When You’re In The Breadline

In the Depression-era film “Cinderella Man”, we see James Braddock, a once almost champion boxer in the grips of economic failure, his inability to provide for his family through boxing’s trade, humbly brave the infamous breadline while being recognized as the failed boxer.

This movie is not for the faint of heart, especially if –

  • you’ve suffered an injury (his was a broken right hand) that he had to continue using to fight, re-breaking over and over again, just to survive;
  • if you’ve come on hard times financially in the past and had to downgrade aspects of your family lifestyle and felt you have let them down;
  • if you’ve ever wondered where the next opportunity will come from. 

In other words: I HIGHLY recommend this movie for most people at this point of 2021, especially if any or all of the above is true!   As it will bring you HOPE! 

The Promise to consistently stay motivated and inspired by the Legendary Leaders of yesterday is one thing we have complete control over, no matter how difficult life becomes.  We can always fill our time with powerful, hopeful stories, such as James Braddock getting one more shot when all was lost, to fight the “impossible-to-beat” Max Baer, that bring us to a new level of Promise for committing ourselves to continue fighting.

If your life is anything like mine, you can see how I relate to Cinderella Man and feel it’s one of the most important films ever made.

2019 was tough for us.

2020 was…yeah.  You know.  It was the same for all of us.

2021 has been, well, worse than 2020.

Was that even an option?  2021 worse than 2020?  Guess so.  I’ve lost a lot of friends this year, both in the literal passing away of dearest friends from health conditions, to community misunderstandings and rampant rumors, and am still trying to recover from business in 2020.

As my career has gone from In-Person events canceled and postponed in March of 2020, to Zoom and Virtual through the rest of the year to survive, and then events started coming back around to In-Person throughout 2021.

Now they are being canceled AGAIN, many unwilling to switch to Virtual, as it’s quite the production and their people are “virtual fatigued”.  Hey – I get it!  But I also know: They’ve never seen a Virtual presentation quite like what we’ve put together.  It’s among the best, most engaging, entertaining, and educational in the world.  That is a fact.

It’s devastating to many industries, mine in particular, as a Speaker relying on either In-Person or Virtual events to happen.  When planners cancel the event altogether it is my entering the breadline phase.

And it’s been that way now for 18 months.

But – don’t cry for me, Argentina!

I’ve had a great career.  Been very fortunate.  Had clients that have saved us in times of struggle, friends come to our rescue, family who has supported us.

But man, this very moment, things are as iffy as March 2020 for my career once again.

What’s the secret to survival you ask?  One word:


We have continued to press, create, tinker, toil, do all we can to stay relevant, improve the messaging, upgrade the systems and processes, hire assistance and professionals, even entering coaching myself for my speaking in the past few months….even when I’m The Coach for Speakers and Presenters! 

Yes, if MJ, Tiger and Olympians needed a coach, why don’t I?  

Thankfully at the end of 2020 we founded The Promise Institute, with partners I feel are the most competent, heart-led, capable, brilliant, and integrous people I know.  We are moving forward, almost sold out of VIP tickets to our Live2Lead Event we are hosting Oct. 29, in SLC, UT.  It’s a DON’T MISS EVENT, and the true launch of The Promise Institute, if you’d like to come and see what I’m up to and thrilled about it would be great to see you there.

You have NO IDEA what is coming and it is going to change many people’s lives, if you’d like to be a part of something like that, we are already seeing the effects of this work in the lives of many businesses, families, and successful individuals.  Join us!

At the same time as gigs fall apart in my speaking business, there’s yet a million things to be grateful for even as events teeter on their totter…

We are hanging in there, facing down another breadline moment, while still acting as if my broken fighting hand isn’t crushed over and over again with each blow, and I’ll just keep landing zingers until I win another belt (that’s metaphorical if you didn’t catch it.  My hand is fine.  Well, other than my pinky nail, I bit that off while going over my calendar this week).

And every day I show up – and put in THE WORK.


Could I just go for a hike?  (which I’d prefer) – YES!  But I must be CONSISTENT in my improvement, in keeping my Promise to never stop pushing until we are out of the breadline.

Yet within the work there is always the setback!

  • Monday I received multiple calls from clients needing to pull the plug on their events.  
  • The car suddenly needed $2,000 in repairs. 
  • The AMEX was due, and I had just ordered hundreds of books for clients who cancelled their events and book orders. 

Not looking like the best week.

I was to head out of town the next morning for an event that paid in 2019, and the money was no longer in collections, yet we were thrilled to finally get to fulfill the order….

But then The Breadline came through for us.

A frantic email from a dear client I hadn’t done an event for in 5 years, asking if there was any way I might be available for a Friday and Saturday Virtual Event, as their scheduled presenter could no longer help them out, and needed me to perform entertainment and engagement segments throughout the conference.  Yes, this weekend!

I reached out immediately and said that, although I don’t do that style of presenting anymore with my Keynote Speaking, especially in virtual, I would happily give it my best shot to help with their conference, and the client said she trusted I could pull it off.

Over the course of the week I prepped, chopped up my virtual speech to fit their agenda, edited videos and scores of customization to make it a unique and wonderful experience for the client and for me…even doing something I know I’m not the best at, but can do in their time of need and mine.  (like a broken hand in a boxing glove, still swinging and making impact whenever possible!)

The client apologized profusely for the inconvenience of the last minute request to do their event.

I insisted it was a great blessing for our family at this time of challenge we are still facing in 2021.

Yes, it changed our plans to maybe go stay in the mountains for the Labor Day weekend with extended family, but what better way to celebrate Labor Day than by LABORING?  

The VIRTUAL event turned out wonderfully, both client and audience were happy with my segments, and even allowed me an opportunity at the end to do some of The Promise message.  Such a generous, wonderful client.

The event just ended.

Chainsaws, motorcycles, and lawnmowers all immediately fired up at houses around me…somehow they waited until my Virtual Event was over, as it would have ruined my gig, and so I’m even happier it worked out.

Yes, I am writing this Blog with only a few hours to spare to send it to it’s newsletter place, in order for you to read this story…if you’ve read this far I applaud you!

The past few months I haven’t seen much engagement on this Blog.

Actually, for the past few years…no, make that ever.

I can honestly say I always thought a Blog would have more engagement.  Like the movie “Julie & Julia”.  Sometimes that frustrates me, and it did especially in the past 2 months as our life seems to be turning upside down again with the events situation.

I complained out loud as I wrote another Blog that perhaps no one would comment on, formatting a newsletter most likely few would click through and finish reading.

My wife, who loves me, said, “Maybe it’s just time to be done with the Blog, you could send a Newsletter monthly, and that would free up time to write your next book?” 

I insisted that it had to remain weekly, for some reason, I don’t know why, but it has to, even if few to no one are reading, clicking, or commenting.


This Blog and Newsletter are actually one of the only things I’ve been doing with consistency as if my life depends on it every week for a DECADE. 

It’s a Promise I made to myself, and I’ll stay up the whole night to get it done and go to my Church meetings without sleeping, it’s that important to me to get it to you every Sunday.

Even knowing that few, if any, will click, read, comment, or share.

I write because I love to write, and I feel it’s important for me to do so with consistency, as well as for the one person it might inspire.  

Why do I reveal all of this?

Part of my promise is to be authentic, vulnerable, show the warts so you can maybe be inspired by what it ignites in you to do for yourself and your promises.

But also because it is the perfect example of the Value of Consistency.

The wonderful Client who hired me on Monday for this weekend –

The first thing she wrote in her message to me was this,

“I receive your Blog every week and have always kept you in mind, and thought I’d reach out in the off chance you’d be available to help us in our time of need…”

I am in The Breadline.

She was too.  Just heading a different direction, yet parallel to mine.

We reached across, handed one another nourishment, a most important and essential partnership in BOTH of our times of need.

Feeding each other from The Breadline.  


That’s The Promise. 


~ Jason Hewlett 



The Promise Institute Co-Founder

Promise Culture Keynote Speaker

* Speaker Hall of Fame

Author of “The Promise To The One”










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4 thoughts on “When You’re In The Breadline”

  1. I know this is a bit religious of a reference, but it is Sunday after all and this is what I thought of while reading your blog- “For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?”

    I run the Twitter account for the school where I teach. When I first arrived at the school six years ago, they only had 100 or so followers and the posts were very sporadic. I convinced myself that if the posts were more regular and contained a better source of the news then more people would follow the account and it would be more revelant. I started posting and trying to do the social media thing leaving hash tags and referencing other accounts to get more followers. I got up to nearly 300 followers but have plateaued. Everytime I try to make a post and engage the followers it always falls flat. Nobody responds. I get a retweet or a like very rarely. But I continue to do it because I DO have some followers and even if they don’t respond or engage like I wish they would, they continue to look to me to provide them with news of what’s happening around the school. I also feel like that by trying to be revelant in at least this platform of social media I am showing the surrounding community that our school strives to be engaged with the community. I tell my co-workers all the time that when parents try to decide where to send their kids to school are they going to visit the actual school? Call and interview the principal? The teachers? No- they are going to the school’s website! Does it have up to date information? Does it look modern and inviting? Is their Twitter feed months or even years old?

    So I can relate to your frustrations with putting together a weekly blog that touches what you feel is only a handful of people. Just remember to not judge your success on the wrong metrics. Making a comment on the blog isn’t the only way people can engage with your content. I have subscribed to this blog for at least two years and this is only my second comment. Reading your entries has become part of my Sunday morning routine. The stories you share and the experiences you highlight leave an empression and influence me even if I don’t always take the time to write a nice long comment like this one. On behalf of many unengaged diligent readers I thank you for continuing your dedication to keeping the promise of writing this blog.

    1. This is a great comment Kurt! Thank you for sharing! I think of this scripture often when my dog is begging for table scraps when her dog food bowl has plenty of food in it literally 4 feet away. I can imagine the chicken tastes much better than the dog food. As a self employed person whose income is entirely from commissions, I too am dependent upon the heavens to provide for my family. I too use this blog for my Sunday routine. Jason, if you are reading this, I want to say thank you as well. I feel like one of the starfish that the man walking on the beach has picked up and thrown back into the ocean. In other words, your blog and your message has had a positive influence in my life and has made a difference. I subscribe to exactly one blog, and I love it!! Also, I listened to your book on Audible 3 or 4 months ago, but just gave it a 5 star review last week on Amazon. In business, sometimes things ebb and flow. I know our present circumstances make it difficult for someone in your line of work right now. But it will certainly flow for you again in the future. Your message is too good and needed right now and you are too talented for there to not to be a need for you. Thanks for continuing to post your Blog. It is much appreciated by me! I wish you the best and will keep your family in my prayers! Keep up the good work!

      1. Wow Ben, what a wonderful comment and encouraging words. Means a great deal. Continued blessings in your work and pursuits. Thank you!

    2. Kurt! What a wonderful and powerful comment. Agreed whole-heartedly and grateful to know you’re there. I appreciate all you’ve done for the school, what a great promise you’ve made and kept!

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