the end

Business Builder – This is My story…

It was midnight about 12 years ago, I was in a city far from home. I had finished a day of selling and prospecting and was interviewing salespeople for the territory. We were growing our business rapidly and I had things cranking after 2 years of figuring out how to get our sales team growing. But… I was feeling lonely, angry, frustrated, and I was drunk. I’m not sure which came first, the feelings or drunk….

I don’t remember all the details, but I know I drove the rental car under the influence to a strip club where I drank more. You can imagine how I spent a bunch of the cash I had. It was dark. There were quite a few tough looking characters out in the parking lot and in the club. Looking back I was vulnerable to harm in more ways than one. The next day I didn’t remember driving back to my hotel very well.

That morning I went to a prospective client who started telling me about the “wrong side of the tracks” – the very area I had been in…. and how dangerous it was.

I felt lucky to be alive. A few months later I got sober and I haven’t had a drink in 11 years and 8 months.

That’s my story, or at least a part of it, and I wanted to lead with my story instead of someone else’s story.

I have an important and perhaps somewhat uncomfortable message today.

Today I write to you about how you end your book…the final chapter, the final sentence.

You are probably Building a business if you’re on this list and we are connected. You’ve probably had some conventional business success or maybe a lot. Perhaps you’ve built a family and/or built other things like a homestead or a charity event or a walking trail or pavilion at the county fairgrounds.

I’m sure that the book you are writing called “YOUR LIFE” has some mistakes, some hardships, some fears, maybe depression etc…. but overall, if you stop and pause, I hope that you’re proud of the book of your life. I’m sure that you should be. I’m sure that no matter your age there is more good stuff to come.

How will your book end though? What will be the last chapter, the last sentence and the last word?  

A great book with a crappy ending is…. Well…. Just too bad.  The Stoics and other wise men who have come before us tell us to meditate on our death. The Bible talks about what we sow and what we reap. Jesus went out on top and in victory. How will you go out?

This past week… our community was rocked by news that a prominent and successful and loved local businessman was murdered in New Orleans by a fallen child of God who had been convicted multiple times of prostitution in various states.

The last sentences of this man’s book, as far as what he was able to write go something like, “Intoxicated, he went into a hotel room in New Orleans with a woman who was almost 40 years younger than him and who was a convicted prostitute at 2 AM while his wife of many years slept in a different hotel and a different room. The woman killed him with a sharp object and he was found dead and alone at noon the next day.”

You can draw your own conclusions.  His family and friends and those whom he helped and who love him will work hard to write a solid ending to the book that focuses on all of the good things he did and all of the love he gave to his wife and children and community. And, they should and we should. We should all work hard to stop those who are throwing rocks and arrows at the fallen and we should pray for the woman who is accused of killing him too.

But….what will the cost be to the family as they work to understand this and they work to write a fitting end to his book? I can’t even imagine.

So when I think of his last Chapter and the final words, do I judge?  

No, I do not. Why? Because I have known very dark places in my life. I knowingly went places, did things, drove drunk, journeyed to the “wrong side of the tracks” for a thrill.

On June 7 of 2007 I had what I hoped is my last drink. I had 2 young children at home, a wife who loved me, I was the VP of Sales of the business my dad had started and our sales were surging.   I had everything going and yet…. It wasn’t enough. I was broken. I was afraid one day and power tripping the next. I looked good on the outside, yet inside in my soul and in my brain I was sick and struggling. I wasn’t asking for help. I kept thinking I could handle it.

Trust me…. I went places and did things that could have caused me to have a bad ending and to have my family struggling to understand Why and How and what in the world. They would have been trying to write my last chapter while struggling with grief and confusion.

Business Builder – this is part of the reason I am passionate about my work as a Growth Coach and Consultant. I want to build a place where men building businesses and lives can talk privately 1:1 with me about their fears and the adrenaline rush and the power trip and the imposter syndrome…. AND about their dreams and the goals and the plans.

You need to get dark thoughts out of your brain and into the ears of another understanding man who will keep those things confidential and yet who will help hold you accountable.

I have nothing against alcohol and even though I don’t drink, I think that microbrews and micro distilled spirits and wine and so on can be great. But….if you’re bingeing and blacking out or getting cloudy judgment or driving while intoxicated I urge you to think hard about that.

The other thing that is not talked about as openly as alcohol is lust and pornography and feeling like you aren’t enough and that your wife mustn’t love you anymore or that you are no longer a stud or whatever things go on in your head. When you go to a conference and women pay attention to you and seem to REALLY get you… be careful – that is a created temporary environment and not real life.

I don’t have all the answers, I just know we need to talk about these things with Someone. I have a therapist, a coach, and a group of friends in a recovery program that know what is up with me at all times.

As my friend and Dr. and business builder noted recently – Lust and Addiction live in the same zip code of our brain as Drive and Entrepreneurial spirit and risk taking. I don’t understand all the chemicals and how they work… I just know that Men building businesses may be particularly at risk.

What do you do if you’ve built a business that is hard to sell and now you know you are not working that hard but you don’t know how to start something new or sell it and your family is dependent on the $? What if everyone around you thinks you’ve got it all but you feel unfulfilled and bored?

One of the cool things is that our Darker sides are often the very things that are strengths when used properly. If you are “good at” influencing members of the opposite sex and flirting and getting their attention, you can also be good at influencing and listening to grow your business.  Our wives are not proud of us when we come home with stories of the women who flirted with us while on business travel, but they can be proud and happy when we bring home a big check from a closed deal.

It’s complicated…. But I wanted to talk openly about my personal struggles and challenge you to think openly about how you want your book to end.

The things you do COULD be permanent. The things you THINK could become actions.

Just be careful.

If you want to talk further about this or anything related to living your Best Life and Building your business – get in touch. Reply to this email. For lots of reasons – business growth or garbage in your head or big dreams you don’t tell anyone else… I’d love to talk with you.

Keep writing a great story friend.

In Love and Service,