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My Man Van

Van Carrigan - Remover of Obstacles

Over 25 years ago, I read a book that changed my life. It was, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. Beyond leading me to a spiritual awakening and deeper insight into the wisdom of the ages, my favorite part of the book was the sage named ‘Socrates’ that taught the young Dan the way of the peaceful warrior. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi was to Luke Skywalker in the Star War’s series, Micki the trainer was to Rocky Balboa, and Mr. Miyagi was to Daniel-son in ‘The Karate Kid’; Socrates was to Dan. I recall at that time wishing upon a star that I could meet a wise sage like Socrates to teach me also. Almost 20 years to the day, God blessed me by answering my prayers and sending me just that…a sage named Van.

The first time I met Van, I was not awestruck but rather peeved by his straightforward and seemingly blunt assessment of me. At that time, I had been around some of the most powerful, wealthy, accomplished, and successful people on the planet and NO ONE spoke to me like he did. He’d ask me a question, I’d answer and then he’d tell me to stop dancing around the bush and get straight to the point! I’d answer again and he’d look right through my B.S. and simply say, “That’s a great story, but what ‘really’ happened?” I’d answer again explaining my innocence in being ‘done to’ by the evil ‘everyone else’ and he would counter by asking me where my responsibility in the challenge lay??? WHAT…MY responsibility…are you kidding me…IT WAS THEM THAT DID IT; NOT ME!

Though initially taken aback, I was humbled beyond belief that for the first time in my life, I had met someone who could seemingly look right through me and know me better than I knew myself. After the meeting, though still confused, he offered to have me travel with him and learn what he did. In parting he gave me his card, told me to call him at a ‘specific’ time (not before or after) and walked away into the night. Once he departed, I looked at the card and my life has never been the same since. It said simply:

Van Carrigan – “Remover of Obstacles” on one side and “Results Rather Than Reasons” on the other with his number.

That was 14 years ago. Though I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what he has to teach me, I feel so richly blessed that I wanted to share with you several of the more profound lessons that I have learned from my man Van.

  • You can’t get where you’re not already – Whatever your goal, dream or desire is, you’ve got to start there mentally before you’ll ever be there physically. Rather than the typical Have-Do-Be (You must HAVE the title/position-THEN you’ll DO the work/responsibility-THEN you’ll BE the person you desire). It is just the opposite as first you must BE the person you desire, THEN DO the work they would expect and only THEN will you HAVE the rewards that come with the work.

  • Results rather than reasons – You will have one or the other…which do you want because you can’t have both; choose.

  • If you want to know what your intention is, just look at what you’ve done – There are no mistakes. Whatever you ‘really’ want is exactly what you ALWAYS get. How do you know? Look at what you did and that is what your intention was.

  • Life is the way it is – Thinking it should be different is literally one of the easiest ways to live a life of frustration, angst, depression, challenge, despondency, and overall misery. The acceptance of ‘what’s so’ will free you to do something about it rather than get confounded thinking that someone, something, or some event should be different. It is what it is!

  • Upset is caused by either thwarted expectations or miscommunication, which one did you do? – Yes, that’s right. Which one did you do? You are the source of the upset no matter how much you want to blame someone else. It’s you.

  • You can say anything you want to anyone when it comes from a space of Love – This is how you share your experience of another without wearing the black robe and gavel of judgment. When you realize they are you and you are they, you give up having to be right. Which by the way is another one…

  • Being right is a lonely - You can be right…or you can give it up to get results. Which do you want? I could go on forever.

Without question, he’s been the single greatest influence in my life. Many of you know him, many more don’t. Those who do, cherish your time with him; those who don’t, I pray that you find someone in your life like my man Van. Life will never be the same again.

To the ‘Remover of Obstacles’ I give you my deepest love and appreciation. Know that your life has changed the world…beautifully. I know I speak for thousands when I say, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” Now, about that ‘my responsibility’ thing…


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