November 12, 2010

Leaders Causing Leaders…the Slow Reveal, Part One…


Photo by Doug Norman

Slow Waaaay Down 

 I’d love for us, as a society, to slow down and really FEEL our way through life, capturing all the subtleties that make it so rich. So, in that light, I invite you to take yourself off to a quiet place free of distractions, (if you can) check in, tune in, get grounded in your senses, and THEN read on… 

Leading Gracefully 

This past weekend, the 6th and 7th of November, 2010, I attended the Leaders Causing Leaders Conference in Long Beach, CA at the Long Beach Convention Center. It was a mind-bending, incredibly powerful gathering of innovative business leaders and those aspiring to own the title of leader. I feel it’s important to mention that this was not even on my radar until my friends at Café Gratitude asked if I was attending. I had my sights set on the Green Festival in San Francisco. THAT is where I normally would be, where I have been each year for the past five, and where my comfort zone is. There were plenty of things I wanted to check out, and of course I wanted to see my old buds from Green America and the Green Business Conference, many of whom would be in attendance. 

Acting on Faith 

The more I learned about Leaders Causing Leaders, the more I felt the energy my NEW friends were putting into it, and saw the value in it, the more I was drawn towards it. I felt that it was time to break tradition and take a leap of faith, trusting that all would end well and that maybe I’d learn some new tricks. After all, leaders take leaps of faith all the time, bravely stepping into the unknown, creating a path for others to follow. I really felt the desire to step into that energy, so I lept like a pouncing tiger! 


There are a couple things I’d like to clear. Firstly, I’d like to apologize for the delay in getting this up on-line. I was granted generous access with my press pass and I sincerely meant to have this done by Tuesday evening. Sometimes things happen and I’ve been dealing with a whopper of a cold since waking up Monday morning. 


Secondly, as a leader, I feel that it’s my responsibility to lead by example and care for myself so that I can write the fullest, most magnificent articles possible from a place of feeling and being at my best. So, that is expressly why I gave myself a few days to kick the bug the heck outta my system before I dove in. 


In the name of complete transparency, I will tell you that one of the (unexpected) love’s of my life is dueling with cancer and the “treatments” that have ravaged his body. His illness has weighed heavily upon me. So, thank you, everyone, for your patience and faith in my coming through.. 


Why am I telling you all this deeply personal stuff? Because, as a leader, I feel strongly that it’s essential to show that I am no more or less than any other person. I am a leader and so are you, in your own way, through the way you treat yourself and others, the choices you make, the actions you take, and the things you stand for. We all experience times of hardship and adversity and sometimes there are reasons beyond our understanding for things happening the way that they do. 

Best Week Ever 

So, that being said, I still had the BEST WEEK EVER! I did, truly. I became closer to my friend than I ever imagined possible. He showed me how my leadership, my reaching out to him in friendship with a laugh and a smile on the day we met, saved his life. That was rich beyond measure. I made contact with a handful of awesome, powerful men and women whom I had met over the weekend. I took care of my health, soas to be a good example. I slowed down to really catch the messages coming in to me. I allowed myself space to create. So, even though/because many unexpected things showed up in my best week ever, it was STILL my best week ever. 

Dynamically Balanced Duo 

Though we came up with the idea separately, Elephant Journal founder, Waylon Lewis, was also in attendance. He come all the way from Boulder, Colorado for this event. I’m sure Waylon kept you aptly entertained with his ways! Though we share PLENTY of common interests, Waylon and I come from opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of beliefs, so you have two distinctly different flavors to choose from. 

Dancing Around Each Other 

Ele founder Waylon Lewis tends to cover the more Buddhist aspect of things, such as yoga and super controversial topics. I delved quite deeply into the new thought/ancient wisdom, new agey, woo woo, witchy, shamanistic view of it. His was the masculine angle, mine the feminine. The balance of yin and yang. I invite you to check out his article(s) if you have not already done so, to get a balanced perspective. 


Because this was such a spiritual group of people, I felt more comfortable than I ever have in a gathering of leaders. I find that, with my quickfire expression of emotions and super unique laugh, I often feel awkward in social situations where I stand out, which is most of the time, really. Although I felt that here, I also felt really accepted and embraced and, to me, that was a beautiful and powerful thing that created a major shift in how I see leadership and business. I was able to really surrender, much of the time, and that felt great! 


Of course, I’ve been feeling that kind of acceptance and unconditional love from my people at Café Gratitude since the film screening and workshop I attended in May. I suppose this was an extension and expansion of that energy, particularly as many from my Café Gratitude family were there working behind the scenes, noteably the owners, Matthew and Terces Engelhart, Erin Ross, Sarah Garney, Marta Macbeth, Jon Marro, Ryland Engelhart, Christina Kilby, Jason Mraz, and many others. 

Opportunities for Connection 

I’d like to acknowledge the people whom I interviewed and exchanged info with. Though you are many and I’m not able to name all, know that you made my experience at Leaders Causing Leaders very rich. Thanks, to many of you ladies, for hanging out with me in some unusual places…er, the bathroom. Many an impromptu interview or request for the mailing list were done in the bathroom. I thought I’d never get outta there! I mean that in the best way possible. It just goes to show that connection can happen ANYWHERE, anytime. 

An Energetic Perspective 

Now, as “the feng shui fairy”, I’d like to address the energy and organization of the conference. I really liked the layout of the entrance, rooms and mainstage. There were plenty of restrooms to choose from, ample seating options, raised platform stages for better viewing, and it seemed well-cleaned and unfettered, for the most part. There was definitely room for improvement with the printed and on-line programs. Next time around, I’d like to offer my services in fine tuning both, organizationally. A little alphabetizin’ can go a long way towards smoothing out the lumps… 

Big and Beautiful 

The vibe, in general, was massive and intimate. I know, you might be wondering how that works, but it did, somehow. I heard that a lot of people were disappointed in the small number of attendees.  However, the event was definitely about quality over quantity, this time around. Who knows? Maybe next time, people will be climbing over each other to try and get seats. I hope that it’s somewhere in the middle. I’d love to see more people attending and benefitting from this super-charged conference AND I loved the intimate vibe where I kept seeing the same faces throughout the two days. 

Many Leaders to Follow 

A leader can come in any form. The schedule definitely reflected that and was VERY full. There was quite a variety of speakers and topics to choose from. I suppose that was the most difficult choice to make…where to go next and whom to hear speak? 

In Clear Sight 

Fortunately for me, I had a clear vision of what I wanted to write about ahead of time. I had to put together a game plan in order to get a press pass, which I thought was quite clever on the part of Saeger Media Group and something that I hadn’t experienced before. Of course they would want to have different reporters writing about different subjects! It makes perfect sense. Simple and brilliant! 

Abundance, in Writing 

So, my main areas of interest (and it was a challenge to narrow it down to four, let me tell you!) were….Women’s Empowerment, Transformation in Youth, Innovation in Green Business Leadership, and Leadership via the Arts and Media. I was able to get PLENTY of subject matter for all four topics. That’s how huge this event was! And, I promise to cover all of these subjects, one by one, in a continuation of my slow reveal. Would hate to rush this kind of thing and miss out on much of the juiciness. So, please stay tuned as I lead you in a slow dance with graceful leadership…. 

Still to come, lots of pictures and a review of the concert Saturday eve, featuring the glorious Larisa Stow and Shakti Tribe…a very powerful band of lightworkers. Also, a sampling of the vendors present. A Challenge Day special report….what else? Ah, yes, my coverage of a women’s empowerment panel….and, all will be revealed in due time…. 

Claire Amber is a multi-medium artist and entertainer. She holds the whimsical title of “the feng shui fairy” and her business is called “Healing Magic and Artistry”. She currently writes for Elephant Journal and Huffington Post on special assignment. If you would like to e-mail Claire with a comment or question, she can be reached at [email protected].

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