A Talk with
Deborah Szekely, Founder of Rancho La Puerta and The Golden Door
of the things I looked forward to most about my stay at Rancho
La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico was an opportunity to have lunch with
Deborah Szekely. Deborah and her husband, Edmond,
La Puerta in 1940 as a health camp when she was just 17 years
old. The goal was to combine the hiking spas in Germany and Scandanavia
of the times and the old European spas. Primarily, it was a place
to practice and teach the Essene
Way of Biogenic Living and make healthy people healthier. Exercise
and healthy, organic foods were the foundation of Rancho La Puerta
then and still are 66+ years later. The importance of these things
in our lives has only been broadly publicized and embraced in the
last decade or two. Deborah established Golden Door in Escondido,
California in 1958. She has helped thousands benefit from their experiences
at these destination spas. Deborah has done much more. She has devoted
her life to public service. She is the founder of the New Americans
Immigration Museum and Learning Center. She founded Eureka Communities,
a national leadership training program for CEOs of nonprofit organizations.
She was president of the Inter-American Foundation, an independent
agency of the United States government created by Congress to support
self-help efforts of the poor throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
The list goes on...
In my short time with Deborah, I wanted her to share her secret to
finding the mental and physical resources to create such a life of
extra-ordinary philanthropy. When I asked Deborah what it takes to
live a life of doing good works - more than the little things we can
do every day - a step change, she replied, "It's a group effort.
It's always more than one person. It starts with one's parents. My
parents were very conscious of the needs of others. It becomes part
of one's life... Where one can help people, one should. I've been
very lucky in being able to see a vacuum and fill it and get other
people to join with me. That's leadership, and leadership requires
setting an example." We went on to discuss a variety of topics
- the gardens at Rancho La Puerta, the new cooking school, the environment,
processed foods, psychological calories, life priorities and more.
Later that evening, Deborah gave a lecture to the group. She held
up clipping after clipping of articles from the past week written
on topics that troubled her. I guess that's one way she finds vacuums
that need to be filled. She talked about some of the same things we
had discussed at lunch. She also provided a great time management
tool. Like many of us, Deborah keeps a calendar of her appointments
and activities. Once a week, she takes an hour or two to examine how
she has used her time in the previous week. She marks each item on
the calendar in one of five colors:
Green is for anything that
was a growth experience
Black is for things that
were a waste of time
Blue is for things that could
have been delegated (even if the other person can't do
it as well)
Red is for something she
did that was a deposit for her health
Her favorite color is for
time spent on family, friends and fun (I didn't take notes,
and my color memory has faded. Sadly, I don't remember Deborah's favorite
Deborah employs this technique so that her time is used
more wisely each week. What a simple, yet brilliant, idea!
In the quest for finding Deborah's secret to philanthropy,
I learned one must:
look for a need
fill the need
get others to help
be a leader
use your time wisely
Read about my experience at Rancho La Puerta HERE.
Read other articles about Debora Szekely on the Internet:
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