Business success led Rich to his true calling as a ‘life enricher’

Rich at a function. He is laughing, wearing a tan suit and tie. His right hand is touching his face. His daughter sits next to him, also smiling.
Rich and his daughter, Cheri, enjoy a moment of laughter. Cheri worked with Rich at Amway and later led the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

Success as an entrepreneur naturally evolved into Rich’s true calling—being a “life enricher.”

He was convinced that each person could be extraordinary. But just as he needed a spark of confidence and recognition from the affirming words of his father and high school Bible teacher, Rich also understood that the power of inspiration was the key to unleashing potential in others. The high school cheerleader was called to a role he seemed born to play—a motivator.

America’s cheerleader

The speech that sealed his reputation as a master of the microphone was called “Selling America.” He counted America’s abundant blessings under free enterprise during a pessimistic era when many were touting socialism. He also put his thoughts on paper in his first book, Believe! With no apology for flag waving or wearing his heart on his sleeve, he proclaimed how anyone can be successful with a belief in values, including unlimited potential, an upward look, God, church and family.

Eventually it was a passage he came across by Walt Disney that crystallized the philosophy Rich had been promoting for nearly 30 years. Disney described three types of people: well poisoners (those critical of any ambition or dream), lawn mowers (good citizens but people who never reach out to others), and life enhancers (people who have a positive impact on their world). Rich altered the term to call himself a “life enricher.”

Rich speaks at a podium.1/5
Rich takes the podium at the Amway Founders Council in 2003. Founders Council is a gathering of Amway’s top distributors from all around the world.
Rich DeVos wearing a tuxedo at a microphone.2/5
Rich often spoke to crowds across the country about their potential to enrich lives through an encouraging word or deed.
Rich stands at a podium on an outdoor stage at Grand Rapids Christian High School. A banner welcoming alumni is visible in the background.3/5
Rich believed strongly that the solid foundation of faith and education he received as a student at Grand Rapids Christian High School helped shape his life and career. He and Helen went on to generously support Christian education in Grand Rapids as well as in New Mexico.
Rich DeVos delivering an address standing at podium.4/5
Rich not only created positive change by giving generously to causes he and Helen believed in, he was also a catalyst for change by inspiring others through his words and actions.
Rich stands on stage delivering a speech.5/5
Rich was a lifelong cheerleader who enjoyed giving speeches as often as he could. His speeches always inspired and motivated people to set goals and believe in their ability to achieve them.

Sharing the message

He spoke to crowds across the country about their potential power to enrich lives through an encouraging word or deed.

“A constant in my life has been maintaining a positive attitude and affirming others,” Rich once said. “I’ve tried all my life to inspire others to use their talents and fulfill their potential.”

Being a life enricher also was a natural outgrowth of his Christian faith. As he wrote in Believe!, “I believe every person on earth is a creature of God, here for a purpose and worthy of respect.”

‘Love ya’

A lighter expression of his role as a life enricher was the closing he adopted for his notes and letters, one that became his trademark. He signed all his correspondence with “Love ya” to express a feeling stronger than “sincerely.”

“I don’t really know what sincerely is supposed to mean,” he said. “But ‘Love ya’ sends a definite message.”

Rich never neglected his role of life enricher with his own family. Referring to he and Helen raising children, he once said: “Our children always knew they were loved. We told them and showed them in as many ways as we knew how that we believed in them and we were proud of them.”

The Speech

Rich’s “Life Enrichers” talk, which was popular in the 1990s, highlighted the idea of people who help others and try to make the world a better place.Read an excerpt and listen to the speech