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Insights from a prisoner on your Success

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Can a prisoner know anything about success?

Can a prisoner know anything about success?

Insights from a prisoner on your success

By Douglas Vermeeren

In February of 2013 I had a rare experience that I shall not soon forget. For the first time in my life I was invited to speak at a federal maximum security prison. Immediately my friends began to joke that this was certainly going to be a ‘captive audience.’ No pun intended. But the experience that awaited me was not what I expected.

I had never spoken in a federal maximum security prison before. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was more than a little nervous. How would they respond? Would they all be behind glass or chained up? Would my staff and I be safe? Would the prisoners be interested in what I had to say or would they start a riot? I had seen all kinds of movies that got me thinking about things that could go wrong in prison. I had never felt this way about speaking to a group before.

Before arriving in North Carolina there had been a ton of paperwork to complete. I was later informed that even my visit to the prison had to have a special approval from the governor of the state and the head of the state penitentiaries in Washington, DC. This was a event unlike any I had ever participated in.

The morning of the presentations my assistant and I were picked up at our hotel by one of the prison administrators. It was long drive from our hotel out to the country where the prison was. On the drive, she reminded us again about the security regulations of the prison and onsite protocol. It was very intense. Very different than going over corporate details with a meeting planner before our regularly scheduled events.

As we got to the prison compound entrance the security force emptied every one of our pockets. No cameras, no phones, no pens, no loose change… nothing. Then through the metal detectors. I had to go through twice.  The guards then escorted us through the first of several vault like doors.

On the other side of the vault door we surrendered our ID at booth with a glass window with an armed guard inside. I smiled and said hello, she didn’t smile back.

At a second gated door we were given a hand stamp that was sensitive to ultra violet light. We were told that if this stamp could not be seen on the way out we weren’t leaving. Be very careful how you wash your hands. It was a very dramatic experience.

We then headed to the area where I would be talking to the prisoners. I had no idea what to expect but what we arrived I was greeted by five very pleasant inmates who were setting up chairs.  They treated me with great respect and were in very cheerful moods. I began to be a little more at ease.  The rest of the group began to show up and by the time they had all arrived the group exceeded 400 inmates.

It was then time for me to begin. All my fears soon left. The inmates responded with more enthusiasm, interest and participation than almost any group I had ever spoken to. They were hungry to learn and grow. It was very different than what I had expected.

At the conclusion of the presentation I had a chance to meet many of the inmates personally. Some of them shared their stories with me. Rather than resentfulness and regret I felt a spirit of hope among them. I could sense that many of these men had now embarked on a new direction in their lives. It was exciting to be a part of that.

Then one inmate said something to me as kind of an after thought. I am not sure that he fully understood the correctness of what he said. In essence he said,  “We are more free than many people on the outside because in here we have time.”

That statement struck me. I remember it often when I am now speaking to other groups in the outside of prison world. Often when I am speaking to groups in corporate settings or in public programs it is not uncommon to see people come in late, worried about deadlines, weekly schedules and other commitments related to time. When speaking with managers or team leaders one of their consistent concerns for their people is how they use their time.   And as I observe how most people try to create better results it is not uncommon to see time being wasted, things being left for the last minute and opportunity being missed all because of time.

A significant lesson that I learned in my research of the world’s top achievers is that time  is a precious commodity. It is difficult for anyone to create success until they truly recognize the value of time. Time can not be created or preserved. If it is wasted it is gone forever. Without the proper use of time you can never create success or maximize your results at all.

I have also met millionaires and billionaires who do not have the time to experience life. Is that not literally a prison? Without time is there a point to have financial prosperity?

Are you in more of a prison than a maximum security inmate?  As you plan your day, your week and your month be sure not to forget the words of the prisoner “we are more free than many people on the outside because in here we have time.”

Doug Vermeeren

Doug Vermeeren,

If you want results you’ve come to the right place! Douglas Vermeeren has conducted extensive research into the lives of more than 400 of the world’s top achievers. He knows what it takes to become among the top 10% in your field and he can show you how. He is considered by ABC and FOX to be ‘the modern day Napoleon Hill.’ He was the first North American invited to address the Chinese Political leaders on human performance and motivation. He is the creator of the films The Opus and The Gratitude Experiment, co-author of Guerrilla Achiever, Guerrilla Masterminds and Guerrilla Millionaire with Jay Conrad Levinson. His coaching program MAXIMUM RESULTS is currently rated as the top coaching program by celebrities and business leaders for getting results.

Written by douglasvermeeren

April 3, 2013 at 12:34 am

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