Back to Elements of Motivation

Events that Motivated Me to Take Action

During my school age years the formal education system was a disaster, I was a straight “F” student. But! I had real world experiences that led me to success beyond my wildest dreams. Today these experiences, recorded on my website, have helped motivate thousands of people to take action to fulfill their dreams.

At the age of 14 I joined the Sea Scouts, a unit of Boy Scouts of America. This experience turned me on to the maritime world and I wanted to know everything about it. I read books on sailing the oceans in small sailboats. I studied the Sea Scout manual from cover to cover and could answer most any question on subjects covered in it. With excitement I showed it to one of my high school teachers. She said “forget it, it is too advanced for you.” If classroom test was based on this manual I would have been an “A” student. I did not realize it at the time, but this was the art of self-education and this is how I became educated.

At the age of 19 I was in the Marine Corps and in Japan. An officer came to me and said “you are a machinist, you are in charge of the machine shop, and there is no one available for instruction.” Up until this time I had never seen a machine shop. In the shop was a small booklet titled “How to Run a Lathe.” Following these instructions I was able to repair and make parts for the motor pool mechanics’. The ability to work with my hands and self-education skills turned me on to the machinist trade. I now had a career I wanted to pursue.

During my high school years the school had shop courses, but only students with “C” average or higher in academics could take them. I was not allowed to take classes in subjects I could have excelled in.

From my Sea Scout years I had a dream of cruising the oceans in small sailboats. At the age of 27 I help crew a 36-foot sailboat from Hawaii to Los Angles. I was fulfilling my dream of deep ocean adventure. One of the crew members was Joyce, a 20 year old girl completing 2 years of travel around the world. For the next 30 days I listened to Joyce’s travel experiences while fulfilling the dream of my life. This sent my motivation and determination to fulfill dreams into outer space. I now had the courage to fulfill my teenage dreams of jungle and sea adventures. I soon traveled down the Amazon River by riverboat and raft, and crossed the Pacific Ocean in a dugout canoe named “Liki Tiki Too.”

During this time I was single and had two other goals, get married and cruise the South Pacific Ocean in my own sailboat.

When taking out a girl on a date I would start talking about my “Liki Tiki Too” voyage. I could hear her thoughts asking “what kind of nut am I out with?” Joan came along and I did the same with her. She was turned on and had an interest in cruising the South Pacific Ocean too. In time we sailed the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans for three years.

These experiences that motivated me to take action were positive. The following is a powerful negative experience that motivated me to take action. I was retired from the Panama Canal Company where I was given promotions and awards for of my leadership skills. In Guam I wanted back into the work environment and applied for a supervisor position in a small company. They told me of their problems and I assured them I can handle them. I did not know what I was getting into. It turns out the owners knew nothing about leadership, did not understand my leadership style, and fired me two weeks into the job. This was a heavy blow to my ego for the short term, but had a very positive outcome for the long term.

One big question stuck in my mind, how can leadership skills that advance me in one company and using the same skills in another get me fired in two weeks?

This started my research into workplace leadership, trying to understand what went wrong. The Guam company needed my leadership skills and I did not know why I led as I did, other than, this is what worked best for me. My experiences with these events needed to be analyzed. To do this I joined Toastmasters. For the next 10 years I would write about my leadership and education experiences, give speeches at Toastmasters clubs, get feedback, and analyze them again. I created a website and posted my results where I received more feedback. During the last 15 years visitors to the website grew to a peak of 2,000 visits per day. Today (2013) it is 300 per day.

Because of being fired and my experience in Toastmasters clubs, thousands of people have been motivated to take action to fulfill their dreams.

More information:

Back to Elements of Motivation