By age 46, I’d made enough money to retire as a New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and CEO. From the outside my life looked perfect — I had a beautiful wife, two sons, houses, fancy cars, a country club, a beach club, season tickets, private jets, and my picture in the newspaper for multiple charity events. However, inside I longed for something more.
It was around then that my dear friend and mentor gave me the option to buy his flagship company, passing down his coveted platform for me to carry on. I wanted to have more impact, and this was my chance. It was the greatest honor of my life, and yet it would become my demise.
We grew too fast. A year later, the global financial crisis hit and we were forced to sell all my companies in a fire sale. What I’d worked a lifetime to build evaporated quickly. Simultaneously, my wife’s breast cancer returned — stage four in her breast, liver, lung, brain and bone.
In one year I lost everything — my business, my money, and my wife. My agent wouldn’t return my phone calls, and my publisher followed suit, eventually cancelling the contract for my next two books.
There were days I didn’t want to get out of bed. I still remember the morning my oldest son came into my bedroom with a concerned look on his face and said, “Dad, you need to do what you teach. Just keep going.”
On the anniversary of my wife’s death, I watched her memorial service and said my final goodbye. Within a few days, my youngest son was asking me to find him another mom. He missed being a family.
Seeing as I hadn’t dated in 26 years, my best friend suggested I join a dating website. Within a week, I received a 100% match with a woman named Deb who lived where I grew up. She was a fellow writer who’d lost her soon-to-be fiancé to a heart attack. Her father was an author and speaker, and she’d grown up in the back of a seminar room selling books. The rest was history.
When Deb and I returned from our honeymoon, we missed the signs that my boys were in trouble and still mourning. The hardest day of my life was sending my oldest son to rehab, followed by the second hardest, which was sending my youngest son six weeks later. I know now that this decision saved their lives.
The blessing was how our work and recovery as a family deeply changed not only me, but my message. I’ve taught trust, truth and integrity my entire career, but having since experienced the destructiveness of hurtful secrets and lies, I’m now on a mission to teach the world about the deepest kind of trust — high trust.
When we re-launched my company, my brother suggested I get a key man policy. After my physical, the insurance company wanted to know why my PSA doubled in the three months since my last physical. It turns out I had prostate cancer.
My doctor told me that it was the #2 killer of men and that many choose not to share such a personal battle publicly. At my annual Sales Mastery Event, I felt moved to share my diagnosis and had at least a thousand men stand up and promise to get their PSA tested.
After an intensive surgery, I am now cancer-free. Since then, at least 8 men have reached out to me with news that they are now cancer-free because I shared my own story that day.
I live every day with more gratitude than ever for my life, my wife, and our loving marriage. We dream together, work together, travel together, and have written two bestsellers (now working on our third). We just launched our coaching company together and are grateful for opportunities to speak all over the world.
I’m in humble awe of the human spirit and the power of trust. If I have a few words of advice, it’s this: trust yourself, your relationships, your faith and your future. When you do that, you set in motion a universe of possibilities.