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Zane Gray Magic

My story:

I have been doing magic for as long as I can remember.  I started performing magic at the age of 8.  My sister bought me a magic kit that year for Christmas, and I was hooked.  Entertaining people has been something I have enjoyed my whole life.    Bringing joy to others is one of the greatest feelings in the world.  I have found that the REAL MAGIC in life stems from serving other people.  Giving service is something that has literally saved my life.  And... this is my story

Shortly after I was married in 1996, I disappeared off stage one night in Las Vegas courtesy of David Copperfield.  I remember visiting with him after and thinking up all of these elaborate ways to make people disappear off stage.  That was a fun night.  It was that night that I decided I wanted to apply my skills as a magician to my work.  

Fast Forward to 2007.  I owned my own fire safety company and I had just had my best year in business.  I had built my dream home in my hometown and bought my dream car.  I had 3 amazing children and a good wife.  I felt like I was living my dreams.  I was speaking and doing magic all over the world.  I was inviting others to live their dreams as well.  I was active in the community and in my church.  It really appeared like I had it "figured out," and that I had achieved success in business as well as in life.  

 At the end of 2007 I was invited to speak at a professional conference.  I was to be one of the keynote speakers.  After reading my bio, the gentleman introducing me made a statement that he inserted himself.   He said.... "ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE THAT I HAVE EVER MET, Mr. Zane Gray."   The statement in bold was NOT in my bio.  Keep in mind that I had literally met this man 5 minutes before I went on stage.  For whatever reason, that statement bothered me.  I couldn't get it out of my head.  I walked on stage to a huge ovation and all I could think about was that phrase.  "Why did that man say that?"  I made it through the magic show and talk just fine, but to this day I don't remember much of what I said.  I DO REMEMBER thinking to myself.... "that man has no idea what kind of husband I am to my wife, or what kind of father I am to my kids."  He thought that I was successful because of the car I drove and the house I lived in.  What he didn't understand was that my priorities were completely out of balance.  I appeared to be successful on the outside, but on the inside I was failing miserably.  I was a wreck.  I was struggling with depression, anxiety, stress, and I was not present as a father or husband.  I was driven to be the best in my business, and ultimately it caused me to lose everything.   

Within three years of that conference I was arrested and pled guilty to 5 felonies.  I was divorced.  I was excommunicated from my church.  I was humiliated, disgraced, and had completely given in to depression.  I struggled to get out of bed each day.  Most of my so-called friends wouldn't speak to me as soon as I was arrested.  I felt like I had no reason to live.  I was incarcerated for a year.  During the first few months of incarceration I wondered if this world would be a better place without me.  I dreaded looking in the mirror each morning.  I struggled mightily with depression and feelings of self-worth were hard to come by.  I had been attacked while in jail and I was fearful to go to sleep each night.  I lost 40 pounds in 30 days.  I didn't know what to do.  It was in these tough moments that giving service to others was the only thing that gave me a reason to smile.  It was giving service to other inmates and guards that ultimately helped me overcome my depression and gave me a reason to look forward to another day.  And.... giving that service may have helped me to stay safe in one of the worst places on earth.  I believe that I was protected from harm because I gave to others expecting nothing in return.  Writing these experiences down, and remembering what I was able to accomplish, even while I was behind bars, has helped me stay positive and on the right path.  

When I was released from jail I had $12.00 to my name.  No home, no car, no job and opportunities seemed slim.  My parents let me borrow their vehicle.  I started to work again, and I started doing magic again.  I started volunteering to perform at rehab facilities and at schools.  I started doing corporate events again and telling my story.  After being divorced for 3 1/2 years, I finally decided to start dating.  In 2013 I got married!  While my life isn't perfect and I still struggle with things daily, I am on the right track.  I am working as hard as I can.  I have four amazing children and four more amazing step-children.  I have an amaz wife, and a great ex-wife.  Now how many people can say that?    With all that I have been through, I have learned that the true magic in life is giving service to others.  Serving people as much as possible, and unmasking the self-deception that we all have in our lives.  I hope that you will take the 30 day challenge and commit to change your life.  That is how I came to change myself and ultimately it is the thing that will help bring us all happiness.