Source: Sent by Rahul an Avid Blog Reader
I made up my mind as a young guy, I want to become world class at something. I just had to find out what that something is going to be”. Well, when Christopher Paul Gardner found out that “something”, he went on to become a millionaire and the CEO of his own stockbrokerage firm, Gardner Rich and Co. from nearly nothing.
Although not rare, Gardner’s motivational story has touched the life of millions and inspired so many young professionals and entrepreneurs.
The person who cut grass, rubbed floors, cleaned trash, did roofing and painted walls strived to earn a repute and become a successful trader in the Wall Street.
Gardner had also promised to himself that he would never let his child go through that same pain and suffering that he endured when he was a fatherless child. Gardner had a troubled childhood where he and his mother alongwith his sisters were physically abused by his stepfather. The wounds inflicted by those abuse and domestic violence stayed with Gardner forever. But he became a successful and caring parent by keeping the promise of loving and nurturing his child even during his bad days.
Speaking of his bad days, Chris Gardner was homeless for a year. To make matter worse, his son Chris Jr. was left with him by his estranged wife who had some months back moved to some other US city with their child because she was unhappy with Gardner’s unemployment (“Unemployment brings trouble in married life”)
Gardner left his job as a medical equipment salesman to get into a full time training program at E.F Hutton. But Gardner was running on bad luck those days, as the hiring manager, who had promised a seat to him, was just fired a week before from the firm. This practically rendered Gardner jobless!
It was during this time, Gardner took to cutting grass, moping floors or painting walls to earn a livelihood and support his family that was falling apart. For every dollar he earned, he had to make a wise decision to spend that dollar. From running daily errands to keep food on the table, to paying house rent and buy this and that, he did all that he could to keep his family bonded with the meagre income he made.
Gardner had met a man on a red ferrari someday while he was still working as a medical equipment salesman. This man confided him that he was a stockbroker and roughly earned $80,000 a month. It was from here Gardner’s thirst for stockbrokerage had developed. This man later introduced Gardner to many managers of stock brokerage firms. The fired manager from E.F Hutton was one of them.
While he was still cleaning floors, roofing and cutting grass, he took appointments with these managers and tried to convince them in every meeting to grant him a seat in their training programs.
His continuous efforts had paid off when he was considered for a training program at Dean Witter Reynolds’ stock brokerage firm. But his stars were so playing against him, that he got jailed for 10 days for accumulating parking tickets worth $1200 in a high security prison for criminals. With a phone call from prison, he had managed to convince some big guy at Dean Witters that he would be joining two days later as he got entangled with some urgent work.
As the training program at DWR didn’t offered any salary, he was depleted of livelihood. He lost his abode. His wife had left him with his son, only to return after 4 months to keep his son with him. Homeless, devastated with lack of financial resources, and with the burden of responsibility of his child, Gardner and his son ate whatever they could, wherever they could. They ate in soup kitchens and charity halls. They took shelter in church, slept in parks and flophouses(generally the size of office cubicle rooms), hid under his desk after office and also shut themselves in railway bathroom. With whatever money he saved(he sold his medical equipments), he paid for his son’s daycare.
Gardner, after all this, passed the training with flying colours and also got a job at Bear Stearns and Company in San Francisco. A turning point in his life.
He had made it through!
The coming years saw Gardner rose to great heights . He bought his own house and own Ferrari. His career rapidly ascending into the stratosphere, in 1987 he opened his own investment firm, Gardner Rich.
Today Mr Gardner, 64, is worth an estimated $60m (£48m), travels the world as a motivational speaker, and sponsors a number of homeless charities and organizations that combat violence against women.
Will Smith played Chris Gardner in Gardner’s biopic “The pursuit of happiness”