Shawn Reynolds on Battling Fear and Crohn’s Disease

Shawn Reynolds is a master at wearing different hats. Through his successful career, he’s founded a sports camp that Nike Sports Camp bought and made the flagship location for Canada. He’s the co-owner and CEO of Reynolds Brothers Exteriors, a family business he co-founded in 2010.  And through it all, he’s continued his acting and producer career. 

On top of all of these roles, Shawn has been fighting a battle with Crohn’s disease. He’s operated his businesses from hospital beds, and learned when to hit pause in order to ensure he takes care of his body.

Whether he’s working in construction or acting, he’s learned some common themes through his dynamic career about how to keep customers coming back. 

Watch the video from this conversation here.

Be the Solution

“I don’t care what you’re doing. If people can walk away thinking ‘That was a great experience. I loved that,’ they’re going to talk to other people about what you do.”

Shawn shared an anecdote about how he sometimes has customers call his construction company, Reynolds Brothers Exteriors, with questions far outside the scope of what they offer. But even when they ring asking about a clogged toilet, he doesn’t turn them away. He returns their call and directs them to someone who can help. 

An acting coach named Lewis Baumander once told Shawn: “They want a solution to their problem. They want to fill that role.” It’s a piece of advice that he carries with him in all the work he does. Be the solution. 


Finding Your Mentor

“What do I not know?” That’s the mentality Shawn approaches all of his ventures with. Even after Nike bought his sports camp and he saw other major successes in his career, he doesn’t act like he has a secret sauce. He strives to learn as much as possible from others. 

It’s one of the reasons he works so hard to surround himself with a great team of mentors. By finding those people who can elevate his business, he knows he’s able to escalate his potential. 

“You’re trimming years off your journey of where you want to get to.”


Battling Crohn’s Disease

When Shawn experiences his worst flare ups, he said it can feel like he’s swallowing glass. In the lead up to the birth of his first child, the stress was so great that he could barely walk ten feet down the hospital hallway. 

So how do you run a business while in that amount of pain? First of all, Shawn decided early on that he wouldn’t allow this obstacle to control his life. 

“I’m always going to be the hero of my own story,” Shawn said.  

You have to know when to take a step back, and you need to know when to lean on others. He calls on his brothers, who also have Crohn’s Disease, and his mentors to help him through these difficult times. One of the most important lessons he learned is not to go through it alone. 

And when large tasks seem too overwhelming to tackle, Shawn breaks them up into incremental wins and base hits. Just like taking a short walk down the hallway in the hospital, he celebrates small goals. 

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