MY PERSONAL JOURNEY
“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us”– John Steinbeck
I believe we all have a story to share, and when we do we touch the lives of many by giving them permission to dream again.
Looking back on my childhood, I realize that everything I experienced, both good and bad, was meant to be. Those experiences made me the person I am today.
Allow me to share my life story. In doing so, you’ll see that everything we experience prepares us for something bigger and better. Little did I know growing up that I would be here today writing a book on direct sales and mindset. My hope is that my story will inspire you to keep following your goals and dreams, regardless of the challenges you experience along the way. If a guy like me can be successful, so can you!
Growing up, I was mostly raised by my mother. I had four siblings – one brother and three sisters. Life seemed very hectic as we moved many times. My father was not active in our lives and seemed to bounce around from one odd job to the next. I never really got to know him.
With five young children at home, my mother was the main caregiver and unable to work outside the home. We were always running out of money and very poor. Of all my siblings, I seemed to be the most bothered by this. I remember making a decision at a very young age that this was not the way I was going to live the rest of my life.
All I could think about was turning seventeen, graduating from high school and working full-time. I realized that I would never go to college, and I was okay with that.
High school was not a good experience for me. Not only was I bored with the scholastic side, but I was one of those kids who got picked on because of my size. My freshman year in high school, I only weighed ninety pounds. No matter what sport I tried out for, I never made the team due to my size and lack of athletic ability. This surely didn’t help my self-confidence.
During my sophomore year, I was on the verge of dropping out of high school when I heard about an opportunity for juniors and seniors to apply for vocational training (learn a trade). Given the fact that school and I did not get along learning a trade made allot of sense to me. After reviewing the list of trades, I chose auto mechanics as I always enjoyed working with my hands.
The trade school would only take two applicants for each trade. I had no idea how many people applied for auto mechanics, but I was one of two chosen.
This was a breakthrough and a big turning point in my life. As I look back now, I realize I probably wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t gone down that path.
When I finished my vocational training, I found the perfect job at a service station working as an apprentice mechanic working. Even though I was only sixteen and had no experience working in a service station, the owner of the station was willing to give me a chance.
Finally, in June 1976, I graduated from high school. Even though my GPA was only 2.0, I achieved my goal of getting my high school diploma.
Tired of the sand being kicked in my face.
At this point, I weighed 140 pounds and was 5 feet, 8 inches tall. I figured that since I was out of high school, I wouldn’t be bullied anymore, but that was not the case. I would dream of getting big one day and seeking revenge on those who found it amusing to pick on me.
I began to read all the muscle magazines and visualized becoming one of those guys. Looking through the newspaper one day, I saw an advertisement for a new movie that was coming to the theaters. The name of the movie was Rocky. Little did I know that this movie would change the entire direction of my life!
Rocky was a no-name boxer who was the “underdog,” but because of his drive and determination, he became the world champion against all odds. It inspired me so much that the next day I went out and bought a 300-pound weight set along with a flat bench and began working out at home. My body responded quickly to the weight training.
In a matter of one year, I went from a 5-feet-8-inch, 140-pound weakling to five feet, eleven inches and 175 pounds. (Obviously, I finally hit my growth streak.) As my body started to grow, so did my self-confidence.
As I turned nineteen, life was filled with working out and working on cars. Having a stronger self-confidence, I decided to join a gym. Graduating from my home gym with only 300 pounds of weight, I was now working out in a real gym that had more weights and machines to choose from. My body started to respond even more quickly, and I went up to 205 pounds.
Everyone in the gym was encouraging me to compete in bodybuilding. This was a big stretch for me because I’d never succeeded in sports before. I enjoyed the respect I was getting from others, and by age twenty, no one ever picked on me again.
As I mentioned early in the book there was a time when I thought about tracking down those who picked on me and seeking some revenge. But as my mind expanded and my self-confidence grew, I let go of wanting to seek revenge. I knew that tracking down bullies would just be a waste of time.
Throughout my journey, I figured out how to use the negativity in my life to keep me motivated and stay on task with achieving my work and bodybuilding goals.
The Gym and Tough Times
At the age of twenty-one, I opened up the California Gym. It became the most successful bodybuilding gym in Northern California. Over a twelve-year period, I grew my gym business from nothing in 1980 to over $1 million a year by 1992. During this time frame (1980–1987), I also reached the top level of amateur bodybuilding, enjoying eight successful years as a world-class competitive bodybuilder.
In 1988 I got married, bought a home and had my first child (a boy, Chris Jr.) I was on top of the world. Life couldn’t be better! I was living the American dream.
In 1994, all that changed. I experienced a major setback. My wife and I went through a divorce and child custody battle, at which time I received full custody of my five-year-old son. I ended up closing down my gym and selling the membership and other assets to another local club operator.
Following this tragic event, I made a commitment to work on two major areas in my life:
1) Personal Development: I would do everything in my power to heal myself and my son from all the emotional scars.
2) Career: I would find a business that would allow me the flexibility to work around my son’s schedule. Having worked long hours away from home surely contributed to my divorce.
This was a very dark time in my life, and I felt like a complete failure as a husband and father. Little did I know that this tragic event (or what society would call a failure) would bring me closer to living my true life purpose.
My number-one focus at that time was to find an income opportunity that would allow me to work around my son’s school schedule. Leaving him at daycare was not an option. My son needed me, and it was my responsibility to raise him, no one else’s.
I understood that for things to get better in my life, I needed to change. For my life to improve, I needed to improve. I began holding in mind the perfect life for me and my son. Everything started to change for us in a positive way. The right people and circumstances showed up at the right time when we needed them most.
I also began investigating businesses I could do working from the comfort of my home. During that time, my brother and sister-in-law introduced me to the industry of direct sales.
They invited me to a meeting one night to listen to a man present a new direct sales company that was expanding and looking for reps to distribute their products. After listening to this guy speak, I concluded that if half of what he said was true, I could be successful in this industry.
He mentioned two concepts that really hit a cord with me:
1) Leveraged income – the ability to earn money through the efforts of multiple people. I thought this was a great concept. Why didn’t they teach this in school? Leverage was exactly what I was looking for at that time in my life.
2) The ability to earn full-time income working from the comfort of your home. This, too, was appealing to me.
A Pivotal Decision and Turning Point
I decided to work with this company on a part-time basis. They had some great weight-loss products, and I was fascinated by the way this business model worked.
After working this home-based business for one year and reaching the top of the compensation plan, the company went out of business.
My team members and I were devastated since we were earning significant income. Some of them said they would never get involved with another direct selling company again. They had experienced one failure in their life, and it wasn’t even their fault.
But I couldn’t understand why these individuals allowed one company to control their destiny. These people had many goals and dreams, but when the company failed, they decided to give them all up. Fear set in, and all they could think about was “What if this happens again?” However, my attitude was that the company had failed us, not the industry.
My bodybuilding experience had taught me that when all else fails, go “back to the basics.” I decided I would research other direct selling companies. I saw this industry as the perfect vehicle for me and my family to obtain all our goals and dreams.
I was starting to get a good education in the direct selling industry and began to learn what to look for in a company to insure long-term success. During my rookie years, I bounced around between a few different companies. But after finding the right company, I decided to go full-time. Building my business to a six-figure annual income allowed me the opportunity to work around my son’s school schedule. Working from the comfort of my home my son and I were able to enjoy an incredible lifestyle.
My career also allowed me to travel throughout the U.S. and abroad and meet some incredible people who have become some of my best friends.
I realized early on that I was psychologically unable to work for someone else. The industry of direct sales/network marketing provides the perfect vehicle for people like me who do not fit into society’s little box.
I don’t know of any other industry that provides such a wonderful opportunity for mothers and fathers to be at home with their children, especially in the formidable years when our children look to us for direction and values.
When my son was seven years old, I started working with him on setting goals and holding in mind a positive picture of what he wanted to accomplish.
All he could imagine at his young age was becoming a professional baseball player, getting his black belt in tae-kwon-do and attending Stanford University. Writing down his goals and visualizing the outcomes, Chris Jr. began to experience the power of going through this process.
He went on to become an all-star baseball player all the way through high school. At eight years old, he got his red belt in tae-kwon-do (one belt away from black). As he grew older, his goals changed, and he realized there were other things he wanted to do instead of pursuing baseball beyond high school and attending a university.
In 1997, my life took another positive turn. I met the love of my life on a blind date. Two-and-a-half years later, we got married and bought a nice home. On February 6, 2001, we brought a new baby girl named Sophia into this world. Chris Jr. was so proud of his new baby sister.
Having flexibility in my business, I am able to be home and help raise my daughter. Working from home allows me the opportunity to be 100% involved in Chris and Sophia’s lives. I have never missed a school function or event that was important to them.
Fast forward to 2014, and we’re enjoying all the benefits that the direct selling industry has to offer!
We all have a story to tell. Thank you for listening to mine and how this industry has changed my life.
The first thing we’re taught when we get into this industry is to “share our story.” Why? Because it’s the life stories people share that inspire others into action.
Back in 1995, it was someone’s story that inspired me into action. You never know where people are in their lives, and your personal story may be just what they need to hear.
Being involved in direct sales the past 19 years has really helped me get in touch with my life purpose while generating a profit from the comfort of my home.
My hope is that you too will find purpose and profit while building a home-based business within this wonderful industry of direct sales.