Dear Mr John Powers,
You don’t know me and we have never met, but I feel like I know you. I wanted to write to let you know what an impact you’ve had on my life.
In 1993, I lost my business, which resulted in me losing my house, my car and most of my assets. My wife-at-the-time was advanced in her pregnancy with our second child, a daughter to complete the pigeon pair, our son, who was almost two years old. All three-and-a-half of us had to move into my parents’ home, into the same room I grew up in.
I took a job at a large life insurance company, where the pay was based purely on commission. My previous business provided my family with a comfortable living, replacing that lifestyle quickly, required taking a risk I felt was worth taking. I adapted to the corporate environment quickly and keenly took on the role of ‘professional life insurance salesman.’ I was fortunate to have a great manager, (he is still a mentor to me today), that helped me understand – and embrace – the art of selling. I learnt about the nuances such as understanding body language, adjusting your tone, being aware of the speed of your speech, down to finding clues to spark a conversation of common interest, to build trust.
One of the great things he exposed me to was motivational speakers. I was instantly drawn to their energy, their can-do attitude, and their spunk, but mostly to their ‘story.’ I loved the stories they told about businesses that were failing once but are succeeding now, and what they did to achieve that.
I also learned having a positive attitude, is contagious.
It was sometime in those first six months that my manager had called our branch together one Friday afternoon, to watch a video, have some pizza and a few drinks. The video was from the 1993 Million Dollar Round Table, that takes place every year in the United States. The week-long conference is attended by 5000 of the top insurance salespeople from around the world. We watched about six or seven of the talks on the video, all inspirational and motivating. But it was your talk entitled: Even Sparrows Soar, that left an indelible mark on my life, one I am eternally grateful for.
Your talk inspired me in so many ways and gave me hope when I needed it most. It became a part of my journey because of the profound effect it had on me, in some ways it shaped my thinking and I have no doubt I’m a better person for having seen it.
As my way of saying thank-you, I’d like to share some of the things you said that touched me.
“My grandfather used to say: The purpose of an educator – whether they are in a business, in a classroom, or driving a bus, their job is to bring joy to the lives of others, through the joy of learning.”
“If we could teach our children: To learn, to love, to learn, our job here is done!”
“We love sticking labels on people that promotes discriminates and division. Stereotyping assumes you are like other people ‘like you’, when in fact, you are a once-in-a-universe happening!”
“Humour makes things better. When you smile or laugh, you are thinking better. Your brain is making better connections and more creative thoughts. Humour makes moments more memorable, it creates common ground that we can all relate to. We are the only species on earth that has it, probably because we are the only ones that needs it.”
“Just because someone is a fool in your world, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t be one in theirs.”
“My math teacher Mr Bindell, was a wizard.”
When he accidentally switched my math scores the first semester, putting down 96% instead of 69%, and left it when he saw I had started paying attention in class. Mr Bindell believed in me, and for the first time in my life, I believed I could! We call them wizards because they give you what you always had, but never knew you did. We can all be wizards, by giving children faith, hope, love and encouragement, they will help them achieve so much more”
“Smile a little more, decide to be happy when you wake up.”
“Learn to listen. Great listeners are rare and they are dearly loved.”
“If you try be the highlight of everyone’s day, you’ll be surprised how many people are the highlight in yours.”
“Do new things. Life is a rainbow, why only live a few colours?”
“Life is about spending time with the people you love, doing what you love…that’s it! That is happiness and we all deserve it”
Thank you, John, you are my wizard.
What you have given me, is more than I had in the first place.