Inspiration Tuesday: What Michael Morton Teaches Us About Starting Over And More…

Inspiration Tuesday: What Michael Morton Teaches Us About Starting Over And More...Tell me, what have you been doing over the last 25 years? I’m guessing, you’ve been…

… working your way up in your career.

… getting involved in your community.

… and, for some of you, getting married and having kids.

In other words, creating lots of wonderful memories.

Now, imagine that those last 25 years were stolen from you…

Like they were for this month’s Inspiration Tuesday – Michael Morton.

Sometimes our criminal justice system is, well, not so just…

Back in the 1980’s, Michael Morton was a typical 32-year-old man with a wife and young son, a job and a mortgage – until August 13, 1986, when everything as he knew it changed.

While he was at work, his wife, Christine, was beaten to death at their home in Williamson County, Texas while their 3-year-old son watched.

Despite the lack of any scientific evidence, eyewitnesses, murder weapon, or clear motive (not to mention the fact Michael wasn’t home!), Michael was arrested and, on February 17, 1987, convicted for killing his wife.

And sentenced to prison for 25 years. Yikes!

Michael was shocked. Like any of us would be if we knew we hadn’t done it, but were found guilty.

Innocent people think that if you just tell the truth, then you’ve got nothing to fear from the police,” Morton said in a CNN article. “If you just stick to it, that the system will work, it’ll all come to light, everything will be fine.”

It wasn’t fine, though, as we know. Michael had been wrongly convicted, and he and his lawyers spent the next 24 years fighting to prove his innocence – which they finally did with help from The Innocence Project and DNA testing.

Finally, Michael was released from prison on October 4, 2011 and declared innocent by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals on October 12 of that same year.

What Michael Morton teaches us about starting over and more…

The taste of freedom for Michael was sweet. And the two lessons he teaches us are anything but sour.

Lessons like the following…

: | Don’t be bitter – be better.

Most of us get stir crazy after being stuck inside for just one day. Can you imagine being confined for almost 25 years…and for something you didn’t do?! You might be a tad bit angry or bitter about it.

But not Michael Morton. He’s not angry or bitter at all. In fact, he says, “I’m good with this. This world, what’s happened to me, where I’m going, what I’m doing.”

Love or HateHe didn’t always feel this way. At the beginning, he says he spent a lot of time plotting the demise of those who had caused him to lose his life (and his son). But when he realized how much his hate was killing him, he changed his perspective.

When we stay stuck in anger or hate toward others, that’s usually what happens…it hurts us, not them.

In Michael’s own way, he found peace with his situation. And he found purpose. And we must do the same when faced with unfair situations.

When life is unfair, be better – not bitter. {<– Tweet This!}

: | Do the work – even outside of prison.

Watching Michael’s documentary, I was amazed and impressed by the amount of self-awareness and emotional intelligence he had. This was someone who had clearly “done the work”, who knew himself inside and out.

And you could tell he was the better for it. Prison, Michael says, “provides you with time for almost endless self-examination and reflection…It’s never easy, but these personal inventories wrack up and wrack up, and it can change you.”

Doing great work in our careers is important, don’t get me wrong. But it’s the work we do on ourselves that shapes our lives and our relationships the most.

Do the work. Get to know yourself. And grow into your best self.

Because when we’re better, we show up better…for life, relationships and everything else.

:: ::

Today, Michael spends a lot of his time making sure what happened to him doesn’t happen to anyone else.

And thanks to his efforts, Texas Governor Rick Perry recently signed the Michael Morton Act into law – requiring prosecutors to turn evidence over to defense lawyers in criminal cases, upon the defendant’s request, without the need for a court order.

I hope you found Michael’s story inspiring. If nothing else, I think it shows that we can start over…

That we can begin again.


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To starting over,


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