Finding Joy, Humor and Purpose Amidst Hardship

May 11, 2024

Dedicated dad and creative professional repurposes his life after business downturn

I remember the first time I met Stan Holden. We were at an event for our daughters through the YMCA’s Indian Princess program. Stan and I were in different “tribes,” but had a mutual friend who connected us.

Stan always carries a warm smile matched with approachable eyes – eyes that always seem to be looking for a way to express themselves. It’s as if you are looking directly into Stan’s creative brain. It’s no accident. Stan’s life, passion, and talent have been in the creative arts.

His life’s work has been to help bring other people’s ideas to life, to help them create an emotional connection with their audience in ways they couldn’t otherwise. Stan’s agency, The LooneyBin® Creative Studio, is an award-winning firm specializing in human resources and event design, with original animation shorts, logo development, and branding. One project of which has been inducted into The Museum of Television and Radio archives. Stan’s work for Apple has been displayed at the Louvre Museum in France.

Stan and I hit it off, and it seemed only natural that we would end up working together in some way. And we did for many years.

As marketing needs changed, recessions came and went, and the years continued to plow forward, I found myself one day in 2014, with Stan in our conference room catching up on life. His agency business had softened considerably, so he had begun a successful second career in sales that quickly surpassed his agency revenues. But his story did not have a happy ending… or, to be more precise, a happy beginning.

Stan began sharing what was really happening, and had happened, behind the scenes. I didn’t know what to expect but listened intently.

“My world had been turned upside down,” he started. “I had been augmenting my lifestyle through the new vocation of sales and started generating a handsome income, only to discover, due to various reasons with a company I represented, my income began plummeting. That had already become my primary source of income.”

“But that was only half of it,” he said. “My wife filed for divorce.”

Life was doing what life does best: humbling us.

We are rarely ready when life deals these deep blows, the ones that make you question whether you want to even stay in the game. For Stan, the beginning of his story was much worse. Emotions connected to both his mother’s suicide when he was 14 and his brother’s suicide years later swirled around in his head for years. He didn’t want that for himself or his family. He understood that our individual pain can be used to either hurt, or to help others, depending on what you do with it. Thirty-three years of sobriety has also helped in this area.

It was when Stan was at his very bottom that his notion of a book entitled “Giving Candy to Strangers” became a reality.

“I had this idea in my head that we can brighten the lives of the people around us in simple, little ways and create abundance in their, and our own, lives,” he shared. Created originally as a motivational book for salespeople, it quickly captured the imagination of many people from around the world, from teachers and poets to police officers and therapists. Not just business people, it’s for anyone who deals with people. The title alone puts a smile on your face.

“Being an art director, I designed the cover of the book before I ever wrote a words and posted it online for personal accountability,” he chuckled. “I figured if I told people I was going to write a book, I would have no choice but to finish it! A publisher happened to see it, and soon thereafter, I was under contract with an advance in hand and a smile on my face.”

Stan threw himself into his new project, utilizing his artistic sensibilities and applying them to the world of sales and motivation. And, he discovered that your personal weaknesses and individual tribulations can also be your greatest strengths. His mantras became: “Your trauma should refine you, not define you!” and “What good are your gifts if you do not share them?”

Stan’s book, Giving Candy To Strangers: Tips for Creating Abundance through Heart-Centered Sales” became an instant bestseller, with over 30,000 copies sold to date.

That book was followed by a training on the subject, and two other books, and has led to speaking engagements, radio interviews, and appearances on PBS and other venues. Numerous articles and short stories have also followed. His latest book, “Don’t Lie Down in the Aisle: 52 Ways to Master Resilience and Pave the Way for Others to Do the Same,” is coming soon.

Resilience is a byproduct of our response to challenges. We become more resilient and courageous as we move through life’s challenges…even the small ones. No matter how challenging the circumstances in your life may appear, you have the power to succeed.

Keep moving forward…and don’t lie down in the aisle!