I could not believe the email telling me of Richards recent passing. Immediately after reading it I jumped out of my chair, tears in my eyes, and did not know where to turn, what to think, or what to do.
His wife Robbie wrote, letting me know that he passed, and asked if I would call her.
But I couldn't, not right then.
I sought out one of my best friends Troy DeMond, who knew Richard and talked for a few minutes. I could feel the tears again. Dam, What to do now??
I went back to my office, closed the door and just cried.
Robbie told me Richard had passed away in his sleep recently, with no warning signs whatsoever. As a matter of fact, she said he felt that he was in the best shape of his life. I should know his exact age, but he could not have been older that 56, way way too young.
Tears came again.
I met Richard around 1984, as he was a celebrity judge at an aerobics competition I had entered on Ft Myers Beach, Florida. 24 years ago, I was still a baby in the world of business and was making my living running a Wellness program for the State of Florida in Naples, and teaching aerobic classes, when I decided to enter the competition.
Funny, I won it that nite and it was a major turning point in my career, as I met Richard then and he immediately took me under his wing.
He hired me to work for him at the Sanibel Harbour Spa, and quickly told me that if I wanted to accomplish the lofty dreams I had for my career, I'd have to get my Masters Degree.
Before I knew it, HE had researched the best universities in the USA , where I could get my degree by going to school full time, working for him full time, in about a 2 year period of time.
I told him he was crazy, but in 3 months I was following his advice...and after 2 years of a hellish schedule, I had my Masters Degree, and he was absolutely right. It began to open doors immediately for my career.
Richard was also the one who told me that if I wanted to become an exceptional motivational speaker, that I had to start speaking immediately anywhere I could. And once again, he was calling around trying to find any clubs he could that would let me speak.
As you can see, he was a huge part of my life, and his advice and attitude has had the most amazing impact on how my career grew in the beginning, when we all need guidance.
Richard loved me, he believed in my talents.
At our church service last Sunday, I opened with words telling of his passing, and what he meant to me.
Afterwards, one of our congregation came up to me, who is a medium, and said..."Your friend was in the room, he told me to tell you he is so proud of what you have accomplished in life...that he knew you would..and that he'd always be around you.."
Thank you Richard for all of your love. I love you, your drive, your belief in others, your wish that we all follow our passions to live an exciting and meaningful life.
He wanted to make a difference in this world, and he did.
Slow Down. Live with passion.
Love, Peace, David Essel www.talkdavid.com