What follows is the transcript of in interview by Alex Jones with John Parker on the BBC’s “One Show” on 1st July 2020. When the BBC asked John to do an interview he requested that it be with Alex on the “One Show”, which she co-presents. John felt that Alex would relate with sensitivity and understanding that comes from the many “Hero’s Journeys” she has undertaken in raising funds for charities. John also likes the informal and relaxed style of this popular “family magazine” show. The BBC’s “One Show” studio in Manchester is brightly decked out with its familiar lime green sofas, glass topped coffee table with coffee in “One Show” branded mugs.
Lights, Camera, Action
AJ: Our guest tonight is John Parker who has become known for bringing more people into self-employment and creating more personal wealth for people than many official schemes. In doing so he has enjoyed great personal success that has enabled him “give back” by establishing the Armed Forces New Life Programme. So, John, how did all this start and where did you get the idea of the Armed Forces New Life Programme?
JP: Well, I guess it all started back in 2001 with redundancy from a comfortable City job and the prospect of a mediocre pension. One of the few predictions that I’ve made that have come true was: “I am going to have a lousy pension”.
Having made that dire prediction I set about looking for a way of creating an additional income stream and it was really by accident that I found the network marketing business model and the company with which I’m now associated. This worked out OK. It supplemented my pension but that’s all it did. I was never in the stratosphere with the top earners; my stream hadn’t become a torrent. I began to settle for “OK” because I really didn’t know what else to do about it.
AJ: So what was the catalyst that got you going again?
JP: I hadn’t entirely given up and I have always been curious about how some people seem to attract success whilst others don’t. All the so-called gurus advertised systems – “7 Steps to Success”, “10 Steps to Vast Wealth” and so on. None of them showed you exactly how – lots of “what” to do – contact 100 prospects a day – but not “how” to find them or what to do with a prospect when you caught one. The breakthrough for me came when in 2014 I joined a Master Mind Alliance run by Mark Januszewski who styled himself as “The World’s Laziest Networker” – a misnomer if ever I heard one!
Mark’s philosophy is based on showing people how they can find their inner resources to bring about changes they need to make in themselves to determine and achieve their purpose in life. It is based principally on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay of 1841, “Compensation”, Charles Haanel’s “The Master Key System” created in 1912 and Napoleon Hill’s “Think And Grow Rich”.
AJ: So, nothing new under the sun then?
JP: Exactly. It kicked me into taking a new perspective on my life, how I had got to where I was, why my thinking was the way it was, and how, if I was going to have a meaningful life that left a positive impact, I had to change. And if you want different results you have to change the cause, what you think and the way you think, which in turn affects the actions you take and the results you achieve.
AJ: John, by all measures you’re an extraordinarily successful man now. How did you get from where you were in 2014 to where you are now in 2020?
JP: As I said, I had to change. I changed the way I thought about network marketing and my role in particular. I discovered that I am particularly effective with people who are facing change in their life, whether they choose that change or have it thrust upon them, in the form of redundancy or retirement for example. What I do is show people how to use network marketing to create a strategy and game plan for achieving their goals. My role is to serve those people, to focus on their agenda and provide coaching and support on their “Hero’s Journey” to a new life. Their success comes before my reward. What goes round comes round; you have to give before you receive.
And that’s something else that’s not new under the sun. The Hero’s Journey has been at the centre of every story of struggle, self-discovery and victory since story telling began. The “Hero’s journey” pattern was identified and described by Joseph Campbell in 1949 in “The Hero With A Thousand Faces”. It is equally apt in real life as it is in fiction. Google it, there are literally thousands of references.
AJ: It sounds very much like a “Pay It Forward” philosophy – like that film with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. How did all this lead to the Armed Forces New Life Programme?
JP: The town where I live is close to one of the Army barracks where in fact the bomb disposal unit is based. I met several army personnel in local networking groups and discovered that there were three groups of people I could potentially help. Firstly, soldiers retire earlier than most civilians and many look for a second career. Secondly, many soldiers who have served in trouble spots around the world return wounded and cannot carry on their Army career. Now, these people are real heroes so the analogy of the Hero’s Journey is especially appropriate. Finally, many Army wives want to have meaningful occupation of their own and a network marketing business model is flexible and can be built around their family commitments.
The venture started with an advertisement in the barracks blog, then some presentations to small groups. The whole approach was generic – no sales pitch – just information about what network market is and how it might be a solution for them. Individual meetings followed and that’s when relevance to specific goals and aspirations would be addressed.
AJ: But that was just the Army. The programme has spread to embrace all the Armed Forces countrywide. That is some contribution, quite a legacy in fact.
JP: Yes, I am quite overwhelmed, in a good way, and am honoured and privileged to have worked with real heroes and credit must also go to the original group, the first five soldiers from the local barracks, who shared the vision, stuck with it and took the programme to where it is today.
AJ: John, thank you for being with us this evening. You have a fascinating story and are an inspiration to all of us who seek to help people change their lives for the better.
JP: Thank you.