The second six months as a Bush Fellow has been an amazing and rewarding experience. I’ve had the opportunity to attend two powerful seminars in the last six months. The first seminar was entitled Business Mastery. This seminar is hosted by Tony Robbins. The Harvard Review recognized Tony Robbins as one of the top business minds in the country. The seminar is an intense mini MBA course for entrepreneurs. The second six day seminar I attended, which was also led by Anthony Robbins. Tony Robbins has been teaching breakthrough human performance strategies and technologies for the past 40 years. The seminar I attended in May was entitled Date With Destiny. It was held in Australia. For the past six months I’ve also been leveraging my Executive Coach. Lastly, during this time period I’ve been getting an even deeper understanding of the Getting Things Done workflow management system.
Improving my Business Acumen
I attended the Business Mastery program in January of this year in Florida. The Business Mastery seminar focused on seven key areas of business:
1. Understanding your business navigation system – Knowing where you are as a business. Answering the questions: What business are you in? What business are you really in? This was a powerful question and process that I went through to answer this question. Before the insight that I gained at Business Mastery, if someone were to ask me what business am I in, I would say that I’m in the education business. Now my response is we unleash potential to transform community.
2. Strategic Innovations: During this session of the seminar they taught us how we can use technology and social media to promote our business. I used this principle right away and am in the process of developing a video that features other parents in the video.
3. Understanding Your Unique Selling Proposition
4. Sales Mastery
5. Financial and Legal Analysis
6. Business Optimization
7. Creating Raving Fans
I learned a great deal from this seminar. The first lesson that I learned was during the session: Understanding your business. We went through an exercise of answering the question, What business are you in? Before the seminar I would have answered the question by saying that I’m in the education business. During this part of the session, I changed my answer. My new answer to the question is that I’m in the Unleashing Potential To Transforming Community business. This new answer is much more aligned and inspiring than the previous answer. I was so inspired by this new answer, this became our tag line. Unleashing Potential, Transforming Community.
I also learned very simple ways of reading financials, by learning some fundamental principles of accounting. Lastly, there was a powerful session on digital marketing. In this session they showed how a singer used a clever marketing idea to promote himself to over one million views on Youtube. He put “mommy bloggers” in his music video. The genius behind this strategy was the mommy bloggers quite naturally were motivated to promote his video because their family was featured in the video. Our school is using a similar concept and creating a video that would include our parents.
BreakThroughs – Date With Destiny
In early May I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Australia to attend the Tony Robbins Date With Destiny Seminar. Date with Destiny Australia was one of the most incredible experiences that I’ve had in my life. There are two fundamental premises of the program: First, the human brain is not designed to make us happy. The human brain was designed for survival. Therefore, the brain is always trying to protect us and continues to look for danger. If we are only guided by our brains then it will always seek a negative interpretation of things. The second foundational premise of the seminar was that meaning equals destiny. The quality of how we manage the meaning of things is directly proportional to the quality of our lives. With the idea that meaning comes from the “software programs” that in some cases have been both consciously and in many cases subliminally installed in our mental computers. This program is made up of our beliefs,values and rules which leads to how we view of the world. These beliefs, values and rules comes from the things that we experience throughout our lives both consciously and unconsciously which also impacts the stories that we tell ourselves.
The entire seminar focused on how humans make meaning or create our mental software. This software can create success or failure. It can create a Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela or a Unabomber. Once we know how the software is created then we know how we can recreate the software that runs our brains so that we can shape our destiny.
After understanding the aforementioned premises, the seminar focused in detail on the following:
1. The Six Human Needs and how humans make meaning.
a. Certainty, Uncertainty(variety), Significance, Love(connection), Growth and Contribution
2. How our beliefs and values are shaped by our experiences and how our experiences become our stories that we tell ourselves and then tell others about ourselves. These stories can become our jailers or our liberators.
3. Eight levels of Consciousness: How dow we develop from self centered beings to conscientious leaders that want to make a difference in the world.
4. Relationship Mastery: Understanding the Power of the Male/ Female polarity.
5. Understanding our Moving Towards, Moving Away from Values and and the associated rules to those values. This becomes our mental software. We learned how to create new mental programs and install the new software in our brain computers.
6. Creating compelling Mission and goals
7. Integration for Transformation: How to integrate all the ideas outlined above for total mental, spiritual and emotional transformation.
What made this experience so powerful was the fact that in addition to the meaning and perspective that was provided at this seminar, there were literally transformational interventions happening in real-time. There were three people that identified themselves as suicidal at the seminar. The facilitator Tony Robbins was able to use the above principles to teach and inspire them not to be self-destructive. He transformed relationships with significant others. He provided reframing for a women who was adopted,yet she told herself the story that she was abandoned. Which led to a deep depression that she was experiencing. Tony helped her create a new story that in fact she was blessed and really was taking for granted the parents that through love took a huge risk by adopting her as a young child.
Through this experience I was able to reprioritize my “Moving Towards” values and through a powerful spiritual breakthrough better understand my “Moving Away From” values. A Moving Toward value is defined as the values that drive us. Moving Away from values are the values that you try to avoid. Many times we either create consciously or unconsciously our values and rules and then make them impossible to meet. For instance, a woman that Tony was working with that was suicidal, her top value was LOVE. This is good. The problem was her rules that she she adopted required her to only feel love when people recognize her beauty all the time. They had to complement her. If other people really loved her they had to be in contact with her all the time. The only way she met the value of love was to have someone do something for her. She had at least 10 other values and rules that were similar to this. With all of her values, either someone else had to do something to make her feel she achieved the value or the rules were impossible to meet. It was clear why she was depressed and suicidal. We went through an exercise to create our own Moving Towards and Moving Away from values. We also created a personal mission statement as well as short term and long term goals and objectives.
Work-Flow Management - Personal Organization Systems
I continue to be inspired by the improvements that I’ve made in my organizational skills over the past year as a Bush Fellow. It’s because I’ve been able to leverage the resources that I've received as a Bush Fellow to take advantage of learning opportunities that my skills have improved considerably . I took two courses in workflow management systems from an organizational specialists David Allen. The premise of the David Allen management systems(Getting Things Done or GTD) is that there's five components to workflow management:
These are the devices and systems that are used to collect notes, references, suggestions and general stuff that will be useful at sometime in the future. These collection systems can be notepads, recording devices, camera’s, email as well as any other system for recording.
After our stuff is collected, then there are two questions that we must ask about the stuff. Is the information collected actionable or non-actionable.
If the information is actionable or even non-actionable then we determine what to do with the information.
There is both a daily review process as well as a weekly review process that must be done on a regular basis to stay current with the stuff that we collect.
Ultimately a system is only as good as we implement the system.
I have combined the David Allen workflow management system with a organizational electronic management system called Evernotes. Evernotes has become my external brain. I keep many of my documents, notes, references and ‘to do” list in my Evernotes system. I create files in my Evernotes systems to store many of my documents in Evernotes.
Lastly, over the past six months, I’ve been leveraging the experience and expertise of my executive coach to make improvements to my personal leadership as well as organizational improvements. I meet with her by phone every other week. Her counsel has been invaluable in my quest for continual improvement to my leadership. I want to thank the Bush Foundation once again for this incredible opportunity.