During my travels, people often ask me what inspired the message of Be a Product of the Product. Some folks believe it was my father. After all, his visionary approach to life certainly inspired my passion for learning and nutrition. Others think it was one of my professors or colleagues from my days as a young doctoral student at UC Berkeley, pioneers like Dr. John Gofman, Dr. Alex Nichols or Dr. Jack Farquhar. These men certainly shaped my worldview about how a healthy diet and lifestyle is the cornerstone of optimal health. But, no. My inspiration to spend a lifetime sharing this important message came from two other mentors, Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel, as well as from Alma Stewart, one early and very inspiring Nutrilite distributor.
The Dynamic Duo: Rich & Jay
It’s hard to imagine two men more perfectly suited to go into business together.
Rich (or “Mr. Outside,” as I like to call him) played a key role in helping me hone my ability to share the importance of the Be a Product of the Product message. Jay (“Mr. Inside”) worked from within on the products and the business. Jay would continuously ask me questions about products, including the science behind them. I enjoyed these conversations and appreciated Jay’s interest in learning all the details.
Jay and Rich were a great team. I look back with gratitude for their valuable mentorship. While neither man was a formally trained scientist, I know both of them had a deep appreciation for the importance of research, especially research related to health and disease prevention. Indeed, both of them, especially Rich, encouraged me (and Nutrilite) to keep pursuing the areas of research that we were in and, most importantly, to stay on the front line of nutrition research.
The right way to inspire others
One of my favorite stories about Rich hails back to the early 1970s shortly after we joined with Amway. Rich took me on a tour of the Pantlind Hotel, which at the time was a rundown building in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As we walked through the old hotel, Rich told me about his plans to restore the building to its former glory to set an example and encourage others to rebuild throughout the city.
The passion and intensity with which Rich described his plans still amazes me today, almost 50 years later.
He and Jay had a grand plan.
They were going to help establish new schools, build hospitals, and help transform Grand Rapids into one of the top cities in the United States. I remember Rich telling me, “Sam, you must do the same thing with Nutrilite.”
I give credit to Rich and Jay not only for their efforts in rebuilding Grand Rapids, but more importantly, for their ability to set the example for what others could do too. It was a valuable lesson. We all need to show others, by our actions, that they too can do better.
The first product of the product: Alma Stewart
Before Rich and Jay’s time, one remarkable Nutrilite distributor was a great inspiration to me. Her name was Alma Stewart, and she was a satisfied customer, a very satisfied customer. In fact, once Alma was given the opportunity to sell Nutrilite products, she did an even better job than my father.
People gravitated towards Alma because her enthusiasm, experience and knowledge about the products naturally shined through. She had been using the products for years and felt they had made a tremendous impact on her life. As a satisfied customer, her passion and her actions were genuine. She walked the talk.
Looking to the future
I truly believe you can inspire others, but only when you walk the talk, which is why Be a Product of the Productis such a key message for our business model. It’s where your passion and integrity shine. It’s how your business thrives. It’s what makes the Nutrilite™ brand and the Amway opportunity so successful.
Of course, the future starts where we are today.
I am 83 now and have been in the business of health my entire life. Now more than ever, I believe that when we help people take charge of their lives, good things happen not only for individuals, but also for communities and the planet as a whole.
We can set the example for people all over the world on how to make their lives and the planet a better place for everyone.
It starts with being a product of the product.
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