Do I have a vision for my life, one that will cause people to say, “She was a remarkable person whose life and choices positively impacted the lives of many people.” Do you? We can learn much from Gary Young.
D. Gary Young, the founder of Young Living Essential Oils, was born in poverty, in the northwest USA, and lived in a one-room log cabin. Although he graduated from high school, he was unable to read. He went on to become a farmer, rancher, and logger in southwest Canada.
At the age of 25, with a wife and 5 children, he was struck by tragedy as a tree he was felling landed on his head, crushing his skull and back in multiple places. He was in a coma for many weeks and, when the doctors had done all they knew to do, was told he would be paralyzed for life. He had use of only one arm and a quarter of his body.
Falling into despair and hopelessness, he tried to commit suicide three times and failed. In his anger, he lashed out at God. Over time, he realized that God was still with him and had given him the ability to dream. Every day he dreamed of walking again.
Believing that God had spared him for some reason, he began searching for his purpose. With the help of one of the nurses, he learned to read. He sought out alternative treatments, such as massage, acupuncture, and herbs. Thirteen years after his accident, he was able to leave his wheelchair and walk.
Gary had every reason to give up, make excuses and settle for a mediocre life. No one would have faulted him, but he did not give up or give in.
So what is stopping me from reaching beyond my limitations and hardships? What is stopping you?
Through his connections at the clinic, he learned about the studies being done on essential oils in Europe and was fascinated by what he learned. He made the decision to travel to Europe to study with these doctors. He began traveling the world to learn about essential oils, the distillation process, cultivating the plants needed for essential oils and talking to the oldest people he could find.
Gary could have let his background and the voices of others dissuade him from attempting to become a doctor. He was a man just learning to walk again, he could have decided that travel was not wise. He could have determined that he was just a country hick. Who was he to study with prestigious doctors? Luckily, he did not let any of these things stop him from reaching for his vision.
Who are we letting discourage us from reaching our goals? What voices are we listening to that cause us to give up?
He was encouraged to share the blessings of essential oils with a wider audience and so he chose to create a network marketing company so that education could be an integral part of what he could offer. He wanted to share what he was learning and studying with those who would use and share the oils.
The company grew slowly with handwritten labels on each product, a one room office and warehouse. A handful of people joined the company and the oils began to be shared, slowly. There were days that they would pray the phones would ring.
His vision crystalized into the desire to see essential oils in every home of the world, benefiting everyone on the planet as they had blessed him. Gary could have listened as people told him he would never succeed; essential oils were a fad; he knew nothing about business. He pressed on and did not give up.
Do we persevere or do we give up when our vision is slow to take shape or seems unattainable?
Over time, he created key relationships with scientists, farmers and leaders around the world. He began building additional farms and the company grew. The products went from a few dozen to hundreds, and he eventually closed his clinic to focus on Young Living essential oils full-time. As he and his family traveled to Ecuador to build their first international farm, five of his most trusted employees decided they wanted to begin their own essential oil company and proceeded to steal recipes, contacts, equipment and distributors from Young Living.
Gary could have let this betrayal destroy him or make him bitter. He could have allowed how he handled this situation to disintegrate his still young company. Instead, he chose to promote a vision of forgiveness and excellence. He stated that “eagles just fly higher” and encouraged everyone to focus on the positive of what was ahead.
Do we let disappointments or the poor choices of others define our actions? Do we persevere in the face of difficulties?
How will my vision change the world?
In 2016, Gary almost died several times. He had a heart condition, complications from a heart procedure, the recurrence of a rare virus that he had originally battled after returning from the Amazon jungle years earlier. Despite being weary and even depressed at times, he did not give up. At the beginning of 2017, after only a few weeks of training, Gary completed a 200-mile dogsled race through Alaska’s frozen terrain. He was again inspiring his family, his company and challenging all of us to live life to the full and never give up.
How many times do we let hardship, trauma or just inconvenience keep us from reaching for our goals, setting our vision, making a noticeable difference in the world?
Let's follow his lead and set our vision to leave the world a better place. We can do it!