Posted On February 29, 2024

On this week’s Keepin’ It Real, Cam shares a story he’s kept quiet for fourteen years. It’s time to get it off his chest.


I’ve just boarded my flight. I’m headed home. Sitting here, a memory has resurfaced.

Many years ago, deplaning in Chicago, I took a call from a young man. He’d studied my work and asked me to mentor him. He wanted to travel and give speeches. He wanted me to refer him when I was too busy, and he’d pay me a commission. He loved my topic and said he could represent me well. I was deeply flattered. He charmed me.

A few months later, we sat at my dining room table for most of a day. I taught him my content. I shared my tips, my tricks, my tools of the trade. I had clients ready for him. I was busy. I needed help. He was eager to start. I was proud to help this ambitious young man launch.

My wife and I dropped him at the airport for his flight back home. He disappeared into the airport, and I asked my wife, “What did you think?” She paused. “I think he probably beats his wife,” she said.

“No. You got him all wrong,” I said. “Besides, he’s not married.”

“He’s the kind that would,” she said. “Be careful.” Something alarmed her.

Two years later, at the window of my Greenbrier hotel room, his business manager called. Their partnership had just ended over a money dispute. I learned that as he was sitting at my dining room table, he’d take breaks and call in disbelief that I was giving him all my content. He was sending lists of my customers, and the next day he began calling them saying “I can give you Cam Marston’s presentation much cheaper. I have all his materials.” He took many clients, never told me, never shared the commissions. It had been a part of his plan since my phone rang that day in Chicago. The business manager now wanted a pound of flesh after being cheated by him, too.

Today, he’s well known in the industry. He’s busy. I’m told he delivers a good presentation. And he should since it’s my content. If this story ended in justice, I’d tell you his absence of ethics caught up to him. But I don’t know that. I don’t know what’s happened to him. For years I’ve avoided hearing his name, and even today his name tastes like bile in my mouth.

I need to forgive him. It would release me from this anger I’ve held for so long. So, with great difficulty, here, now, today, I forgive you. You will probably never hear this, but I forgive you. I still ache to pound your face. If we ever meet again, you should be afraid. You made me feel used and stupid and embarrassed and cheated and you cost me some of my livelihood. You conned me out of my trust. I won’t ever forget it but, as of right now, I forgive you.

This commentary is not inspirational. This is not pretty. Forgiveness won’t help him but…I sure hope it helps me.

I’m Cam Marston and I’m just trying to keep it real.

Check out this episode!

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