"When we're willing to look around and say there might be answers that reside collectively that we don't have individually, some really interesting things can emerge."
Each December, Jon Berghoff and I team up with the Front Row Foundation to present the Best Year Ever Blueprint LIVE experience in San Diego, California.
It’s a community-created experience… scientifically designed to invite reflection, awareness, and reconnection with your highest/best self… and artfully engineered with nature, music, movement, and space to help you amplify your most powerful strengths and access your biggest future.
On today’s podcast, I’m joined by both Jon Berghoff and Front Row Foundation founder Jon Vroman to reveal an unconventional approach that you can immediately implement into your world, which happens to be exactly what makes the BYEB Live experience unlike any other in the world (literally).
We want you to have your best day… year… and life ever—no matter where you’re at or what you’re doing—and to give you universally applicable principles to help you amplify your results for you, everyone you love, and everyone you lead.
To get more details on joining us for this year’s Best Year Ever Blueprint LIVE experience, visit www.BestYearEverLive.com.
- Why community is so often the greatest and most untapped source of discovery and transformation.
- Our inquiry-driven approach that leads to fast breakthroughs – and how Jon Berghoff has created rapid institutional change, even in massive organizations.
- Why old models of management and leadership aren’t just outdated – but dangerous – in our rapidly-changing world.
- What other individuals have gotten out of the Best Year Ever Blueprint – and the reasons people keep coming back, year after year.
- And a whole lot more!
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Hal Elrod: All right. Welcome to today’s special episode of the Achieve Your Goals Podcast/The Front Row Factor. This is your host, the Achieve Your Goals Podcast, Hal Elrod. My co-host, Jon Berghoff is here as well today, and we’ve got Jon Vroman, host of The Front Row Factor Podcast. So, it’s three amigos. It’s a big party. We’re going to have a good time, and this is one we’ve been talking of recording for quite a while but actually kind of our annual tradition I guess. We’ve done Annual Best Year Ever Blueprint Podcast episode and they keep getting better though because I think we keep figuring out how to really help people have their best year ever, and whatever time of year it is for you, your best year ever, your best day ever, your best life ever. It’s an ongoing everyday process. I want to take a second to introduce why we’re doing today’s episode and what you can hope to get out of it. And this is how to have your best year ever.
I really liked best life ever because, again, this is an ongoing everyday thing, but the principles that we’re going to share today are universal for all of us, and whether you are a high-flying entrepreneur, whether you are a teacher, whether you are a parent, whether you are a college student or anywhere in between, a high-level Fortune 500 CEO, the principles that we’re going to share with you today, they’re universally applicable not only for you and for us but for every person that you love and every person that you lead. So, I love to invite you to listen to today’s podcast episode with two sets of ears, right, with a couple sets of ears, a couple of perspectives. One is how does this apply to you, to your life, to your business, how can you amplify your results from what you learned today, but also how does this apply to the people that you love and the people that you lead? How can you take what you learned today and pay it forward in a way that brings out the best, not only in you but in everyone else in your life? And I think if you go into today’s conversation with both of those sets of ears, you’re going to get twice as much or 10 times as much value from today.
The call today, I’m going to introduce my co-hosts here. Jon Berghoff, I think most of you know Jon Berghoff and Jon Vroman, but Jon Berghoff is the founder or the co-cofounder of the Flourishing Leadership Institute and he is the host, the facilitator of the Best Year Ever Blueprint Live Experience which is coming up here December 7-9 in San Diego, California. You can get all the details for it at BestYearEverLive.com. Jon Vroman, my other good friend Jon, is the founder of the Front Row Foundation, the author of the Front Row Factor, and the founder of the Front Row Factor Podcast and the Front Row Dads. Jon, you found a lot of front rows. There’s a lot of front rows going on.
Jon Vroman: A lot of front row.
Hal Elrod: Yeah. And he lives every day in the front row, but here’s the connection between Front Row, Miracle Morning Community, and the Best Year Ever Blueprint which you may already be aware of and you may be aware of some of this and you may not know any of it. I don’t know. The Miracle Morning Community or the Miracle Morning book I should say when I wrote that book, I decided that I wanted to start giving back to charity. And I looked at every charity out there. There’s obviously, I don’t know, thousands of charities, maybe more. How many charities are there in the world, Jon? You know that?
Jon Vroman: 708 million.
Jon Berghoff: Exactly.
Hal Elrod: All right. So, there you go. Write that down. So, The Front Row Foundation is a charity that I’ve been a part of and supported since it started, and it’s a foundation that I believe in because it goes beyond just helping the recipients of the foundation. Let me explain what the foundation itself does. It sends people who are braving life-threatening illnesses to the front row of the event of their dreams. So, it could be front row at a concert or a sporting event or they’ve sent people backstage at these events. They sent me, Front Row Foundation sent me as a cancer patient to the event of my dreams which was at Madison Square Garden to see UFC, Georges St-Pierre versus Michael Bisping. And so, it sends people to this event that most people would never have a chance to attend and in doing so, it creates a level of inspiration and hope and memories that allow the recipient and their family levels of joy and happiness beyond what they’ve never experienced before, and that gives them a chance to… sorry I can’t do this. And so, we have a chat box going over here and so you’re going to see I’m not very good at reading chats and talking and I have two jokers with me, which make it more fun and interesting.
But the Front Row Foundation I decided that a percentage of the Miracle Morning book sales would go directly to the Front Row Foundation and I believe we’ve donated over $300,000 so we meaning all of us, the Miracle Morning Community has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to The Front Row Foundation and sent dozens and dozens of recipients, people that were fighting for their lives and their families to the event of their dreams. And when you see the stories of these recipients, you can’t help but be inspired. They talk about how it literally was the best day of their life. When you think about someone that’s been given let’s say six months to live and then their parents or their children get to take them, and they get to see them have the best day of their life, not to mention look forward to that day for months, and then celebrate that day indefinitely as an individual and as a family, it’s really something special.
And so, the Front Row Foundation is a central part of the Miracle Morning Community and the movement, and then when we decided, Jon Berghoff and I, to put on the Best Year Ever Blueprint and I’ll wrap this up here. We’re going to dive in. I’m long-winded. But, yeah, the Front Row Foundation we brought into the event and at the event, we’ve raised another, I don’t know. How much have we raised, Jon, now at the live event itself for the Front Row?
Jon Vroman: Oh man. Wow. We can get hard figures on that and be exact, but it’s got to be around half a million. It’s got to be around $500,000.
Hal Elrod: Roughly. So, in addition to the $300,000 from the Miracle Morning Community and the book at the Best Year Ever Blueprint, another $0.5 million. So, between this community, almost up to $1 million has been raised. So, that’s the connection between all of these entities and the charity and the book and the community and the event and I brought Jon Berghoff in today because he is the facilitator. He’s the mastermind behind what makes the Best Year Ever Blueprint such a once in a lifetime, such a unique experience. It’s not better than other events. It’s unlike any other event you’ve ever been to. And, Jon, I’m going to bring you on right now. If you’re up for it to talk about what makes the Best Year Ever Blueprint so different and what can our listeners learn from that, they can take into their lives and start applying immediately to see results.
Jon Berghoff: You bet, buddy. Hey, Yo Pal. It’s good to be here with you. Jonny V, it’s good to be here with you. you guys. This is great. This is really, really great. So, I think there’s a couple things that I’d love for the three of us to talk about and then you guys are welcome to interrupt me if you can, but there’s a couple of things I think that are really interesting about this event and I think if we can share a little bit about the history, I think a lot of this audience, I say this audience, recognizing that we’re probably going to send this to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast community, the Front Row Factor community, and some other communities that we’ll figure out how to send this to, but a lot of this audience are entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs and this event, the Best Year Ever Blueprint event, like many can relate to was an idea five years ago or 5 ½ years ago and it became a reality. And every year we learn from things that work, that didn’t work, but what’s really interesting is how many things we’ve kind of stumbled into. And it’s taken us about five years to finally figure out how to articulate some of the magic, some of the kind of secret ingredients that we didn’t even realize where it works.
And so, yeah, I’d love for us to talk about these today. And I just want to make really, really, really clear, the three of us came together because we’re a few months out from our Best Year Ever Blueprint Event so we thought we had to go on and talk about this because there’s a lot of folks in this community that are a part of the Best Year Ever Community who show up every year in San Diego. But we can talk a lot about this in ways where you should be able to get and create a lot of value for yourselves right now, today, just by sharing these discoveries so that’s my hope. And, guys, I’ll lay it out and then you guys can jump in and we can go wherever we want with this, but we have finally figured out there’s kind of three ingredients and what’s interesting and cool about these three ingredients is, again, you don’t need to come to our event in San Diego. And somebody just asked in the live chat, “Is the Best Year Ever Blueprint event only for entrepreneurs?” No, it is not. It is for anybody who wants to connect with their strengths. who wants to create visions for what they want their life to look like, a year, at any year, any length of time in the future, and they want to be a part of a community that’s there to support each other in becoming their best selves so that they can live their best lives.
It just so happens a lot of the group is entrepreneurs that is probably 60%, 70% of the group and we give an optional third day, people coming on Friday that is called Entrepreneur Day, but we have folks all walks of life who come to this event. We absolutely love it whether or not they have entrepreneurial ventures. So, here’s the three big discoveries that I feel like we’ve made and then you guys, you could chime in on this anywhere you want. One of them is understanding where and how it is that wisdom can emerge, where it can come from, and how we can bring out our best selves. And so, one of things we do at our event is we design questions and conversation so that people can reconnect to their strengths. In other words, they can realize that a lot of what they might need to live their best life, they’ve already got within them. And then also that when they come up with visions for their future that we can facilitate conversations that people have where if the three of us were at the event by me hearing what your visions are for the future, it actually can spark something within me that never would have been sparked without me tapping into the collective wisdom and the collective energy in the room. So, that’s one of the big discoveries we’ve made, and we can dive deep into that if you guys think we should.
Another one has to do with the environment that we create. And so, a great question for every one of us to ask is even in this moment wherever you’re sitting, driving, standing, walking, what is the environment that you have created in your life? From the moment you wake up in your bedroom to when you drive to work, if you drive to work, to the office that you hang out in, or to wherever you spend your time, I think a huge question for us to all continue to ask and never stop asking is, am I setting up my environment to allow the most inspiring, the most energetic, the highest possibilities to emerge for me and those around me? And we do some things at this event that have been brought to our attention repeatedly that people never see at any other event from how we bring nature into the room to live music into the room to getting natural light into the room to how we don’t sit in chairs all day long. We literally get up, move around physically. We got optional yoga early in the morning. So, that’s a big discovery we’ve made is the power of environment.
And the third big one is the power of community. It is probably the most counterintuitive one, especially for entrepreneurs because and I’ll speak for myself here and I know this is true, Jon and Hal, to you guys that a lot of us become entrepreneurs for many reasons, one of which is that we want to have a lot of autonomy and freedom. And the whole idea of leading a team or working with a big team or being a part of an organization sometimes is the reason we don’t want those things is why people become entrepreneurs but the really, really interesting thing that we’ve discovered completely on accident by the way that we facilitated this event is that the experience of community is possibly the greatest source of healing and the greatest source of discovery for any individual person even if I showed up to an event thinking, “I just want to learn some stuff, make plans for myself, and get the heck out of here. I don’t really care if I connect with other people.” What we’ve stumbled into is realizing that and maybe now more than ever in this world, we need community. We need a sense of community. Even those of us that don’t think we need it, we’re discovering that it can create some possibilities that aren’t possible any other way. And we can talk a lot about kind of what we’ve learned and how we’ve done that, and it could be done in ways that I think people can get value from whether or not they join us in San Diego, December – I can’t see my calendar. I don’t know the dates.
Hal Elrod: December 7th through 9th.
Jon Berghoff: Seventh through ninth. There you go.
Hal Elrod: Last year after the event a lot of people came up to me and it was a very emotional experience for me. It is for everybody and I kept getting asked, everybody was kind of saying the same thing like they couldn’t put it into words. I mean, that’s why it’s taking you and I five years to sort of figure out the words to explain that what makes the event so unique. But they would say, “Hal, what is it about this event, this community. this experience that it’s so special?” and I said, “Two words. The first two words that come to mind are unconditional love. I said, “I don’t know how you would put that up on a website and get people to go to an event that was based on unconditional love,” but I think maybe a better word is connection. I think that at the event that there is a very, very rare level of connection that’s created almost instantaneous. I mean, it’s within the first hour by some of the things that you lead the audience through that really had been through but all the connection that opens up a level of love and vulnerability and like you said, just kind of safety where which creates a space that enables people to support each other in ways that they don’t get in their normal life.
I think the Miracle Morning Community is a great big picture of it, but it’s like I said on the first day of the event, I realize there are levels to a community. There’s the Miracle Morning community with hundreds of thousands of people and then there’s the 400 members of that community from 20 countries that fly to San Diego and that’s the most dedicated intimate group and I think that with that connection, it creates opportunity for growth in a rapid way that you don’t really experience anywhere else that I’ve ever been a part of.
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. And you know, part of why, Hal, you and I are so passionate about JV who’s just here today to take notes.
Jon Vroman: Good job, guys. I got pages here.
Hal Elrod: I got one of those.
Jon Berghoff: Oh my gosh, JV, you’ll have to share some thoughts on what I’m going to reflect on here. One of the reasons, JV, that we love you and having you as part of this, putting on this event is because you as much as anybody we know have been such a powerful teacher of the importance and also the process of connecting with other people and you’re right, Hal, we do create that experience at this event. And so, I’d like to take that observation and turn that into an invitation or a challenge to our listeners and that is in your own lives where is it that connection with others? Maybe it’s something you’ve avoided or rationalize or justify that you don’t need it, and could it be possible that in some of the areas where you’ve avoided connecting, those could possibly be the areas where if you were to move towards others instead of justify moving away, that maybe you’d have the biggest breakthroughs and I could speak for myself. I oftentimes will, in my life, it’s like I have different departments. It all connect really well in one area, it could be at work or it might be at home, but then sometimes in other areas, I’m not connecting as well, and I’ll rationalize it, or I’ll justify it. I don’t have the energy over here or it’s not my job over here or actually, I do want to connect with my family or my kids here but I’m not going to try and connect with these people who I work with over here.
The whole point is this. We really want to encourage you to think about where am I connecting with others, create new possibilities. And the way that we designed this event, there’s a radical level of connection and inclusion that’s facilitated and what we hear participants telling us again and again, not the ones that love connecting, by the way. It’s the ones who tell us after the event, they go, I’m going to be honest. The first hour, couple of hours I was there, I wasn’t sure if this was for me. But by the third day, what I realized is that the same thing that was holding me back in my life and the areas where I needed it the most, it may have been in my business, it may have been at home, it may have been with my friends, it may have been in my community. I realize that this event gave me a really, really safe space to be able to open up so that when I went back home, I could connect or as JV has taught us, I could treat everybody like the rock star that they really are. I could see the gold in others that really existed. Sometimes it’s hard to get past our own insecurities to be able to connect with others in that way but, yeah, we try and design this event to enable that. Good morning to Brian whose people who are chiming and we’re watching the live stream.
Hal Elrod: I want to read this real quick. So, I found this in the Best Year Ever Blueprint, the Facebook group, the private Facebook group for its attendees. Last year I screenshot it. I’ve had it up where I can see it ever since then and it’s from Shayne Brockman and her husband, Ted Brockman. They were at the event and it was a picture of them from behind and she’s got her arm around her husband, Ted, and you’re up on stage and I’m on stage and this is what she wrote. She said, “It was one of the best weekends we’ve had as a couple. BYEB should be hyped as better than marriage counseling to bring couples closer together. Worth every single penny.” And I read that because, again, that wouldn’t be up on the website. We wouldn’t say, “Hey, you want to connect as a couple?” But it’s everything that we’re talking about which in a lot of ways they’re intangibles that allowed a couple to connect with each other through the environment that’s created the Best Year Ever Blueprint. Now, she’s calling it better than any marriage counseling. And so, again, I think that it’s just one facet, one example of the human elements that’s created at the event, at the experience.
Jon Berghoff: Hey, guys. Can we talk a little bit about how the Front Row serves as like a metaphor for the participants to connect with purpose in their lives? Can we talk about them for a moment?
Hal Elrod: I’m open to talk about that.
Jon Vroman: I’m always a fan. I love hearing Jonny B talk about it.
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. I want to share something else here that this falls in the category. There’re about three or four things that we, on accident, we’ve stumbled into. and I think the learnings here are not just for us in this event, but for anyone in this community I think are really significant. In one of those things that we’ve stumbled into is the power of having a sense of purpose that can motivate us and I’m really careful and even a little bit concerned when anybody talks about the idea of purpose because I have lots of biases. I think that the way that we sometimes think about purpose, whether it’s professionally or personally can either cause confusion or uncertainty or even anxiety for some folks because they feel like I don’t know what my purpose is or how do I find it or how do I discover it? And our position through this event has always been that you can approach the idea of purpose in multiple ways. I know many of you have heard this metaphor different times but I’m going to use this because I can’t find a more helpful way of talking about this, and it’s that the parable or that the story of the three bricklayers.
And they’re all doing the same thing, and they’re all presented with the same question. They’re working side-by-side. Why are you doing what you’re doing? And the first bricklayer says, “I’m doing this to pay the bills.” The second bricklayer, when asked why are you doing what you’re doing, he says, “Well, I’m doing this to build a wall.” Notice, it’s very interesting. They’re doing the same thing, but they give a completely different answer. Think about how many of us we wake up every day and we go into our role and our responsibility and there’s probably somebody who has the same role and the same responsibility, whether it’s at work or at home, and yet when asking why am I doing what I’m doing? We have the opportunity to give a completely different answer to that question. And then the third bricklayer is asked the same question, why are you doing what you’re doing, but finally this time the answer is again really different and it’s, hey, I’m not just here to pay the bills. I’m not just here to build a wall. I’m building a cathedral because we’re connecting people to their creator.
And I think one of the big lessons in that little parable and that’s why I like it so much is it reminds us that when we ask the question why am I doing anything, it’s to remember that in the moment that we answer it, we have freedom. We have the freedom to design, to architect, to craft, to create, to invent like storytellers, like children with imaginations, we can give whatever answer we want. And so, when people come to this event in December, we present that question in a pretty dramatic way because we’ve got music and light and sound in this really cool environment and space and time to think and reflect in this beautiful view looking out over the Coronado Bay, but you don’t need all that to remember that when you ask yourself every day right now, why am I doing what I’m doing, you can answer it differently than maybe how you answered it yesterday. And you could even ask again and answer it differently again until you find an answer that you enjoy.
Now I’ll give you guys like the ending to the story that we don’t always remember to share and it’s the surprise ending that as I’m telling this parable at the Best Year Ever Blueprint, somebody comes up to me and they said, “Jon, I want to correct you. You’re actually incorrect. Jon, I didn’t have the freedom to answer it like that third bricklayer did until you moved us into groups of three,” and this literally happens every time we do this. They said, “I didn’t have the freedom to answer it that way because, Jon, I just didn’t have the vocabulary. I had never actually thought about what are the words, what’s the language that I could actually use to say, ‘Here’s my higher purpose.’” And so, that’s one of the other things we’ve stumbled into is not only how people can find space and how they think about what is their purpose but we’ve stumbled into the power of communal learning, crowdsourcing learning by or what some people call social learning where when we ask these really important questions, connecting people to their strengths, their purpose, their visions, their plans, we have them turn to each other somewhere between 20 and 30 times over three days and they have 20 to 30 guided conversations.
I don’t know about everyone listening, but I get anxious showing up to a room with hundreds of people because I’m kind of an introvert and frankly, my strength is not walking up to people and having and knowing how to go into a conversation. We guide all of that, so you don’t have to do any thinking and it’s meaningful and we have people tell us every time, “Because I got to hear from others how they are discovering their strengths, their vision, their purpose, and their plans, it helped me to see within myself a new way of thinking about my purpose, my vision, my strengths, my plans,” because we’ve all experienced this in some way that the limitations of our language are ultimately the limitations of our lives. Our ability to say something new and differently could be the fastest way to see and experience something new and different.
So, these are some things that we’ve stumbled into, but I want to close this out and circle it back to what does the Front Row have to do with any of this. Well, a few years ago we decided we would use this event to support the Front Row Foundation. For one reason, we love the philosophy of living life in the front row, but also because it’s a charity that we deeply love and believe in. And what we didn’t realize was going to happen is that by inviting an entire group at this event to playfully do this fundraising that we do every year where we auction off these incredible items for a really great value, things that’ll help people to have their best year ever and it’s a totally optional experience of people who want to get involved in the auction but last year we raised $230,000. Every year we raised a ton of money. What we didn’t realize would happen is that by inviting the community to connect to this bigger purpose, which is supporting these folks who are battling life-threatening illnesses we didn’t realize that would create an immediate experience where the participants would now stop and ask how am I serving a greater purpose in my life?
And there’s a scientific basis for this. It’s called mirror flourishing and if you study quantum physics or neuroscience, it’s the reason why when my eight-year-old watches a Kung Fu movie, there’s a moment where he actually thinks he is a Kung Fu legend because when we see something outside of ourselves, there is no separation between what I’m seeing and what happens inside of me. It’s called mirror flourishing, the mirror neuron. When I see us as a community serving the greater good outside of us, inside I cannot help but see how am I serving the greater good in my life and in my business. And so, that’s been the biggest feedback we’ve gotten is if people walk away from this event and they say, “I don’t know how you did it. I don’t know why this happened, but I now see not only how I’m going to be successful but fulfilled.” They say, “I not only see how I’m going to do what I thought was impossible, but I’m going to do it in a way that’s going to make the kind of impact that is the kind of impact where when I take my last breath I’ll look back and say, ‘This was a life worth living.’” And we’ve only just been able to figure out why is it that we’re creating this impact and it’s because of the power of community, the power of the Front Row Foundation as a metaphor. Ultimately, as a metaphor for everybody to ask how am I creating ripples, how am I creating change for others? Guys, please feel free to chime in, or otherwise, I’ll just keep talking.
Jon Vroman: You’re doing pretty good, Jonny B.
Hal Elrod: One of the things that I think that I sometimes lose sight of is and to me, in a way, it’s the less important or the less profound aspect of the Best Year Ever Blueprint, but it’s also in some ways it’s crucial and that is the planning components. That is actually the blueprint aspect where I talk about all these intangibles because that is what makes the event unlike any other event and that is what allows you to tap into your greatest strengths, your deepest wisdom in ways that you arguably wouldn’t anywhere else that I’ve ever seen. But you actually leave with a rock-solid plan on, “Hey, here’s how I’m going to have my best year ever. Here are the goals and the mission and the vision. Here’s what is going to ensure that the next 12 months of my life are the best 12 months, and now you leave with the support system where you’ve got a group of 300, 400 people or probably just the few people in your group that you’ve been connecting with throughout the three days but you’ve got accountability, you’ve got encouragement, you’ve got support, you’ve got like-minded people that just went through the same three-day experience that you did that are all – again, you’re actually on a whole new dimension, a whole new wavelength, and when you go home, it doesn’t just like most events you go home and you got all the ten page of notes and everything just goes back. Life just hits you upside the head and the notes to put away and nothing changes.
This is where you go home, and everything changes because you changed, and you’ve got a plan and a support system to ensure you continue evolving and changing and transforming and showing up at your best throughout the entire year. So, I just want to make sure that we didn’t miss the left-brain kind of practical component that is so important for all of us who got to have that plan. We’ve got to have that structure so that we can consistently follow through each day to get the results that we want in our lives and our businesses. You guys, I got to say goodbye for today. I’m going to let you two wrap this up. I’ve got an appointment with my children and I don’t want to miss it. So, I love you guys and I will talk to you soon. And Achieve Your Goals podcast listeners, Front Row Foundation listeners, Miracle Morning Community members, I love you and these two guys will finish this podcast in a powerful way. I’ll talk to you soon.
Jon Vroman: Love you, Hal. See you, buddy.
Jon Berghoff: See you, buddy. I love this. I don’t know if I’ve been on many podcasts where people leave mid-episode. So, let’s watch our live stream attendance just skyrocket through the roof now. This is so great. Well, JV, I’d love to invite you to reflect on whether it’s anything we’ve been talking about or not as you think about this event and this community and what we’ve developed and what we’ve learned and kind of stumbled into over the years. What else can we share with our audience that could create value for them now or in coming to the event?
Jon Vroman: Well, I love where this has gone so far and love all that’s been shared. One of the thoughts I had as you are talking and how Hal was talking especially about the community element here, I was reminded and a kind of flashback to a couple of days ago. I’m in St. Louis at an event, giving a speech, and early morning I woke up before I had to be in the room and I went down under the arch to do some sprints. I’m working with the fitness trainer. He’s got me doing these 32nd sprints, a minute-and-a-half walk back. I put my stuff down and I take off on my first sprint. On my way back, I see this young man. I’m going to guess he’s 18 to 22-ish working out on the lawn. He’s sprinting up the hill, coming back. I just take notice of him and I keep about my routine. I go, and I set up again for my second sprint. As I’m charging up this hill, I hear somebody yell, “You’ve got this. You’re strong,” and then I immediately felt good. I felt this boost. I didn’t know if it was actually directed to me or not, but I thought it might have been and I felt it.
And I came back down the hill and I saw the guy. I wasn’t sure if it was this young man who had screamed at me, but I got back to the starting line from my third sprint. And the guy that was over there on the line, kind of doing his own workout, he yells to me at the starting line. He yells, “You get what you work for.” And I was like, “This guy’s awesome.” And I kicked off and I ran harder because he said that. I ran harder because he was watching me. I ran harder because he was present with me and then I came back down, and I did the rest of my sprints and as I was done, he walked over to me. He approached me, and he just started talking. He’s like, “Where you from?” and I was sort of like, “Do I want to engage with this guy? I kind of got to get back to my room.” But I was fascinated and so we engaged for a moment and I find out here’s this guy, Dave Young. And Dave Young, I hope you’re out there listening, man, because I told him about the Achieve Your Goals podcast and I met Dave Young and he was so uplifting. Man, he was so powerful. He’s like, “I like to come to the city. I like to meet people. I like to get my workout in. I like to explore and adventure.”
And we got to talking and I said, “Hey, I got a walk back. I gotta go, man, but we should keep in touch,” and he said, “Hey, do you mind if I walk with you?” And I was like, “This guy’s incredible.” And we are walking up the hill and I’m telling him, “You got to check out this and that, here are some resources. I think you’re really going to dig it, check out this podcast, etcetera.” And as we’re saying goodbye, Jon, I went to shake his hand and I kind of dropped something on the ground and I guess I didn’t give him a firm enough handshake. And when I stood back up, he said, “You know what, man. That handshake didn’t feel good. Let’s try that again.” And I was like, “Dude, who are you, Dave Young? Because you have uplifted my morning.” Here’s what I realize and here why I share the story. I share the story because Dave Young and I didn’t know for many – first time I ever met him and yet he uplifted me. He challenged me. I definitely worked harder because he was present with me and he got me thinking about why events, why in person, why not just do it at home, why not get the books, sit down on the couch, bust out your journal? Sure, that works.
I mean, when I’m working in my hotel room doing push-ups and burpees and all that stuff, I have a good workout. I can sweat. I can work out hard, but when I was down there on the lawn, I got pushed harder. I went further, and I enjoyed the experience because of this stranger who I just met. I just want to share that because I think about why do people come to these live events versus just picking up a copy of the Miracle Morning and sitting down with a journal at home like what’s the benefit? Why hop on a plane, go to all that effort, spend the money, the hotel? It’s effort. So, it just got me thinking about the power of strangers who become friends quickly and their ability to be what we call in the Front Row Community “moment makers”, to be in somebody’s front row and to uplift them. We always say the best fans get the best show. And this opportunity to create these moments to turn moments into meaning, to create momentum with our moments that traverse and carry on, and here I am days later, talking about Dave Young. Because it just got me thinking, I was going to ask you and I ask you like, “Why do you think people come?” Here you are years later. You’ve been running this event. Thousands of people had been through the event itself. You’ve seen the people coming in. You’ve seen the people going out. So, JV, why do they come? Why do they come back? And who are we attracting here at Best Year Ever?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Well, I love that story and I would offer kind of a disclaimer to the lesson which is the way that I personally have seen most events are run, they’re not run in a way where somebody is actually turning to you and being guided on how to support you. The way most events are run 80% to 90% of the time we’re sitting in a room listening to people from the stage and then we walk out and if we’re lucky maybe on a break or at lunch, we’ll have some meaningful conversation. What you described in that story is something that we design for that to happen 20 to 30 times over two or three days. So, just a disclaimer, most events that you do not have meaningful connection that is guided, if it happens, it was accidental or stumbled into where it was reserved to those who have strengths at socializing, which, depending on the research you look at, half the room, that’s not their strength nor what gives them energy. So, and that leads to why do people come back to the Best Year Ever Blueprint event? And I want to say this for two reasons. One is I’m hoping we attract some new friends and family members. As of the recording of this, just to be clear, we have 332 out of 400 seats are accounted for. So, we’re like three months out. We’re going to sell out and there’s not – there’s people that will have to find, get a way in next year.
So, if you’re someone who’s coming, that’s awesome. If you’re coming back again, of course, we love that. But I think the reason we attract people in the first place is people want to – we attract the kinds of folks who want to evolve. They want to grow, and the title of the event says Have Your Best Year Ever. So, I think a lot of people come to this event for one reason and most of them will tell you and I know there’s a ton of you who are on the live stream right now. You’ll probably confirm this. You leave realizing what I got was not what I came for. What you got was completely different than what you came for, and that’s what people come back for, and that is the sense of community that we create through the way that we design social learning and crowdsourcing wisdom with those that we’re sitting next to. Because one of our beliefs is this, when you put 300 to 400 people in a room from 20+ countries, there’s only so much value that we can give from the stage whereas the value, the wisdom, the strengths, the life lessons, the learning, the tragedies and challenges that that audience has been through, and what they’ve learned from their own lives is exponentially greater than whatever value we might create if all we did is have some speakers share some information. And it’s not either/or, it’s both. But one of the reasons people come back is because we create that sense of community and so a lot of people come back because when they first came, they didn’t realize how valuable that was for them and then they realize it can mean everything.
The other reason people love this event, Jon, and we don’t do a very good job in talking about this for first timers and we’re trying to fix that but because this event is based on a premise that people are not broken that we actually have strengths, that if we ask the right questions, we can connect with the places inside of ourselves with the moments when we’ve been at our best, with the places where our greatest strengths reside from, with the type of mindset that can connect us through a deeper purpose that ultimately we can connect to all of these assets inside of ourselves faster and more effectively and more naturally than we ever thought was possible, not by telling you as an audience what you need to do differently, what you should do with your lives or how you should do it, or why you should do it, but by teaching you the questions to ask so that you can continually connect with your strengths, your superpowers, your visions, your sense of purpose, even long after you leave the event.
So, this is an inquiry-driven approach to personal development. In our community, we ask the question at a lot of our events, did you have a breakthrough? What happened and what contributed to it? And one of the top three reasons that people tell us they had a breakthrough is because of the design of the questions that we present and then the fact that we give them space in this amazing environment infused by nature and music so that as they think about these questions what will emerge might be more inspiring or powerful than anything they’ve connected with before.
And let me just finish by saying, look, if this all sounds great, if you can join us in San Diego, that’s awesome, but if you can’t, there’s not a single thing we’ve talked about that you can’t ask yourself, “How do I bring this into my life today? How do I better honor the community that I live in that I work in, the people who I work with, the customers that I serve, the partners who I collaborate with? And to realize that it’s not in spite of or by working around these people, but it’s by connecting more deeply with what matters to everyone around me that I might actually better succeed or how can I shape my environment, whether it’s where I spend my time. or, quite literally, how I shape the spaces that I’m in or the questions that I ask to shape the internal conversations.” You don’t need to join us in San Diego to start doing these things now. But if you want us to help do it for you in a way that is truly transformational then you should join us, BestYearEverLive.com.
Jon Vroman: All right. I’ve got to tee this up a little bit, Jonny, because I agree that somebody doesn’t have to go to implement a lot of the things that happened at the event for sure and I remember going to my first Tony event, Tony Robbins, for anybody just joining in, I’ve been a big fan for years. I remember back when I was in my early 20s, I went to a live event and I spent a lot of money and then I just did other events with him. And I remember at one point I signed up for some events that were $10,000 and I came home, and people were like, “You’re insane. That’s totally nuts,” but the biggest question is, is it worth it? Like, is it worth it to spend that money and go and do this stuff? And I said, “Look, I would pay 10 times that amount of money to get what I got, to become the person that I became through that event,” because I don’t know where else that would’ve happened. Now, I believe if I would’ve taken those questions and I would’ve taken that workbook and that journal and sat by a lake for six days, I would’ve had transformational experiences like I would be a better person for sure, but I don’t think I would’ve gotten the same place that I was about at that live event. So, I want to at the risk of like, hey, being a little bit pushy on the subject like, yes, somebody doesn’t have to go, but why do you believe that somebody really should go? Why would it be even important for somebody to say yes to that experience in your opinion?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. And I represent the segment of folks and I know there are some folks who are listening as soon as I say this they’re like, “That’s me,” who I like to think that I personally have the discipline, I have the ability to learn, I have the ability to manage my thinking in myself in a way where I can create transformations maybe without needing to go be in an environment like this. However, what I’ve come to see consistently like with a high level of probability is that when we create a space through the physical environment, through how we move through that space, through the people who show up in their collective intention, that what happens is it doesn’t become a little bit easier. It becomes for many folks exponentially easier to have the kinds of breakthroughs that they’re seeking. And part of the reason why is, well, it’s everything we talked about, but also there is an energy. There’s an energy and I think it was Deming. I think it was the guy who was famous for teaching us to measure everything we do so we keep improving quality. He created a global movement in manufacturing back in the 50s and 60s. He’s the same guy who said cautiously, “Don’t forget that some of the most important things you can’t measure,” and I think Einstein has been quoted to say something very similar too.
It can be very difficult to measure the energy in the room, but if you talk to anybody who’s been to this event, they will tell you there’s a palpable, it’s visceral. There’s a feel in the room that is created that there’s no way on earth it could be duplicated or replicated anywhere else. And the reason that feel is created is because when you have 400 people who have all said an intention not only to become their best selves but maybe, more importantly, to be there in supporting each other in becoming their best selves, you cannot help it but by throwing yourself into that mixing pot to walk out of there three days later a completely different person because you have 400 people who are going through the same journey, asking the same questions, but they’re also there 20 to 30 times the way we design that we engineer this. So, 20 to 30 times you’re turning to small groups of two, three, or four people and you’re connecting with each other around strengths, around visions, opportunities, purpose, and action plans, literally every one of those and it’s all done in a way where every time we do that, we have this potential.
Just like that three bricklayers’ story to hear one or two or three or four people share how they’re connecting with their strengths, they’re connecting with their visions in a way that it opens ourselves up just like my eight-year-old watching the ninja movie. I could talk to him all day long about being a ninja but when he sees it in the movie, he now feels it in a way he’s never felt it. When we have a conversation with somebody where they are having a breakthrough, we cannot help it, but that moment allows that to give us permission to have our own breakthroughs. So, you just can’t re-create that part of this. You can try and re-create lots of ingredients, but there’s no other way to cook this up than to be in the room.
Jon Vroman: JB, I’m curious, for your role in this, as the leader, lead designer, facilitator, you’re crafting and creating these experiences, how has Best Year Ever impacted you? How has your life changed because of these events?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. You know, that’s interesting. I’m so glad you ask that because it’s changed my life in a few ways. One of them is as the person who I just choose to take a significant amount of responsibility, as the one who leads in the design of the event and who leads in the facilitation, I choose to take that responsibility. There’s a lot of things I don’t take very seriously, but I take that responsibility very seriously. And so, what that ends up doing for me or to me is I cannot help it but whenever I need to find a source of motivation either to be disciplined or to challenge myself or to open up my own self-awareness to see the world differently, to see myself, to see others differently, to really take a hard look at how I’m living my life, it’s actually really easy for me to find motivation when there’s a day on the calendar and I know the minute on that day that I’m going to walk up in front of hundreds of people and in many ways they’re putting their lives in my hands. And so, I choose to marinate in the gravity of that. I choose to really allow that vision to incubate. I really allow that idea to deeply settle in and part of why I’m sharing this answer.
And so, by the way, there’s a lot of tactical things that does. Like, when I’m trying to balance the little voices in my head that say, “Today for lunch I’m going to eat this or that,” I allow a future image even when it’s months from now of some time when I need to show up and be responsible to change the micro level decisions that I’m making right now because I know that whether or not I take one bite of something and some people would think that’s overkill but I also believe every micro-moment leads to the macro movements and it’s really easy to rationalize one micro decision because I can say, “I’ll do better than next time,” but I’ve also discovered if I make the right smallest decisions again and again and again, as Jim Rohn says, that’s what leads to success. It’s not the doctor said you got to eat an apple a day. That doesn’t mean you can skip 10 days and eat 10 apples on the 10th day. It doesn’t work like that. it’s the small disciplines every day that lead to the bigger outcome. So, I choose to use the event as an excuse to develop small disciplines that actually lead to the biggest outcome. So, that’s one way that it’s changed me as in just the lead up to it and the way I choose to do it. And, Jonny, before I get to the other way that it’s changed me, a simple thought for anybody listening is can you start to use in your life, future events with more gravity?
Like, if you’re showing up to anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, doesn’t matter if you’re in charge or you’re supporting it. It doesn’t matter if it’s 400 or four people. Can you use that as your reason to make different microscopic decisions today knowing that every decision you make affects how you’re going to show up, even weeks, months or years from now? Anybody can take that approach. It doesn’t really matter what your role is or how many people are sitting in front of you. The other way, Jonny, that it’s changed me is to facilitate as a facilitator of these. And by the way, in three days I’ve got a 500-person event I’m facilitating. Next week I’ve got a 200-plus person event episode. This is all I do and one of the things that facilitating has done for me is it has forced me to learn how to get really, really present. Because the ultimate job of a facilitator is to listen. It’s not talking. It’s listening. I set the stage. I give instructions, but I have to be listening and I listen through what I hear, what I feel, what I see, to what’s emerging in the room. Because a true facilitator plans type what they hang loose. They’re actually ready to move things in different directions based on how things are going. You kind of have to do that when you’re working with large groups and so it’s taught me to be present more than any other personal development experience has it, practice. Anything in my life, nothing has taught me to be present more than large group facilitation.
And the nice thing is being present as much as I have to be when I’m running these events has caused me to be able to see and learn and discover things about groups of people that I don’t know how else I would’ve learned if I wasn’t present to it actually unfolding. We can read about, hear about, ask about, talk about lots of things, and we can accelerate our learning. There are some things in life we can only learn by actually experiencing it. And so, being in front of a group, helping groups of people to connect to their strengths, connect to their purpose, their visions, their plans to connect with each other, I cannot help it but that causes me to learn a lot about people. So, those are a few ways that it’s changed me, Jon, and we follow that further if you want, but thanks for asking.
Jon Vroman: I do want to go down that road a little bit more. I want to make the theme of this segment called running which for those of you who know Jonny this would be very fitting, and I also think that there’s great value here for everybody out there listening because for two reasons. Number one, if you’re considering attending this event, Best Year Ever, then for them to get to know you, Jon, I think is really valuable because somebody’s like, “If Jon’s going to be the designer and the facilitator, I want to know who is this guy. Let me learn a little bit more about him.” The second thing is that I can promise everybody who’s listening right now that Jon that one of his primary questions in answering these questions is how do I make this relevant and valuable for everybody even if you’re not attending the event. So, rest assured that when you’re listening to these questions that you don’t have to be thinking about going to the event to get the value of the answers to the questions. So, I just want to put that out there.
Jon Berghoff: Totally.
Jon Vroman: For a moment, let’s talk about running events so you just alluded to it but you’re like, “This is what I do. I run these big events.” Do tell us about the clients that you are allowed to talk about, a couple of the people that you might work with, and why are they bringing you in.
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Well, yeah, so we’re really privileged here at FLI and that stands for Flourishing Leadership Institute which is a long, silly name, but we’re privileged because we get invited in to facilitate some pretty high stakes collaborations. This year alone just in the last seven months earlier in the spring, I got flown over to Munich to help the Autonomous Driving Division for BMW and why is it that they called me? Well, because what they were trying to figure out how to do is how to take some of the smartest engineers in the world who have one of the boldest visions, a grand sense of purpose to take what’s already the number one premium automobile, and make sure that they arrived at the future that is trying to emerge as effectively as possible. You get the smartest people with the leading premium automaker and the reason they landed on bringing me out there is because they were looking for a methodology that we facilitate that would enable their engineers to tap into their strengths and their intelligence in ways to where they could solve their biggest problems or find their biggest opportunities faster than any other way. A few months after that, I got brought into Facebook this year and I’ll just make a long story short, to do the same thing. They had a huge high-stakes opportunity or problem and I was very privileged to get to be brought in to design and facilitate a group of really smart people solving a problem together. Sometimes this is with 50, 75, 100, even 500 people in a room like we’re doing this week for the city of Cleveland.
And as cool as all that sounds or interesting as it could sound, I could tell you if there’s a lot that we’ve learned that applies to anybody that leads any group or any community or any team of any kind. And I’ll share a couple of those lessons. The first one is people care about what they create. People care about what they create. So, if you lead a team, it doesn’t matter if it’s a team of three, your own family or you got 100 employees or 43,000 employees like they have over at BMW, one of the things that we’ve learned about how leadership is changing or evolving is there’s kind of like an old model of what it meant to lead and to manage. It was born in an age where that model actually made a lot of sense like 100 years ago in the assembly line age, the birth of the industrial age, the manager was supposed to have the answers and then they were supposed to manage efficiency with everybody else. And back then, nothing in the world was changing at any noticeable rate. Today, the whole world is changing at an exponential rate and we could rattle off all the ways the world is changing and it’s crazy but it’s also a little scary because we frankly don’t know what we’re doing. With all the changes that we’re creating, there’s a lot of good, but some believe we might also, with all that good be creating a lot of harm.
But what does that have to do with leading or managing? Well, what we’re learning and noticing is that a lot of the old beliefs about leadership and management in today and tomorrow’s age. not only will they not work, but they could bring the whole thing crashing down. If you want any proof, you don’t have to look very far. The Gallup Research, 180 plus countries, tens of thousands of people they’ve surveyed, 8 out of 10 people don’t like going to work every day. Eight out of ten people are not bringing their best selves to work. Somewhere like seven or eight out of ten people would say they’re not using their highest strengths. So, in the workplace we have a lot of inefficiencies and I believe the job of a manager, a leader today that there are two or three fundamental things they have to do that didn’t used to be true, but one of them is you got to figure out how to inspire people to want to bring their best selves. And we have hard data that says that’s not happening. And if you want to look a little bit further, because what I study is human systems which is groups of people and everything we’ve learned about large groups applies to any group of any time from a system of any size. From a systems theory perspective it’s true at every scale. But if you look at our leading institutions – I see Jim Shields just says hi.
Jim is a pioneer in home education or homeschooling your kids. He does what I heard someone call world schooling and what Jim and others would tell you is if you look at education as an institution there are very few people that disagree that on a lot of levels it’s broken. If you look at healthcare as one of our biggest institutions in our country or in our world, a lot of people would say that as an institution, it’s broken. If you look at government as an institution, it’s broken. So, our institutions and our businesses and our ways of organizing and I could go on and listen really tragic examples are fundamentally broken, and a big reason why is because the old models of leading and managing and inviting people to participate in shaping their future not only don’t work but they cause problems. So, what we’ve learned is people care about what they create, and the two most important things people need to care about are, number one, where we’re going? Where are we going together? As a community, as a team, as a family, as a group, we have to care about where we’re going and what we’ve discovered in our work, Jonny, is if you want a team to care about where they’re going, they together need to create that answer.
And I got to be careful because I have some things I believe that go against even good friends of ours were out there teaching a lot about leadership. But it doesn’t work anymore to tell a manager and owner and entrepreneur to say, “You need to have a vision and then tell people that that’s the vision.” That’s better than nothing, but what’s even better than that is figuring out how to invite their intelligence into co-creating that vision together. The other thing that communities have to learn how to care about, the two things is where we’re going and, number two, is how are we going to get there, how are we going to work together or what someone might say what do we value about how we treat each other? And so, in our work, we invite people to come up with their values together instead of managers and leaders telling them how to behave. So, when people show up to the Best Year Ever Blueprint we don’t sit there and say, “Here’s how you behave.” We present the question to the audience and we ask them, “Okay. When and where have you been a part of a peer-to-peer learning community where you or others came alive? What happened and what led to that? And can we each agree to bring those insights into this room here together?” Or when we bring the Front Row Foundation into the room, we invite the whole community to help us to get the future of the Front Row to come alive. And so, we invite their intelligence to be a part of this.
So, we’ve learned a lot, Jonny, through this work, but the biggest thing of everything is realizing that at the level of a group, a team or community, what is possible is beyond what most people can currently imagine. A lot of them, people walk in the door on one day and they leave the last day and there was no attention given to the idea that there’s a community in the room. It was all about how do we help all of you as individuals and then how do we have you leave as individuals and that’s great. I’ve had breakthroughs going to a lot of events like that but what we’re seeing is that when people actually turn towards each other and they learn from within that community, from the wisdom that resides in the room, not just from the stage, and the wisdom that can come from within by asking great questions, things become possible that nobody ever thought was possible. And that’s why companies like BMW or Facebook, Facebook they just announced in the news one of the things they designed at the summit we led within three months is already been initiated on their platform. That kind of thing doesn’t happen. In complex high-stakes environments with 23,000 employees, it takes years for companies to get something implemented, not months, but it worked. Not because I had the answers, not because Mark Zuckerberg had the answers, not because one person, in fact, the head of the products for Facebook, he was in the meeting at the beginning and he said, “Thanks for being here because the answers are going to come from you.” He wasn’t there to say, “I’ve got the answers.” And when we’re willing to look around and say there might be answers that reside collectively that we don’t have individually, some really interesting things can emerge.
Jon Vroman: Yeah. That’s so cool, man. I love hearing you speak about this, Jonny, and it’s clear that you’re passionate about it, and the work that you’re doing is having an impact in the world. And that’s why Hal puts full faith and trust in you to run Best Year Ever, simple as that, which I think has been a really strategic move. I mean, I think it’s also evidence to the brilliance behind Hal’s decision to know where is his strength, where does he want to focus his attention, and when do you turn to somebody else to say help me? Because that’s the balance of confidence and humility. I was telling you earlier that I have this fun opportunity to interview a celebrity this past week and my question was to the person who I was chatting with is, how do you balance confidence and humility? Because on one hand, you know that the answers are within you, and you have all that it takes to make it work and the other piece of it is to be humble enough to say, “Help me. Can you guide me?” Maybe the answer is going to come from you and not within me. I think one of the things I’ve seen over the years, especially with entrepreneurs or people that want to do it themselves they’re like, “I need to do it myself to make this, to prove to the world that I can.”
I get that, like I’ve had many moments and I think there are great benefits to proving that you can, to go run that marathon, to finish that thing so that you know that when needed, you could step up and get it done, and at the same time being humble enough to say, “I want to be around other people that have wisdom.” We say in our Front Row Dads group that when you’re kicking butt, you come and share what’s working. And when you’re getting your butt kicked, you come and ask for help because both of those are going to be true in your life. There’s going to be moments when you’re kicking butt and when you’re getting your butt kicked and you got to be willing to step up in both those situations. And I think that we’re all in those situations regularly. Something we’re doing great, we need to focus on that and do that with excellence, and then something else that we need to be like, “Hey, I need to turn this over to somebody else, help them guide me in my life,” because, listen, you and I were both fit people, Jonny, and I was actually going to bring up your recent 50-miler if we get to that, but we’re both fairly fit people but recently I partnered with the guy who’s part of our dad’s group now. His name is Alex Hayden and Alex is helping me, he’s challenging me, there’s an accountability there and I’ll tell you that in the last two weeks of when I started working with him, I’ve eaten less sweets. I’ve worked out harder than ever before, and I’ve been measuring my results in a new way, not because I lack discipline before but because we can’t help but oftentimes lean on the strengths of others, not the whole system that you’re talking about. That’s the benefit of like, “Hey, as the leader here, even as the director or the owner or the principal, I don’t have the answers, but this room does.”
So, at Best Year Ever, a lot of it is like, “Hey, the answers are in the room.” Sometimes you show up to find the answers that are in the room and you see it actually. Somebody else has a breakthrough and a result in their life like I didn’t expect that, but that’s a game changer for me. In fact, it wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know but because I was here, I was able to see it, and feel it, and experience it. My last thought on this and then I’d love to hear what you think is that I was in the airport after this event from last week that I was emceeing and speaking out and this woman said to me, she goes, “You know, two days before I was going to cancel the event.” She’s talking about this other event that I attended, and she goes, “I literally looked at my calendar and I’m like, ‘How am I going to do this?’ I shouldn’t leave. I should be at home. I should be in my business,” but she goes, “Thank God, you guys had a no refund policy here.”
Jon Berghoff: Nice.
Jon Vroman: Because she showed up and she’s like – I said, “So, you’re happy you came?” She goes, “Hundred percent. Can’t imagine not being here with you guys.”
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. The idea of humility is it’s a concept that I’ve spent lots and lots of time and some by choice and a lot not by choice that I’ve had to learn about over the last handful of years and I could share a couple of things that I’ve really feel like I’ve seen and learned about this within myself and within others. And I’ve had a couple mentors in particular who I really watched and learn a lot about humility from them. And one of the first things that comes to mind, Jonny, is that I used to think that humility was about knowing that I do have weaknesses and what I finally came to realize is that humility doesn’t need to just be about weaknesses and that, in fact, I can get many of the benefits of humility even faster by knowing what my strengths are. Because if I really know my strengths, really, really, really, clearly, and then I understand everything that doesn’t fall into that bucket, humility can be about knowing where I’m strong, and then realizing when I’m not playing to my strengths. But when you think about it that way, humility doesn’t have to be something that you think about that comes from a place of disempowerment. For me, it comes from a place of empowerment. I’m really clear on my strengths and if I’m not playing in that bucket then I understand, I need to partner, I need to know that I’m not playing in my strengths but it’s not about focusing so much on weaknesses. That’s one thing that has been really helpful for me.
Another thing that’s been really helpful is recognizing that when I’m not coming from a place of humility, it’s usually because deep down inside my motivations are insecure because I’m coming from a place of motivation where I either don’t think I’m enough, I’m afraid of what’s happening are going to happen or what others are going to think. I am focused on what I don’t have versus what I do have, focused on some sort of deeply held disempowering beliefs and so I’m coming from a place of trying to resolve some sort of emptiness or disconnect in my ego or my lack of confidence and that’s basically the opposite of humility. One of the things that’s been really helpful for me to realize is that I hear of the word vulnerability used all the time and I like the word, but you can even hear in my voice that I have concerns about the word and part of why I have concerns about the word vulnerability is because the way I have seen some folks, including myself, enact or interpret that word is to think that what it means is I should be so open that I should be revealing of all my weaknesses. Now, that might be what is appropriate or helpful in certain environments, but what I have found is that instead of using for myself the word vulnerability, it’s more helpful for me to think of openness or transparency.
In other words, if I can open myself to seeing the world differently than how I see it every day when I find myself disagreeing with the person or disagreeing with the situation, can I stop and see it through some way other than how I am habitually seeing it? Because that and I consider that vulnerability. It’s openness to, “Hey, I don’t necessarily need to own the truth here,” and what I have found is that if I’m willing to see things differently, that might lead me to the next step which maybe is even more important in our relationships, which is the name of the game, if you’re an entrepreneur or a human being, which is can I now actually see things through the eyes of others? Because if I can go beyond seeing things through, if I can go outside of just seeing it the way I see it, but actually see it through the eyes of another, right now I really, really, really am opening up to this idea of that’s what it means to really be respectful of other people and to respect other perspectives and to realize that all perspectives are valid, all perspectives are equally valid. Why? Because it’s another human being. There’s no other reason why it is or is invalid. It’s another person. Their perspective is equally valid, not more valid, not less valid, and if I can hold onto that, that can be really helpful.
And, Jonny, I see a lot of conflicts. We facilitate collaborations, so a lot of our learning comes from being present while really some of the smartest people in the freaking planet are solving the biggest problems on the planet and I get to stand there and watch. And sometimes I’m supposed to fix it when they can’t get along. And one of the things that we see is one reason why people can’t get along is because of exactly what we’re talking about. It’s the opposite of humility. It’s what we call ontological arrogance which in ontology is the study of reality. It’s when we think that we own a claim on the truth or on reality. And so, as soon as somebody has an opposing perspective, what happens instead of being open to it, we just defend or control our own like I found myself in disagreements with my wife before where I get to a point where I realize I actually don’t even agree with the point I’m defending but I have to defend it at this point.
Jon Vroman: I know nothing of what you speak.
Jon Berghoff: You’ve seen other people do this.
Jon Vroman: I’ve seen other people do it.
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. And that’s because that’s the ego at work because what happens is when two people disagree what will happen is I interpret it, Jon, as I interpret it as you don’t like me, not that you don’t like my idea. So, now I have to defend and control to protect this thing called my ego. And so, when the smartest people on the planet are sitting there solving the biggest problems and literally, I get to witness this all the time and it’s such a blessing. I’m so privileged because part of what I get to report back on is they have these problems too and part of how they resolve it and I get to watch them resolve it, and that’s inspiring is when two people disagree it’s having a cultural guiding principle or a cultural value or a norm where everyone in that room recognizes that disagreement, in fact, if we don’t have it, that’s a problem. Disagreement is healthy. Tension is normal. Conflicting opinions is a sign that we’re on our way to something incredible. Because if you look in nature or in any system, diversity is what makes us stronger. It’s not an obstacle to overcome. So, diversity of perspectives is the only way that collectively we can build a stronger perspective. And so, what we see is really effective collaboration or people getting along is when we have conflicting perspectives, right in that moment to stop and ask one of two questions.
The first question is what was it that we originally came together to solve? What is our shared purpose? If I’m a couple, what do we both want? What we both want is happiness. We both want to be having sex 10 minutes from now. We both want a happy family. There’s something we both want. And in a team, an organization, a family, a community, we have to hold the question of what is it that we both want or what do we all want. That question needs to literally be visible all the time so that we can remember to go look at that and say, “Well, that’s our higher purpose. That’s the first thing we need to constantly do is keep asking, what is it that we all want or we both want?” and we have to remember that when we’re disagreeing, it’s in service to this thing we all want. That alone can help resolve the fact that it’s not about me being right. It’s about us getting to where we’re trying to go.
The second question for people to ask in these moments of conflict is how can we all show up with an intention of mutual learning? If you show up wanting to learn from me and I show up wanting to learn from you, Peter Senge is a systems scientist. He talks about organizations of the future are learning organizations. In one of the four qualities of a learning organization is people have to be willing to change their mental model of the world and what does that really mean? And there’s a lot of research that has proved this to be true, the most successful teams of any size or type are the ones who people show up in there as open as they are trying to influence others. They’re as interested in being influenced as they are in trying to convince others of their opinion. It’s called the difference between advocacy and inquiry. Literally, there’s a lot of research that measurably shows if groups of people show up and collectively they are open to understanding where other people are coming from a little bit more than they just want to convince people of their opinion, those groups will thrive in the long run and in real time.
So, you asked what is it that we do. On one hand it’s powerfully complex, but on the other hand, the principles of what we’re learning are really simple around how to bring the best out of a group. And this all started we’re talking about the Best Year Ever Blueprint, we bring the best of what we’re learning from all these companies and all these communities every year into this event in December. So, I get excited about that because I know it’s going to be different every time because we’re learning so much.
Jon Vroman: Jonny, we should probably start to wrap this up.
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Sometime in the next couple hours.
Jon Vroman: I’d open end it here. Just any additional thoughts that you want to make sure that we get to? I mean, I have 15 questions that I could ask about Best Year Ever. There are so many things we didn’t talk about that I want to talk about and I want to, in one hand, let you know what they are. On the other hand, I don’t want to tease people with things that we didn’t get to.
Jon Berghoff: Well, we should just redo the intro and tell people to listen to this on 2x speed.
Jon Vroman: That’s right.
Jon Berghoff: All right. So, let’s play a game. Pick your three or four favorite questions and I will answer them in one sentence or less.
Jon Vroman: This is for me?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Yeah.
Jon Vroman: Oh wow. Okay. Well, this is going to be interesting, man. So, here’s my – the questions I wanted to ask that we didn’t get to is a question about brotha James. I wanted to talk about brotha James because he’s such a big part of the event and it’s something that happens at no other event. In fact, rather than muddying the water with any other question, brotha James deserves just a solo question on this. Let’s talk about him for a moment.
Jon Berghoff: Yes. Dude, why do you love brotha James?
Jon Vroman: Why? You literally like you could say that in many ways you’re the one that from the beginning you’re like yes at every event, every function, period, end of story. What is it about brotha James that you think makes this special? And why does the audience just connect so massively with his, what he is? Who is he? What does he do, first?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. So, I’ll share a story about one of our Quantum Leap Mastermind members, Kelly Cochran, who at last year’s event on the third night, she joined us in our QLM presidential suite celebration of the event and I’ve never met her, and she pulled me aside, and she goes, “I need to tell you something. When I walked into this room on the first day and you had this guy brotha James playing music, I was ready to leave because I was pretty sure I walked into some sort of like summer camp sing-along.” And she’s like, “I was in the back of the room. I couldn’t believe this.” She said, “By the third day, I was just begging for more brotha James,” and that happens a lot because we don’t always give the best explanation for stuff. We just immerse people in this. So, who is brotha James and why do we love him? He’s not only one of our best friends, but he is for people who get to know him personally, he is maybe one of the most disciplined practitioners of the Miracle Morning on earth. I can’t tell you a time that I have not shared a room with him on one of our trips or he stayed at my house where he has missed a Miracle Morning. The guy embodies continuous personal improvement in a way that I think most people aspire to get to. And a lot of people might not know that about him.
He’s also a really successful entrepreneur. He succeeded in growing a business of his to a level where he was actually able to sell that business to fund his ability to now spend years pursuing his passion where he’s now really successful as a motivational musician. And then those who listened to his music right now every day, they don’t need to hear anything from me, but those who have never come across brotha James, what’s amazing about Jer is he creates music with a simple idea in mind. He creates music asking himself the question what’s the song that I could create that if our community and their children were singing along to, it would be reprogramming ourselves so that we would live at the highest possible levels. So, his recent album, Abracadabra, the song Abracadabra, the chorus is, “With these words, I create,” it’s all about how the words that we repeat create our lives. By his song Warrior, “I’m bold, I’m brave. I’ve got what it takes. I am a warrior.” The song, Slow Down, it’s about slowing down so that we take care of ourselves so that we can then get what we want faster and more effectively. And on and on and on. Every one of his songs, the song, Not My Mind, that song is all about how the voices inside don’t need to actually determine who we are and who we become that we can over-program those voices. His song, Grateful, is obviously about connecting to the simple things, the little things in our lives so that we can create more of what we want to create and celebrate what we have created. His song, Animal, is about connecting to that animalistic purpose and the strengths that we have inside of ourselves.
So, the reason I’m going out of my way to list all these is because, before the event, every year Jer and I sit down, and we say, “Okay. When are we going to play each song? Where does it fit based on the activity that we’re going into?” And so, we intentionally infuse music that has certain meanings at certain moments, so that whatever activity we do next, that music really lifts it up. So, a lot of people don’t realize how much thought goes into when he plays which songs and why it is that we invite people to – and by the way, if you’re listening to this and you were going to come but now you’re not going to come because there’s a sing-along, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Nobody cares. We even turn the lights off during the song, so you can just stand there, or you can even sit. You do whatever you want. You don’t even have to like brotha James but it’s hard not to. So, Jonny, that’s a good starting point I think.
Jon Vroman: Yeah. I love that, man, and for those listening when Jonny says Jer, Jeremy Reisig is his name and goes by brotha James and, boy, even if you’re not planning on attending the event, you should definitely go to Spotify or iTunes and check his music out because it’s on repeat in our car and I’m so grateful for not only the impact it has on my life but on my kids. If you’re out there listening, you’re a parent, this is must-listen-to-music with your kids like this is the stuff you want them memorizing and repeating. The words they hear on the outside are words that become their inner voices and that’s so important. So, just a little side note there.
Jon Berghoff: Can I add one thing to this, Jonny?
Jon Vroman: Please. Yeah.
Jon Berghoff: Especially those of you that lead teams or communities of any kind, one of the things I stumbled across recently learning from an amazing woman named Margaret Wheatley who is really one of the great living legends in the areas of kind of the future of leadership and she’s been at it for 40 years. And one of the things she shared and studying indigenous tribes because there’s so much we can learn by going back and looking at what our ancestors did and how they came together. We always think we need some new ideas. Well, frankly, a lot of what’s new is old and we need to revisit some of this ancient wisdom. And one of the things that Margaret Wheatley teaches is a saying that she learned from spending time with indigenous tribes that are still around today. She said, “One of the things they’ll say is you can always tell the health of the community by looking at one simple thing and that is whether or not the children grow up singing the songs that they were taught by their parents.” And I remember when I heard that thinking, and she went on to explain, that it is not only true in a literal sense, but also just in a metaphorical sense as an analogy. You think about if you lead a team and if the team that you lead, those are the children, those are the future generation, what are the values that are going to guide how that team gets to the future. What is the vision that everybody ought to be talking about? The story of the future.
You can tell the health of the team as to whether or not the children, i.e., that team grows up, still living the values talking about the future that was passed on to them by prior generations and I just want to say all that because there’s a lot of meaning to that and what’s really cool about what Jerry is doing is he literally he spends half of his time at entrepreneurial events like the Best Year Ever Event but then he spends about half his time in schools. He’s literally teaching to schoolchildren these songs so that they get kind of addicted in a positive way, to positive music and this morning I took my son, Tyson, he’s four, to preschool and on the way to school, he sang the entire Slow Down song, word-for-word, and it was so fun for me to see him just affirming this as he walks into school that I decided to sit in the parking lot and we played Not My Mind, because he knows almost every word and I thought that’s healthy. Whatever they’re doing in his school is probably really healthy, but I’m going to let him be three more minutes late because I want him to affirm these things.
And so, what Jerry is doing is helping all of us grown-ups and kids and the kid inside of us in ways that are deeper than I think what a lot of people might recognize. In fact, Robert Murray even on our Facebook feed just now, he just wrote, “How did I miss…” and Robert was at our first event five years ago, “How did I miss that brotha James music are actually affirmations. I just knew I liked it. I didn’t know it was good for me too.” You’re probably not alone, Robert.
Jon Vroman: That’s cool. Jonny, we can wrap this whenever you want, but another question that I had about the event was, are you able to reveal any of the special guests that might be attending Best Year Ever, San Diego, December 7 and 8?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. I’ll mention a couple of them here and we just secured a handful. We just confirmed a handful of these folks so for our other speakers who literally I don’t have the list in front of me so I’m not going to remember all the names, but I will mention a couple. One of them is our good friend Christopher Lochhead. And Christopher Lochhead is he really is and it’s fair to call him a living legend in the area of marketing. He’s a co-author of Play Bigger, he’s a co-author of Niche Down. He is the creator of the Legends and Losers Podcast which has been recently recognized on multiple lists. He’s one of the top business podcasts. And one of the things that Christopher teaches so eloquently is the idea that to win in business whether you want to be big or small, whether you want to be the next Facebook or you just want to win in a small way, you have to understand how to leverage what makes you different. Don’t try to be better than somebody else. You literally need to figure out how do you take what makes you different and tell that message because that’s ultimately how you win in the long run. He is going to rock the house on Entrepreneur Day, the extra day on Friday. What he delivers on that day, most people will walk away from his session and say, “I could go home. This is worth it,” but they shouldn’t go home because they at least need to stay through Saturday night where we threw the big Front Row celebration.
A couple other special guests we have coming back, but due to massive demand, Julianna Raye to share what her latest learnings in the space of mindfulness. And her business has exploded this year, her online courses, and I was telling how years ago I said, “I really think Julianna because of who she’s an apprentice of, Shinzen Young, and the fact that she’s already been practicing for 20 years, I always felt like she was already positioned to be in a really special place for when the time met her experience and it’s happened. She’s had hundreds if not thousands of people in the last 18 months go through her course. She’s going to bring the best of what she’s learned about mindfulness and meditation. Let’s see. We have JJ Virgin coming in over the weekend. We have Shawn Stevenson. We have Chandler Bolt. He’s going to be talking about books and I know we had him a few years ago, but he’s learning so much, we want people to bring their latest learnings.
Who else do we have coming in? I keep saying that out loud thinking somebody sitting in the office here is going to hear me searching for names and they’re going to hand me a list, but they probably have headphones on and are working really hard. So, there are others. Go to BestYearEverLive.com because I think we just updated it literally yesterday with who it is it’s coming to the event.
Jon Vroman: Oh man, this is exciting. Dude, I love that when we get on to explain to other people why they should want to go, I leave the podcast recording thinking I’m so excited to attend Best Year Ever.
Jon Berghoff: It’s actually why we’re doing this.
Jon Vroman: Counting down the weeks.
Jon Berghoff: We need to make sure you were ready to sell this event. That’s why we’re doing this today.
Jon Vroman: So fun. I mean, I think that when we talk about why this event is so different than any others, but I can’t think of other events that have managed to bring together a community like Front Row Foundation, this nonprofit for-purpose community with the Best Year Ever Blueprint personal growth style event. That’s not done anywhere else that I’m aware of and I think that’s just so fun that we’ve managed to pull these two communities together and create something really special. It’s going to be fun.
Jon Berghoff: It’s going to be good. Hey, Jonny, let’s do it. We’re going to send Hal a note. He’s going to be like, “Why did you guys go for two hours?”
Jon Vroman: Whoa. I just sent him a text that I said, “Hey, man. We’re still recording if you want to jump back on. Maybe you’ve already gone and finished the rest of your daily activities, you could join us.”
Jon Berghoff: Oh my gosh.
Jon Vroman: This was really great. One more time, Jonny, for anybody out there listening, today’s purpose of the podcast today was to talk about not only the Best Year Ever Blueprint event to make sure everybody felt invited that you knew enough to be able to make a good decision for you, but also to share some principles that we’re utilizing during the event that you’re using, Jonny, in designing the event, why the event works so that people even if they can’t attend, they can still utilize the principles for their own life to be able to create their best life ever one day at a time. Where do people go get more information? Let’s say that again and how do they sign up? How do they get involved in the community, the best year ever community?
Jon Berghoff: Yeah. Well, if you want to join us in San Diego, we met with our team last week. 80% of the spots are taken so I think there’s 75 out of 400 left so BestYearEverLive.com and if you’re thinking about whether you join us for just the weekend or also Entrepreneur Day, if you’re an entrepreneur or you aspire to be an entrepreneur, and Hal and I say this every year and we would never say it if we didn’t mean it and we didn’t want to be challenged on it, but if you came to all three days or any days and it’s not worth your time, just let us know or you can anonymously tell someone on our team by slipping them a note and we’ll give you all your money back. We’re so confident in what this delivers that I think we used to put on our website. If it’s not, we should put it back that if people aren’t having fun, we’ll give them their money and we’ll give them $200 to go have a night on the town in San Diego. And we would not say silly things like that if we didn’t know that we were delivering something that not only will you not find at any other event. And if you just tuned in and you don’t know what we’re talking about, go back to the last eight hours of this conversation. But we know that what you will find is an experience of community coming alive for each other in a way where it’ll invite your best strengths, a deeper sense of purpose, new visions, and new plans to emerge faster and more naturally than any other room that you could walk into at all, let alone a beautiful room in sunny San Diego, December 7th, 8th, 9th. I think that’s when it is. I should know the dates.
Jon Vroman: That’s right, buddy. You got it. You nailed it.
Jon Berghoff: Nailed it. All right.
Jon Vroman: Just work on the agenda. We’ll work on the dates.
Jon Berghoff: That sounds good.
Jon Vroman: All right, guys. Thanks for listening. Jonny, thanks for being here and thanks to Hal for joining in the earlier part of the call. If you just jumped on later here in the conversation, get back and listen to the earlier part. Hal had some really fun things to say and added a tremendous context to this conversation. So, final words, Jonny?
Jon Berghoff: No.
Jon Vroman: There you have it. Peace out. The man has spoken. Adios, everybody