Neal Goyal discusses some of his goals, fears, successes, challenges, and influences related to his journey towards giving back to the community in this short but informative Q&A:
1. What are some of your long-term goals?
My ultimate goal is to make amends with those that were affected by my actions. As a result of my past behavior and choices, there were individuals who lost out financially. At the same time, there were many more individuals that were indirectly affected by my choices, the way I carried myself, and my dishonesty. I want to redeem myself, and work toward making things right. This includes beginning the process of paying back what I owe, but also working toward bringing peace back to the lives that were affected. While I understand there is a chance I may not earn full forgiveness for what I had done, my desire is pure for wanting to make it up to them. Additionally, my goal is to lead a life of transparency where I can become a role model to my children. While I was always a loving father, my actions illustrated how misaligned my priorities were. My goal is to reform the way I lead my life, so my children can have a strong example to follow and be proud of what their dad did after learning from his past poor choices.
2. What are your short term goals?
While in prison, there are numerous goals I hope to attain. Currently, I am in a leading role within the prison’s literacy program. In this position, I seek to help inmate students learn to read and write. On a daily basis, I work in a class of students who are very willing and eager to learn. I am thrilled to be able to play a role in preparing for a better life ahead. I see progress from these individuals each day, and make it my goal to help each of them graduate and get their GED someday.
3. What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is the fact that many people will not trust me again. While I know in my heart that I have already made a significant change, and will continued to make progress, trust is something I completely shattered by virtue of my actions. Now as I work to rebuild my character and lead a life of integrity, I still worry that people will not trust me. But this is a reality I will have to learn to live with. I reap what I sew. While I know it will be an uphill battle to reconcile with society and earn back that trust, I shall not give up in my desire to be a contributing citizen someday.
4. Who was your childhood hero?
My hero growing up was Michael Jordan. I grew up in Chicago, and had the opportunity to attend games watching the greatest player of all time. But to me, it was not just about the victories he led his team to. It was how he managed the setbacks he experienced. He never let those failures define him. Instead, he used those failures as fuel to get better. While this was a quality I idolized from a young age, I did the exact opposite when it came to my own failures. Instead of learning from my mistakes, I concealed them. I chose note to admit them and engaged in deceit to cover them up. As a result, I never actually learned from those mistakes. Now, I am working to get back to those principle Michael lived by. As a part of my commitment to atone for my actions, I now viewed my failures an opportunity to learn and harness lessons from.
5. What is your biggest flaw?
Wow, where to begin! My biggest flaw was a combination of my snowballing ego and inability to admit failure. I placed so much pressure on myself, that failure was not an option. At the same time, my ego allowed me to create this grandiose illusion of who I thought I was. This self-created pedestal created a delusion in my mind of my own importance in the world. So when I failed early on while running my firm, I refused to acknowledge that failure because it would require piercing that ego. Now, I realize that these are flaws I will have to address and be mindful of the rest of life. It is all about staying humble and embracing failure as an opportunity to learn.
6. What is your definition of success?
In the past, my definition of success was centered around money. The more money I had, the more successful I thought I was. I had highly unrealistic goals for success, even from the onset of my firm’s launch. And those goals all revolved around money too. Money meant power and notoriety. Now, I realize that this was the most flawed view of success. Success is about achieving true balance in your life where you can be happy. Before, I used to set these stringent measures for myself to gauge success. Now, there are no such hard measures. Rather, success is determined by taking a step back, and seeing how much of a positive impact you can have on those around you.