When Community is given a transcendent purpose, it becomes one of the fastest ways for members of that community to come alive as individuals.
That’s what you’ll quickly discover from today’s discussion.
For context, every year we host the Best Year Ever [LIVE] experience in San Diego, CA. I’m guessing you’ve heard me talk about it by now 😉
Only a few weeks ago, we wrapped up the 4th annual BYEB, which brought together 400 people from 16 different countries around the world. It was an unbelievable experience that far exceeded my wildest expectations. I’ve NEVER been to any event that was a more powerful expression of heartfelt community (and I go to A LOT of events).
Today, Jon Berghoff jumps on the mic to reflect on some of the most memorable moments from the event. And regardless of whether you were there, I promise there is valuable insight for everyone who listens.
Jon highlights some of the best lessons learned from the event and speaks from his heart about the power of community.
- Honoring what makes us different and what unites us—Jon explains how collective diversity makes us individually stronger.
- Find out what happens when a community is given a transcendent purpose!
- Discover the concept of mirror flourishing and how it can help your best self emerge in 2018.
- Learn what it means to build, nurture and create a strong community.
- The difference between emotional and intellectual leadership.
- How to create an environment that gives people permission to open up and connect with each other—a process that will unlock new possibilities and realities.
- Learn how to “share the ownership” so you can create life changing experiences for any community.
- And much more!
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Jon: Achieve Your Goals Podcast listeners, what’s up everybody? Jon Berghoff here. It’s a solo episode today. I would consider this a stream of consciousness. I am streaming live so if you get confused, my shout outs are acknowledgements of people who are saying hi in the chat box. Forgive me. Thank you. Or you can join us in the Miracle Morning Community in the future where we stream most of these episodes live.
So, what am I going to talk about today? Well, here’s what I think I’m going to talk about. I think I’m going to talk about community and I’m going to reflect on what just happened with this community. And if you’re wondering what I’m talking about, every year for the last four years we’ve been hosting a live event in San Diego, California usually in December, this year it was in November, called our Best Year Ever Blueprint Event. And it was I think far beyond what I’m currently able to describe with words in terms of how powerful the experience was.
And those of you that were there, you probably can appreciate where I’m coming from with that. I was just talking to Hal this morning. He was dropping one of his kids off to school and I said, “Hey, I’m going to jump on and just share some stream of consciousness about the event itself.” And my hope is that obviously regardless of whether or not you were there, you could get some value from this today because there are some things that I feel like I was able to witness and emerge at this event and I’ll talk about some of these. We’ll probably do more of a full length like unpacking, debriefing of the whole event more thoroughly in the next couple of weeks. So, this is just off the top of my head some of the things that we observed, and I hope that you get some value from hearing about this.
So, first of all, let me just set the stage a little bit here for the several hundred thousand of you that weren’t there although it would be cool if one day all of you were there. So, you’re all invited, and we’d love to have all of you there, but we have 400 of you there. And first of all, it’s 400 folks from 16 or 17 different countries. In fact, after the event was done, I wasn’t proud that I didn’t figure this out until the end of the event but Sunday night there’s like an after party in one of the hotel rooms and I’m talking with a woman named Svetlana who anybody of you who met Svetlana an incredible human being. She found out about this event. She found out about the Miracle Morning book like a week before the event. A day after she finds the book, she finds out about the event, buys a ticket and comes and join us. Well, Svetlana is originally from Siberia and she tells me, she says, “You know, Jon, there were four participants here from Siberia.” Now I knew her and I knew Anna, but I didn’t even know the other two. And it just goes to show you the power of this world that we live in where here I’m talking right now, streaming this conversation.
Hi, Svetlana, you just said hi right there on the live chat. That makes me feel really good. But it reminds me of the power of this world that we live in where there are so many things in the last just few years that had become possible in our ability to connect with others. And here we host this event in San Diego, California and I find out at the end of the event there are four people from Siberia. Oh, and here’s the cool part. None of them even knew each other. They all showed up there on their own. We had folks from Australia, Jack from Belgium, Dawn from the UK, Julie from Australia and many others who I can’t remember the names. But the diversity of the group in and of itself is an incredible strength.
And so, that’s one point there that I just wanted to acknowledge is that for those of you who are listening to this, you may not have been at the event, but I’d encourage to think about in your world where can you invite and appreciate differences? Because when we can figure out how to invite and appreciate differences in our families, when we can figure out how to invite and appreciate differences in our communities, in our businesses with the teams that we work with, with our customers, it’s through those differences that diversity that we actually become collectively and then ultimately individually stronger.
And I could probably talk for hours about my beliefs around that actually where I’ve seen that come true with businesses that we work with. But I was just reminded of it at the Best Year Ever Blueprint Event with 400 people from all around the world how beautiful it is when you have people from different values, different backgrounds, different experiences. And in a minute, I will talk about what we had in common because I think that is part of the beauty of creating community or contributing to a community or shaping a community or influencing a community is not only knowing how to honor what makes us different but also being very clear on what unites us. I’m going to talk about that in a minute here.
A couple of other shout outs I want to give, and this is really hard to get all of this done in a short little episode I’m going to knock out here, but we had some contributors to this event and I believe that if you lead a team or a family, a community of any type, I think one of our jobs as a leader, I think the role of a leader today is different than how historically we’ve always thought about it. I think the role of a leader is to be a curator, a curator of whatever insight might be brought into a community. And so, that was, in part, my job is to be very careful and intentional around who we bring in and put on that stage. Because as soon as somebody is put on a stage, and being put on a stage to me that’s a symbol for what is it that we say we value, who is it that we say we want to honor. And if we lead an organization, a team or even in our families, I look at it this way. The television channel that you have on your TV even unconsciously that’s who you’re putting on the stage. Who are you putting on the stage in your life and who are you putting on the stage in front of others? Because that indirectly and directly is going to shape the people that are touched by that influence.
So, I did my very best. Our leadership team did our very best so thoughtfully, hey, who are we going to put on the stage so to speak in front of this community and the folks that came in just universally did an incredible job. On our entrepreneur day, we had Joe Polish and David Osborn. For another episode and another time, I’m going to tell you the full story of what these guys did but I’m going to tell you right now, they not only gave of themselves of their heart and their minds and their wisdom and their life experiences, these are incredible, successful entrepreneurs, but they also gave financially to support our Front Row Foundation. If you weren’t there and you’re not aware, I’ll give you the punch line right now.
Over the three days at this event, we turned this event into a fund raiser which by the way this leads to another lesson about community, which is one of the things that we see again and again and again is that when a community is given what we call a transcendent purpose so whether that community is you and your spouse or your family or a team that you work with or a church or a school or any group of people that have some sort of unifying characteristic, what we find is that when a community has a transcendent purpose or in other words, a reason or a cause or a mission or something that not only unifies all of them but it’s bigger than all of them, incredible things happen.
Not only will people rally, not only will people find a source of motivation because they want to see the shared purpose fulfilled but what we see, and this goes unspoken or unmentioned often, what we see is that when a community is given a transcendent purpose especially when it’s a purpose that’s about making some sort of societal benefit or environmental benefit, what we see is that can actually be one of the fastest ways for the individual members of that community to come alive as individuals. We often think when you come to an event like the Best Year Ever Blueprint or everybody comes to work every day, I’ve got my sales team, whatever the community you have influence with and we think, “Well, the thing that we all need is to learn how to thrive as individuals,” and sure I’m not denying that but what I’m sharing is that when you come from a systems thinking perspective – Jessica, thanks for the shout out. Glad you were there. Thank you. You rocked. Thank you.
When you come from a systems thinking perspective, one of the things we learn and there’s real science behind this is that we often think that things happen in a certain order. As an example, I come to an event, I become the best version of myself and then eventually that allows me to become the best contributor to the world and then eventually I change the world, right? That’s a very sensible sequence and I’m not arguing that that happens in that order. But when you look at systems thinking, system thinking says that that sequence is actually possibly also a loop. And what that means is that if we start on the other end, it actually goes the other way.
So, what am I talking about there? What I’m talking about is this is what we saw at the Best Year Ever Event and this is what I see in the work I do when we help teams to create shared visions and shared purpose. And we see it again and again and again to become true and it’s one of the big discoveries I think of our time to realize that if we start on the other end and say, “Well, what’s a transcendent purpose that we can all have to make a positive impact on the planet or the world or society or some sort of injustice or mission or cause?” What happens is in turn, that causes us to become alive as individuals. You don’t have to just start by saying, “How do I make myself the best so I can eventually change the world?” We can also start by saying, “How do we want to change the world?” and what we call, there’s a label that we use in our work.
It’s called mirror flourishing. There’s a scientific, there’s a neurological basis for this that says, the same reason why when my kids watch a kung fu movie they all of a sudden want to be Bruce Lee. Because when we see something, there’s a neuron in our brain, I think it’s called the mirror neuron, where we immediately want to reflect what we’re seeing. So, at this event what I believe is happening whether or not everybody understands it, I don’t even think I understand it, but what I believe is happening is when we are looking outward and an impact that we’re making in the world, we cannot help it but look inward and cause our best selves to want to emerge.
So, I say all of that in the spirit of I was giving some shout outs and to the whole community, over $230,000 were raised over the three days of this event. Now let’s not forget that this event is not advertised as a fundraiser. It’s advertised as you come here to work on yourself and when everybody shows up we say, “Hey, we think one of the best ways to grow ourselves is to start by saying, what’s the united way we can change the world?” And so, thank you to all of you who contributed to that and I hope that you can realize that it’s not about the money but it’s about the people whose lives that we’ll touch because if you’re not familiar with the Front Row Foundation, those contributions are going to create memories and experiences not only for beneficiaries who are battling life-threatening conditions, children, adults, all ages, but it’s also going to create memories for their families so that after those beneficiaries pass on and over half of our beneficiaries have passed on since we’ve created events, their families now have that memory to hold on to. So, thank you to all of you who helped to contribute to that. It means more than any words or any thank you could ever convey.
But Joe Polish and David Osborn, I just want to say this, the two of them they set the tone by personally making major contributions to that event. So, Joe, thank you from the bottom of our hearts from the Front Row Foundation. On Entrepreneur Day, Mike Koenigs, Pete Vargas, both of them not only gave incredible wisdom but one of the things I want to acknowledge, and I think this is another great lesson about nurturing communities. Alissa Daire Nelson, a strengths coach just pointed out in the chat box a quote of Joe Polish’s who said, “Those who say that money can’t make you happy, haven’t given enough away.” Thanks for reminding us of that, Alissa. Appreciate that. So, there’s another lesson here about what it means to build, nurture, or create community and that is and again, I really think when people talk about leadership, leadership is such an old tired word and I think part of the reason why that is, is because I think everybody realizes the world is asking for a whole new different type of leadership, a collective leadership. In fact, we need that. If we want to solve problems we’ve never solved, it’s not going to be a small number of people. It’s got to be a collective wisdom that emerges. There’s still a role for people in a leadership position but it’s different. Like I said earlier, if you lead a community, team, organization, it’s about curating.
But I also think it’s about setting the emotional tone and I want to acknowledge Mike Koenigs and Pete Vargas because they were our two first contributors at the entire event and if you look at who they are as people, they really set an emotional tone for the event and they’re two extremely successful entrepreneurs, but you also see who they are because that shines through no matter what. And you see that these are two very heart-centered, heartfelt people. And I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that when we look at Mike Koenigs and Pete Vargas and even Hal and we look at almost every one of our contributors over the weekend, that they both all went through some sort of major personal tragedy of some type, a challenge, adversity to become who they are today. And I want to call that out because I think it’s a beautiful reminder that life does work in seasons and that sometimes our deepest, darkest winters can actually reveal the most powerful abundant spring and summer and harvest and the fall, and every one of those contributors showed that. But they also showed through who they were in their heart, the importance of setting the emotional tone as a leader which I think is a much higher priority than setting an intellectual tone for any community. So, thank you.
A big shout out to those guys. Dana Malstaff contributed at the end of Entrepreneur Day sharing the story of how her Boss Mom community has flourished ever since she was at our first Best Year Ever Blueprint. Saturday, we had Betsy and Zoe reminding us of the power of play and I’d encourage all of you to be reminded of the importance of play in our lives. And it’s not just a feel-good idea anymore. There’s a lot of evidence, scientific backing that is reminding us that when we play, we actually unlock our capability to connect and collaborate and innovate with others to see and find and create opportunities. So, thank you, Betsy and Zoe. As always, true class act professionals. Jon Vroman who we’re going to bring him on for another episode to talk about the Best Year Ever Blueprint Event. So, I’ll just say this for now. There’s no better person on the planet to tell us about the power of creating magical moments. And Jon through just incredible storytelling helped us to remember that that’s our ultimate purpose is to create magic moments for ourselves and others. Thank you, Jon, for helping us set that tone.
On Sunday, we had Julianna Raye reconnecting us with the power of mindfulness. We had Dan Casetta, one of my first mentor, really my first mentor as an entrepreneur from 18 years ago who I still have the privilege of being in his space today, came on and talked about goal setting. We had a goal setting activity that followed that. And then Sunday afternoon, I’m sure I’m forgetting about contributors so forgive me. Forgive me. I’ll just give them shout outs on the next episode. But Sunday afternoon we had Jeff Kaylor, the magician, the perfect way to close out the event. So, Jeff, thank you for that. Any of you who run events you got to have Jeff come in. He doesn’t just do magic, but he shows us how to create those magical moments for others. John Israel who embodied appreciation in a way that I have never seen, and I’m not even going to try and tell you. I’m going to save that for a future episode. We’re going to bring John on to tell you all about what he did. But I’m going to encourage you to go to MrThankYou.com and to write somebody a personal thank you note today and maybe another one and maybe another one but we’ll bring John on to tell you about this story. Julie Reisler, author of Get a PhD in YOU, Jesse Harless, both Quantum Leap Mastermind members who came up and shared a little bit about their journey of creating their own quantum leap in their lives.
So, I just wanted to give shout outs for these different contributors. Now all throughout these contributions, we had the community connecting with each other in very meaningful ways. And so, I’m going to finish and close this out just by sharing just a couple observations about the power of community. Jeff, great to have you there, buddy. I just see you in the chat box. I was talking to Hal this morning and one of the things that Hal shared with me is he said, “JB, I go to events all the time.” He’s there as a speaker, he’s there to learn, he’s probably been to more live high-level events than anybody I know. And Hal shared that he has never been to any event that was a more powerful expression of a heartfelt community than what we just experienced together. And I know if somebody who were there, you may have felt that as well.
And let me be clear, this wasn’t a perfect event. Nothing ever is or will be and I’ll be the first to tell you. In fact, on our future episode when we do a full debrief of what have we learned as designers and facilitators, the list of things that were messed up, the ball dropped, I mean it’s endless. But I think that’s a great reminder that it’s never about perfection. That’s not what people want. Sure. There might be things they wanted that we didn’t deliver, and I know what those are and we’re listening to you and we’re going to deliver in the future. We’re going to do our best. But I’ll tell you what, it’s about authenticity. And there are a few things I think that create that and I invite all of you to think about how can you create this in your communities.
And so, I’ve mentioned a few of these already which is realizing that being a part of a community whether your lead or have influence and when I say community, that’s as small as your family at home. It’s as small as your group of your five closest friends or maybe it’s as big as a community that you have leadership over with hundreds of thousands of members. But I think the responsibility and the role is the same. And if you have access to influence with leadership over a community, a few of the things that we’ve learned. One of them is thank you, Carol, for that comment. Carol Flores says, “We thought it was perfect.” In its own imperfect way. Thank you, Carol. I think one of the big lessons we’ve learned about community is how important it is to give ownership away, to share ownership, to share in the ownership. One of the ways that we do that is we have a leadership team that we invite to help us in owning the event. One of the ways that we share in the ownership of the event is we actually make that explicit with people at the event and in the community that this is your event. If you don’t want to be sitting, you can stand. If you don’t want to be in the room, you can go outside the room. What we ask is that people realize that they all have total ownership over the collective and individual experience. One of the other ways that we share in ownership is by listening. There’s so much listening that is happening.
For me as the chief designer and facilitator, I believe my greatest job is to listen, is to listen before the event to what is this community, what are they asking for? What are they yearning for? What is seeking to emerge whether or not they realize it? Can I see it? Can I hear it? And the way we listen is we ask people lots of questions coming into the event. So, I encourage you to think about what am I asking the communities that I have connection with? Because it doesn’t matter if you lead a community of 3 or 300 or 300,000. Finding out what is going on with them, what are their strengths, what is seeking to emerge is maybe the most important task of a leader today I think. So, we’re always listening and it’s not just before we are engaged with the community but it’s while we’re engaged. That’s why all throughout the event we’re constantly checking in with our leadership team and we’re constantly asking what do you see and what are you hearing, what are you feeling? And whether or not the leadership team realizes it, that input is constantly shaping in real-time how we’re leading that community.
One of the other things that we’re doing is we’re inviting the community to be creators of the community. So, that’s part of giving up ownership is inviting them to help create the actual community itself and we’ll talk a lot more about that on a future episode, but I just wanted to share a couple of those thoughts on the power of a community and what we can do the strengthening our communities.
And those of you that are thinking about this in a professional environment, I think there is no more important aspiration if you lead a team than to find a way to create a culture where that team operates as a community, not as a corporate team where they feel a sense of ownership, where they feel listened to. And that reminds me of I think one more simple point here, maybe two, which is remember that as a leader or an influencer of a community, our most important job is to be the emotional leader, not the intellectual leader. Because the emotional leader is going to unlock the ability for people to actually open up and connect with each other. It’s going to unlock the ability for people to actually see new opportunities and create new possibilities and realities. The intellectual piece, all a community needs to see is that you as the so-called leader are open. If they see that you’re open in your mind, they’ll be open and if they feel that you’re open in your heart, they’ll be open, and then that’s where the magic starts to happen.
The very last thing I’ll share that I think of when I think about our Best Year Ever Blueprint Event that I think makes it magical is one of our ingredients and it’s a big deal. It’s one of the things people tell us. They go, “I go to events all over the planet and I never see this,” is the way that we have people engaging with each other. And I think in some ways that’s the most important part. And so, I encourage any of you that have influence, access to any community to ask yourself this question, how am I facilitating or enabling meaningful engagement? And what does that look like practically? Well, it means thinking about what are the conversations that matter most? So, at our events it’s often conversations like, why are you here or what is it that calls you to be here? Or what is it about your life or your work that gives you the greatest sense of purpose? And when people have conversations together over questions like that, what gives you a sense of purpose, what happens is if you were there, it’s the three bricklayer story where the first bricklayer says, “Well, I go to work because I’m earning a living.” The second bricklayer says, “I’m going to work because I’m building a building.” And the third says, “I go to work because I’m building a cathedral that connects people to their creator.” Remember, the end of that story is the first one says, “Well, I like the third guy’s answer better than mine.” So, now my purpose is going to elevate.
That’s why in a community, you want to invite people to connect with each other over these meaningful conversations because they will actually elevate each other when they realize the depth that each person brings depending on the type of conversation. Questions like what kind of future do you want to create? Or questions like how do you want to create more magical moments in your lives? Or what’s important to you? Or what can we do together to support each other? These kinds of questions and the connections and conversations that ensue from them, I think far surpass the value that we deliver from the stage because the wisdom and the strengths of 400 people is always, always going to be greater than any small group of individuals that are put on the stage.
So, I’m going to leave it at that. Just my stream of consciousness, a couple of ramblings about communities, a few shout-outs. I want to welcome and congratulate over 68 of you that applied for our Quantum Leap Mastermind community, over 70 and I think 65 or so are actually in the community now. So welcome. We cannot wait to spend next year on a couple of retreats with you. The master classes that we’ve lined up for our Quantum Leap are going to be second to none. Again, those of you that contributed to the Front Row Foundation and every one of you who are at the event contributed whether or not you realize that, thank you, thank you, thank you. We’re going to bring Jon Vroman on a future episode to talk about that.
Those of you that became interested in our LEAF Certification which is a company that I lead, we teach people how to design and facilitate convenings, masterminds, events, collaborations of all types. Can’t wait to create a future together with you. So, thank you all of you. Awesome time in San Diego. Please share this podcast or your favorite episodes with others. We believe in what we’re doing. I believe, Hal believes in the work we’re doing through this podcast through our community and it struck us the other day that we forgot to ask you to help us by sharing this message with others. Thank you. And we’ll talk to all of you really soon, everybody. Take care. Make it a great day. Cheers.
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