Tuesday, February 26, 2013

From the Outhouse to the Big House!

If you were raised in the “projects,” “hood,” “ghetto,” “country,” or “sticks” then this blog is for you! If you were raised in a trailer, trailer park, or simply under “poor living conditions” then this blog is for you! If you were raised sans indoor plumbing or running water then this blog is for you! Perhaps you were born just plain ole’ poor. Then this blog is for you!

Many people look at the “James” they see today and often make up their own story about my past. “Did you grow up in D.C.?” “You sound like you are from up North.” “Were your parents professionals as well?” The list goes on. The bottom line is that I’m a simple country boy who was raised in Culpeper, Va. (sounds country, right?) by two loving parents who had to drop out of school in the 6th and 7th grades to take care of their families. I spent the majority of my formative years in a house with no running water, thus no indoor toilet. If you were to stop and look at these humble beginnings, you could easily conclude that any kid growing up in this environment was destined for failure or at least to continue the disadvantaged socio-economic cycle, generation after generation. Glory to God, despite our surroundings, my parents were able to raise three successful children who all learned the value of an honest day’s work and to not allow where you are to dictate where you can be.

I was incredibly ashamed of my living conditions, so never invited my friends from school to spend the night over my house. However, as I grew older and stronger I used this shame to propel me and not to keep me in bondage.

   It’s easy to dream, but sometimes we get frustrated that we're working hard and not seeing results as quickly as we'd like. We're actually building a foundation and that elusive success simply will not happen overnight. We have to fully understand that it’s a slow process in which we are constantly building and learning. If it were easy, everyone would have achieved it and the success surely wouldn’t be as appreciated. That’s why it’s extremely important to create a foundation that will remain strong even in times of crisis, and that takes time. We must constantly remind ourselves that we only fail if we quit; otherwise, it is a learning opportunity.

   Like many of you whom were raised in a less than ideal home environment, I knew that somehow or someway, I had to break this cycle of poverty—both financial and educational. However, since I was too small to go to the NFL…too short to go to the NBA…and a little too dark to go to the NHL, education alone was my passport to the future! I knew that I had to go to college and earn a degree.

 After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Longwood College and a Master’s in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia (UVA), I designed and built my first house just outside of Charlottesville, Va. in 1990.  I often beamed with pride to have accomplished such a task and was eager to host family and friends on any occasion. Unfortunately, after a few years I had reached the height of civil service in Charlottesville (GS-13) and simply had to move to the Washington DC area if I wanted to take my career to the next level. Therefore, the house with over an acre of land that I had built and purchased for $109.000 in 1990 sold a few years later for $118,000 in 1996.

Now that I had moved to the “Big City”—like Jethro Bodine and the Clampetts—it was time for me to find a new crib, so I relied on the wisdom of my old office mates back in Charlottesville,  and sought to get a great deal buying “pre-construction.” This was one of the smartest financial moves I’d ever made because as soon as my house was completed by Winchester Homes, in 1997, they were selling the same model in my neighborhood for $30K more!

I planned to stay in the townhouse until I one day moved into my “dream home” with my wife and family, so I always knew that this house was a means to an end—but certainly not the end. Therefore, during the height of the real-estate market when folks were taking equity out of their houses and cashing it in for trips, cars, SUVs, and God only knows what else; I simply let the equity in my house grow. Well, after 11-years in this townhouse and witnessing my sister get a fabulous deal on a bank-owned foreclosure single-family property in Haymarket Va., a still-small voice began to whisper in my ear that perhaps my 8,000 square foot dream home was closer than I thought if only I could find a bank-owned property. But there was one sizeable obstacle, I had to sell my existing townhouse in one of the worst real-estate markets the Nation had ever seen in early 2008.  Glory be to God just five days after the house went on the market it sold for $335,000, and I had only paid $159,000 in 1997. After the 6% real-estate commissions (split between the listing and buyer’s agents) that still left me with more than $175,000 profit!

Angela and I used $150K of this money as a down payment on our nearly 8,000 square foot dream home that we purchased at a 30-40% discount from the bank for a total of $728,000. When Angela and I purchased our dream house in 2008 it had actually been built a few years earlier in 2004, but the original owners had never really lived in or taken care of it. This house had been built just for us four years prior to ever imagining that we would be able to afford it. God’s favor! Although it was a bank-owned foreclosure that had been sitting empty for nearly two years, we immediately recognized its potential and knew that all it needed was someone to appreciate and take care of it. The true owners were finally going to occupy it.

But it doesn’t end there!!!!

A few months ago, after church my daughter Landon and I were led to a gated community in Loudoun County, Va. called Creighton Farms where the Favor of God not only allowed us to get by the guards at the front gate but to also get inside—with the assistance of a real-estate agent who was having an open house at another property—the house that God alone had led us to.  This 8-bedroom, 17,600 square foot, 5-car garage mansion is nestled on 3.3 acres (God’s number) and even has its own pond! Although it’s listed as a 2008 construction it’s NEVER been occupied, and seems to be waiting for its rightful owners to occupy it (sounds familiar?)

Oh, the price?


As it currently stands there’s no way in the world that Angela and I could possibly afford this $4.5M mansion, but then again, a little over five years ago we thought there was no way we could ever afford to live in the house I’m currently writing this blog from. But with God (three of the most important words you will ever know), all things are possible!  

I pray that this blog encourages at least one person who grew up under similar circumstances to become inspired to pursue all that God has planned for you.  There is a serious wealth transfer that’s now underway and most experts agree the key to building wealth is ownership.  Dare to dream! Dare to break the shackles of financial, educational, and generational poverty! Dare to dare!

About the Author of "Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening": James Hackley is an author, inspirational speaker, and a philanthropist who earned a B.S. degree in Physics from Longwood College and an M.S. degree in Engineering from the University of Virginia.  He's the founder of Omega Consulting Enterprises, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and faithfully attends Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Lansdowne, Va. His latest book, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening can be purchased by visiting him at http://www.jameshackley.com , http://www.Amazon.com, and http://www.barnesandnoble.com.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Discovering Your Purpose!

The two most important dates in our life is the day we were born, and the day we discovered our purpose. However, if you examine the taxi above you will quickly note that it’s only by the Grace of God that I survived long enough to discover my purpose.

   My father held more jobs than a Jamaican immigrant, when I was growing up, and one of them was as a taxi driver for Jones’ Cab in Culpeper, Va. I always enjoyed spending as much time with him as I could, so I would often accompany him in his cab as he picked-up customers. Well…on one of these days when I was around 6-yrs-old, dad and I had just dropped off a fare and had to cross a stretch of train tracks, four tracks wide, which connected “The Alley” to the rest of the town.  As always, before crossing the tracks we looked both ways—even though the railroad crossing lights had indicated that the coast was clear. About half-way across these rickety tracks a train came out of nowhere and smashed into the taxi! It was only by the Grace of God that dad and I survived that horrific accident, and I still carry a scar over my right cheek that reminds me of His Grace and my guardian angels each day. You see, God had a purpose for me!

Fast forward…February 26th 2011 my wonderful wife Angela had to meet her dad very early over in Southeast D.C. (District of Columbia). Every Saturday morning during the prior few weeks I would wake up and go running, but if I wanted to get my 4-miles in on this particular a.m., I would have to rise & shine and hit the pavement before the sun had even yawned. I had logged many miles on this same route consistently over the past few weeks, but on this particular morning things would never be the same. About a mile into the run, I entered into a transcendental zone where I would travel hundreds of yards and not know how I had gotten there. The single transcending thought that had dominated my mind during each pounding stride was simply:

"You have to write a book titled, ‘Body, Mind & Spirit.’"

   Now, although most of us have dreamed of writing a book about something, I knew that my writing skills were a bit...umm...how can I put this? WEAK!! As the hundreds of yards turned into miles, it became even clearer that by writing this guide, God would improve my writing skills and provide the people and wherewithal to breathe life into this project just as He had done to Adam. Besides, a few people that I’ve known for years had published books. Dr. Psyche Williams-Forson had written Building Houses Out of Chicken Legs, which was reviewed in the New York Times, and Dr. Tamara Brown had published African American Fraternities and Sororities, which explored the rich past and bright future of the nine Black Greek-Letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. Why couldn’t I also produce something that’s socially relevant?

   Usually after running four miles I would be winded and my muscles would be stiff, but one of the most incredible things about this unforgettable run was that I was not winded at all after my last stride! In fact, I felt as refreshed, as if had just gotten out of bed after a very restful sleep. Looking back on this life-changing run from a heightened spiritual perspective, I had received an anointing. Even more, I had just discovered my purpose!

   Upon entering the house, the first thing I told Angela was, "Baby, I think I'm going to write a book."  Perhaps she may have thought I had slipped and hit my head, but her response was rather encouraging and she even brought a book home from the grocery store later that day that provided some valuable insight into my task at hand. My help mate took the very first step in the incredible journey that my wonderful family would later take as one.

   Unfortunately, like most good ideas, doubt and negativity began to enter my mind as the day went on, but for every reason I may have thought of why I shouldn't invest the time, energy and money into writing and publishing this guide, 20 reasons emerged why I should. I've long believed in the power of speaking things into existence, so I immediately posted my public proclamation in the Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening Facebook group and vowed to donate one-half of all revenue (not profit but revenue!) generated from the sale of the book to my new church home of Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International located in Lansdowne, Va. I kind of felt like Moses who, despite his speech impediment, God allowed to do great things. God sent Aaron to Moses and I truly believe He sent me the wonderful folks in my Facebook group to offer assistance, encouragement and various perspectives.

Have you discovered your purpose? Have you been running from it? What things do others constantly remind you that you should consider doing? What things do you find yourself doing on a regular basis, and you may not be even getting paid to do it—yet? Please know that God has a purpose just for you, and your journey to find this purpose actually began when God first thought of creating you. Yes, God thinks. Therefore, He put events in motion that not only allowed your parents to meet; but God also orchestrated all the generations on each side of your family tree just so you would have the genetic code that allows you to be the extraordinarily unique individual that you are. Your very existence can never be considered an accident, for although our world is unfortunately filled with many illegitimate parents, God has yet to create a single illegitimate child. You were created for a purpose!

I challenge you to take a few moments and really meditate on what is your purpose. Once you discover it, please make sure you tell at least five other folks what it is and how you plan to fulfill it.  These individuals will be your accountability partners that will help ensure that your purpose will never again be hidden from the world.

Author Biography and Book Synopsis

James Hackley just may be the most blessed individual you’ll ever meet. Despite a highly successful sales & marketing career that has spanned the last two decades, his true “calling” is touching the lives of others and inspiring them to want to change for the better.  As a result of a major epiphany, James was able to lose an amazing 50 lbs of fat in just 4 months and has sculpted his 46-yr-old body into the best shape ever.  He has learned to significantly reduce stress, quiet the mind and get in touch with his spirit like never before.  As a result, he’s been able to free himself from a lifetime sentence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol prescription medications.  More importantly, he’s been able to inspire those around him to do the same.

In his latest release, Body, Mind & Spirit: The Awakening, James explores the root causes of why we overeat, refuse to exercise, live chaotic lives and fail to accomplish the goals that God has intended for our life since the dawn of time.  This is not just another diet or “weight loss” (loss of fat and muscle) book. Diets simply don’t work, and James emphasizes how we need to be more concerned about “fat loss.” In fact, this guaranteed bestseller would be better categorized as a “Negativity Loss” guide: loss of negative fat, negative habits, negative foods, negative people, negative thoughts and negative actions. This guide arms you with knowledge and encouragement to put a plan into action to finally master the things that have long mastered you.

Mr. Hackley received a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from Longwood College and a Master of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Virginia. He’s an author, inspirational speaker, philanthropist, chaplain of a local chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and an active member of Holy & Whole Life Changing Ministries International in Loudoun County, Virginia. He is the proud founder and CEO of Omega Consulting Enterprises, LLC and currently lives in Sterling, Va. with his beautiful wife Angela and their daughter Landon. He enjoys exercising, running, meditation, reading and simply being used by God.

Contact Info:
Omega Consulting Enterprises, LLC
P.O. Box 2892
Sterling, Va. 20167
Office #: (571) 315-5923