By Matthew Gagne, Founder and CEO – Flock Goods
Like many other young entrepreneurs, life has had a funny way of shaking things up for me when least expected. Years after dropping out of school to start a career as a professional skydiving instructor, a severe car accident left me a Spinal Cord Injury Survivor. It was 2014, and I was living and working in Dubai. In all, I suffered 10 fractures to my cervical and thoracic spine, as well as a full subluxation at the C5/C6 level. To put it more simply, I had severely broken my neck and was – essentially – internally decapitated.
I had been a professional skydiver for years at this point and was at the peak of my sport. Aside from the obvious physical struggles this caused me, hearing doctors tell me that I would never live an active lifestyle again tanked my mental and emotional health. Not to mention the financial stress my accident placed me under. But, again, like many other entrepreneurs, I refused to let external circumstances dictate my entire future. Pain is nothing if not the most humbling of teachers, albeit the most intense.
Knowing that I needed both a change of mindset to improve my mental health and lifestyle, as well as the help of others, I set out on the path to regain control of my life. Aided by proper nutrition, CBD-rich hemp extract in place of potentially harmful pharmaceutical narcotics, and a community of people willing to offer assistance, I began a holistic approach to get myself, quite literally, back on my own two feet.
But that wasn’t the end of it. I knew that I wanted not only to continue bettering my own quality of life, but also the lives of others. Some 36 months after my spinal injury, I decided to found my own company to provide the same CBD products that had helped me regain control over my health and life. My own personal rehabilitation journey (and, admittedly, stubborn determination) became my foundation for a new future. However, I had never built anything resembling a business or personal brand before, so I turned where many others in similar situations do: the internet.
Almost immediately, I found that there were hundreds, if not thousands of online communities centered around the holistic benefits of CBD. Though the competition seemed tough, no other brand out there had a story quite like mine. Drawing from my rehabilitation journey, I began developing and refining a philosophy of values I could center my personal brand and eventual business around. This philosophy would become known as “The Five Finger Framework,” which included a focus on:
- Functional fitness
- Mental health
- Recovery, and;
This framework became the literal building blocks for what would eventually grow into Flock Goods, which I founded in 2018.
Businesses don’t grow and succeed overnight, however. I had my brand and a framework for it, but I needed to find out how to make it grow. So, I began talking about the one thing that had been the major focus of my life for nearly five years at that point: my accident and the story it had left me with.
As it turns out, people around the world were fascinated with my story. Between my journey from suffering a life-changing injury to proving doctors wrong by making a full recovery using my Five Finger Framework, many online communities were amazed at how something seemingly as simple as CBD had helped me recover from an accident that could have left me paralyzed for the rest of my days.
Fortunately, those communities were equally as fascinated when I began mentioning my initiative in founding Flock Goods to offer those same CBD products to help other people regain control over their own lives. From there, the traction around my personal story gained momentum; momentum I was subsequently able to transfer over to Flock Goods.
Some three years after founding Flock Goods, I now find myself in the same realm as names like Bill Gates, Arethra Franklin, and Quinton Tarintino: entrepreneurs who had dropped out of school to pursue their passion, and have the world respond positively to the impact that passion can have on others.
I might have dropped out of high school to pursue my passion for body flight, but I never thought it would lead to a professional career as an elite skydiver, let alone that I would go on to build my own business.
Then again, I never expected that a single car accident five years ago would fracture my neck in 10 places, threatening to leave me bedridden for the rest of my life. Thanks to perseverance, nutraceuticals, and the power of the Internet, though, confronting this adversity has turned me into a successful entrepreneur.
Matthew Gagne, founder of Flock Goods, holds the Guinness World Record for the most forward flips in a wind tunnel in a single minute. In his former career as a professional skydiver, he trained Navy Seals and served as flight instructor for Al Gore, Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Trey Smith, Kirby Chambliss, and Tyrese. When a near-fatal car accident broke his neck in 10 places, he threw himself into rehabilitation. Flock Goods was born during this journey through pain. Ever since, he has dedicated himself to helping others overcome adversity and lead active lifestyles. He currently lives with his beloved Dutch Shepherd dog on a Maine riverbank in a tiny house RV that he built himself.