STILLWATER, OK—Motivational speaker Ron Kalbee was long known for saying, "The word failure is not in my vocabulary." Author of the best-selling You Can Do It!, his eight-step plan to personal fulfillment has helped millions turn dreams into reality.
Now, according to Kalbee, after six failed real-estate ventures, two divorces, two bankruptcies and a five- to ten-year prison sentence for tax evasion, he is adding the word to his vocabulary.
"I am a miserable, hopeless failure," said Kalbee from his 5'x5' cell in Stillwater State Prison. "Am I ready to add the word? You better believe it."
At the height of his career, Kalbee packed conference rooms from Florida to California with aspiring entrepreneurs who paid $249 to hear him speak.
"Attendees of my 'Strategies For Success' seminars would say the 'F' word and I would stop them dead in their tracks," Kalbee said. "Failure is not a word!' I would tell them. 'You haven't failed, you've had a learning experience that will lay the groundwork for future success!' Well, as I now know, failure most definitely is a word."
While unable to obtain alcoholic drinks in prison, Kalbee has developed "Strategies For Getting Drunk," a cassette tape series intended for "failures like me" that he plans to produce upon his early release in 2002. "It's a three-point plan that I have already proved works. It goes: One, pour gin into glass; two, drink gin; three, repeat 15 times."
Kalbee is also co-developing a new motivational system with his cellmate that he calls "Beat-cessories." It includes the "Five Points of Facial Blows" and "Anal-Rape Blackout Strategies."
Kalbee's failure was so broad in scope that even those around him and those who learned from his motivational methods have become failures.
"He ruined my life," said Judy Sims, a mother of four from Elyria, OH.
Sims purchased Kalbee's Go For It! cassette tape series. After listening to the tape, she adopted Kalbee's Three Habits of Successful Living: Invest Everything, Work Hard, Hope. She then squandered her family's savings attempting to realize her dream of owning her own family-style chicken and waffle restaurant. When the restaurant went out of business, she had to sell the family home, put her children in foster care and become a $30-a-night prostitute just to pay off creditors.
"I also have AIDS," Sims added.
According to Kalbee, there's no hope for those who've tried his success strategies. "They will fail, just like me, in everything they do."