An Email From Prison is Better Than a Multi-Million Dollar Deal

When I worked in corporate sales, life felt one-dimensional.

Chase deals, land deals, spend commission checks on a luxurious lifestyle. 

It was one chase after another, with constant anxiety that there wouldn’t be another deal around the corner – or even worse, I’d lose a client.

The luxurious lifestyle was my attempt to give meaning to the anxiety, fear, and lack of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment in my career.

So I’d chase with vicious tenacity and a win-at-all-cost attitude, eventually landing the deal and spending the money as quickly as it came in.

I’d feel great for all of the second because quick highs fade quickly, and then I’d be back to the chase.

That was then, this is now.

I received an email yesterday from an individual currently in federal prison. 

My book, “Blank Canvas: How I Reinvented My Life After Federal Prison,” is in the Allenwood library, and it is still surreal to me how many prison libraries have it on their shelves.

According to their email, they’ve now read it 11 times.

Here’s an excerpt from the email:

“Thank you again for inspiring me and others. 

I hope your life is now the way you drew it in your new canvas. You inspired me to write a book myself.

 I hope to gain the courage and drive you had to overcome the obstacles you had faced in the past.”

One simple email regarding something I created that’s no longer mine (once it was published, it no longer belongs to me). 

The feeling I get transcends, by a significant multitude, the feeling I’d get landing a multi-million dollar deal. 

Receiving emails like this, whether from inside prison or outside, doesn’t trigger the same immediate over-the-top dopamine spike I’d experience in the corporate world.

It’s slower, not as intense, but far more satiating. 

Comparing my life now to my corporate days reveals a ton of differences, but I credit my success with three foundational pieces.

Back to Basics:

I have always wanted to write but spent most of my life running from it. 

It took going to prison (but it doesn’t have to) to reconnect with an activity I love and give myself permission to not only do but also enjoy it. 

The answers we seek are often closer than we realize. 


I wrote Blank Canvas to help one person. 

It’s the same mission I have today and fuels everything I do.

Embarking on a massive endeavor (like writing a book) requires facing fear, self-doubt, negative self-talk, and feeling like an impostor. 

All of which can be a tremendously heavy burden.

When we have a mission, we no longer carry that burden for ourselves but for someone else.

And it gets a whole lot lighter.

Process over Outcome:

In my corporate days, the process was terrible. 

There were stressful negotiations, the fear of loss, pressure from management, working weekends, and pressure to maintain the lifestyle. 

I needed the outcome to be positive to make up for the negative process.

Now, I love the process of creating (see #1); it’s why I’m here and what I’m meant to do.

Each day is filled with a sense of flow, purpose, mission, meaning, and fulfillment as I pursue mastery of my craft. 

I enjoy the process, knowing I can’t control the outcome (I can’t make someone send an email), and when a positive outcome arrives, it’s icing on an already delicious cake. 


And if I were to add one more, I could sum it up in only six simple words:

I stopped chasing. I started creating. 

We all have a deep gravitational pull towards inner peace and emotional freedom. 

I know that in my corporate days, I longed for freedom but was blind to the fact that all my chasing was leading me deeper into a prison cell of my own design.

Inner peace and emotional freedom don’t come from chasing; they come from getting back to basics, connecting deeply with ourselves, creating from our authentic selves, and sharing that creation in service of mission. 

This is how we craft our extraordinary second act and transcend one-dimensional living. 

📣 If you’re ready to stand in your power, and unleash your potential the Midlife Mastery Program is for you. Schedule your free call here.