Copyright © 2015 Think or Swim, LLC
I love instant gratification. Who doesn’t? There are books that tell you how to lose weight in 17 days, remove wrinkles in 30 days, and how to find a man in 10 days. There are books about making a million in 24 months, clearing the clutter in your house in 24 hours, or how to travel the world in 24 days. Most of these books I own and some made a huge difference in my life. But when it came to the really important things, like surviving the death of a spouse, handling my son’s mental illness, losing a job and my dreams, I didn’t find a quick fix on the bookshelves.
Instead I rolled up my sleeves and did the work. I spent years reading and studying and attending workshops. Every new discovery sent me to my knees in anguish. WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TEACH THIS TO ME IN MY YOUTH? Learning about self-awareness, emotional intelligence and the power of thought turned my life upside down. So much so that I sold everything I owned and created a methodology for teaching it to teens. The method was so simple, that not only did they quickly understand the concepts, but they were able to immediately implement them in their daily lives. This program was called Quest Teen Leadership and thousands of teens around the country have graduated from the two-day workshop, which is now being offered by the Think or Swim Team.
The adults that were using the program were also having results in their lives that were game changers. On June 13, 2011, I got a Facebook message from an amazing man that had staffed a teen workshop years ago in Dallas, TX. He had created an extremely successful business in the previous 4 years and gave this program much of the credit. “I’d like to sponsor a teen workshop and get involved again with this amazing work,” read the comment.
After hours of conversation we decided to write a book and expand on the work of the trainings. We wrote the majority of this book in eight weeks, and began designing cell phone Apps so that readers can easily use these tools on the go. It is our intention to make implementing these concepts into your daily life as simple as possible.
Each principle in the book is first explained and then followed up with an example from my life and one from Sean’s. From our two, very different paths, you will be able to see how we use these lessons daily.
We really spilled our guts in this book in order to show you the difference these tools and principles can make in the average person’s life. We believe that life IS an amazing adventure. Will you create it or will it create you?
I knew that the key to what Leslie was teaching in her workshops was the experiential learning piece. Learning by doing instead of by listening to tapes or reading a book makes all the difference in the world. I’d read about or was aware of some of the basic concepts in this book, but being a part of the trainings and seeing the transformation of the teens is what really hit home. The more I taught, the more I learned. After the 3rd training, I had seen enough of the results to make a commitment in my own life to follow this path. Little did I know, within a year, I would be put to the test in both the business world and my relationship with my family.
At the time I was a partner in a start-up company with no capital, no experience, and lots of debt from mistakes made in our first year in business. After applying the principles in this book, I watched my business become very profitable and continue to grow year after year. At the same time, I was able to deal with unimaginable suffering and tragedy within my family. I use these tools to grow stronger and smarter every day and want to be clear that I am a work in progress. Understanding how to use the tools, Be the Observer, Neutral Event, Forgiveness, and Intention keep things in perspective for me and allow me to thrive in circumstances that otherwise might make me quit.
Anyone who has had the privilege to meet and spend time with Leslie Palmer would know as I do that she is a beautiful person, a gifted teacher, and an incredibly strong woman. I enjoyed presenting in the trainings with her and knew that what she was teaching was so simple, yet so profound. I knew then, as now, that every teen and every person, for that matter, could learn from the trainings and improve their lives.
When I contacted her earlier this year, my intention was to sponsor a teen training for 50 kids in the Plano area. It would be a chance to reconnect with Leslie, and I’d also gladly volunteer my time to be an assistant trainer with her. Our talks quickly escalated into teaching and sharing this message with a broader audience, a focus on all people, not just teenagers. It would take some adjustments and have a different feel, but we could do it.
What I know about people is that everyone has a story and that all of us have trials and tribulations. If we understood and practiced how to shape our thoughts to create the life we wanted, we would all be a lot better off. I made the commitment to write this book and share some of my story with you so that you would be inspired to take action using the tools provided. You will see that with every tool, you will be given the opportunity to connect with someone in your life.
My vision for everyone who reads this book is twofold: First that you embrace being the observer of your own life, get clarity on what you want your legacy to be, and that you take action to create the life you want to have. Second is that each person who reads this: connects with, acknowledges, and forgives five people in their lives. In doing this, you will discover that you are a gift to this world, your friends, and your family. I hope you do the work and can only smile in excitement as you discover what’s next for you in this life.