I’d say that this last Conscious Growth Workshop (July 16-18) was the best one by far.
For this CGW I took the elements from the previous three CGWs that created the best results for people (based on feedback) and put them all together in a single workshop. Consequently, CGW #4 was the most balanced workshop but also the most intense.
The Most Intimate CGW
The smaller size (27 attendees, compared to 70-115 people for previous CGWs) certainly made it more intimate. We even moved it to a smaller room to take advantage of this. No microphones, no sound guy, no stage.
I can’t say whether I liked this smaller CGW or the bigger ones better. The size makes a difference, but I love it either way. It’s just a trade-off between more energy for the larger workshops vs. more intimacy for the smaller ones. I would say that overall, this was my favorite CGW so far. But I think the main reason it worked so well was because it’s gone through so many rounds of refinement, not due to the smaller group.
Some things work better with a smaller group; other elements work better with a larger one. I prefer the larger groups for the games segments because they generate more energy and enthusiasm with more people. But partner-sharing exercises seem to work better with a smaller group.
I saw some amazing shifts in people from the start of Day 1 to the end of Day 3, especially in the social/emotional realm.
I know many people, including me, were sad to see it end. There were lots of hugs goodbye.
I expect to use essentially the same format for CGW #5. I’m sure I’ll make many tweaks based on feedback, but I don’t expect to make sweeping structural changes like I did after the last two CGWs. I think we really nailed it this time and that refinements to future CGWs will likely be more gradual.
If you’ve been to CGW #1 and then attend CGW #5, I think you’ll be very impressed by how much it has improved.
One new thing we added to this CGW was devoting time during the workshop itself to doing fieldwork outside the meeting room. We had people get into groups and do power, courage, and oneness exercises in public.
There were more than 50 individual challenges that people could choose from. Some were fairly easy tasks like smiling at someone as you walked past them. Others were more challenging such as dancing, singing, and skipping in public and inviting strangers to join in… or walking around pretending to talk aloud to an imaginary friend.
Challenges were sorted into 4 categories, so people could focus on what they needed the most help with:
- Building Confidence and Overcoming Shyness and Approach Anxiety
- Being Silly / Overcoming Fear of Embarrassment or Attention
- Being Assertive / Overcoming Fear of Rejection
- Flirting & Connecting More Deeply
Before we went out, everyone had a chance to rate each specific challenge on a scale of 1-3. A 1 means it’s an easy task they felt they could do without much trouble. A 2 meant it was challenging but doable. And a 3 meant, “No way I could see myself doing that!”
I asked people to start with their 1s to warm up, then progress to some 2s, and finally to attempt some 3s when they felt ready for it. These fieldwork exercises continued throughout the whole weekend.
By the end of the first 30-minute session, about half the room had already completed at least one of their 3s.
By the end of the workshop, some attendees had completed all of their 3s, meaning that they’d successfully done things they’d previously thought were beyond their grasp.
It’s very rewarding to help people push through their fears, so they can see for themselves how much more fun and spontaneity they could be enjoying. Building one’s courage is very liberating.
We also did some oneness exercises, including spending time sharing unconditional love with strangers. One woman who was cleaning the floors near the workshop room received a lot of love that day. Imagine how nice she’ll be to her family afterwards.
If you attended this CGW, I’d love to hear your personal feedback. How did it go from your perspective? What parts did you find most helpful? What do you feel could be improved? What did you think of the overall balance between the presentation portions, games, exercises, partner sharing, group sharing, fieldwork, etc?
If you have feedback to share, I’d appreciate it if you’d send it to me through my contact form. I print out all the CGW feedback I receive and put it in a file until I’m ready to prepare for the next CGW. Then I sit in my recliner with a pen, notepad, and a cup of herbal tea, and I spend a few hours reading through every word of it and taking notes on anything that’s actionable. Then I use those notes to make design changes to the next CGW. So CGW is constantly evolving. I keep working to make it more impactful and beneficial to those who attend.
I also pay attention to long-term feedback. There have been cases where someone initially said a particular exercise didn’t do much for them, but then months later they realized the impact of it. So I have to be careful not to remove things that are working on a longer time scale. Some of the elements from CGW #1 and #2 that I removed, I ended up adding back in CGW #4 because the long-term feedback told me they helped people in the long run. An example was the Exodus Speech exercise.
Also sometimes I didn’t know if an exercise was working until I removed it, and CGWers who attended multiple workshops saw the difference with and without the exercise and told me they missed it when it was removed and that I should add it back.
CGW #5 – October 29-31, 2010
I expect that CGW #5 in October is going to be even better. We’ve been hearing talk that many alumni from previous CGWs will be returning for it, so in some ways it may have a bit of a family reunion atmosphere. October is traditionally one of the best months for personal development workshops in terms of attendance, while July is one of the worst. So we have good reason to expect a bigger group for the October workshop.
If you’re a CGW #1 alumni, and you haven’t used your freebie pass yet, the October workshop is your last opportunity to use it. If you plan to use your freebie pass, please let Erin know via her contact form. Give her your name and city/state (city/country if outside the USA), so she can have a badge ready for you. Please don’t wait till the last minute if you expect to attend. If the workshop sells out, and then you try to use your freebie pass, we won’t have a seat for you. If there’s a chance you’ll attend, it’s better to confirm with Erin now and then notify her later if you determine you can’t go, so at least you have a seat reserved for you. Just let her know you’re a “maybe,” so if we get close to selling out, she can contact you to confirm either way.
Since the final day of CGW #5 is Halloween, we’re planning to invite everyone to wear costumes to CGW that day. You don’t have to wear a costume, but it could make the workshop more fun if lots of people do. Erin and I will probably wear costumes ourselves. I think that would make the fieldwork exercises especially lively.
Vegas is a lot of fun on Halloween. People cruise the Strip in costumes, much like they do on Hollywood Blvd in L.A.
Halloween weather is usually very nice, typically around room temperature during the day and cool at night.
The Future of CGW
The October CGW is the only remaining CGW we currently have scheduled. After that CGW I’ll take more time to assess the long-term impact these workshops are having on attendees, and I’ll consider the best options for future workshops.
I expect to continue doing CGWs, but I’ll probably do them less frequently, maybe once every 6 months. I think once a quarter is a bit too frequent, at least in the same city.
I may also spin off some other workshops. I’m considering creating separate workshops on career and financial development, productivity, relationships, building courage, subjective reality (including intention-manifestation), and more.
Several people have also requested an advanced version of CGW, for those who’ve already attended the original CGW. The challenge of doing something like that is that each person has a different opinion on what “advanced” means. Does it mean going deeper into certain topics, more challenging fieldwork, a longer workshop, etc? I’m open to the idea, but it might make more sense to spin off separate workshops that have a tighter focus, so people can go deeper into certain areas where they need the most help.
I think the best part of CGW is simply bringing together so many conscious, growth-oriented people in the same place. That alone tends to have a very transformative effect on people, especially those who don’t already enjoy such connections as a regular part of their daily lives. Many attendees leave with the feeling that they’ve finally “found their tribe.” So regardless of what kinds of workshops we do or how CGW continues to evolve, I think the most important factor is to keep providing a space for such people to come together face-to-face. The Internet can’t get close to this yet.
CGWs are very rewarding, but they sure take a lot of energy. Last night I went to bed just after 8pm and slept 11.5 hours.
I’m taking a light day today, and tomorrow morning I’m flying to Santa Fe for a weeklong retreat with the Transformational Leadership Council. This is my third TLC retreat, and I’m really looking forward to it. The energy at TLC is very similar to that of CGW — lots of positive, conscious people coming together to help each other grow.
Feeling very grateful, appreciative, and abundant…