Wow, what a night! Last Wednesday, our first YES Group London, following Tony Robbins’ UPW. event, quite a party! With over two hundred people (sadly, we had to turn more away at the door as there wasn’t any more space), the place was rocking.
First up was Allan Kleynhans with a new keynote called Awaken, which shared one of the powerful distinctions he has made during his personal development journey. Following his own transformation at a Tony Robbins event in 1999, Allan became a highly successful speaker, trainer and coach in his home country. He was the most highly paid personal development expert in South Africa and had a list of prestigious clients, including the Springboks, South Africa’s national rugby team.
Despite all this success and the trappings of wealth that came with it – a beautiful house on the beach, playing golf three times a week – Allan realised that there was still something missing. He was caught up in the need to prove himself and achieve more and more, constantly suffering from migraines because of the stress he was putting himself through. Four years later, the bubble burst and he found himself sitting in Euston station, having lost everything he had – without even enough money to buy himself a cup of tea.
Experiencing such a massive life challenge caused him to re-examine his life. Allan reflected on what was truly important to him and returned to an earlier focus: his spiritual development. Realising he had been so caught up in achievement and his outward persona, he asked himself three powerful questions:
- What have I come here to do?
- What is my greatest truth?
- How can I serve?
Allan made a new distinction that while personal development is highly important, it is our spiritual development that truly releases our power, infusing our thoughts, feeling and behaviour with peace, love and compassion as we evolve. Our energy shifts from our finite, personal focus to a greater, collective focus, from ‘me’ to ‘we’.
He shared the experience of being much more accepting of what comes into his life and embracing it as an opportunity to learn, show grace or give unconditional love. A work in progress, like all of us, he freely admits that he still reacts and gets annoyed but as soon as he is recognises this old pattern, he moves back into and attitude of acceptance and love, letting any frustration go. Allan is a testimony to the benefits of living in an attitude of acceptance and unconditional love. He is one of the most authentic, caring speakers you will come across.
Our second speaker for the evening was the legendary Pa Joof. Continuing the theme of authenticity, he challenged us to get rid of any false outer persona and live from our true inner ‘brand’.
He reminded us that we are unique and special and the only person that can share our particular gifts with the world. When are so focused on what people think of us and try to be what we believe we should be, we create an ‘external brand’ which is small and limited. If we live as that brand, we are never going to allow the seeds of those extraordinary gifts to flower and the people we meet will never be touched by them.
Pa challenged us to listen to our own inner guru and be the person that deep down, we know we are meant to be. Sharing some of his own story, he talked about growing up in the Gambia and seeing that people had given up hope for a better future. The Gambians had ‘branded’ themselves as poor and couldn’t see that there could be any other possibilities for them. Pa was determined that wasn’t going to be his story. Listening to the wisdom of his father who told him, “If you hang around with 9 people who believe they are failures, you are going to be the 10th,” he made the decision that he would put himself in an environment and surround himself with people that would enable him to create the success he wanted in his own life. When Pa made this decision he was sleeping on the floor, in the same room as his parents and brother. He could have looked at his circumstances and thought that this was all he could expect in life but Pa fed his desire for something better and ‘branded’ himself as a bigger person. His beliefs and decisions created a bigger identity then most Gambians could imagine.
So how do you overcome your circumstances and conditioning? Pa challenged us to think about our ‘Why?’ Why do we want the life or career we dream of? He added that if our ‘Why?’ wasn’t bigger than ourselves, it wasn’t big enough. A big vision creates energy, passion and determination to follow through.
He asked us to consider three questions:
- Who are you?
- Who have you been?
- Who do you need to be?
The third questions brought us back to the subject of authenticity. Pa asked us to consider what we don’t want people to know about us – and get comfortable with sharing it, because if we are afraid of being found out, we will never be truly authentic. Without that authenticity we won’t have the level of presence that people find magnetic and will never be truly influential. Presence is what brings our brand alive. Pa told us he enforces his powerful presence by rehearsing speeches by his heroes, such as Martin Luther King, and starts each day by standing in front of the mirror and telling himself the truths he wants to live – that he is a powerful leader, an awesome father.
“What do you see when you look in the mirror?” he asked us – a lion or a kitten? If we see a kitten looking back at us, we are going to have a very different life from that of the King of the Jungle. He final words reminded us that what we are looking for is closer than we think. – we just have to get out of our own way and receive it. He then lead the room in a final, jubilant burst of energy, celebrating the evening, our lives and that all the exciting possibilities that are waiting for us!
An amazing evening, an amazing peer group. YES Group London Freakin’ Rocks! Just sayin’ 😉