Waking Up in Style: My Journey to One-Day Success

From a Plane to Sobriety My Journey Out of Darkness at the Dallas Airport

Doug Fleener Courtesy of Andrew Kelly/Boston Headshot Pro

Waking up on a plane in the Dallas airport, I realized I needed help to sober up.

It was the Monday after the New York Giants had triumphed over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. And let me tell you, I was feeling the aftermath. As the sun blazed high in the sky, I groggily surfaced, my head pounding with the intensity of a malfunctioning stereo system.

But here’s where things got truly bizarre – a voice boomed through the loudspeakers: “We’ll be landing at Dallas-Fort Worth airport.” I jolted awake, only to find myself crammed in the middle seat of an airplane. How did I end up here? And to make matters even more perplexing, my pocket was bulging with a fortune in cash. It was like waking up from a wild dream, except this dream had led me to the lowest point of my life.

You see, I was a 28-year-old mess of a human being. I had a penchant for drugs, alcohol, and even thievery. The money in my pocket represented the last remnants of my family’s marine supply business, which I had single-handedly bankrupted with my insatiable cocaine habit. Yes, dear reader, I was on a downward spiral, and the Super Bowl party was merely one drop in the ocean of my debauchery.

But as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. I found my saving grace in what I affectionately call “One-Day Success.” This miraculous concept helped me turn the tides and set sail on a 36-year voyage of redemption, growth, and unimaginable triumph.

The Wake-Up Call That Changed It All

Let me take you back to that fateful day, the worst day of my life. I had returned from my mysterious airborne escapade only to face my father, my business partner, who had discovered my thieving ways. It was a soul-crushing encounter, but little did I know that it was the catalyst for change.

To tackle the demons that plagued me, my father insisted on me seeing a therapist. Now, this therapist was quite the character – he had this theory that addicts like myself were reincarnated warriors from a bygone era. He even tried to hypnotize me to communicate with my inner warrior. Needless to say, I was not convinced. After all, I knew deep down that I would have made a terrible warrior.

However, it was this eccentric therapist who said something that would alter the course of my life: “Go to a recovery program.” And little did I know, that was the portal to my salvation.

One Day at a Time, One Stunning Victory at a Time

Getting sober was no walk in the park. I had been using drugs since the tender age of 12, quite the “early adopter” if you will. So, naturally, my initial instinct was to fix everything in one fell swoop. But life had other plans for me, teaching me a valuable lesson along the way – change must be savored, one day at a time.

Each morning, I woke up with a single goal in mind – to have “One-Day Success.” I must admit, I was filled with equal parts fear and determination, fueled by the whispers of those around me who had already triumphed over their own demons. And let me tell you, dear reader, that day-by-day success, as minuscule as it seemed, brought about immense transformation.

From Rags to Riches, One Day at a Time

As I began my journey towards greatness, my life took on a vibrancy I had never dreamed possible. I ascended the career ladder at a pace that would make even the most zealous mountaineer jealous. I went from being broke and unemployed to running a flagship store for a top specialty retailer, attaining success not in one fell swoop, but one remarkable day at a time.

With each passing day, my definition of “One-Day Success” evolved. It went beyond mere abstinence from substances and delved into the realm of personal growth and development. I learned to manage businesses with finesse, take responsibility for my life, and lead teams with passion. And you won’t believe what happened next.

I raised a family, embarked on incredible opportunities with esteemed companies like The Sharper Image and Bose Corporation, and even helmed a 1,200-person organization. I became CEO of a national title company, guiding it through massive growth. My secret to success? Relentlessly pursuing “One-Day Success,” day after glorious day.

Embracing Mistakes and Rising Above

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not immune to missteps. In fact, I’ve made my fair share of blunders along the way. The difference is, I learned from them and swiftly moved onward and upward. Each mistake served as a powerful lesson, propelling me towards an even better version of myself the next day.

Today, my expertise is sought by companies big and small. I coach executives, advise business owners, and travel the world as a speaker and consultant. And every endeavor is grounded in my philosophy of achieving long-term success by maximizing single-day performance – the magic of One-Day Success.

So, dear fashion enthusiasts and soulful wanderers, I invite you to embrace the power of transformation, one day at a time. Like a sleek dress tailored to perfection or a pair of pumps that elevate your entire ensemble, each day holds the promise of fashioning a life that is as remarkable as it is extraordinary.

Excerpted from “The Day Makes the Year (Makes a Life): Transform your work and life with One-Day Success” (Five Leaf Clover Publishing, August 21, 2023). Reprinted with permission from Five Leaf Clover Publishing.

Hey there, fashionable reader! Have you ever experienced a wake-up call that transformed your life? Share your story with us in the comments below. And remember, embrace the power of One-Day Success – it’s the runway to a life of triumph and style!