Passion is Vital in the Workplace – Richard and Michele Cohn of Beyond Words

Passion is Vital in the Workplace – Richard and Michele Cohn of Beyond Words

When we were asked to write this piece, I pondered upon the question: What keeps our staff and us going to work every day? 

Now, mind you, since COVID-19 hit, each of us started working from home. My office desk became a kitchen counter, and my kitchen stool became my chair, and its design is not for my ample assets. There are no ergonomically designed areas for our limbs to remain pain-free throughout the day. And, the sight of dirty dishes in the sink is just one of the many distractions that might take our attention away from more crucial work such as, cleaning up little nuggets out in the backyard left by the family dogs.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, our lives were spent commuting in Portland, Oregon, traffic, which could see us in the car for up to 2 hours a day if there was an accident on I-5. When we finally reached the office, we would sit at our desks all day. I feared wearing a fit bit because I knew that 565 steps a day were not optimal for good health. 

Why do we do what we do, publishing some of the best spiritual, metaphysical, and self-help material worldwide?

We work because of our passion and commitment to publishing positive and uplifting material for anyone searching for answers on their spiritual journeys. Passion is an indefinable quality that motivates us to get up in the morning and look forward to seeing what the Universe has in store for us in new projects. It is also the specific quality that we look for in the authors and filmmakers that are part of the Beyond Words family.

Passion has also helped us deal with the end of our everyday routine and the beginning of an uncertain future. On March 24, 2020, we all began to work from home. This had happened for the first time in BW history. We wondered if we could still be productive while keeping the caring culture created in our physical office while remaining separate in our homes.

It was not easy to keep everything together as book sales dropped for months. But, I am very proud to say that we have successfully kept all our staff working. Passion and commitment to our authors and filmmakers meant: we kept our progress going. Even though an invisible virus was shutting down everything around us, we could have closed the doors. We could have retired and called it a day. However, that is not who we are, and that is not our mission in life. 

So, what is passion for us? Especially now, in social distancing and isolating ourselves in the hills of southern Oregon with quail and raccoons outside the door, instead of the road rage on I-5? What makes us tick? How does passion play a significant role in our business and the workings of our company? 

It is the people who have chosen to work at Beyond Words over our 37 years in business. The people at BW are all on spiritual journeys, even if they are unaware of it yet! People come to us looking for work. However, most of them end up learning more about themselves due to the material being published or distributed. That material touches everyone on a soul level. It's just the magic that happens at Beyond Words.

When people feel touched or moved by some kind of information, they want to share that with others. The BW library is full of transformational content that can be easily digested if one is willing to explore and open himself to new ideas. I presume that this is the driving force of passion—we all have to get the information out, to design the best covers for books, oracle card decks, and DVDs, to work with authors and filmmakers who believe in us and our commitment to helping them get their ideas and philosophies out to more people.

When we reflect on our past and even these uncertain times, it is the people who make Beyond Words what it is today. The employees, customers, bookstores, and foreign publishers publish our books in over 50 languages worldwide. We all share the same feeling, and we want to make the world a better place. We want to share our knowledge with people worldwide. 

One of our mission statements is, "Collaboration is essential to create miracles."

It takes a team to create the culture at BW. Some of us have cats, some have dogs, some take care of little ones while working, some are grandparents, some like reggae, and some like country. We all have different tastes. However, we all have in common that we all genuinely care about each other. And, that feeling of caring fuels our passion. 

Richard started the company in 1983, and we had the privilege to witness some marvellous moments, such as the publication of The Secret, and some tough times like the death of BW's co-owner Cindy Black in 2013. We've been rich, and we've not been so rich. But, we keep going because we have so much to accomplish still. Maybe that is what passion in the workplace is all about. We are looking past these strenuous times and planning our lists of publications for 2021. There are excitement and hope, a feeling of a global community, and Beyond Words's content is making a difference in billions of people's lives. How amazing is that!

When you discover your passion, it is as if the Universe has given you a gift and opened your eyes to the impossible. And, when your passion is your work, you are blessed beyond words. 


Richard Cohn founded Beyond Words Publishing in 1983 and serves as the Publisher & President, overseeing Marketing, Finance, Editorial, and Special Sales. Having worked with many first-time authors and projects like The Secret and Hidden Messages in Water, he has established a reputation for producing inspiring, high-quality books that can help make a difference in millions of readers' lives. He has helped Beyond Words expand as an information and media company, providing DVD, audio, online live-streaming, and product distribution.

Michele Ashtiani Cohn began her journey at Beyond Words in 2005. Starting out as a part-time sales associate, she quickly rose in the ranks and became Marketing Director in 2006. Her first big marketing success was The Secret book, and Beyond Words/Atria published it.

Michele now oversees adult acquisitions and is continually looking for material to help shift the planet's consciousness. As Creative Director, she also makes sure that Beyond Words's daily life is fun, meaningful, and filled with purpose.

For more about Richard and Michele Cohn, and to read their complete bios, visit:

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