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The Summit of Its Parts

IMG_0676I was sitting at my desk this morning, and the first thought to hit me as I logged in was, "Well, now what?"

No, it had nothing to do with the emails from Finance or from IT wondering about this deliverable or that project issue. Those were comparatively easy questions to answer. This one went deeper.

I returned from the Extreme Leadership Summit yesterday morning. Steve Farber puts on an [extreme adjective] conference... er... UN-conference. See? A verbose guy can't even generate an adequate descriptor.

So what happened to make this so special? Hmmm... let's see if I can sum it up.

We heard Simon Billsberry talk about his career path at Kineticom and his love for the company he started and the risks he viewed worthy of taking in the name of that love. (For the record, he told us he's been involved in lawsuits consistently since he's been 24... that kind of commitment takes love.) We heard Sally Hogshead talk about the dynamics of fascination and how we fascinate others (and how we ourselves are fascinated by others). For the record, Sally's profile pegged me as a "maverick" whose primary triggers on how I attract others is through a combination game-changing and take-charge approaches.

We heard Brian Mayne and Tommy Spaulding speak. These guys are the one-two punch of can-do. Both experienced severe dyslexia as children. Brian didn't read until he was 30, and now, two decades later is the leading goal-setting consultant/trainer in the UK. Tommy's story of his educational battles was no less inspiring in his journey to become the CEO of "Up With People," and he just released a New York Times best seller. Brian's background screams of excuses to fail, yet he's the epitome of successful accomplishment. Tommy's background would provide most with reasons for resentment, yet I've met very few people in my entire life who exude and embody unconditional love.

IMG_0691One does not merely meet or listen to John "Jay Jay" French of Twisted Sister (yes, the rock band); one must EXPERIENCE Jay Jay. His story of perseverence in following his dream for the band through the many peaks and valleys of the daunting music world could easily have been titled, "But Then Something Happened."

Liz Strauss shared how she builds communities through the online universe the same way her dad built community through his saloon. I've known Liz for a few years now, but her story continues to inspire. Her physical voice falters, yet her voice of experience is amplified for all to hear.

And here's the kick in the gut: What were you doing when you were 17? Keynoting a major conference or making college decisions and surviving high school? Jessica Steinberg started her global not-for-profit, Givable Giggles, when she was 14 years old. Talk about convicting. Being a parent myself, I had the pleasure of talking to Jessica's parents. They are extremely positive, supporting and caring (and exceptionally proud of both of their children)... yet seemingly "normal" suburban folks. That's the cool thing about heroes, though: they're the ones who master the art of turning ordinary into extraordinary.

IMG_0699We had breakout sessions with our Mastermind groups, and I was lucky enough to meet with some great guys over the weekend. When we toasted our "graduation" at the end of the weekend, it was a bittersweet moment. I'm not even going to start on the musical jam session of Saturday night. Some things really are without description.

Presiding over the whole thing were Steve Farber himself and the ever-bubbly and fun Dianne Kenny, emceeing. I've turned a lot of people on to Steve's books over the years. Imagine what's possible if he put on a conference... um... summit. I've already saved the date for next year (and no date has been set).

But this morning in my cubicle, the questions of pursuing the OS!M swirled through my somewhat hazy and sleep-deprived brain. Where to start? What to do? How to tackle? I guess the answer will be to embrace like Jessica, pursue like Simon, laugh like Dianne, gather like Liz, love like Tommy, persevere like Jay Jay, accomplish like Brian, fascinate like Sally... and Steve? Well, that's obvious: just keep changing the world in the most extreme way possible.


Extreme-Leadership-Poster_Web-435x1024I am so excited for this week. One of my favorite all-time business authors, Steve Farber, is hosting his Extreme Leadership Summit next weekend. There are some amazing speakers lined up: including Farber, there will be extreme leaders such as Tommy Spaulding, Liz Strauss, Jay Jay French, Simon Billsberry, Sally Hogshead, Loren Slocum, and Brian Mayne (to name a few).

So what makes an extreme leader (as opposed to the generic, run-of-the-mill leader)? Well, anyone who's ever read Farber knows what it takes: love, energy, audacity, and proof, for starters. They know it's someone who is tuned in to his or her frequency and has cranked up the volume. It's somebody who embraces the risks of the wipe-out to follow their calling. It's one who "does what they loved in the service of those who love what they do." An extreme leader is not afraid to develop others to the point they are greater than himself/herself.

But at their core, it comes down to this: an extreme leader is one who is called to change the world.

Tall order? Definitely. Impossible? Only if we let it be. In case you haven't noticed, our world (big 'W' or little 'w' - your choice) has a lot of issues. And it needs to be changed for the better. And it needs committed individuals in business, education, religion, environment, and family... individuals who feel called to change the world.

More than the amazing speakers, I'm excited to meet the dozens of other people who felt compelled to head to San Diego for a weekend... if for no other reason, they want to change the world.

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