I sometimes feel uneasy writing a blog on topics that brush up against that giant self-help genre — cultivating happiness, finding your passions, becoming successful in life — given that my sister, Kirby, was killed at a self-help event run by a well-known, highly-touted motivational teacher who turned out to be a dangerous fraud.
This uneasiness is why I have a disclaimer. I’m not trying to present myself as something I’m not. I’m simply sharing my thoughts and experiences with the hope that you might find them amusing, interesting, or maybe even helpful.
But I’d also like to share a bit more. In the aftermath of my sister’s death, my family started a non-profit organization, SEEK Safely Inc., which aims to:
- Educate the public about the self-help industry
- Empower seekers with tools and knowledge to be safe
- Promote ethical and safe practices in this unregulated industry
Over the last four and a half years, we have grown and continued to tighten our message and approach to what we see as an industry that has great potential to help, but also possibly harm. The seekers of self-help are often exceptionally motivated people, willing to put in a profound effort to improve their lives — as my sister Kirby was. Unfortunately, there are self-help “professionals” out there who simply wish to exploit the willingness of their customers for their own gains, even to the point of harm.
Because you, my readers, seem to appreciate the self-helpy discussions on the self-styled life, I feel you might benefit from what SEEK has to offer. If you’re considering a self-help book, thinking of attending a motivational event, trying a new self-help technique, or looking for a guru, check out SEEK’s tools to help you stay safe on your self-help journey. On our website you’ll find our Empowerment Guide, blog, and the SEEK Safely Promise, among other tools. Just today we published a post about the measuring spiritual vs. religious beliefs–just the type of thing I think my readers here would be interested in. Feel free to leave some feedback for us here or on SEEK’s site!
Have you ever attended a self-help retreat or talk? Do you follow a particular self-help author?
WOW! This is something that I never would have thought of. I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, but how moving that you all turned that tragedy into something to help, empower and inspire others. Thanks for the info.
Thank you for your comment and kind words. I’m glad my post sparked some thought for you!
This is just the thing–before my sister attended the Spiritual Warrior retreat in 2009, none of us–not her, not my parents, not her friends–thought to check whether James Ray was what he claimed to be. Our mistake was not an uncommon one–Oprah, Larry King, The Today Show–they were also duped by James Ray and took him for what he said he was, never checking to see if he was the expert he said he was. We now know there are some simple and easy questions to ask to determine whether your guru is legit or an event is safe.
Thanks again for commenting!