Kaua‘i Couple Interviewed by Oprah Winfrey at Sheraton Poipu
It didn’t take long for a private interview with Davene Grant and Mark Januszewski, to become all the buzz in sunny Poipu. Evidently, Winfrey had consented to fly to Kauai to interview the West Side couple under the condition that the interview would be private.
When I first learned of that condition I assumed it was Oprah who wanted it to be private but it turns out that was just one of the many surprises this reporter discovered. Both Mark and his wife Davene were not interested in fanfare and wanted Ms. Winfrey to enjoy our island without the trappings that celebrities have to endure.
“We both think this is the greatest place on the planet and that is saying something because there’s a lot of great places on the planet,” Grant shared. “It’s really nice when someone comes here and has a chance to connect with this astonishing creation. We love seeing Kauai through the eyes of people who take the time to embrace this magical island.”
Sometimes reporters just get lucky and this was my lucky day for a number of reasons. Januszewski asked me if I could do him a small favor and keep the meeting private by enlisting the help of a few more of the hotel staff. Turns out my cousin works at the Shearton and that was no problem.
“Thanks for coming to Kauai Oprah. I hope you’ll be staying for a few days and get to our favorite spots, Kokee and Polihale.”
“Is it always this beautiful here? It is absolutely amazing.” Winfrey commented.
They were sitting around a glass topped wicker table inside a white tented make-shift cabana right near the big breaks. The ocean was glistening a little more that usual. Looked like diamonds dancing on the water.
“Yeah, it’s always magnificent here but God’s really showing off today. Maybe in honor of your presence.” Davene said with a smile.
“Well you keep saying my presence here, so nice of me to come but let’s be honest you refused to come to Chicago and told my staff if I wanted to interview you two about the Master Keys I’d have to come here,” Oprah said with a laugh.
“That’s not 100% true Oprah. It’s not about going to Chicago. You just can’t get Mark off this island. Hell, I can’t even got him to Seattle to see the Red Sox when they play there. See, the family all lives in a compound, kinda like families of the 1960s. He just loves playing, eating and relaxing with the family…so do I. How do you like that coffee? It’s grown right here, just a few miles from here. ”
“I love this coffee but what I’d really love is to talk about this Master Key System. You know you’re not very popular with a lot of the motivational speakers out there. And you’ve taken a pretty hard run at one of my favorite books, “The Secret”. So why don’t we start there. Why are some speakers and writers unhappy with what you guys are doing?”
“I have no idea.”
Lots of laughter breaks out. I’m a little curious myself.
“Let me take that one Oprah,” said Davene, “It’s because we are offering a method that kinds debunks all the motivational and mystical mainstream stuff. People want to feel good and a couple of hours of CDs or cute quotes will do it but only for a short time. It’s kinda like a warm bath Oprah.”
“Well, it feels good when you get in it but sooner or later you are sitting in a puddle of cold, dirty water.”
“Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?” Winfrey asked.
“Let me jump in here Davene. The truth is change takes work and a lot of people want to make a change but they don’t want to do the work. When you couple that with the microwave mentality that is out there it becomes pretty easy to sell stuff to people who are desperate for change by telling them you have a magic pill or two day seminar.”
Mark paused for a moment, got erect in his chair and declared, “This is really important. Thoreau said, ‘Most people live lives of quiet desperation.’ People are longing for change but they don’t know how. This makes them a passionate but irrational lot. Desperation makes all of us irrational until we see it for what it really is. I know, I was one of them, living in quite desperation, sick, bankrupt and scared. So a lot of these gurus tell them a $3000 weekend away or a couple of sets of $700 CDs will turn the trick. Let you ask you this Oprah. If you really wanted to make a change what do you think would be easier for you to buy a couple of CD and a book or to commit to an hour a day for 26 weeks?”
“I see your point. I see it, actually I’ve seen it on my show for 20 years, people want that instant fix.”
“Exactly.” Grant said.
“Well, if most people are going to choose the shorter version how do you explain the incredible popularity and momentum that you Master Key Master Mind Alliance has gained?”
“Actually that’s the easiest question I’ve heard in 5 years. We based it on Emerson’s Law of Compensation. In a nutshell Emerson’s Law is ‘give more get more.’ So we gave the course away to about 150 people who were willing to dedicate 1 hour a day for 6 months. We did this when we first moved to Kauai. It seemed appropriate, an appropriate gift of thanks for the privilege of living in this extraordinary place.”
“Yeah,” Davene continued. We gave everything we had and they gave an hour a day for 26 weeks. And we both got more.”
“Well, we wanted to follow our passion so we gave it away and got more passion. They gave time, an hour a day and so they got more time.”
“How did they get more time by giving an hour a day?”
Laugher from the couple.
“How is that possible?”
More chuckling. “Their values change and they stopped needing distractions to feel alive, vital. We begin to experience life first hand instead of vicariously through others. Our thirst and hunger for the amazing adventure of life rises and our dependency of other people’s ideas for what makes life ‘normal’ vanishes.” Mark said.
“I’m not getting it.” Winfrey said. Neither was I. “Could you be more specific?”
“He means we don’t come home and sit in front of the TV or a computer,” Davene chirped. “We don’t need entertainment as a steady diet to feel alive and to simultaneously forget.”
“Yep. We gave it away and that original 2010 Master Mind helped us refine the material for a new medium. We had previously taught it live and we wanted to transition it into a new medium so we could use the internet and reach a worldwide audience,” said Januszewski
“So you gave this away?” Oprah repeated. She looked stunning in a white linen suit but she looked more stunned at the fact they had given this course away to launch it.
“Yep.” Said Grant. “We actually paid each student that joined us in transitioning our material to the internet over $50,000.00 each”
Neither the elegant aroma of the shrimp scampi that had just arrived on white plates, the brilliant sky nor the ocean crashing together as it does right on that point in Poipu could rival the shock in Winfrey’s face.
“Yep, we told the members if they would accept the gift of the course and help us convert it with feedback and that it launched successfully worldwide we’d give them 33% of the sales and throw another 7% in to have a celebration every year here on Kauai for any and all Master Key Master Mind Alliance members.”
“And how many memberships has that led to?” Winfrey wanted to know.
“A little over 15,000 have made a 1 hour commitment daily for 6 months and learned how to control their mind.” Januszewski said.
“It’s really important Oprah that you understand unlike the gurus out there we are not telling people ‘how to think.’ We are showing them a method so that they can think for themselves and wire new thoughts together.”
“What does that mean?” Winfrey asked.
The rest of the interview will be aired on July 6th nationally and I’ve agreed not to share the rest of the interview until it airs.
I will tell you that once Grant explained a little bit about the how the mind works and Januszewski drew a diagram on the back of a place mat to illustrate her point that both Oprah and I pulled out our credit cards and joined the next Master Key Master Mind Alliance course.
As it turns out I would discover that Mark and Davene’s first visit to Kauai was at this very hotel. That explained why they wanted the interview there and not at their four house compound in Kekaha. Januszewski, during the interview pulled out a picture of the couple standing in the exact spot that the interview was being conducted at from their first visit.
Oprah thought it was not only sweet but a pretty amazing coincidence. Grant smirked and said, “You ain’t seen nothing. Would you like to have your mind blown Oprah?”
Mark pulled a picture out of his wallet that was dated October 23, 2010. It was a picture of Oprah interviewing Mark and Davene on this exact same spot. “That is the power of the Master Key System and creating a new reality,” Grant laughed while both Winfrey and I stood there opened-mouthed and flabbergasted.
“Goals for the future?”
“Tough hike?” Winfrey asked.
Januszewski and Grant instantly said ‘no’ while I said ‘yes.’ Everyone laughed as much of the conversation I am not reporting yet was about perspective.
She says she can.
“Tell you what, tonight is the dinner for the Master Key folks you agreed to come to. You take a 30 minute Q&A and we’ll put off our 11 mile hike till Sunday the 27th. Come on down to the compound tomorrow and we’ll hike in the canyon. We can take bikes all the way down. It will blow you away. You can get escape from all this hotel food and break bread with the family, nice home cooked meal. You can come too,” he indicated to me. “No reporting stuff, but your welcome.”
“Don’t tell me you have a picture of that too.”
“I’ve had a picture of a multi-generational family in my mind and heart for decades.”
Somehow, maybe it was the look in Januszewski’s eyes, his voice, not sure, but something made both of us know this was his treasure, his joy. It was his bliss. And it was magnetically compelling.
Strangely, it was silent.
“Italian OK? A little on the spicy side?” Mark did not wait for an answer. “Good then, it’s settled. Oprah you can bring the bread and Dennis you can bring some fruit. They’ll be about 10 of us. The kids do a great job and it’s a great spot to watch the sun go down. We did have a picture of that one on our wall for 7 years, nice little pink place. You’ll love it.”
I was going, I wanted to see this family they both described as their personal Kauai inside their souls. Oprah looked a little taken aback.
“Look, you’ll have a great time, hiking, biking and I know you’ll be so relaxed. See, you won’t have to worry about being Oprah because there’s no TV on ever. They won’t even know you.”