This is a story of personal struggle and hardship, of overcoming grief, fear and loss and against all odds emerging victorious. This is the life story of a young boy and his struggle to become the man he was destined to always be, the man who can take defeat and turn it into victory, an example of building something from nothing. This is the story of Juan Pablo (JP) Guzman, read it at your own risk… but first, think about this:
“A wise man once said, ‘You can’t be old and wise, if you were never young and crazy”
The following story is based upon JP´s personal experiences and perspective, let´s hear it from him.
The story begins in Santiago, Chile on September 8th, 1973 where I was born into a middle class family, as the sixth out of seven siblings. This could by all estimates be considered a rather large family. The nice thing about a family of this size; my birthday parties were always well attended, with just a few friends and all of my siblings, the party was always a success.
As a portent of what would follow, after my birth we were discharged from the hospital, my mother and I, on September 11th 1973. This was the very same day as the famous military coup lead by Augusto Pinochet.
My first automobile trip was a drive through a real battlefield, with my father waving a Red Cross flag out the window, as he drove us home. The flag was hand made by the nurses, just minutes before the doctor had discharged us. My mother was in the backseat still suffering the effects of childbirth, while I was hidden beneath the back seat to protect me from any stray bullets.
A fitting beginning for the birth of a warrior, indeed! We were stopped at several checkpoints, by patrols to assure we were in fact the “good guys” rather than the enemies. There was a quick end to the “bad guys” on that fateful day in September with fighter planes and bombers attacking La Moneda (the government palace) in an attempt to unseat then President Allende, who in the end, took his own life.
Our childhood years were a little crazy, although as children we did not realize it at the time, to us this was just normal. For example, often our gas and electric services would be shut off, because, of course, we just loved candles and romance, not because we could not afford to pay our utility bills.
As mentioned previously, we were a very large family, with myself and six other siblings. Money was very tight, especially during the oil crisis of 1982.
It was during this time that the youngest three children in our family were forced to abandon private education, for the public school system. The difference between these types of schools, at that time in Chile was huge, and a big adjustment for each of us.
My parents arranged to have me finish high school in the military academy. I was able to attend on a full scholarship as my father was a military officer. This allowed me to continue my education without having to pay (not to mention the small detail that I had been expelled from school)!
My teachers in school considered me to be disrespectful, in that I did not give them my full attention; instead spending this time telling jokes to my classmates. Well my expulsion from school may have had something to do with a series of small fights I was involved in, most notably one which ended with a friend’s nose broken, and another’s broken tooth; however, this was the extent of my skirmishes during those school days.
Two years later, I realized the academy was not for me, and begged my father to allow me to leave the military academy; I was not yet 18, and as such unable to leave without my parents authorization. He was adamant, I was to stay!
Unfortunately the only other way out was to be declared guilty of some type of military crime; not the best alternative! Had I chosen this alternative the military police could have hunted me down and had me tried in a military court, and subsequently declared a deserter. This does not paint a pretty picture, I know; but nonetheless an accurate portrayal of my academy days.
That was not to be my time for criminal incarceration, however; much later as a lawyer, I was given a better opportunity, as well as a much clearer understanding of the consequences. This was a very sad period in my life, as I felt completely abandoned by my father on the worst night of my life; as my mother stood by and did nothing. This left me utterly isolated, deserted and crying in the vast dark hallways of the academy, forced to face this crisis alone. In retrospect, I can say that I did a very wise thing, rather than committing a criminal offense, I instead sought counsel from my Captain. Out of desperation, and in my most persuasive manner, I appealed to my Captain: “Please sir, I am completely alone in this and cannot bear to remain in the military, completely against my will. If you cannot, or will not help me, I shall steal something right now, regardless of
This was when my second devil was defeated, as the Captain spoke with the Colonel and together they devised a solution to my dilemma. They were able to modify my military records to indicate a history of less than stellar experiences, indicating a complete lack of interest and competency, thus disqualifying me for a distinguished career as a military officer. I really have no idea how this was accomplished (to change records is not easy), only that I was summoned to the Captains office and informed that I was free to go home. These were the only words I wanted to hear, and they were music to my ears! Yahoo! I was free!
As you can imagine, I was not welcomed with open arms by my father when I returned home. He made it clear that he was very disappointed in me, upon my arrival he vehemently stated: “Shame on You! You should be ashamed of yourself for the dishonor you have brought upon yourself and your family by being discharged from the military academy!” No matter what my father could say to me, it was far better than being unwillingly doomed to “jail” (I mean to be forced to remain in the Military Academy) as was the case with both of my elder brothers. It was extremely challenging to attempt integration back into the family unit at home, and only a matter of time before my father, in no uncertain terms, demanded that I leave. Once again, I found myself
abandoned and alone this time to the streets, at the tender age of 18.
Thank goodness I had been provided the opportunity to refine my persuasion skills in the military academy, as they now came in handy with my paternal Grandmother. I again found myself desperate, and was not above begging for accommodations. My Grandmother was an absolute angel to myself and my siblings, and it was in this manner that I came to live with her for the next eight years, which proved themselves to be some of the greatest years of my life through young adulthood.
This my friends was how I was able to escape two years of strict discipline at the hands of the military academy. We were subjected to many different exercises including forced marches completely naked through the deep snow, four dimensional torture fields and many other forms of cruel drills too varied and imaginative to even mention. Although I joke about it now, I can assure you that at the time, it was anything but fun and games. We were often punished for the slightest offense, with the punishments delivered anytime, and anyplace.
This seemed like sheer torture, until my much anticipated further education at the University, which proved instead to be seven years of genuine hell on earth!
This was due partly to the fact that I was studying law; but also because at the same time I was working hard to pay for my studies, while also enjoying a fantastic and active social life. But I can tell you; what a beautiful and unforgettable hell on earth it was!
Tragedy struck in 1995, when a group study session was interrupted by one of my brothers calling to tell me that our mother had committed suicide. She had taken her own life, in our childhood home, by shooting herself with a gun in front of our father. Perhaps six months before this horrific event, I actually had a premonition that my father would commit suicide, but I never in my wildest dreams considered this to be a possibility with my mother.
Many years, and experiences later, after much reflection on our childhood years; I eventually came to realize that we grew up in a very unusual family. Unfortunately this family was one with very bad habits, and social patterns that I never really understood. Until that moment, many things which had previously seemed familiar and normal in my life, began to appear abnormal to me, requiring careful consideration, introspection and change on my part. Negativity, too much smoking, alcohol and violence; including plates being thrown and smashed; punishments and beatings too often at the hands of our parents when we were kids, and so very many other things which now began to lose sense.
Finally, I finished my university studies in 1999, graduating cum laude as stated on my diploma. After graduating, I worked with a family member who was a respected attorney for three years, only to one day be confronted by his refusal to pay back money which I had loaned him (a big amount for me in that age). As a direct result of this, I was faced with my first bankruptcy. Prior to this, I had been seen by my friends as the single most wealthiest and famous amongst them, the only one who had worked hard while at the same time studying at the university. This just goes to show, sometimes one is at the top, and then quite suddenly you are not……
But, then, an angel crossed my path in 2002, I know not how or why; every time that I have considered this, I cannot come up with an answer. Through some stroke of good fortune my résumé landed in the hands of a well-known and distinguished attorney, from an one of the biggest Holdings in Latin America.
What incredible years these were. I accomplished everything in this great job; acquiring tons of tools, and learned many tricks which don´t appear in the books. I met many very good lawyers and made wonderful friends, many of whom I still cherish to this day (not ALL of them, though, do I cherish!)
During this period, I was the head of a team in charge of very important and famous trial in Chile, in which we earned approximately 40 million dollars. In this capacity I gained much experience practicing law. I earned a lot of money, bought a large house in a very exclusive area of Santiago. Cars, stocks, bonds, I was also the attorney for a non-profit charity organization, in which place I gained also a very important trial for its social relevance. It was not uncommon for me to appear in the daily news because of my involvement in those issues. I had again reached the pinnacle of success, this time with furthering my career, once again I was at the top, baby!!! The problem, however…. was that I didn’t much care for being at the top again.
Unfortunately, I did not realize at the time that when one party wins 40 million dollars, it is because another party has lost 40 million dollars, and… I didn’t ́t even see the second team of lawyers coming with such formidable hostility, until it was almost too late.
In short, I was involved in a very important bank leaking information case, a type of conspiracy between a bank employee of one of the largest banks in the world, and myself, the attorney of the other side, in a trial we had gained before against the same bank.
Summary, I was subsequently declared guilty; not of conspiracy, as there had not been, but rather of providing information to the Court. In accordance with the Court’s decision I had violated the bank’s privacy. I think that the Court understood my motivation and the situation to have acted in that manner: I was the other parties’ lawyer and I was defending its rights. The Court’s decision at the end, was significantly different than the expectations of the defendant bank.
Everyone is responsible to recognize mistakes that have been made, and disclosing that information to the court was definitely a mistake on my part. I was so deeply involved in the case at the time, that I did not realize what a huge mistake I was making. Instead, I actually felt like a winner, as the court did not decide in favor of the defendant bank, which was petitioning to have me serve five years in prison along with a $120,000.00 USD fine. The court in the end decided that making restitution to the Chilean government, in the amount of $2,000.00 USD along with signing documents monthly for a period of one year would be adequate. Not something which I would recommend anyone try on their own, my friends!
While studying law, I worked hard to pay my expenses and university costs (1993). I took the same approach now, working as a lawyer (2002) while obtaining a master of Business degree in the Polytechnic University of Madrid. and with the same philosophy (always do more than one activity) in 2006, once I completed my Masters degree, I began to create a long distance and network marketing company. This was when I filed bankruptcy for the second time, an experience which made me realize that the way to success is first precisely through failure.
Then in 2010 I began another entrepreneur, and what can I say about this venture? It had been my dream since 2006 to create a company which provides to all of the people around the world the potential to earn money, regardless of their location, nationality, family history, station in life or any other consideration. As long as they possess the courage, combined with a strong will to triumph over adversity and succeed, then our company provides a business platform with which to conduct business. This company was amazingly success, and between 2010 and 2012 the company shared $250,000 USD in profits with these people. This is a huge accomplishment for all of the people who work in the company, especially the ones from Chile and Colombia.
In 2012, I decided to expand the company to the next level (internationally and in association with big partners), however these details are currently governed by non-disclosure agreements with my new partners. Please, be patient and stay tuned for the latest big news surrounding our company.
As you may know, in 2012 I also conceptualized and developed a great start-up idea, resulting in a coaching company called “Coaching is Power.” This new company is the direct culmination of my own learning process, and the idea here is, if to make many mistakes and gained experience have been so useful for me, and have helped me to reach a privileged place in personal and professional areas, I think the same experience can help YOU to reach the same level.
I have been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity of attending many worldwide seminars conducted by Tony Robbins, as well as various other online seminars and courses in different disciplines, including spiritual ones with Deepack Chopra as well as other thought leaders, visionaries and authors such as Wayne Dyar, Eckhart Toelle, Bill Saton and Chet Holmes, among others. I think this new Start-Up will be another way in which I can positively change the world.
This represents the current status of my business endeavors, however my personal life also became really interesting following my divorce in 2007. I reserved this topic for the very end, saving the best for last. This part of my story is of deep transformation and great awakening in many different aspects. It is also the impetus and energy behind “Coaching is Power” as I am certain that I am able to help many people change their lives for the better, based upon my story of how I was able to transform my life.
In brief, my divorce was a long, hard and painful journey. It was a story of disappointments, bad habits, lack of experience, and the magical ingredient; two strong egos. Had you asked me even five years ago about this, I probably would have told you how much effort I put into resisting until the bitter end, the many months of therapy and an entire laundry list of painful details. I would have told you so many things that you would had been as distracted as myself from the main cause of my divorce: That it was, in my personal opinion, 100% of what happen in my life is my responsibility, that is the way life works, and the rest of the details are only that, details (and in my ex-wife´s life, she is 100% responsible about what happened, and to start to talk about the details could be a hidden exit to the need for assume that responsibility, and to lose the power of being aware about we are in charge of our destiny).
Life is sometimes ironic. I can assure you that my divorce was by far the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It made me feel like I had never felt before. It took me to the very bottom, to the very depths, the deepest bottom, to a place that I have never visited, despite the long history of my devils. However, it was exactly from that point, from the deepest bottom, from where I never before dreamt a person could survive, emerged a kind of invincible man who is able to deal with all the devils at once and more. From another point of view, it was the place from where a very peaceful man emerged, one who knows that everything is exactly as it has to be, all the time, with no exception. Two miracles (until now) were born during my marriage: Emilia and José Domingo, my beautiful kids. They are lovely, aren’t they?
I remember my first steps with “The secret”, then Wayne Dyer, Stephen Covey, John Maxwell, Camilo Cruz and many other inspirational thought leaders. My travels to the USA and Fiji searching for the tools of Tony Robbins, and then finally Eckhart Tolle, Osho, Deepack Chopra and The Kybalion.
To finish, let me tell you that there is a great and huge world of peace and war outside, a world that is there for you to deal with in total calm and full enjoyment, being grateful, and fully aware. Something which is only possible when we know the rules of the game, that way to play and to make mistakes is so important, to learn the rules.
Juan Pablo (JP) Guzman