Every year on December 31st the masses gather to celebrate the dawning of a new year.  Instead of counting how much time has passed in our day, we are counting down how much time is left in our year. These seconds twindle down from 60 to 30 to 20 and on 10 we count out loud living in that moment of celebration. For the next 10 seconds, we look forward to what we deem to be a new beginning in our lives. We exclaim with a deep breath, thank god I survived this past year and with hope look unto what the future holds. 

Starting all over can be a dream come true for many, especially after multiple stumbles. Many entrepreneurs can move so furiously forward they forget there are things in their lives outside of their blinders. When they stop and look up, they can see their obsessive work lifestyle has taken over and everything else they worked hard for could be gone. 

We place so much value on time but rarely do people practice patience for the future and gratitude for what we have right now. For those living in the past, they access all the mistakes, remorse, painful regret, animosity and bad emotions that turn to grudges. As some look into the future and remain there, they access a large channel of anxiety, fear, and worry. The common thread between these two mindsets is the displacement of what actually exists and that is the present moment. 

So, it’s a new year. You’re looking forward and backward and wondering which direction do you go from here based on all you remember from the past and all you hope for in the future.

 

Let’s look into the past for a moment and see what we can extrapolate, shall we? First I would like to introduce you to Danny Monzon. Danny from DM Digital is a media entrepreneur, thought leader and example of the past, present, and future. You can find interviews on the web of Danny as he talks about his business along with catching him at a keynote. Knowing what a person does is important. It’s especially important when we want to garner results from a market segment we aren’t aligned with. Danny has the ability and expertise to such a thing. All of the content from Danny is undoubtedly valuable but as you know if you’ve been a reader of the content here on Gravity we are more interested in how he got there, why he is the way he is, and how we can relate in some way. 

I had the privilege to talk with Danny a few weeks back but before I had an in depth call getting to know him, I observed his progress, persona and power positioning from a distance. He had “it”. The “it” I refer to is what many entrepreneurs have, a deeper story. No one comes out swinging as he did and with such scalability without some sort of inner catalyst. There was a dark past interwoven with much light. He is the example of a leader because you could see “it” was ignited within him.

 

The past

There’s a special place in my heart when I think about NYC. It’s the birthplace of so many cultural influences over the years for many. It has the power to push you harder and it has the power to completely break you. The brick that built NYC is the same brick that built the Monzon the media maven in ‘99. 

The city that doesn’t sleep was the life for Danny. As a club promoter, Monzon was successful, to say the least. He invested his entire persona into his job. Although he wouldn’t mention much of how he was always a go-getter and positive person it was obvious that he was. He had the ability to adapt to market changes. He would need this ability, especially for what would come to be one of the biggest challenges of his life. Let me ask you this, how much would you sacrifice for your success? Would it be worth losing that in which you love most? Danny was entrenched in his lifestyle of all nighters and club parties. He had become the equivalent to a method actor when it came to “go time”. When the director yells “Cut!” they keep going. We’ve seen this with celebrities as they crash from the indepth obsession they take into their roles. There are two ways we can look at the past. We can look at it for all the screw ups we have ever had and we can learn from it. Or we can live there forcing us to freeze in the quicksand of time that doesn’t allow us to move forward or appreciate the here and now.

Danny’s story is one of the demons, dark days and years of finding his way back to what he had lost. He chose not to stay there though. That’s the lesson here. Danny wouldn’t let the past drag him down. Monzon found support and strength through his faith. He found guidance and a circle that had his back when he got cornered. We’ve all been there and if you haven’t then it either will happen or has the possibility to happen. 

How long did it take Danny to get out of the quicksand? It took him 1,460 days or 4 years to find his way back. He didn’t quit. He bit down with grit and kept moving forward. Failure kept tripping him up with business failure after the next. He still didn’t quit. Danny could hear and feel the support from his circle and see the light in his faith. Why didn’t he just quit? It was more important to him to keep going and he made that clear. He gained clarity as the days went on. For him, it wasn’t a light bulb moment but learning that things take time. He didn’t know what the future held but he knew it was going to be better than his past. We have a driving force in all of us. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see it in ourselves and takes time to get there. Our darkest moments need the light from others but they also need a light far in the distance worth persevering for. His why was credibly important and it is still to this day uniquely important to him. He knew that his why couldn’t come from some self-help book or be given to him from some other person, it had to come from himself. His why had a heartbeat and a direct connection to his soul. You could hear how important this why is to him. You can’t fake sincerity like this.

 

The present

When I arrived back in the city of Jacksonville I did so with very little presence in the creative and marketing circle. I had been out of it for many years occupying roles on the West Coast and Miami. As I dove back into the JVille scene and began to network with like minds and professionals that shared the same creative vision and drive I heard the name Danny pop up. I had the opportunity to witness who was really applying Grant Cardone’s 10X ideology in Jacksonville. I’ll have to tell you there weren’t many and still aren’t. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Grant believes you have to give it your all and multiply your energy, commitment, and drive by 10. This takes unwavering focus and drives to do this. Danny was and is doing this. Let me make this clear by saying this is not a lifestyle practice for the entrepreneurs that talk about what they are going to do, but for the entrepreneurs that act and understand the requirement for imperfect action.

 

Danny exploded on the media scene year over year with a growth metric that I hadn’t seen since my days in major metro cities across the US. I thought to myself, this guy is worth watching. I grabbed my virtual bucket of popcorn and sat back in amazement to the way Danny navigates his force of determination and success.

What seemed like an out of the blue, overnight story of success, took years in the making. Danny understands the value of perseverance but also expresses how much everything he went through had a direct contribution to who he is today. His darkest days are valuable to his makeup and an example for any of us dealing with similar hiccups with our journey to success.

The future

I asked Danny what’s next? He didn’t really have a definitive answer. He said much more success but he was surely enjoying the moment and you could hear the level of gratitude for all he had been through to get him to this moment in the here and now. He was more so focused on being grateful. He cracked the code that many can’t see. Monzon can stand at the top of a building in front of a clock tower as the minutes past in the annual countdown, recognize the past for what it was thanking it, appreciating the moment right now and setting his goals for the future. He does this at the moment ready lay another brick for the next legacy of his life in the city he now calls home.

 

What can we take away from Danny’s example as a leader?

  1. Don’t give up and have patience
  2. Have faith, faith in yourself, faith in the future and faith to guide you.
  3. Get a positive support circle.
  4. It takes grit because success doesn’t happen overnight.
  5. He has survived all that life has thrown at him and refuses to let his past define him.
  6. Whatever you’re going through, it can get better. 

 

You truly determine what’s important in your life. You get to choose how you react to what life throws at you. You also get to choose how you deal with the fallout you create. You can choose to wallow in your mistakes or you can choose to make those the reasons that determine what is really worth fighting for, or who is worth fighting for. 

Use your past for lessons. Set your goals for the future and leave them there only to check on once and awhile. What you do right now, the imperfect action in this very moment is what truly matters. Time is only worth something if you use it.

– Justin Bordeaux