This video was shot at Mercer Advisors annual client convention in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on April 29, 2011. Kendrick Mercer was invited to deliver the keynote speech.
Kendrick Mercer was involved in some of the earliest tax cases where corporations took on the IRS in court and won. This opened a new era in the law, propelling him to greater success in the law.
“Hearing the tax payer won and was a professional corporation, I thought, Oh that's something I can do. I would love to do, because I tend to love the tax and that kind of thing.
“Within two years people are flocking all over the state to see me, because it was a new thing and very few people wanted to do it because it was so technical, so I was just getting awarded.
“And I was making a lot of money. I was really loving it. I was enjoying the practice and all that, incorporating everybody, but over a relatively short period it became more and more conflicting and more compromising because of professional rivalries. Here I was, within three years, making more money than all the senior partners. It was not fun anymore.”
When Kendrick decided to take a three-month sabbatical, he bought a 43-foot-long sailboat that he named Long Bow, invited his girlfriend, Gina, to come along, and picked up two books on navigation by sextant (they didn’t have GPS yet), then departed port.
The trip was far more challenging than anticipated. But in the challenge—because of the SHEER TERROR of it—he experienced the exhilaration of his own life force, inner peace, and a state of presence.
“About the time I got used to the navigation, a storm hit, and that was at first terrifying. I kept thinking, Well, that's okay, just don't get any stronger. Of course, it got stronger. It kept building until I was virtually going up mountains. I thought a 43-foot sailboat was fairly good sized, but by the time those waves built up, it felt like a bottle cap. I mean, the waves were higher than the mast! Gina was sick down below and I was trying to keep her alive. It beelined, going up like this and then you'd get up to the top and you'd look down and you'd think, I don't want to go down there. Then the boat would start going down faster and faster, faster. Then it would hit into the next wave and a wall of water would come back and splash, then it would start up again.
“That went on for three days getting bigger and bigger, which was, as again, I didn't have any thoughts about home or anything. It was just kind of like ... Terror's great.
“The fourth day was remarkable. The clouds cleared and the waves were huge, but the sun was shining and it was beautiful. It felt so good and the wind dropped off. I was almost hallucinating. I can remember standing at the back of the boat holding on to the wheel, and going down those waves, just screaming with great joy, "Yippee," and hitting those waves, because I knew I was through it and I knew it would be fine.
“About two days later, I had gotten some good sleep and everything, but I still had on my same clothes. When salt hits you over a long period of time, your clothes get crusty. You can almost break them off. I had a beard and it was full of salt. It was just amazing. We'd reached a warm area and as I felt that warmth, I just took off all my clothes. I had an outdoor shower and I showered and cleaned all that salt off. Then I sat down and I felt a peace, a joy, and a total contentment that were absolutely beautiful. Literally, from that point on, I didn't want to find land. I just wanted to sail forever. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life.”
Freedom has been a thread that has been really important to Kendrick throughout his life. During the sailing trip, he started thinking about what he wanted. He decided he didn't want to continue what he was doing and thought he'd set up a firm. That thought was the beginning of the Mercer Company.
View Part I
View Part III
View Part IV
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