Wizard Academy began with an itch and an image.
I got the itch in Tulsa in 1978 when I was 20 years old.
I saw the image online in 1994 when I was 36.
The itch was to help little businesses succeed.
The image was of a boy sitting beneath the stars with an open book in his lap. The crenels and merlons in the battlements beyond him suggested that he was sitting on the top of a castle tower.
Looking at that cartoon image on my computer screen, I knew I was going to build that tower.
I know this makes me sound crazy, but there have been a handful of moments in my life when I quietly but suddenly knew what was going to happen. I’m not talking about premonitions or visions or dreams or hopes or wishes. I’m not talking about goals or goal-setting. I’m talking about knowing something as surely as if it had already happened.
Did I mention that I know this makes me sound crazy?
I was 13 when I saw a photograph of Pennie Compton and knew that I was going to marry her. The two of us had never met. A few months earlier, I had been flipping through a 1963 Reader’s Digest atlas of the world when I noticed a city – Austin – in the center of Texas. I remember raising an eyebrow when I suddenly knew I would move there someday. The sequence of events that would cause these things to happen remained an absolute mystery to me. But the outcome was never in question.
So I knew I was going to build that tower. But I had no idea why.
My 1978 itch to help small businesses grow led to a string of remarkable successes. By 1992 I was traveling 40 weeks a year teaching ever-larger groups of business owners how to lift themselves to higher levels of success.
I hated it.
Dorothy was right, “There’s no place like home.” I’ve suffered from separation anxiety throughout my life. Travel, for me, is “the little death.”
“Honey,” said Pennie in 1993, “let the people who want your help come to Austin. Schedule a monthly class in our conference room and if someone wants to come to it, they can come.”
When we outgrew that conference room we began to rent the ballrooms of luxury hotels. By the time we paid for those rooms and rented the projection equipment and bought the coffee at $60 a pot and fed lunch to all our guests, we were spending about $20,000 per event to host these classes.
Did I mention that we weren’t charging anyone to attend the classes, and that we had no capacity to serve additional clients?
So we built a new headquarters building for our marketing business with a large, open room on the second floor that we could use as a classroom. That worked for about 2 years.
Then we built a classroom building next to the main office building. That bought us an extra 4 years.
Then, in 2004, Pennie said, “Honey, I found some land we should buy.”
“Why do we want to buy some land?”
“We’ll build some stuff for ourselves on one half of it, and then donate the other half to Wizard Academy and let the school become whatever it wants to become.”
When she showed me the land, I smiled. There, on the top of that majestic plateau was the tower I had seen 10 years earlier. It wasn’t physically there, of course, but I knew that someday it would be.
If you have a crazy image in your mind of a possible future, an inexplicable guiding star that encourages you in the dark moments and lights your way one step at a time, never forget that you have a tribe, and they’ve built a fascinating place for you to come when you need guidance or instruction or fellowship or encouragement.
Do you have an idea? An itch? A hunger?
Do you see something that no one else can see?
Are you willing to leave a trail of sweat and tears and dollars behind you as you struggle to make it real?
Welcome to Wizard Academy.
You, my friend, are exactly our brand of crazy.
Roy H. Williams
I have photos of all that stuff the wizard talked about today and they’re waiting for you in the rabbit hole. There will be lots of other stuff too, of course. I mean it wouldn’t be the rabbit hole without tribal news and random investigations into trivia that normal people don’t care about. Crenels and merlons? Have no fear. I’m on it. – Indy Beagle
Dennis Kneale recently said in The Wall Street Journal that the product liability claims in the Opioid Crisis could easily dwarf all the cancer claims against Big Tobacco. And believe it or not, small businesses that provide health insurance might even be held liable if their employees get addicted to Opioids. Dennis Kneale’s blue-chip reporting credentials include Fox Business, CNBC, Forbes, and The Wall Street Journal. So when Dennis publishes a scoop, smart business people sit up and pay attention. And he definitely has the attention of roving reporter Rotbart. Listen in, and prepare to be amazed, at MondayMorningRadio.com