I was the only male child my mom had and growing up I had a lot in common with my sisters but we took the standardized IQ test and they told me you’re not the smart one, I was surprised because genetically we were the same.
I don’t know if that test was correct, and I don’t care. because it an early age I decided I was gonna control my destiny and I was determined to be successful my teachers said that in order to be successful, I had to excel at the 3 R’s reading writing and arithmetic only later did I learn that only one of those actually started with an R there’s one other R that I needed in order to be successful and it’s not what you think but it’s what all of the successful people I know have and it’s what I had after I was broke unemployed and devastated.
At 23 to being more successful than I could ever have imagined and the fourth R is called resilience resilience is such a key part of being successful, you don’t need to be the smartest you don’t need to be the hardest-working and you don’t need to have the highest IQ have you ever failed in school and work in business well if you have great because you are one step closer because failure is essential, to mastering resilience I was watching an episode of The Biggest Loser recently and it reminded me of my dad not because my dad’s trying to lose weight on TV for money but because early on.
when I was a kid he used to ask me Godwin, what’s the worst thing that happened to you today that’s kind of a weird thing to ask but he did it for a purpose he was building my resilience he was making me stronger so I tell him the worst thing that had happened to me that day you’ll never believe it dad wait till you hear this and recently I called him I told him dad you’ll never believe what happened to me today we want a big contract but one of my key engineers had left how was I going to build it I was actually proud of myself there’s no way he could top that said Kimmy, I’m so glad you called me one of my companies can’t make payroll and I was gonna call you for a loan what he won that and I was a loser what my dad taught me early on is that failure hurts badly but when you get knocked down you have to get up again and keep going I had my best worst failure at age 23.
Right after I graduated from Pepperdine I went to work for a hot internet startup in Los Angeles it was a job of my dreams I called all of my friends I said I’m gonna be a dot-com millionaire you guys need to come work with me we can all be millionaires, what could go wrong it was right after yahoo had gone public and I was confident Yahoo would be the biggest search engine forever. it was like being on a rocket ship but unfortunately that rocket ship crashed and I was devastated in an instant someone had erased my career my identity and my future I had to lay off all of my friends. and eventually I was laid off too I couldn’t believe it I didn’t know what I was going to do I didn’t have anyone to call because my friends so I’d promised to become dot-com millionaires now we’re actually broke not even a Hallmark card can help that I was broke unemployed and devastated the average 23 year old is only one of these things and I was all three I wanted to go home go to bed pull the covers over my head and have an affair with Ben and Jerry.
I had hit rock bottom and I also hit the bottom of the pint of rocky road and at that moment I realized I needed to get up I had to keep going I believed in the internet and I believed in the opportunity there was only one problem I was broke my track record a bankruptcy made it hard for anyone would want to lend me money the economy had crashed so I called the one person I thought could give me more flexible terms on a loan my 80 year old grandma said grandma I’ve got an amazing investment opportunity for you in the Internet she said Kimmy what’s an Internet I tried to explain here what the internet was but it was a little bit hard for her to grasp so I think it turned out well for me because she gave me the loan anyway she made a bet on me so with ten thousand dollars from my grandma I bought a computer a business license and a one-way ticket to Hawaii sounds beautiful it was sounds like a perfect opportunity everyone says poor you you had to go to Hawaii what the reality is I went there because I could live rent-free with my boyfriend and I spent the next three years working from his kitchen table I didn’t learn the hula I didn’t learn to surf actually did I forget to mention this was the reality his sister and her best friend actually lived with us and 10 feet away every day they would blare mtv and smoke weed they were hot boxing my office it was very very hard to concentrate and not the most ideal startup environment it was at this kitchen table that I took control of my future and my destiny after five years the company had grown to 100 million dollars which I sold 2008 and sold again in 2014 for 235 million dollars it was at this time that I learned resilience and that resilience was a muscle that you could strengthen and build but in 2014 that muscle was about to be tested to its breaking point this is a story I’ve never shared publicly until now it just hurts too much five years ago when I was looking to stopped us to sell my company I put a post-it on my bathroom mirror said the date June said the potential acquirer and had my vision there so I could see it every day what it also had next to that vision was a picture of the ultrasound of my twins I was so excited I couldn’t believe it I had tried for nearly six years I was trying to get pregnant and it wasn’t it just didn’t happen we did everything having a family was a dream I wanted and the gift I wanted my entire life but nothing worked IVF the doctors we didn’t know I would have treated all of my business success to have a baby so we decided to get a surrogate in six years later it worked we got the news we were having twins and being a twin I was over the moon I couldn’t believe it this was the best news I’ve ever heard and we weren’t going to tell anyone – at least the second trimester we’ve been on a roller coaster during the pregnancy trying to get pregnant and we just didn’t want to jinx it it was nerve-racking and plus I had this big deal I was working on to occupy my mind it was the perfect plan I would sell the company in June and the babies would come in August but life never goes according to plan I’ve been training my whole life I’d built my my resilience muscle but on May 5th 2014 the best and worst day of my life I got a call from the doctor they said Kim your babies have an infection and they’re going to be delivered it was 24 weeks four months early did you know the number one cause of newborn death is prematurity and that’s anything under 37 weeks we were at 24 the doctor said there was a 50-50 chance they would even survive I felt so helpless and so powerless it wasn’t until even a couple weeks ago that I could even look at a picture I had to call my family and ask them to send this to share with you what our twins were born we didn’t get a hold on they weighed less than a pound and there are whisked away to the newborn intensive care unit my husband and I did not know what we were going to do the first time that we were even able to touch them was through the hands of an incubator my husband can put his ring on the wrist of my son and it would dangle like a bracelet my son’s brain was bleeding and my daughter had a hole in her heart every day we did not think they were going to survive my company there was hundreds of lives depending on me to close a deal and in the hospital there was two children fighting for their lives that picture was a vivid memory and a vivid nightmare that I never wanted to look at never wanted to relive our twins taught us what it meant to be strong and resilient weeks went by and my daughter had a successful heart surgery and my son’s brain stopped bleeding before it impacted him they showed us true strength and day by day they got stronger four and a half months later we finally got to take them home before that day if someone had asked me what success looks like I would have said this yes we close the deal and we sold for nearly a quarter of a billion dollars but today if you asked me what success looks like it looks like this John and Elle taught us what true resilience looks like so if you fail learn from it and if you fall get back up and if it deals impossible keep going that is the secret to success thank you.