My father was not what you might call handy, so over time, he was happy to designate me as the go-to guy for everything from mechanical repairs and welding to carpentry and electrical.
I liked fixing things, but I also enjoyed reading and writing – a passion I inherited from my mother, a part-time schoolteacher. Before I could write, I would dictate stories, and my mother would write them down for me. I would then ask her to read them back. In a way, she was like my personal secretary. She seemed to enjoy the process, and we shared plenty of laughs.
As a farm kid, I was actively involved in 4H for several years and eventually became a Junior 4H Leader. I wasn’t much interested in the livestock aspect, but I enjoyed the camaraderie and public speaking, for which I won several awards. When I finished high school, I studied broadcasting and became a radio announcer and, later, a professional copywriter.
To supplement my radio income, I began writing advertorials for a local daily paper and eventually wrote a well-received weekly column on the paranormal: The Unknown.
Perhaps it’s the nature of a ponderer, but over time I began to ponder why people did and said things and why (more importantly) I did and said certain things. As a result, I developed a deep and abiding interest in psychology, philosophy, and metaphysics. Over time, I became a certified Master Hypnotist, Intuitive Hypnotherapist and Self-Esteem Coach. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others – I wanted the world to be a better place for me having been here. I spent fourteen years working in a clinical setting as an Intuitive hypnotherapist.
I have always enjoyed talking to people and hearing their stories. I especially liked stories about how people faced and then overcame challenges. In our family, I was known as the storyteller as I seemed to have an empowering tale about nearly every relative.
On a (carpool) drive home from work one day, I shared a few insightful stories with a friend. As we neared our destination, he commented, “You should write down those stories. They’re entertaining, and each has a moral lesson. I think people would enjoy reading them.”
I pondered the idea for some time and then devised a plan. I would pitch a new column to the local newspaper. It would be called Thoughts along the Path (To Inner Harmony) and would feature my “insightful” stories and a life lesson. After writing two columns – each 550 words – I made an appointment with the newspaper editor. He was polite and professional but rejected my idea. However, he did provide me with some good advice. Ground each column – they’re too “out there” for the average reader. Reign in your vocabulary – write at a grade 8 level – and make it memorable – ring the reader’s emotional tuning fork. Oh, and he did mention that the name was too long. Consider changing it to something more … relevant to the topic.
Taking the editor’s suggestions to heart, I returned to the keyboard and wrote two new columns under the working name Extreme Esteem. I returned to the newspaper a few weeks later to find a new editor. He listened to my pitch and told me he liked the idea. He asked me to write eight more columns and return in a month. I was back in a week – now with ten columns under my belt. That’s when he confessed to wanting to see if the column was sustainable. He didn’t want to green-light a new column if I was going to run out of ideas in three months.
The column was exceptionally well received and led to my being asked to speak at several functions, including colleges, universities, and hospitals. I also joined the local Self-Esteem Society, eventually becoming Vice President and conducting several monthly sessions. It also prompted me to create a weekend workshop titled Extreme Esteem, where attendees would experience some of the most profound and life-changing lessons and exercises.
Fourteen years and nearly 1000 columns later, Extreme Esteem finally wrapped up its run. People have often asked me if I ran out of ideas. Of course, there were occasions when I was a little pushed for ideas – the column ran weekly – but for the most part, the well never ran dry.
Fans of Extreme Esteem have often asked me when I would be writing a sequel to my first volume. Starting a few years ago, I seriously began to ponder the idea of a sequel. Even before the column wrapped up, I was considering it. With nearly 1000 columns to choose from (excluding those used in the first volume), I would have a great deal of material to draw upon.
After a few years and more than a few stops and starts, Extreme Esteem – The Four Factors 2 is nearing completion. The manuscript has gone through multiple revisions and edits and is only one final edit/rewrite away from going off to the printing press.
Once published, I hope fans and new readers will enjoy the stories and embrace the life lessons contained within. If so, I have done my job and perhaps … made a difference.
When I would conclude a speech, I would share the following quote. It was also written on every certificate of completion I handed out at the end of my Extreme Esteem workshop.
“This is our purpose: to make as meaningful as possible this life that has been bestowed upon us . . . to live in such a way that we may be proud of ourselves, to act in such a way that some part of us lives on.” ― Oswald Spengler, German historian and philosopher
Links for Murray Fuhrer: www.hypnotism.ca / www.extremeesteem.ca