Transcript: Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower with Your 20 Minute Podcast.
Our special guest today, from Canada, is Doug Vermeeren and he’s the author of Personal Power Mastery. It basically, well, the favorite quotes I have … First of all, welcome, glad you’re here.
Doug Vermeeren: Thanks for having me.
David Brower: One of the favorite quotes that I have is, “If you’re breathing, you can do this.”
Doug Vermeeren: Right. Yep, true.
David Brower: It pretty well simplifies the whole thing.
Doug is a highly successful international top performer in the fields of motivational speaking and personal development. These three words that he works on are the heart, soul, mind and title of his profoundly impactful leadership program, which is being taught all across the globe, and following interviews with more than 400 top achievers worldwide.
First of all, you’ve got to have some major credibility and integrity to even get access to those people, right?
Doug Vermeeren: Well, yeah, it didn’t start all instantly. Who knows, maybe we’ll get into this in a minute, but it took a few steps to open the door, that’s for sure.
David Brower: Okay, cool.
So your book has been rated, or raved about, as the ultimate manual for honing your personal business and financial success proficiencies while eradicating your limitations. Just discovering yourself, is that basically it? How does this all work?
Doug Vermeeren: No, that’s great. That’s great. That’s totally great, yeah. I should hire you to be my spokesperson. That’s awesome.
David Brower: So how did you come up with the idea? Where was the epiphany that came along and said, “Here’s an opportunity for me to help people grow in ways that maybe they haven’t even thought of?
Doug Vermeeren: Sure. Well, I’ll be honest with you. I didn’t even really consider that at the beginning. To be honest, my background, I never heard about personal development. My father was construction, my Mom babysat kids in the home. Their idea of a successful life was to work harder and they taught me a lot about working hard, but they never really understood that concept of working smart. When I was in college, I took a job selling [inaudible 00:02:30] door-to-door. I don’t know if your listeners have ever done door-to-door sales, but it’s not the easiest in the world.
David Brower: Absolutely right. Yep.
Doug Vermeeren: I was getting discouraged, obviously as a student, I had tons of debt. I needed to come up with some results and the door-to-door thing just wasn’t working, so I was on the verge of quitting. I was pretty discouraged. And at that time in my life, a friend of our family’s actually brought me a book called Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. For those who haven’t read it, basically Napoleon Hill went out and he interviewed some of the world’s top achievers of his day, it was written, again, in the 1930s. Some of the people he interviewed were like Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, the Rockefellers, and Carnegie, the Wright Brothers, people like that.
So when I read the book, obviously I was like really blown away from, I guess, a principle and concept point of view. I really began to believe in myself and I was immersed in this idea that I can now, “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” I decided not to stop there and like anybody who’s now watching movies, you know that sometimes the best footage gets left on the cutting room floor. I got curious like what was the stuff that guys like Edison told him that didn’t make the book. From there, I decided I would go out and start interviewing top achievers.
Now, when I started, I didn’t think I’d get 400, I also didn’t think I’d get some of the world’s top, but I started with those that I knew, people who were millionaires. One of them actually gave me a really cool key. At the end of one of our visits, he said, “There’s one question you haven’t asked that can change everything.” “What’s that?” He says, “You haven’t asked me who else I know that you should talk to.” So I began to ask that and that’s one of the big golden tickets is, get access to these people. If you can come in through someone who they already know and trust, that’s really a way to leverage those connections.
It really took me a decade to get to the 400 top achievers. I had a chance to get everybody from Warren Buffet, to Bill Gates, to Richard Branson, to Oprah Winfrey, to the heads of many big companies that you know, everything from Fruit of the Loom, to FedEx, Nike to Reebok, and many others. And one of the things that I did, maybe different than Napoleon Hill is, I also started to study [inaudible 00:04:40] celebrities, people who made their money on the internet [inaudible 04:42, that just didn’t exist as a idea for success in Napoleon Hill’s day. I wanted to include a more rounded view of success [inaudible 00:04:52]. Yeah, that’s how it happened.
David Brower: Wow. First of all, how fun was that?
Doug Vermeeren: It was awesome. It was really awesome. And, you know, what’s interesting is, the thing that maybe surprised me was that many of the top achievers that I eventually wound up meeting and learning from, are not people that are super publicly known. I mean, we know their companies and we know their brands, but we don’t really know them as people. The other thing that was neat is when I started including celebrities and athletes, I started meeting some of my heroes. And there were people that I had a chance to interview that really, you know what? We may not consider them the greatest, even actors on the planet, but, to me, they were people that I grew up watching and loving and learning from, and just being excited to see. And then when I got a chance to meet them, and some of these people even became friends, it was really a neat experience.
David Brower: That’s a life changer. How do you control sitting in front of somebody like that without dropping your jaw?
Doug Vermeeren: That’s a really good question. I think, the truth of the matter is, in the beginning, I did probably a lot of that, but people forgave that because I was about 19 when I started doing this, so I’m sure that they had seen that a lot. They might have even chuckled inside saying, “Oh, here’s another one.” I think after I got through the first handful of interviews, I started recognizing that, even though these people had done amazing things and were well recognized in our world and in our community, they were just people too. I think, in many cases, it became very refreshing for them to see that I didn’t put them on false pedestals, that I actually was very interested in who they were as people, not just in what they were known for.
David Brower: Yeah, they had to enjoy that because you weren’t there for sound bites.
Doug Vermeeren: That’s right.
David Brower: Right? So that’s got to be a totally different approach, that had to be very appealing to them.
Doug Vermeeren: Yeah. The other thing that was interesting too is that a lot of these people, for example, some of the heads of these companies, one that became really close to me was a fellow by the name of Frank. Frank actually was one of the co-founders of Federal Express. He is a very grandfatherly-like person. He’s passed away now, but he was a very grandfatherly-like person. We became really close friends. He literally took me under his wing for so many things. I think, in some ways, that added a lot back to him. I wasn’t there to take, we were there actually as a friendship. In fact, I’ve got the same thing now with Brian Smith who’s the founder of Ugg Boots. Brian and I are really great friends and we do a lot of business together, even though he is such an amazing business type. He actually is interested to work with guys like me for things that I’m developing too. It’s pretty cool.
David Brower: That is cool. No matter what the level of, “Success”, because everybody defines that differently, but if you’re sharing time and conversation with these huge successful people, they didn’t get there just by resting on their laurels, they keep learning, they keep asking questions. So for him, or her, or whoever it is, to have a relationship with you to be able to pick your brain and vice versa, that’s a win-win man.
Doug Vermeeren: It’s totally cool that you recognize how teachable they were too. I remember sitting in the house of Bill Farley, who’s former CEO of Fruit of the Loom, he also was part owner of a variety of other companies. He and I were discussing business one day, and I’ll never forget, that in the middle of our conversation, he called in a handful of his advisors and asked them their opinions right on the spot and made sure he heard them all out before rendering his own judgment on something. It really taught me the lesson that these top achievers, if anyone wants to really play at a high level like that, you’ve got to become a learner before they become a teacher or a master.
I don’t think there’s enough of that willingness. Too many of us douse our ego before we’re willing to admit we don’t know something. It’s that thing that one of my other mentors has taught me, he says, “You can rich or you can be right, and most people prefer to be right and that’s what keeps them broke.”
David Brower: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And obviously too, that example, the really successful ones surround themselves with people who have varied interests in their business. They also have to be learners, they also have to be teachers, they also have to be strong enough to share their opinions with this guy. If he’s bringing in five people, he wants them on the spot and he wants them to be honest.
Doug Vermeeren: Yeah. It’s interesting because Steve Jobs said it this way, he said, “You don’t hire smart people and then tell them what to do.” We’ve got to be willing to learn from those around us. Definitely cool.
David Brower: That is way cool, man.
How long has the Personal Power Mastery been out?
Doug Vermeeren: What’s interesting is, we did hold off for quite some time before putting out the book. I’ve been teaching Personal Power Mastery as a seminar for really about the last 10 years, you know, trainings all over the world, in fact I’m heading out to London UK again at the end of this month to do a couple of really big events. But we decided to hold off on the book until, I guess, I had field tests, maybe that’s the way to say it. I had the interview, with the world’s top achievers, I began teaching it. Now I just wanted to see how the average person could apply it and get the results they needed, specifically in the areas of wealth, abundance, better relationships, better business stability, better leadership abilities, a greater sense of connection to self-purpose and passion. And now we’ve got it.
I think that we’ve probably got the strongest program on the planet right now. Never since the days of Napoleon Hill has anyone ever done such extensive research into success.
David Brower: How fascinating. And you did, for lack of a better term, you did what programmers all over the world are doing, you beta tested your book to make sure that you had it dialed in before you launched it. I don’t know a lot of publishers or writers that do that. That’s brilliant.
Doug Vermeeren: We just want to make sure that, of course, those that read it are going to get the results they’re seeking. It’s interesting because now I’ve got so many people who are coming out of the woodwork, folks like yourself, that are interviewing us, but other top personal development leaders from around the globe, that are telling us that we’ve created a classic on the same level as Think and Grow Rich or Awaken the Giant Within which is by Tony Robbins, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but they’re saying this is a must read for anyone who’s looking to take their life to the next level. I don’t think that happened by accident. I think it’s because we put the time and the thought to build something that’s superior and going to really help people.
David Brower: I think what’s fascinating in talking to you, and we haven’t been talking very long obviously, but there’s a couple things that really stand out to me. Number one is your integrity and number two is your ability to be humble through all this. Not everybody would pull that off.
Doug Vermeeren: Well, you know what’s so cool is, one of the definitions of humble came to me from one of my top achievers. And I thought this was really profound. He said to me, “Humility isn’t thinking you’re better than anyone else or less than anyone else. Humility is believing that you’re great, but believing everyone is great.”
David Brower: There you go.
Doug Vermeeren: I think that, that’s the thing that most of us lack in that definition is, we don’t always recognize how brilliant we are. It’s like that quote by Alex Mandossian. Alex says, “You’re not as good as think you are, you’re better.” I think most of us, we think that to be humble, we need to be deflate ourselves in comparison to others. And the truth of the matter is, we don’t, we just really need to recognize that others are just as good as us.
David Brower: So when you’re talking to people, you’re doing your training, you’re teaching, you’re going all over the place helping people with this process, for lack of a better term. I’m reading through the list here, some of the things that you share with people. One is the five pillars that motivate individuals. Tell us about that briefly.
Doug Vermeeren: I guess the easiest way to explain that in a brief … excuse me … abbreviated version is that as we interviewed the world’s top achievers and then later, like I said, around the world, we noticed that everybody’s goal would fall into one of five areas. The interesting thing is that these areas do overlap and there is also a reason why they come across in the sequence I’m about to share.
Here’s the five pillars: so if you imagine a star, these are the points of the star. Balance is the first one which includes self-worth, self-confidence, self-fulfillment. That’s one powerful area of where we set goals. Number two, is spirituality and that doesn’t just mean religion or church or anything. That can even mean how we are at ethics with the things we believe, or things we do, and how we connect to others in our universe and in our world.
The third is what we call health, which can not only be, “I want to eat better and lose weight and stop smoking,” but really just how we look at our overall health. In fact, I’ve had terminally ill people who’ve actually really felt good about how their health is reflected even though they’re on their way out. We’ve also had, the next pillar is what we call relationships which doesn’t just mean husband and wife relationship, but can mean sibling, it can mean parent, it can be business relationships. It can be any kind of connections that we have. And the last is abundance. Now the interesting thing is that most people, when you ask them to set their goals on paper, they typically write down the things that they want to have or the things that they want to do, which typically don’t really contain ourselves or our spirituality, sometimes not even our health. Generally things that are relationship oriented or abundance oriented.
Now the problem with this, if you think about this in the context of somebody, that you want to have a really good relationship with somebody, but you’re not prepared to put in the work on yourself or if you’re a phony baloney if you’re finding an attractive mate. Well, you can only hold up that inauthenticity for so long. That’s why I believe that there’s so many relationships that ultimately, two or three years in, they’re in trouble, because they were trying to be something they weren’t. And we see that as well with wealth and abundance. Sometimes people will, not put the customers, or what have you, first, but they’ll go for the money. But because the other thing is not placed properly, they end up burning bridges.
It’s really important that we understand that that cycle of all of those things is important, not just to do it, to have it. You’ve actually got to understand that there’s a step before that. You have to be it before we can do it, before we can have it.
David Brower: I love it. I love it.
Doug Vermeeren: And you know what? Just to share a really cool thought on that, this comes from my wife, also a top achiever, in my opinion. She has the idea where we, you hear the quote, “Actions speak louder than words.” And she said, “Well, being actually speaks louder than actions.” And I think that that’s so important. Our society that, when be the right thing, even if we don’t always do the right thing, we’re human, sometimes we make mistakes. But when we be the right thing, we can attain trust and forgiveness a lot easier than by falsifying who we are to act the part that we aren’t, to ultimately receive something that we’re technically not entitled to.
David Brower: Boy, that’s really well said, yeah. It’s almost like, well, it’s certainly integrity, it’s certainly showing up, it’s certainly being present, and then if you have the pieces of the stars together in align, if you will for lack of a better term, then the money follows. You have to do the right steps first, right?
Doug Vermeeren: You’re absolutely right. Well, if you think about it, all transactions for finance comes through a relationship. If you don’t build a relationship appropriately first, you’re not going to have the opportunity to have transactions that go all right. They say, “Nice guys finish last,” but what they don’t tell you is that nice guys finish and they get to come again, and again, and again. Whereas a greedy person who’s a challenge, they may finish first once, but they generally don’t get invited back.
David Brower: No, that’s for sure. That’s for sure.
So there’s your process, does it change behaviors, does it change subconscious? What kind of changes can people expect, or should they even have any expectations going into this?
Doug Vermeeren: Well, I think all of the above actually are changed. I think, the thing, if we look at how things move from the subconscious to the conscious mind, and then to ultimately activity, and obviously patterns and habits, we’ve got to recognize that it all really begins with us. And we can’t really change something that we’re not aware of and this is really a massive process where we can measure ourselves against the patterns and the thinking that the world’s top achievers do.
One of my favorite parts of the entire seminar is we talk a lot about … excuse me … the power of choice and also the power of our thoughts and to recognize the level of thinking, if you will, the topics you refuse to accept in your life. And I think that too often, most people are in a default mode where they’re in neutral or ritual tendency kind of thinking where, “You know, we’ll just kind of roll with this. It’s worked in the past so therefore, we’ll keep doing it. It’s not really doing a lot of harm.”
Therefore, they’re never really excelling. One of the biggest, “Ahas,” of this whole process, whether it was the top achievers or something like how close people really are to the things they really want, if they would simply push themselves to understand the kind of thinking that top achievers really do.
David Brower: They kind of have to get out of their way, don’t they, their own way?
Doug Vermeeren: Like I said, you can be rich or you can be right. But most people, from an ego point of view, they want to hold on to what they’ve already got and part of that is being right.
David Brower: Absolutely. Absolutely.
We’re just about out of time here. I want to make sure people understand and look forward to getting a copy of your book. And, again, it’s Personal Power Mastery. It’s available on Amazon, in fact, I’m looking at it right now. You’ve got two other books, Guerilla Millionaire, Unlock the Secrets of the Self-Made Millionaire, also Guerilla Achiever: The Unconventional Way to Become Highly Successful. And the most recent book, Personal Power Mastery, and you may not know this, but they lowered the price on it for you. So you can buy it for Kindle or paperback, your choice, folks, $9.99. How can you not afford to do that?
Doug Vermeeren: Oh, wow. That’s awesome.
David Brower: Fascinating process. What a journey you are on, man. Congratulations to you.
Doug Vermeeren: Thank you. And thank you for having me today.
David Brower: You bet.
Are there ways that people could reach out to you, or find out where your training seminars are?
Doug Vermeeren: Yes. Absolutely. We actually have a lot of preview sources online too. You can find that at www.Douglasvermeeren.com and that’s got links to all of our social media and everywhere else on there. But that’s probably the best place to go is www.Douglasvermeeren.com
David Brower: Perfect. Thanks, Doug. Have a great journey and tell your wife, she is a top achiever.
Doug Vermeeren: Thank you. I look forward to chatting again.
Allan Blackwell: Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower has been brought to you by Audible. You can listen to any of David’s podcasts anywhere podcasts can be found, including iHeart Radio, the Spotify mobile app, and at davidbrowervo.com/your20minutepodcast.
Until next time, thanks for listening.