As we navigate on our journey through life, we often have our own ideas of how we see our lives going. We write it out, talk it out and plan what we feel is the right life for us. Often times, the universe, God or whichever higher power you believe in has a way of derailing or rerouting us. Author Phil Terrill experienced just that when on December 20, 2014, the course of his life and his purpose would change forever. He used a less than ideal situation and used it to help change the world one person at a time. What happened, you ask? Check out the Q&A below.
Phil, please tell us how your journey started.
My journey really started the night of December 20, 2014, when I went out drinking with the guys! This typical tradition to celebrate and enjoy libations turned into a night (and morning) that would forever change my life.
A couple of years prior, I had graduated from Tuskegee University, an HBCU in Alabama, where I was gifted a new car before heading off to my first real job in Chicago. A year later, I moved back to Atlanta to work for my stepfather and bought my first home. Fast forward a year, and I was 24 years old and having a REALLY GOOD time…until the night of December 20, 2014.
I remember the moment of skipping the median, hitting the tree or some object that left a considerable dent in the front of the car and sitting in the middle of the road trying to move the vehicle. I knew at that moment, my life was going to be different (or needed to be).
How important do you feel being transparent about your experience is?
At first, I was embarrassed to tell this part of my story. I didn’t want people to know I just totaled my car or I received a DUI. It is crazy how hard we work to be viewed as “perfect” or someone without faults and lose who really are at the core. With the accident, I knew that my life would be different and the journey to find myself was just starting, and I needed that at the time.
When I think about it 4 or 5 years later, I am proud to share the story because I know it can help someone. The selfish thing would have been to never tell my truth from this perspective and having been able to push forward into a better version of me.
Telling the story helps others climbing a mountain keep going knowing that someone else has done it before or is right next to them on a different journey. The transparency is in knowing the truth healed me while providing an opportunity to recalibrate, which is key can you spend time with yourself enough to know who you really are? I was able to do that, and it has definitely been the reason for any successes that God (my spiritual father) has allowed me to receive or share with others.
Please tell us about your book Collision Course: 4fs to Transform Life’s Challenges Into Powerful Breakthroughs.
Collision Course is the journey! This book is a raw, honest, and reflective view into how I used my own circumstances with the accident and turned my life into a breakthrough. It is funny because I never really wanted to write a book. The book started as a collection of my own thoughts. When I was sitting in jail right after the accident, I was reflecting on the call I made to my mother and stepfather. The residual impact this would have on my family, friends, colleagues, etc. and how I would manage the disappointment of a terrible decision.
Collision Course provides a tangible illustration based on my ideas, experiences, challenges, and successes. The “4Fs” in the book provide a methodology or framework for readers to think about how they can compartmentalize and approach any of life’s challenges by thinking abstractly and realistically about how to FIND, FOCUS, FEED, and present FACTS for events that happen in their life worth the extra investment of time. How can we think differently to achieve our next, powerful breakthrough? That is what Collision Course is all about.
What do you plan on accomplishing with your new platform?
Honestly, my goal was to just share the truth and help open up the dialogue about making mistakes in life, but not being defined by them. Since self-publishing the book, there have been so many great conversations with readers about the simple application of the 4Fs, to those dealing with DUIs or alcoholism, or the complex journey to achieve breakthroughs. Each person receives a message or story differently, so the platform as I intended is working to create conversation.
Also, I hope for anyone dealing with mental or emotional health issues that we address them directly and not wait until something catastrophic happens in our lives. I let the manufactured pressures of my life drive me down a path right into a collision, and I was “broken” by God (higher power). Through that process, I healed and became a better person ready to accept the right assignments and walk the path of my purpose.
Hopefully, through reading this story or the book, people realize that we have so much goodness in us and the first step to discovering that is to spend time with ourselves. People just don’t know how amazing they are, but I cannot wait until that moment we do! Trust me, it will definitely be one hell of a breakthrough.
What makes you a Quintessential Gentleman?
First, thank you for sharing my story and empowering me to borrow your platform to reach other men (or women) that need to hear this testimony. I am truly grateful and humbled to be considered a Quintessential Gentleman.
But what makes me one? Having an opportunity to positively impact one person or many is an incredible feeling and the responsibility to continuously deliver success while proving the status quo wrong is what makes me a Quintessential Gentleman.
I believe in generating intelligent conversations about how we can be better people to improve our communities while being intentional in the pursuit of excellence. I am confident that my thread of our shared fabric will help change (or even save) lives and that is all that matters to me. I am deeply honored!