Affectionately known as "America's #1 Success Coach," Jack Canfield is the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and a leading authority in the areas of self-esteem, achievement motivation, and peak performance. [www.jackcanfield.com]
Arianna Huffington is the co-founder and Editor in Chief of the Huffington Post and the author of twelve books. [www.huffingtonpost.com]
Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]
Krishna Kaur is the founder of YOGA for Youth, a program that takes yoga, meditation, and stimulating discussions on the philosophy of yoga to urban youth. [www.yogaforyouth.org]
Norman Lear has enjoyed a long career in television and film. He is also a political and social activist and philanthropist. [www.normanlear.com]
Leilani Münter is a professional race car driver and an environmental activist who uses her voice in the number one spectator sport in America as a catalyst for change. [www.leilanimunter.com]
By going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed modern slavery's penetration into the global economy. He co-founded Free the Slaves, which has helped to liberate thousands of slaves. [www.freetheslaves.net]
Sophie Chiche, lifebyme.com founder and curator, enjoys asking deep questions and living a life of meaning. Today she's launching Shape House, an urban sweat lodge, a place to melt away fears and fat. [www.shapehousela.com]
Entrepreneur and writer Mastin Kipp founded TheDailyLove.com, which merges pop culture with inspiration, and co-founded The Love Yourself Company, an apparel company that has started a global self-esteem movement. [www.TheDailyLove.com]
Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]
Archbishop Desmond Tutu is Chairman of The Elders, a group of world leaders who address some of the world's most pressing problems. He works energetically for human-rights and in his ministry. [www.tutu.org]
Zainab Salbi is the founder and CEO of Women for Women International, a group dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. [www.womenforwomen.org]
Despite his physical challenges, Sean Stephenson has taken a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. He's a professional speaker, psychotherapist, and author. [www.timetostand.com]
Kia Miller teaches Yoga at Yoga Works in Los Angeles, leads teacher trainings, and runs retreats and workshops on meditation, chakras, pranayam, and mantras, and other practices. [www.kiamiller.com]
Simon Mainwaring is an ex-Nike/Wieden creative, former Worldwide Creative Director at Motorola/Ogilvy, branding/advertising writer, author/speaker/blogger, Australian, idea geek. [www.simonmainwaring.com]
Shannon Bindler is a style editor, life coach, and the co-founder of Get Up Girl, an empowerment company that inspires women to shine. [www.getupgirl.com]
Grammy-nominated art director/designer/photographer Mathieu Bitton has designed over 450 CDs and movie posters. He's a renowned collector of and authority on black films and their soundtracks. [www.candytangerine.com]
Opus Reps founder and agent-producer Jorge Perez travels the world producing photo shoots with great photographers and celebrities. He's also very involved with Meals on Wheels in Los Angeles. www.opusreps.com
I spent a lot of time trying to find ways to communicate a central idea that I thought would take anyone from where they were to where they wanted to be: the idea of universal worthiness. What I discovered is that people have an intellectual willingness to accept this, but very few people actually embody a rich, emotional, visceral sense that they’re universally worthy of having the utmost joy, accomplishment, love, and all those other good things.
One thing we all agree on is that we’re flawed. Now I spend a lot of time trying to find ways to communicate that we’re all universally, equally, and definitely flawed. This resonates. We know how many times we’ve screwed up. We know what an idiot we’ve been. By getting down into that feeling and saying, “Yeah, that’s true,” then looking at the rest of humanity and seeing that they’re equally as flawed, it’s far easier to realize what’s going on. “Hey, wait a minute,” we say. “If everybody’s goofy and flawed and idiosyncratic, then me being goofy and flawed and idiosyncratic doesn’t equate to being broken.”
This idea, that our flaws are not an aberration of our human nature and dignity, but the essence of our human nature and dignity, gets us quickly to a place of universal agreement on an emotional level. We get to communicate sooner.
When someone walks into my office, my goal as a hypnotherapist is to take everything I know about patterns of human behavior and sit with my client’s perspective. I see how they’re both universal and unique. Working with clients day in and day out, I eventually realized that I could talk universal worthiness until I was blue in the face, but it wouldn’t get results. Finally, I started saying, “Well, you’re right. You’re broken. Congratulations. You’re a human being. Where do we go from here?”
When I find myself getting off track, I don’t fight. I just sit with whatever it is. I allow the judgment, trash talk, resistance, anger, resentment, whatever. I’ve gotten to the place now where I don’t beat myself up for beating myself up.
This doesn’t make the problem go away immediately, but that’s not the goal. The goal is to get comfortable with down times being as much a part of the journey as good times. There’s a real lift that comes from doing this. There’s a shift in perspective. You come out of the experience as a person who tried. And you remain perfectly flawed. Along with all the rest of us.
– Brennan Smith
Explore More Meaning
insightful author. curious explorer. obstacle conqueror.
Dennis N.T. Perkins is the author of Into the Storm and Leading at The Edge. He is CEO of The Syncretics Group, a consulting firm dedicated to helping leaders and teams thrive under conditions of adversity, uncertainty, and change. [http://www.syncreticsgroup.com]