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Power Moves Through Those Who Serve

Peter Sage shows what happens when you throw a self-help guru into the slammer.

Sometimes life serves you lemons.

And sometimes it chucks you off of the global seminar stage into the most violent prison in the UK for 6 months without criminal charges.

Which is a big lemon.

And it’s exactly the one thrown at Peter Sage, the global mindset trainer who had, until that date, helped install empowered positivity into 35,000 students from over 100 countries.


His subject? “Cheerfulness in the face of adversity”and human potential.

Imagine it…


One day he’s inspiring audiences to “live the life you love,” the next, he’s mired in a legal battle with a Fortune 100 behemoth wielding a $100 million dollar law firm (Princess Diana’s divorce attorneys, don’t you know). They bulldoze him with legal technicalities and get him committedunsegregatedto a prison notorious for housing the country’s most violent offenders, all without having to invoke any criminal charges at all.

Watch Peter Sage at METAL

“I was arguing, ‘Hey! I don’t belong here! I’m the only non-criminal in this place!’ I’d never been arrested, never been accused of a crime. No criminal record. Nothing. They just engineered some contempt of court thing to pressure a settlement out of me on a deal made years earlier. And now I’m incarcerated. I lost everything fighting them. All my money, my business, my fianceewhich in retrospect is probably a good thing. My freedom.”

It would be enough to crush the average man’s spirit.


“But,” he recalls, “I sat there in that cell and said to myself, ‘Whoa! Hang on a minute! Identity is key. If I choose the identity of a prisoner, I’m done.’ Instead, I decided to take the identity of a secret agent of change.”

Before his lockup, the aptly named Sage had spent 25 years on a stage. “I said to myself, ‘I teach mindset. Mindset is my life! The universe sent me here. This is a chance to walk my talk.’”


It struck him that “there are people all around me that I could help: people who would never attend one of my seminars or see me onstage.” He remembered a saying from his mentor, Tony Robbins, that power moves to those in direct proportion to those who serve. “But I wasn’t looking for power. So I amended that quote to go, ‘Power moves through those in direct proportion to those who serve.’”

And Peter Sage went to work. Serving.

“Long story short, I end up getting a lot of the prisoners off drugs. I stopped suicides. I redesigned the intake system to reduce violence between the wings. I won a national award for the work that I did there, and those systems are now being used in prisons all over the world. I didn’t choose it, but it ended up being one of the most amazing journeys I've ever had in my life.”

Oscar Wilde did it. Ezra Pound did it. Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King did it. So too did Sage. “From prison, I wrote letters, addressed to my private coaching clients, which we later published in a book called The Inside Track. In the first letter I said, ‘Guys don't worry about me. I'm simply on location for six months filming the prison scene of my amazing movie.’”



He wanted his long-loyal community of students and coachees to understand something important. “Theory does not cover the price of admission to the higher levels of greatness. For me, one of the greatest days of your life is the day you realize that life is a growth-centric, not a comfort-centric experience.”

Despite his “cinematic” triumph of the spirit behind bars, when he emerged, Sage was a quarter million dollars in debt, with a zero credit rating, one month’s rent in the bank and, as he tells it, “two very hungry Jack Russell terriers.”

Fortunately, he had developed an entrepreneur’s resilience. 

“I dropped out of school at 16. I've got no formal qualifications, no education. I started my first business selling toys at flea markets at 17. I was driven by my insecurities as a young man, to try to prove to the world I was good enough so I could get over the fear that I wasn’t. I took the classic entrepreneur route. Ups and downs. I had 26 or 27 companies, traveled the world, multimillion dollar success stories and plenty of failures.”

Peter Sage was free. But broke.


“I asked myself a very quality question, and I'm a big believer in questions being the steering wheel of the mind. Your brain is a loop-closing machine. You throw a stick, and like a faithful Labrador, it'll bring it back. So ask a lousy question, you're gonna get a lousy answer. I asked myself, ‘since I'm lucky enough to be living in a time in human history where I could choose where I want to live and work from there, where would it be?”


Growing up in Leicester, Sage says, he “didn’t see the sun till I was 12 years old.” So, borrowing an old van and packing up his life into its rusting hulk with the company of his two terriers, he rattled southward to Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands off the coast of Portugal.

“If I was going to rebuild, I figured I might as well do it in good weather. It's 350 days of sun a year. It’s the Caribbean range without the hurricanes.”

Once again, Sage got to workserving.


“When Covid hit, I thought, how do I help more people? Because the fear factor for the average person was huge. We entrepreneurs, by definition, have a higher ability to handle uncertainty than the average person. But others were struggling. Industries were cutting back. People were being scared by the crap they were listening to in the media. And so I thought, ‘How can I play a useful role?’”

Fortunately he had a digital gold mine to draw from.

“I went back through my catalogall sorts of stuff that was collecting digital dust, old keynotes, talks, recordings, podcasts. And I assembled it into a 52-week syllabus, and created a program called Ultimate Self Mastery to help people reprogram their minda detailed trainingnot a quick fix, but a conditioning process and we sold it for $349. We built from there.”


It’s been five years since Sage made that six-day journey to his island. And even though it’s since become a tourist hotspot, overrun by 20 million noisy people a year, he is grateful for his renewed success as well as being able to put down roots there.

What he says about his new home applies as much to his life before he was tossed into the clink, as well as for the lives of many entrepreneurs. “Every day is a new day. But be careful to call something paradise, because before you know it, it's gone.”

Written by Adam Gilad


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