“Eagles don’t flock, but there are eagles in every nation; and we are slowly but surely gathering the eagles of the world together to reflect the light all over!” -Orrin Woodward
While the rest of the world is on a rampage to derail those in the spotlight at any cost, Life Leadership Members are all about lifting others up and encouraging them to live the best life that they can. Today, we want to feature a couple from the exquisite Caribbean island nation of Haïti. Thierry and Marie-Maud Laplanche, some of Life Leadership’s newest Life Coaches, have been fully committed to changing their country–and their results have been absolutely unbelievable!
Ever since the tragic earthquake of 2010, the world has gotten a closer glimpse into the frustrating reality of the Haitian people. Though the average Haitian could be viewed as a pretty ambitious individual, the incredible lack of good information and the scarcity of reliable resources have ousted a lot of the progress that could and should have been made in this historical country. Nevertheless, like the quote at the beginning of this article eludes to, there are always a few “eagles” in every community that refuse to accept the status quo. These “world-changers” often begin on a path much like everyone else, but at some point they decide that they will not concede to the whims of a broken system.
Thierry and Marie-Maud started from humble beginnings and have made their way into being some of the most elite thought leaders in the Caribbean–as well as worldwide–which is why we would like to share their inspiring story from start to present. Although they come from a completely different country, background and reality than any of the other Life Leadership Policy Council Members, this couple has followed the same path to success as every one of them. We summarize that journey in three words–Dream, Struggle, and Victory.
Even though they both went to Christian Catholic Schools and grew up middle class within 20 minutes of each other in Haïti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, Thierry and Marie-Maud never met until medical school. They were two young go-getters in the same grade that were fighting against the current in a progressively declining society. After studying together for a while and getting to know each other, they decided that they wanted to join forces, get married, start a family and excel together. Despite the fact that both of them started their careers in the medical field as doctors, their long hours and lack of time to spend with each other started to leave them yearning for something different. Like many that go into medicine, their real desire was to make an impact and help other people. They dreamed of being a major part of changing their society and their country for the better, and they did everything in their power to do just that!
Although Life Leadership doesn’t recognize credentialism as a way to determine your ability to lead, it is important to note how much these two doctors invested and sacrificed to make their world a better place. Marie-Maud studied medicine in Belgium and then at the Université D’Etat D’Haïti in Port-au-Prince. She specialized in ENT (Ears, Nose and Throat) and head and neck surgery. Throughout her twelve years of schooling, she also attended trainings in Canada and France. Marie-Maud was then an important part of the dynamic team that built the first ever team practice facility in Haïti. Thierry also studied medicine at the Université D’Etat D’Haïti in Port-au-Prince. He specialized in OB-GYN (Obstetrics and Gynecology), as well as Reproductive Endocrinology (Infertility). During the whole of his twelve years of schooling, Thierry also attended trainings in Canada, France, India and the United States of America. Thierry was then an integral part of the group of visionaries that built the first and only In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Center in Haïti.
By March of 2002, Thierry and Marie-Maud were on call ALL the time with 36 hour shifts every two days. They embodied the entrepreneurial spirit, loved what they did, and were truly helping people, but the element of time was not on their side. The couple was recently married and pregnant with their first child, Sébastien, when they were introduced to the Direct Sales industry. Because of the bleak outlook in Haïti at the time, any opportunity looked like a good opportunity; and although Thierry and Marie-Maud had no prior knowledge of home-based businesses, they decided to start digging in to the information that they were given. It had been a long time since they had read something other than medical books; and before long, they came across the teachings of Robert Kiyosaki for the first time ever.
“It honestly shocked us to realize how much we hadn’t learned in all of the years that we attended school.”
Thankfully, the new information piqued their interest enough to inspire them to give it a go. As you can probably tell by reading through their résumés above, Thierry and Marie-Maud are not the type of people to quit when the going gets tough, so they buckled in and resolved to make a difference while seeking some success along the way. There were lots of ups and downs over the years, but right after their second child, Chloé, was born in 2005, the determined couple were introduced to Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady‘s system of community building. They adopted the concept of compensated communities and were off to the races again, eventually creating a pretty comfortable lifestyle. Although criticized by many for building a business outside of their career while still practicing medicine full-time, Thierry and Marie-Maud had gotten a peek into what their lives could mean and how many people they could touch around the world if they would focus their efforts. Unfortunately at the time, there was no such thing as a Financial Fitness Program, so while the money was flowing in quite nicely, it was also flowing out just as quickly.
“We didn’t understand the principles of finances that we learned later on, so we blew our money as fast as we made it. We ended up buying some property and getting ourselves into over US$250,000 of debt.”
At Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky, in 2007, there was a turning point where Thierry and Marie-Maud decided to follow principle instead of just settle for the well-being that they had created for themselves. They jumped on board with Orrin Woodward and the rest of the Policy Council Members (Chris Brady, George Guzzardo, Bill Lewis, Claude Hamilton, Dan Hawkins, and Rob Hallstrand) and left their comfort zone to go into the unknown. Over the next four years, while the idea of Life Leadership was taking form, Thierry and Marie-Maud were incubating. English wasn’t their first OR second language, and since there were no resources in French or Haitian Creole, they just got their hands on everything that they could about leadership and self-development in English and taught themselves along the way.
Unfortunately in 2010, Haïti was struck by one of the most devastating earthquakes on record. Thierry was supposed to be at a meeting at that very moment, but for some reason he decided not to go. Looking back, both Thierry and Marie-Maud know that God is not done with them yet because the building that he would have been in was flattened and no one inside made it out. The couple went into emergency mode and worked for about a year after the earthquake without pay–helping people at every turn. Along with their family members, Olivier and Valerie, Roger and Guerlaine, the Laplanche family also created a Foundation called Seeds for the Future and started a school for children that would never have the opportunity to go because of their economic situation and the effects of the earthquake on their families. Years later, as Life Leadership and the Life on Life Initiative aligned with their vision, many of the local Team One Mission Members have decided to jump on board and help in whatever way they can.
“We provide a ‘safe place’ where parents and children alike can come to get excited about their future in a non-threatening environment.”
Finally, on 11.1.11, the couple, along with their mentors, Charly and Freddie Clermont, attended the official launch of Life Leadership in Columbus, Ohio. Even though they didn’t fully understand all of the compensation plan details because of the language disconnect, they saw the system and knew that this was what they had been waiting for all along!
“We didn’t understand anything. It was all a process of learning and growing. We read the books and listened to the audios…We believed in the success and did what the system asked without doubting–even when we didn’t understand.”
Since Thierry and Marie-Maud were still full-time doctors, they didn’t have time to figure it all out, so when they launched Life Leadership in Haïti in December of 2011, they just decided to trust the leaders, follow their mentors, and implement the system. Today, they credit a lot of their explosion to this simple fact. One of their American mentors, Jerry Harteis, said, “Just do it! Guys, you have to perform and when you have the numbers, everything will happen.”
Still without many materials in French or Haitian Creole, Thierry and Marie-Maud started plugging their friends, family and acquaintances in to the Life Leadership educational system. For the first couple of years, the growing Haitian team had their Life Leadership subscriptions and materials shipped to Florida, and then paid a broker to bring the shipments over as freight into Haïti. Another turning point took place at a Life Leadership Convention in June of 2013 when Thierry and Marie-Maud really began to understand the value of investing in their thinking.
“Our meteoric success started with one panel talk where Life Leadership Founder Claude Hamilton was interviewing Wayne MacNamara and he said, ‘You don’t have to talk, you just have to use the system.’ And it clicked!”
It was not always easy for Marie-Maud to let Thierry lead because of her strong personality and independence, but she listened to an audio by Life Founder Laurie Woodward about letting the men take care of the 10% decisions…and she made the choice to follow this principle. She admits that she wasn’t very excited about “spending” money on books and audios; but when she saw the determination in Thierry’s eyes and understood that the purchase was actually an investment in their own business, she decided to let him lead. In November of 2013, the couple received an audio named “Plan Your Group” by Canadian Life Founder Claude Hamilton, and it was game over.
“We decided to go all in. We planned out our success run. We visualized receiving the bonuses, achieving our dreams, and winning the most prestigious contest in all of Life Leadership–the Top Gun Award.”
Thierry and Marie-Maud Laplanche learned that they needed to figure out how to define and visualize their desired success before it was ever going to become a reality. In December of 2013, they started their run toward Life Coach (an achievement that would signify that they had impacted thousands of families in their country with positive information). Month after month, as they helped leader after leader achieve new successes, they solidified a culture of excellence in their community.
“Every time someone would become a Leader, the middle class was increased and fortified. In our country, we have extremely poor and extremely rich. Now, we are filling the gap!”
One of the many challenges in Haïti even now is finding meeting rooms after the earthquake. The vision of the Haitian leaders is to build a Life Leadership Convention Center that will hold 25,000 people. While many in their situation would have given every excuse imaginable of why they weren’t going to have success, Thierry and Marie-Maud knew that they were going to win…it was just a matter of time. Over the next 18 months, the couple created momentum second-to-none in the entire Life Leadership community. They reached into and started making a difference in the lives of hundreds–and then thousands–of Haitians by following the proven path laid before them and connecting countless leaders-in-training to a community of world-changers.
“We were full-time doctors! We couldn’t be the magic if this was going to work. And we discovered that the magic was a constant investment in our thinking…every single month.”
While writing their own story through this journey, Thierry and Marie-Maud discovered that the true secret to success is not in how much money you make–but rather in how much you change your thinking. They became passionate about helping people become better citizens…better parents…better spouses…better spiritual helpers…etc. They credit their momentum primarily to the grace and glory of God. While in constant prayer for their teammates, their mentors, and the impact that they long to make, Thierry and Marie-Maud believe that God wants to use Haïti to show His glory to the rest of the world. They understand the hunger and the ambition of the Haitians to be a gift that God’s given them despite all of the turmoil and distress that the citizens of their country face daily. Apart from God’s grace and the hunger displayed by their fellow Haitians, the couple know that the cause behind what they are doing is not only about making money–it’s about creating a movement. Their fellow leaders and now best friends have embraced with them a vision to be a part of their country’s escape from bondage and poverty. Thierry’s parents and brother and sister-in-law are so proud of them and are now involved in the Life Leadership community, as well.
“We don’t take any excuses. We focus on the dream…and on the cause. It’s better to go fast…When you have to suffer/sacrifice either way, you might as well go fast. It’s about paying now and playing later. It’s really about changing Haïti…one family at a time.”
Along the way to their destiny, Thierry and Marie-Maud reset some of their thinking about finances, too. With the principles of Defense from the Financial Fitness Program (living below their means, delaying gratification, learning the difference between expenses and investments, etc.) and a massive Offense through immersing themselves in the process of learning success principles and building their Life Leadership community, they were able to pay off all of their property and become debt-free. After hitting one of their goals in business and in their personal finances because of following the principles, they decided to finally buy a brand new car–a Range Rover–in cash. Among other things, Thierry and Marie-Maud are excited to now be able to pay the tuition for their two children at the beginning of the year, as well as bless Marie-Maud’s mother by sending her around the world on vacations.
Finally, in July of 2015, after coaching and spurring on countless others to pursue their dreams, Thierry and Marie-Maud saw one of their own biggest dreams come true. By implementing success principles consistently, developing other people, and leveraging the Life Leadership system, this couple entered in to one of the most elite groups on the planet by achieving the status of “Life Coach”. Surrounded by thousands of friends and colleagues when recognized for their achievement at Life Leadership’s New Year’s Summit in January 2016, Thierry and Marie-Maud shared about how important it is to visualize the future that you would like to have…to align your subconscious mind and your conscious mind around your goals and dreams. They told about all of the creative things that they had implemented to help them overcome the obstacles on the way to this goal. One of the things that motivated them the most in their journey was to have their children, Sébastien (14) and Chloé (11), introduced to the rest of the Life Leadership community on stage at a Convention. The second thing that they rallied their entire community around was to get their Haitian flag on the Life Leadership stage right next to the United States and Canadian flags.
“When we attend Life Leadership Conventions, it’s one of the environments in the world where we feel really proud to be Haitians.”
When Thierry and Marie-Maud helped the Policy Council (now to include Rob Robson) launch the company into Life 2.0 with many of their own top achievers, they had 12 Open Meeting locations in their country with an average of 150-350 attendees every week, 5 Seminar locations with over 2,500 people attending monthly, and over 200 people getting visas and plane tickets to attend the Life Leadership conventions in the United States. Their team (Team One Mission) has a goal to have 25,000 Haitians in a stadium in the next couple of years to arrive at the tipping point where they will be able to make a much bigger impact on their society.