Tony Robbins redefined the self-help industry single-handedly about 20 years ago and has remained on top ever since. He has amassed a small fortune which includes an island in Fiji where he also built a world-famous resort along with a following of millions. All this with the power of his words.
Other speakers that have been around for some time are Brian Tracy, known for his management expertise, Zig Ziglar, for his motivational talks, and Steven Covey, for his productivity system.
Recently we can add the likes of David Bach and Robert Kiyosaki who focus more on finance.
Despite the success of these and others, the self-help industry is still relatively small outside the US.
Once, in a seminar, Tony Robbins asked the audience to name as many internationally known speakers in the self-help industry, together the audience struggled to name eight.
That’s really puts things in perspective.
But why is that?
In many ways it’s the same reason that most English schools in Japan don’t get big despite it being a billion-dollar industry here. They both deal with intangibles.
There is no physical product that does things for you. No robot that zooms around the floor cleaning up, no gadget that allows you to carry the internet in your pocket.
The results are internal and therefore not easy to assess their value.
But as I have learned, what we become is worth many times more than what we have.
I’ve been involved in both industries; as an English teacher for more than half my life and as a coach for about three years now.
Both require clients to devote a serious amount of time, money and effort to achieve good results.
I was always surprised how many people have asked me how long it takes to learn English. My answer is always the same – it depends.
It depends on how much they are willing to put into it.
Many of the clients and students I have worked with are surprised to find out just how much work is involved. And while there are some techniques that can speed up the process there is no getting around the investment of time.
Some think that by joining an expensive program that they will naturally learn faster, not necessarily so. However, experience has shown me that the more people spend of their own hard-earned money to learn something, the harder they work at it. Those whose parents foot the bill or are swimming in money are less likely to appreciate how valuable the opportunity is.
It is also important to remember that most of us choose to do the things we enjoy first, not the things we should do or need to do.
Studying isn’t high on most people’s list. Most people I have found associate studying with boredom.
I was one of the people who wanted to get college over with as soon as possible so I could be done with it. Once I had got a job I’d learn the ropes and then work my way up through the company. That was my master plan back at the age of 16.
But when I first started working and saving money I quickly figured out one very important thing – that even if I saved $1,000 a month (a nice chunk of change) it would take me 83 years to become a millionaire. 83 years!!!! Heck, no.
There had to be a better way.
But none of my friends at the time had the answers I was looking for so I figured it was time to get back into study mode and read a few books.
Some were harder than others but now I have amassed quite a collection of books and lectures on audio tracks. A few were a waste of time and some were a drag to read, but I would say that the good outweighed the bad nine to one.
What was the most amazing thing though wasn’t the ideas per se. It was how much fun it was to learn about success, wealth, health, relationships and living a better life.
No school teacher had shared these ideas with me. Most of my friends had never heard them. And since I found the ideas profound and life-changing, maybe some other people would, too.
So here I am, trying to spread the word.
That success isn’t as hard as most people think it is. That we can achieve more than we think we can. That with a few simple changes we can achieve incredible results.
While simple, they take time and aren’t as easy as they seem.
Some people won’t be able to keep up. I know some people prefer to not to change and keep their fingers crossed that everything will work out.
But I also know that some people will. That’s why I do this, for them. For you.
Personally, it gives me no greater pleasure than to see my clients and students take what I have shared with them, apply it into their own lives and watch them grow into a person more capable of handling the challenges of life.
This industry may be hard, but the rewards are great.
I thank you for letting me be a part of your journey here today.