They say that in business, you have to be ready for anything — but we so often dismiss the unforeseen circumstances. After all, I had no way to know that a Wednesday that began like any other would prove to be one of the most difficult and adverse days of my life: the day that $4.7 million of my client’s insurance premiums went missing.
It was a fraud, a ponzi scheme. A well-respected, trusted, and upstanding insurance executive had sold a special insurance policy to a number of insurance providers in the business, Littlejohn being one of many. And for months, it seemed to work well. His clients even successfully filed some smaller insurance claims during that time. But the insurance coverage itself was fake.
The Chaos of the Fraud
“My life turned upside down in one day,”. “Just a few days prior, my wife and I found out that we were expecting our third child. Business was doing great. And once the fraud was exposed, lawsuits started cropping up left and right against me.”
Of course, the fraud itself wasn’t my fault… but his clients didn’t know that. They needed their insurance coverage, and had trusted my company to provide it. “40 lawsuits were filed against me in 40 days,”. “I owed $4.7 million in debt to my clients to recoup their stolen premiums.”
Now, many would give up then and there: file bankruptcy, change their names, close up shop forever. But Littlejohn took a different route.
Bouncing Back in the Midst of Adversity
“I knew that staggering amount I owed wasn’t going to pay itself,” he admitted. “So I did what I had to do.” Rather than turning my back on a business he spent 10 years building, I decided there was nothing left to do but rebuild. And rebuild, I did.
“I channeled all my energy into finding new clients – email marketing, Linkedin messaging, everything you can think of,” he shared. “Linkedin advertisements and messaging, especially.” All the while, he was also in a legal battle with the insurance company that backed his business for help in recovering some of the costs incurred by the fraud.
But little by little, things started to turn around. So much so that, on February 1st 2014, exactly two years after the day that changed, my life changed again: I ended up selling the insurance company for seven figures.
Life After The Rebuild
After this, I didn’t return to the insurance business, however. “I fell in love with Linkedin strategy and messaging for lead generation,”. “It completely turned my business around. I saw the potential the network carried, and had to lead my curiosity there.”
Surprisingly, it was in the midst of adversity I found my new passion. “Many think that would’ve been the end of the road for me – that my reputation would be ruined, and that I’d have to spend the rest of my life paying back what I had lost,”. “But I simply looked at all the possibilities of the situation.”
The truth is, we never know what type of adversity we may face: in our business or in our personal lives. But we can control how we show up when the going gets tough. We can decide we’re done, or we can rewrite the narrative.
My story has proved just how powerful that rewrite can be and often in the rewrites of our life we can find our calling.