Jack Canfield Jack Canfield author. speaker. motivator.

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 Arianna Huffington political powerhouse. media mogul. author.

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 Seth Godin author. speaker. linchpin.

Seth Godin is a prominent author, blogger and speaker. [www.squidoo.com/linchpin]

 
Krishna Kaur Krishna Kaur yogi. philanthropist. dynamic teacher.

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 Norman Lear producer. philanthropist. tv legend.

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 Leilani Münter race car driver. activist. carbon free girl.

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]

 
Kevin Bales Kevin Bales Freedom Fighter. Philanthropist. Game Changer.

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 Sophie Chiche mom. big dreamer. lady in red.

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Mastin Kipp Mastin Kipp Writer. Entrepreneur. Daily Lover.

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 Liz Phair singer. musician. crier.

Liz Phair is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. [www.lizphair.com]

 
Desmond Tutu Desmond Tutu archbishop. author. peaceful leader.

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 Zainab Salbi author. ceo. humanitarian.

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]

 
Sean Stephenson Sean Stephenson speaker. psychotherapist. life embracer.

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 Kia Miller yogi. meditator. teacher.

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 Simon Mainwaring creator. writer. idea geek.

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Shannon Bindler Shannon Bindler Strategist. Writer. Life Coach.

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]

 
Mathieu Bitton Mathieu Bitton Designer. Art Director. Passionate Creator.

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]

 
Jorge Perez Jorge Perez Agent. Producer. Photography Enthusiast.

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

 

listening

Kirsten Olson Kirsten Olson listener. describer. activist.

Author Kirsten Olson is Chief Listening Officer at Old Sow Consulting. She's a founding board member of IDEA, a national not-for-profit that forwards democratic practices in education. [www.kirstenolson.org]

I’m inspired by the greatness of people. I lead workshops where ordinary people talk about confronting sexual abuse, racial injustice, and systems of privilege – systems that have told them they’re worthless. In the moments when I see people step forward and speak, not allowing their shame to keep them silent, I feel uplifted by the bravery, resilience, and possibility of human beings. As I see them recognize their own divinity and hold it in balance with humbleness and gratitude, those people become my teachers, my gods and goddesses.

Experiencing the divinity of ordinary people inspires me to take risks in my own life. When I first began to confront my own woundedness, the field in which I could begin to heal was kindness. So, for me, loving community is the path to our divinity – through fields of nonjudgment and empathic listening, lead by kindness.

In my work, my title is Chief Listening Officer. I think of listening as very active and also very passive. To listen deeply, I begin by emptying myself, putting my feet on the floor, breathing deeply, and clearing space to hear, to allow someone else to come into my being and say whatever they have to say. The space I clear must be very big and have very little furniture in it. My spirit is here to comfort the other spirit as they go on their journey of listening to themselves. Their voice and their experience pour into me. I hear them into being. I bear witness to their experience of their own divinity.

I’ve seen this process happen again and again. It’s the only thing I know that really creates change, and it’s the only thing that’s ever really healed me.

What intrigues me is that it’s all about practice. This kind of listening can’t be learned through reading or study, but has to be practiced again and again, in order to find ways to be quiet enough and non-struggling enough to go on this loving journey with other spirits. It’s a noticing practice – noticing if I’m thinking about the next meeting or if I’m being freaked out by what the person is saying. It’s a practice of noticing and not judging.

I go to the mat of my life every day and try, with loving kindness towards myself, to do a little bit better, to try something new, to take a chance on a little microchange. The daily listening practice, the softness and forgiveness, allow me to be a fierce fighter for what I believe in. Listening is not very dramatic, but it prepares me to be a guerilla fighter for freedom.

– Kirsten Olson

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