Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jim Rohn - From Rags to Riches

Unless you change how you are, you will always have what you've got.

~ Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn (September 17, 1930 - December 5, 2009) was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. His rags to riches story played a large part in his work, which influenced others in the personal development industry.

Emanuel James "Jim" Rohn was born in Yakima, Washington to Emanuel and Clara Rohn. The Rohns owned and worked a farm in Caldwell, Idaho where Jim grew up, as an only child.


Jim graduated from high school 3rd out of a class of 140. He went to college for a year and a half before dropping out and joining the work force. At age 25, according to his accounts, he was working as a stock clerk for Sears collecting a weekly $57 paycheck. He wasn't broke but struggling financially, unable to see a way that would lead to his personal ambitions.[citation needed] Around this time, a friend invited him to a lecture given by John Earl Shoaff, an entrepreneur who impressed Rohn with his wealth, business accomplishments, charisma and life philosophy. Shoaff was, at that time, VP of Sales in a nutritional supplement company called AbundaVita. In October, 1955, Rohn joined AbundaVita and began a process of personal development that culminated in his becoming a millionaire by age 31. Shoaff, who had challenged Rohn at age 25 to reach for this goal, died one year before Rohn achieved it at age 31.

Rohn was invited by a friend to come and tell his "rags-to-riches" story to his Rotary club. He accepted and titled his talk "Idaho farm boy makes it to Beverly Hills." The talk went so well that soon others began asking him to speak at various luncheons and other events. In 1963, at the Beverly Hills Hotel, he gave his first public seminar. He then began presenting seminars all over the country, telling his story and teaching the personal development philosophy he felt had led to his accomplishments.

Throughout the 70's, Rohn conducted a number of seminars for the management and employees of the Marketing Dept. of Standard Oil (California) which now does business as Chevron Corporation. At the same time, he conducted a personal development business called "Adventures in Achievement" which featured both live seminars as well as personal development workshops. Ultimately, he presented seminars worldwide for more than 40 years.

Tony Robbins who worked for Rohn in the late 70's, was mentored by Rohn during the early years of his career. Others who credit Rohn for his influence on their careers include authors Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup book series), author/lecturer Brian Tracy, T. Harv Eker, author/teacher Vincent's Genesius Evans, from Indonesia.

Rohn was the recipient of the 1985 National Speakers Association CPAE Award for excellence in speaking. He is also the author of 17 different books, audio and video programs.