I remember I was waiting for the most important phone call of my life. It was a call between my business partner, my best friend, on the biggest deal I’ve ever worked on. That call was to set the final date for pickup for inventory. I’ve been working on this contract for over 18 months, it was over $3 million, and that call would set the tone for everything going forward in my life and business.
Now, I tell you this to open up to you, that call did not go the way I expected. That call actually, was the worst version possible of what I expected. I don’ remember much what was said but I do remember one thing my partner said to me, “We’ve got a problem.” Those words ring in my ears because everything else after that was just excuses, in that call, everything in my life would change.
My wife walked into the room, I was in Vancouver for the Vancouver Olympics, this was 10 years ago, ’twas January 12th, 2010. My wife saw the look on my face and I had probably had my hands buried into my face and just really had anguish. And she looked at me and said, “What’s wrong, “Is everything okay?” And I told her what the call went like, and some of the questions she answered, and at the end of that, she asked the one thing that you never want your wife to ask you. She looked at me and said, “Are we gonna be okay?” And I had to say, “I don’t think so.” You see, that’s a recount from what I call the two by four days, that’s the day that everything changed in my life. I was expecting to pick up these tickets three days later, and they never came. But I share this story with you because we’ve all had defining moments, we’ve all had moments where we had to reach down and get everything we had out of who we are, and the courage to just get back up. And this is one of those stories.
To give you full context, my name is Gene Hammett, I was running an international sports tour business, it was the Vancouver Olympics, I’ve done the biggest deal of my life, it was a combination of nine years of work, of building trust, building relationships, and building a team to really execute at this level. It was a huge opportunity that turned into a massive failure. And it makes me sick to even think about it, I get the hair stands up on my arm because everything that happened after that was just horrific. I was running a sportswear business for those nine years, I grew very fast, I would have been on the Inc. 500 had I had enough time and knowledge to apply but I didn’t, I just kept moving. And I kept growing that business to a point where I was kind of on the easy street, I had made a lot of money, I had a lot of freedom, I built the team around me, I figured out how to scale this team and at the business. But here’s the problem, I looked back and I fail to evolve.
I’ll share with you more about this in part two, but this is just the beginning of the story of everything falling apart. This was a defining moment for me as a leader, as a person. And yes, losing everything was horrific but actually, my wife said something else that day, she said, “We will look back at this as a gift, “not as something that you know, “really took our life to the lowest low,” which it did, but it did rise us up. And both of us have met this challenge with new vigor, and new focus, and new clarity.
In part three that you will see in this series of telling the story about what happened, you’ll find out exactly what I mean by that. So this is part one, if you wanna go ahead and jump into part two, you can do it now by going to genehammette.com/part2. That will give you exactly what you need to continue the story. If you wanna wait, you can get the next episode of Behind the Scenes here growth Think Tank, you just wait for next week. As always lead with courage, I’ll see you next time.