Ep614: Cam F Awesome – Don’t Stop Chasing You’re Dream

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Quick take

BIO: Cam F Awesome is a multi-time National Champion Heavyweight Olympic boxer and former USA National Boxing Team Captain.

STORY: Cam invested so much time and effort chasing his dream of going to the Olympics. An avalanche of events stole this dream from him, and now he doesn’t stand a chance of ever going to the Olympics.

LEARNING: There are ups and downs in investing. Persevere and be willing to pivot.


“Just because the goal looks a little different in reality doesn’t mean you should stop chasing it.”

Cam F Awesome


Guest profile

Cam F Awesome is a multi-time National Champion Heavyweight Olympic boxer and former Captain of the USA National Boxing Team. After retiring as the Winningest Boxer in US history, Cam hung up the gloves and picked up a microphone as a Motivational Speaker, Diversity Consultant, Event MC, and Standup Comic.

Worst investment ever

Cam’s goal had always been to go to the Olympics. Unfortunately, in 2016 he lost in the finals on a split decision and didn’t get to go to Rio for the Olympics.

After that, Cam bought a van because he now had to build a career for himself. He started traveling around the country, speaking at schools, and training for the next Olympics. After he’d built a nice business for himself, the US Olympic Committee told him they wouldn’t allow him to box now that he had a speaking business. So he had to give up boxing or his speaking business.

So Cam flew to Trinidad and Tobago (his dad’s home country), got dual citizenship, did one of their Olympic trials, and qualified. But he got suspended.

Then in 2020, Cam again won the Olympic trials, and then COVID happened. Then April of this year, he woke up with a detached retina and was told he could never box again. And just like that, his dream of going to the Olympics was dimmed.

Lessons learned

  • There are ups and downs in investing. And if you can just, if you’re willing to ride out the down long enough, you can least come back up to at least break even.
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Andrew’s takeaways

  • You’ve got to persevere.
  • Be willing to pivot.
  • Set your dreams and your goals.
  • Sometimes, what you set as your goal or dream is not what you’re going to get. But what you’re going to get along the way is really what life’s all about.

Actionable advice

If you have no dependents, take bigger risks. Put all those eggs in the basket. Even if the basket drops, the experience you’d learn will give you more success.

Cam’s recommended resources

Cam recommends going to the public library for free access to thousands of books.

No.1 goal for the next 12 months

Cam’s number one goal for the next 12 months is to make motivational humor a more well-known thing.

Parting words


“If you can fail without being discouraged, success is inevitable.”

Cam F Awesome


Read full transcript

Andrew Stotz 00:02
Hello fellow risk takers and welcome to my worst investment ever stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community we know that to win in investing, you must take risks but to win big, you've got to reduce it. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm on a mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives and that mission has led me to create the become a better investor community. In that community. You get access to tools you need to create, grow and protect your wealth go to my worst investment ever.com right now to claim your spot fellow risk takers. This is your worst podcast host Andrew Stotz, from a Stotz Academy, and I'm here with feature guest, Cam, F. Awesome, Cam, are you ready to join the mission?

Cam F Awesome 00:50
I'm here for the mission, man.

Andrew Stotz 00:54
And where are you by the way?

Cam F Awesome 00:58
What I'm, I'm in Kansas City, currently, currently in Kansas City. I've been based out of here since about 2008.

Andrew Stotz 01:06
Got it. Okay, and I want to introduce you to the audience. In fact, I have a tremendous bio at the very moment that we speak. Kam F awesome is a multi time national champion heavyweight Olympic boxer and former captain of the US national boxing team. After retiring as the winningest boxer in US history, Cam hung up the gloves and picked up a microphone as a motivational speaker, diversity consultant event emcee and stand up calming camp, take a minute and tell us about the unique value that you bring to this wonderful world.

Cam F Awesome 01:41
Oh, the world of bad investments. From the outside, it would look like a lot of things that I do would be a bad investment. But it's all little things, that little pieces of the puzzle that all come together for a big picture than it you can't see it right now. But the picture will be clear when in about 12 years.

Andrew Stotz 02:07
So maybe just for the audience that doesn't know your story, maybe you can give us just a little background on kind of the highlights and what you're doing.

Cam F Awesome 02:19
So I got involved in boxing at the age of 16. And I just joined the gym to lose weight, I ended up losing weight, and I got peer pressured into getting in the ring and sparring. And I was so afraid to get hit that my only concern was defense. And I got very good very fast. I'd never made a team before. So it's not that I was athletic. And I realized a formula for success in life is one plus two equals three. In that equation, I am one three is the goal. And two is what I need to do to get to the goal. And I call to number two, because it is the crappy part of the job. And to me, I'm one three is winning two is not getting hit. And I figured that equation out. And I realized I could be the number one boxer in the country relatively easy. If I follow that equation. And I bet on myself, I decided not to go to college, I said I was just going to do this boxing thing. And upon when I made it to my first national championships. I was two years into the sport. And when we had to fill out our BIOS, we had to like our height, our weight, our reach. And last question was What do you want out of boxing. And most people put championship belt, heavyweight champion elliptical metal. The reason why I boxed was because I figured it would be a way for me to get a TV show. So I put to be a good role model and to have my own TV show. Because in my mind, I was just going to easily win all these tournaments, eventually do a crazy interview, someone would see me do something funny, an agent would say, Hey, kid, you've got a knack for this. I didn't know exactly how it was going to work. But I figured that's how it was going to work. So I just invested a lot of my time into just being good at boxing. Because I figured it would I could eventually transition into something else.

Andrew Stotz 04:22
So that's kind of one question I have about defense, you know, is it when you when you win through defense is that because everybody's all practicing offense, and therefore, if you just spend more time on defense, you're going to be in a better position than other people or what is it that you think helped you to win so much?

Cam F Awesome 04:46
So I was about 200 pounds. So what I did is I gained a couple pounds so I can fight in the super heavyweight weight class. Right so I was about 203 pounds fighting guys were like 262 80 and everyone thought I was crazy. But my thought process was, if you can't hit me, you can't win. And because I'm so much smaller than them, if I'm in really good shape, and I just move a lot, I will eventually get tired from throwing punches. And then I would just win because of they're just, they're exhausted when I'm there. So, yeah, that was my strategy. I lost every first round, I didn't care about the first round, and I would just dominate the end of the fight.

Andrew Stotz 05:29
And be in good condition to do to execute that strategy.

Cam F Awesome 05:34
It was a yes, it's a, it's a gutsy move. Because at the beginning of the fight, I just say, Well, I don't know, because I don't know how much is in my opponent's gas tank. And if I have the strategy of getting him tired, if I got tired first, I'm up the buck Creek. Yeah. So I, it was a ballsy move on my part, but it was risky. It was a risk. And I

Andrew Stotz 06:03
wonder if we think about that in a corporate environment, in a business environment, in setting strategy for your self in your personal development, taking an outside of boxing, have you seen parallels that it can apply?

Cam F Awesome 06:17
Oh, yes. For one, the, the, the level of competency you can achieve through preparation. Because one of the things we do is we kind of think we have things and we're like, Oh, I think I could pull this off? Or did I prepare enough for this many? Yeah, I think I have. But when that I think I can is means getting punched in your face repeatedly. You realize there's another level of preparation. And I realized the more I prepared for a fight. The more I sparred, the more I ran, the harder I went in training, the more confident and comfortable I was in the fight. And I was able to bring that into the corporate world. Right? Because it's all connected. Hmm.

Andrew Stotz 07:06
It's interesting, because we've had another boxer on my worst investment ever episode 189. Ed Lattimore. And his words Oh, yeah, his title of his show was well, well begun is half done. And set your relationships right from the start. And Ed's adds quite a character. And I'm just curious, how did you get to know Ed, because I know he mentioned about you, and I'm glad that he did to get to know you. Yeah,

Cam F Awesome 07:33
I actually bought ed. I bought and then I was his roommate for about a year in Los Angeles. He is the way his brain works is just on a different level. It's such an interesting dude. Yeah,

Andrew Stotz 07:49
very much. Well, now it's time to share your worst investment ever. And since no one goes into their worst investment, thinking it will be tell us a bit about the circumstances. And then tell us about your story.

Cam F Awesome 08:04
So my circumstances was I, I was 18. I was working at Waffle House. And I thought I had this thing with boxing figured out. But I didn't have an opportunity. And after winning my first nationals, a gentleman reached a guy called me on the phone by the name of John Brown. You can't even Google the name. It's just like, it sounds like a fake name. And he says, Hey, I saw you win at Nationals at super heavyweight. He's like my boxers at heavyweight. I want you to come to Kansas City and spar with him, because he's knocking out all the sparring partners, but you run around a lot. So we think you'd be okay. And so I took my six days off vacation at Waffle House, and I went to Kansas City, and I would spar and the guy was spar who's tough Jeremiah Graziano. They call them Weisen. The white Tyson he bought just like Mike Tyson, an Italian guy. And killer. Yeah, and the sparring went well, but he allowed me to work in his warehouse off the books. And then after the six days, I went back to Waffle House. And John Brown invited me back to Kansas City for a month. And I realized if I went back, I would lose my job at Waffle House. Which, at that time, that is that would that's that was big for me. And I realized at this moment, if I were to take that trip to Kansas, I wouldn't be in. That is my first investment into boxing that there's no turning back. I have to now do whatever And by any means necessary at this point. So I quit my job off house, I go to Kansas City for a month. And he was

Andrew Stotz 10:09
allowed. This is all trust, no contract, no commitment. It's all trust. All trusts, okay?

Cam F Awesome 10:16
All trust and I don't know what to tell my, my family or anyone who's asking me what, why am I doing this? I'm like, worst case scenario, whatever. So I go to a, he says I can stay in his basement for a month. And he lives in this beautiful houses nice, nice basement. And he allowed me to work in his warehouse, but I don't want to work in a warehouse. I realized I can get into the office. So what I did is I would i He's terrible with technology. So I helped them organize them the south Woods theater, I change light bulbs in his office, I wanted to be an asset. I even put gas in his car with this company card. So the whole month I was there he was taken care of. Because I appreciated the opportunity he was giving me because he allowed me to work in his warehouse. $10 An hour off the books. I was so grateful. After the month, I went back to I went back to Florida. And he called me and he says, Hey, I'm pumping my own gas. I don't like it. Would you like to come back to Kansas City and be my assistant, I coach you. And I give you wherever you need to become a champion. And I said yes. And he's like, What do you want some time to think about it? I said, I don't I don't need any time. He says when you want to come to Kansas City, I said whenever you can book a flight, he says, well, Wednesday is the cheapest flight. And on two days notice I packed up everything. Well, I packed up two suitcases because that's what Southwest would give me. And I moved to Kansas City in 2008.

Andrew Stotz 12:01
And this was your dream anyways, you know, you're pursuing what you're thinking, I'm going to be you know, this guy can help me get to where I'm going.

Cam F Awesome 12:09
Yeah, yes. And I realized that he was able to fund by my trip. He said, he asked me what did I need to win? And I said, I figured out this formula. And I said, All I need is to get to the fights. I just I couldn't afford a plane ticket or anything. I said, if you could just pay. I don't even need a coach. I can do this by myself. And he didn't think I was serious. And he said okay, he would pay for me to fly to California for a tournament for nationals. I fly in, I register myself. I warm myself up, I wrap my own hands, I get a random person to work my corner. I win Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, he flies in Saturday, works my corner for the finals, because that's when the cameras come out. We take our pictures together and he's like, Do you need anything, I say no, and I go about my business. He allowed me to gain experience as a fighter. And because I had this opportunity, I wasn't gonna let it slip up. So I invested 100% of my time into boxing. I didn't do birthdays, I didn't do Christmas. I could have went back home to Florida for Thanksgiving or Christmas to spend time my family. But if I did that I would miss time in the gym. And nothing. I was investing everything into boxing because I know I have my 20s to do this. And if I did this right in my 20s I can live the rest of my life comfortably. And that's how I became the most decorated boxer in history is because he said he would pay for me to fight as much as I want. And I challenged him. And I just traveled all around fighting. And then once I got on Team USA, then they funded it as I traveled around the world. And I've been to over 30 countries fighting. And the thing I realized in boxing was let's say, Andrew, let's say you're a boxer and you've been in the ring and you've fought 100 rounds. And I've been in the ring and I fought 1000 rounds. If you're a betting man, who do you think would win that fight?

Andrew Stotz 14:19
Well, I guess in my thinking, you'd say well, person has 1000 the experience of 1000 should be more likely to win.

Cam F Awesome 14:28
Yes. And so in my mind, that's how I approached it. So I fought in every tournament even though it's number one boxes in the country, I was still showing up to local tournaments and crushing the competition, because I figured if they won all the small tournaments, they'd get competent enough to challenge me. So for 10 years I was stopping them before they gave up. But I did this because it was an investment. I never wanted to become a professional boxer and it was absurd to people that I was winning so easily and I would never turn pro. And when people would ask me, I would say I have a plan, you will eventually see what it is. Because in my mind, I was going to get a TV show. And back in 2008, when I wrote that down, that was a very relevant thing. This was when TV was still relevant, and social media wasn't a thing. So of course, my goals have shifted and changed a little bit, but I transitioned from boxing and after. After I won nationals in 2008, I wanted 2009 2010 2011 2012, I won US Olympic trials to go to London, and I got to spend and kicked off the Olympic team for not filling out paperwork. And I realized that because I left boxing, and that after getting suspended, I couldn't, that I couldn't invest it so much, I could just quit. So that's a reinvent myself rebranded myself. So I literally changed my name, rebranded everything about myself, and fought for more years in boxing, and was a motivational speaker as I was boxing, because I turned turning this investment of boxing into my career speaking. And as I spoken as I would go to, let's say, Dallas to fight, I would speak at a school in Dallas, and I was doing it for free and no one understood why. But I was saying I'm building a future for myself because I wanted to get good at speaking. And as after I retired from boxing, I hung up the gloves and picked up a microphone. And I've built a speaking business for myself. And I'm also talking to speakers and teaching speaker talking to athletes teaching athletes, how to build a career for themselves and invest in themselves for after their sport.

Andrew Stotz 16:47
It sounds like a beautiful plan well executed, where's the worst investment ever?

Cam F Awesome 16:54
Here, here it is. So, in 2012, after I got suspended, I had to return to boxing. And I returned to boxing, one national jump 1314 1516 then won the Olympic trials to represent real it was to go to the Olympics. My goal was always to go Olympics with boxing. Because once you're at the highest level, you go to Olympic Stadium to get your TV show 2016 I lose in the finals on a split decision and didn't get to go to Rio. I bought a van because I have to now build a career for myself, as I'm speaking bought a van living in a band traveling around the country speaking at schools, and training for the Olympics. And then after I built a nice business for myself, the US Olympic Committee says hey, we won't allow you to box for us if you have a speaking business. So the two investments that I had, I had to give one up. So I flew to Trinidad and Tobago, my dad home country, got dual citizenship, one of their Olympic trials, one of the Olympic trials was training for the Olympics. So in 2008, I qualified for the Olympic trials, but I lost 2012 I won the Olympic trials, but I got suspended 2016 I wanted the Olympic trials, but I lost an international competition 2020 I won the Olympic trials, and then COVID happened. So this whole investment that I had in boxing to go to the Olympics, never happened. And then April of this year, I woke up with a detached retina and was told I could never box again. So do you feel I partly relieved, mightily relieved, I would say if I'm being honest. Like, I'm just going to do this until I die, right? And then this is my reason like, okay, I guess I will invest my time somewhere else. Because if I get hit wrong, I'll be blind out my right eye for the rest of my life. Hmm.

Andrew Stotz 18:54
If God put that little thing in your eye, what do they say? Take out the piece of wood in your eye before you blame someone else or something like that, and maybe God was coming into your life and saying, Okay, it's time.

Cam F Awesome 19:08
Yeah, I put so much time into it. And it was it 2012 was a rough year for me. Because at one point after I built everything up, and in my mind, I would win the Olympic trials. Even if I didn't get a medal. I was set for life. Yeah, the investment worked. And that was in my prime. And I got suspended and I lost everything.

Andrew Stotz 19:37
Yeah, and you know, what's interesting about your story is I would say tenacity, perseverance, you know, you kept looking for a way to make it happen. And then I would say to some extent randomness comes along in our life like COVID as an example. And then you know, that's your prime. You know, you got your moment and you know you if it doesn't work, it's just like trying to be in the Olympics and it can't once every four years, that's your time. How would you describe the lessons that you learned from this?

Cam F Awesome 20:07
I realized that there are ups and downs in your investment. And if you can just, if you're willing to ride out the down long enough, you can least come back up to at least break even if not when. Because it's in 2012. When I went down, I took a big loss. I put everything in that bucket, and even ruined my name. So I had to change my name. But in my mind, if you know if you have that Olympic Olympian title, you know, it to me it was worth the investment. Yeah. I didn't get it. But I didn't get it. But life gave me lemons and making lemonade.

Andrew Stotz 20:58
Yep, yep. Maybe I'll summarize a couple of things. You know, I think yours is a good story for all of us to remember that you've got to be, you've got to persevere. You've got to be willing to pivot, you've got to, and you've got to set your dreams and your goals. But remember that sometimes what you set as your goal, or your dream, is not what you're gonna get. But that doesn't end, but what you're going to get along the way, is really what life's all about. In fact, there's many people in this life that have gotten some big thing at, you know, some big success. But just because, and some of that's purely random, or it wasn't planned, or whatever. But the point is, life is about the journey and what you make of that journey. You know, I think about can my mother, you know, like, she spent her life she did the right thing, she married at a young age, she found a great guy, she lived with my father for 59 years, they had a great retirement, he passed away. And then next thing, you know, she's in Thailand, living with me, nobody would ever have predicted that. And that's what life is, you know, life unfolds as we're living it. And so I think the inspiration also that comes from this for me, is look at the journey. And look at what you're gaining as you're going through the journey. And then there's many places where what you're gaining can be applied, like inspiring others. And when you add to them?

Cam F Awesome 22:34
Yes, I would say, and I say exactly 2008, I said, I wanted a tee, I wanted a TV show, sometimes our goals from afar looks a lot different when we get close to it. And it's supposed to, because life changes, everything evolves. But just because the goal looks it's gonna look a little bit different doesn't mean you should stop chasing it. Yeah.

Andrew Stotz 22:56
In English, we have a saying says, Good from far, but far from good. And in Thai, they have a thing called su a loi Med, which means beautiful, from 100 meters. And many of the goals that we set look beautiful from 100 meters. But when you get up there, like I was one of my goals, I said, I want to be the leader of a division of a company, you know, like that. And once I got into a corporate environment, I mean, I managed to just survive in it for 20 years. But I realized, no, that's not really what I wanted. And so, yeah, sometimes it's so a lawyer met. So based upon what you learned from this story, and what you continue to learn in your life, let's think about a young, a young you, a young man or woman. In a similar situation. What one action would you recommend our listeners take to avoid suffering the same fate?

Cam F Awesome 23:50
Oh, I would say if you have no dependents as myself, because I had no one, I had no kids or anything like that. So I can take bigger risks. Yeah, I would say put all those eggs in the basket. Because, because even if the basketballs the experience you've gained, if you keep going, the stuff you'd learn from dropping that last basket will gain you more success in the future. I'd say swing for the fences every time. And that's just how I play.

Andrew Stotz 24:21
Yep. That's, it's great. And, you know, the fact is, you wouldn't have gotten to step number two and step number three. And step number four if you hadn't done that. So I think that's great advice. So now, let me ask you, what's a resource that you'd recommend for our listeners of, of your own or any others that you would recommend?

Cam F Awesome 24:40
A resource, I would say, actually, here's a great resource, the public library here in the United States. Yep. I was bragging that I got my girlfriend's discount card from Barnes and Noble. And someone was like, Yeah, but the library is free. And I went to the library, and it is free. They have all of Have the books even have audiobooks. And I'm constantly there every week I go to the library, and that was one of the greatest resources I can give. And it's free.

Andrew Stotz 25:09
Yeah. Great, great advice. Great advice. Libraries are amazing. All right. Last Last question, what is your number one goal for the next 12 months.

Cam F Awesome 25:21
My number one goal for the next 12 months is to make motivational humor a more well known thing. I'm currently going on touring, I'm building my speaking business, I'm investing a lot into it. And I want to transition it into motivational humor and make that genre. But that's going to take a lot of a lot of time, a lot of marketing and a lot of promoting a lot of speaking

Andrew Stotz 25:52
when your man who has shown your ability to persevere. So way to go with that. Well, listeners, there you have it another story of loss to keep you winning. If you haven't yet joined the become a better investor community, just go to my worst investment ever.com right now to claim your spot. As we conclude cam, I want to thank you again for joining our mission and on behalf of a Stotz Academy I hereby award you alumni status for turning your worst investment ever into your best teaching moment. Do you have any parting words for the audience?

Cam F Awesome 26:26
If you can fail without being discouraged, success is inevitable.

Andrew Stotz 26:30
Wow. And that's a wrap on another great story to help us create, grow and protect our well fellow risk takers. Let's celebrate that today. We added one more person to our mission to help 1 million people reduce risk in their lives. This is your words podcast host Andrew Stotz saying I'll see you on the upside.


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About the show & host, Andrew Stotz

Welcome to My Worst Investment Ever podcast hosted by Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, where you will hear stories of loss to keep you winning. In our community, we know that to win in investing you must take the risk, but to win big, you’ve got to reduce it.

Your Worst Podcast Host, Andrew Stotz, Ph.D., CFA, is also the CEO of A. Stotz Investment Research and A. Stotz Academy, which helps people create, grow, measure, and protect their wealth.

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