|10-09-2009, 05:14 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Alex Wu's Review of the Conscious Growth Workshop
[PART 1 - I will add to it over the next day or two]
Alex Wu’s Review of the Conscious Growth Workshop
WOW. If I had to come up with a one-word summary of the workshop experience, WOW would be it. This workshop has left me totally changed from the inside out. People are wondering what happened to me in Las Vegas. All of a sudden I’m so huggy, I’m saying hi and talking to strangers on the street, I’ve reconnected with old, positive friends, and I’ve even put my boss on notice that I will be eventually quitting. What’s the deal?
I signed up for the workshop the day I learned of it back in July. Steve was doing a live workshop and there was no question that I was going. I was stuck. I was dating a boyfriend with whom I only felt a marginal connection at best. My job had been a dead end for months, but I didn’t feel up to doing anything about it. And I was afraid of people… especially strangers!
The day before the workshop I was questioning whether this was a good idea. Was it worth taking time off work to make the trip from Canada? I packed my things into a little carry on bag and the next morning I drove to the airport… little did I know what was coming!
It took a while to find it, but you couldn’t mistake the Conscious Growth Workshop Members for anyone else. Someone had the foresight to bring a book cover from Steve’s book and display it on the coffee table. I hurried over and took a seat on one of the couches beside Gerett and Taz. The vibe was AMAZING. I immediately felt like I was in safe, nurturing environment, a world away from back home. No one in my social circle back home reads Steve’s blog, and it’s difficult to have a meaningful conversation about personal growth. Not here at the pre-workshop meetup. We were all strangers, but already I felt connected to everyone. I felt comfortable talking about any area of my life and not feel like anyone else was judging me. On the contrary, I got some excellent advice. When I mentioned that I wanted to become an intuitive life counselor/coach, one fellow immediately asked me to start with him… on the spot. I was nervous, but I had no choice but to give it a go. He described his plans for a future career path, and after listening I made some observations and predictions. I was able to pick up on patterns that he normally goes through and where he was in terms of having the necessary skills and discipline in order to follow through. I realized that to really help people I also need to help guide them in the right direction. But overall I felt a sense of validation that this was the right path for me. My hat goes off to Daan for getting the hugging started – after the first hug, it became the de facto standard for greeting strangers at the workshop.
At one point there were +/- 40 people at the pre-workshop meetup, but even at midnight, there was still a group of 10 conscious souls still hanging out. When I was back in my hotel room, I was shaking from anticipation of the following day. It was amazing just to hang out with so many conscious and growing people – I couldn’t wait for the next day when the workshop actually started. I prayed that I could fall asleep.
I rode the elevator down to the workshop room, bursting with excitement (I stayed at Harrah’s where the workshop was being held). When I arrived I was greeted by Erin at the registration table. I was nearly an hour early, but I wasn’t the first. I recognized a number of “old friends” from the night before. After returning from Starbucks with bananas and a soymilk for breakfast (Steve and Erin – please arrange a smoothie bar in front of the room so we can all have a healthy, non-caffeinated breakfast), I found the room packed and buzzing with chatter and excitement.
What was awesome about the workshop was how conscious and open minded everyone was – the standard way to greet someone was by a hug, on the left side (that way your hearts connect – more energy!). People had come from far and away – some of my best friends in the conference hailed from Australia, Germany, Belgium, and the far away land of Wisconsin. This was a room full of more or less strangers, but within seconds of arriving, strangers were talking to each other like lifelong friends! We didn’t have to go through the gradual courtship process of making friends. We could dive right in and talk about something meaningful.
When it was time for the workshop to *officially* start, a bald man took to the stage and introduced himself as Darren LaCroix, World Champion of Public Speaking. I nearly fell out of my chair. THE Darren LaCroix had changed his flight out of Vegas that morning so he could be there to introduce Steve.
When Darren finished introducing Steve, the room burst in flames with cheers and applause. I had made the trip to Las Vegas a year earlier to see Steve present at the I Can Do It conference where I was impressed with how focused a presenter he was. This time around, I could see he had improved further – I noticed him making more eye contact with individual people in the audience. He spoke slower, and most importantly, he looked increasingly confident and comfortable as the workshop went on. Steve’s appeal as a speaker isn’t his flashy charisma, big gestures, use of vocal variety or dramatic pauses. His draw is how genuine he comes across, how much he wants each of us to absorb his message and succeed. Watching him didn’t feel like watching most other speakers – when Steve talks, it feels like a two-way flow of energy that’s simultaneously comforting and inspiring.
On Day 1, Steve focused on the principles of personal growth – Truth, Love, Power, Oneness, Authority, Courage and Intelligence. We did exercises in our handouts for each area, as well as interactive group exercises. At one point Steve had a volunteer come on stage and talk about her career situation. After she had spoken for 5 minutes, Steve asked for open mic comments from the audience about where they felt her momentum was headed. I’ll bet it was a little unnerving for the volunteer, but also incredibly helpful. I admired her courage and gusto. We then repeated the exercise but in smaller groups. During the group exercise I described again my ideal career – but how I was afraid that my young age would work against my goal of becoming a life counselor/coach. My group members suggested that my age could in fact work in my favor, and I should get started by practicing for free.
At lunch time, Steve gave us the exercise of writing down what we wanted for lunch, and then to use our Power to get exactly the lunch we wrote. One of the items I had written down was Vegan Chicken Stew. Where would I find that on the strip? In the end, I didn’t wind up having nearly anything on my list (I settled for a veggie wrap in Caesar’s Palace). On the flip side, I should have written on my list of wants “to hang out with friends”. That was more important to me than exactly what I ate, and that, I DID get.
For dinner, there were two distinct groups in the audience: one that wanted to go to Red Velvet Café, a vegan-friendly restaurant off-strip, and one that leaned towards Go Raw Café, a raw food café also off the strip. I was severely split between going to either – I wanted to hang out with everybody! In the end, I decided to go to Go Raw. I had never had raw food before, but the experience was intriguing – carrot and avocado soup (delicious), raw lasagna (really cool because the layers were made of sliced zucchini), sushi (couldn’t figure out what it was made of but it was delicious) and strawberry cheesecake (awesome).
After returning to the strip, I was exhausted from the travelling the day earlier, and getting only 5 hours of sleep the night before. I said goodbye to my new friends and retired to my room for the night – it would be my only early night during the workshop
[I will add to this over the next day or two]
|10-09-2009, 07:08 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2009
Thanks for sharing, Alex
I'm day 1's volunteer!
Honestly, I love to talk in front of people.
My biggest issue was, how to share my story and the things I've been going through for years, in 5 minutes!!!
I was glad to volunteer - and glad for insight on where people thought my momentum was taking me. The one person who told me that he saw me continuing on my job path as is, stuck with me. He makes me want to ensure that I don't let happen and that I never let go of my planet B.
Thanks for the wonderful review, Alex.
The left side heart thing was sort of weird to me.
I prefer hugging the other way :P
But that could be because I'm very enegetically sensitive, so I try to ramp it down while still sharing closeness. !!! lol.
Pleasure knowing you and look forward to hearing more from you.
-Angela Santo, Day 1, Stage Volunteer #1
|10-09-2009, 07:14 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
I woke up feeling highly refreshed and wanting to connect with even more people on Day 2. If there was any doubt as to what the workshop was about, I just had to look at the cover of any one of the handouts – they all had a massive Truth-Love-Power triangle on them. The experience is quite different from reading Steve’s blog – only now do I realize the stark contrast between sitting at a computer screen reading at home, and attending a live workshop with 100+ like-minded souls. If you’ve been having trouble taking action or feeling stuck, come to a workshop. Reading an article might give you some ideas, but a workshop is like getting strapped into a jet-pack.
Day 2 was about applying each of the 7 principles to different areas – Career, Finances, Health, Skills and Daily Habits. Most of the written exercises focused on improving our alignment with each of the 7 principles in each area. Steve generally spoke about an area for 45 minutes and on a few occasions, proceeded to call for a volunteer to work with on stage. One of them was Alexandra, who has posted her experience on the Facebook group.
After the work on stage, we would break up into small groups and do an exercise together, often the same exercise already done on stage. I was honored that Shauna, a fellow Canadian, approached me during the Career exercise and asked to work with me because she wanted to connect.
What was very enlightening for me was to see how my misalignment with some of the principles, especially love, power, courage and authority, wasn’t isolated to one or two area – in fact, it was pervasive in nearly ALL of the areas. It even extended into health, an area where I thought I was doing pretty well.
At lunch, I raced off to the Go Raw Café with a native Las Vegan, and as many others who would fit into his car – we had 6 in the car. Rachelle, another fellow Canadian, sat in my lap It felt great to connect with so many people who had been strangers just a couple days earlier.
Later that afternoon, I organized a group to see the show Penn & Teller, while simultaneously trying to get another group together to have dinner at the Red Velvet Café. I was stressing out when I realized I couldn’t get back to the strip in time to see the show, so I had to choose from one or the other. Glen, a new friend I made at the workshop, wanted to connect over dinner, and I wanted to talk to him too. At the end, I closed my eyes and asked for help from my guides. They beamed me the signal that I’d be happier going out for dinner, so I wound up going with the Red Velvet group – only we didn’t go to Red Velvet, we went back to Go Raw to join the even bigger group heading there. We wound up hiring a limo to take us, and at one point we were talking about VitaMix blenders. I explained how once my (now ex-) boyfriend came over and discovered the “plunger” that came with the blender sitting on my counter. He thought it was a butt plug I bought from the sex toy store
After dinner, we headed back to the strip. Tom invited me to hang out at the Stratosphere Tower with a few others – they turned out to be Erica.biz, Lance and Chris. Erica drove us up the strip in her rental car, giving us a little guided tour along the way. We took the elevator up the Stratosphere Tower for a view of the city. Las Vegas looks amazing at night – so bright, so flat, so big! Tom and I wound up going on the ride where you’re hanging on an arm off the top of the Tower, 867 feet above the ground, spinning around in circles in your seat Yay for courage
|10-09-2009, 07:59 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Thanks for the great recaps Alex!
|10-10-2009, 12:00 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Northern California
Basically, half of the Penn & Teller group hopped in my car and drove to Rio, while the other half disappeared. We end up at the box office to realize that we should have done the half price ticket thing, so we hop into a Rio Shuttle, get dropped off at the Strip (while taking pictures and stuff), find a ticket booth, buy tickets, then rush back to the Rio. In a surprising coincidence, we end up at their Indian restaurant and reconnect with the other half of the group, who were eating several feet away from us.
|10-13-2009, 03:44 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
I was almost overcome by sadness on the morning of Day 3. The workshop was almost over. It felt all too short. But I was also feeling disconnected from my life back home. My job, my friends, it was a world away. Where would I go from here?
During the workshop I was almost a different person from the “me” back home. Here, I was more courageous, more connecting, more loving. These were qualities I lacked to some degree back home, but in Las Vegas, at the workshop, a lot of my old “blocks” simply melted away.
We had just 3 areas to cover on Day 3: Emotions, Relationships and Spiritual Development. As usual, we applied the 7 principles of personal growth to each area, to see how we could improve our alignment. I have to admit the format got a bit boring near the end, and it became increasingly difficult to fill in all the blanks because it wasn’t making a lot of sense to me how courage applied to my emotions, or spiritual development. It was a real treat to have Erin come on stage for the Relationships segment. Steve and Erin discussed some of the problems they’ve run into and how they’ve dealt with them. They’re such an awesome couple; they complement each other really well, and there’s this energy and love between them that I haven’t seen in many other couples.
The workshop ended with an extended Q&A session, before ending in a guided meditation by Steve. I have to admit meditations aren’t my strong point – my mind especially loves to wander and I get bored easily. But I could feel the meditation having some effect on me, and based on how I felt after the workshop, one of those green orbs did make its way into me
The workshop room was abuzz with activity after the workshop. People were trading hugs, stories and contact info. I felt like something really awesome had come to an end, and the people who were part of it slowly trickled out the door. Soon, we were kicked out into the adjoining hallway, where a bunch of us stayed until about 5pm.
That night I was part of a group of six that went to see the Cirque du Soleil show “Mystere” at Treasure Island. It was my first time seeing a show in Vegas, and I was impressed. We sat in the front row where we got be part of the audience interaction
Day 4 wasn’t officially part of the workshop, but it was a big part of the growth. I had got together a little hiking group (Taz, Sonya, Joachim and myself) to go out to Red Rock Canyon, and we met at 9am at the front entrance of Imperial Palace. The plan was to rent a car at the Hertz in Harrah’s, but they were out of cars. So while I wanted to find another car rental company on the strip, the rest of my group insisted on taking a taxi so that we got there faster (and, they presumed, cheaper). About an hour later, we were dropped off by a taxi at the Red Rock Canyon visitor centre, armed only with water, juice, trail mix, chips and salsa that we picked up at the Walgreen’s attached to the Venetian. We had a surprisingly good time, even though we were restricted to the trails that were accessible from the visitor centre (we were carless). The trick was getting back to Vegas in time for Toastmasters. Even though we had prearranged a cab to come pick us up at 4:00, no cab showed up. The park staff let us call a different cab company with their phone, and an hour later, a taxi fully clad in Las Vegas-style advertising pulled up to the park gate. We were overcome with joy, running to it with arms flailing.
We got to Steve’s Toastmasters club just as the other groups were pulling up. I suppose it was divine intervention I had an awesome time at Steve’s club. The people were energetic, took their roles seriously and humorously, and I was really grateful to take part in Table Topics (the impromptu speaking session). While I didn’t quite answer the question I was asked, the best I could come up with was to parody a Chinese restaurant owner I had once encountered back home in Ottawa.
Anita, a workshop attendee and a local Las Vegan, drove us back to the strip where we were planning to see a showing of the Phantom. In a gesture of generosity that shocked and touched me, she offered to come into the Venetian with us to buy our tickets so we could get a local discount. Between buying the tickets and the start of the show, we had 25 minutes to eat dinner. The Chinese noodle house in the Venetian was very accommodating ;o)
When I got home to Ottawa, it was clear my vibration had changed. I was making eye contact, smiling and saying hello to people on the street. I hugged my office mates – some of them were asking what happened to me in Vegas. The first day back to work I put my boss on “notice”. Basically, I told him I wasn’t a vibrational match for the job and would eventually quit. I reconnected with some conscious friends whom I had lost touch with, and disconnected with others whom I no longer resonated with. I’m planning on starting a personal development meetup group, and I’ve continued the exercise of saying something stupid to someone everyday as a 30-day trial.
I’ve never felt this loving or connecting ever before in my life, and suddenly many of my old fears have melted like candles in the hot sun. The key now is to keep the momentum going, and my vibration up. The workshop was the major boost I was needing and craving. I am 100% certainly going to be back at the January workshop, and I hope to see more of you there!
Meeting and hanging out with the other attendees was one of the best parts of the workshop. Just that alone was WORTH what I paid.
Do whatever you can to be at the pre-workshop meetup. Many people who missed it later told me they regretted it. Sit closer to the front of the workshop room – you can see and hear better. Go out with your fellow workshop attendees at every opportunity – this is a good time to either be a leader and organize activities or be a yes man and say yes to every meal, show and excursion you get invited to. You’ll learn as much from the people at workshop (perhaps more) as you’ll learn from the workshop itself.
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