When I was 18, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). I vividly remember the look on my Mum’s face as the doctor broke the news to us. Her tensed eyebrows furrowed further as a hurricane of emotions settled on her face. I instantly sensed her devastation and guilt. After all, she knew more than I did about what I was about to go through, as she had seen her father struggle with the same condition and eventually pass when she was just 13.
As the doctor explained my condition to me, I finally started to understand the magnitude of the situation. However, once the initial shock wore off, I felt a sense of clarity that I had never felt before. I guess it is true what they say; when you hit your lowest point, you are open to the greatest changes. While inheriting PKD was out of my hands, I realized that the way I deal with the condition is well within my control. Not one to wallow in self-pity, I decided, at that instant, that I would do my very best and focus on what I can control. It was a tough promise I made to myself almost 32 years ago that I still strive to keep to this day.
Whatever I choose to do—whether it is something as minute as a new hobby or as significant as a business venture—I always give it my all. My perseverance has allowed me to be a high-performer in every aspect of my life including work, health, and fitness. When I reach a point where my goals seem easily attainable, I find the biggest hurdle in sight to jump over just to make sure I am constantly learning and growing.
My 18 year-long career at Coca-Cola started off as one such challenge. After graduating from Monash University with two Bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Accounting, I had an insatiable thirst to prove to myself that I was capable of more. So I applied for the position of a Sales Representative at Coca-Cola, a high-performing company with equally high expectations of its employees, and successfully landed the role. In my first year, I won the key sales awards two quarters in a row and was promoted to Senior Sales Representative. Two years later, I became one of the youngest Sales Managers in the company’s history. With an unwavering determination to be the best I can possibly be, I continued to work my way up the company until I became the Marketing Director of a US$700M+ business unit. It took 18 years, but I made it all the way to the top.
As much as I loved the challenging work culture at Coca-Cola and wanted to contribute more to the company, life had other plans for me. In 2011, I found myself at a crossroads. I had to choose between extending my career at Coca-Cola and potentially facing renal failure in 1-2 years, or leaving the company to focus on my health. I took the latter route.
I started from scratch and built myself a new lifestyle, career, and in many ways, a new identity. I thought that the professional success I had basked in for 18 years would naturally migrate over to my new career, but I was very wrong. For the next 5 years, I founded and operated several businesses in the fields of coaching, advisory, outsourcing, and technology. There were periods of triumph as well as periods of despair. Admittedly, my expectations were too grand in the beginning and calibrated down as my health took a turn for the worst.
Surprisingly, having a major health challenge gave me the gift of scaling my business while living my lifestyle. I downsized my outsourcing business and became hands-off in my technology business. I learned how to run a business from anywhere—a hospital bed to be truthful—which gave me more time to spend with my family and build us a new home all while receiving medical treatments and giving my clients everything I had.
I hit another rough patch in 2018. I needed to have my basketball-sized kidney removed to fit in a new one. The surgery went pear-shaped and it was a very close call. My surgeon said my tenacity and dedication were what helped me pull through. A year later, I received a new lease on life. When my wife Linda was told she could not become a donor due to her hypertension, my best mate of 30 years stuck his hand up at the right moment and gave me the best gift—a successful kidney transplant that restored my health. I will forever be grateful for his generosity.
If I can successfully overcome a seemingly insurmountable obstacle like PKD, anyone can! Not long after this realization, I launched Build Live Give to help change others’ lives just as my best mate changed mine.
Build Live Give is designed to help you:
- Build a great service-based business
- Live an amazing life with the people you love
- Give back to others
I have seen the change it has made to the 1, 782 people I have worked with. This is what brings me job each and every day.