John’s vision is for a kind, understanding society that exists beyond the limited concepts of tolerance and acceptance and embraces all humanity with wisdom and common sense.
From early on, there is evidence of John Wood’s business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit: from collecting and selling flowers at age five, running a comic-book exchange at 11, to being an office boy at 15 and then a clerk for an insurance company. By 19 years of age, John had created the finest delicatessen in Perth.
The birth of Fleetwood began when John offered his services at 21 to a caravan hire and sales firm to sell, which they hadn’t managed in four months. Within five months, John had sold 44 caravans. But the writing was on the wall: this company was going nowhere and (so he learnt) had only intended to employ him for the seasonal shows. They kept him on.
Turning 22, with five months’ experience in the industry and £1000 saved, plus another £1000 invested by his father, John bought their first caravan for £100.
John and his dad renovated it in the driveway of their family home, selling it for £225 (at an hourly labour rate that amounted to two and sixpence each – very little, even in 1964). But Fleetwood Caravans was born, becoming Fleetwood Group of Companies, and then Fleetwood Corporation Ltd.
As CEO of Fleetwood, one thing was for certain: John had joined the ranks of organisation builders and entrepreneurs for which Western Australia was to become both famous and infamous – creative risk-takers who were to set themselves apart from their contemporaries and provide thousands with employment.
Today, 60 years on, Fleetwood typifies longevity and stability in a volatile marketplace – remaining one of Australia’s largest and most successful groups in its field.
John’s many-faceted interests in Fleetwood continued for 26 years – a search for excellence, which marked virtually everything he touched.
He drove the development of legislation to raise and set new standards for the Caravan and Camping industry and, critically, for the common good. Working in conjunction with the various arms of government and the industry for over ten years, he was both a pioneer and primary architect of a new design concept in Western Australia: Park Homes and the Lifestyle Villages that would accommodate them.
In 1972, he founded the Sir David Brand Awards for Excellence in Tourism (later becoming Australia’s National Tourism Awards).
John did what worked and what mattered, with considerable success.
He had ‘arrived’, by hard work, flair and determination, at a place where most of us would assume ‘life was good’. For most people, that would have been the point, the goal – the end game. But like many leaders, John was driven, a visionary busy with a perpetual series of new ideas, decisions and actions.
However, there was a spiritual ’emptiness’ – an untapped, unrealised, but very real inner world that eluded him.
In 1987, he chanced on a ground-breaking approach. It coalesced all he had explored before, illuminating why so many people felt dispirited and unhappy. Why personal relationships fail to fulfil us, why business and career success, regardless of how well we’d planned, often eluded us. And why, even when we were successful, there was an emptiness inside many of us. Why, as we navigated ‘the game of living’, we failed to nurture ourselves or others and connect deeply with ‘Life’.
It was that contact with ‘Life’ that touched and inspired John personally and professionally.
In 1990, at age 48, he retired from Fleetwood, sold his interests and retired all his other board positions to embark on frequent international trips and six years of rigorous training. He was away from home for extended periods and became the first Certified Three Principles Practitioner outside North America. He continued to travel, meet, talk and train with many extraordinary people, teaching and challenging long-held beliefs about the nature of the human experience – that often-elusive duo, ‘success and peace of mind’.
It was clear to John that this approach was more than mere rhetoric, far more than the latest psychological, philosophical, sociological or spiritual fad.
He saw how inextricably connected our psychological, philosophical, spiritual, organisational and corporate lives were inextricably linked – they were one and the same.
It was clear that the psychological/philosophical/spiritual source of each game of living we play was the missing link, and when understood, it was transformational. He recognised it to be the key factor.
Although almost unheard of outside North America back then, the approach was achieving remarkable results. Individuals, couples and organisations were transforming, and personal lives re-created – from the boardroom to the first-line employee, mums and dads, young and old, drug addicts and lifetime criminals.
In 1993, John founded the Philosophy of Everyday Living Centre, the first coaching, counselling and training organisation of its kind in Australia.
As Executive Director, he oversaw and led programs that challenged long-held beliefs and entrenched opinions about how businesses and organisations were created – but, more importantly, how authentic, truly sustainable shifts can occur within each of us.
John coached individuals and couples and mentored CEOs, corporate leaders, managers and business owners worldwide.
Impassioned, determined, and empathic, John lived what he taught with integrity. He walked the talk – a quality eagerly sought in the community and private and public enterprises.
John’s vision, more evident today, was for a loving and understanding society that exists beyond the limited concepts of tolerance and acceptance and, as a natural consequence, truly embraces all. In this, society, economics and environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand.
We create high-performing, low-maintenance, sustainable organisations from the ‘inside out’.
We care for the disabled and disadvantaged.
We foster a world where individuals, families, organisations and communities are all they can be.
In 2005–2006, John again took stock and moved into a new phase of his life.
He closed the Philosophy of Living Centre and devoted himself to recovering from a severe illness.
John focused on counselling, coaching and mentoring people from his home office and keeping his ‘hand in’ organisationally by working with start-ups and small organisations, willingly helping anyone who approached him. He still does that today.
Creating three guides with a fourth due for publication, 2023/24 has been a very productive time. John has created the Possibility Retreat and the Possibility Development Program. Each is his current contribution to a new future for humankind, other sentient beings, the flora and all else that depends on the sustainability of planet Earth.
Getting this understanding out into the world is now his primary purpose.
To John, it is clear that in any moment, we are either in a state of Possibility or one of impossibility.
He has seen the answer to what ails us – individually, as couples, families, businesses, organisations, communities, nations and as a global collective – and that is to see life from a state of Possibility.
As he says: ‘Possibility awaits each of us. Listen with a softened heart and open mind to hear its call. Respond with the innocence of “not knowing,” In the-yet-to-be-seen, you will see what exists beyond belief, opinion, judgement and your existing knowledge.’
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