Hi, my name is Chad Burmeister.
And when I was a teenager, I didn’t really like the name Chad.
You know why, because I didn’t know if my Dad really loved me.
I thought he did, but I was never really sure. I was sure he loved my little brother, and I was darn sure that he loved my little sister. But I was not sure if he loved me.
See my Dad was a Doctor and so he wasn’t always there for my swim meets or soccer games.
My Mom was, and I sure knew that she loved me.
But Dad, he just wasn’t always “present” for me. Even when he was “there” he wasn’t always “there”. And that was before smart devices even existed so I can’t even imagine what it must be like today.
And so… in high school I got a mohawk, and three earnings, and a nose ring, and a skateboard, so that Dad just might see me. But it just angered him. One day he pulled out the belt and said that his Dad used to hit him with a belt. I was slightly frightened, but by this time I was stronger than my Dad – I had already beaten him arm wrestling so I stood up to him and would not let him do that to me. My Mom attempted to get in the way to protect me. It felt good to stand my ground.
So I moved out for a few weeks to live in my friend Murray’s house closet. Murray was one of my “weirdo” friends who also had a mohawk and a skateboard.
It turns out, Murray’s Dad was abusive (both verbally and physically), and I wasn’t really supposed to be there. I walked away from that with new perspective, that life wasn’t so bad if I wasn’t being abused by my Dad. My Dad’s a Doctor and I live in a nice house, and I have it made.
What’s my problem?
In my Junior year of high school, I went to a DRI concert. DRI stood for Dirty Rotten Imbeciles. I remember wearing a black t-shirt that said Jesus died for his own sins, not mine. Before the show that night, someone slipped me some kind of drug. I had never even tried a drug, and so this was kind of a big night.
That night, some really bad people were there. 9 skin heads from my high school. Shortly after the concert started one of the skin heads came up to me and said “we’re going to take your Dr Martin boots tonight” you Kike. (Little did they know, I’m more German than all 9 of them, but they didn’t know that, they just saw that I had a slightly bigger nose then them, and so I must be Jewish.)
What they didn’t know is that I had just taken some kind of drug that gave me super-strength and confidence, that made me feel invincible. When Pat the skinhead came up to me and said “we’re going to take your boots”, I said “let’s take it to the mosh pit”.
Over a few hours of intense punk rock music, the world became a blur to me. As the skinheads proceeded to try to take my boots, I went around the mosh pit, and as I was punched in the face, I would fall over getting kicked in the head, body, and otherwise, I started to enlist others to be part of my tribe. I’m not sure how I quickly told the story that I was being targeted by these skinheads, but I did, and these rather strong punkers then had my back to help me get out of this situation. I’m quite sure I got in some good punches of my own on this group of 9 neo-nazi skin heads that night.
The next thing I know, I’m being hoisted up and thrown on stage, and then thrown out of the venue, face down on the street. To this day, I can remember tasting the pavement. Then I woke up. There was a pool of vomit all over the place and I was laying in it. I had blood on my hands, face, and t-shirt and I needed help.
And then there was my Dad in a brown Ford Bronco. I remember him asking the people around me, what happened…. He even teared up a few times as he pick me up and put me in the back of the 4×4. For the first time in life, I felt that my Dad actually saw me, and it felt good to be seen by my Dad.
Since he was a Radiologist, he was able to take me in through a back door of the hospital, off the record, I’m sure. I was given a shot of something, and an IV and I can remember looking at the #’s on the IV, they would fall off the plastic and then jump around and then re-assemble. I remember asking my Dad, do you see that? Of course he didn’t, I was the one on acid that night.
So I went home that night, and when I came back to “life” the next day, I wanted to change everything. I got rid of the mohawk. We put up a cork board in my basement room, we even bought a waterbed! I was a changed individual. I really was… I dated a girl that summer for the first time, I made the all-star Lacrosse team my first year of playing. Mom made the game, but I’m pretty sure Dad was on-call that day. Once again, I wasn’t sure that my Dad was proud of me or not.
During my Senior year, Dad pulled me aside in the kitchen one day and said, “son, historically, each generation is more successful than the last. But since I’m a Doctor and make over $X per year I want you to focus on being happy and being happy does not necessarily mean making a lot of money.” This was probably a fair statement and came from a place of love—but I didn’t see it that way, I saw it as “you probably won’t be as successful as me son”.
After high-school I went to Colorado State University and played competitive Lacrosse. I did a study abroad program in New Zealand and really started to spread my wings.
I enter the workforce
After graduation I moved to Arizona, and in my first sales job out of college, within the first 6 months, I was fired. That was a terrible experience. Maybe my Dad was right, I will fail at life. I remember filing for unemployment (an absolutely shameful experience). My Dad was a very successful (and published) Radiologist, and I was fired, filing for unemployment in state I wasn’t familiar with and with no friends to lean on.
This is when the spark happened. This is when the uncertainty of my Dad’s love, and the need to “achieve” in life kicked in. I started reading, working out, learning from others, and putting all of my heart and soul into becoming what the book I read was called – “The Greatest Salesman in the World,” by Og Mandino.
I took a sales job at a company that really invested in me. And after 3 weeks of training in Seattle, became the #1 salesperson in the company. I was recruited by FedEx and moved from Arizona to Los Angeles, California. I earned 4-5 promotions in 3 years and took my then girlfriend to President’s Club in Monte Carlo. By now, I think my Dad was starting to notice the successes that I was having, and I really believed he was proud of me.
In 2000, I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a perfect 4.0, and received an MBA in Computer Information Sciences from Loyola Marymount University. My Mom and Dad came with my Grandmother and we celebrated. By this time I think Dad really started to notice.
After that I was on a mission to show my Dad that I could make more money than him. So I went to work for a software company and one year I finally made more than my Dad. In fact, I remember the CFO asking if he could break the commission payment down into 5 payments. I was so proud that I got to fax my W2 to my Dad, and then crickets. I’m sure he must have called or responded in some way, but I don’t remember because he didn’t overtly tell me that he was proud of me.
Over the years, I’ve had my ups and downs in work, as we all do. And after 5 moves across the country with my family (AZ to Southern California, back to Arizona, to Northern California to North Carolina), we found a church in Charlotte called Elevation Church. Every Sunday, whether I had a great week, or a terrible one, I knew that when I walked out of Elevation I would be on top of the world, and unstoppable.
So my passion… My passion is tell the you (and you, and you) that you probably have it all wrong. Your Mom or Dad really does love you. Or if they don’t (or didn’t) it’s probably not their fault because someone else royally messed them up too. And what I’m here to share is that it’s your responsibility to stop the cycle dead in its tracks. Recognize that your greatest pains in life, often become the fuel to become your greatest passions! If you are a Mom or a Dad what can you do to make sure that your children know you love them unconditionally, NO MATTER WHAT. You are creating “systems” for them, that they will bring forward for generations to come – show them systems of God’s love.
I’m also here to tell you that there is a Father who loves you unconditionally, without fail, and without judgement. No matter what you have done, he is there for you with open arms. He sees you, he forgives you, he believes in you, no matter what you have done, no more what you do today, tomorrow or in the future.
I was given a gold, cross in 8th grade by my grandparents for confirmation. It was with me at the DRI concert that cold, dark night in Colorado. It was with me through high school at all of those Lacrosse Games. It has traveled the world with me to New Zealand, China, the UK, and more… And it’s still with me around my neck every single day to remind me that my Father sees me, he believes in me, and he loves me, NO MATTER WHAT.
Outside of my mission to help salespeople become great sellers, I am in pursuit of sharing with the world what I learned in the 8th grade in confirmation class that can be found in…
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a]neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I’m now proud of my name Chad. I’ve helped hundreds of sales professionals launch a career in sales, I’ve written four sales books. I was featured in a best-selling book called Journey’s to Success, by Tom Too Tall Cunningham, who passed away in 2018. My chapter is called It’s not about me, Success, Powered by God.
And my most recent book, AI for Sales, has sold more than 5,000 copies pre-launch.
I shared this story with my Dad – and we both broke down and hugged each other. I told him that I forgave him. And that I believe in him. Because I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that his Dad never said that to him. (His Dad was always between jobs, didn’t make much money, and had a hard life. His Dad died when my Dad was 21).
What I’ve realized , is that God has lined up EVERYTHING to enable what’s going to happen to happen. What I realize this weekend is that I am not perfect, I am perfectly imperfect! Like all of my other weirdo friends who are here.
Thank you for listening, thank you for being a part of this journey. Thank you for sharing your stories.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.