I recently traveled to Chicago to attend Forefront 2017.
Forefront is the in-person event for top performers hosted by online entrepreneur and New York Times bestseller, Ramit Sethi.
For a bit of background, I’ve been following Ramit and his oddly-named website I Will Teach You To Be Rich for a couple of years now.
Originally I was drawn in by his thoughts on money. Ramit scoffs at the “You must save money by not buying lattes” crowd (which given my love for coffee is unthinkable financial advice) or his dig at not buying avocado on toast to save money for a house deposit.
But it soon became much more than that.
Ramit’s unashamed desire to want to be the best at what he does and his no-nonsense actionable advice has helped me immensely from negotiating my salary and preparing for job interviews, to understanding myself more and about what having a Rich Life means to me.
So, after a couple of years reading and applying his information, attending Forefront felt like a natural next step. I wanted to learn from the Master himself.
I attended the event in 2016.
2016 was off-the-charts insane when it came to experiencing something new. I met many amazingly driven and successful people (like the three amazing online business owners and friends below with Ramit Geraldine, Gen and Antrese).
I went on a luxury real estate tour of New York.
I partied on a yacht on the Hudson river while we circled the Statue of Liberty.
It was an intense experience and I walked away feeling invincible. Like I could take on the world, and in some small way, I have done just that as I’ve continued to chase my Rich Life dreams.
Forefront 2017 though was different. Very different.
It wasn’t as intense the second time around though I suspect it had a lot to do with knowing what to expect.
It was like catching up with friends you hadn’t seen in a year but you started the conversation as if you’d only seen each other last week.
I felt like I belonged there. That I wasn’t a top-performing imposter amongst the 500-strong crowd.
And Ramit’s comforted me in his keynote speech when he said “Weird is good” putting me at ease.
While my weirdness (or uniqueness) may be fact I’ve come home from Forefront 2017 a different person.
I appreciate the boldness of that statement. It’s very easy to go to an event and come home a “changed person” only for all that change to dissipate after a week or two.
But some things, once you know them or see them, you can’t un-know or un-see them.
And it’s these things I want to share with you today – the top three things I now know since attending Forefront 2017.
What I now know #1 – Rewrite your story
Ramit’s is well known for his views on people having invisible scripts we don’t necessarily know we have that guide our lives. For example, the “fact” I hate running is an invisible script I have.
In his keynote, however, Ramit took this a step further and rather than just pushing through singular invisible scripts, he spoke about rewriting your story.
These are the stories that we’ve told ourselves over the years to get to where we are now. But if we want to get to the next level of personal growth we need to rethink them.
Rather than believing the stories we’re told, or that we ourselves believe to be true, what would happen if we changed those stories, or looked at them through different lenses?
What would happen if rather than just taking the stories we tell ourselves to be true at face value, we instead asked “WHAT IF?”
The most powerful what if moment for me during Ramit’s talk was when, quoting one of his own mentors, he said:
“There are four ways to watch a football game:
- You can read about it in the paper
- You can watch it on the TV
- You can watch it from the halfway / 50 yard line
- Or you can PLAY THE GAME and be one of the chosen few to watch it from the field.Which would you prefer?”
I personally want to play the game and watch it from the field. Or rather than just watching it, be able to direct how it’s played.
To do that I need to rewrite a story I believe to be true. It’s helped me immensely to get to where I am in life now but it’s time to look at it through a different lens.
For me, I need to rewrite the story I need a stable job and salary to be successful. Instead I need to re-write myself into fully committing to my decision to be a nutrition and mind-set coach.
I need to take the field.
How to apply this knowledge to your life
What are the stories you tell yourself that have gotten you to where you are now? Is there one or two of them you could rewrite – looking at them through a different lens – that could help you grow and get you closer to reaching your goals? The ones you feel the most resistant in exploring they’re probably the ones you need to look at first. What if those stories weren’t true… who would you be?
What I now know #2 – How we manage expectations
New York Times bestseller Gretchen Rubin also took the stage at Forefront to talk about her new book The Four Tendencies.
I have to admit, I’d never read any of Gretchen’s books. Her book titles like The Happiness Project make me want to stab pins in my eyes (definitely a case of judging a book by it’s title, and no, I still don’t want to read it).
But after her talk I did go out and buy her latest book The Four Tendencies and read it from cover to cover that afternoon.
The premise of The Four Tendencies is how people respond to the expectations put on them by others (external) or the expectations they put on themselves (internal).
Listening to Gretchen speak, I was very confused. I couldn’t place myself in any of the four categories. For a brief moment, I thought I was a special snowflake and could be all of the above depending on how I was feeling.
But reading the book, and taking her quick online quiz , I realised I was a QUESTIONER.
And that blew me away. It was like a bomb had gone off in my brain. It was like I finally understood a secret part of myself that until now, I had been completely blind to.
It explained why I would constantly find myself asking why.
It also explained why I spend so long locked in my own head figuring out the best way to do something, only then get annoyed when people question my decision… because I’ve clearly spent a long time thinking about it, it’s right, so who are you to question me?
All that said, appreciating I now understand myself a lot better, the concept really struck a chord with me.
How can I better understand my clients and how they manage expectations?
If I can understand how my clients respond to internal and external expectations, then I can better serve them. And if I can better serve them, they’ll get better results.
I’m looking forward to incorporating this into my coaching from now on.
How to apply this knowledge to your life
Do you know how you respond to the internal or external expectations placed on you? Would you be able to set better goals and achieve them if you understood exactly how you reacted to the expectations people place on you or you place on yourself? Take the quiz . Does this insight help you rewrite your stories? Can you see how this could better enable you to achieve your goals?
What I now know #3 – Happiness leads to success… success does not lead to happiness
After knocking a book titled The Happiness Project imagine my dismay at the author of The Happiness Advantage taking the stage for the Sunday keynote.
But if there was ever a speaker to captivate an audience, or a speech that would have a profound impact on me, then this was it.
Shawn Achor is a happiness researcher, author and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology. His TED talk on the subject (the start of which is very similar to the talk I saw at Forefront) has been viewed nearly 17 million times.
How often do you find yourself saying “If I work harder at X, then I’ll be successful and when I’m successful, then I’ll be happy“.
After hearing Shawn talk, what I now know is this… I’ve been wrong all along.
I’ve always thought if I worked harder I’d be successful. Then I could relax and be happy.
But that’s a fundamentally flawed way of thinking.
According to Shawn, happiness is the joy you feel moving towards your potential. And happiness leads to being successful, not the other way around.
If you wait until you reach some mystical place of “success” until you’re truly happy, then you’ll never get there.
This was a very personal realisation for me.
For the past two years I’ve been striving to achieve some mythical level of success… I’ve lived every day with this feeling inside me that I needed to do more to be happy.
I would wake up every day with the feeling I was behind where I should be and that I needed to push hard to quickly get to the destination.
If I wasn’t working on my business, I was failing. If I wasn’t thinking about my business I was failing.
And it was in that moment, I finally understood what it means to fall in love and be happy with the journey rather than the destination. To enjoy the process, the learning and the adventure rather than trying to race to the end to just be “happy”.
Because by being happy every day during the journey is where success will come from.
Ultimately, happiness is the belief we can change, not that we have to.
I’ve always been a positive person whose believed I can do things. That’s what led me on my own personal health and fitness mission so at 36 I could still be competing in hockey at a high level.
But with a more positive mindset, a focus on being happy every day, who knows what myself and my clients will be capable of?
How to apply this knowledge to your life
What journeys are you on right now where you’re certain the end destination itself will make you happy? Perhaps a health and fitness journey where you’re convinced you’ll be happy once you’re a certain weight, playing for a particular team or achieving a personal best? Could you change how you look at that journey to one where your focus isn’t on the end outcome rather the small steps you happily achieve every day which lead you to success?
Forefront 2017 has definitely left me with a new view on the world and these are just three of the new ideas I walked away with.
But they are the three things I believe will have an exponential impact on my life and hopefully yours too.
What about you? What are your takeaways from the lessons above? Is there anything you want to implement in your life?
Let me know in the comments below.