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Cam Marston on the Effects of Time

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On today’s Keepin’ It Real, Cam talks about a turnaround of fortune for a friend that has been struggling. Cam also reminds us that time either promotes you or exposes you.

I met with a friend yesterday. I haven’t seen or spoken to him much for the past six months. His business has exploded over the past three or four years. He’s a good guy, an honest guy. He’s created a niche product, the market found him and he’s grown it masterfully - until he and his business partner got sideways with each other, and the last six months have been tough. Accusations, finger pointing. He finally told his partner, “We have to split up, or it may get violent.” They both lawyered up, money changed hands with both teams of lawyers scooping up piles of it, and it’s now finally over. Diminished, depleted, and emotionally exhausted, my friend is now free of that turmoil and can focus on growing what’s left of his business and moving forward.

Word got out, and his phone began ringing. Old influential customers that had fallen off the radar were calling. “Hey,” they were saying, “now that he’s gone, let’s work together again.” Turns out a lot of his former customers didn’t like his business partner – didn’t trust him - and quietly went away. Now that the partner is gone, those customers are coming back.

My friend was also able to secure the distribution rights to a new product that, he predicts, will change his marketplace. Word is out, and people are asking to partner with him, offering him big sums for a piece of the action. My friend, despondent and over his head in turmoil six months ago, is now worried about controlling the growth of his business. His reputation and his integrity are stellar, his customers and colleagues know this and are rushing to transact with him, and I’m thrilled for him.

Years ago, I was given an adage that I’ve never forgotten: time either promotes you or exposes you. Time reveals who you are. Time will deliver situations where your integrity, humility, your character, your soul, maybe, is revealed. Many can mask their true character for short amounts of time, and they do. Some mask it for years. In the end, time eventually reveals the truth. Time either promotes you or exposes you, and time is now promoting my friend. He could have given up his battle with his partner when it got nasty, when the terms of the buyout got ridiculous, but he stayed the course to serve the customers he’d begun relationships with, and he wanted to continue serving new customers because they need the new product he brought to market. There were many times when he could have made small decisions that would have made things easier or resolved the issues more quickly but not comprehensively, but he stayed the course, and it wasn’t just the decisions he made during the acrimonious buyout, it was years and years before that in how he treated bankers who were now eager to help him, the lawyers who were eager to represent him, and so many others along the way.

Time either promotes you or exposes you. I’ve seen it over and over. Time always pulls back the curtain and reveals the truth. I’m so happy for my friend. Time has revealed him to be a well-deserved champion.

I'm Cam Marston, and I'm just trying to Keep It Real.

Cam Marston is the Keepin' It Real host for Alabama Public Radio.