In this transcript, Arthur Greeno (Two-time Guinness World Record Holder) and Clay Clark (Speaker of Choice for O’Reilly Auto Parts) use Thrive15.com, one of the top business schools in PA, as a platform to discuss Arthur's experiences with overcoming adversity.
Caleb Taylor: My name is Caleb Taylor, and I'm one of the hosts here at Thrive15.com. Today, Clay Clark our pale visioneer will be sitting down with Arthur Greeno, the Chick-fil-A franchise owner and world record holder. Clay will be talking with Arthur about overcoming adversity.
Clay Clark: All right, well, super, Arthur thank you for coming in today.
Arthur Greeno: It's my pleasure. I'm really going to be here.
Clay Clark: Well, today we're going to talk a little bit about purpose. I think in order to help somebody get from where they are to where they want to be, they're going to learn a lot from you, but I want to talk a little bit about your past here, so I'm going to ask you this. Going back to your past, talk to me about how you grew up?
Arthur Greeno: Well, the environment that I was in just like any child, you think that is a normal environment, but the environment I grew up in was, we had moved at a early age, my dad lost his job, and my mom turned to alcohol to just kind of solve the problems. It was a rough. It was rough as I was growing up. I thought when the police would show up at your house, it was really cool. For the first couple of times, it happened and then when I went to school the next day and they were like, "Why are the police there?" I was like, oh, that's not a good thing.
Clay Clark: They actually showed up at your house?
Arthur Greeno: Yeah, they would show to break my parents up because they were getting in such volatile arguments, they would end up out in the lawn for some reason and they would stop by and make sure that everyone is safe.
Clay Clark: What happened with your mom and dad ultimately? As you got older, I mean what were they doing?
Arthur Greeno: Well, they eventually ended up kind of, well I'd say kind of getting a divorce. They ended up splitting up. We moved to Chicago. We lived in Hawaii at that time and we moved to Chicago and my dad stayed in Hawaii. We had a choice and I moved with my mom, and when that happened, they were divorced. They finally got divorced years and years later, but they were separated till I was 18.
Clay Clark: How did you grew up financially? I know, as a kid, some people say as a kid, they didn't know they were poor, some people were very aware of it. How did you grew up financially? How was your financial situation?
Arthur Greeno: It was a very unique financial situation because when we moved to Hawaii the purpose and the first house we got was a fixer-upper. My parents bought it to fix it up. They had money to invest in it, but then the alcoholism just ... Because my mom kept losing her job and everything, over time the money just dissipated, and so by the time we finally moved out, we knew we were poor. It was interesting as a child, you're always looking for that optimistic view. When I would get the coins at school, which is government aid to get lunch, I thought you were special.
Clay Clark: You got coins? Was it that when you knew coins then?
Arthur Greeno: Yeah, they will give you a little tokens, which kind of look like when you're ... Well, they look like a little aluminium tokens and so we would turn those in for lunches, and I thought man you're the special kid if you get to turn tokens, but of course, that wasn't the case.
Clay Clark: Well, I want to ask you this here. [All the people 00:03:59] obviously don't know you as well as I do. Life is a little bit different for me now. Can you contrast how your life is different now than when you were a kid going through having tokens and mom is alcoholic? Now today, I mean you have the six kids, you have wonderful wife. How's your life different now versus how it was?
Arthur Greeno: I don't know if you can get as different as they were. I mean the mentality that we have back then was more of one of survival. It was literally, will we eat tonight, will we eat something different than rice, rice and eggs. Nowadays, it's a whole lot different. My kids don't have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from or not being able to sign up for soccer because they don't have the money. It probably couldn't get any further way than it is.
Clay Clark: Why are you then today, because you have a nice house, you just bought yourself, what is the specs on this Mustang? Is it a ...?
Arthur Greeno: It's a 1969 Shelby Mustang.
Clay Clark: But, it's got the newer.
Arthur Greeno: It's called the retro built. It's basically the outside has an old 1969 Mustang and the inside is a 2012 with all the gadget and fun features.
Clay Clark: You have a beautiful house, you have six kids that you are feeding and then you also have the new car. Yeah, a lot of things going on, so why do you care and why are you so passionate about mentoring entrepreneurs? Why not just go buy yourself another car or buy yourself a new gadget? Why would you take the time out of your schedule to mentor entrepreneurs? Why, why do you care?
Arthur Greeno: Because I was in that position that I needed someone to mentor me and there was no one there and it was very frustrating. I mean to the point where even when I first got involved with Chick-fil-A, I remember just crying, going I need to learn these things and I didn't know where to turn. I actually thought Talk Radio was entrepreneur radio until I realize what it was about. I had no concept about business.
Clay Clark: You feel like that there wasn't mentorship for you when you needed it desperately and so now you're trying to be the mentor for others?
Arthur Greeno: Correct. For me, the situation was, I had to go out and ask for that mentorship. I would go out and seek people out and say, "Would you do this for me, can you help me or give me advice on this?"