You may have heard the phrase in Sanskrit: Sat Chit Ananda which means Existence, Consciousness, Bliss. You may even have it to your meditation practice as a mantra. I want to share a proud experience I had lately that exemplifies this phrase for two reasons:
- It was the most exhilarating one of my recent past, a real life moment, and
- I became aware of the true power of validation
I arrived at a leadership training workshop ready to meet my fellow teammates and experience some team building exercises and such that is the norm for these types of occasions. It was shortly before 10am and there were about 60 people present.
I volunteer for a charity that does something seldom seen in today’s world. It pulls people and companies together for fast-paced radical renovations for worthy charities similar to how old fashioned barn raisings work. Volunteers, trades, restaurants, community members, all get involved to participate in a win-win situation. Because the work is to refresh infrastructure of charities, it’s always a beautiful feel-good project. Not only does it feel good spiritually, but HeroWork has created a climate that allows them to leverage the seed money from the chosen charity up to five times it’s initial value. Whoa!
It’s win-win, and it pulls together people who are driven to make a difference in the city they live in. So, I expected the day to be rather nice, warm, and fuzzy, and we would all go away with a smile and a pat on the back.
Turns out that I somewhat underestimated the impact the workshop would have on me.
The Leader of HeroWork, Paul Latour, is a man with a magnetic personality that draws people and companies together to make this entire program work so well. His love for what he does is the real draw, and we all feel it, and share in it once we get involved. This everyday hero inspires so many people to simply come and be a part of the efforts, some simply by walking past a project and seeing, or better yet, feeling the love that is shared by all the members in their work.
Well, Paul introduced the workshop coach for the day, Mr. Peter McCoppin. I saw Peter as the emcee once but honestly didn’t recall much as I was so busy at that event. So, I didn’t recall his many years of broadcasting service, all I heard is that he had done some conducting of our orchestra for a time. Had I known it was all over the world and that he delivers keynotes and coaches top people in the world I don’t know that I would have had any other outcome, but that had no bearing on what followed.
I was ready, present, and feeling quite open to what was about to happen, which was good, as I was about to take a lightning bolt of enthusiasm directly down my cerebral cortex for the next 5 hours straight.
This tall, casual, but smartly attired gentleman was in a button up short sleeve shirt, khakis, and Birkenstocks that squeaked slightly as he jostled in one spot. That was one thing he didn’t do much of that entire workshop: stay in one spot. this man drove us to our first task almost immediately.
He indicated how much our gut feeling is never wrong. The energy field around our body, and especially the heart, is so prevalent and powerful that it knows so much more than we can cognize in the moment. But, if we trust it, it can guide us unerringly toward that we truly seek.
In this he gave each table 10 seconds to find the leader of the table. “Go with your gut” he said. Michelle, one of my table mates said “it doesn’t give us the opportunity to overthink it”. “Precisely!” Peter said.
Wow, this was some cool tactic I thought. None of the tasks he asked us to perform lasted longer than three minutes. He explained that rarely do people come up with different answers no matter how much time you give them, so make it short, and allow their heart to guide them.
We, the participants, were engaged in one form or another for the entire 5 hours that he led us. Some of the topics we covered were connected to past personal team experiences that we loved, what does leadership mean to you and other words, he gave the etymology of words that make a single word come to life, and he shared with us his personal stories of triumph and success.
I was glued to every aspect of that training. I encouraged everyone at our table to speak up, to share, and participate, and we laughed and dug deep into the meaning of our language and how we perceived what was meant by each of us. This was true understanding in action!
The quotes, the latin word history, the stories, books talked about, and humanness of Peter’s mannerism illustrated for me how a fully present person can sense within the environment that they co-create with the audience the optimum direction to flow. He was able to boil down the stories we shared and extract the meaningful components, write them down, and use them for future work.
And we worked! we worked hard all day to give each aspect of our tasks meaning to the best of each table and each person. By the end, my brain was full, and my body was at once tired and exhilarated still. It was starting to process all it saw, heard, and said throughout the day.
Peter was so gracious in acknowledging what people said, the feedback he was given, and the reasons for direction he took us. I knew, without any doubt, that this man exemplified all that I want to embody in my journey forward.
I want to dig deep inside other people and show them that inside, if they could just spend some time, lies a light so bright, a voice so clear, a purpose so unique that they would be considered selfish if they kept all that to themselves in life.
This day also gave me something I hadn’t thought I was missing for such a long time. It validated who I was as a person. I was so focussed on Peter, my table, lifting others up and encouraging all of those around me, that I didn’t realise I had made any impact on anyone else. When Peter praised me for so many aspects of the day and how I showed up, it hit me, deep at my core.
Here was a man I really didn’t know much about, had barely seen previously, and then Boom! He leads a session with so many other people, but in such a way that really spoke to the essence of who I am inside, and that got me. I was transfixed, riding the same wave, sharing the same feelings, one with the room.
I had suggested that we, the general public or business person, can get a lot out of spending some time in areas we know nothing about, and Peter looked at me, then said “we are actually going to talk about this afternoon.” Then he came up and gave me a hug. I felt as if I had just told him I saved his child. What a wonderful response. I was validated on so many levels from the experience that I was riding high all the way home.
I immediately typed up all my notes to share them with my group who couldn’t attend, then shared my experience with others.
My Mom asked me if I would contact him again to ask him more about who inspired him. At first I thought, ‘naw, I won’t bother such a person with my minor questions’. Then I thought about it a bit and there was something that he hadn’t had time to go over before he left.
I found his website and sent a quick email asking a question. To my surprise he emailed me back and asked me to call him. I did so immediately and we talked on the phone about my desires, and his work, and it was such a blessing!
Meeting people, even for the first time, can be a powerful, uplifting, satisfying, and personally validating experience if they embody what it is that you desire. You needn’t know their background, life story, or follow them at all, but if you meet them, just once, even briefly I suspect, they can have a profound impact on you.
The heart knows! It can sense that of another, and form bonds we can not intellectually comprehend at the time, but it is there, and the affect is real. I for one am grateful to Paul Latour, HeroWork, and Peter McCoppin for a day that changed my life. I now know I can, and will, change the world in my personal quest in life.
What happened that day is that we all showed up; we existed there in one room together [Sat]. Then, through the powerful leadership, Peter McCoppin co-created and enhanced the collective consciousness of the room [Chit]. Finally, what I know I experienced, and I am positive many others too, is 100% bliss! [Ananda]. May each and every one of you that read this post experience what I did in your life. If you do, hold on to it, explore it, emulate it.
If you happen to meet a person of just such a caliber, don’t hesitate to engage them, you may be surprised what comes of it. And if you are a person that someone looks up to, no matter how briefly, realise the power in your body language, your heart, and mannerism, and especially your words to them. You have the power to change the world, one person at a time.