Paul J. Meyer dedicated his first company to “Motivating People to Their Full Potential.” That flagship organization, Success Motivation Institute, gained global renown and earned Paul the reputation as a pioneer of the personal development industry. SMI and subsequent ventures have earned sales approaching $3,000,000,000 – more than any other author, past or present. Paul’s creative and innovative approach revolutionized the personal development industry, changing countless lives along the way.
Paul had already proven to be a gifted and successful salesman, but after helping his insurance company recover from the devastating and fraudulent theft of his superiors, he sought a new career. From all the experiences connected with this set-back, Paul learned first-hand the truth he had heard so often from his mother:
“In every adversity, there’s a seed of equivalent or greater benefit. If you look for it and believe it, then you’ll work for it.”
At this critical time, Paul met frequently with his pastor in Florida, Dr. Bill Hinson. Encouraging Paul as he sought new direction for his life and career, Bill told Paul, “You are happiest when you are helping people reach their goals in life. Why don’t you start a company with that as its purpose?” That simple question and concise expression of Paul’s desires and dreams crystalized all the ideas and plans that had been churning in his mind. Through these conversations, Paul discovered God’s calling on his life: to help others realize their potential, that they may find God’s calling on their lives.
As Paul knew little about the communications industry, Dr. Hinson put him in touch with Jarrell McCracken, of Waco, Texas. Jarrell’s company, called Word, Inc., (now known as Word Records) which published and marketed religious recordings. Paul soon joined Word and led its sales department to an increase of 1,000 percent in sales. With the experience and knowledge he gained, Paul felt ready to launch out on his own dream to help people learn to use more of their God-given potential. In 1960, Paul embarked on his new venture, founding Success Motivation Institute, Inc.
Through SMI, Paul set out to help people, using his own distinct brand of creativity and innovation. Understanding that retention increased when consumers could hear content, rather than just read it, Paul became the first to condense self-improvement books and put them onto 12” LP records, and thereby revolutionizing the personal development industry. This development allowed for “spaced repetition,” a learning technique that allowed for greater retention and success in applying the content on each recording. Paul impressed upon his customers the need for listening to the content of the recordings six times in order to successfully apply its teachings to their lives. His creative and innovative tools, like the Plan of Action, Wheel of Life, and the Million Dollar Success Plan formed the basic concepts for the programs he produced through SMI.
Paul’s vision to provide practical, full-length courses to help people achieve their goals has been far-reaching. That flagship company has grown into a globe-spanning group of businesses with 28 full-length programs on goal setting, leadership, time management, and other topics related to personal effectiveness and professional achievement. A natural complement to his flagship enterprise, Paul also created LMI, Leadership Management International, a corporate leadership training program that expanded upon the principles of SMI. Sales of these programs are approaching $3 billion worldwide – more than any other author, present or past – in more than 70 countries and 27 languages.
As renowned speaker, author and pastor John C. Maxwell once wrote, “He (Paul) made an enormous impact in my life and I will always be grateful for that … For decades I have used his materials, either for myself or for leaders across the nations, and am always amazed at the changes that take place in people’s lives. But I should know better—everything Paul puts his hands to is life-changing!”
Beyond the professional development industry, Paul also started or acquired more than 40 other companies, including the following: aircraft leasing and sales, airport fixed base operations, auto racing, consumer financing, educational software, equipment leasing, exotic game, fiberglass products, finance, nutrition products, international trade, legal insurance, printing, residential real estate, time management systems, vinyl products, and commercial real estate. Although more than half the businesses Paul started subsequently failed, he thrived on the impossible and used his belief that “Attitude is Everything” to inspire and positively impact thousands of people throughout his lifetime.