How I Lost $3 Million in 24 Hours and Bounced Back

It was 2010. I used to be ready for an important name of my life. I had been engaged on an enormous deal for 18 months and if the whole lot panned out, my firm would make simply over one million {dollars}.

After which the telephone rang. It was my accomplice. However he wasn’t calling with excellent news.

Because the phrases “We’ve got an issue…” got here by means of the telephone, the blood drained from my face and a pointy ache pierced my abdomen. I used to be anticipating the very best, enterprise as common—I hadn’t deliberate for the worst.

I collapsed on the sting of my mattress and buried my face in my palms. Was this actually taking place? It was at that second that I spotted the whole lot I’d labored for may all crumble. And it did.

I feel I blacked out, as a result of I don’t bear in mind anything about that day. However I do know that it modified me and my life eternally, the day I now check with as “The two×4 Day”—once I obtained hit upside the pinnacle by a 2×4. Not less than, that’s what shedding $3 million felt like.

Shedding that a lot cash sucked, for lack of a greater phrase. When my spouse requested me if we might be OK, I’d by no means felt extra disgrace than once I needed to admit no—no, I don’t assume so. I couldn’t assist however surprise if she would go away me and if she would take our 2-year-old together with her due to a enterprise transaction gone fallacious, a danger I took that she shouldn’t need to pay for. However she determined to stay with me, to face by my facet and assist me 100%.

The weeks and months following this failed deal have been the toughest of my life. I misplaced my enterprise. I misplaced my financial savings. I misplaced my home. I misplaced my confidence. I bear in mind mendacity in mattress for days doing nothing however feeling the heavy gravity of the state of affairs.

However I do know now I’d by no means be the place I’m at present with out this traumatic expertise. Whenever you lose the whole lot, you might be pressured to alter. And I did change that day.


It began in 2001 once I launched a service enterprise primarily based on simply an thought. I had a group of staff and $1 million in gross sales my first 12 months. I traveled the world from Australia to Switzerland, promoting tickets and packages to company purchasers for the world’s largest sporting occasions.

On the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I equipped tickets to greater than 8,500 individuals, netting over $1 million in earnings. Buoyed by this success, I made a decision to go for the most important deal of my life: the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Over time, I’d developed contacts, companions and expertise, and I had the trade fame essential to place collectively a contract this huge.

On January 15, 2010, I used to be anticipating a supply of 17,000-plus tickets, and I had paid a deposit of $3 million for them. However the tickets by no means confirmed up. That $3 million? Gone. It wasn’t simply my cash, both. Greater than 10,000 purchasers had paid for his or her tickets prematurely primarily based on the contract I held in my palms.

I used to be caught in the course of a scandal, between one provider and hundreds of individuals I made guarantees to. Technically, the authorized time period for what occurred is known as a “breach of contract.” Over the subsequent 5 years, I discovered myself in a contentious authorized battle to research the lacking tickets.

The journey again was laborious and riddled with uncertainty. The disgrace of disappointment consumed me with each breath. I wished to maneuver on. I wished to let go of the previous. However the ache was recent, and the each day battle for cash and confidence have been conserving me caught. I ended up realizing my journey again would start with forgiving myself—that I may begin over and create my very own approach.

I knew that I wished to work for myself once more. However first I wanted to make modifications in my life, each personally and professionally. This time, I wished a special type of enterprise—one which was primarily based on serving different individuals.

Earlier than “The two×4 Day,” I lacked an actual goal in my life. I look again now and understand that even with all the cash I used to be making, I used to be not taking motion to create the life I actually wished. In reality, I used to be trapped in my success. I used to be caught within the consolation zone, and I didn’t have the braveness to create a special type of enterprise. Regardless that I used to be consistently burdened and hated what I used to be doing, I used to be making an excessive amount of cash to step away from it, to care or to appreciate that I didn’t really feel fulfilled.

I remembered again to a time in my life once I turned to a enterprise coach who had helped me assume by means of the best methods to create that multimillion-dollar enterprise. I believed how rewarding it will be to do the identical for another person. So it got here to me: I ought to change into a coach.

I used to be shifting inside, away from the hardcore businessman, the deal-maker, to a extra attentive caregiver, a coach. I invested the final little bit of my cash right into a coach coaching program, and at occasions, it felt egocentric to spend cash on schooling as my household struggled to pay the payments. However this was what I wanted to do—to maneuver ahead, out of the mess and into a greater future.

I created my Development Suppose Tank podcast to assist serve and information entrepreneurial leaders alongside their development journey. And since 2014, I’ve had the pleasure of serving to leaders remodel their pondering and techniques to construct companies past what they thought was attainable. The founders, leaders and CEOs I work with are already profitable and know there may be extra to attain—my goal is to create small shifts that create the most important outcomes.

From working one-on-one to interviewing leaders on my podcast to sharing my message as a speaker, I’m thrilled to be a part of so many individuals’s private {and professional} development. This thrill has change into such an enormous a part of who I’m that I do know this really is my goal in life.

Shedding the whole lot just isn’t the best technique to shift your life to a better sense of goal, nevertheless it is what it took for me to alter at my core. This alteration inside myself has allowed me to assist a whole lot of enterprise homeowners make more cash, rent elite groups and change into extra highly effective leaders. To witness that development in others has been an unbelievable reward for the resilience and braveness it took for me to get from the place I stood in 2010 years in the past to the place I’m at present.

I hope you don’t have to start out over like me. However should you do, you possibly can sit up for a journey of development and studying that’s positive to repay—in case you have the resilience and braveness to bounce again and reinvent your self.

I did it. And so are you able to.

This text was revealed in March 2016 and has been up to date. Photograph by tuaindeed/Shutterstock

Gene Hammett has began and run a number of million-dollar firms. He’s succeeded, failed and succeeded once more—and what he has realized within the course of, he can cross alongside to you. He’s acknowledged for his teaching with entrepreneurial leaders and CEOs, and is an inspiring speaker on growing leaders, gross sales management and advertising management. Observe Gene on his podcast, Leaders within the Trenches or on Twitter.

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