I recently heard from a friend that Wayne Dyer had died. His life and teaching had such an impact on so many people. I was lucky enough to spend time with Wayne Dyer earlier in my career and I can tell you his writing and teaching had a profound impact on me, as well as so many other serving leaders.
When I met Wayne Dyer, we were both doing professional speaking and at opposite ends of the career spectrum. I was just starting out and Wayne was already extremely successful.
As with many of my early mentors, I was blessed to see Wayne in a smaller venue and had a chance to speak with him because we both worked through the same speakers’ bureau, Nightingale Conant. Wayne had produced several bestselling audio programs that were focused on self-improvement. The bureau manager thought I might learn from Wayne how to focus my message on their key target markets.
What I got was so much more valuable than what I could give back. I had listened to and read almost all his programs and books he had written. I was a huge Wayne Dyer fan. I was surprised at the message he shared that day, it was much more spiritual than his books. Granted, it could have been because of the venue, but I had the distinct impression Wayne was going to take his life in a different direction.
In our discussion together afterward, he acknowledged the change but had not yet decided what it meant. Little did we know in which direction fate would move him. Wayne Dyer was planning to move his career out of the self development market and into the spiritual realm. He shared that we should use our gifts where we have the greatest impact on the world. He also shared public speaking may not be the best use of my unique gifts of influence and leadership.
His message moved me, not because of what he said to me. Professional speakers tend to give advice to many people and audiences. It was Wayne Dyer’s unique way of seeming to see into my soul. What also moved me was his conviction that there are many paths to change the world. In front of our shared audience, he had a message of self-improvement and controlling your own destiny.
But privately, he was awakening to different possibilities. He seemed quite comfortable saying things that only a great teacher might share with others. He wasn’t preachy or zealous, but it was clear he was being pulled to a different path.
This new path would put him in front of a much larger audience and had a much greater impact on the world. Like everything Wayne Dyer taught, he did it by putting his heart into this new undertaking. He began doing programs for public TV to help reach a new audience.
He believed in public TV and he understood why it was a unique opportunity to share his new message. He also knew how to market to help PBS reach their yearly funding goals. Public television was going through many major changes. Wayne Dyer was committed to helping them reach the many people who were looking for better TV for their families and communities. He helped revolutionize public television funding processes. During the course of this process, Wayne become a household name across America.
He made a huge difference because he provided his audience with great material that might not have been seen except for his commitment to create great programming that could be easily understood and remembered by the viewers. His new programs kept bringing viewers and funding back to PBS.
Now what did I learn from Wayne Dyer? I was planning to share that today but I thought it was important to put his life into context before sharing his leadership lessons with you. I will do that this Friday. See you then.