WELCOME TO HARRISON’S INTERVIEW
Andrew John Harrison is the Co-founder of Goldzone Group and Renaissance for Leaders. Harrison is known as a “force of nature” for everyone who is fortunate to meet him.
This interview was conducted in 2002.
1. Can you tell us something about yourself and your background?
I grew up in rural New Zealand. This gave me a solid connection to nature. At the age of sixteen, I went to work as an apprentice for the Swedish electronics company Ericsson. Intrigued by the possibilities of computers, I joined a computer company as a technician. It wasn’t long before I was promoted into sales and became the top salesman in the country.
I married young, bought my dream house, cars, traveled, and lived the good life. I soon realized that I wasn’t happy. Something was missing. I began to read books, attend seminars, and began to grow very fast. My wife and I decided to go our separate ways. I dreamed of a new life and moved to Australia to live and continued in the computer industry.
I had always dreamed of world travel, so I took a year off and journeyed to over 30 countries including… the Pyramids in Egypt, Safari in Africa, the Kremlin in Moscow, The Parthenon in Greece, etc.
Settling in Hawaii, I spent the next four years commuting to Asia where I started a marketing business that grew into a multimillion-dollar company in less than 8 months.
This led to the discovery of my real passion — people, business, and making a difference. For the next five years, I produced several hundred personal and business development seminars in 12 countries. Overcoming my fear of public speaking I personally presented over 100 seminars, talks, and engagements with audiences up to 5,000.
Currently, my partner and I maintain our USA residence and spend much of our time traveling internationally.
We work with a limited number of clients who are leaders and change agents.
2. What experience or encounter in your life has influenced you the most?
In 1992 I attended a personal development program where I learned that there was more to life than earning a living, chasing success, and acquiring “stuff.” I learned a lot about myself and realized that a lot of my attention, my lifeforce was stuck in the past. I discovered how to free myself from past mistakes and embarked on a journey of self-discovery that has become a way of life.
3. What are the highlights of your personal and professional life?
One of the highlights of my professional life was overcoming my fear of speaking and expressing myself in public. Another highlight was growing a multimillion-dollar business in less than 8 months.
The highlight of my personal life is coming together with the woman of my dreams and designing our ideal life together, including being true partners — in life and in business.
4. Which of these highlights are you most proud of?
My personal life has more meaning and fulfillment. I believe that once our personal life is handled the business takes care of itself…
5. What is your idea and definition of success in life?
Knowing who you are and what you stand for and living in alignment with this.
6. How can you achieve this success?
By taking responsibility for yourself and your life. Simplifying. Getting out of the ego. Out of the rat race. Working on yourself. Educating yourself. Developing a global, world view. Being your own advisor and counselor.
7. Who do you think are the great talents in your field?
- Tom Peters for his bold, irreverent style.
- Stuart Wilde for his unorthodox view, and language that anyone can understand.
- Louise Hay for her loving and healing message.
- Anjou for her knowledge and wisdom.
- The local fisherman who I see every day at full tide, casting their nets into the swell to catch enough fish to sell and continue to live happily in paradise.
8. Which person, living or dead, do you most admire and why?
The person I respect the most would be Mahatma Gandhi. With little more than the courage of his convictions, he remained true and consistent to what he believed in, non-violence and freedom to change the course of the British empire and the Indian people. If he can do this, without tools, dressed in simple clothing… what can we do? Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated the power of one.
9. Which person, living or dead, do you identify with most?
I don’t “identify” with any one person. I learn qualities, virtues, and attributes from many, many people from all walks of life. Business leaders, world leaders, spiritual leaders, the corner store owner, the housewife, the fisherman, the New York taxi driver. When we identify with one person we adopt not only their virtues but their vices. I do my best to not identify with anyone so I can remain true to myself.
10. What failure, if any, have you encountered so far and what are some of the lessons that you have learned from them?
I have experienced many failures on my life path. At the time, they felt crushing and devastating. I have learned to accept failure as a necessary part of life. If there is no failure, then there can be no real success. Many people work so hard to avoid failure that they avoid success too… confining themselves to mediocrity. I no longer view failure as devastating, I see it the same way that we walk. First a step to the left, and then one to the right. We don’t walk in a straight line, why should success be all right feet? If it was we would walk in circles. Walking in circles is what most people do… I often refer to this as the daily grind, tick-tock, or rat race. Stepping out of the “circle” requires the courage to change, to see the world differently, to do the opposite of what most other people do. Ignoring the small failures only leads to bigger failures. A failure is simply an opportunity to correct, to change.
Divorce and US$500,000 loss in business were, at the time, devastating. I have done a lot of work on myself to learn my lessons so that I don’t repeat the same mistakes. We are doomed to repeat mistakes if we don’t get the lesson. I have, unfortunately, repeated a few…
11. What do you regret most about your career in life?
I have no regrets. If we regret something, it means that a vital part of our lifeforce is stuck in the past. The most powerful we can be is to be fully in the present moment. To be human is to make mistakes. Perhaps the hardest lesson in life is to forgive oneself for our own mistakes. Knowing that we are truly doing the best that we can in any given moment allows us to love ourselves through the process of life. Self-love is the basis for a life of joy, happiness, and freedom.
12. What is the single thing that you have learnt in the past one year?
The biggest lesson I have learned in the past year is the realization that there are people who want us to fail and who dedicate their lives to this end. Even to the extent that they would rather fail themselves than see you succeed. A classic example of this is well described in the William Shakespeare play “Othello.” It is shocking to see how people who say they are our friends, can in fact be plotting our demise. I highly recommend watching the Othello movie. It’s available on VCD. The key is to be aware of people’s true intentions, not to go through life distrusting everyone. Some people are trustworthy, and some are not. Wisdom is being able to know which is which.
13. Do you have a personal motto? What is it?
I have a few. One that comes to mind is: “Make it Ok.” If you have a big butt, make it ok. If you are too fat, too skinny, too short, too tall… make it ok. The essence of this is to accept yourself just the way you are. Before we can change things about ourselves, we have to first accept ourselves for where we are at. Some things cannot be changed, why judge ourselves over what cannot be changed? Might as well accept it and make it ok. When we accept ourselves, we can then accept others.
14. How do you improve yourself in your own personal development and continue to stay constantly motivated?
I read a lot of books, write in my journal daily, live and work in an indoor, outdoor environment, and share my life, learning, and joys with Anjou — my life partner.
I believe that the best investment we can make is in ourselves. I attend seminars, hire consultants, subscribe to newsletters, get regular massages, exercise, be mindful of what I eat, maintain a daily connection with God, and spend quality time connecting with the people who are important to me.
From this perspective, I see motivation as a result of how we live — rather than the goal of what we do. Inspiration, creativity, and self-expression are very motivating.
15. What would you advise others who desire to excel in your discipline?
I would advise others to learn about their own humanity, human nature, and relationships. A healthy relationship, one where both people see the relationship as a partnership rather than an obligation is the foundation for getting the most out of life. And this is what I would describe as my “discipline…” the mastery of living life. Business is all about life and relationship — isn’t it?
16. What do you like most about your work?
Sharing with people in a way that makes a difference for them. I love people and it makes me very happy to see other people living and succeeding at life.
17. How do you relax?
I love to watch movies and listen to music. Because I live and work in an indoor, outdoor idyllic setting, relaxation is an integrated part of my daily schedule. Nothing is as relaxing as watching a Dolphin breach, or a Whale swimming by.
18. What do you hope to do and achieve in the next year from now?
Now that I have created an ideal environment for myself, my plan is to share this with others. I am currently in the process of putting my philosophy into writing and building an organization that will last long beyond my lifetime.