I want to fly. From the very earliest moments I can remember in my life, I have had a dream to do something big that would make the whole world stand up and shout, and be happy.
My 38 Years in Media & Events
I was lucky enough to discover media in my early days in school, and I was immediately turned on by the power of the mass message: By communicating to a large group, I can bring people together to a common goal….and if I can master the technology and the arts, I can do it in a powerful and fun way! I was lucky to go to good schools from the beginning which allowed me great advantages from an early age in learning professional techniques for mass communications. I have also been privileged in my 38 years in media and events to work with and learn from some of the most talented professionals in the world.
In 1980 I went to work in television production in Chicago, Illinois, USA, and gained professional experience which would eventually open a door for me to work for ABC News in the USA. This broadcast news experience taught me a lot about influencing large groups of people with a strong message. Influence is, as we say in DCI, “empty.” It is neither inherently good nor bad—it can be used to achieve great good for a large group of people, or to hurt them. The essential purpose of the television news business is to inform people, and that is wonderful—and at the same time, in the wrong hands, it can be used to hurt or misinform people. This is where I first learned about the power of the influence that a well-designed message can have.
I moved on from ABC to a company in Detroit, Michigan, USA which specialized in various kinds of media, and was an early partner with the CNN Cable News Network in developing their newsgathering operations in the USA. For many years we did newsgathering and management work for CNN in five regions of the USA.
During my time with ABC and CNN, I was involved in many kinds of news coverage that I am very proud of, including some of the earliest coverage of the AIDS crisis, US Civil Rights issues, and investigative news projects, as well as many breaking news stories such as airplane crashes and scandals.
It was during this time of my life in which I was confronted with my own mortality, and with the fragile nature of the human condition. By this time I had seen a lot in life, including a lot of death. I guess wanted to know why these things happen so much, and if there was anything that I myself could do to stop them, or to help other people to stop them. I wanted answers to what I considered to be ultimate questions, and so I went looking for answers in some extreme ways.
24 Years As A Skydiver
I had already been a skydiver for some years, and I began to recognize my own search for answers in this extreme sport. I think I had a sense deep down that to find answers to ultimate or extreme questions, I might have to do something extreme. Skydiving is a dangerous sport, and the adrenaline you feel in freefall is addicting. I think all skydivers will agree we all know that something bad could happen in every new skydive, no matter how safe and skilled you are personally as a skydiver. I think deep down I had a sense that if I came closer to death, I might understand something more about what causes it, and if I can do anything about it. Unfortunately, I didn’t find many answers…just more questions. In my 24 years as a skydiver, 22 of my friends were killed in skydiving accidents or plane crashes.
During my 21 years of work as a producer and executive at my old agency, I was involved in hundreds of projects ranging from news media production to large marketing communications programs for corporate clients such as Volkswagen, Audi, General Motors and Daimler-Chrysler. While I was doing a program for Chrysler at the 1996 United States Democratic Convention in Chicago, I met representatives of the Susan B. Komen Foundation’s “Race For The Cure” who asked if I could help them with their annual program in Washington D.C., and so for six years from 1996 to 2002 I volunteered my services to manage their big national stage show at the foot of the Washington Monument. Good seeds! I began to notice a direct correlation between helping organizations like these and the quality of my life, but I had not yet learned anything about seeds which would allow me to harness the power of these actions and DO something with those good seeds.
In 2002 I worked on a program for General Motors in Johannesburg, South Africa at the United Nations World Summit for Sustainable Development, which allowed me to gain another perspective on the needs of the world, and a new inspiration for direction in my life. I had a strong feeling that my work was leading me to something….but I still didn’t know where it was going. I was becoming more clear about what big questions I had—but I had not yet found my answers.
Meeting Geshe Michael
In early 2004, I found out where I was going. Through a suspiciously synchronistic series of events, I met Geshe Michael Roach in a bookstore outside of Detroit, and he taught me “the pen”. It blew my mind. I finally had found an explanation for where the things in my life were coming from. It placed all responsibility squarely on my own shoulders… BUT—if I was willing to accept that heavy burden—it opened up infinite possibilities for me in life, to finally understand how to create anything I want, and to be able to look back and understand how I have always been creating my own successes and failures. It provided an opportunity for an entirely new perspective on life.
Our company had been growing steadily as we entered the new millennium, and I had no intention of going anywhere…but “the pen” had turned me on so much that I couldn’t get enough—and as I continued to study these great principles, I could not resist spending more and more of my time doing it….until in 2007 I unexpectedly, on the recommendation of my boss, abruptly quit my agency career after 21 years, liquidated everything I had, and moved to Arizona so that I could study with Geshe Michael more directly and seriously.
The Inspiration To Create DCI
In 2009 we had an inspiration to create DCI, and I found that all of the good seeds I had planted up until then in my life were about to propel me into my real life’s work: to help create a company to communicate these great ideas in a sophisticated and universal way to professionals, entrepreneurs, government officials, and anyone else that was discovering the unavoidable seed for leadership in their life or career.
It wasn’t enough to hold small gatherings to talk about these ideas— I wanted influence! I wanted to reach as large a group as possible in order to accomplish our goals as quickly as possible. If you recognize that success always comes through helping others, then the only thing that makes sense to do in life is to try to help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible! We needed influence to do that. We needed DCI to be seen as a credible, professional organization. We needed the seeds for that….
I met Orit in 2008, and we found that we had the same goal. We began working together to help the people around us accomplish their goals as powerfully and quickly as we could, and these seeds ripened in early 2010 as the beginning of DCI. At first the DCI brand was vague and weak, but now after simply using our own system, we are now being forced to see DCI as a powerful international brand with a strong presence in 25 countries, events in 35 cities every year, and an audience of almost 30,000 people every year…and continuing to grow!
We have more requests than we can fill for DCI events each year and are working hard to reach more people and develop a strong collaborative network with corporations and influencers around the world.
Our companies are a natural playing field for seed-planting! All you have to know is where your success is coming from and how to harness the power of what you are already doing to plant seeds for your own ultimate success. If you understand this, then everything…literally everything… is possible.
Want to know more about the evolution of DCI? You can read my article “DCI Around the World” here.