Business is personal to me. For the last twenty years, I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve, treated others the way I want to be treated, and have done my very best to look out for those I’ve been privileged to lead. I have many scars, but I’ve never given up, and have always believed that the best things come to those who do the right thing.
While professionally, I’ve been known to build brands, and values driven companies, my family is always something I’ve been careful to protect. Mainly to keep my family safe, but also because as an introvert, I often feel exposed; like I have no where to hide. My home is the one place I can escape from the many pressures of being an entrepreneur. I’m just Dad, or babe, and it feels good.
However, I’m blessed to have many friends, fans, and followers who are encouraged by my postings, many of which leave comments, email or message me, or on occasion, when they see me at a conference, a restaurant, or even the grocery store; it happened. It’s incredibly humbling and encouraging and while my writings act as a creative outlet, impacting others energizes me and keeps me accountable.
Of all the success I’ve experienced, it has not come without failure, and many times on both sides. However, I’m most proud of the family my wife and I are building together. It’s blended and beautiful, full of love, forgiveness, respect, and togetherness. My wife is incredibly supportive, particularly of the sacrifices I’ve made in time away from home to do not only what I must do, but what I was born to do.
There is no work life balance, and business is not “just business.” My work is my life, and my life my work; everything is personal. In the end, it will be my family at my bedside, and a few friends. I will be proud of the family we’ve created and enjoyed, and my life work will matter, to my family, my employees, and my community.
So, this is my family. This is my life, my love, and my legacy. I am grateful.
A few days ago marked the tenth year anniversary of my father’s death. He started buying valves out of scrap yards in the seventies, loading them into the trunk of his car, and driving thousands of miles to offload them to a buyer base he established all over the gulf coast. Eventually he managed to buy a truck, then a trailer, and then moved his family to Corpus Christi, so he was closer to the scrap yards. Over the next twenty years, he built one of the largest inventories of used valves and wellheads through hard work, and hustle.
Three years before my Father died, he asked for me to come join him, which I did, and hated it, until I loved it. It was like an arranged marriage, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that I was born to buy and sell equipment; it was in my blood. Not long after I joined the company my Dad started, my youngest sister got involved in the business, and it was the first time I spent any time with her as an adult. It was fun.
My Dad died a few years later, and although I had spent six months out of the year playing professional baseball, I had picked up the business enough during the off-season working for my Dad, to take over the business. A few months later, my brother joined our team of ten, and the next couple of years we caught fire. My sister and brother left the family business at different times and started their own companies, respectfully. It caused a riff in our relationships for a time. Over the course of the next ten years, the company my father had started from the trunk of his car became a globally recognized manufacturer of pressure control equipment. I sold the business in June of 2012, and have many scars to remind me of the pain, sacrifice, and loss that led up to the exit.
The past couple of years have been full of ups in down, both personally and professionally, but in spite of $45 oil; we’re still making it, and finding time to reconnect as a family. We’ve even talked about working together. Some say blood and oil don’t mix. We shall see.
This business can be ruthless. At any moment, it can turn on a dime, and bring grown men to their knees, and show the smartest guys in the room how much they have to learn; I certainly am no exception. However, now that I’ve had my fair share of experience, my plan is to stay focused on what’s most important…what cannot be taken away.
A slightly-seasoned, serial entrepreneur who is passionate about people, purpose, and giving back.
Henderson started his first company at 19, and since then has bought and sold, or started and sold a total of nine companies, including, and most recently DOYLES, an Inc. 5000 recipient in 2008/09.
Henderson is the founder of Henderson Rigs & Equipment, a leader in the sales and brokerage of drilling rigs and capital equipment; as well as the founder of DrillingExchange.com, the fastest growing, commission-free, on-line marketplace that connects buyers and sellers with no middle man.
Determined to do the right thing, Henderson makes no apologies for his approach. His direct, non-conforming style is certainly uncommon, but most of all, his disarming transparency is what makes him one of a kind.
On May 28th, 2014 at around 8:30am, my mom took her last breath. I put my hand on her chest and left it there until I could no longer feel her faint heartbeat. She went out of this world with all but one of those she brought into the world by her side. A week prior was the first diagnosis she’d received; colon cancer, stage four. It wasn’t my mother who received the news first, it was me. Six days later, she was gone. She didn’t drink, smoke, and ate rather healthily, but cancer couldn’t care less.
During the last week of my mother’s life on earth, there was sadness, forgiveness, togetherness, and lots of remembering. I listened as each family member reflected on their own unique relationship with the matriarch of our family.
Last fall was when my mother began to experience pain in her side and lower back. For ten years, she left her diabetes diagnosis go untreated, and when she finally went to the doctor for her pain, she argued with them about further testing. If you knew her, this certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to hear, as she was a stubborn woman. Knowing what we know now, it’s very possible that my mother would still be alive today had she gone in for extensive testing and treatment. However, that’s not what my mom wanted. Her lack of action to seek the medical attention her body was requesting may in fact be the only selfish act my mother carried out; maybe.
A month before she died, she had a liver scan that indicated she had dozens of lesions, which immediately concerned her doctor that not only did she have cancer, but that it hadn’t originated in the liver. When she called to tell me, I asked her how she felt, and she said without hesitation, “excited.” When I asked why she was excited, I already knew the answer; “because I’m ready to see Jesus.”
Over the course of the next four weeks or so, I spent as much time with her as possible, and watched as she hurried to do things for family and strangers alike that demonstrated her selflessness and concern for others. She struggled to do right by her children with what she was leaving behind, as she wrestled to manage the pain in her ailing body. She said many times that she knew she was going to die, but I’m not sure if she believed it, or wanted it so. I know I didn’t.
Not only was I her youngest child, I was her only biological son. As a boy, she instilled in me the values I still hold true today. Be honest, fair, just; forgive those who wrong you, turn your other cheek, help those who can’t help themselves, etc. When I became a man, and began to evolve spiritually and mature mentally and emotionally, our relationship changed, but never did the mutual love and respect we had for each other. My father’s death, my divorce, and the death of my faith were the three things that greatly challenged our relationship, however, we made it through all of it by communicating how these life events shaped what we needed from one another. In all my years as my Mother’s son, I’m grateful that I never allowed our differences to compromise the relationship that begun when I was just a boy.
Here is what I wrote and recited for my Mom’s Eulogy:
If I only had One word to describe my mom it would be…Selfless
Never did she live a day without serving others. Even in her passing,
she served those closest to her and remained concerned with those who
depended on her stability most.
She lived a life of purpose. A lighthouse to her family, friends,
church and community.
Her faith was immovable. Even for those who didn’t believe as she, her
genuinity and conviction was irrefutable and undeniable. She was in
love with the one who loved her most, and who have her purpose.
She served family and strangers without prejudice. She was a giver.
She was strong. Not only could she outwork most men in the room, she’d
do so without one complaint.
She was rich. She would always remind us that her father owned the
cattle of ten thousand hills.
She was wise. Life experience, street smarts, and some attitude made
her a person of interest. Never have I met a person that knew her that
didn’t love her, respect her, and was touched by her testimony or act
To the family:
She is gone but not forgotten, for she lives on in us. I can see her
in each of you, in me, and those who will only know her through the
stories we tell of how they remind us of her. My challenge is that we
become half the woman she was. For us, for our children, and for her.
No words will take away the pain, or the loss, and time has met its
match. So we grieve. Our hope is that what she believed so deeply is
Since her death, my heart is filled with sadness. That she will never meet my soon to be born son August. Never will she sleep in the room we built just for her. Our Tuesday afternoon calls have ceased, and there is now a hole in my heart that I will attempt to fill by sharing stories about her with those who will listen. Whether I see her again is something I am unsure about, but then again, all I have to do is close my eyes, look in the mirror, or in the faces and actions of my children to see her legacy live on. In honor of my Mother, we’re naming our son August.
Several years ago while going through my divorce, and during my weekly brain purge with my shrink at the time, I was struggling with the possibility that I would never again see my kids every day, as divorce was imminent for their mother and I. I also remember feeling guilty that after more than a year had passed since my ex and I had separated that I had met a beautiful woman who had given me hope. As I was teeter-tottering with the emotion of it all, my counselour suggested that my new found love was God’s way of giving me a second chance, at being a husband, and an “everday daddy.” When those words came out of his mouth, I literally thought of hitting the guy, but I froze. I couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, and I was full of both fear, and anger. I didn’t want to be an everyday daddy to some kid I’d never met, and I certainly wasn’t ready to accept the idea that this woman was sent by God, or anyone else for that matter, to be my life partner.
Well, it turns out, he was right, on both accounts. Not only did I fall in love with that strange woman, she quickly became my best friend, lover, and later my bride. And now, a few years later, but only a few short months from now, we’ll be bringing a baby boy into the world. My chance to be an everday daddy. Even as I write these words, my heart breaks for the child I do not yet know, and the children I miss everday I don’t see their sweet faces. A father’s heart torn, not for how I feel, but how my children may feel about this new addition to our family. Will this child close the loop, or create tension, possibly even jealousy. Both I think. Blended familes can be tough.
When my ex left, she took the kids and never returned, not to mention managed to keep our kids two hours from Houston. We’ve been to court a few times since then fighting over money and custody, but until the law changes, or she has a labotamy, the kids aren’t going anywhere. So, being closer to them, involves us moving, which has all sorts of implications. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t ponder the possibilities, but not unlike every other blended family, being close, doesn’t necessarily mean having access. Projections play clearly in my mind by marrying assumptions with experience.
So, here we are, five months pregnant. My wife is glowing, happy, and anxious about becoming the mother she deserves to be. For the past few years, she’s had all the responsibilities of being a mother, to children that only by marriage and the lessons they’ve taught her, belong to her. Yes, they are my children, she is my wife, but pressed together, we are a family. I’m working hard to accept some of the things I cannot change, and enjoy all the many gifts God has given me. My hope is that this child will bring our family even closer together. And I guess the reality is, that no matter if I am physically present or not, nothing will change the fact that everday, I am my children’s daddy.
I am an everday daddy!
Leading up the the 14 hour mediation my ex and I endured prior to our divorce being settled, I thought we had at least an agreement in principle. That was of course until I stepped into the conference room and began what ended up being one of the most difficult days of my life. It may have been less emotional had kids and money not been a big part of what drove every decision, but nevertheless it was a hard long day, and the biggest takeaway for me was that I never knew who I was married to until I divorced her. Money + kids + hurt = MPD.
You’ve heard the story before. I gave her virtually every free and clear asset I had; I kept all the debt, and she kept the kids. Literally. Because of some laws that need to change, and my own ignorance, she managed to keep the kids in her hometown, which is two hours from Houston, and coerced me into a ridiculous step-up program with my daughter which required me to spend a few hours at a time before I was able to get her overnight, and then later for the weekends, etc. It was as if I were a criminal. I certainly didn’t have to agree to any of that bullshit, but I did, because I was wrought with guilt, and emotional pain. Anyway, all of that’s over with now, but when I think about it, all that anger comes back. On to the point.
During the mediation, I unknowingly agreed to alternate Spring Breaks, although by law, I wasn’t required to do so. I caught the mistake the next day, called my ex, but she wasn’t budging. Over the next few years, my ex and I had many conversations about her “allowing” me to spend more time with the kids. I would propose every imaginable option, few to which she was agreeable to, and never to anything that included any multi-day or week long options, even when neither of the kids had school or any other restrictive reasons to keep them from spending a great deal more time with their Dad. If you are a parent, I’m sure you can imagine how difficult this has been, and for all those Fathers out there, and on some occasion Mother’s, who have restricted access to their children, I know you get it.
A few months ago, I took my ex back to court and managed to get the judge to grant my wife and I every spring break with the kids; a huge win for us and our kids. We were not successful in getting relief on spousal support, which ends in December, but frankly, I didn’t care one way or the other, and I felt we had a better chance with the judge if we had two things for him to decide on, kids and money. Her attorney put on some real theatrics too. He actually showed me drinking a beer as part of his “evidence.” What an idiot. The good news is, our judge is a fair, just, reasonable man, and he made the right decision. She keeps getting paid, and we get the kids; kind of.
My ex and I don’t get along very well, but things have progressed some, and I think over time, our relationship will continue to improve. It’s hard to forgive someone who’s kidnapped your kids, and then tells herself and everyone else that she did what was best for the kids. Good news is our kids are smart, and they’ll figure all that out when the time is right. In the meantime, I’m going to fight for every minute I can get with them.
I have always tried to write in a way that has an optimistic outlook on circumstance and life, but nearly all of my hurt and anger that lies just beneath the surface of my skin involves how I feel for my children. I’m thankful for the time I do have with our kids, but it’s never enough. I miss them before they leave, I miss them when their gone, and sometimes I miss them when they are here.
Tomorrow is Christmas. It’s a day of giving and receiving. In addition to the presents under the tree, perhaps we could give…
- The forgiveness we’ve been witholding
- Another chance to a loved one who deserves it
- A hot meal to someone who is hungry
- A random act of kindness to a stranger
- Our kids some quality time
- Our family a break
- Our feelings a vacation
- Ourselves some quiet time
Take a moment this Christmas to remember what matters most. Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Daniel, Ashley, Kyson, & Sariah…oh and Sadie (our dog) and Kikki Reece (our new cat)