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.

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]

 
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.

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 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

 

awareness

Pat Thomas Pat Thomas writer. activist. asker of questions.

Pat Thomas is a journalist, campaigner, and author specializing in health and environment. She's the author of dozens of books for adults and children and creator of the interactive game Infrequently Asked Questions. [www.iaqs.org.uk]

I’m eight years old. My mother has enrolled me in a ballet class – something I do not want and have no talent for. The teacher shouts instructions at someone, getting more and more frustrated. Eventually, she comes over and shakes me. “Tricia,” she says, “pay attention.” I protest. “My name’s not Tricia,” I say, “it’s Patti.” She makes me sit in the corner then, grumbling that my mother enrolled me as Tricia, “… and why would she do that if it isn’t your name?”

Why indeed? My mother, it turns out, felt bored with my name that day and decided to change it. That was my childhood. It’s hardly surprising, then, that I developed an early interest in what makes people tick, in what lies around the corner and beneath the surface of things. Maybe I’d never be a ballerina, but when it came to intuition and awareness, I was an athlete.

Even before I knew this survival mechanism was also a skill, it shaped my life. As a journalist and broadcaster, as a therapist, as a campaigner, I loved asking questions and trying to see what was generally hidden. Trying to know the unknown made me feel safer, and this is something we don’t talk about much – awareness as a defense against fear.

Wielded too enthusiastically, awareness can be intrusive. Even if you have a knack for it, awareness requires daily practice and, well … awareness. Applied with skill, I believe awareness is the key to our search for meaning and our evolution, to deep and lasting personal and collective change.

My mother, like so many of us, fell prey to the concept of change as an external event – a fashion make-over, a phone upgrade, a bigger TV, or a new name – because she was overwhelmed by and afraid of the demands of inner change.

If I could talk to her now, I’d say, “Don’t be afraid – to ask questions, to think and act differently, to dig deeper, or even to fail.” That fear – of not fitting in, getting it wrong, being alone, not being up to the task, looking weird – is what keeps us from creating the better world we must create.

Conscious evolution is sometimes a leap of faith. But the world needs us to evolve as individuals, communities, and nations so there will be new, more meaningful archetypes to identify with and better stories to tell about living and loving in meaningful ways. Awareness, for me, is the springboard for that leap of faith.

– Pat Thomas

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