Who Is Jim Rohn?

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Jim Rohn is one of my heroes

Jim Rohn (September 17, 1930 – December 5, 2009) was an American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker. His rags to riches story played a large part in his work, which influenced others in the personal development industry.

Jim Rohn graduated from high school 3rd out of a class of 140. He went to college for a year and a half before dropping out and joining the work force. At age 25, according to his accounts, he was working as a stock clerk for Sears collecting a weekly $57 paycheck. He wasn’t broke but struggling financially, unable to see a way that would lead to his personal ambitions.Around this time, a friend invited him to a lecture given by John Earl Shoaff, an entrepreneur who impressed Jim Rohn with his wealth, business accomplishments, charisma and life philosophy. Shoaff was, at that time, VP of Sales in a nutritional supplement company called AbundaVita. In October, 1955, Rohn joined AbundaVita and began a process of personal development that culminated in his becoming a millionaire by age 31. Shoaff, who had challenged Jim Rohn at age 25 to reach for this goal, died one year before Rohn achieved it at age 31.

Rohn was invited by a friend to come and tell his “rags-to-riches” story to his rotary club. He accepted and titled his talk “Idaho Farm Boy Makes It To Beverly Hills.” The talk went so well that soon others began asking him to speak at various luncheons and other events. In 1963, at The Beverly Hills Hotel, he gave his first public seminar. He then began presenting seminars all over the country, telling his story and teaching the personal development philosophy he felt had led to his accomplishments. He presented seminars for more than 40 years.

Tony Robbins worked for Jim Rohn, who mentored Robbins during his early career. Others who credit Rohn for his influence on their careers include authors Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup book series), author/lecturer Brian Tracy, T. Harv Eker, author/teacher Vincent’s Genesius Evans, from Indonesia.

He was the recipient of the 1985 National Speakers Association CPAE Award for excellence in speaking. He is also the author of 17 different books, audio and video programs.

Jim Rohn died of pulmonary fibrosis after an 18-month battle on December 5, 2009 in West Hills, California.

Mr. Shoaff’s Simple Strategies to Success by Jim Rohn

My first mentor, Mr. Shoaff, over a five-year period of time when I was age 25 to 31, taught me some extraordinarily simple things, before his untimely passing at age 49. He only went through the 9th grade in school. He never finished high school, never went to college, never went to a university. So he put his experiences and ideas in very simple language, which, I think for me—a kid from the farms of Idaho—was so important.

When I would say, “This is all the company pays,” Mr. Shoaff would say, “No, that is all they pay you.” I thought, “That is a new way to look at it.” I told him things cost too much. But he said, “No, you can’t afford them.” Well, that was a new concept for me. He promised that if I would improve, then I would qualify for more money. So I learned that we don’t have to work on the company, we have to work on ourselves. Now if it had been technical, I would have missed it. If it had been mystic, I would have backed away. But it was just basic, blunt “a-b-c” stuff that I hadn’t thought of before. For me it was the beginning of what he called “personal development.”

Mr. Shoaff also taught me that life puts some of the more valuable things on the high shelf so that you can’t get to them until you qualify. If you want the things on the high shelf, you must stand on the books you read. With every book you read, you get to stand a little higher.

And the “biggie” that forever had an impact on me:

Success is something you attract by the person you become.” That phrase changed my life. Success is not to be pursued, but to be attracted by the person you become. Put your energy into becoming a better you, the best you. Learn the skills. Practice the skills. Attract the success.

Those few simple strategies and ideas helped change my life, forever, for the better.

Thank you, once again, Mr. Shoaff.

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21 thoughts on “Who Is Jim Rohn?

  1. Loren Greig says:

    Wow, great post! Thanks for sharing this magnificent story Raena Lynn. Jim Rohn has given us all so much. I am still saddened knowing he is no longer on this planet and regret that I was not one of those so fortunate to have met him and be in his presence.

    Renowned for this magical phrase “Success is something you attract by the person you become”, Jim set a perfect example. I’m certain it’s changed the lives of the many people who live by it and strive to be better at everything they do and move toward success in all aspects of their lives. I love it… Learn the skills; practice the skills; attract the success! How great that we can embrace Jim’s teachings so that we too can impact the lives of others as well as our own!

  2. Marc Korn says:

    Hi Raena,

    Simply magnificent post !!

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring and empowering story. I use Jim Rohn quotes all the time and each one is so profound it is amazing…here are 2 of my all time favorites:

    “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

    “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they may have planned for you?… Not Much!”

    Jim Rohn left an incredible legacy… those of us who appreciate the importance of personal development can appreciate what he has left.

    I am a huge fan of Brian Tracy and there is so much of Jim Rohn’s influence in the teachings of Brian Tracy.

    Personal development is so important in our eventual success and here is a snippet from one of my Personal development posts from my blog and it really is very simple and something that EVERYONE can do on a daily basis..

    “Personal development and self improvement is about identifying areas of your life that you would like to change for the better. You must have an attitude of continual self-improvement. No matter which area of your life you are determined to improve,just follow the simple steps.
    Every time you overcome a challenge and succeed, you will gain the confidence you need to achieve new personal development goals. Plus, each time it will be quicker and easier.”

    Jim Rohn will never be forgotten and it is awesome that you shared this story!!

  3. Hello Raena

    “Success is something you attract by the person you become.” what a golden nugget, this is an exciting truth because not only is success involved but the journey is a joy because of the fun in the learning process. The materials that Jim Rohn created are A+, every word he has in his materials is fully packed with life. As a word of advice if someone does not have any of Mr Rohn’s materials, you need to get your hands on some of his life changing works. Great story


    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City

  4. Being in Network Marketing a long time, I had heard of Jim Rohn but never really heard his personal history. It is amazing the lasting things he brought to so many people. I will sure get some of his material in my library.

  5. Jim Rohn,

    Was a great leader that affected many of lives. I only had one or two of his Cd’s, building a network marketing business.

    But hear so many mentors that quote him.

    His passing was a great loss to humanity, but he leaves a great legacy.

    I really love this qoute you shared: “Success is something you attract by the person you become.” That phrase changed my life. Success is not to be pursued, but to be attracted by the person you become. Put your energy into becoming a better you, the best you. Learn the skills. Practice the skills. Attract the success.

    That is so true.

    I just comment in a forum post saying something simaliar.

  6. Awesome post, Raena Lynn! Jim Rohn was a great man, with so much to offer… and now we know why. Mr. Schoaff is not well known at all, but from the little I’ve seen of his work, I know he had great wisdom.

    We are blessed to have Jim Rohn’s teaching, even after he himself is gone.

    Willena Flewelling

  7. Stevie Smith says:

    Thank you for this article.

    Jim Rohn is a name I have across often and whilst my knowledge of his work is limited, I have certainly come to appreciate the wisdom of this quotes.

    That so many leader have joined you in this celebration of his work is a testimony of the legacy he has left.

    We all need inspiration and I am grateful that you provided me with someone who’s wisdom I should really get to know more about

    Keep the Smiles,


  8. Andy Nathan

    I have known about Jim Rohn for years. However, I did not know that he helped Tony Robbins, Jack Canfield, and Brian Tracey among others get their start. Cool bio!

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Andy,

      Yes, Jim was “The Big Guy.” He was a true pioneer and contributed a great deal by sharing his experiences with people. He was a true inspiration!

      Raena Lynn

  9. Yorinda

    Hi Raena,

    what a wonderful tribute to Jim Rohn.

    From your article I learned that he mentored influential people like Tony Robbins and Jack Canfield.
    Jim was truly an inspiration and his work is living on.
    One thing he said stuck in my mind : “if they would have taught Wealth 1 and 2 I would have taken it.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the would include his teachings into the school curriculum!

    Thank you for the great article!

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Yorinda,

      Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Jim Rohn was a mentor to the great leaders in our business today! Entrepreneurs, network marketers, or anyone interested in Personal Development and Abundance have to depend upon themselves to get the information and gain the knowledge they need to acquire the mindset that is essential to success.

      Raena Lynn

  10. Peter Fuller MBA

    Hey Raena

    Thanks for sharing such a great story.

    When I first became aware of something called “Personal Development” it was Jim Rohn who I listened to.


    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, I believe he was a pioneer of “Personal Development.” Who knew that it would evolve to a multi-billion dollar industry! He was a great contributor to our industry. We cannot persevere without understanding the importance of developing ourselves so we can serve others.

      Raena Lynn

  11. Raena Lynn

    Hi James,

    Mr. Rohn was a real legacy and I didn’t realize how many admirer’s he had. I’m glad you appreciated this article:)

    Raena Lynn

  12. Dewane Mutunga says:

    I’m big on quotes and Jim Rohn definitely has a bunch of amazing and memorable quotes. He is surely one of the greatest to do it.

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Dewane,

      Jim Rohn is quite the man. He will always be thought of as a legend. I will certainly read your post, “How To Create Offers That Sell.”

      Raena Lynn

  13. Kevin DeRoo

    Hey Raena,

    When I started on my journey into personal development it was Jim Rohn who inspired me the most.

    As John Shoaff did for Jim Rohn, taught in simple terms, Jim has done for so many others throughout the years. People followed Jim not only because of the information on personal development that he shared but it was the way that he presented it that made Jim so special.

    I remember Jim passing in Dec/09, it was a sad time for me, the world lost a great man, teacher, leader, and friend. But, as in all great leaders, Jim’s legacy lives on in his work and in the lives of millions of students around the world.

  14. Rosemary says:

    Hi Raena,

    Great Post, I have read and listened to lots of Jim Rohn’s teachings I would recommend everyone to read his books for excellent guidance for our personal and business life. All the best Rosemary

    1. Raena Lynn

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for stopping by. The more I learn about Jim Rohn, the more I realize his greatness and his contribution to this industry.

      Raena Lynn

  15. Eldon Beard

    Jim Rohn was the first personal development speaker that really “hit the spot” for me. I purchased a set of CD’s he made around the millenium and listened to them more times than I can count. More than most, he just had a way of getting his point across and hitting you right between the eyes, and making you feel good about it.

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