If you know anything about me or my work, you know I’m a bit obsessed with this quote from the playwright and social activist George Bernard Shaw:
“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”
A couple of years back, I launched a small group mastermind program for people who felt inspired to experience “the true joy in life” and be used by the creative potential of the deeper mind to impact the world. Each time I run it, the same thing happens.
Every single member of the group uncovers more possibility, depth, and fun in the unleashing of their own unique voice in a wide variety of forms and expressions. Along the way they bump into every one of their insecurities about themselves, judgement, criticism, and their value and worth in the world; then one by one (and sometimes in one fell swoop), they see the transient, arbitrary, and thought-created nature of those insecurities, releasing them from their grasp and leaving them free to expand, express, and impact the world around them at a whole new level.
If the idea of being unleashed in this way makes you gasp, grin, giggle, or even brings a tear to your eye, here’s how it all works:
Part One: The Emerging Voices Intensive
Over the course of five days (September 7th-11th, 2020), we’ll be working in a small group intensive format to explore the nature of creative expression – what gets in the way, what sets us free, and what allows the creative spark to catch fire inside us and explode out into the world in ways we haven’t even imagined. You’ll also get a chance to sit down with me before, during, or after for our first one on one session, where we can both get to know each other better and get “stuck in” exploring whatever stickiness you may have around letting your voice fully emerge in the world!
Throughout the week you’ll have the opportunity to put yourself on the spot and in the spotlight, sharing your voice in a multiplicity of forms through a variety of group and individual exercises. I’ll be feeding back to you throughout our time together, not only offering you real-time coaching but identifying leverage points for you to focus on in developing your creative work going forward.
Part Two: The Emerging Voices Mastermind
The week-long intensive will serve as your jumping off point for a six-month expansion and deepening process. If our first five days together serve as a catalyst for finding your own unique voice, the next six months are designed to find full confidence in your expression and help you transition from thinking about it to doing it or from doing it to expanding your reach and impact.
Through a combination of monthly assignments, group webinars, one on one mentoring sessions, and finally two days back together as a small group (March 2021), I’ll be both encouraging and challenging you to find the hidden gears in your mind that will enable you to surprise and delight yourself on a regular and ongoing basis.
You’ll finish the group with a quietly unshakeable sense of confidence in your ability to do your work in the world, a completely new relationship with risk and reward, and a clear compass to guide you forward in whatever comes next.
“When asked how he created his epic marble sculpture of David, Michelangelo stated, ‘You just chip away at the stone that doesn’t look like David, and what is left is the sculpture.’
For me, Emerging Voices was a process of letting go and stripping away. Letting go of outdated thinking I was using to hold me back, and stripping away the misconceptions of who I thought I was. What is left is my voice.
Michael’s process challenged the way I had been thinking about myself and my relationship with the creative force. As a result, my own unique way of showing myself has been revealed not only to the world, but more importantly, to me.”
Here’s one of my favorite pieces from the final two days of our very first mentoring group:
The Emerging Voices Small Group Intensive and Mastermind
Cost: $15,000 including seven days of live training in Los Angeles, six interactive webinars, and three one on one sessions with Michael
“Before Emerging Voices I was like three separate, old, dull, beat-up, unusable swords that could barely cut through a piece of paper.
Then the Emerging Voices program, with Michael Neill as the blacksmith, put the three swords of my separate selves into the fire of possibility, where they were melted, pounded, and merged into something simple, beautiful, sharp and shiny – ready to cut through the bullshit, especially my own.
I emerged from the program clean and clear about who I am and what I’m up to in the world. And grateful for the humble hope of possibility that my ‘Voice’, or as Michael puts it “how God speaks through Karen”, might create something fit for the Smithsonian Museum after I’m gone.
But for me, a more appropriate title for this program would be ‘Merging Voices.’ The gift I received was a deeper feeling of self-actualization, or as Abraham Maslow put it: “Being independent of the good opinion of other people.” I saw that life is a whole lot easier, and a lot more fun, when I’m not trying to maintain separate personas.
And my writing, teaching, speaking, coaching, and business reflects that merging. It has become sharp, shiny, powerful, more-of-me, and especially effortless and fun. I’m so excited every day about where that is leading, and at the same time have the freedom of not really caring where it leads. After all, when you have your SELF, you’ve already got everything you need.
Life has a way of putting us all into the ‘Blacksmith’s Fire’ anyway. Challenge is inevitable – it’s how we grow to become sharper and shinier on this life’s journey. But when you enter the fire voluntarily, with others(who will inevitably become life-long pals) seeking the same thing and a trusted guide, the experience is both transformative and delicious.
So whatever word there is to convey something beyond “forever grateful”? That’s the one. Thank you, Michael. You did it again. “