I never envisioned myself cleaning toilets in the pool houses of million dollar estates. As much as I love golf, I didn’t see myself struggling to make ends meet by selling $1200 irons so I could make the $15 commission.
When new leadership came in, and my position was downsized that’s exactly what happened. There were not a lot of job opportunities so I worked as many as I could. I worked full time at a golf shop making $9.50 and hour plus commission, but only on golf hard goods. I cleaned bath houses and I served as a chaplain for a hospice company.
It was when I was serving with hospice that I recognized my financial struggles, though real, were nothing compared to the hospice patients and their families wrestling with death. My perspective took a much needed change.
I knew God had a plan for me. I didn’t lose hope, but I did change my focus. God’s timing would be right, so I decided to use my time to love, encourage, and bring joy to my hospice families. I held the hands of my patients. I laughed with them. I cried with them. We faced death together. Often, talking about the opportunities for their loved ones brought an ease and peace for them.
I used the same focus in the golf shop. Rather than trying to close the “big sale” I help my customers make better choices. Sometimes telling novice players they could spend $145 for a name brand wedge, but the $70 one would serve the same purpose and the savings could go towards lessons. “Improve the game before you improve the gear.”
God’s plan came and I accepted a new career. What’s interesting is my new career continues the focus I adopted during my transition. I help people discover how to live. How to make better choices and create good habits. I help leaders move past bossing and mature their thinking to investing in those around them.
The skills I focused on by the bedside of a dying lady, and the skills I applied helping novice golfers make better choices, are the same skills I use today to help C-level leaders and their teams discover a better way in business and life.
Jacob Brown’s journey from the rigorous NFL fields to international stages is nothing short of inspiring. Today, as a seasoned entrepreneur, riveting speaker, and acclaimed writer, he stands as a testament to the power of resilience. Beyond his athletic achievements, Jacob co-founded Varlo—a premier brand specializing in cycling and triathlon apparel.
A three-time TEDx speaker, Jacob was distinguished as one of the ’40 Under 40′ in 2015. His insights and stories have graced the pages of Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and Good Morning America. Notable institutions and brand—including Intel, Meta, UPS, Stellantis, University of Notre Dame, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, and Central Michigan University—have been captivated by his talks.