On the day we got married I was like; “Okay, I have got to go back to the office to work.” You know, when my wife would say; “Hey, can I come have coffee with you?” I would be like; “Don’t call me. You’re distracting me from my main purpose.”
I came home one day and saw messages from her to someone else that really opened my eyes to like; “Wait a minute.” By not being around she had found other people. She had found someone else. I had this emotional, like a nuclear bomb going off inside me because I wasn’t prepared to walk away from everything that I had built, this empire perhaps you could call it. I wasn’t prepared to walk away from that. I expected her to just magically fix herself, fix the situation for both of us. One business I took from maybe two million up to twenty million. You’re talking about business now that when I left were a hundred forty and a hundred and fifty million dollars.
Like Tiger Woods was raised to play golf, I was raised to do business. My parents were God-fearing Christians but they had some extreme views. There was no T.V. in our home growing up for eighteen years, at all. I had to practice the piano at least an hour a day. There were five of us. My mom said; “Well, you can’t practice for an hour at a time because your production is going to fall off, the quality. So, you have to practice every half an hour. There was literally a sign-up sheet in my house for when you could grab piano time. I had to read a book a day. My mom said; “Well, you can’t read fiction because it’s fake and that’s a waste of your brain power. So, you’re going to read biographies. You’re going to read Christian books. I was reading my dad’s Blackstone law books at twelve. So, when I say it was like Tiger Woods, quite seriously, I had an older brother who was amazing and missed one question on his S.A.T. Like that set right then, a really super smart guy. He was writing his own sheet music at seventeen or eighteen.
I was out to prove something and it’s great to have drive. It’s great to want to get from where you are to where you want to be. I was playing with fire in the sense that; you may achieve your goal but the collateral damage around you becomes too expensive.
I had this amazing beautiful office where I would sit and I would be so heartbroken that I would just sit in my office and cry. That’s not a Dan Waldschmidt thing. That’s just not. I’m a guy who trains for MMA. I’m a guy who’s tough. I’m a guy who goes and achieves any goal. I was just so heartbroken. Once I had that moment where I decided not to go forward with the suicide, I was thinking. I had to adjust my behavior because let’s say I made this money but I ended up with kids who don’t know me, a wife who wants nothing to do with me. At what cost am I willing to pursue these things? Now, other people might have made different decisions. They might have said; “Screw it. I want to achieve more.” But for me in that moment, especially in the eye-opening moment where I decided I have got to change my priorities. I went from “I am the business guy. I’m going to protect you from all of this” to her knowing everything. It’s amazing the smart advice she has. Sarah is my best friend and I think she would say the same thing back to you if you were interviewing her. People ask; “What’s your biggest success story?” I’ll say; “Staying married.”