Source | LinkedIn : By Shane Snow
I’ve never written about this before. But I want to tell you about the worst day of my life.
This was a few years ago, and you wouldn’t think it was the worst day by the way it started. That’s what’s so ironic.
In the morning that day, I spent time at the new SoHo offices of my growing company, which after three years of 100-hour weeks had finally become a real business—and had at that point created more than 50 jobs.
In the afternoon, I hustled uptown to interview a famous billionaire on stage in front of 1,000 people at Columbia University. We’d be talking about the launch of his new book, and a little bit about mine, which I’d published a week before, fulfilling a dream I’d had since I was in 8th grade.
It ended up being the largest crowd I’d ever spoken in front of in person.
Afterward, I quickly shook hands with everyone and ran out the door. I grabbed the 1 train downtown to SoHo House, a fancy social club where people richer than me hobnobbed and drank wine. A group called The Influencers had invited me to speak about my work to an intimate gathering of smart and famous people—musicians and entrepreneurs and heads of advertising and modeling agencies. The crowd included one of my childhood heroes, Bill Nye the Science Guy.
I was on fire.
After my presentation, Bill Nye shook my hand and congratulated me on my work. Then world champion beatboxer Rahzel stopped me on my way out and said he couldn’t wait to read my book.
It was just after one in the morning by the time I got out of there, with a pocket full of business cards. I walked out the SoHo House doors onto the cobblestone streets of the Meatpacking District, which at that hour was still bustling.
And then I remembered that I had no place to sleep that night.
You see, I was homeless.
While on the outside I was at this great inflection point in career, on the inside I was suffering from the worst series of emotional setbacks I’d ever faced. It had started with a cancer scare and ended in a surprise divorce request—everything at once. Subsequent hasty negotiations had left me broke, depressed, homeless, and wondering whether any of this work stuff even mattered.
Only a few people in my life had much idea what was going on with me behind the scenes. I hadn’t even mustered the courage to tell my family. Much less my employees. I was co-running a business worth millions but secretly unable to afford a deposit on an apartment.
Rather than asking a friend to let me crash for the three months I’d need to save up for a new place, I’d been bouncing from couch to couch, using a vague backstory to feed off the generosity of pals and acquaintances without having to get into too many details or “burden” any one friend unduly.
This was obviously a dumb plan.
But, having been a bastion of stability and sobriety for 29 years, I was now spiraling out of control in both senses. I was too anxious to talk with people about my situation, and wouldn’t allow myself to stay with anyone for more than a couple of nights, for fear that I would have to fess up to having passed out on the L Train a few too many times—or to talk about how I was feeling.
And in the frenzy of this day’s speeches and events—a day that should have been one of the greatest—I had once again forgotten to arrange somewhere to stay.
I pulled out my phone.
It had only one percent battery power left.
I frantically texted my friend Nat to ask if I could crash. The phone died.
And then, as if the Universe was filming some sort of tragic movie, the clouds above New York began spilling their guts.