Ultimate Destiny? Who Me? You've Got To Be Kidding!
When I was just 16 years old, my Mother gave me a copy of The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. She was hoping (and praying) that something would get through to me and help me make better choices than I was making. I had dropped out of high school, started drinking and smoking cigarettes (and occasionally other things . . . ) and I was wasting my life.
Fortunately, the gift of that book did set into motion a series of “self-discoveries” over the next few years that led me into a life-long interest in personal growth and development. One of the highlights was the first major Community Unity Event that I produced with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Les Brown in May 1990. In recent years, my focus has shifted more toward stewardship and spiritual enlightenment and I have been blessed to have experienced some of the world’s top experts and trainers and coaches on successful living.
But first, more of the background on how a high school drop out graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Masters in Community Economic Development from Southern New Hampshire University and became the co-founder of several non-profit organizations and cause-oriented companies involved in personal, organizational and community development.
My first "real job" was through an unsolicited grant in 1969 from the American Friends Service Committee. The grant was to develop a Community Development Center in Greenville, Mississippi to support desegregation of the public schools. Through a number of unexpected circumstances over the following years, I found myself working as a disaster relief specialist for HUD, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.
After six years of helping disaster victims deal with and recover from natural disasters such as floods, tornadoes and earthquakes, I was asked to take some assignments in a different kind of “man made” disasters. That led me to serving HUD for another few years in “troubled offices” such as Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago and East St. Louis, Illinois.
In 1978, my then wife and our two young children moved to the intentional community of Stelle, Illinois about an hour and a half south of Chicago to focus on our interest in personal development and spiritual awakening. I was still working for HUD in the Chicago Loop and my daily commute was about five hours. Just imagine that drive in a Midwest blizzard in the flatlands . . .
Someone gave me a copy of Lead the Field, the classic audio cassette tape program by Earl Nightingale. I listened to those six tapes every weekday for many weeks. The results were so amazing in terms of my increased positive outlook, my sense of being in control of my destiny and overall well-being. I started buying and consuming more tapes by Brian Tracy, Norman Vincent Peale, Jim Rohn, Les Brown, etc.
After a few months of enjoying my “mobile University”, the changes in me and in my life were so profound and obvious to friends and family that I kept getting asked what I was doing that was producing those improvements in my attitudes, happiness, effectiveness and productiveness. As a result of sharing all the resources on success secrets with other members of my community, I was inspired in 1980 to create a 16 week class on PST! Personal Success Techniques.
After two-years of the daily commute from Stelle to Chicago, I retired early from HUD and increased my focus on various personal and community development projects. In 1998, I was asked by HUD to accept the position as Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Kankakee, Illinois. Kankakee was in fact a “disaster” in many ways which the Fantus Organization attributed to several decades of racial, political and geographic divisiveness. What a perfect assignment for a disaster relief specialist.
After spending most of the first few months helping resolve some issues between HUD and the City, I was free to start experimenting with my vision of combining personal and community development in ways that might “expand the circle of success.” By then I had learned from experience as a distributor for several of the leading development training companies that they focused only on the top 10% to 13% of the population.
When the Presidents and CEO’s of those companies would tell us to ignore the other 87% of the population, I was always one of those who got in trouble by pointing out that those folks lived in my community . . . that we are only one people, with one future and one economy.
As I interviewed the psychologists and psychiatrists in Kankakee County, I learned that the two major conditions they were treating were negativity and depression, largely due the massive impact on the County of 100,000 losing about 8,000 union jobs. After convening a task force of community leaders to brainstorm what could possibly be done to provide help in that environment, we decided to produce a Community Unity Event. Our objectives were to promote positive thinking, personal and community empowerment and appreciation of multicultural and geographic differences.
In that situation, who else would we bring in but Dr. Norman Vincent Peale to speak on The Power of Positive Thinking and Les Brown to share his exciting and motivating messages on the Power of a Larger Vision. That was only the beginning of my “graduate level work” on myself and the organizations and communities I was involved with.
Over the next few years, I was blessed to be able to produce major events with Les Brown several times, with Brian Tracy, Mark Victor Hansen, Jim Rohn, Bonnie St. John and several others. Many of the individuals and companies that had sponsored our Community Unity Celebration became close friends and advisors as we developed a Community Development Corporation, spearheaded the successful renovation of a 22,000 square foot National Guard Armory building into an award-winning Community Resource Center. We also co-founded Kankakee County CAN DO! as a vehicle for promoting positive thinking within and about the area and YOUth CAN DO!
We developed several non-profit organizations and created a model for smaller communities to learn how to come together and co-create a shared vision and discern how best to pool resources and meet common needs. At that time, before 9 11, most of the large scale development training events were mostly produced in cities of a million or more population by for-profit promoters from out-of-town who put on a one day show and took home the dough.
After investing a few years and about $150,000 acquiring training from some of the top trainers in the world along with hardware, and software for publishing, marketing and Internet marketing, we have developed and are now sharing with the world a template for smaller communities to be able to provide the same caliber of world-class training to benefit their residents. And in our model, the local community gets to keep most of any proceeds to facilitate personal and community development when, where and how they feel is most appropriate for their community.
In addition to launching these initiatives to help establish Empowerment Resource Centers and CAN DO! Chapters and Centers for Successful living, we are about to publish the 14 titles in the 1,000+ page Ultimate Destiny Success System and make them available through "Pay It Forward" and 'Pay What It's Worth To You" programs.
Article by Charles Betterton
Excerpted from the Ultimate Destiny Success System
Copyright 2010-11 by Ultimate Destiny Network. All rights reserved.
Charles Betterton is also the founder and CEO of CENTER SPACE, Inc., a nonprofit membership organization, that fosters spiritual, personal, organizational and community empowerment. CENTER SP ACE is developing a University for Successful Living and an international network of locally initiated Centers for Successful Living that offer a broad range of publications, seminars, and workshops to help people, organizations and communities see, believe and achieve all they can be, do and have.
CENTER SPACE's target audience is primarily the 95% of the world's population who is not generally provided access to state-of-the-art development training programs and successful living principles. The organizational mission is to establish a comprehensive system and process to develop and deliver ongoing training and capacity building resources within churches, nonprofit organizations and communities.
Charles has over 25 years of administrative experience in national and local government and nonprofit organizations involved in spiritual, personal, organizational, community and economic development. He holds a Master's degree in Community Economic Development and is the author of the Introduction to Personal and Professional Success Techniques Seminar; Motivision TM: 21 Steps to Successful Living; and The Ultimate Life Inpowerment TM Planning System.