M. Curtis McCoy – The Healing Conference, Grand Junction, CO 2023

M. Curtis McCoy – What is the difference between losers and winners? Losers use their past as an excuse. Winners use their past as a reason to become something better. You’re where you are today because of the choices you’ve made in the past. Your future will be determined by the choices you make starting today.

Raise your hand if you had an incredible childhood. Some of you did. Some of us probably did not. I grew up hearing my dad say: “You’re a waste of skin; you’re a waste of oxygen.” It became increasingly abusive as I got older. When I was 13, my mom got the chance to leave. She left and took us with her. However, my dad got custody of us due to a crooked judge. So, we spent the rest of our time living with my dad until I graduated high school.

As I said, he used to tell me, “You’re a waste of skin; you’re a waste of oxygen.” At one point, he had been beating me for hours. He backhanded me, knocked me down in the bathroom, and as I sat there crying, he left and came back in with his pistol. He put his loaded .357 on the counter and told me: “Do the world a favor.” Sitting there on the floor, I had the pistol in my hand. I had absolutely zero self-worth and zero self-confidence. I thought if I was really going to do the world a favor, I’d put two bullets in his chest and one in his head. I didn’t have the guts to shoot him or myself, but for years I let my dad’s view of me become my reality.

I felt like a waste of skin. I felt like a waste of oxygen. Just like he said, I was. People say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I hated myself because I thought I would grow up to be that same kind of guy. I felt worthless. But I wanted to be a better man than the example that I had.

The turning point came when I realized I could save money from my school lunch allowance. I’d spend 25 cents on a cup of jello daily and save the remaining $1.50. With this money, I started buying books on leadership and personal development from the local used bookstore. I never saved enough money to run away, and I didn’t have the courage to. Still, those savings helped me get the opportunity to start investing in myself.

When my dad let me and my little brother visit our mom on rare occasions, she’d take us to motivational conferences. They were actually with Quickstart and Amway and different multi-level marketing events. She took us to buy a suit and tie from the local thrift shop. We’d get dressed up and attend these conferences, listening to successful leaders in life and business.

Seeing their success showed me the kind of man I wanted to be. It was an opportunity to change my life. Just like Alejandro, giving his kids good examples can change their lives. It makes them realize they don’t have to be negative. They can be whatever they set out to be. Seeing those good examples can significantly change your life.

I bought cassette tapes of the speakers and listened to them until the tapes wore out. You may have listened to cassette tapes, but after rewinding them with a pencil, they would eventually become too wrinkled.

Growing up, my mom always had books like “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” lying around. These books taught me that I didn’t need to become the man my dad was raising me to be. When I returned to my dad’s place, I started skipping school to obtain more books. I bought “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” I remember running into the used bookstore in a hurry. The store was quite a distance from school, so I was panting and out of breath when I got there.

As I perused the store, I wondered what kind of book could help me become a better person. The bookstore owner, probably expecting me to ask for a comic book or a children’s book, was surprised when I said, “I just want to figure out how to be a good person.” She then recommended “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which I devoured along with other books. This decision absolutely changed my life.

In the face of difficult circumstances, it’s easy to feel everything is beyond our control. It’s easy to get lost in a spiral of negativity and despair. However, we still have the power to choose and respond to those circumstances. Even in the darkest moments, there are positive choices we can make. It was choosing to believe in myself and my self-worth, despite the negativity I faced at home. I was also saving my lunch money to buy books that could teach me how to become a better man. Each positive choice we make has a ripple effect that shapes our lives. We can always choose to take a step forward.

I’ve often spoken to people who can barely stand to look in the mirror because of shame, regret, and self-doubt. Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked back at things you’ve done and felt you could never be forgiven for them. That’s the devil’s work. The devil wants you to believe that you’re unworthy of love and forgiveness, that you’re too far gone, and that your mistakes define you. He wants to keep you trapped in shame and self-doubt, as that’s how he gains control. But you don’t have to listen to his lies.

Your mistakes do not define you; you’re not beyond redemption. Jesus gave his life on the cross to pay for your sins and mine, and his sacrifice means that you are forgiven, no matter what you’ve done. This doesn’t mean your past doesn’t matter, or you can ignore your actions’ consequences. Some of us are still dealing with the repercussions of our choices years later. Yet, Jesus has forgiven you. You can relinquish the shame and guilt that’s holding you back. You can start to see yourself as God sees you – a beloved child worthy of love and praise.

If you still carry shame and embarrassment from your past, I urge you to let it go. Don’t let the devil keep you trapped in his lies. Choose to accept God’s forgiveness and live in the freedom that comes with it. You’re worthy of love, and with His help, you can overcome anything.

As I read dozens of personal development books each year, I started to see myself differently. I began applying for scholarships and put myself through college, often sleeping through many of the classes. This was because I worked both day and night, then attended school during the day. Despite these challenges, I managed to get through college.

After college, I understood the importance of stepping outside my comfort zone. I forced myself to socialize more and made it a point to look people in the eye. My goal was to make one person smile each day. When I started out, I had zero self-confidence. I struggled to answer simple questions like “paper or plastic” at the grocery store. But as I made a habit of looking people in the eye and stepping out of my comfort zone, I became more confident and outgoing.

In 2002, after finishing college, I started my first business. I founded a sports supplement company and a Christian clothing company. Later, we launched a cosmetic medical laser clinic in Evergreen, Colorado. We also started a white-label pharmaceutical company using the contacts and resources that we had from the medical clinic. This allowed us to develop and distribute high-quality pharmaceutical injectable research peptides. The experience of running these businesses taught me the importance of taking risks, stretching your comfort zone, and pursuing your passions.

As my businesses grew, I started sponsoring events at the Denver Coliseum and hosting events at local nightclubs to promote the business. I also had a friend who was a professional bodybuilder. He passed away a couple of years ago, but he was the inspiration behind the movie “The Incredibles.” His family would put on spandex suits and act out the scenes, which were then turned into a cartoon movie. He helped me promote my business by wearing my company logo during his performances.

However, not everything went smoothly. During one event, I had a seizure and fell, bruising my face on the concrete. At the time, I had seven seizures a week, which were becoming more frequent. One morning, I woke up and found half my body wouldn’t work. I called my mom, but I couldn’t form the proper sentences. She realized something was wrong and called 911. Paramedics arrived and took me to Swedish Medical Center.

A couple of days later, I woke up in the ICU, and the oncologist was talking to my mom and me. The first thing I remember was his hand on her shoulder, telling her I would not be around in 90 days. I had 60-90 days to live with a zero percent chance of survival from a malignant glioblastoma brain tumor. He told her chemotherapy, radiation, and brain surgery would not save me. It could ease some of the pain from migraines as I passed, but he essentially wanted to drug me out and have me putter around, drooling as I passed.

My mom and Steve, my stepdad, decided to take me to Tijuana, Mexico, for some alternative treatment that was not approved in the U.S. At the time, I thought it was a bad idea, but I agreed to go just so that my mom felt like we did everything we could. This decision led to a significant change in my life. My companies failed, I couldn’t live alone because of the frequent seizures, and I couldn’t even walk alone because I’d get lost due to my impaired sense of direction and short-term memory.

Consequently, I moved in with my mom and stepdad, sleeping on the living room floor of a 100-year-old log cabin they lived in, in Crawford, Colorado. It was a one-bedroom cabin, so my sleeping arrangement was an air mattress on the living room floor. During this time, I realized that out of the hundreds of friends I had, not one of them showed up to help me move.

People thought I was dying and tended to pull away in situations like that. As I slept on the floor of my parent’s place, my mom worked to inspire me and encourage me rather than let me lay around and feel sorry for myself. She nudged me with new ideas for businesses that I could start. She knew I was an entrepreneur, and work was my hobby, so she tried to get me inspired to keep going.

I watched some YouTube videos and started repairing broken iPhone screens. I printed out flyers and hung them at the local church, the grocery store, and every business in town. I still couldn’t drive, so I had to ask my mom or Steve to drive me around and pick up customers’ iPhones, which was humbling. As I worked on this new side hustle, the alternative cancer treatment began to help, and I started healing.

Soon, I rented a house in the middle of Hotchkiss, Colorado. We knocked off the wall between the front bedroom and the living room and turned that into an actual retail store. We launched our telecommunications company over the next ten years and opened more stores. When we closed in 2020, we had over 250,000 customers hitting our website monthly.

Despite the businesses looking incredibly successful on paper, we were working relentlessly. My mom managed one of my stores in Hotchkiss, and she was absolutely worn out. One night, she called me crying because the workload was too much. I decided that night to close the stores and shut down the company. I had started this company wanting to buy them a house, ranch, and horses, but instead, it just bought ten years of work.

That work was, you know, unpaid and miserable. Thousands of customers with problems and stuff. When she called me crying, saying she didn’t want to give up on my dream, I thought about the calls I got saying this business sucks. I hated that life; there was nothing enjoyable about it. So I said: okay, we’ll start shutting this down tomorrow. We got a hold of all the employees and started closing down the stores from that day. I took everything strictly online. Life was miserable, working that hard, just chasing money.

I started speaking professionally in 2018 when I was invited to speak at Caesars Palace. I loved encouraging and inspiring people; I knew that was my calling. But I didn’t realize there was a way to support myself while traveling around speaking. Another thing you’ll notice is that I use notes a lot. Because of brain cancer, I struggle with memory. If I’m supposed to memorize a sentence to tell you here for a thousand bucks, I’m likely to forget the sentence. But there are ways to work around any difficulties. No matter what you guys are going through, there’s always a workaround.

Sometimes life can be overwhelming like you need to figure out everything right now. You may feel lost if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life. Sometimes life has a way of taking you in unexpected directions. As I lost everything, I had no idea what the future held. All I knew was that I wanted to impact the world positively in some way.

What I want you to take away from this is that personal development is always worth investing in. Working on yourself will always be beneficial, even if you are still determining where it will lead you. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t know exactly what you want to do with your life. Just keep working on yourself and exploring new opportunities. Who knows where it might take you?

What’s important is that you start building a foundation for life that helps others. Maybe that means volunteering in your community, starting your own business, or becoming a mentor to somebody who needs guidance. Perhaps it means being an incredible employee who takes two men to replace when you decide to leave. We put so much importance on entrepreneurship, but so many employees are essential to making things happen.

Focus on creating a life that is meaningful to you and helps those around you. Your past mistakes do not define you. You have the power to create a better future for yourself and those around you. Keep working on yourself, stay open to opportunities, and trust the path will reveal itself in time. Even if you’re not ready for it, God will typically give you direction. Your past mistakes do not define you. You are not your sins or your failures.

Life may sometimes feel hopeless. The weight of your past may feel too heavy to bear, but there’s still a chance to turn your life around and positively impact others. Take the first step towards a better future today. Every step counts. Remember, your past does not define you. The future is still in your hands. You have the power to impact this world positively, and I believe in you.

And if you’ve got to stand up real quick, repeat after me, “I am not my mistakes. I am not my failure. Jesus died on the cross so that I am forgiven if I repent and place my faith in Jesus Christ as my savior. I was created by the same God that created the entire universe. I was created in His image. I am amazing. I’m not the sum of my failures and mistakes; starting today, I am the sum of my thoughts and actions. I will become the winner that God created me to be.”

You guys are fantastic. Thank you.

Thank you, M. Curtis McCoy. I appreciate you!

Join us next time at The Healing Conference!