changed how I see the world.
Over 10 years ago, I definitively discovered the existence of influence and leadership. Yeah, like everyone else I had heard of this, but something was missing.
The missing pieces "just clicked". Ever since then I have sought out to discover how people actually work, and then influence them as is necessary to accomplish what I believe needs to be accomplished.
The results continue to shock me, and has produced things nothing short of transformational.
Everything from how much money I make, to how much people like and desire me, and how much confidence I have. All have been massively increased because of the intentional use of this natural phenomenon.
My parents started following my lead, and your parents CAN and WILL follow YOURS.
So what is that "big secret" that I promised you back in the beginning of the page?
Make no mistake, every person you know, or will ever come into contact with, is desperately hoping that you will become a leader who can help them.
Step through to the other side and will you be able to see this. Once you do, you will be the person who they listen to, because you’re the leader.
A Few Years Ago in Afghanistan…
My name is Mike Cornwell, and I am your friend. I also happen to be a leader. And what this means, is I intentionally and methodically influence people everyday. The results I get in life, aren’t by accident. They aren’t because I am somehow special.
Everyday, I work at ways to get people to take the steps that "I want" them to take and I’ve been doing this for decades now (in the US Marines, in music bands, the corporate world, my own companies, my family etc).
I now teach young adults like you and the occasional old fogey, leadership secrets that work.
Leadership is definitively the most important endeavor that any human can possibly endure.
It’s your turn to pick up and wield the power. Everyone around you is waiting for you to figure this out and use your god given gifts. Even your parents are waiting for you to lead them.
About 10 years ago, I noticed that my parents started "following" me. I kept wondering "why the heck do they keep copying me." It is to the point where a couple of years ago they were even looking for guidance on where to live next, and how to better their lives. They ask me about what to do with their money. Etc. And then it dawned on me, I was highly successful and they wanted me to help them be successful in life too.
My parents behaviors have always been a mirror to my own. Even when I was 12 years old and being told "I Hate You and I Wish You Were Dead". They said it because the situation I created demanded that they do it. These, grown humans, were only reacting, in a predictable way, to my very own behavior.
Yes, everyone around you, in their near totality is a representation of your efforts. (Or your lack of efforts). The more you interact with them, the more they’ll carry the impacts you have had with them. Good. Or Bad.
This Can’t Be Possible…
Why did my parents not turn on me at the end of the story, but instead embrace and celebrate me even though I was involved in the single greatest breakup in our family’s history? Did they change?
Ten years ago I definitively discovered the source AND reason of all interpersonal power. Influence and Leadership. Everyday my powers have been growing. My awareness is increasing. My focus narrowing.
When I discovered this truth, the next truth I discovered is that everyone wants you to lead them. Everyone. And I do mean, EVERYONE.
Why would parents want us to lead them? Or our friends. Our neighbors. Why would people who have built up companies, be willing to give us the keys of their company instead of anyone else who has been with them for decades???
People (ALL people) are secretly hoping that someone will show up and help them get what they want most. Everyone, is open to influence. Everyone.
You’re probably saying now, or have said this before.
The people closest to me still don’t know about what I was like in high school. Especially early on.
Shush… Don’t tell the business owner who is trying to bring me on as the Chief Operating Officer of his highly successful defense industry company. While I joke around, it wouldn’t make a difference even if you told him, because he’s an actual leader and he has a near irrational belief in me. He’s realized I’m "playing the same game he’s doing."
They want someone who will listen, really listen to them. To those who are willing to shoulder the ear and take seriously their path in life, goes the spoils.
Even your parents, (let alone your employers, spouses, kids, neighbors, etc), are willing to turn over the reigns to you, if you can handle it.
So how do you lead them? Well the first thing that you gotta know, is these people who are in your lives they aren’t like "random strangers".
For years now I have been building the tightest connections imaginable with people I care about.
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Doubts. Defensiveness. Obsessions. Anxiety.
People without confidence, sabotage their lives and others without even knowing it. They panic in the sight of any pushback. An example are those that watch "media" and then become upset about it.
Truly, do they not know, that nothing is happening except that which is inside themselves?
Leaders live a life of confidence, because of the actions that they have done and what they will do.
Have you noticed yet, that the majority of modern societies are trying to pretend like you or anyone you care about matters to them? Have you noticed yet how jobs keep being invented that have no purpose?
People deep down know this it’s killing their sense of purpose but they don’t know what to do about it.
Leaders don’t have this problem.
It’s a sad fact, but most people in the 21st century have no relationships that matter. And while these boxes in front of our face make us think that we have relationships with the people on them, this is foolishness because they aren’t coming to our aid.
Relationships are the breath of life. Those who say otherwise are showing what is happening in their life. Their negativity and bitterness are showing.
Leaders have relationships that are powerful.
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