What happened on June 5, 1983 changed Jody’s life forever awakening her passion and purpose and creating the inspiration behind the Institute. The overarching purpose of the Institute is to educate and offer tools for the fulfillment of your dreams.
It’s a typical cold, cloudy day in Seattle, Washington. I am walking down a street in an area called Pioneer Square. As I come around a corner, I look over to my left and see a man sleeping on a grid against the brick building. As I quickly glance at him, I notice his ragged, claw-like dirty fingernails. His scraggly, greasy hair is draped over his face. The man is covered by a long, green Army coat.
My father used to call the street people, “those good-for-nothing skid row bums.” Yet there is something oddly familiar about this one. I can’t take my eyes off of him. I am frozen in my tracks. The man begins to stir. He awakens and looks up at me. “Well – Jody. It’s you.”
In a split second, the memories of my childhood flash in front of me. The posh country clubs, private school, designer clothes. My movie-star handsome Dad – such a great dancer at the dinner parties – picking me up and swinging me around the dance floor. The drinking. The fighting. The abuse. The Treatment Center. The confusion.
“Oh my God, Dad – wow…its you! We haven’t heard from you for a couple of years.” As he begins to stand and shake himself off, I check in to see if he is sober so I can be sure he is safe.
“You know, Dad, you have a new grandson. He is about a year old and he is so beautiful. He has flaming red hair and we named him Corey. He is the healthiest, happiest and most peaceful boy you will ever meet. Do you believe it Dad? I am the mother of two beautiful sons.”
With tears streaming down his face, shaking his head slowly, he says the saddest thing I have ever heard… “I didn’t want to end up this way. This has become my Destiny. I had no choice and now its too late.”
We chat a little bit more. I offer to take him to lunch and he says he doesn’t have time; he has to go meet some friends. We both know he is lying. We say our goodbyes. By the time I get to my car, I am sobbing. Driving home, I am thinking, “Destiny – what is destiny? I don’t have a clue. But I do know one thing. I am going to find out because I am NOT going to end up like my father…nor are my two sons.”
My passion to discover the secret of success has been ignited. I am clueless and yet I have to find out. That night, I begin by looking up the definition of Destiny.
I don’t like it and I don’t agree. Two days after finding Dad on the street, I take my babies to the day care and spend the entire day at the local library. (There is no internet in the 80’s!)
I find corner table and begin reading books from the Religious, Psychology, Science, Self-Help and Philosophy sections. This very day, I discover not only a quote that I commit as my personal motto, but also the secret to creating a successful destiny.
The quote is by Williams Jennings Bryan, “Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” I have carried this in my wallet for years as my personal motto.
The second finding gives me the answer to my question, “Why are some people successful and other people give up on their themselves?”
The great Lao Tzu, 2500 years ago, wrote,
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
I have my answer. Thoughts create our reality and determine the quality of our destiny. I know I have a lot of personal work to do, but I have my answer.
Now, 32 years later, I am happy to say my two sons are doing great. They are both productive, sensitive, loving, successful men in the world. They know how to think, follow their hearts and trust their wisdom. And I absolutely love my life now. The journey has not always been easy as I transformed my shaming thoughts into respectful actions, but today, I live in a constant state of gratitude.