Why Has Lighthouse International Taken Almost 18 Years To Launch Its Global Projects?

Updated: Feb 3

What It Takes to Launch a Pioneering Human Potential, Entrepreneurial and Benevolence Development Company



Where did we begin?

What started as Franklin Waugh and is now Lighthouse International began with a question, “how do you optimise business?”. Given there wouldn’t even be a business without human beings, that question very quickly became, “how do we optimise people and their relationships?”, which itself naturally led to the question of human potential. What is human potential, how do we optimise it and why do the vast majority of people, even with some of the best levels of education, come nowhere close to even scratching the surface of their potential, which is vast? This launched us into what was initially expected to be a 1-2 year research and discovery project to find the answers to these questions, however, little did we know how far venturing down that rabbit hole would actually take us.


How many people can categorically break down and explain to you what human potential is across its full depth and breadth; what it’s comprised of and how to start genuinely realising it without spouting a bunch of cliches such as, “find your passion” and “be the hardest worker in the room” and “never give up”! These all have some element of truth in them but they also glaze over so much too. There is a reason that the personal development industry is worth approximately $11 Billion in the U.S. market alone and just under $39 Billion worldwide but despite this and much of that market being repeat business customers an extremely small percentage, around 1-4% at best actually apply what they’ve bought to make any meaningful use of it and significantly improve their outcomes. Even small scale studies have found this to be true and we all know from personal experience how many people start out each new year with great hopes to lose weight, get healthier, climb the career ladder, work on their relationships and begin so enthusiastically yet, within even just a few weeks, those plans lay tossed aside and broken on the scrap heap as old habits take hold and the new year becomes just like the year before and many other years before that.


Year on year authors churn out new material promising breakthroughs on how to become more successful, happier and productive in life but those who succeed in implementing this material to the level of their desired goals remains pitifully low, while authors and success ‘gurus’ amass fortunes on the back of a clear hunger millions of people have to get more out of life. American Author, Life & Business Coach and Motivational Speaker, Tony Robbins, is reputedly worth $500 million and Spiritual Teacher, Alternative Medicine Advocate and Author Deepak Chopra is apparently worth over $80 million. If your aim is to sell inspirational, motivational and personal development material then this is clearly a highly lucrative market, as you can see. So why didn’t Lighthouse International wade into the arena and launch itself straight up as a personal mentoring and coaching business back in 2004 when it began. Surely it could be worth well into the $100s of millions by now? Well, you’d be right, if that was our aim. However it wasn’t. Far from it.


A business and moral case for doing things the right way

You see, Lighthouse was created to optimise people and through that to optimise business and then, through business, our goals are to utilise the increasing resources we develop to fund and support projects that help alleviate the suffering of vulnerable people and children the world over. Something that isn’t some kind of noble, headline catching PR goal, but one that has very serious, logical and reasonable business and moral substance and backing.


1) On a Business front it makes absolute sense to us as entrepreneurs and business owners to use our business resources to look after our fellow man and our natural environment if we want our business to be able to prosper and grow in the future. It makes no sense to reap huge financial rewards in the short term and live affluent decadent lifestyles in the short-term, if the world is becoming increasingly unstable and volatile due to the breaking down of whole national economies and even continents because of increasing and extensive poverty. Nor does it make sense to make profits while our very earthly home is being broken down by our extensive pillaging of natural resources and prolific polluting of once thriving natural environments at the same time. It’s fair to say that in the name of greed and even avarice businesses and corporations are creating a situation where there might not even be a safe and healthy planet to live on for any of us soon. What use is a big house and fancy car and bulging bank account then, when things like water and food become more and more scarce the world over, economies begin to crash, mass migration kicks in and people care more about survival than consumerism?!


2) From a Moral and ethical standpoint it’s just outright wrong. How can we justify seeking to optimise business and filling our pockets financially if we are ignoring the screams of children and vulnerable people in agony for want of THE most basic need in life after clean air to breathe, that of clean water and sanitation?! Certainly we at Lighthouse International cannot stand by when between 775 million and 2 billion people and children have no access to clean water and/or sanitation, let alone food to eat and a safe clean place to live. The statistics say it for themselves…

  1. Currently, diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor toilets kills one child under the age of five every two minutes. That is at least a couple of children while you have been reading this and approximately 700 children under five who die every day from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water.

  2. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.

Imagine if all 700 of those children dying every day from dirty water related diseases and issues were in a European Country like the UK, the USA, Canada or Australia, how long would people stand by and allow that to happen without responding to it? Well we don’t believe it ought to be happening in any country, let alone those mentioned. Even one child suffering in agony, even dying from something so preventable is deeply deeply wrong, let alone hundreds of millions of them. Charities and governments are burdened and stretched beyond their means to meet this crisis such that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Half! That’s likely to be around 4 billion people. This isn’t sustainable for our planet and is morally and ethically abhorrent.


But here is the crux. Where are the people and organisations with the means, the knowledge, the skills and the resources at hand to help solve or at least far better manage such dire global issues? These problems are complex and far more problematic than simply throwing money at them, there needs to be a concerted human effort and investment before anything material and financial and that is where our work is focused. Helping as many people as possible to learn about and realise more of their human potential, to not only vastly increase what they produce in value for themselves and their families, inside their own doors, but to be in a position to be part of collective efforts and combining of resources to bring an end to the scourge of clean water scarcity the world over. People and relationships, far ahead of material and financial profit must therefore always come first.


The first obstacle and restraining force

So that was clear, we need to help people to develop themselves and through that help them to increase their physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and financial net worth based on our extensive research findings, data and the practical solutions we are continuously developing as a result. Simple right? So how come that took going towards 18 Years? Well the first 9 years were spent trying to get to the bottom of why perfectly intelligent and educated people struggled to and could not sustainably follow through on the essential tasks needed to increase their performance in key areas of life and business. This was far from an obvious answer and far from simple. To date, as an organisation, we have communicated and in many cases worked with in the region of 70,000 people in some capacity to try and understand this syndrome. But the answer to that question, why don’t people improve and realise their potential in any meaningful way, despite in many cases them trying desperately hard to and being very committed to breaking through to that? The answer in a nutshell turns out to be this.. Upbringing! Or quite simply, a very incomplete one..


Yes, the answer is that those very very few people in our world who produce and create extraordinary levels of value compared to the vast majority, do so because of an extraordinary upbringing, compared to average and we are not so much talking about first class private educations either. Often these are those who either had exceptional parenting (which is very very rare), or from a young age, rebelled and turned away from traditional systems and instead found great mentors and guides in life, while also educating themselves at ages where their minds, hearts and spirits were far more open, malleable and absorbent than they are for people later in life; such as their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s where learning new patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviours in line with universal and essential principles becomes far far harder. Think trying to learn a new language when still a child, compared to learning one now in later life, which is much less challenging and complicated to learning about life and business, something our traditional education system almost completely ignores.


The second and unexpected obstacle and restraining force

As this discovery went on and the more we learned about the huge gaps in people’s upbringing and levels of knowledge, understanding and wisdom needed to produce more value in life more effectively, the more a second factor began to become increasingly clear as to what was also holding back the development and progress of those committed souls we were working with so diligently for so long on this project. It was the most unexpected restraining force and obstacle to people’s progress and development we could have ever foreseen when this project began, that of people’s parents, siblings, spouses, partners, loved ones and friends.


Yes. you read that correctly. The very people any reasonable person would expect to be supporting and encouraging of a person’s desire to develop themselves and acquire the awareness, knowledge, discipline and skills needed to produce a better life for themselves - because they hadn’t received what it took to do that when they were growing up - were actually but incredibly consistently, sometimes subtly, many times overtly, perniciously and often destructively so, their biggest obstacle to that goal. Indeed it has been the brazen opposition, the cynical criticism, the nagging, the deliberate undermining, the emotional manipulation and the group scheming behind the backs of those people we have been working with, by their family members, partners and so-called ‘friends’ that has held each and every one of our Lighthouse Associates back and limited their progress to that degree, simply for having to deal with and fight such negative influences off long enough for them to focus on what they needed to.

What is worse is all of the opposition and criticism received from ‘loved ones’ is done in the name of ‘love’ or ‘care’, or ‘concern’ and at the same time without any responsibility being taken for how much their negative behaviour and constant sniping from the sidelines is hindering the person trying to better themselves, often at great sacrifice to themselves in time, money and effort. Which, as you can imagine, is very confusing and challenging for the person involved in trying to learn, grow and develop because, on one hand there is someone close and important to them personally and on the other hand that same person is making it incredibly hard and emotionally and mentally taxing for them to continue in the work they want to do, which is challenging enough in itself. It was quite simply the last problem we ever expected to face and not one that could just be brushed aside and dealt with in one fell swoop. We are talking about people whose lives are intricately interwoven with those we have been working with, thus presenting complex and delicate situations which have taken years of careful and patient observation, investigation, research and study for us to understand the psychological and emotional dynamics at play, while also learning from social science data and PhD studies into this relational syndrome.


The problem of narcissism

We also discovered this was not something unique to the work of Lighthouse, not at all, in fact this was something very well studied, documented and observed back throughout human history - that when one person makes an effort to break free of the social mold and situation they have found themselves in by default and wants to seek change, improvement and personal growth, the most ardent and vehement opponents and restraining forces to this will invariably come from the influences of those closest to them. There are many reasons for this, high amongst these are jealousy and emotional dependency but fundamentally it was discernible enough down to one key human psychological and pathological condition and cause - narcissism. The biggest obstacle to someone’s personal development and improvement, other than themselves (i.e. their own existing faults, weaknesses and flaws in character and competency) is the narcissism - the self-interest at the expense of those around them - and how much those people closest to them, because of their narcissistic traits and behaviours will do all they can to stifle and prevent that person from changing.


Narcissism will act this way precisely because it seeks to control, manipulate and maintain a position over those around them to “feed” their own emotional needs. Narcissistic people want to be needed and they want to be significant in other people’s lives for their own emotional gratification, so if a person close to them were to develop and improve themselves there is a high risk to the narcissistic person, they will likely stop allowing themselves to be “fed” on the way they always have until that point. So the opposition of family, partners and so-called ‘friends’ for those seeking to learn, grow and develop themselves has a very logical basis, it’s a purely selfish motive on the part of those opposing them because the more narcissistic someone is, the more control, significance and influence they want over someone. They don’t want you to make choices that benefit you if those choices don’t also benefit and reflect well on them and they will oppose and obstruct and play emotional and mental games of manipulation and coercion, subtly and overtly, as much as they can to try and maintain their position, influence and control over a person to maintain the position they want with them.


A blessing in disguise

Because of this opposition from the sidelines and the learning curve involved for us as a pioneering organisation into the realisation of human potential, it’s been a long, fascinating and also very challenging journey to arrive where we are today. So why did Lighthouse International not launch its business projects sooner? Quite simply because we weren’t ready to, given the obstacles and restraining forces as described that have been at play on those required to launch it and the need for us to collectively understand and overcome these factors, because, even if we had launched, we would have only faced exactly the same issues and problems with everyone else we encountered as we grew and scaled the company, making the problem exponentially worse, larger and impossible to handle because we didn’t have the understanding and solutions we have since developed.


What our critics often choose to deride the organization and its people for, in taking as much time as we have to launch a scalable business, beyond the cost covering research and development phase we’ve needed to be in, has actually been our greatest blessing. We say that because it’s in these discoveries that we have found many of the answers to the questions we needed answers for. Questions such as, why do so many people realise so little of their human potential and what are the main barriers and obstacles to them doing so and how do they overcome those things? It’s because of these experiences, our research and us practically learning how to face and overcome these issues that we have learned so much we never would have otherwise and made huge progress in helping people to further and develop themselves in meaningful and sustainable ways. The lessons, insights, realisations and distinctions have been profound in enabling us to develop clear structures, processes, systems and practices that will enable us to care for, support, counsel, mentor and coach people to not only learn about and understand their potential, but to effectively and meaningfully realise it as well, while overcoming any and all oppositions and challenges to that, both within themselves and outside themselves.


Get in touch...

If you're an enterprising and aspiring entrepreneur, or if you currently run or own a business and you'd like to learn more about our 18 years of discoveries and how they apply to you / your business, or perhaps you're interested in joining one of our entrepreneurial forums, or want to apply for some possible mentorship, we'd love to hear from you.


Here Head Mentor, Paul Waugh, explains why he started Lighthouse International...


You can discover more about what we've learnt on our various social media platforms.

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