Tuesday June 18, 2013
Ten years ago I was living the good life in Aspen and cruising toward retirement because I had concluded that was what I was supposed to be doing. I’d experienced a lot of success in over thirty years of entrepreneurial involvement in the corporate training and personal growth seminar industries.
I’d earned a break from the total commitment required of an entrepreneur and was enjoying the 15,000 sf home on 76 acres outside Aspen; the 80 plus days of skiing yearly; the African safari; the private jet travel; the six non-profit Boards I served on and raising four wonderful children. Life was good!
I’d positively contributed to people and organizations – with over 1.3 million graduates and over 1500 corporate clients – through companies I’ve founded and led: Lifespring and ARC International.
I’d learned a lot: about myself, about others, about what works and doesn’t work in building a successful business that also makes a positive difference in the world.
Then my apparent life path began to appear less clear. As a result of many conversations with friends and clients, some targeted research and my own life experiences, I began to wake most mornings with thoughts that conflicted with my retirement plans. I’d like to share some conclusions of my inquiry with the intention of stimulating some dialogue with you.
United States citizens are increasingly materially rich and simultaneously dissatisfied: physically unfit, emotionally erratic, mentally unfocused, politically disengaged and spiritually lost. Many have become victims and passive observers of life instead of full participants in living. Even otherwise very successful people feel out-of-control, politically disenfranchised, and without any connection to either their heritage or to a positive future.
Relationships are in turmoil: between people and their essential selves, between husbands and wives, within families, in the workplaces, and in our communities. Any connection to our spiritual lives is often obliterated by the fast-paced, materialistic culture we’ve created.
People also retain a certain sense that in spite of substantial evidence to the contrary, a better personal life, more effective workplaces and better communities are possible. In fact, they could choose to live extraordinary lives for themselves, in all their relationships, in their chosen career and in our civic lives – locally, nationally and as global citizens.
We know, somehow, that reawakening our individual and collective spirit is possible and that it will lead to better families, companies and communities.
“Whoever said that a small group of concerned, committed individuals cannot change the world? In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Organizations – for-profit, governmental and non-profit – are struggling to digest massive amounts of change in markets, organizational structures, competition, compliance with stakeholder expectations (including significant ethical issues) and globalization. The pressure is unprecedented. Executives are expected to simultaneously meet the needs of shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers, retirees and the communities they operate in.
Leaders obviously can’t do this alone and know they must foster responsibility and authority throughout their organizations – all within what has been described as an “entitlement” or “victim” culture, especially in the United States.
Adult educational methodology exists right now that would positively transform individual lives, organizations and communities if it were widely available and adopted by a critical mass. High impact transformational experiences for people, organizations and communities are proven to lead to increased awareness, responsibility, communication and results. Seminars, coaching and consulting can work independently and in concert to connect people and organizations to a deeper sense of purpose, vision and values, putting their personal and professional lives in an understandable and actionable context.
There is a clear need and resulting opportunity for a national, professional company offering “the work” that meets the needs of a significant number of people and organizations looking to be more effective and learning to successfully handle the rapidly accelerating rate of change both personally and professionally.
"I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no `brief candle' to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations." George Bernard Shaw
My semi-retirement ended when I realized that there has never been a bigger need and a better opportunity to build a business to assist people and organizations in accelerating their journey to wholeness, total health, and real success at every possible level. I also realized that for the past thirty years, and perhaps all of my life, I’ve been getting ready to create and lead Extraordinary People … right now. One result of that realization is that the last ten years have been among the most creative and productive years of my life.
I resisted for twenty years advice to write a book about my work despite Dale Carnegie, Tony Robbins and Stephen Covey’s successes being built on the backs of best-selling books. Covey’s Seven Habits book has sold nearly 20 million copies and resulted in a huge increase in Covey Leadership Seminar numbers then the sale of his company to Franklin Quest. A book clearly provides credibility and exposure that converts to reaching more people and business results.
I wrote Living an Extraordinary Life, sold out in hardcover and now in its fourth printing in deluxe softcover. I’ve repurchased and significantly improved my home study program originally produced by Nightingale Conant and available in CD and digital formats. It won AudioFile Magazine’s “Earphones Award” in 2011 for “Best Spoken Word Personal Development Program.” My credibility as a thought-leader has taken a huge jump and additional prospects for our work are an early result.
The right people and resources to expand Extraordinary People are suddenly “showing up”. Some are people I’ve worked with for years, some have complementary industry experience, and some are new people attracted to using their skills to really make a positive difference in the world. I learned a long time ago that when God or the universe or the stars (choose your higher power of choice) starts to support a vision by attracting great people and energy, one should pay attention, make a strategic plan, and execute with confidence and persistence.
Success always follows.
Some of our marketing structure and delivery methodology has a familiar look and feel. Some is radically different and more effective. We are staying involved with clients in a long-term and comprehensive relationship. We will utilize my network of experienced facilitators plus recruit and train new Seminar Leaders. I fully intend to recreate our prior success in developing “the best of the best” in seminar, consulting and coaching delivery.
“Learning is a treasure which will follow its owner everywhere.” -Chinese proverb
We have new executive and corporate clients, opportunities and alliances. Now it’s time to take this work national, then international, and fulfill our destiny.
The expansion of Extraordinary People is about changing the world for the better, one person, one organization, one community at a time. I intend to scale that process to reach millions and create an extraordinary experience for our Associates and our Clients.
Please feel free to telephone, write, send smoke signals ….. I’m eager to answer any questions and share my personal excitement about Extraordinary People’s future.