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Modern-Day Guru

July 29, 2012

Every modern-day gal needs a guru. Cue Robin Sharma, author of the best seller The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari about a hotshot lawyer who gave it all up for a life of philosophical reflection in the Himalayas, and more recently, The Leader Who Had No Title.

Like the character in his first book, who echoes Sharma’s own life, after leaving a career as a successful Toronto-based lawyer, he went on a journey of personal discovery and became one of the most popular motivational authors and speakers ever. Sharma self-published his first book, with his mom editing and dad helping out in the sales department. It went on to sell over four million copies globally. With a client list including IBM, Nike, Starbucks, and Microsoft, there’s no doubt about his ability to change people’s lives.

Last week he presented a once-off charity event in Mpumalanga to present his seminar Lead Without a Title. The concept is simple – it’s not about where you fit in on the company organogram. It’s about “your impact, or ability to get results, your influence (on others), and your inspiration – uplifting people instead of bringing them down,” he explains.

He admits to gleaning his ideas from an array of people and places, from art galleries and taxi drivers to Steve Jobs, and his mentors and heroes include his readers, his children, his team and his own books. Fire fighters, police officers, teachers and mothers also feature.

He feels his current best seller is “helping people shift from being victims to showing real leadership in their work and in their lives”.

Change starts with a single step, and when repeated with daily consistency, (it) starts creating a series of consequences, new behaviours and results,” he says. “Small daily improvements really do lead to a tsunami of results. Also, surrounding yourself with people whose lives you’d like to be living is key.”

When asked about how he tackles addressing so many different cultures and ethnicities at his global seminars, Sharma replies, “people have the same hopes, frustrations and dreams. We share a common humanity. I speak to that.”

Buy Robin Sharma’s book The Leader Who Had No Title from Kalahari as either an ebook or in hard copy as well as on

Words: Melanie Reeder