For a long time the name Shep Gordon floated around my social circles but wasn’t really something that I paid much attention to. A good friend of mine, Clay Herbert, once called me the Shep Gordon of entrepreneurship and to be honest, at the time I didn’t really know what that meant, but I was pretty sure it was a good thing…
Then someone else in my social circle asked me if I had seen his documentary SuperMensh: The Legend of Shep Gordon. I hadn’t, but it planted a seed in my mind, and at some point I finally got around to watching it.
After watching Shep’s incredible story I was called to take action.
Now I’ve never had the desire to meet the Elon Musk’s or Richard Branson’s of the world… I respect them immensely, but I’ve just never felt like I need to meet them. In fact, on some level I tend to shy away from celebrity entrepreneurs and VIPs like Shep because I know too well that they already have hoards of people constantly coming at them.
But I knew after watching the documentary that I had to meet Shep. The stories around him…. What people said about him… His legacy of incredible relationship building… There was just something indescribable surrounding him that I was drawn to.
If I could meet anyone, and just learn through osmosis, it’d be Shep…
So what did I do?
First, I tried the conventional route and sent a ton of emails to Shep’s lovely assistant Nancy. But that went nowhere…. She did her job well and was a fantastic gate-keeper. There was simply no way that I was going to get by her. But in the process of digging around on the internet looking for a way to contact Shep I learned that he was writing a book. But after around two months of continuously trying to get in contact with him through Nancy (the only contact I had…) I realized I was getting nowhere.
So I took it to the next level. Crowdsourcing.
I decided to leverage my community. After all, incredible people tend to know other incredible people, so I wrote a Facebook post asking everyone I knew for an intro to Shep in May of 2016.
Through this I was able to get Shep’s personal email. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get his email.
It was a great reminder in the power of investing in relationships and having a strong network. Often times, if you really need something, no matter how strange of a request it is, someone in your network either has the answer or can guide you exactly where you need to go. That’s what happened here.
So I sent him an email with my intentions. I shared how immensely he impacted me through the documentary. I told him I was compelled to help him with his new book. This is what I wrote…
This wasn’t a small deal… I have a lot of friends who have been incredibly successful in their book marketing. I know that although book marketing isn’t rocket science, it’s a hell of a lot of work. And I meant this offer. I was willing to put weeks of work into it.
I waited anxiously for his response. He responded right away (probably because he was shocked that a random guy would offer to do all his book marketing for him for free…). We ended up exchanging emails for a while.
But I figured getting on a phone call would be much better. So we did a call which only lasted a couple of minutes. And then at the end of the call I said something that I was simply compelled to say. I had an instinctual reaction and an overwhelming gut feeling to say…
“Ya know, this would be better in person. Let me fly to Maui. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. No pressure. No expectations.”
Again, this wasn’t a small deal to offer this. To fly from Toronto to Hawaii is 13 hours of travel… Although I’ve made a commitment to myself to invest in relationships, this was taking things to the next level. If he said yes, that means I’d have to invest 26 hours of round trip travel from Toronto to Hawaii, without any clarity that this would work.
Shep, being the spontaneous, adventurous man that he is, accepted my offer. He was even gracious enough to host me at his house for three days. And those three days were very magical for me.
We walked on the beach each day and discussed business. I think when I got back to Toronto Kandis was a little jealous, and maybe even concerned. Some things that I said probably sounded like I was talking about a romantic getaway… But in all seriousness, over those three days Shep and I were able to develop a deep bond – it felt like we were old friends reconnecting.
A couple of months later I flew to Maui again to begin working on the launch of his book. The book came out in September of 2016 and things went really well. The book made the New York Times Bestseller List.
What started as Shep Gordon, this person who was seemingly unreachable, has today turned into a great friend. It took a little bit of hustling to reach the unreachable, but all the work, risk, and investment has been worth it.