Ben Kubassek was born and raised in a religious commune founded by his grandfather near Kitchener, ON. Canada. However Ben chose a different path for his life. He left the security of the commune at the age of 21 and started his own electrical contracting business. Ben quickly became a serial entrepreneur and started numerous other companies in the home building/land development, construction, retail, and speaking/training arenas.
Ben now lives in Romania and calls himself a mission entrepreneur. He believes entrepreneurs and not traditional missionaries and relief workers are the key to providing the long-term to poverty and hunger in the world.
Succeed Without Burnout (book, 1995)
Five F-Words That will Energize Your Life (book, 1998)
Achieving Real Balance (training manual, 2001)
Providing long term source of Hope with Ben Kubassek #isharehope Episode 86
Summary: Ben’s answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?
“Hope can be more of a curse than a blessing.” What I mean by that is unless people have put some action to their hope, in other words, turn it into faith, they can just be sitting and waiting for a better day when really they are the ones that need to take the action and the results will follow.
Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?
Leaving a religious commune that I was born in was quite a challenge because I had to say goodbye to my friends, my family, any financial security I had and as far as I was concerned, the elders told me I was leaving my faith and that I was destined for hell because I was going against the will of God for my life. But, you know, I have a great mother. She’s 88, she still runs her own business and I call her three times a week from Romania. My mom and my dad, they took a lot of flak for it. They really stood behind me. That’s one thing, as parents we can have such an impact on our kids. They said, “You just go for it”. My mom would always tell me “what you are is God’s gift to you, but what you’re going to become one day will be your gift to God”. That was all I needed. That was the inspiration.
Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?
I call it my best-worst experience. I was 27 years old at the time and I had the world by the tail. I had left this religious commune six years before. In those six years, I went right into business, I had no education or money and I had become a millionaire in six years’ time. It was just crazy. Everything I touched just seemed to turn to gold. One day it all just came crashing down. I experienced depression for the first time, waves of anxiety, insomnia and heart palpitations. I thought I was having a heart attack. I was 27 years old and I was launching my first major real estate development. I was already developing smaller real estate projects, but this was a 97-lot subdivision. I was developing it in a town that hadn’t had 97 new homes in the last 97 years. When all the quotes came in for servicing, it all just kicked me. It was like, man I put everything I had into this and I was going to just sink me. Actually, it made me a ton of money, but all these things, fear, it can just get you. It’s false evidence appearing real, but you know if it appears real, it’s real.
I remember going to my doctor and saying, listen, I’ve been thinking about just committing suicide because I can’t sleep, I don’t want to work anymore. I go into my office in the mornings, I just close my door and put my head on my desk and just sob. He says what I’m experiencing is a complete physical, mental and spiritual burnout. He says if I keep doing what I’m doing I will kill myself and he says unfortunately people who have gone through this experience have a 50% chance of doing it again and if you do it twice, 75% chance of burning out the third time. That was all I needed to hear.
I just packed up and went to Florida and said I’m staying here until I feel better. It took 15 days until I couldn’t stay away anymore and that started my healing process. During those 15 days, I learned the key and that’s what gave me the hope – it was that burnout was not caused by doing too many things. Burnout was due to the fact there was too many things I was not doing. Once I got a hold of that concept and the hope that I could get better, that was it. I wasn’t instantly healed. It took me six months then to completely get over it. That was 30 years ago and I had not ever come close to burnout since then.
Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?
It kind of happened by accident. I have three accounts on Twitter – one for inspiration, one for education and one for motivation because I teach a concept called Think, Act, Feel, Process. In other words, we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. If we could just change how we think, we would change how we act. Most people look for inspiration, but what they need first is some education. I’m not talking about information – it’s some education of how to put information into practical use. The definition of wisdom, I believe, is the skillful application of knowledge, but we have to start with knowledge. My website, Know, Go, Grow, is being such an inspiration for young entrepreneurs in developing countries and this is where I see my legacy. It’s leaving what I know with young people in developing countries because I can give it away and I still have it.
I started sharing this knowledge in one Twitter account and then I started sharing motivation on another. I have another one where I share just inspiration. It’s just all about from spiritual to wellness to those kinds of things. It’s all about impact.
I’m putting together a 5-day master class because I’ve been invited to come and share entrepreneurship with university students. If we could just introduce entrepreneurship to these young people before they leave that university thinking that all they had to do was get an education and get a job and they’ll be successful.
Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?
(1) Educate yourself and never stop educating yourself.
(2) Take action. Don’t wait until everything is right – just start.