empower-network-logoOne of the enduring mysteries of the MLM industry these past few years was David Sharpe’s departure from Empower Network.

The official corporate line was that Sharpe left EN to focus on his health. Around the time he left, Sharpe revealed that he was suffering from Hepatitis C.

After a year or so of silence, Sharpe revealed that he had been given the all-clear.

It was a logical assumption that Sharpe would return to Empower Network, however as the months dragged on – it became apparent that wasn’t going to happen.

A big part of the allure of this mystery is the fact that up until recently, neither Sharpe or Wood had publicly addressed it. Sharpe appeared to have left Empower Network on good terms, with his going off on his own post-recovery not making a whole lot of sense.

Empower Network has always carried with it a sort of cultish vibe, with the “us vs. them” mentality strongly fostered among affiliates. Thus the answers behind Sharpe’s departure was always going to have to originate from the inside.

Turns out that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago at Empower Network’s “Generation Hero” event.

Empower’s Generation Hero event was held between January 28th to 31st in Miami. According to an Empower Network affiliate present at the event, the evening of Friday 29th saw Wood poll attendees for event ideas.

One affiliate brought up David Sharpe’s departure, referring to the lack of discussion about it as an “elephant in the room”.

Nothing more was said of it at the time – but the comments must have struck a chord in Wood, who later in the evening took it upon himself to clear the air.

Wood revealed that the real reason Sharpe left Empower Network was because he was “worried about his reputation”. In what context Sharpe was concerned his ongoing affiliate with Empower Network might harm his reputation, I unfortunately can’t say.

Prior to his departure, Sharpe retained a 40% interest in Empower Network. Wanting out, Sharpe demanded a cash value settlement for his share of the company.

Purportedly Empower Network was going through “other issues” at that time, and the money Sharpe wanted wasn’t there.

Negotiations continued, with a settlement reached in January 2015. Sharpe agreed to a lesser payout, in exchange for the dropping of a non-compete clause as part of his separation agreement.

Shortly thereafter Sharpe began to remarket himself online as an independent trainer. Late last year Sharpe began promoting My Lead System Pro, the company he was an affiliate with prior to launching Empower Network.

The initial sentiment towards Sharpe following David Wood’s revelations was that of hostility. I suppose with none of this being clarified publicly before, many of Empower Network’s affiliates had believed Sharpe had left EN solely to recover.

A sense of betrayal was no doubt part of this, with perhaps nobody feeling more betrayed than David Wood himself.

Yesterday saw Wood attempt to purge himself of these feelings, via an emotion-charged video and blog post.

Whether intentionally or otherwise, Wood’s taken it upon himself to bear the responsibility of the aftermath of his revelations.

david-wood-forgiving-david-sharpe-videoIn an attempt to lead by example, Wood conducts a “write and burn”. The idea is that the person doing it writes about their feelings and emotions and then sets the papers alight.

As the last of the papers smolder, Wood declares any feelings he had about Sharpe as “cancelled”. He admits he’s hated Sharpe’s guts for two years, but that he’s now “let it all go”.

Wood then goes on to forgive and bless Sharpe and his family in a lengthy (and somewhat repetitive) prayer.

Religious music plays in the background of the video, a testament to Wood’s purported spiritual re-awakening last year.

At the conclusion of the video, Wood announces Empower Network affiliates are now forbidden from talking negatively about Sharpe and his family.

He then launches into an off-key song, at which point I had to stop watching (apologies if anything interesting happened after the song, but the video in the blog post has no timeskip function).

On a more personal note, Wood purportedly also revealed at the Generation Hero event that his fiancée had left him. She retains custody of their infant son but he does have visitation rights.

When exactly that happened I’m not sure, but I suspect it’s timed closely with emergence of religion in Wood’s life.

Last year he also publicly gave up alcohol, attributing not being able to stop with a series of poor choices.

Having loosely followed Empower Network since 2011, I kind of get the feeling Wood needs a focal point in his life to ground himself on.

Initially it was Empower Network and his partnership with David Sharpe. When that fell through it was the desire to have a family, which pretty much seemed like it happened overnight.

Now it seems to be religion with doses of kung-fu. Following his fiance’s departure, Wood’s brother William Wood has also featured more prominently in Empower Network marketing.

Empower Network’s obviously still a big part of Wood’s life, but I kind of get the sense it’s perhaps not his biggest passion anymore. Or at least one that’s not able to fill the void.

Empower Network affiliates, any thoughts?

Personally I think Wood’s probably overdue for a break. Divorce, a huge business shake-up that left him extremely bitter for two years, getting engaged, having a kid, losing the kid, finding religion, having to confront a lot of this in the public eye (or at least those of your affiliates)… it’s a lot to go through.

At some point you’ve got to step back and take some time out (which is what I think Sharpe did, albeit more permanently).

Unfortunately with Wood declaring in his video that his exit plan for Empower Network “is a tombstone”, that doesn’t look it’ll be happening anytime soon.

We might not see eye to eye on Empower Network’s business model, but that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize a cry for help.

Here’s hoping Wood gets the help he needs.


Update 23rd February 2016 – Here’s David Sharpe’s response to Wood’s video:

There’s been a lot of questions lately about why I left Empower back over 2 yrs ago:

It’s really simple:

1) My partner and I’s visions became different.

2) I had a major health issue that I was told I needed to get treatment for.

So my wife and I decided it was best for me to step away for some time, not just from the biz, but from the entire industry.

It’s that simple.

I’m sorry if anyone was hurt — I know I was hurt I had to leave a company I helped build from the ground up, so I understand that. I was sad and scared about my health at the time, too.

However, I got into this great business so I could have the freedom to take care of my health and my family.

And I had an opportunity to do that when I needed it most.

I’m so grateful to this industry I was able to do that.

I really don’t see how anyone can question what a man and his wife decides is best for his health and his family.

My exit was the best decision I could have made and I have no regrets. Today, I’m completely free of hep-c and my wife and I are even expecting a new baby (little Sharpe, due in April!)

I feel like I have a second chance at life- again! And my family and my home is filled with more love and gratitude than ever.

I appreciate all the kind words and love we’ve received this week. It’s hard to take the high road sometimes, but it’s so worth it.

I don’t throw stones because I know whenever you have a finger pointing out, you always have three pointing back at you.

We all do our best, in any given situation, and our best is good enough.

I’m just grateful… and I’m looking forward to having the best year ever with the arrival of my new baby and some other really exciting things to come!

With my deepest gratitude for all of you.

Published to Sharpe’s Facebook account on February 17th, 2016.