Afterword (extra chapter)

Note: This Afterword is from an original draft manuscript August 2020. The manuscript was handed over to Amy B. Hardison at that time, so some of my notes here may be superseded. I acknowledge Amy for her amazing writing, weaving together the perfect masterpiece that became The Ultimate Coach. — Alan


Letter from SFH to Alan. 5 May, 2020
The ‘packing’ I used for this shipment include my socks and other items… The socks, well you put them on your feet because this is as close as anyone will ever be to walking in my shoes (socks)!


The Who

How do you make the ineffable visceral?

This book’s purpose was to reflect the ‘Who’ that Steve is. And, to the extent that that is even possible, it is the most complete and accurate picture of him ever created.

But many times during the writing process, I have asked myself: Why? Why is Steve like this? What makes him this way? At a comparative level, what makes him be so differently to the rest of the population? Why doesn’t he just sit back on the sofa, watch some TV, and drink beer? Why doesn’t he emulate many famous celebrities who buy an island and retire in peace? Why doesn’t he tone it down?

The answer—distilled—is this…

Steve is you operating at 100% commitment, kindness, and energy. He is you serving completely in every moment.

He is you at 100% intensity. He is the version of you that has dedicated yourself to shining at 100% power. The version of you that realises the importance of consciously jump-starting yourself every day, waking up and recharging yourself with hours of inner work every morning, and scheduling time throughout the day—every day—to reinforce your you-ness.

As a coach, Steve brings all of the above to the dance of togetherness. When he serves the person he is with, he has such a solid foundation, that he is able to bring it forward in every moment, in a very human way. For him, there is no downtime. There is no alternative. There is no other option.

There is only one way of being for Steve: loving-kindness, which flows through him—unimpeded—from the original source. Perhaps it is made clearer in this distinction from him:

‘Create’ and ‘React’. If you write down those two words, you’ll see the only difference between react and create is ‘e’. ‘E’ is for energy. Creation takes energy. Reaction is for free. It’s a knee jerk deal. What do I do in this situation? That’s just ‘what is my knee jerk reaction?’ That’s reacting. Create takes energy. It takes thought. What am I seeing? How do I describe it? What am I feeling? How do I share it?

People say: ‘How do you have so much energy?’

Because I create all day long. I create everything I’m doing. I’m not reacting. Any six-year-old can do that. Creation becomes masterpiecing. It becomes what’s here.

How do I take these colours and mix them them to make beautiful art? Taking each ‘now’ moment and making a masterpiece out of it. But not from some burden, or some assignment.

Naturally painting. That’s why I say ‘I feel like a five year old’. Every morning when I get up, I get to go finger paint at kindergarten.

What if you were to wake up recharging yourself for just a few more minutes each day?

What if you were to increase your commitment level by another 1%? 10%?

Begin it now.

What if you were to increase your kindness by 1%? 10%?

Now is the time.

Steve’s life transmits a series of possibilities, of worlds that are open to you, too. Right now. And now. And now. What’s the smallest action you can take right now?

In a private email to a friend, Steve wrote the following beautiful words:

Find, realise, or create something that you do, that when you do it, time stands still.

What do you love to do?

What are you gifted at?

Do not be in a hurry to find it, work daily to create these gifts.

(I love to listen, to serve, to create, to imagine, to learn. I love the pursuit of understanding the mind, behaviour, love, relationship. I can BE with anyone. I love BEING with people. I am an ordinary man with an extraordinary commitment to LOVE.)


The Why

I’ve written many books and articles in my short time on Earth. Some of them were super simple: the text for my first picture book took just a few minutes to write (the illustrator had a much bigger job to complete!).

This book has felt easy, inspiring… and, necessary. Some parts of it were also completed in minutes. But the actual content is at least the age of Steve and his relationships: spanning seven decades of commitment to life, nearly a full decade since I personally encountered his presence, and (assuming a direct, first-hand impact of 10,000 people—the number of people the average person physically meets in a lifetime) millions of person-hours of information, presence, experience, inspiration, and joy. Plus the second-hand, third-hand, and ongoing network spanning effects of his graceful being.

I first met Steve in 2012, and sat in his office in 2013. We exchanged emails and messages throughout the ensuing years. I’d send him preview copies of each of my books and articles, or excited updates on gifted youth seminars I’d presented around the world. His guidance was also available to me in the tough times, like dealing with client challenges, and even supporting my decision to fire an abusive client.

There was both a conscious and an unconscious pull to write this book. While there was certainly an inspired moment of grace—call it intuition, or spirit, or a high power—this was brought keenly to the surface by a punch in the face one Sunday morning.

McSweeney’s is a boutique publishing group with a literary journal, and one of my favourite places to go to bask in new perspectives and powerful narratives. Its writers have included Stephen King, David Foster Wallace, Michael Crichton, Neil Gaiman, and Rob Sears. The latter had penned a recent bestselling book called The Beautiful Poetry of Donald Trump. Deeply satirical, Rob invested significant time combing through the archives of everything he could find that Trump had ever said on public record: books, articles, interviews, campaign speeches, commercials, and the gargantuan Twitter feed. Then he combined disparate lines from these hundreds of thousands of sources. All for a joke! The book sold close to 100,000 paper copies, and made the Sunday Times bestseller list.

After laughing for quite a while at the poems in Rob’s book, I wondered about the concept of immersing oneself in such a massive amount of information for such a cause. More importantly, I wondered if this could be done for a subject who had more ‘aliveness’, who was more uplifting, and one who could shine as an inspirational figure to the world.


The How

I approached Steve by email on the morning of Sunday 19/April/2020.


I felt a gentle call this morning to compile a book about you and your life. It would be a very beautiful, very long book.

You may recall before we met I scoured the internet trying to find context and background for you. I think others would also love reading and absorbing information all in one place.

I could complete this project myself, referencing images and notes from various sources.

I would only do this with your ‘nod’. How would you feel about this? Or is there someone you think would be a good fit to work with me on this project?

All my best,


I put a book proposal in his lap the next day. We spoke by phone the following morning, I clicked the ‘create’ button on a blank manuscript that afternoon, and generated a draft of more than 40,000 words just two hours later.

Being committed—and being in the future—allows things to flow very, very rapidly!

Steve feels and responds to a calling from outside the conscious self. He is an open conduit to a higher power.

He also completely opened his life to me during this process. I was placed in the middle of his intimate conversations with his wife when she arrived home. I was given complete access to more than 500 coaching clients, and thousands of other people who might wear labels like ‘new friend’, ‘fellow student’, ‘neighbour’, ‘Porsche dealer’ or ‘Starbucks employee’. Around 100 pounds [45 kilos] of Steve’s private journals were shipped from Arizona to Western Australia, with glimpses into facets of his life never before seen.

For all of the humanity I found in more than 200 audio files and one-on-one interviews with him, for all of the grit and conviction evident in his speaking and writing, it is remarkably clear to me that Steve is living from a much higher power—the higher power.

That is what is brought through in the very human element of the written word on this page. A spark of the divine.


There is an exciting concept in the computing and information space called a ‘hackathon’, a portmanteau of hacking marathon. This is a sprint-like event where new teams of young nerds join together to create a big, new project within a very short space of time; perhaps 24-48 hours, and sometimes overnight without sleep. Data sets for parsing and use within the final application are provided by industry and government. They might include weather, traffic, energy usage and consumption, or other big data. This intense atmosphere to take a project from conception to completion is part of the motivating driver for ‘getting it done’. I sometimes ask my own coaching clients ‘Would you get this done within 24 hours for a billion dollars?’

Mostly, they answer, ‘Of course!’

I thought this project would be the same: stick me in a room (with some cool nerds), and we’d knock it out of the park overnight.

While I envy authors like Amanda Lee (Gayle Trent) who can consistently churn out 9,000 words per day, or more than two million words per year, that is just not how I write. Writing commands that pause, that breath, that readiness for inspiration. I sit, and I wait. And inspiration rushes me. Sometimes, in the most inopportune or inappropriate moments. Sometimes overwhelming, like trying to drink the Hoover dam through a garden hose. But always bringing with it a sense of excitement.

Now having completed it, I can say with full authority that this project could not be completed within 24 hours! My rough guess is that there are easily a million person-hours in this book. The process of steeping in the insights, commitments, feelings, and life of The Ultimate Coach and every person he has impacted was monumental.


The Where

Sitting in my home office in Perth, I was allowed the luxury of running interviews with over a hundred people in far-off locations around the world. Video conferencing technology, instant audio transcription software, and a few other bleeding-edge tools supported this book, with an assistant in Toronto, and many ‘Steve locals’ in the Phoenix area.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to this work, I am honoured by your commitment to reflecting your experience. Thank you for your laughter, tears, and singing!

Thank you to you for allowing yourself to fully experience this work. (A complete list of contributors and acknowledgments appears at the end of this book.) I have been honoured to bring together many, many threads in the weaving of this glorious tapestry in celebration of Steve.

In the far corner of the sacred space that is Steve’s coaching shed, underneath the hand painted picture of Christ, is a polished jarrah placard. On it is written in golden lettering:

When I stand before God at the end of my life,

I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say,

‘I used everything you gave me.’

Alan D. Thompson

Perth, Western Australia

July, 2020