Overcoming Adversity: Chris Hemming OYNB | 108

One Year No Beer Podcast Episode 108 – Chris Hemming

Sometimes, in the wake of a tragedy or difficult life event, people find themselves turning to alcohol to numb the pain. But today’s guest is proof that it’s possible to overcome tragedy and difficult life circumstances and to give up alcohol. It takes work and commitment, but it can be done.

Chris Hemming is a man with a dramatic life story. In today’s episode, he frankly discusses how his little brother began experimenting with alcohol, and how that experimentation culminated in a fatal car crash on Halloween. Chris says that you might assume that after such a tragic event, he wouldn’t allow alcohol to be a problem in his own life. But of course, things don’t always work out the way that you might assume they would.

Chris goes on to explain how, as an adult, he ended up getting pulled over, arrested, and charged with a DUI. And further, he relates how, while he was waiting for sentencing on his DUI case, he was diagnosed with a potentially fatal brain tumor. His sentencing had to be postponed so that he could undergo brain surgery and recover from that. 

Fortunately, Chris did survive the tumor and brain surgery, and he learned some things from the whole experience. In today’s interview, Chris talks about the power of forgiveness – both forgiveness from other people and forgiving yourself. He also discusses his own relatively new alcohol-free journey. At the time of this recording, Chris has been alcohol-free for four months. 

Chris talks about some of the things that he’s learned since his brain surgery, including how to cope with changes in his memory. He discusses his business, how it’s changed during this time due to COVID, and what he has coming up on the horizon. Finally, he shares his own advice for people who are beginning their alcohol-free journey. Listen in to today’s episode to learn more about Chris and his story. 

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Episode Transcript

Chris: Welcome to another episode of the OYNB podcast. I'm your host, Chris Laping. I'm joined by my very talented co-host and the love of my life, Kristine. Say hello.

Kristine: Hello there.

Chris: As we kick off this week's episode, I have to give credit where credit is due. Last week, you and I were having a conversation about guests that we should invite to the show and you brought up this week's guest. It was one of those things where the answer was right in front of me and you just needed to help me see it.

Kristine: Yeah. Should I call it a day and on a good note? Remember that Seinfeld episode? That TV show where George called it a day?

Chris: No, I don't remember that because it's been 20 years. Even if I remembered it, I probably would not be able to instantly recall it.

Kristine: Well, I did make the suggestion, and thank you for recognizing.

Chris: For all you listeners, I'm very excited about this week's guest, Chris Hemming. We've known Chris for many years and I really love his story. As I mentioned, I'm so happy that Kristine suggested that we get him on the show.

He is a living example of someone who has overcome a lot of adversity, but through it all is one of the most positive people I have ever met. There are a few parts to Chris's story that I think all of you listening will really enjoy today. 

First, Chris is new on his alcohol-free journey. I think he'll be honest enough to tell us about the ups and downs of the decision he's made. Next, he is such a connector. I've often referred to him as the human Rolodex because he knows so many people. When I say I know so many people, when he tells you a story about someone, I have no idea how you could remember that many details about that many people. We're going to ask him to help us—those of us who are introverts—for a few tips on how to handle social settings. Finally, he's a fearless entrepreneur. Since I have had so many OYNBers talk about their dream to one day quit that day job and start their own business, I'm going to pick Chris's brain on doing that as well. 

Without further ado, I'd like to offer a warm welcome to the show, Chris Hemming. Hello, my friend.

Hemming: Hey, guys. Thanks for having me. It's been a while since we caught up. I’m excited that you guys reached out. How are you doing?

Kristine: Good. I wonder how many variations of Chris's we can have on one podcast. We might be setting a world record.

Chris: I know three Chris’s—Chris, Kris, and Chris. You know what Kristine has learned, Chris, is that if you do a really great job, I'm going to trick you into coming in and hosting with us. The next thing you know, it's going to be the Chris, Kris, and Chris show.

Hemming: I love that.

Chris: Chris, let's jump right into our chat. I'd love to start where we normally start this podcast, which is here and now. You are, I think, four months into taking a break from alcohol. First of all, I have to say that I was so excited for you that you decided to do this. I'm also just really excited that you had the courage to talk about it publicly. As a matter of fact, when I found out you were doing this, it was really through LinkedIn.

What I'm hoping you can start the show with is to just tell us a little bit about why you decided to make this choice, what was going on in your life, and why did you feel that this would help?

Hemming: Thanks again for having me. I hope you guys are staying healthy. You guys look great. As a leader, as somebody who leads a company or a team, or as a dad leading a family, I think one of the things that really stands out to me is we're constantly working on taking care of others. We spent a lot of time caring for others, working hard to provide for others. The piece that we miss is some of that self-love. It's taking care of ourselves. 

It's been a long journey. Part of this has to do with physical health, but I think even more it has to do with mental health. I grew up in a very religious family, so alcohol really wasn't around when I was a kid. A lot of it came later in life as I started in my career and went the route of being an entrepreneur.

What we do for a living is we would host events around the country with top executives. Basically, our job was to be fun, to bring people into a setting, and help them build relationships. A lot of that's been around social types of settings. With it being social, I think naturally there's a lot of alcohol involved. As part of that as well, to make it fun, we would include pro athletes, major leaders, and special guests. We would have a blast. 

What I came to find very quickly was, maybe what started as social fun can start to sneak up on you and quickly found drinking originally was tied to events. It was tied to fun, tied to social gatherings, and then slowly started to seek beyond that. You find yourself drinking more in other settings. 

Is it okay if I share a short story from last year? If you Google 183 passengers trapped on an Amtrak train, do you know about this? 

Chris: No. 

Hemming: Okay. My team and I, instead of flying back from Seattle to Colorado where we're headquartered, I thought it'd be fun, as we would travel every week, to kind of switch it up a little bit. We took an Amtrak train back to Denver. In the night time, we were going up through the Oregon mountains and it started to snow, that heavy snow where the trees start to bend and snap

If you Google 183 passengers travel an Amtrak train, we were on that train that got trapped in an avalanche. We hit a whole bunch of trees and I'll never forget it. When we got there, I started to notice a lot of anxiety. People are kind of uncertain, realizing that we weren't going to get help for a while. I did what I thought we should do. We bought up all the alcohol on the train and we threw the biggest party we've ever thrown. 

Actually, I got in trouble. I ended up getting banned because we had too much fun and we just thought, well, we'll be saved in the morning. I'll never forget, the next morning they couldn't get us help. 

What was interesting was that the following day, what was fun, would become normal. Those social settings actually started to get a little scary where now we’re starting to have anxiety about food, blankets, and other things that were more important. Then, they sent a train to get us and the train couldn't get to us. 

It was on the third day in the morning, they were able to finally get us help. They said it's with the Red Cross. I think it was around that time I started to recognize, maybe my priorities are wrong here. I'm grateful that we're safe, and some of that just started to click. 

I don't know, this year it's really clicked because if you look online, there are tons of memes, right? Everybody's making jokes about heavy drinking at home and ways to cope. COVID has been devastating. We've experienced that as a business owner and our events halted in March. That's when we really had to start looking. I think that the cracks started getting exposed as some of this starts to pass. 

As part of that, the financial stress started to mount. Trying to lead a team became harder and I started to find that I was using alcohol as a way to suppress that, to try to hold that down, almost like a duck on the water looks solid to my team while paddling as quickly as I could under the water. I quickly found that it wasn't helping. I was definitely having to face some things that I didn't know I needed to face before. 

It ended up shifting very quickly. I noticed, and I appreciate your compliment about being a fun, nice guy, but I found that there's this blur where you go from being the fun guy on alcohol to, I call it Captain Justice. Out of nowhere, I had this alter ego, where, as things started, the pressure started to mount, things started to get worse, I started to realize when I would drink, it would give me the courage to stand up to that person who I felt had wronged me, or to go say that thing I probably wouldn't have said. I called it Captain Justice. It was like I was doing the right thing. 

What I quickly came to find out was I was actually hurting my family. I was hurting my customers. I was hurting people I love. Very quickly, it went from being fun to recognizing that if I want to be a better father and a leader, especially during a time of COVID, I really need a clear mind. 

That's kind of a long story to your question, but what I realized more than anything was right now is the time to need a clear mind. Suppressing the damage that's happening is actually only making it worse. It's been very significant. 

Kristine: Wow, that's great. I have a friend that actually referred to what you just described at the end. It’s liquid courage, but we all know that liquid courage most of the time is not a good decision.

Chris: Yeah. Two things occurred to me when Chris was telling the story around the train and then this thing around Captain Justice. The first thing that occurred to me is when I watch a movie and I know for a fact that that actor is still alive, that the scene that I'm watching can't be real because I've seen that actor alive. I'm sitting here, you're telling the story. I'm like, how does that story end? We’ll clearly, he lived because he's here on the podcast. The second thing is, I am so happy that I never had to deal with Captain Justice. When I say deal with it, that you've never brought Captain Justice out on me.

Kristine: That we never got a knock on our door…

Chris:  …in the middle of the night. Hey, Laping, I always found you to be very rude and self-absorbed.

Kristine: Chris, four months into your alcohol-free journey, the people on the One Year No Beer community, especially in those early months, they go through a lot of ups and downs after they've removed alcohol from their life. Maybe your drinking wasn't as frequent as others, but can you talk a little bit about what's been going on in your journey now that you're alcohol-free? Some ups and downs that you've actually experienced without drinking?

Hemming: Yeah, it's not easy. If somebody says it is, they're not telling you the truth. I think the answer is, is this is a daily battle. This is a constant daily choice. The positives, I'll give you an example, I lost 30 pounds in the last four months.

Chris: I did not think you had 30 pounds to gain, by the way. 

Kristine: Are you wearing a lot of skinny jeans right now?

Hemming: Yeah. There's a lot of benefits that come from rebuilding confidence that I thought I had, that courage—like what you said, liquid courage—was being used, and having to actually face the hard parts.

I think the piece I'm learning is there are two things that are really dangerous. It's loneliness and boredom. The thing that matters most is what you do choose and where your level of integrity is when no one's looking. I think that right there is probably the greatest challenge. It's fought behind closed doors, it might be in a bar where people don't know you, and it's knowing full well that someone will never find out and what you choose to do. I think right there is where the war will be won. Those are the moments that matter the most, I would say. 

The other piece was trying to become obsessed with something else. Being passionate about entrepreneurship and doing fun things is good. I had a great leader tell me once out here, one of the founders of RE/MAX, great guy, he said to me, ginger ale. It was his suggestion to me. 

I think the next goal will have to be to cut out sugar because now I'm obsessed with ginger ale. If anybody out there knows of a really good ginger ale, I'm working really hard. I'm obsessed right now trying to find a great ginger ale. He said short glass, ice, ginger ale, and he called the drink, the chairman of the board. He drank it for years. What he did was he would navigate rooms with executives with a sober mind. He was always a step ahead of everybody around him. He said nobody ever gave him a hard time. Short glass, ice, and ginger ale. 

Kristine: That's great. 

Chris: I love it. We talk about this from time to time. The thing is, when you're in a social setting and other people are drinking, they actually stop noticing that you're not drinking by the time they get to their second drink. It's like all you really have to do, so you can save yourself the sugar consumption, is drink a little bit of ginger ale in the beginning. I swear to you, the second they get to their second or third drink, they won't even notice.

Hemming: Also, you don't have to give up the fun drinks. You can still get the stuff with the cute little umbrellas and you can make them wholesome. I think that was the key thing, especially being afraid of not being the fun guy anymore. You can still have fun.

Chris: Chris, if we can, I'd love to go back in time now. Part of what really draws me into your story is some of the adversity that you've overcome in your life, which, by the way, I've never found you to be someone who overly soaks in a tough past. Will you share with the listeners a little bit about some of the things you have had to be most resilient with?

Hemming: Yeah, I appreciate the question. I think everybody’s listening, I know you guys have been through a lot in your lives and your story is inspiring, we each have our own journey. I think that it's easy to cover up things we're embarrassed about—this false appearance of success or the flashiness that's out there. Growing up, it was kind of normal life. I was adopted as a little boy. I grew up in Colorado and had a really good life. As I said, I grew up in this strong religious family. Things were pretty normal. I never really had run into anything major until one night on Halloween. 

My little brother went to a high school party here in Colorado and tried alcohol for the first time. He and his best friend were having a blast. They got in a car with their other two best friends. As it does on Halloween in Colorado, sometimes it starts to snow, kind of like when we got stuck in the train, that heavy snow again. 

I'll never forget that night. As they were driving back home as these young boys, they lost control, the car went spinning out of control, and it hit a light pole. My brother went halfway out. The car rolled, crushed, and killed him. That was significant for me because I had started to experiment with alcohol with my brother. I had encouraged him. I thought, like, oh, this is harmless. We're just being fun kids. It went from something so harmless and fun to something so serious.

I think, probably one of the most tender moments of that evening, the state troopers came to our home and brought the boys who had lived in the car accident. I'll never forget, as they came through the door, my mother sat there completely lost on even how to respond. I can't even comprehend what it would be like to lose a child. I wish that upon nobody. I remember her sitting so lifeless in that chair and so broken. As these boys came through, we felt as a family these confused emotions of feeling like, do we feel angry? Do you yell at somebody? What do you do?

I will never forget, as those boys walked through the door, my mother opened her arms, hugged each and every one of them, expressed how much she loved them, and how grateful she was that they were alive. Not only that, I watched my mother forgive the driver, his best friend, and then stand on his behalf in court. 

I think that moment really set a bar in my life. If she could forgive somebody who had done something that you could never make whole, how much smaller all the other things are in our lives that we get so hung up on?

What's interesting is that story happened and it was so significant in my life that you think that alcohol wouldn't be a problem, right? I mean, that is such a significant chapter that it changed the way we looked at things. 

Years passed. We all have experiences. We learn from them and we kind of move on. I went off to build a company and it started to get successful. It grew in multiple cities across the country. We got to the top of our game and I think that's the moment the universe is about to put you in check, just when you think it's all going good.

I had just left a business meeting where I had a drink. I got pulled over and I got a DUI. It's probably one of the greatest blessings of my life. I got pulled over and I got a DUI. Many of us (I think) are really good at not getting pulled over. It's one of those things. At first, I was angry. I got caught and I would never hurt anybody. I didn't want to hurt anyone. I just realized how I had started to forget the sensitivity of how important that is to keep others safe, keep myself safe, and my family safe.

I got arrested and I got put in jail. That was devastating for me and my family because the consequences of drinking and thinking that nothing bad could happen really started to hit. When I was brought home from jail, they started to notice something was wrong with me. I started having a lot of confusion and they thought, well, is this related? It was awful. I had a pending court hearing and I'm trying to run a business. This is embarrassing. I was afraid for my family to find out. I was just so confused that they kept finding me wandering and I was doing some weird things. 

My family took me to the doctor and they did a head scan. They found that I had a brain tumor, that my brain had been bleeding, and that I was going to need surgery to live. It was kind of those moments—I'm sure you guys have been through quite a bit—where you just feel like it can't get any worse. Here I am waiting to have a court hearing, to face the consequences of decisions that I hadn't taken seriously. At the same time, I'm facing what felt like a life sentence of wondering, will I live? At that point, I thought we lost the company. 

I'm very grateful and blessed. I think you guys were involved with this. Many of the executives who had attended our events, when I went into the surgery, started providing meals for my family and for my kids. They did Christmas for my kids. I'll never forget it. Before I went to surgery, the courts decided that they were going to wait to sentence me on my DUI to see if I lived. That once I was done with that and going through that battle, then we would face the DUI sentencing piece. 

It's crazy how some things can start to escalate out of control, especially as leaders. We do our best to try to keep control of everything. That's what we're good at, trying to lead teams. Then, when our own life starts to spiral out of control, it's like you can't keep the house of cards up enough. I'll never forget what that felt like. I went through that, spent a lot of time in the hospital working on getting healthy, surviving, and trying to live. 

My day came in court where I stood in court. I'll never forget standing there with a scar on the side of my head down my right temple. Grateful to be alive. As the judge walked in to sentence me, I will never forget that moment in my life because I wasn't afraid of the judge. I was afraid of my mother who was in the courtroom. I had let my family down. I should have known better. I had experienced the loss of what alcohol can cause. My family was there for my sentencing. The judge knew our history and he knew that there was a lot of emotion in the room. I'll never forget it. 

As I was sentenced, my mother came up. She put her arms around me, she forgave me, and expressed how much she loved me. It was a lesson that came full circle that I don't think I'll ever forget. She was right. I needed the hug more and the judge less. That example of forgiveness was so significant of going through these different traumas and realizing that using alcohol to suppress a lot of that was not helping. It was just making it worse.

Chris: I'm really struck by your story, Chris. I've known you for a number of years and you have overcome so many things in your life, but for those of us who have gotten up close and personal look at you, you have been so solid, so positive, and kind of unflappable. There's a part of me that wonders, how do people like you show up every day so strong and so positive? 

I think you almost answered my question for me, in that a lot of it has to do with the solid foundation around your mother. The love and forgiveness that she has shown you and she has shown others has probably become a very strong safety net in your life. I guess we can never take for granted the power of a loving mother.

Hemming: Yeah. I also think the other piece that really hit home to me was she was teaching me how to forgive others, but I think something we all felt trapped in addiction is that pattern of shame. We are the hardest on ourselves and that is a scary place to be. I think that if there was one gift I would give anybody listening is that gift of forgiving yourself. That's the piece I learned from her. Sometimes it's easier to forgive somebody else, but we're still so hard on ourselves, it's hard to continue growing if we're beating ourselves down.

Chris: That message is so on point that I really hope the listeners absorb. Kristine and I watched a movie called Wild that has Reese Witherspoon in it. Very briefly for listeners who may not have seen the movie, Reese, her character in this movie, which is based on a true story, had a very close relationship with her mother. Her mother unexpectedly got cancer and passed in a very short amount of time. When that happened, she spiraled. She ended up in this massive addiction around drugs and sex. Anything that could go wrong was going wrong.

This character that Reese Witherspoon played, ends up hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, which for those of you across the pond that don't know the Pacific Coast Trail, basically runs up the west side of the United States just north of the Mexican border all the way up to Canada. She wasn't a hiker, she wasn't an outdoors person, but she did this hike to basically cleanse herself of the hurt of losing her mother and then just the whole spiral of her life. I think she just wanted to take life back in control. 

When she gets to Canada, she's getting ready to cross the bridge. She's reflecting and she says, I now know that I should forgive myself for all of these things that I've done. I don't want to forget because it's those things that shape me into the person I am today.

It took me a little while to make that point. I think the point for the listeners and I think this came out in your storytelling, Chris, is we have to forgive ourselves. As you say, we will grant this to strangers, in some cases. We grant this to everyone around us. But for ourselves, we are so, so tough on ourselves.

Hemming: I think that you also pointed out something before we started recording. You pointed out how inaction can be dangerous. That part of fear is that sometimes it puts us in a place of being stagnant. You become stuck. I think that is a shame. It's important to keep moving. It's important to keep moving up this hill, even when you fall down. I think that that's where that forgiveness piece is.

Sometimes you can't make it even. I learned that with my mom. There was nothing that other people could do to make it whole. That loss was so significant. Sometimes there are things in our lives that we can't make even and that it's okay, but we got to keep moving. That's how growth works.

Chris: Man, four months. You've taken a break from alcohol for four months. I swear it sounds like you are someone with years and years and years of wisdom. I think it's because you've put all these pieces together, and I'm so grateful that you shared that story with us.

Kristine: Chris, I have admired you from afar because I am an introvert. I did not know this until I actually gave up alcohol and started to do a lot of self-work, but I am an introvert. You, again, from the outside (at least), it just looks like you're always the life of the party and you are such a connector. You seem to, like Chris said earlier, not have any trouble building these connections with people. Deep connections, really, because you seem to know a lot about them. 

I just want to know what that's like for you if we're right on. Does connection come naturally or do you have to work on it? In the One Year No Beer community, there's a saying that comes up a lot, that the opposite of connection is addiction. It's a really important concept that we have a connection in our life, whether we're extroverts or introverts. Can you just share a little bit?

Hemming: Absolutely. In fact, what you just said is powerful. I kind of associate addiction with isolation. I think we've all isolated ourselves with our pain. We've withdrawn ourselves from relationships. Yeah, that's fascinating. 

After brain surgery, now I have a pretty good golf ball–sized hole by my right eye, in my brain. It's really made me appreciate things that I took for granted. For example, remembering names. Where I'm cut here on the right side of my head, it affects short-term memory. It also affects feelings. It makes me really nervous now to talk to somebody because will I remember their name? 

As part of that, I think what I found almost like a crazy experiment, is that if you can move something from short-term memory to long-term memory by really being captive, really caring, and taking interest in a person, you won't forget that about that person. I think that that piece actually is really important. 

The way that I do that is around story. I love listening to someone's story. A lot of times, people, when they're in a social setting, they say things like, I don't know what to say. Well, the great news is you don't have to say anything. The secret is, it's about asking questions. It's what you guys are good at. 

For example, if somebody was interested in horses—I don't know anything about horses—if I ask them questions about horses and I learn about horses, you move it from short-term memory to long-term memory. Now, you'll never forget what you've learned and now you have a three-dimensional bond with that human. 

We do the same thing with names. When you meet somebody, a lot of times you'll say, hey, what's your name? Then five minutes later you say, sorry, what was your name again? It really does take some energy to associate those pieces together. But if you can identify and listen, it makes it easier to remember something that’s special about them. 

When we make other people important, naturally we start to bond without even realizing it. What ends up happening is, as you take interest in someone, you actually start to connect naturally. The thing where we messed up most is we think we have to say something in a social setting to not be introverted. I think it's about being very interested in other people, then naturally, that connection happens.

Kristine: That’s great.

Chris: That is awesome advice. We should probably just jump into this for a minute. You actually run a business that helps people connect. Specifically, you work with technology executives. That's how I got a chance to meet you because I was a technology executive. 

I can say from my past experience of being a tech executive that it's probably one of the most introverted groups of people that exist. Now, I'll say Kristine learned from her break from alcohol that she was actually introverted. I actually learned the opposite. I had always characterized myself as an introverted person. When I stopped drinking, I actually found out how extroverted I was. I think I can safely represent all of my fellow tech execs and say that most of them are introverted people. 

Will you share a little bit about what you do? I'm so curious, what things have you learned the most about connection by hanging out with so many introverts all the time?

Hemming: I think I'll sum it up into this short story. This was interesting. We were with a group of IT executives in a roundtable discussion. This is a secret question we used almost like a great psychological play that I would suggest anybody listening can use with their teams, with their family, with people they want to get to know better, or if you want to help a team bond.

We asked a simple question and this is how we worded it. All of these executives sat there and I said, what is one thing that you're fairly certain or confident about, as you look around this room at your peers around the table? That, as you look around this room, you're fairly confident it's something that you've done or experienced in your life that probably nobody else in this room has ever experienced. 

Well, at first it was really uncomfortable because we weren't talking about technology. Everybody hides behind what they are really strong at. We kind of lean towards our knowledge, our good looks, or something. You lean on something to hide your weakness. 

We went to this really nice guy from India. He was new to the United States. He was still learning English, a great leader, a wonderful man, and he was really shy. He goes on, I'm kind of boring because there's probably not anything that's unique about me that hasn't really happened to anybody in the room. Then, also this light went on and he says, well, I guess there was that one time I got hit by lightning.

Immediately the room erupted. That guy became instantly popular. 

Chris: Did people think he was joking? 

Hemming: Yeah, they were blown away and he wasn't joking. He's a very, very intellectual man. Immediately he had 25 new friends. Then, what happened that’s interesting was other people naturally felt like they could now share. 

I would suggest that being vulnerable is actually a strength. Sharing something that makes you vulnerable ends up bringing other walls down. That was one of the things that I found, we could help people share stories and feel comfortable, they naturally bonded.

Kristine: I have a question. When people become alcohol-free, Chris teaches this mastermind course. A lot of times, what happens is people have a clear mind. They have all this extra time on their hands and they're like, what do I do now? A lot of times what comes up is, I want to quit my day job and I want to start my own business. 

Obviously, you have experience doing this. Again, from afar, you look like you're fearless. You've shared some stories that I think that vulnerability you've shown us, that maybe you haven't always been fearless doing it. What do you think people need to do or what kind of advice would you give them?

Hemming: I admire you guys. You guys are doing just that. I love that you're chasing entrepreneurship, your passions, you’re impacting others, and really, you're not doing it for the job piece. You're doing it because you're truly making an impact with the talents you have. That's where I begin.

Each of us are given very unique talents and to embrace those talents. I don't think it's about being fearless. I think we all feel afraid of certain things, especially in an economy like this. We can talk ourselves out of anything. I think it has to do with keep moving. Don't stop and go for it. I think it's taking that chance and then keep moving.

Chris: It's simple but hard advice. That's what I would say.

Kristine: Yeah. I listen to this podcast. It's called Terrible, Thanks For Asking. In the episode, the host was just answering questions that people had submitted. She was getting all these questions that boiled up to a single theme of, how do you do it all? You're an author, you do the speaking engagements, you have this podcast. It was just so funny because she said, I don't do it all. I have a team of people behind me supporting me. 

What happens is a lot of times from afar, it looks like everybody's doing it all, they're doing it gracefully, and they look great. That's not reality. I think that is also applicable to the conversation here about just keep moving because you don't have to do it all, you don't have to be at all, and along that journey, ask for help.

Chris: Yeah. Our guest a couple of weeks ago was Rakale Hannah, she talked about that. People push for perfection and perfection is not what you need. What you need is consistency. Just show up. Just keep moving forward. 

Chris, what's next for you? You've accomplished a lot. You've learned a lot. Do you have any new projects or goals that you're working on? I always find that when I get a chance to catch up with you, you've got something new and interesting. Do you have something in the hopper right now?

Hemming: Yeah. I think that this year completely destroyed a business model that had succeeded for 10 years, for us specifically. There are other businesses that are experiencing the exact same thing. I think this year is great because it's forcing innovation. It's forcing new ways of thinking. Instead of being trapped coming up with new solutions, it's really forcing our hands to come up with creative ways to solve things. 

As part of that, our events were in-person. We've been working very hard. We're launching a new virtual platform that's a leadership network that's based on values and not vendors. We're really moving towards how we make more impactful human connections through virtual communication, which can be hard. It's exciting to connect executives, to not stop, and to come up with new creative ways to do that. 

We are launching a new product. It's going to be called WavePool. Think, you're waving virtually at a pool of your peers and executives. Stay tuned at launching. It’s in December. We’re really excited.

I think from a personal standpoint, Chris, you inspired me this morning. Today I set a goal that I'd never done before. I decided that today was the day I'm going to start waking up at 4:30 AM because I thought it was fascinating. 

I posted on LinkedIn this morning really early. I immediately got a text from you and that fascinated me. I was like, wow, the greatest leaders get up the earliest. Then, not only did you get up early, you then said to me you were headed to meditation. I was like, this guy is a superstar. Definitely, that is one of the goals that I'm focused on—getting up earlier. You have to teach me about meditation. You guys are awesome. You got it figured out.

Kristine: Well, I don't get up at 4:30 AM, just to set the record straight. I'm a little bit later at 5:45 AM.

Chris, it's been such a pleasure to have you on the show. Through your storytelling, we've learned that it's definitely possible to overcome adversity for people who think it's not possible. When they listen to your story, you have proved them wrong. 

We've learned it's possible to create connections with people, even if you might be introverted. It's possible to quit the day job and run your own business. It's definitely possible to do all of that and successfully take a break from alcohol, even though that can be scary and tough.

As we close out this episode, what advice do you have for listeners about their own alcohol-free journey and for anyone really who's just letting fear stop them from doing what they want to do or need to do?

Hemming: I think it's a day-to-day climb. We did say keep moving, but I'd encourage everybody not to let shame or fear discourage you, and that anything is possible. If your goal is to quit your job and to build your dream, that it's worth taking that chance, and you're worth it. That would do what I would leave with the audience.

Chris: That was so awesome. Chris, thank you so much for letting us put a microphone in front of you and for honestly and authentically sharing your story. 

Hemming: Thanks for having me. 

Chris: For all of you listening today, I want to encourage you. You can do this. You can totally do this. You are much stronger than you think. I hope that you keep moving onward and upward in your own journey.

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of the OYNB podcast. If you like this podcast, please subscribe wherever you get your podcast and share it with a friend. As always, I hope that you make it a great day. 

Kristine: Bye.

Chris: Bye.

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