I was diagnosed with Crohns disease at age two. Despite countless emergency visits and hospital surgeries I’ve built a 250 rep insurance business and I’m in the best shape of my life.
Most importantly, I’m still in love with my wife and kids.
“IF YOU AREN’T GROWING, YOU’RE DYING.”
I was born and raised in Calgary.
At the age of two I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. While this doesn’t define me, it’s a huge part of my story.
After attending West Island College for high school, I was excepted (with 60 other kids) to go on a sailing trip around the world – San Diego, Hawaii, Australia, Indonesia, Africa and home again. This was supposed to be a 10 month experience. By month 6 I had had a couple of scares, but in month 7 I really got sick (again) and was airlifted home with a collapsed lung. The next three months were spent on recovery.
After that I decided to skip the vacation and get my Bilingual Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Alberta, specializing in international strategy, marketing and business law.
I understand why people go and work for someone else, but I’ve never seen appeal. The only “job” I ever had was at Earls restaurants. I started there at 15 as a dishwasher and worked my way up the line to head baker in Edmonton while attending U of A. When I graduated I had a few options – go into the family business, become the GM at Earls, or forge my own path. I decided to start a business in the insurance industry.
By year three I had built my business and had 10 licensed agents on my team. I was a rising star and could start seeing some of the accolades as a result. Half way through that year my life changed again.
After getting put in the hospital I underwent surgery and had my rectum, colon and part of my small intestine removed – about 8 feet total. For the rest of the year I was in and out of the hospital. I now have a permanent ileostomy.
When I got sick my team took up the slack and did everything they could to keep their own momentum going. As a result my income only dropped by 30% – I got to watch this from a hospital bed at 28 years old. – Remind me to write about building an amazing team some time!
When I got out everything changed – I committed to a whole new level. I had made a private commitment to God that if I survived the year I would find my faith and give life everything I had. In the following eight years we went from 10 to 300 licensed reps and 10 offices across the country. God has been a part of that too. I’ve also set our family up in case I get hit again.
To this day I know I’m married to the woman of my dreams! Melissa, my wife. We have three amazing kids – Mason, Piper and Anna. Over the years I’ve had hundreds of overnight stays, surgeries, medications etc. Despite this I stay fit, eat well and live a healthy lifestyle. I quit drinking alcohol over 2 years ago (and I’ve never felt better).
The crisis points in my life have shaped my mindset. I see the endless opportunities I have in front of me and I’m inspired at a whole new level. I’ve learned to love life for the challenges and now I approach it as a game I can get better at.
I’m driven by seeing how far I can push in every area of my life – Family, Faith, Business, Fitness and Finance.
- Steve HolbrookUpdated September 2017