34 Years and Counting: A Birthday Post from The Sales Lion
There is something about the ‘learn more about me’ birthday posts I’ve always loved from other bloggers, and being that this past Sunday marked my 34th year on this planet, as well as the 2 year anniversary of The Sales Lion, I figure it’s time for me to do one of these lists. So if you’d like to hear more of my life story, please read on…
1. The second child of Phil and Sandi Sheridan, I was born on the 6th of November, 1977 in Fayettville North Carolina. My dad was in the army at that time, stationed at Fort Bragg.
2. By older brother’s name is Joseph. We’re only 13 months apart, so that set up for a fun-filled, fight-laden childhood. We’ve always loved each other dearly, but we’re a couple of competitive guys, which meant Mom was always scared to death when we went outside to play basketball. Today, my brother has done quite well for himself in the military, and is stationed with his wife in Germany.
3. I spent my childhood years in the Northern Neck of Virginia, in the very small town of Callao. At the time, there wasn’t even a stoplight in our county, and my elementary school class had about 45 kids. To say I grew up ‘in the sticks’ would be a serious understatement.
4. I was a chunky kid from early on. Frankly, my weight always bothered me, and of course my brother liked to remind me of my round figure whenever he could.
5. Growing up, I was a huge football fan of the Washington Redskins, and an even bigger fan of the LA Lakers. I adored Magic Johnson, and for a long time I thought basketball was going to be my best sport. To this day, I have a deadly hook-shot from anywhere on the court. 😉
6. On the first day of 6th grade middle school, a friend showed me a photo of some students from another elementary school that had combined with ours to formulate our new class. Immediately I noticed a tall girl in the back row and oddly felt a liking to her in that very moment. Her name was Nikki Hayden, and within about a week, we were boyfriend and girlfriend.
7. After being boyfriend and girlfriend for a day, Nikki dumped me for another kid even chubbier than I was—talk about depressing! But Nikki and I would remain close friends for the next 5 years.
8. Once in high school, I started taking sports more seriously than ever. In fact, by the time I was a senior I was the captain of the football, baseball, and wrestling teams.
9. As a high school junior, on the night of my 16th birthday party, I suffered a serious car accident when I was horsing around with some friends. Because of our stupidity, we flipped my buddy’s brand-new jeep, and my head went through the windshield. To this day, I have a large bump and scar on the top of my scalp to remind me of this incident. In hindsight, this accident put me on a very different course of life, and I’ll always be grateful for the wake-up call it provided.
10. Right at the beginning of my senior year in I met two missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and a few months later was baptized and became a member. This was a very happy and sad time in my life, as my decision greatly disappointed my dear(since passed) grandfather, a devout Catholic, who to this day is the most Christ-like man I have ever had the pleasure of being around.
11. After 5 years of ‘just being friends’, Nikki came to her senses in 12th grade and told me she wanted to be boyfriend and girlfriend. This time, it lasted more than a day. 😉
12. My final GPA when I graduated high school in 1995 was a 2.4. Pretty impressive, ehhh? But I really didn’t care as sports were my focus and it was just enough to get me into West Virginia University, where I’d soon be rooming with my brother Joe.
College Years and Chile
13. I started off as a Physical Education major in college. My goals were to teach and coach, as those subjects had always been my passion.
14. Because I was getting more and more chunky as my freshman year in college went on, I decided to pick up running for the first time. Soon, I actually became pretty good. Although I wasn’t very fast, I could run all day, and after about 8 months of training, I won the Charleston WV 15 mile race for the 19 and under age division, averaging about 7 minutes a mile.
Despite a few nagging injuries, about a year later I ran the DC Marine Corps Marathon as well. In the process of that race, I did significant damage to both of my hamstrings, and was never quite the same runner again. To this day, I miss being able to go run the hills of West Virginia on a 20 mile Saturday morning jog.
15. Not long into my freshman year did I have a few experiences that lead me to make the decision to leave school for two years and serve a mission for my church. So I put in my application and waited to find out where I’d be going. Months later, I was on a plane headed to the country of Chile in South America.
16. Chile was a life-altering experience. Two years of no TV, radio, dating, etc. My only purpose was to help and serve others. I arrived to the country with almost no ability to speak Spanish. But months later, after much effort, I found myself forgetting English at times, and even thinking and dreaming in Spanish. Learning a new language is an amazing experience in and of itself.
17. It was in Chile that I started to realize my unique ability to communicate with and teach large groups of people. What had been a major fear just a few years before was now becoming one of my greatest strengths. Often times I would give sermons or presentations to hundreds of people at a time, with no notes at all, solely relying on passion and personal experiences. It was then, at the age of 21, that I realized I’d been given a very special talent that could possibly bless the lives of others, including myself, for years to come.
18. While in Chile I literally felt protected by angels. For example, I was attacked by dog gangs (yes, dogs travel in ‘gangs’ in Chile) on multiple occasions, I was held up by a deranged mad-man with a knife, and I was even hit with thrown rocks on more than one occasion. But none of it seemed to scare or bother me, as I truly felt a provincial protection during my time as a missionary.
Marriage and Family
19. After two years of traveling the Southern tip of Chile, I returned home. Nikki and I were married two months later. We were dirt poor and happy as can be. Shortly thereafter, we returned to WVU so I could finish my degree.
20. Before we knew it, Nikki found out she was expecting our first child. 9 months later, Danielle Jayden Sheridan was born. We were thrilled. To this day, I can picture her magical face as it entered this world, and it’s a moment in time I’ll never forget.
21. Within a few weeks of returning to college, I realized that the field of coaching and teaching might not be for me, as they weren’t the best for pay nor time at home with the family. So I decided to hurry up and graduate so I could get out in the world and start working. By changing my major to Spanish, I did just that. Because I spoke the language better than most of my professors, I skipped a year of classes and graduated in 2001.
22. It was also during my final year of college I decided to write a book about my time in Chile as a missionary. Balancing school, work, and being a dad was quite the challenge, but somehow I found the time to write as well. Although the book itself wasn’t that successful nor very well written, for me it marked a tremendous accomplishment and was the earliest stages of my love for writing.
23. I applied for one job out of college and got it. Unfortunately, within weeks of working for the company I realized it wasn’t going to be a good fit, and so my wife and I moved back to the Northern Neck to regroup and see where our next move would be.
24. During this same time period (2001), my friends Jim and Jason had just opened a retail swimming pool store, and asked me if I’d be willing to manage it for them while they worked in the field. I told them I would until I was able to find something different. 6 months later, they asked me to become the 3rd partner in the company, and I accepted. At the time, I was living in a small apartment, just me, Nikki, and Danielle, and bringing home a paycheck of about $400 a week.
25. In 2003, my son Joseph Talmadge Sheridan was born. Needless to say, I was grateful to have a boy. 🙂
26. It was also in 2003 that I wrote my second book, Stop the Yawns. Basically, it was a book about speaking and giving sermons in a church setting, and over the next few years it would sell thousands of copies around the globe.
27. In 2004 things went south for my pool company. Our bookkeeper embezzled about $200,000 from the business, and also got us in huge trouble with the IRS. You can read the whole story here, but suffices to say it was a nightmare ordeal, and for the next 4 years, the IRS had leans on our homes and made life very, very difficult.
28. On Feb 5, 2007, my daughter Larsen Nichole Sheridan was born, being named after the missionary that taught and baptized me 12 years earlier.
29. In late 2008, just as we’d finally paid off the IRS and thought we’d be able to make headway as a company, the housing market collapsed. Once again, we were in huge trouble.
30. In March of 2009 we found our answer to the economy—Hubspot and inbound marketing. Within a year of embracing this new way of thinking, our website would be the most trafficked swimming pool builder site in the world.
The Sales Lion is Born
31. On November of 2009 I decided to give myself a 32nd birthday present—The Sales Lion. After feeling the prompting for months, I went to my wife and asked her if she would be willing to see less of me so I could stay up late each night and write. She kindly agreed, and so this blog was born.
32. In 2010, Casey Brooke Sheridan was born. Larsen decided to call her ‘Pink’ instead, and we all agreed that it sounded like an excellent idea.
33. In early July of this year, 10 years after becoming a ‘pool guy’, my two wonderful business partners gave me the blessing to move on to my next phase of life. Although I still am a partner in the company and handle some of the marketing, I’m now able to spend all of my time speaking, writing, and getting the message of Inbound and Content Marketing to the world.
34. Today, I can only sit here and write this with a smile. 2011 has been amazing. My wife and children are happy, strong, and healthy. I’ve spoken all over the country. New opportunities seem to be arriving daily. I’ve been blessed to meet many incredible people and the possibilities and plans seem endless. To say I’m humbled and grateful wouldn’t begin to describe it.
So there you have it friends– my first 34 years in a nutshell. If you have any personal questions you’d like to ask me, fire away below, as I’m happy to answer.
Thanks so much for all your support on this blog, I hope you know it’s appreciated.