By CNN's Colleen McEdwards
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(CNN) -- When we set off for the suburbs of Toronto to meet life coach Robin Sharma, I was expecting something quite different. Sort of a hard sell, you know? A "my-way-or-the-highway" kind of guy. Sharma is nothing of the sort. Actually, he was oddly earnest, and began our meeting by asking me all sorts of questions about myself?statements really?he'd done his homework.
He knew where I'd gone to school in Canada, what I'd done in Canadian broadcasting and at CNN, all kinds of stuff anyone can find out on Google, but the point is, he knew it.
He said he always checks people out, not to be defensive, but because he's genuinely interested in people: where they've been and what their back-story is. And I believed him.
Sharma's the kind of guy who could win over a snake-oil salesman.
His clients are mainly top executives who've found they have it all but aren't happy. It's usually because their personal lives suffered at the hands of hard work.
He teaches people how to put it back in balance again. He starts with something small.
"If you show me your schedule," he quips, "I can show you a solution."
In other words, he teaches you how to find time for the things you claim to be missing out on.
"If you fight for your excuses, Colleen, you'll own them for the rest of your life," he says.
And yes, he has a straight face when he's saying it!
His first major success was a book he self-published. "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" is now available in dozens of countries in dozens of languages.
At a meeting with his publisher, Harper Collins, Editor-in-chief Iris Tupholme remarked at how Sharma has a somewhat mysterious, universal appeal.
In Turkey, people see him as one of them, same thing in Israel or even Pakistan. He has a look and way about him that makes him almost any country's native son.
And his message is universal too. He doesn't go down the thorny road of faith or value judgments about money or material things. "The Monk" is told as a fable. One of his other great sellers is "The Greatness Guide."
In that book, his ideas seem more crystallized. It's more of a business book--- the one you'd refer to right away like an index guide to finding your feet again.
There's an entire chapter on making other people feel good, spending time with your kids, and remembering how to play.
He's a single dad who struggles to keep his own life in balance. But what strikes me is that he really "walks the walk."
He lives his life the way he coaches others to live. He makes a big deal about his own failures and imperfections.
His children are lovely. They're at a tough age--- that pre-teen/early teen stage. Our crew watched Sharma driving them to school, having conversations with them, and filmed at their house one evening during dinner hour.
When I asked them what their dad does for a living they said, he's a writer who helps people have a good life. When I asked them what his number one priority is, they both answered, without missing a beat, "Us!"
Robin Sharma stood beaming in the kitchen.
Over coffee Robin Sharma imparts some of his wisdom to CNN's Colleen McEdwards.