These past couples of weeks have led up to a defining moment in my young adult life. Shortly upon my return to the U.S. after my trip to Bali I walked in to a shit storm. Unlike most working professionals, the industry I have worked in for the past 6 years of my life has a way of creeping in to ones personal life. The line between professional and personal life gets very blurry because in the Multi-Level-Marketing industry, it is a relationship business, and at the end of the day, people have gotten in to business with me because they respected me, and they trusted me not just in business, but also in a personal way because they saw how I lived my life.
It’s sad how in desperate times, people who are the closest to you can hurt you the most. Not because that was their intention, but because when a person gets scared, they tend to do what is in the best interest for themselves and their family. In this past week, I watched the top guy (master distributor) in our company, someone who was a close friend and mentor of mine completely screw our mutual owner of our company and engage in the most below the belt tactics to get a group of distributors to follow him in to a different company.
The weekend leading up to this, I was in Las Vegas attending MFest with my buddy Cody. I had gotten news that a couple of groups in my organization had left to go to other companies. I had a feeling something bad was brewing and felt that I should get my ass to Salt Lake City to get to the bottom of it.
In my industry, when people start leaving, it’s because they have lost faith and feel that they cannot achieve their dream with our company. As a leader, when faced with this I have to ask myself some very hard questions, this is usually how they go:
The distributors that I lost were not people who sucked, in fact they were very good friends of mine and some of the top people in my sales organization. Their departure sent me a clear message that they were done and fell in to one of the categories listed above. They explained that I didn’t fail them, but the company and the culture did, and although that made me feel a little better, I still lost them.
In the weeks leading up to my trip to Salt Lake City I was waiting to hear back from our master distributor on a possible investment in to out company. He told me that there were some promising people who were looking at investing in to our company. Sick of waiting, and having been told all kinds of things before that didn’t end up happening I decided to give him a deadline to come through on some of the promises that he was making.
The Deadline was on the Friday that I was on the way up to Vegas and the day after I suffered the loss of those two groups from my sales organization. After speaking with the Master Distributor, I felt as if he was bull-shitting me again, and buying time, something he is a master at. I took it upon myself to drive out to Utah and get to the bottom of it because I felt that I was just never going to get a straight answer over the phone. When I got there, I discovered that there were in fact NO investors and quickly realized that our master distributor and my friend and mentor Bryan was planning a strategic hostile takeover of the RevvNRG distributor base.
I was faced with the fear of my own loss, thinking to myself if this is successful and I end up on the wrong side of it, I’ll be broke and the 5 years I spent building this business will have gone to waste. I also thought about all of the relationships and promises I had made to people over the past 5 years and how my character and integrity would be questioned. I realized very quickly that I had to make a decision and do it fast as time was not on my side. It’s times like these that can confuse a person what the “right” thing to do is. I mean, here I have my friend and mentor in one ear telling me that I should follow him using every single persuasive tactic in the book to get me to get behind him. I was conflicted because I had a feeling that our mutual owner had no idea what was happening. When I asked Bryan if he had gone to Scotty (Our owner) and told him what he was planning, Bryan tried to dodge the answer in his usual style answering with out a simple yes or no, but basically explained to me that he hadn’t in fact discussed any of this with Scotty in a very eloquent way.
I have been alive long enough to know that if I act without integrity, I may get away with it for a while, but eventually the lies and deceit will catch up to me. This is why I live so rigorously honest today. Doing the right thing, especially when no one is looking is a matter of life and death for me personally. When I got sober almost 13 years ago, I was a liar, cheat, and a thief. It took me years to get honest with myself and to make all of the amends to clear the wreckage of my past. Eventually, after year’s sobriety, hard work, dedication and rigorous honesty with my fellows, and myself, I achieved what few people in life ever do; I was even with the world. I had paid back all the money, made all of the apologies and lived my life in a way where I would work carefully at all my endeavors as to not create new wreckage, and when I did make mistakes, I would correct them immediately preventing those shortcomings from festering and eating away at my soul.
I watched many men fail to do the right thing ultimately leading them to drink again, wind up in jail or just live a miserable existence filled with guilt, anger, and shame. I vowed a long time ago to NEVER end up like this. My mentors were gleaming examples of the type of life you get to live by always acting with integrity.
They led by example and would always tell me that serenity won’t come from a pile of money but from the respect of your peers. Perry P would always say, “you can’t be one guy in one area, and another guy in another area, a scum bag is a scum bag even if the guy does some good things too.” Perry always made it black and white, he’d say “You either tell the truth or you don’t kid, there’s no in between.” My other mentor Mike W. used to tell me that by standing aside and doing nothing when I could bring someone or something to justice by telling the truth was just as bad as the guy lying about it to begin with.
The bottom line is that I was in a position where I had knowledge of something happening that if brought to the right people, the lies would be exposed and something potentially harmful and hurtful could be stopped. I called a couple close friends who were long time Multi Level Marketing guys and sought some council with close friends. Just as my mentors would have advised, told me go forward and expose the lies.
I broke the story to our owner Scotty and called my team to action to help me prepare a conference call the field explaining and trying to prime them for what was about to ensue.
I began to get attacked from all angles and the shit storm commenced. I began to see how much or how little influence I had on the group as a whole. Even with factual empirical evidence people still believed what they wanted too. It was as if I was telling them the sky was blue and they still didn’t believe me even though they could walk outside and see it with their own eyes.
As each day went by I kept finding out more and more bad stuff about my former mentor and master distributor Bryan. Turns out that he had quite a few back door deals, and that his current financial situation didn’t seem to add up to what he would have me believe. Allegedly, there were large sums of money MISSING, and outstanding debts from prior lawsuits that were being paid off. Money given to him as an investment that was meant for opening international markets for RevvNRG never made it to the intended recipient.
After watching this drama unfold I couldn’t help but feel relieved that I made the right decision, but I felt remorseful towards Bryan’s wife and kids who I had come to know over the years and probably had little to no knowledge of what was happening. I also began to feel really bad for all of the distributors that were caught in the middle of this and made a quick decision based out of fear because they felt they were going to lose something or not achieve their dreams without Bryan.
I spent the next week on the phone with our owner Scotty trying to come up with a solution that would save the company. A couple of days after the siege, Scotty and his wife sue were feeling the pressure and it was time to stand up and make some tough decisions.
Within days of the fallout, the sides were divided and the people left on our side quickly got to work on a solution. Within days we put our heads together and aligned ourselves with the right people coming to a solution that would not only fix the current situation, but in one fail swoop eliminate and take care of some future and past problems that we had as well.
The moral of the story was that truth, and doing the right eventually paid off as it always has. There is no such thing as a short cut, or luck, you make your own way, and if you do it dishonestly or burning bridges along the way, eventually there will be nowhere or no one left to work with or help you out in a time of need. The RevvNRG brand lives on and is about to be 10 times bigger and in 11 new countries 😉 hint hint!!
As I finish writing this it is close to midnight and is technically my birthday. I’ll be turning 29 years old today, and even though I’m far from home and have been stressed out over the past couple of weeks, I’m going to sleep well tonight knowing that I have a clear conscious, a bright future and a hell of a lot of people who love and respect me. That’s a whole lot of things to be grateful for.
I am excited to see how the next couple of weeks unfold, my prediction, EPIC!!!!!!
For more information on the what’s happening in my MLM business, stay tuned to this blog and my Facebook page as I will be posting videos and blogging about the big news coming!!!!
In the great words of the late Perry P. (my friend, mentor and role model in the later part of my formative years) he told me: “Steve, In life, believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see. ”
I have been in business for a long time now. In about two weeks I’ll be 29 years old. I haven’t work a “W-2” type job taking a paycheck since I was 18 years old. First it was my clothing company All Else Failed Ind., I built that company out of front room in my little dingy apartment in South Los Angeles. Everyone told me it was a stupid idea, my partner Justin ended up quitting 6 months in to it, but by the end of the first year, I was selling my clothes in 35 states and out in the UK.
When I was 20 years old, I got in to the financial services business breaking off and starting my firm in 2003, I built that little brokerage in to a company doing 10-15 million a month in transactions. During that time I published my first book about my life growing up which I have now sold thousands of copies of.
When the industry crashed in 2008, my life fell apart. My mentor died, I lost my business leaving me about $140k in debt, parents were struggling, broke up with a girlfriend of 2 years, my best friend at the time screwed me over and a con-artist posing as roommate stole my last $10,000 that I had.
I realized that when I lost all of the material stuff, and my status and prestige was taken from me when life humbled me, the only thing I really had left that mattered to me in my life was my honor, loyalty and integrity. I watched fair weather friends disappear when the money was gone. I lost people who I thought were my friends over money and women. I lost hope at times and was furious with god because I couldn’t understand why he would take such innocent people away from me.
When I finally came in to acceptance about the reality of my life, I began to question everything, the meaning of my life, who my friends were, who I thought I was or was supposed to be, and generally everything.
I made a commitment to myself that no matter what happened, no matter how bad it got, that I would never sell my integrity. My idea of success changed. Instead of wanting to get money to be rich, I started to pursue happiness, and serve the truth, defy the lies, and get willing to be in a place where I was willing to sacrifice anything including my life to stand up for what I believe in.
When I made this decision, life got simple. It was easy for me to determine what people were good for me, and what people I needed to cut of my life. In business, I found a company and built an organization in to the 1000’s to watch it fall apart by some unscrupulous people. Then I got in to another company, built it in to the 1000’s again to watch it fall apart one more time by some unscrupulous people. I have learned now more than ever that no matter what someone says to you, the only way you can really judge them is by their actions. I have been sold the world by people. People I’ve been in business with have promised me the world and were really nice to me up until the time I disagreed with them. Perry P. was right all along. I should have only judged by actions, trusted my gut an intuition, but that’s been hard to navigate when your young or new at something or trusting in the success of the edified people. Regardless of the inequalities that I have felt, and putting behind all of the times that I have been lied to, or stabbed in the back in my personal and professional life, no one can say I was dishonest. No one can say that I told lies or mislead people with malicious intent. Basically, through thick and thin and like Perry, and all my other mentors, I remained honorable.
I am at another one of those transitional times in my career. It’s exciting to me because I know things I didn’t know before and I am finally going to get a chance to prove myself. In order to see if you outgrew your Sensei or guru, you must challenge them, if you win, than your right, you became better, more enlightened, but if you lose, you’re a fool. So if your going to go at it alone, you must be ready to accept all of the consequences that come with it, and further more be ready to humble yourself if you did in fact bite off more than you can chew. In my case, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be in this moment and it’s time to start a new chapter. This is the only moment I have, my conscience is clear, my side of the street is clean and I’m ready to put a dent in the world!
Today, Im a free agent again. I am young, single, healthy, well-educated and street smart. I know more now than I ever have before in my life. To me, I have found true serenity in the way I live because I realize that despite all of the injustice in the world and all of the suffering, I choose to be a part of the solution. NO ONE GETS A WAY WITH ANYTHING, eventually the world has a way of correcting the imbalances.
I will be giving a really big update this week, so stay tuned to this blog, I’m going to change the world, and I’m taking as many people who want to go with me.