It’s a sunny Sunday afternoon in downtown LA as I’m writing this. I’m sitting in the Sixth Street Tavern enjoying a Poppy Fields Pale Ale while watching the foot and bike traffic go by. Wiltshire Blvd is closed to vehicles so cyclists can enjoy a leisurely ride. It almost makes me wish I had a bike.

I’m here for a 3-day network marketing conference which wrapped up this morning. The whole conference was fabulous and being here with a dozen team members from both Winnipeg and Toronto made it even better. We had some disorganization with hotel bookings and ended up spread out around town but that was okay, we’ll get it right at the next one.

While there was lots of good training and inspirational moments, what I want to draw attention to today is the message provided by the keynote speaker, Chris Widener. I have to admit that although I read a lot of personal development and leadership material, I’ve never read any of his stuff (although that’s about to change). His core message was that we need to stop conforming to the patterns of the world and instead transform ourselves from the inside out to achieve the success we deserve. Obviously I’m not explaining this concept nearly as well as he did, but I’ll leave it to you to learn more.

He explained that the typical pattern is to go to school, follow the rules, get good grades and if we do well, get a good job. I see this pattern reinforced by the school system daily (via my kids). He then went on to explain why that’s crap! (my words, not his) He explained how success starts from the inside; how it’s vitally important that you internalize your success. If you don’t, you’ll never be able to externalize it no matter how hard you work or how lucky you get. As examples, he pointed to the celebrities who achieve massive material success only to end up in rehab within a few years. Or how about the lottery winners who are broke within months. Even something simple like the folks who lose weight only to gain it back shortly after. In all these examples, the key problem is that the person’s internal belief about themselves doesn’t match with their external reality and like a thermostat, reality brings them back to their set point. This concept isn’t exclusive to Chris Widener nor even new to me but something in the way he presented it seemed to resonate.

I had previously wondered if its possible for someone that hasn’t had a “tragedy” occur to make the transformation to a truly successful/free lifestyle (if you’re happy with the typical patterns of society then good for you, enjoy). Most folks I talked to said “no, you need something to push you over the edge before you’ll change.” I’ll be honest, I neither liked that answer nor really agreed with it. I figured that might make it easier but wasn’t absolutely required. I still believe that but I suspect it’s a lot harder than I first thought to shed the shackles of conformity and truly transform your internal beliefs without a catalyst of some sort.

I’m beginning to think I may have been inadvertently sabotaging myself all these years because I have (had?) internalized the typical societal pattern at a subconscious level even though I feel drawn to something more. As long as I hold a deep-seated internal belief that I’m doing the “right” thing, I’ll never actually be able to make anything else work for me. I can’t say for certain that the wonderful experiences this weekend have totally uprooted that internal belief. However, combined with all the other “unusual” things going on, I do know that I’m closer than I’ve been in a long time to making a transformational change!

As the journey continues, I am getting more and more excited about where things may go. I’m starting to believe that truly anything is possible! What does your dream life look?