Many years ago, I was a very new student in the personal development arena. I really did not know much about the field; many of the popular, well-known names were completely unfamiliar.
The only seminar I had attended was one where the person in front of the audience was pounding on his chest and doing all these moves that would be considered rap by today’s standards. That seminar was filled with promotion and hype, and it certainly was not what I would call a great introduction to the field of personal development.
Then I met Jim Rohn. A friend persuaded me to sit in the front row of the arena where Jim was speaking that day. He was humble and what he said made sense. Without the use of a flashy laptop (which weren’t available back then), an overhead projector, or even a Elmo projection machine, there was Jim with his ancient white board (I’m sure he must have started his career on a blackboard—remember those?) drawing words that looked like scribbles from the front row.
Everything he said made common sense take a back seat!
It fit and, most importantly, it worked. He said things like “You become the average sum of the five people with whom you associate” so I counted my five (now, please take this correctly: I love my friends, but just chose a different path) and this is what it looked like: $36,000 per year in income, two cases of beer each week, shots of tequila around a campfire, fishing success, and a schedule that only permitted weekend visits to the lake. The most important part of that math was not the income, nor the alcohol—it was going to the lake. Now think about it. “Could only go to the lake on Friday night and return on Sunday afternoon!!” Why couldn’t they go in the middle of the week??? Well, you’re either part of the challenge or part of the solution, and I wanted to fish during the week whenever I wanted.
With Jim’s teaching, I started to become a part of my own solution.
Jim said to become positive and help make a difference to all you come in contact with. I remember when a close relative, who was always negative, called my office and left a message that essentially stated “Your phone message is too positive.” Since someone negative had said that, I knew I was on the right track and actually felt uplifted. Since that feedback, I have always had a positive message on my recording.
A few years later, money was low and my business was even lower. I was broke, depressed, and didn’t know what to do. On a flight from Portland to Albuquerque, I picked up Jim’s book The Seasons of Life and began to read. Talk about an eye-opener! Have you ever read a book and felt like the author was speaking directly to you? I felt that way reading The Seasons of Life. I finished it just as we landed in Salt Lake City to change planes. By mistake, I left the book in the seatback pocket in the airplane. I realized it too late and when the airline wouldn’t allow me back on the plane to retrieve it.
I was devastated . . . it was like that book was my lifeline. And I didn’t have enough money in my pocket to buy another copy. I felt depressed again on the flight from Salt Lake City to Albuquerque. Then it occurred to me that the most important thing was the application of the book’s content, not ownership of a copy itself.
Let’s fast-forward about 10 to 15 years. I have studied under Jim for quite some time now. I have even opened for him—once in Phoenix in front of about 700 people and once in Dallas in front of about 350 people. What a charge that was!
So, Mr. Rohn, I owe you a great deal. Your words, your stories, your humility have influenced my life. I promise, Mr. Rohn, that I will be a good steward of your gifts. I promise to be part of that ripple effect that you talk about. I know you are always with me, you are a part of my heart, you are in my thoughts, and for that, I owe you a great deal.