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
Integrity is a funny little word. Stirring up images of noble heroes and virtuous heroines, it is generally used in reference to one’s ‘moral fiber’ and character, but for me, integrity has always meant something quite different. It means zero discrepancy between actions and words. It means doing what you say you are going to do.
As a teenager, I would often make lofty proclamations about the future, but never see them through to fruition. I prided myself on being a pro-brainstormer…but refused to acknowledge that I was a shoddy executor, commitment-phobe, and flake. Disgusted by the life in front of me, my real life, I retreated to a dream world of my own making. I was in love with my imagination.
Until Reality cornered me.
I was 19 when I found myself face to face with a life-threatening infection I thought would be my end. Suddenly robbed of all the could-do’s and would-be’s, my world divested of all the imagined potential and dream-world illusionsm, I now stared at my life with sober eyes, acutely aware that I might never get the chance to turn those dreams into a reality, that I’d been living my life in the conditional tense.
It was in a hospital bed that I made the promise that would thenceforth turn life inside-out: Lord, I promise that if I make it out of here alive, I will make a difference in this world—the real world. I will do something big.
A promise, it all started with an 11th hour promise, and on some cellular, spiritual level, that promise now forms a part of me, much like a vital organ.
Today, I’m still following through on that promise. I live my life in an active present that constructs a real and tangible future. By trade, I’m a novelist, creative shapeshifter, and strategic visionary, helping ambitious young women build practical strategies around their most transcendental visions. I learned how to alchemize my weak point and turn into a strength.
At the not-so-ripe age of 23, I still dream with that same fervor and expansiveness of my former years. But today I dream with patience, persistence, consistency, and adaptability, with strategy and the skills to execute. I dream with integrity. And suddenly, nothing seems so far-fetched or dare I say, conditional.
Integrity: what I say I’m going to do + actually doing it = anything’s possible.
– Madelin Adena Smith