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Trials and Tribulations: How Connor Keene Turned Pain Into Passion



Trials and Tribulations: How Connor Keene Turned Pain Into Passion

I recently finished up my first year at college attending Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Now let me be the first to say that you meet a lot of interesting and diverse people, especially those who are taking courses in business. During my first few weeks at college, I met another entrepreneur by the name of Connor Keene. Connor is a guy from the suburbs of Seattle, Washington and we met during a nonprofit meeting and started talking about our lives; how we both wanted to obtain financial freedom and most of all, impact the people around us in a positive way. As the days turned into weeks and weeks into months, Connor and I connected and are now great friends. Since we became business partners, Connor has become one of the most faithful and goal-oriented people I have ever met. Because of his tenacity and dedication to making a difference, he has been able to learn how to day trade, maintain nearly peak physical shape all year round, and build real tangible relationships with those around him. However, his story wasn’t one of sunshine and rainbows. One cool October night while we were sitting around at a coffee shop, Connor decided to tell me his story.

He began by giving me some background.  When Connor was a sophomore in high school he seemed to be living a pretty normal life. He was doing well in his studies and baseball was his passion. The sport that is considered America’s pastime was all that mattered to him and he held dreams to play D1 in college someday. It was the end of February 2016, and Connor was in class at his high school. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his lower abdomen. He battled the constant pain for a few days assuming it was just a simple stomach ache, however upon the pain reaching a level where he couldn’t walk, Connor’s mother took him to the hospital. After he was admitted to the hospital and given fluids, he waited 11 hours and received the news that he was being rushed into emergency surgery – as his appendix had ruptured and its toxic contents were now spilling throughout his stomach cavity. Connor recounts hearing at some point if he had waited another day he could have died of infection. The surgery was successful and Connor spent almost a week and a half in the hospital recuperating from the procedure as his body healed. Already knowing that he wasn’t going to be able to continue playing baseball, his love and passion, for the rest of the season, he began to search for something to invest his time into. Connor went back to school and all seemed to return to normal for a few weeks until the end of March when he and 3 friends were caught in a drive-by shooting. As Connor was taking his friends home one night, he noticed that a car had been following them for some time. Connor circled into a neighborhood and as he attempted to lose the car in the twists and turns of the streets, the car pinned him in a cul-de-sac and unleashed a fury of bullets, an entire magazine, into the doors and quarter panels. Recovering from the shock of gunshots and light flashes, Connor checked himself to see if he was ok. He didn’t feel any pain in his body and turned to his friend to check in. When he did, his friends said he would be okay. Confused, Connor took a look in the mirror. As Connor took a look he realized that metal and glass shrapnel from the vehicle had made its way into the left side of his cheek, neck, bicep, forearm, wrist, and hand. After a 24 hour stay in the hospital, Connor was prescribed rehabilitative therapy to help him overcome not only the physical problems the shooting caused but also the psychological aftermath. Connor underwent hours of painful surgery to remove the surface level shrapnel from his skin but a good amount of it still remains deep inside his epidermis. Connor attended 3 months of physical therapy and in the 2nd month, he learned that he had torn the Scapho Lunate ligament in his wrist. After finding this out in May, Connor underwent his 3rd surgery in 4 months to reattach the torn fibers. The surgery ended up unsuccessful and Connor went back home to began physical therapy again, knowing that he would never be able to play baseball again because of the damage done to his wrist. It was a dark time for Connor as he struggled to find his place in a world where he couldn’t do the one thing he loved. He suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide as he found it hard to cope with the fact that such a case of mistaken identity may never give him closure. After months in a cast, Connor was faced with a decision. Let his situation and circumstances define him, or lead a life based on his decisions and choices.

He recalled watching one video: Impose Your Will by Inky Johnson. It was this video that impacted him so deeply, that he felt it would be selfish of him to let his situation define who he is. It was from that moment that Connor made a commitment to himself – that he would not let his past define his present or his future. He began to resume working out and building his physical appearance as he had lost 25 pounds during appendicitis. Connor started learning business sales techniques, as his father was a salesman for one of the largest dental supply companies in the U.S. He began to read mindset books that helped him to cope with the psychological battles he faced daily. And most importantly, Connor began to find his true purpose in life. Today Connor is a serial entrepreneur who has been able to successfully found multiple clothing companies, learn day trading in the stock market, and now sits as Chief Sales Officer and a Founding Partner at Greatr Media. Connor lives life on his own terms and has a mindset that looks to the future instead of the present. He is motivated by the desire to impact millions through his story and seeks every day to create successful people around him wherever he goes. Connor and I both attend Grand Canyon University and sit as President and Vice President of a nonprofit that helps student entrepreneurs learn the fundamentals of building a scalable business in the 21st century. Getting to know Connor has not only been a blessing in my life but being able to see his impact on those who surround themselves with him has proved to be immeasurable. In closing, I challenge young entrepreneurs everywhere to take Connor’s story with weight as he is truly a man that experienced the unimaginable and came out on the other side a changed man. It’s best heard from his words, “Leave the expectations in search of the possibilities because the former has a defined limit, and the latter has no end”.

Andrew Flowers is a Founding Partner of Greatr Media, a digital marketing firm that specializes in helping healthcare professionals explode their practice revenue.