I try to keep things light on social media: cute pics of my kiddos… cool stuff I’m doing… fun, aspirational, entertaining stuff.

But social media is like an iceberg. You never see what’s really under the surface.

Under the surface is where the weight is. The heavy stuff. The dark, painful parts of life we usually keep to ourselves.

In other words — the kind of deep, life changing experiences that actually mean something.

For me, one of those experiences happened five years ago, around the time I met Louis.

I was 35 at the time. Too young to call it a midlife crisis. But I was sad. Deeply sad.

As I mentioned last week, I was a project manager at a big insurance company: Mutual of Omaha.

As jobs went, it was easy. In some ways, it was the perfect 9-to-5.

The company was sleepy. Very little was expected of me. And just by doing slightly more than the minimum, I could be an absolute rockstar.

Add to that I had a great boss — the best I’ve ever had. And I was making a solid $84,000/year with a 6% 401k match.

I could’ve worked there for the next 30 years, got my 4% per year increase, and retired a millionaire. Easy. Because the way things were going, they would have never fired me.

By a lot of standards, I had “made it.”

But still, I was sad. And I didn’t understand why.

Then something happened that brought everything into focus.

At the time, my kids were super young, and I was the only breadwinner. As a still fairly new parent, the amount of pressure I felt to provide was unbelievable.

And a few weeks before this, I had been fired from a different job. I’d lost the office politics game and been let go.

In the two weeks between jobs, I felt more panic than I’d ever felt in my life. I didn’t have a job. I didn’t know when I’d get one. And that meant I didn’t know how I’d feed my kids.

I’ve been through a lot of scary experiences in my life (with bullet wounds to prove it). But this was on another level.

So, I told myself I needed something stable. A “secure” job, because with my kids looking to me for support, I couldn’t afford to take any risks.

So, I took the Project Manager job at Mutual of Omaha.

It was safe. It was easy. It paid well. And I couldn’t lose.

But here’s the thing…

When there’s no way to lose, there’s no way to win.

The job wasn’t challenging, so I felt like I was wasting my time. I felt like I was wasting my talents. In a lot of ways, I felt like I was going backwards. I was becoming the last thing in the world I ever wanted to be: a worker drone.

I was, to put it simply, depressed. Like clinically depressed, or nearly so.

But it was a sacrifice I was willing to make. Because I thought that was the only way to take care of my kids.

Then one day, as I was getting ready for work, my son tugged on his mother’s sleeve.

“Is dad going to the job he hates?”

Instantly, my heart broke.

Because he was right. I hadn’t admitted it to myself at the time, but I WAS going to a job I hated.

Now, some people might think “that’s so great — he’s recognizing his father’s sacrifice.”

But in that moment, I realized the real risk I was taking. I thought I was doing a good thing, playing it safe by working my steady, cushy job to pay the bills and feed my kids. In reality, I was showing my son how to live.

But the way I was living was slowly (or not so slowly) killing me.

I was playing it safe with my stable job. But I was risking having my son grow up believing it’s ok to suffer through a job he hates as long as it’s paying the bills.

My son would grow up believing depression was “just the way it is.” He’d trudge through life like I was. And then his kids would learn the same thing. And the cycle would go on and on.

So ironically, by making that “sacrifice,” I would effectively be sentencing future generations of my bloodline to miserable lives too.

And that’s not me being dramatic. That’s how generational patterns work.

Through our actions and beliefs, we show our kids how to live. And I’d already fought hard enough to escape what I’d been taught by my parents. I couldn’t let myself model what was just a different form of abuse.

So, I started down a different path.

And that path has led to a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, more amazing memories than I can count, and a level of financial security that I never thought possible.

And today, I can genuinely say that I’m free.

Instead of dreading the day every morning when I wake up, I’m excited. Because I’m in control. I live on my own terms. I do what I want, when I want, and I have more money than I know what to do with.

That’s the kind of life I want to model for my kids.

And if that’s the kind of life you want, too, then I want to show you exactly what it takes to get there.

It’s all laid out for you, step-by-step, in the 1600 Success Summit.

Click here to watch it now.

Abe Wagner