December 7-9, 2018, I had the honor of attending Hal Elrod and Jon Berghoff’s annual event, Best Year Ever Blueprint. This is an event I look forward to all year and feels like the most loving family reunion you can imagine. They say it every year, and I cannot agree more that the true value from this event is not really the amazing speakers they bring in, but from the people in the audience. At this event, you get the opportunity to share with complete strangers your biggest hopes and dreams for the future and they support you wholeheartedly. At this event, you meet the most amazing heart-centered people who want to create the life of their dreams or who are already living it and want to help others get there too. At this event, we start the day with Brotha James music, we hear from world-class keynote speakers, we make genuine human connections with others in the room and we raise money for The Front Row Foundation by way of fun auctions throughout the event and a celebration gala on Saturday evening. It’s truly like no other event I’ve attended (and trust me, I’ve been to a lot) and I want to give you some of my biggest takeaways.
The first day of the event is called Entrepreneur Day, so the speakers on day one have more of a business focus and the people in the room are all business owners. The fist speaker on Friday was JJ Virgin. She is a celebrity nutrition expert, has 4 NY Times best sellers, hosts a podcast and has appeared on TV many times over. She talked to us about nutrition and about building a personal brand. My favorite idea I took from her talk was a brain dump technique she uses when brainstorming ideas. She calls it the Now, Not Now and Never list. It’s great to do with post-its. Write one idea per sticky note for 10-15 minutes. Then you can easily move them into the Now, Not Now and Never Categories.
The next speaker was Chris Ducker. He is a UK based serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, podcaster, vlogger and founder of Youpreneur.com. He could easily be a comedian because he had us laughing his entire talk. He spoke to us about creating a personal brand and how to build, market and monetize the business of you. I love that he emphasized a strengths-based approach to building a business around you, but not dependent on you. He told us to become more self-aware and work on your strengths then delegate your weaknesses. He also encouraged us to not compare ourselves to others and become someone’s favorite. When we do this, we will attract the best and repel the rest.
After lunch, we got to hear from Chandler Bolt. He is a 6 time best selling author, podcaster and founder and CEO of Self Publishing School where he has helped thousands of people write and launch their books. We used his mind-mapping technique when we wrote The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families and I highly recommend his service if you’re thinking about writing your own book.
The last speaker of the day was Christopher Lochhead. He is a retired 3-time public company CMO who now spends his time writing best selling books, hosting the top rated podcast Follow Your Different, surfing and spending time at home with his wife and their chickens. Christopher is a master storyteller and it was so much fun to hear Jon Berghoff interview him. Christopher told us that for him entrepreneurship was not a way up, but a way out. He shared a story about a company called Jon’s Crazy Socks. The owner of that company has Down’s Syndrome and 30% of the employees are differently abled individuals. John’s father said, “No one else would give John an opportunity that would fulfill his need to be creative” and that is why they started this company. Christopher says, “It’s what makes us different the makes the biggest difference.” He encouraged us to not just make incremental change in our lives and businesses, but exponential leaps and to fall in love with the problems we are solving in the world.
Saturday was the first day the BYEB event and we got to hear from the one and only Dr. Sean Stephenson. If you don’t know who Dr. Sean is, check out the video. He shared with us that happy people all have 3 things in common. They focus on what they DO want, they are grateful for what they DO have and they focus on what they DO like. He also gifted us with what he calls the Unstoppable Formula. First we have to rid ourselves of our insecurities. He says the cure for insecurity is self-care. Next we have to connect with our life purpose. Ask yourself, “Why was I born?” His answer is to rid the world of insecurities and recognizes that his condition is part of his mission. Lastly, we have to create an empowering environment by surrounding ourselves with positivity. ONE negative person can derail everything you’ve worked to create.
Something unique to this event, is that it’s also a fundraiser for the Front Row Foundation. After each speaker, they often auction off extra time with them either on a zoom call or to have lunch or dinner with them. Dr. Sean was so much fun that I really wanted to meet him in person, so I bid to have lunch with him and 5 other lucky attendees. At lunch we were able to ask him any questions we wanted to and the conversation was amazing. The conversation was a very intimate and vulnerable one, so I won’t share most of it here. One thing I took away from that lunch that I can share is the snorkeler vs scuba diver analogy. In conversation, some people are like snorkelers. They just want to stay on the surface where it’s safe and warm and they get to see the pretty fish. Others are like scuba divers. They aren’t afraid to go deep, get outside their comfort zone and hunt for treasure. He gave us a word of caution as we go back into our day to day lives- you can’t force a snorkeler to be a scuba diver or you can metaphorically kill them. I’m grateful everyone at our lunch was a scuba diver and that we found gold!
After lunch we heard from world-renowned mindfulness expert Julianna Raye. She walked us through an approach to meditation called Unified Mindfulness where you focus on and note what you see, hear and feel. She explained the 3 skills we are working on when we make this a daily practice. They are concentration power (being able to focus on what you want to), sensory clarity (being able to separate what we see, hear and feel) and equanimity (being able to allow our senses to come and go like waves and not holding on to any one for too long).
The last speaker of the day was Dr. Kelly Flanagan. He is an author, speaker, podcaster, licensed clinical psychologist and co-founder of Artisan Clinical Associates in Naperville, IL. You may have read Dr. Flanagan’s “letter form the makeup isle” to his daughter that went viral. He talked to us about our ego and gave us a new way to look at it. We are all born worthy and whole. Somewhere along the way, we experience shame and start to hide our true self inside what Dr. Flanagan calls the ego castle. First the walls go up so we can hid. Next we install the cannons so we have a way to hurt before we are hurt. Lastly we build a throne of arrogance and perfection. We think, if we look perfect on the outside we can sit safely inside on our throne. The only way we can let people in to see our true selves is to lower our drawbridge. This can only be done by the inside; it requires vulnerability and is the only way to experience true human connection with another.
Day 2 of BYEB after Brotha James, we got to hear from the amazing Patricia Moreno. She was once at the top of her field and a fitness star, but felt out of integrity. She knew she was living and selling a lie. She decided there had to be a better way and made it her mission to find the answer. She created the intenSati method and is now helping people truly love themselves. She took us through a session that combines affirmations with exercise to really anchor them into your body. She then had us pair up and look deep into another human’s eyes and tell them how wonderful they truly are. It was a beautiful moment that left many (myself included) in tears of joy. It was like Miracle Morning on steroids and I believe we should all be starting our days with Patricia’s method. I can’t wait to share it with my kids. I also signed up for her Sati365 program for 2019 and am super excited about it!
The last speaker was our own personal Jesus (inside joke), Garrett Gunderson. He is the founder of Wealth Factory, a speaker, the best-selling author of Killing Sacred Cows and he can often be seen on TV talking about money. He wants us to get out of the old thinking of working hard and saving your money. He says that type of thinking is playing the game to lose and doesn’t work. The next phase is playing to win, but many people get stuck in this hustle and grind mentality that destroys our most important assets- our physical health and our relationships. He says to be truly wealthy we need to win and then play. He gave the example of the Super Bowl. We don’t even know who is playing in that game, but it’s already sold out and all the TV ad space has been sold. It’s already profitable before the game is even played. We need to sell our products before they are even created. Get buy-in before we create new services. The best way to increase our wealth is to invest in our mental capital and our relationship capital. We have to be able to bring something to the table.
The event ended with us having time to work on our 2019 goals and sharing them in groups of 3. When we write our goals down and then speak them out loud they are much more likely to get done. I’m grateful for Hal and Jon for their authenticity and the tribe of like-hearted people they attract to this event every year. I’m grateful I invested in my mental and relationship capital that weekend and got to catch up with some amazing friends and meet some new amazing people. I’m grateful that next year kids will be invited to this event to have a parallel experience. I’m grateful to be able to support the Front Row Foundation and the amazing work they do in the world.