When it comes to your business or your life what is your message? This was the question in focus at the recent Experts Academy seminar. Eight hundred people gathered at the Marriott Hotel in Santa Clara to learn from one of the top business trainers in the world who teaches how you can use your message to lead people to a higher place. Attendees came from every area of business and about a third of them came from countries around the globe. The energy was electric and contagious. The desire and hunger to learn more about this topic was palpable. The audience congregated to listen to one man, Brendon Burchard, author of the #1 New York Times bestselling book “The Millionaire Messenger.” I questioned whether one man could influence a group this size into tapping into their inner expertise so they could formulate their message and change the world in the process.
Brendon’s story is what drew me to this particular seminar. Brendon was able to take not one but several “all is lost” moments and transform them into an empire that is now an eight-figure business. Brendon’s “all is lost “moments included the breakup of a relationship, two car accidents (one which was nearly fatal), and going bankrupt early on in his career. His story demonstrates to me the strength of the human spirit. I am drawn to Brendon because of his authenticity, his results and his message.
Another motivator to take this course was to conduct research for my upcoming book “Change Your Story, Change Your Life: A Path To Your Success.” I wanted to see if seminars like this one could truly inspire change in people. I was a little skeptical at first but also hopeful. On a personal level, my hope was to gain insight into how I could expand my business, Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., from storytelling in the entertainment industry to storytelling in the business world. I believe in the power of my message to help entrepreneurs and business owners understand how to tell their story in a way that connects their message to their clients or customers on a higher level and leads to their desired end goal. During this seminar, I witnessed Brendon teach the entire audience how to take their messages to a whole new level of clarity and understanding.
Seeing Brendon’s style of teaching in action made me understand why he is making eight figures. He understands what it means to be an expert and a businessperson. He acts from his spirit, not his ego. His knowledge and the way he is able to express it is like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life. He makes it all sound so simple. For example, he takes powerful taglines and repeats them over and over and has the audience repeat them as well. He conditions you for success by having you do constant exercises that help you absorb the lesson, gain confidence in your delivery, meet other people, and move through your fear. He has a gift for breaking everything down into a “framework” and taking you from not knowing or not being totally clear to understanding exactly what he means and how you can put it into place in your life and your business. You leave his seminars feeling like you can deliver your message, help move people to a higher place and create tremendous wealth in the process.
Brendon is a protégé of Tony Robbins. Tony’s message had a pivotal effect on the path of my career. His audio series empowered me to find my niche around 20 years ago and climb up the corporate ladder. It all started with setting a strong foundation of discipline and belief. Now, I love that someone who learned directly from Tony is teaching us all how to move our businesses to the next level through the power of our message.
I walked in feeling skeptical but hopeful and I left as a total believer. I am excited to apply all of the lessons I learned during the seminar to my own business. I will be attending future seminars because I believe in the power of Brendon’s message to effect change in individual lives and in the world. He awakened something in each person who attended. I can’t wait to see all that is going to evolve in my own life and the lives of others from this one seminar. I give so much gratitude for this experience. This event fit right into the concept I am exploring in my upcoming book: you have the power to change your story and change your life in the process.
The idea that we are all evolving or that we all have the ability to evolve to a higher consciousness is a hot topic in the media. Authors are taking us on a journey into a deeper awareness of ourselves. Lecturers are covering concepts like how to find joy and true happiness and how to help us lead a more authentic life. We are learning the lesson that all the answers lie within. We are discovering the beauty of looking inside ourselves instead of externally for our happiness. The concept of being able to find real fulfillment inside is a gift. It makes you feel all your prior hard knocks in life happened for a reason — to move you toward something greater. It seems that people of all ages are moving into this place of awareness. I question what the key is to evolve to this place since we all seem to arrive at different ages and points in our lives.
It feels as if there is an invisible realm full of guides who are keeping score of our individual falls and triumphs. It’s as if once our falls begin to outweigh our triumphs, we begin to evolve. We are humbled. We are vulnerable. We may first try to distract ourselves with things like work, exercise, shopping, alcohol, drugs or anything that numbs us to the pain. When we tire of the distractions, we finally are free to move toward something more meaningful. We reach for books, listen to talks, share authentic connections, attend concerts and the list goes on. Our intention is just to feel better; we may even be on the quest for a quick fix. But what we soon recognize is that there is no quick fix to evolving. In story, I coin this as the character shifting from ego to spirit after going through a number of obstacles. In life, I think we go through this shift from ego to spirit on a daily basis. If we are truly evolving, our friendship with the spirit grows stronger. The ego starts to lose ground and begins to feel neglected. This is when change begins.
When we begin to trust our instincts and our vision clears so we may see the full potential impact of our present-day choices on our future, we begin to transcend. When our pain outweighs our pleasure, something has to shift. We recognize that sometimes the choices we make positively or negatively affect others and as we evolve we become more aware and adept at thinking before making decisions. When we actually move into something more, we think about how our choices and our goals could help the greater good. We move into a heightened place of awareness or higher consciousness and we begin to absorb and interpret the sights, sounds and experiences of our life in a new, more evolved way.
I just returned home from a magical experience at a place called Miraval. It is just outside of Tuscon, Arizona. The buzzwords I heard at this place were “mindfulness”, “being present”, “finding your joy”, “breathe” and “moving in a more authentic direction”. The people vacationing there came full of stories and, more impressively, full of hope, as well as vulnerability. Miraval is one of those havens where people can go when they want to dig deeper into themselves and grow to a place of deeper awareness, a place of more. There are life-affirming lectures of all types, a huge array of spa services, every type of exercise imaginable and part of your daily room rate goes toward a massage. On top of that, the food is excellent, served in well-portioned, charming arrangements that are very reasonable calorie-wise. As if that was not enough, it is all-inclusive, except for the alcohol (i.e. once you pay the daily room rate, you do not have to tip). In other words, you can just let go and not worry about anything other than being present or breathing. Miraval also offers a wide array of activities (some of these are at an extra charge) that are designed to help you move past your fears and to feel the gift of evolving.
Since I am currently exploring this concept of how our goals cannot only benefit ourselves but the greater good as we evolve into something more, I plan to do a series of blogs that discuss some of the books that have fallen into my lap at the perfect time – those books that you read at the exact right time in your life – that explore this idea to help guide you to a stronger place of being. This is a message that benefits us all. It is an important one. We all have felt or feel the desire to evolve into something more.
Higher consciousness: Is this a state that we will all become familiar with? Is it part of our destiny? As an author and a Story/Career Consultant, I study and am fascinated by the concept of how we move from ego into a higher consciousness that benefits the greater good both in our lives and through the stories that we tell. How do we move into a higher consciousness? What has to happen in our lives? I’m always seeking to further understand this shift so that I can help writers identify the shift in their own lives, in order for them to know how to apply it to the stories they write. I feel that writing from a place of higher consciousness is the key to affecting universal change through story.
I have found, from reading about others who have gone through this kind of transformation, a common story point in the experience – what I refer to, both in life and in story, as the “all is lost” moment. In scriptwriting, this is a moment when the central character is as far away as possible from achieving his/her goal. In life, we hit this type of moment when our world appears to suddenly turn upside down. We lose our balance. Part of our journey back to balance, I am learning, is directly linked with reaching a higher consciousness.
To reach the desire to move toward a higher consciousness in my own life, I feel like I had to hit my “all is lost” moment; it came after losing a job that I had for 15 years with two sister companies. At that moment of loss, I realized that I had become married to my career after my divorce years before. When I lost my job, it felt as if I was going through a second divorce. In finding a new direction, I knew that I had to find something deeper that meant more, spiritually. It took me losing all that was (i.e., the past tied to ego) to motivate me into venturing into all that could be – the infinite space of possibility. I find that behind the personal stories of many authors/screenwriters, there is a moment like this that causes the same type of transcendence. This is why we connect to what they write.
L. Steven Sieden is the author of the book, A Fuller View: Buckminster Fuller’s Vision of Hope and Abundance For All, which explores the life shift of “Bucky” Fuller – a wise visionary, architect, inventor and motivational speaker ¬– after he hit an “all is lost” moment. For the first part of his life (before the shift), Bucky had served as an officer in the Navy during World War I. He got married and experienced the birth and untimely death of their first child. He then went through a major business and financial failure with his own construction company. As a result of that endeavor, Bucky lost all of his money as well as the investments of his friends and family. Sieden writes, “With the loss of his construction company and the birth of his second daughter, Allegra, Bucky found himself stranded with a young family in 1927 Chicago. He had no money, no job, no formal education beyond high school, a reputation as an unsuccessful businessman, and no prospects for the future.”
Sieden continues, “Extremely dejected, he seriously considered drowning himself in Lake Michigan. It was then that Bucky had the famous mystical experience that transformed his life. He realized that he did not belong to himself, and consequently, did not have the right to end his own life.” Then Sieden goes on to explain, “In that cosmic flash, Bucky suddenly understood that he (like every human being) belonged to Universe, and he committed himself to an experiment that provided the foundation and context for his every action and decision during the next fifty-six years. He decided to embark upon a lifelong experiment to determine and document what one average healthy individual with no college degree and no money could accomplish on behalf of all humankind that could not be achieved by any nation, business, organization, or institution, no matter how wealthy or powerful.”
Justine Willis Toms, guest commentator in Sieden’s book, adds, “One concept of Bucky’s that remains a touchstone for me over the years is that we can all be ‘trimtabs’ – that is, we can play a role in changing the course of things. A trimtab is a small device that is part of the rudder mechanism, which plays a crucial role in controlling the direction of a ship or an airplane. The metaphor was so important to him (Bucky) that ‘Call Me Trimtab,’ serves at the epitaph on his gravestone.”
DeAnne Hampton is the author of The New Human: Understanding Our Humanity Embracing Our Divinity. Explaining her own shift into a higher consciousness she writes, “As I began stepping back from my egoic restlessness and dropping into an emerging essence that responded to my anxiety with more inspired thought and creative possibility, I was given graceful mirrors within my routine that allowed my physical energy to grow in equal proportion to the conscious work that I was doing and engaging within the higher realms. Enthusiasm grew as I created the space for more nothingness to enter, accepting that as my consciousness expanded from within, my ego that enhanced itself from without would become extremely uncomfortable.”
DeAnne adds, “I began to seek a new counsel within that increasingly guided me in conscious action to balance doing with being. Curiously, without knowing what it was, friends and colleagues started noticing a new glow, a radiance emerging that I would come to understand as the light of my inner being, hungry for spaciousness and room to grow… I no longer belonged to my self, I was suddenly swept up by my own higher intent to know my Self: the formless, creative, intelligent force of my spiritual essence.”
I was mesmerized by these two depictions of the life shift into higher consciousness. These books helped to increase my own awareness and understanding of how better to teach the idea of transformation into a deeper place of being – a place where we can each become a “trimtab” and, in the process of doing so, effect change in ourselves and in the world.
Celebrating the New Year often symbolizes a fresh start and a new beginning for each one of us. We reflect on the year past and give gratitude for our successes, think about what we wanted to do but didn’t or what we tried to do but perhaps didn’t work out. We celebrate our wins and mourn our losses. We reflect on what could have been and learn to embrace what is. We think about what we want our life to look like and why we want it. We also consider the obstacles we face. We gain fuel from all of this introspection and look at the start of a new year as a way to think about our new plans and how to start putting them into action.
Similar to many of you, I thought about how I wanted to bring in this New Year. Where do I want to be? What do I want to be doing and how do I want to feel? Well, I decided that because I am in the midst of writing my next book (Change Your Story, Change Your Life) that I would like to be at a Writing Retreat. I searched online and found a Wellness Immersion Retreat, a retreat geared towards wellness through writing, yoga, painting and healthy eating. When I read the description of this, it sounded like heaven to me. So, I decided to give it a try. I knew that it meant being away from home, friends and family for the celebration of the New Year but it also meant opening up myself to a whole new experience, new friends and new energy.
This particular retreat was in Tulum, Mexico, at a gorgeous resort (the Shambala Petit Hotel) nestled on the beach. I knew I loved this place as soon as I saw the coziness and the community of the grass huts and the plaque as you entered the hotel that read, “We are what we think. All that we are arises out of our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” Each night at dinner we saw the owner, Roberto Hernandez, who made all of his guests feel as if we were part of his family. It was a very unique and memorable experience.
Stephen Lloyd Webber and his wife, Jade Webber, headed the retreat. Don’t be fooled by their youth and beauty, they are the real deal. The Webbers have had successful retreats like this one all over the world. Stephen teaches the writing part and Jade teaches a daily yoga and meditation practice as well as painting. They both participate in the critiques of the writing every night. Stephen and Jade started the retreat with asking each one of us about our goals. I eagerly told them my goal and hoped in my heart that it would happen.
Fourteen writers/artists gathered to drink it all in and satiate their thirst for the experience. I made plans to meet a fellow author and good friend there. We are both writing our next book. Upon arrival, my friend and I were taken to our room, which was gorgeous and felt like a giant tree house. It had a phenomenal ocean view. As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself, this is where I am going to write my book. I knew that with this type of inspiration, the words would come. I was right.
Everyone else came by themselves, with the exception of a mother and daughter. So, we started with a group of strangers and quickly, through the experience, became an instant family.
Each day started with yoga and meditation. Jade often started it with a discussion before jumping into the practice. After that, we’d write some personal pages and then, go to breakfast (which we ate in peaceful quiet). So, we sat and ate our meals and took it all in with our heart and soul. Glances at one another were full of peace and gratitude. After breakfast, we’d gather for a discussion with Stephen and for our writing exercise assignments. Then, we’d write for a few hours before meeting for lunch, which was always a delicious new surprise. After lunch, we’d meet for discussion and then go and write again for several hours before dinner. I’d return to our room, sit on my bed with the ocean view and I would let the words flow. Every night we’d meet for dinner, which was always comparable to what you’d get at a five star restaurant. After dinner, we’d go through our critiques of what we wrote that day. I LOVED this part. There was no greater opportunity for me than hearing the voices of the other participants, which included some very talented writers.
I collected so many beautiful memories on this trip: the ocean in every shade of blue imaginable, men raking leaves, dogs sleeping, Mayan ruins, footprints in the sand, hearts opening, sounds of drums and techno, a child’s laughter, stories being revealed, voices emerging, wounds surfacing, and healing beginning.
I set my goal when I got there. I wanted to write 15,000 words of my book. Through the journey of the writing exercises, the experience of the place, the gift of my friend’s companionship, and the energy and stories of the participants, I was able to hit my goal. I wrote 4 chapters. I made new friends. I found peace within. I started the year with putting a plan into action. I highly recommend this experience to anyone that wants to go on a vacation and accomplish a goal. It was a beautiful way to end one year and start another.