More Info on the Upcoming Workshops

July 21st, 2011 by Steve Pavlina

In this post I’ll share some extra details about the upcoming workshops for those who could use more help deciding.

This is a seriously long post, but it’s only intended for those who are genuinely interested in attending one or more of these workshops, so if that isn’t you, you can safely skip it. I’m going long here because I expect that people who are on the fence will appreciate this kind of detail. If that isn’t you either, then again feel free to skip it. It took me about 9 hours to write and edit this, so I hope at least one person out there appreciates it. Hopefully the Typo Gremlin wasn’t too brutal this time. :)

Transformational, not Educational

I like to think of all these workshops as being transformational more than educational.

These workshops aren’t like those seminars where someone lectures for 3 days straight, you take notes, and then you’re expected to apply some new ideas when you get home.

Of course what happens much of the time is that those notes get tossed in a pile somewhere when you get home. You may feel more motivated for a little while after the seminar, but a week later the energy boost has dissipated. You’re still pretty much the same person you were before you attended the seminar. Maybe several months later you finally get around to processing your notes, but by that point they may not even mean anything to you.

This has been my experience in attending lots of educational seminars. I still find value in attending them now and then. Even one good idea can make the whole thing worthwhile, but I don’t take nearly as many notes as I used to. And I normally process my notes within a few days after I attend, turning them into action items that I can apply.

Again, those kinds of seminars have their place. They can still provide value. But that isn’t the sort of experience I’m offering in my own workshops.

I do provide plenty of educational material. My blog has over 1000 free articles, and I’ve written a book as well. I’ve shared a lot of how-to content. But these days I’m more interested in transformation as opposed to education.

Transformation is more challenging but also more exciting. I also feel that transformation gives us a lot more leverage to create positive changes and to improve our results.

Transformation is a shift in perspective. You see things from a different angle than you did before. And that new angle is more empowering and allows you to do things that you couldn’t do before — or couldn’t do without great difficulty.

I have many motives for doing these workshops. The exact reasons why I do them are numerous and complex. But one of the most important reasons for me is entirely selfish. Delivering these workshops is hugely transformational for me. I get at least as much growth out of them as anyone else does.

Education is safe and comfortable. It may be a little boring at times, but it’s emotionally easy to sit through a lecture. You can just blend into the crowd, relax, listen, sip water, and take notes when you feel like it. You do some work to practice and demonstrate what you’ve learned. It doesn’t take any real courage.

Transformation, on the other hand, isn’t nearly so easy. It takes more energy and effort. You have to get out of your chair, interact with people, and do exercises. You go into one end of the tunnel not being able to see the other end. It can seem a little scary at times.

An educational seminar will throw a lot of information at you. At the end of the seminar though, you’re pretty much the same person you were when you first arrived, just with more information in your head.

A transformational workshop is intended to change you during the workshop itself, not by throwing lots of information at you but by shifting your perspective… by helping you see yourself and the world differently than you did before. If the transformation sticks, then even a year later you’ll still feel that change being a part of you.

If you’re looking for educational workshops, don’t attend mine. I don’t do these workshops primarily to educate people. I’m not a teacher in that respect.

If you’re looking for transformational experiences though, then you’ll most likely love attending one or more of my workshops.

Each workshop I offer is intended to help transform you in a certain way. So let me explain the nature of that transformation for each workshop.

Conscious Growth Workshop (CGW) – Sep 16-18, 2011

This will be our 6th CGW. The first CGW in Oct 2009 received an average rating of 9 out of 10, so it started out great, and it continued to get better from there with several rounds of refinement. CGW #5 was a vast improvement over any previous CGW, and I expect to make CGW #6 even better.

The primary theme of CGW is conscious growth.

The transformation we aim for here is to help you get on a path of smoother, faster, more deliberate growth across all areas of your life.

Change is going to happen no matter what. Five years from now, your life will be different than it is today. I think we can all agree on that.

Those years are going to pass regardless of what you do or don’t do.

If you live unconsciously, then for the most part, outside forces will determine how your life unfolds. These forces may include your employer(s), friends, family, society, marketers, etc. There may be some intelligences guiding you down certain paths, or your life may become chaotic and random — a jumbled summation of conflicting forces.

Conscious growth is different. You’ll still be subjected to plenty of outside forces, but now your own will becomes the #1 dominant force that directs your life path. You decide what you want to see unfold. You make it happen. You’re in control.

My ultimate dream is to help transform this planet into one where most people are living consciously. CGW creates many positive ripples that bring this dream closer to reality.

Living consciously isn’t about perfection. It isn’t about having 100% total control over everything. I don’t think that’s a realistic standard. But I do think it’s realistic for you to grow to the point where your own creative will becomes the #1 dominant force that drives your life.

There are some powerful shifts that happen when we awaken and find ourselves wielding more power than we ever did before, and CGW is intended to help trigger some of those shifts in you.

Perhaps one of the most inspiring examples of how CGW can transform people is how it affected Daan Buckinx. Daan attended CGW #1 as well as CGW #5. When he attended CGW #1 in Oct 2009, he said he was not a huggy person at all, but by the time he left he was hugging people left and right. He got so good at it that he was able to receive willing hugs from strangers within seconds.

Shortly after CGW #1, however, Daan went back to Belgium and was diagnosed with cancer. He had a large tumor in his chest, and he went through many rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, which certainly wasn’t easy for him. Daan finally succumbed to the cancer and passed away last month. He was 29 years old.

The last time I hung out with Daan was in Nov 2010 after CGW #5. We went ziplining together and then walked around downtown Las Vegas with a group of other CGWers. Daan showed us how easily he could brighten people’s lives by offering them hugs as they walked past. All he did was hold out his arms and smile, and about half of the people passing by stopped and hugged him. He didn’t have a free hugs sign or t-shirt. He was a walking free hug.

There’s a thread about Daan in the forums if you’d like to see what others had to say about him. He also contributed the story in the blog post on Speedhugging: How to Go From Zero to Hugs in Under 60 Seconds, which was written shortly after CGW #1.

As Daan shared on his own blog, he found CGW to be a transformational experience that inspired him to share unconditional love with others in the remaining months of his life. He explained at CGW #1 that he was not at all like that before the workshop.

The kind of shift that Daan experienced wasn’t due to education. I couldn’t have taught Daan how to do what he did. He went so much further and in much less time than I’d ever done. In this particular line of development, he shot past me like I was standing still. By his example, he motivated me to push myself more in this area. He helped me — and many others whose lives he touched — to really lower our shields and stop holding back so much when it comes to connecting. Whenever I hug people now, it’s hard not to think of Daan walking around downtown Vegas smiling and hugging people. Sometimes I still feel his energy buzzing around me.

I really like how this transformation has affected me, and I’m happier as a result. I have Daan to thank for that.

At CGW I may be the guy in the front of the room, but I’m a student of growth as well. I love being the facilitator, and I know it’s the role I’m meant to play. But the whole experience is truly a co-creative one. Everyone contributes to everyone else’s transformation. It’s a very beautiful thing to behold, and I feel extremely lucky that I get to attend every CGW by default.

As each new CGW approaches, I think to myself, I wonder what this one is going to do to me. I can’t predict in advance what sort of transformation I’ll experience, but so far I’ve experienced significant shifts at every workshop. Part of me is still trepidatious about it because I never know what to expect, but I know that this is the right path for me. I’d rather keep growing and immersing myself in that CGW energy, even if it can add more uncertainty to my life.

Whenever I have doubts about continuing to do more workshops, I remember Daan. If I hadn’t been doing these workshops, he would have lived the last 18 months of his life very differently.

CGW is very special to me because it was the first 3-day workshop I had the opportunity to create. I also feel it’s the most fundamental one, a great starting point for anyone who wants to transform their life for the better.

CGW is the most general workshop in the sense that it doesn’t target a transformation in any one specific area of life. Consequently, everyone gets something different out of it. My personal experience with CGW is that it has the uncanny ability to transform me in the area where I need to be transformed the most, which also seems to be the area where I’m least willing to acknowledge the need for change. CGW cuts straight to the core and unlocks this explosion of suppressed desire that quickly changes my results. I can’t say that’s how it affects everyone, but that’s how it affects me. It’s like an alarm clock for the parts of me that have been asleep and are finally ready to wake up. Very potent stuff!

If you’ve never been to one of my workshops, and you’re pretty sure you’d like to attend at least one of them, but you’re not sure which, then I’d recommend CGW as your starting point. You can do any or all of these workshops and in any order, but I think CGW is the best place to begin because it’s the most foundational workshop. It’s true that CGW doesn’t target one specific area for transformation, but that’s because it actually pushes for growth and change across the board — it seeks to move you forward in every area that’s important to you, not just one. CGW also has the most variety in terms of the exercises you’ll be doing, and it’s probably the most entertaining of all the workshops.

Subjective Reality Workshop (SRW) – Oct 21-23, 2011

Interestingly SRW is turning out to be the most popular workshop in terms of registrations. More than half of the early registrations are for SRW, so we’re already well into double-digit enrollment, and this workshop is still 3 months away.

Based on the workshop survey I did a few months ago, I expected that SRW would actually be the least popular in terms of attendance. It’s still too soon to tell, but I suspect this will end up being a more popular workshop than I anticipated. I think the reason is that while not as many people are interested in SR as compared to other topics, those who are interested seem to be REALLY interested.

The selfish part of doing SRW is that I very much want to explore subjective reality more deeply. I’ve been experimenting with it for years, and I’ve gotten some amazing results with it, but I still feel like I’m just scratching the surface of what’s possible here.

I think that facilitating a workshop on SR with a room full of people who are also interested will be absolutely fascinating. It wouldn’t surprise me if this kind of group energy manifests a lot of synchronicities and strange experiences. I have to say that of all the upcoming workshops, this is the one that excites me — and terrifies me — the most. This isn’t because I anticipate any sort of failure — just the opposite of that. It’s because I’m not sure I’m ready for new successes in this area. As I’ve previously blogged about, I have a tendency to back off from exploring SR when it starts working too well — I often feel like I need more time to step into the greater levels of power it unlocks.

So with SR my personal weakness is that I tend to play it safe too much. I keep doing little things that are within my comfort zone. There’s a part of me that’s still terrified about going big with it, so one of the reasons I’m doing SRW is to face this fear and push through it.

For instance, back in April I started recommending this software called MySpeed, which I personally use and love. It lets you play online videos faster, which is especially good for going through lecture-style videos in less time. Anyway, they started having a contest with their affiliates for a Kindle 3G. I think it was just a random drawing type of thing. I’m not sure why I bothered to do this, but just for fun I did my little SR manifesting thing to create the winning of the Kindle. The process I use these days only takes about a minute, and then I can forget about it.

Well, yesterday I got a phone call letting me know that I won. The funny thing is that I don’t actually need a Kindle because I already have one, as well as an iPad. But that’s part of why it worked. Since I didn’t need that result, it was easier for me to enter a pure creator space. Neediness is repulsive when it comes to manifesting — the more you NEED something to happen, the more you push it away.

Of course from the objective perspective, we can dismiss this as luck, which is a perfectly valid thing to do from that perspective. One of the things you’ll learn at SRW is that you can always translate an SR experience into the OR perspective, and vice versa. These aren’t different realities per se. They’re different lenses for perceiving reality and interacting with it.

I intend for SRW to be a very creative, interactive, and exploratory workshop. I also expect it to be a lot of fun since I’ll probably amp up the playful aspects. SR is all about being the creator of your reality, and playfulness is a great way to lock onto that creator vibe. So this workshop will be rich in games and exercises to help you get into that creator space.

There are a lot of ways we could do an SR workshop, and I know that many attendees have already dabbled in SR to some degree.

I’d recommend that people who decide to attend SRW should at least read through my SR articles if they haven’t already done so. Just go to the Archives page, and review the articles that have the word “Subjective” in the title. You can read them in any order. This isn’t essential, and you can put this off till the week before attending the workshop if you’d like, but I think it will enrich your experience if you’re already familiar with the SR concepts I’ve shared previously.

At SRW I’m not just going to talk about subjective reality and share my experiences with it. I’ll share some basic background info in the beginning so we all have a shared framework for the sake of good communication, but the real heart of this workshop begins where you essentially take the red pill and we all go down the rabbit hole together.

Just be forewarned that I’m probably going to have way too much fun doing this workshop. I don’t want to spoil any surprises, but a big part of this workshop is creating a playful atmosphere that encourages us all to experiment and stretch, so it’s designed with that in mind.

This will probably be the most immersive workshop of all. Once we enter into the SR perspective I’d encourage you to stick with it even outside the workshop hours if you can manage that. In other words, once we go down the SR rabbit hole, see if you can stay in that space at least through the end of the workshop. After the workshop ends, you can pop your head out and evaluate the experience from the objective perspective as much as you desire. But for those 3 days, let’s really play full out and see how far we can take it.

I’ve already done this for 30+ days straight by myself, and it was an amazing experience. But I suspect it will be even more amazing to do this as a group, even if it’s for a shorter period of time.

The transformational aspect of this workshop is to help you experience the SR perspective for yourself, to enter into that powerful space where you’re the creator of your own reality. You’re not just going to read about it or ponder it. You’re going to dive in and live it for 3 days straight.

Much of SRW will be delivered from the SR perspective, so that alone will make it especially immersive. This means that even while I’m the guy in the front of the room explaining and directing things, I’ll be doing this from the perspective that I’m a character in your dream world, as are all the other attendees. So this is your workshop, intended for you specifically. This is your reality, and you’re the creator here, and the rest of us are your figments, here to serve YOU.

Consequently, you can expect this to be a very strange and unusual workshop. I seriously doubt you’ve experienced anything like it elsewhere, and I’ve never heard of anyone doing workshops like this. If you’re looking for something very mundane and grounded, do NOT attend SRW.

Whereas the keyword for CGW is growth, the keyword for SRW is power.

Conscious Success Workshop (CSW) – Jan 13-15, 2012

In a recent survey, I saw that there was a lot of interest in workshops on success and achievement, career and financial development, and entrepreneurship. There’s some overlap between these topics, so I decided to aim this workshop at the center of those interests.

As opposed to the Subjective Reality Workshop, CSW will be delivered primarily from the objective perspective. This will be a very grounded and down to earth workshop in terms of the subject matter.

The keyword for CSW is success. Big surprise I’m sure…

CSW is not a time management workshop. It’s not about doling out productivity tips. It’s not about habits. All of those things will be addressed to the degree that they’re important, but those elements are ancillary.

The core focus of CSW is on clarity and vision. The secondary focus of CSW is on processes to make your vision a reality.

If you’ve read a lot of productivity books, you probably didn’t encounter much information about vision. At best you most likely only encountered some basic info on goal setting.

Setting a goal is the kindergarten version of creating a vision.

If instead of reading productivity books, you read a lot of biographies about highly successful people — i.e. real world success stories — then you’d probably encounter a great deal about vision. Vision is what fuels people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. By and large you don’t see these people writing books about productivity tips. They’re too busy living their own visions.

When people study success, they often study the action side. They look at what people did. They give a lot of credit to things like habits and productivity — way too much credit unfortunately.

When people ask me how I earned two college degrees in three semesters, they usually assume it had to do with habits and discipline and how I managed my time, as if those were the primary causal factors. Those aspects do play a part, but that’s like 20% of it.

The other 80% is vision. I accomplished what I did in school because I envisioned myself graduating in three semesters. I fueled that vision with my will and power. I committed myself fully to that vision. I didn’t know if I would succeed. But I committed that if I failed, it wasn’t going to be because I gave up. The only way I’d fail would be if I did my very best, and my best just wasn’t good enough. If I was going to fail, then external factors would be responsible, not internal factors.

Most people who ask me about this time in my life will never even come close to applying the specific practices I used. That’s because they aren’t committed to the vision that I committed to. I can write articles about how I did it till I’m blue in the face, but it’s not going to make a difference for most people. They could do the same sort of thing too, but they won’t. It just isn’t important enough to them to commit to it 100%, and for a big vision like this, a sub-100% semi-commitment won’t cut it. Either you’re going to do it, or you aren’t.

Vision is where people are constantly dropping the ball. When people try to improve their lives by studying time management and productivity while lacking a crystal clear vision for where they want to go, they’re putting the cart before the horse. All they do is run themselves in circles, and they’re no more productive five years later. They just happen to know a lot more about productivity, but they aren’t applying most of what they know anyway, so what good is all that extra knowledge? They’re wasting their time by reading more productivity tips.

Vision is why I’m doing these workshops. I imagined myself doing my own public workshops even before I started blogging in 2004. The fact that I’m doing this today comes as no surprise to me. I saw all of this in my mind first, I fed that vision, and now I’m living it. If I went back in time and told my 2004 self that this is what I’m doing now, he’d probably say something like, “Of course you are. I’m the one who imagined you into existence.”

Vision isn’t just goal setting. Comparing a goal to a vision is like comparing a product to a business. A business may have products, but by itself a product isn’t a business.

A vision includes all of your goals in a complete package. It includes the results you want to achieve, the experiences you want to have, and the paths you’re going to take to get there.

I think the reason most people fail to achieve the success they desire is that they’re downright awful at creating and committing themselves to crystal clear visions.

If you ask most people what they want, they’ll give you vague and fuzzy answers at best. No wonder they don’t feel motivated to take action. No wonder they feel stuck and confused.

I’ve gotten quite good at creating an empowering vision for my life. I have a clear vision for what I want to experience in my career, finances, relationships, social life, health, spiritual life, home life, travel, and more. That vision is laid down in writing, and I’m committed to it in writing. I can see that it’s going to be a long road, and many parts of this vision will challenge me. But I’m sticking with it. In my mind it’s a done deal. Making it a reality is just a matter of time. No matter how many obstacles come at me, I will knock them down one by one.

I use good processes not only to clearly define the vision, but also to manage the unfolding of the vision day by day. With such processes and some persistence and patience, this is a very effective way to live. While you can’t guarantee success in the short term — unexpected things do happen — in the long term, you can come pretty darned close to guaranteed success. That’s because in the long run, if you’re living consciously, your will is the #1 dominant force that directs the unfolding of your life.

I envisioned these specific new workshops months ago. I used good processes to keep moving my vision forward one day at a time. Now people are signing up for them. Soon people will be attending them. This whole part of my reality — and yours too — was created by conscious choice… by thought.

CSW will be most helpful to people who are not that clear about what they want from life, those who aren’t yet 100% committed to a vision. The transformational part of this workshop is to lead you from a place of fuzziness to a point of clarity and commitment.

If you’re already crystal clear about what you desire, and you’re zooming towards your vision like a speeding bullet, and you feel you can keep doing this consistently as your life vision evolves, then CSW probably won’t be as useful for you — unless you’re looking for an experience to help you upgrade your current vision to take your experience to a new level.

One thing I’ve seen at CGW is that a lot of people are very fuzzy about what they want. Many can’t even articulate what they want. Others seem to change their minds every few months. I hope you understand that if you want to see some serious forward progress in your life, especially when it comes to career and financial success, you can’t keep changing directions two or three times a year. You really do need to pick a direction and stick with it for a long time. A career change is okay — I’ve been through such transitions myself — but if you’re going to treat that sort of thing as casually as getting a new haircut, then you’re most likely going to remain at the novice level of career development. And you’re probably going to depress your finances as well. It’s like playing a role-playing game and starting fresh with a new character before any of your characters can make it past level 10. A whole different experience awaits you if you commit to a single character and play it all the way to level 50 and beyond, and this is really how the game of life is best played. It’s okay to dabble a bit to find a game you like, but eventually you need to commit yourself fully to mastery of a singular path.

Let me say that deciding what you want from life is indeed quite difficult. But just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean you can’t do it. The alternative is worse. If you don’t define a clear vision for yourself and commit yourself to it, eventually you’re going to feel bored and/or frustrated with your lack of progress. And ultimately, you’ll die filled with regrets about what you should have done instead.

This isn’t to suggest that you should just pick something at random and commit to it. You want to avoid a bad commitment just as much as not committing. What you need is a process that will converge on something you can commit yourself to, and that’s what CSW aims to do for you.

It’s not enough to set goals in different areas of your life. Too often when people do that, their goals don’t combine well to form a singular vision. A clear vision is holistic. When you have a true vision, there’s just one vision, not 10 different ones. Your vision may have many different components, but they all combine to form a single picture.

Personally I don’t know of any book or workshop that truly covers the same territory as CSW. There are some excellent books that touch on certain aspects of it, like Stephen Covey’s First Things First. But this is an area where I really had to come up with my own unique approach. Other people’s insights just didn’t go far enough or deep enough for me to get the results I wanted.

I still picked up and adapted useful ideas from other people, but with respect to developing the core content of this workshop, my best insights came mainly from outside the field of personal development. I found better insights buried deeply within the biographies of highly successful people and from my own personal experimentation over many years. I learned more from people who achieved great successes as opposed to people who wrote a lot about success.

For example, I learned about V2MOM from Mark Benioff, founder of SalesForce.com. I learned about OKRs from studying Google’s successes. These are great tools I’ve adapted from other fields, but I can’t recall seeing anyone else in the personal development field write or talk about them. I got much better results by developing a hybrid approach that started with these tools as opposed to using something like David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system, for instance. GTD was very popular when I first started blogging, but it’s really for employees with bosses telling them what to do. GTD is too weak to use by itself if you’d rather be the boss of yourself — for that we can do a lot better.

At CSW I’ll share lots of specific details from my own life. I’ll show you what parts of my personal vision look like, how I break my vision down into quarterly deliverables, and ultimately how I manage my actions day by day. I’ll share which specific tools I use (the main tools I use are free, and the others are very cheap and also have free substitutes). You’ll also have the opportunity to run through this process with your own vision.

I’ll show you how the different parts of my vision fit nicely together to form a complete picture. For instance, doing workshops is more than just a business pursuit. Workshops also fuel my personal growth, they expand my contribution, they boost my income, they create new friendships, and they add more fun to my life. They add value on many different levels. Contrast this with situations where people set goals that create internal conflicts for them, such as goals that might boost their income while giving them less time for relationships.

Instead of working in a cubicle somewhere, I get to work on the Las Vegas Strip… and only when I want to. I have no boss but myself. I make good money doing what I want, when I want. How did that happen? I envisioned it clearly first. I committed myself to it. Then I made it a reality.

What are you committed to creating in your life? Could you even tell me? Will your answer be the same a month from now? Why do you even have to think about it? If the answers aren’t forthcoming, you’re not on alignment with success. How can you succeed if you don’t even know what you want? How can you succeed if your desires shift with the seasons, like leaves being blown around by the wind? You can’t build any real momentum that way. Let’s fix that.

I expect that CSW will be the most linear and guided workshop, but I don’t think this is something I can do justice to with a book or a series of blog posts. I have to guide you through this process in person.

I might be able to adapt CSW to work as an online video course someday, but at present I only feel good about doing it interactively. I need to be able to look into people’s eyes and adapt to what they’re experiencing.

The selfish aspect of CSW for me is that I want to push myself a lot more in this area. Lately I’ve been going through a major expansion in terms of setting, planning out, and working towards more ambitious goals. I’ve been in an amazing flow of inspired action lately, but I still recognize that my ultimate potential is greater than what I’m experiencing right now. I know that by delivering this workshop and helping people create and fulfill their own inspired visions, I’ll be able to raise the bar for myself.

CSW will likely be the most introspective of the four workshops. This is all about your life, your desires, your vision. CSW is primarily about how to achieve what you want, and a big part of that is how you identify and define what you want. Most people use a very sloppy process to figure out what they want, so they fail before they even seriously begin. If you set goals in a sloppy manner, how are you supposed to commit to them for years? You’ll never be able to trust that you made the right decision. CSW will lead you through a very orderly, step-by-step, structured process for figuring that out.

You’re never going to have 100% certainly that you’ve committed to the absolute best path for you. That isn’t realistic. But you can still reach the point of creating a powerful and inspiring vision for your life and committing yourself to it, even in the face of uncertainty. Part of getting there is having a better understanding of the long-term consequences of not committing to anything. Sometimes you just need someone like me to give you a kick in the rear to get you off the fence, so you don’t stay stuck there for another five years and look back with regrets.

If you aren’t passionately working on an inspired vision right now, you’re just spinning your wheels, aren’t you? It’s okay to visit such a purgatory temporarily, but it’s a major waste of life if you remain stuck there for too long. Do you really want to drift aimlessly for another five years?

CSW is a workshop to get your ass off the fence, to make some real decisions, to commit to them, and to get moving forward with some serious momentum.

As you can probably tell from the shift in my writing style for this section, the energy of this workshop is going to be rather different from the others. I’m not going to play the role of a military drill sergeant, but I’m not going to baby you either. At CSW I’m committed to seeing you finally make some real decisions and to stop living like a fuzzy-brained teenager. That said, this workshop isn’t going to be all work and no play — it  will still have its playful side, and there will be plenty of fun and creative exercises to help you open up to a more empowering way of living.

CSW cuts to the core of what people really need to succeed, whether it comes to building a kick-ass career, making lots of money, or building a business. This is about how very successful people actually do succeed. They envision what they want, they commit to it, and they intelligently manage the action steps in a sustainable way, so they can keep at it for years.

You can keep running your wishy washy “I don’t know what to do” script on your friends and family, but that isn’t going to fly at CSW. You may show up not knowing what you want, but you won’t be going home that way. In fact, when you do return home, your friends and family probably won’t recognize you. :)

Conscious Relationships Workshop (CRW) – Feb 17-19, 2012

Let’s switch gears again because the energy of CRW is totally different from that of CSW.

The keyword for CRW is harmony.

This workshop is going to be extremely social. I guarantee that you’ll be spending a lot of time interacting with other attendees at CRW. To learn about relationships, it’s important to do a lot of actual relating.

Relationships are two-sided affairs. You have control over one side of every relationship — your side — but it turns out that this is more than enough control to create a powerful transformation in this part of your life.

CRW is going to focus a great deal on self-discovery. You’re going to learn a lot about how you relate to other people and how this affects them, not by listening to me talk about it but by doing some real relating and getting feedback from others on your “performance”. If you have weaknesses in your social skills, for instance, those will be revealed to you at CRW. This won’t be done in a harsh or critical way but rather in a gentle and supportive way. The point is to raise your awareness of how others perceive you, so you can identify corrections to be made, not to beat you up for perceived inadequacies.

CRW will give you the opportunity to experiment a great deal when it comes to alternative ways of relating to people. My aim here is to create a very safe and mutually supportive environment, one in which everyone can feel free to experiment.

You’re going to be doing a lot of hands-on learning in this workshop. Here you’ll have the opportunity to try relating to people in different ways and on different levels. While I’ll be carefully guiding you through this process, you’re also going to wield a lot of control over how this process unfolds for you. There are some universal processes that everyone can participate in, but there’s also an individually tailored aspect. The way this workshop unfolds for a social butterfly will be different than how it’s experienced by someone who’s very shy.

The intent for CRW is to give you the opportunity to learn and grow in terms of how you connect with people by giving you the opportunity to experience the sorts of connections that you’ve always wondered about or wanted to try but which you never felt comfortable testing out in the real world. Or perhaps you never even thought there were other ways you could connect with people other than what you’ve tried in the past.

As part of this, it’s important that you’re willing to help participate in creating this safe, experimental space for the other attendees as well. Do your best to leave your judgments at home, and bring a willingness to play, experiment, and connect in a variety of different ways.

The transformation we’re aiming to create at CRW has to do with improving your alignment with authority, oneness, and courage.

The authority aspect (authority = truth + power) has to do with deepening your understanding of how you’re currently relating to people and what results you’re getting. What results are you experiencing in this part of your life right now? Why are you getting those results?

The oneness aspect (oneness = truth + love) involves deepening your understanding on what a harmonious relationship life would look like for you. What kinds of changes will be necessary for you to feel a sense of harmony with the other people in your life, such that you’re mutually supporting each other? We’ll help you identify what those changes are, so you have a clearer sense of what your ideal relationship situation looks like.

The courage aspect (courage = love + power) will play out as we create a safe space for you to interact with people in ways you’ve been afraid to try in the past. This part isn’t about me pushing you to do things that you’re afraid of. It’s about you recognizing where you’ve been holding back socially and then using the safe workshop environment as an opportunity to push beyond some of those limits to whatever degree you feel comfortable doing.

How attractive do you appear to other people? What can you do to increase your attractiveness? What is it about your connection style that might be repelling the people you want to attract? What about you is attracting the wrong people that you’d prefer not to attract?

Ultimately CRW aims to shift the social vibe you’re broadcasting and the behaviors you employ, such that you naturally attract empowering relationships and naturally repel disempowering ones. That will cause rippling aftereffects when you go home, and you’ll see your social circle transform to become more harmonious.

In addition to addressing relationships in general, we’re also going to pay special attention to intimate relationships. My goal here isn’t to project my relationship values onto you. I want to help you gain more clarity about what you want in this part of your life, to help you become a match for it, and to help you make it a reality.

CRW has both subjective and objective elements. It lies somewhere in the middle between SRW and CSW in terms of which perspective it uses. This is because we want to create both inner and outer harmony. We want to get you to a place of feeling good in terms of how you connect with people, but we also want to help you create objectively measurable improvements in your social landscape.

Transformation in your relationships can happen in a variety of ways. When you change how you relate to people, sometimes the people in your life will change how they relate to you, and your existing relationships will improve. Other times those people will be repelled by your shifts, they’ll pull away from you, and more compatible people will be attracted to you and will move closer to you. Either way you end up in a more harmonious place.

My experience is that we can’t control how our relationships are transformed. We can only transform ourselves and allow the social landscape around us to rearrange itself to match us. So we can’t get too attached to how each individual relationship plays out — that part isn’t up to us.

You can attend CRW by yourself or with a relationship partner. It will work either way. If you do attend with a partner though, I recommend that you keep an open mind about how it may affect your specific relationship with your partner. CRW aims to help each of you achieve greater happiness and fulfillment, but I can’t predict whether that will play out as a deepening of your existing connection or if it will send the two of you in different directions to find new partners. Honestly it could go either way.

If you attend CRW and you’re already in a relationship, it’s important that you’re committed to discovering your truth and creating greater harmony for yourself and others. If your commitment to your current partner is greater than your commitment to truth, then I don’t recommend that you attend CRW. CRW does NOT begin with the assumption that you and your current partner are the perfect match for each other just because you happen to be together right now.

CRW is a great workshop to attend if you currently feel that the relationship part of your life needs serious work. Do you feel loved and supported by the people in your life? Are you enjoying the relationship situation you desire? Do you feel confident that you can successfully create whatever you want in this part of your life? If you feel that something isn’t working in your social and relationship life, CRW will help you transform your relationships for the better.

A major part of every workshop, but especially one that will play out at CRW, is the new friendships you’ll make there. Many people who met at CGW #1 in 2009, for instance, are still friends to this day. In fact, there have been a number of intimate encounters that have happened between people who met at previous workshops, including during the evenings of the workshop days. This doesn’t surprise me too much because these workshops attract a lot of like-minded people who tend to bond very quickly.

I design every workshop with a strong social element, but CRW will take that further than any other workshop.

My selfish reason for doing this workshop is that I want to continue improving my own relationship skills. I want to get better at connecting with people, attracting people who are truly compatible with me, and enjoying a rich and abundant social life. I already feel I’m doing wonderfully in this area, but I see no reason that I can’t continue to grow further.

I also feel that the relationship part of my life is an area where I want to keep experimenting and letting go of prior social conditioning (especially due to growing up Catholic and having lots of limiting beliefs installed from a young age), so that’s partly why I’m designing it with a lot of experimentation in mind. I do not assume that there’s one relationship model that works for everyone. I think this is an area where we must discover what makes us happiest through personal exploration, so CRW aims to create a human laboratory of sorts where we can do lots of experimenting in terms of how we relate to others, how different approaches feel when we try them on for size, and what results we get with them… so that ultimately we can relate to others in a manner that makes us say, “Yeah, this is me.”

Let me clarify some more about what I mean by the trial-and-error experimental learning aspect of CRW since I feel that’s a really critical part of this workshop.

As I mentioned previously (in the CGW section as well as in my previous blog post), I’m a very huggy person these days. For most of my life, I wasn’t like this at all — I was totally the opposite. I had to try hugginess on for size. At first it felt pretty uncomfortable, but eventually I discovered that I really liked it.

I fully recognize that some people wouldn’t even want to connect in this way; they may even consider it creepy to hug people they’re meeting for the first time. And that’s perfectly fine. I don’t expect everyone to value being a huggy person in the same way that I do. If you prefer not to be a huggy person, and you’re happy being the way you are, far be it from me to try to change you.

By embracing my own hugginess, I naturally attract more huggy people into my life, which makes me happy. I love that the vast majority of my friends are huggy people too. I’m also more likely to repel people who don’t like connecting in this way, which is also fine by me. If you’re not huggy, I don’t see that as a problem at all, but to me it does mean that we’re probably not going to connect as very close friends. I prefer friends who enjoy hugs. That’s just something I want to have in my social life.

I don’t dislike non-huggy people per se, but they do seem colder and more shielded to me, as if they have something to hide. I don’t trust them as much as I trust openly huggy people. I don’t relate to non-huggers as well, and some part of their vibe turns me off. Just as they may find my hugginess to be a mismatch for them, I find their non-hugginess a bit creepy. I’m fine co-existing with such people in my life, and I’m fine respecting their space and not being huggy with them, but I’m not going to surround myself with such people in my inner circle of friends.

I offer people hugs when I meet them, but I don’t force them to hug me or anything like that. I offer people hugs partly as a way of assessing whether or not they’re huggy people too. But it’s not just whether they hug me back that tells me something about them. I probably pick up a lot more from the quality of the hug itself. Does their energy feel open and loving? Or are they giving a perfunctory yet shielded hug? Hugging people when I first meet them reveals volumes about their energy and personality to me. I don’t think most people realize just how much information they transit through a simple hug. Huggy people know this, and I think it’s one of the best reasons to be a huggy person. I like hugging people not just because it feels good but because I get a serious download of information about the person’s energy from the act of hugging them. That’s why I think it’s important to invite a person to hug me by putting my arms out… being careful not to force anything upon them. Hugging someone helps me sync my energy to theirs.

At the same time, when I hug someone I’m also giving them the opportunity to download a lot of information about me. I want people to receive this info quickly. I know from experience that my hugs normally broadcast warmth, caring, confidence, and trustworthiness. So it’s very easy for people to open up with me after they’ve hugged me. It makes conversation a lot more efficient.

You can also pick up a lot of information from a handshake. Does it convey confidence, or did you get one of those limp half-squeezes? But I think a hug allows two people to exchange a lot more info about each other.

I’m glad I figured this out through trial and error, but honestly it took me years to get here. I had to hang out with a lot of huggy people, so I could learn from them. I couldn’t have predicted in advance that I would have liked being in this space as much as I do. I definitely had a lot of resistance to it at first. But it’s way too effective for me to ever want to go back. That would be like deleting a superpower. :)

Instead of taking years to make similar discoveries about yourself, CRW will give you the opportunity to go through such a process in a matter of days. For example, you can try out being a very huggy or touchy person (respecting other people’s boundaries of course) when you connect with others and see how that feels to you. Do you like it? Does it feel good to you? Or does it feel unnatural or creepy? How do other people respond to it? Do they like it when you touch them while talking to them, or do they find it creepy and unnatural? What new information, if any, are you giving and receiving via your hugs?

I discovered through trial and error that not only do I enjoy giving and receiving hugs, but other people overwhelmingly like my hugs. They receive it as a warm gesture of connection.

When you can try something new and verify whether or not it works for you and discover how it’s genuinely perceived by others, and you see that it’s all good, it’s easier to fully step into that space and embrace that part of yourself. Sometimes this means gaining a useful new skill that you can use for the rest of your life. On the other hand, when you try something and it doesn’t quite work (like maybe it feels okay to you but other people report that they find it creepy when you behave that way), then you’ll have some really good feedback telling you that you ought to try a different approach.

Can you see the value in this kind of experimentation?

I’m not going to force anything on you, so as we do each type of exercise, you’re always free to opt out. For instance, if you really don’t like being touched by anyone, you can always opt out from any touch-based exercises. If you can’t handle giving people compliments, then skip that exercise. I’d encourage you to push yourself a little when it comes to your willingness to experiment, but you’re ultimately the one who decides what type of experiments you wish to participate in. I’m not going to pressure you to do something you know is wrong for you. Fair enough?

CRW will help you answer a lot of questions related to improving your social interactions with others. What styles of relating feel good to you? What doesn’t feel so good to you? What do you do that others find attractive? What do others find repulsive? What can you do to deepen your connections? What are you doing that’s messing up your connections?

We are going to do a LOT of experimenting at CRW. You’re going to be spending a great deal of time connecting with other attendees in a variety of ways. By the end of the workshop, you’re going to know yourself so much better than you do now, and you’re going to have a much clearer sense of how others perceive you. You’ll learn what your strengths are when it comes to relating to people, so you can put your best foot forward when you want to connect with someone. I think this is really invaluable information for people to have that will serve them well for life.

I’ve never been to any workshop that works the way I envision CRW to be. Personally I find this kind of experimenting to be so important to my self development that I’m probably going to participate in many of the exercises myself.

Workshop Content Overlap

Some people have asked me how much content overlap there will be between these workshops. Am I just rehashing the same material in different forms?

If I try to answer this question as directly and simply as I can, I’ll say that the overlap between these workshops is minimal. If you look at my blogging history as any indication, you can verify that I have no shortage of content ideas. I have more than enough content to fill 12 days of workshops without repeating myself.

But that isn’t really the most accurate answer I can give. The problem is that this question is being asked from the wrong frame to begin with. The question makes sense if we’re talking about educational workshops where the core value lies in the content. There is an educational element to these workshops, but as I’ve already noted, their core focus is transformational, not educational.

What does it mean to talk about content overlap in terms of transformation? In this context the original question doesn’t make as much sense.

A transformational workshop takes you from where you are and takes you to a different place of being by the end of the workshop. So even if you attend the same workshop repeatedly, and the core content remains essentially the same, it’s going to affect you differently each time because your starting point will always be different. So it wouldn’t even matter if the content was mostly the same because the value lies in the experience, and your experience will be different each time. You’ll be a different person going in and a different person coming out.

Not only is the content portion different among these workshops — all four are very different from a pure content perspective — but more than that, you could attend the same workshop multiple times, and you’re still going to find it a different experience each time.

This is one reason why some people keep going to CGW repeatedly. The content really isn’t the #1 transformational factor. It’s the experience. The exercises are one part of that. The social environment is another key factor. The vibe that I bring to it matters a great deal as well. As I see it, the role of the content is to help us agree on a common language for sharing in each others’ transformations. Without the content to ground us, it would be a lot more difficult to communicate with each other at the level at which these transformations occur.

Rest assured that I have no interest in rehashing the same material in different forms. That would be utterly boring to me. I can’t even see myself delivering the same workshop in the same way twice in a row. Inspired ideas flow through me in infinite abundance.

My challenge is the opposite of what this question seems to assume. I have enough ideas to spawn workshops on at least a dozen different topics. But I don’t have time to do all of those topics justice, so I’m sticking with what I believe to be the most important ones, both for my own transformation and for those who choose to attend.

Join Us!

Every workshop is special and unique. I never do a workshop the same way twice. I’m always tweaking and changing things, sometimes a little and sometimes a lot. So even if you attend the same workshop more than once, it won’t be quite the same experience. And in fact all of these workshops are designed so that you can attend them as many times as you desire, and you should always be able to get more value out of the experiences. You’ll be going in as a different person each time, and so you’ll experience a different type of transformation each time.

I can say without exaggeration that all of these workshops are unlike anything else out there. They’re all original and are personally designed by me. None are copies or clones of anyone else’s work. I feel very inspired by them, and I’m really looking forward to delivering them in the months ahead. I genuinely hope to see you there.

For more details on the upcoming workshops and/or to sign up for one, see the Workshops page.

And if you don’t want a hug, just say so. Otherwise don’t be afraid to walk right up and squeeze me. ;)


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