August 21, 2022

Four years ago, I took a life changing trip to Africa…under the direction of an amazing organization (Village Impact) run by two of the most heart-centered entrepreneurs on any continent, Amy and Stu McLaren.

I’m reminded of the trip today for two reasons: It was around this time of year when I was there four years ago…and with Stu as a confirmed speaker at my Titans Mastermind meeting next month, the timing is right for a “rerun with a purpose.” 🙂

Regarding Stu: He is a multi-dimensional humanitarian, building schools in Kenya where none existed before (more on that below); and helping innovative marketers build world-class membership programs (more on that after he speaks in September) …with both of these dimensions being laser focused on lifetime value.

Also: Read more (in the P.S.) about the relationship between personal development and marketing, joined at the hip under the umbrella of lifetime value…and why a major publisher converged the two into a new imprint.

The lessons and images from my trip–many included in this post–remain with me every day…and I thought this was a good time to revisit Kenya with you.

In “The Lost Chapters of Overdeliver” (one of the 11 epic bonuses that are available with my book at, a version of this post appears with the title, “Learning to fish.” Today’s version is updated.

You’ll see what I mean by “learning to fish” as I explore the many takeaways from the trip, beginning with:

1. The importance of gratefulness: Be happy with what you have rather than lament about what you don’t have…treat life with gratitude no matter how life treats you.

2. The importance of mentors: But with a new spin from the perspective of the students I encountered in Kenya.

Some background on the trip, which had as its main purpose to open up a school (and open up a community):

I was moved to tears on more than one occasion watching the kids from the San Marco Primary School care for each other in such profound ways—no “Mean Girls” or petty fighting among these students.

They all have a voracious appetite for education and learning…and curiosity for everything.

And how they express unconditional love and support for each other was a miracle to behold.

When water and electricity are luxuries…and a deflated soccer ball is a prized possession…

…pettiness, jealousy and so many other emotions many of us obsess about daily are non-existent for them.

They embrace, and hold on tight (as the little boy is doing above) to what little they have in possessions and creature comforts…and they truly understand what it means to be appreciative.

Titans Marketing was able to donate a classroom to the San Marco School in rural Kenya thanks to so many of you who have bought educational products from me… or participated in some way in the growth of Titans Marketing over the past 7+ years.

Thank you from the students of San Marco!

San Marco Primary was the 12th school built in Kenya by Village Impact, the brainchild of the previously mentioned philanthropic entrepreneurs, Amy and Stu McLaren.

It was a privilege to participate and watch them do their thing on the ground in Africa.

Please check out their site here–they do phenomenal work—and they are back on track building schools (and communities) post-pandemic.

Our donated classroom is officially called, “Titans of Kenya.”

Here is one of our partners putting up the sign…

…and here are the students who were the first Titans of Kenya in 2018:

By now I’m sure they are ready to participate in Titans Mastermind. 🙂

Back to the two big takeaways from this trip which I hope resonate with you in some way:

On Gratefulness

Many of you wrote to me over the past four years expressing a sentiment I felt while I was there too—specifically, “why are folks who have the means to travel and make a difference in a foreign country not doing more right here in the United States where there is more poverty and deprivation than we would like to admit?”

It’s hard to argue with that sentiment so I won’t.

I can only tell you that making a difference in as many places as we can where we can teach more (and support education)—which maximizes the number of people we can encourage to “go forth and multiply” (i.e., teach what they learn to others around the world)–leads to exponential growth and spreading of knowledge and wisdom.

Simply put, when those we teach pay it forward, magic happens.

Whether you give time or money, domestically or in a foreign country, when it’s for education, it’s a way of showing gratitude for all the opportunities we have that others don’t.

I’m sure you know this quote and it applies here:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime

The notion of building a school where there was no school before, which becomes the focal point of any community, foreign or domestic, is a mammoth contribution…and it’s one that we should always look to participate in whenever we have the opportunity.

And those kids in Kenya are well aware that it was mostly Americans and Canadians who donated that school…and I’m confident that they will all want to come to North America someday to share all they have learned.

How’s that for a foreign investment becoming a domestic one?

Maybe one of those Kenyan students becomes a doctor or scientist and comes up with a cure to some dreaded disease?

I bet they won’t discriminate by hoarding that cure just for the people in their own country.

Just throwing that out there as an example.

Bringing this closer to home, only a few miles up the road from my house in Connecticut is the city of Bridgeport where there is a pressing need for more volunteers to help with programs in the schools–and my wife Robin participating in one of those programs in 2017 and 2018 partially inspired our trip to Kenya.

I’m sure you have similar opportunities in your communities.

In Bridgeport, my wife went into the classrooms to help underprivileged and challenged students learn how to read—a program called “Book Buddies”; in Kenya, we went into classrooms to try to make a difference any way possible.

While I will tell you that the students in Kenya were grateful for the free pencil cases and LEGO sets and nail polish we gave out (as kids in Bridgeport would be as well), I know they are far more grateful for the school itself and the long-term education and stability it will create for them and their families.

Their gratefulness for being able to attend school every day is about two things:

1) Presence over presents

2) Learning to fish

And for those of us on the trip, we were grateful too…to be present to witness the launching of the school; and to teach from a perspective that was foreign to these students…but familiar at the same time.

We created presents with our presence and some new ways to fish…not only for the students…but for us.

Lifetime value works both ways. 🙂

On Mentoring

One thing that was particularly striking among the children we met in Kenya was how much responsibility is put on each of them, even at a very young age.

That is, I saw numerous kids as young as 12 years old caring for younger siblings, even bringing them to school since there was no one else at home to watch them.

And these same students often need to miss school to work on behalf of the “family business” whether it’s farming, crafts or whatever brings in revenue to their households.

But it was this caring for their siblings, almost as surrogate parents, that tugged at me—and put a whole new meaning on a topic we talk so much about here, especially in our business community.

I always say you don’t choose your mentors but your mentors choose you.

That was apparent among these kids in Kenya.

When I had an opportunity to speak in front of the 12-year-olds inside the Titans of Kenya classroom (through an interpreter, although many of the students spoke fluent English), I wanted to teach them about mentoring and the importance of passing on their wisdom to the next generation.

Then I realized that I was telling them something they already knew.

The importance of mentors and mentoring was paramount in my life but only crystalized for me when I turned 40– but this is something that is part of their lives, almost from birth.

I also got to speak with students who are now in high school in some of the other schools built by Village Impact years ago, and it was clear that they all come back to the primary schools to teach and encourage…and mentor.

It’s amazing how much these kids know about mentoring without ever being taught about it.

All I can say in summary is that I came home believing that money and time is a blessing since it is how we can contribute more—that is, live on what we need (and take good care of the “million-dollar racehorse”—us!)—and then figure out the most productive ways to give away as much as possible, in money and time, to create the most impact possible.

And I believe it starts with education and schools—which produces the maximum return in terms of gratefulness…and it is the key to creating world class mentors so everything gets paid forward in the future.

Since returning from Kenya, much more than before I went, when I find myself complaining about a flat tire, traffic, a blackout, or not having enough hot water…anything that has no bearing on long term joy or is simply an inconvenience…I will think fondly on the Titans of Kenya and know they can power through much more than I ever will.



P.S.  The overlap of “marketing information” and “personal development” is more significant than meets the eye.

In fact, the publisher of OverdeliverHay House, is known as the premier publisher of personal development content in the world and they created a “business imprint” because they are aware of this huge overlap and wanted to address a need in the marketplace.

Hay House, like all of you, knows that everyone needs marketing knowledge no matter how personally developed you may be. 🙂

I think I make the case in Overdeliver—to marketers everywhere and also anyone involved in the personal development space—that “marketing is not evil” and that making lots of money inside of our mission has no downside.

As I’ve said before, why share your life’s work with dozens of people when you can share it with millions?

The lesson is, I think, that to be a great marketer you need integrity, heart, congruence, conviction and of course some marketing smarts—and when you add being a great humanitarian to that formula, and you are always looking to improve, you will be a better-than-great marketer.

As I said in my reflections from Kenya, I encourage all of you to be rich beyond belief (with money and personal satisfaction) so you can live a glorious life–and on the money front, give away as much as possible so that others can live glorious lives too.

And thanks to many of you for pointing out that we don’t necessarily have to go to Africa (or anywhere outside of our own community or country) to do any of this great work either.

Just do it where it feels right for you.

I know I am not saying anything all that profound or something you don’t know already—consider it a reminder.

And to that end, please buy Overdeliver (but only at so you can see how I have honored my mentors on that page.

Honoring mentors is a regal form of gratitude in my book (pun intended). 🙂

P.P.S. We went on a safari after spending time with the Titans of Kenya and there were some additional lessons learned in the jungle, full of inspiration albeit a little more violent…and sometimes creepy.

Seeing in real time many “circle of life moments” …how animals in the wild have to live day-to-day since they never know when they will go from a happy-go-lucky zebra grazing in the grass to becoming a full course meal for a hungry lion, is a reminder to live in the moment and do good deeds every day.

And of course, we should all eat well…and only the healthiest of foods.

There was another piece of advice I learned on safari:

Always watch your step since you never know what might be lurking in the grass under your feet…and this applies to marketing in the “online jungle”  as well…snakes in the grass are everywhere…

About the author 

Brian Kurtz

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