Jack Manilla learned how to achieve personal peace while living in The Pink House in a Florida orange grove.

Jack Manilla long aspired for success.

He would not spend his life toiling among the working-class like his family did. Nor would he be confined to the blue-collar steel town in Western Pennsylvania in which he was raised. He had big dreams and hurried to bring them to fruition.

He worked his way through college as a young father—balancing family, work and school. Then he climbed the ladder to corporate success. He achieved the success that he had long sought, accumulating large homes, big boats, exclusive country club memberships and expensive paintings,as he jetted around the country on private planes, working for big corporations and growing businesses. Fame and fortune fed his ego.

But the American Dream became an agonizing nightmare in 1994. Forced to decide between his values and his wallet, he chose the former and lost all that he had in the latter. Homes. Cars. Boats. They all vanished.

 Financially shipwrecked, he washed ashore at Safety Harbor, Fla., poor and powerless, living in a cracker bungalow in an orange grove. Once a giver of lavish gifts like custom Steinway pianos, he asked his grown children to pay his rent. Only after he had been humbled and broken, was he ready to follow God unconditionally.

He and his wife would spend 18 months in “The Pink House,” attending Mass and reading their Bibles every day. They prayed for guidance and trusted in God to provide, which he eventually did by presenting them with a business opportunity.

Manilla moved to Jacksonville, Fla., and formed a corporation, naming it “Portofino,” which is Italian for “Quality Harbor.” He then used Lessons from The Pink House to build Portofino into the leading post-build full-service provider for commercial and residential pools in Florida.

Now a licensed contractor, international consultant, trainer and instructional designer, Manilla serves on numerous community, church and professional boards, through which he aspires to help others. He has attained personal peace by living “God’s way” instead of his way.

The boy who dreamed of having everything has become a man who wants to give something to everyone. In sharing Lessons from The Pink House, Manilla hopes to help others achieve personal peace and to climb God’s ladder to success, which puts heavenly rewards above earthly treasures.