Always an outstanding event, Engage14, the luxury wedding summit, is even more of everything this year. I first attended an Engage conference in 2009 and it was a game changer for me. I met incredibly motivating people who would shape my entrepreneurial thinking over the next several years. 2014 is the first Engage conference held in Cayman for three years, and is an opportunity to learn from the superstars of the industry, to network with the forward thinking, and to brag on Cayman a bit.
Rather than verbatim reporting, my recap series will be short key takeaways of the speakers and events each day. Read on.
The other day my wife had a coaching session with our business coaching company, Shirlaws Cayman. At the end of the session as papers were being gathered and coloured pens put away, Kristen, our coach, asked Christina to take a moment and jot down her ‘key learnings. Why is this so important? Read on.
Every day in business we participate in meetings. We pull out the requisite notepad, scribble away, then generally conclude the meeting with some tasks to be done before the next meeting. What is different about recording ‘key learnings’? I thought about this for a bit, and reflected on my own past reporting of key learnings after my coaching sessions. The list below is not exhaustive, by any means, but reflects my thinking on the value of recording ‘key learnings’.
My last blog post was on the value of a higher education. Now, lets flip the concept of a formal degree on its head. I want to share with you some learnings from a book that has really inspired me. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon is a wonderful collection of thoughts around the theme of developing your art through, well, the blatant copying of others. Sound like simple plagiarism? It’s not. Read on.
Reading the book you are struck by the fact that it is not a typical ‘self help’ or ‘productivity’ book. It is a compendium of thoughts and graphics and quotations that serve to illustrate the point that you can develop and create better art of whatever kind (writing, music, dance, visual, theatre) by actively studying and copying the work of the greats who have gone before you, the greats you may wish to eventually join ranks with.
My grandparents on my mom’s side were what my kids would now refer to as ‘old school’. Joseph and Cynthia Pereira, or Mama and Papa as all the grandkids called them, were strict, but in a kind way of strictness, if that makes any sense. They were also clear of their expectations for all of us, as they had been for their own children. One area that we all received guidance on was constant reminders to get a good education. Today I am sure of the smile that must be on their faces looking down on the family as their youngest granddaughter, my cousin, just completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Ottawa. Their legacy has had a lasting impact. Read on.
Joseph and Cynthia Pereira – 1937 – Wedding Day
It really is a legacy in the true sense of the word. This is not a legacy born out of being smarter, or being well off, or having a single minded focus on an educational goal. In fact, most if not all of us were the opposite on those points. Across the family in the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Canada I am sure we are perfectly average in terms of natural gifted smarts. Some brainiacs, some not so much (that would be me), and many in the middle, probably just like your family. Certainly growing up no one would call any of the family wealthy. And, to the last point, there was not that all-pervasive push for academic excellence that you sometimes read about in books like Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.
Session #2 of Platform Conference was presented by Michael Hyatt’s business partner, Ken Davis. It was titled, ‘Creating WOW.’ In a field of younger presenters Ken is the proverbial elder statesman, but his topic really resonated with what all the subsequent speakers would talk on.
As an aside, while in Franklin, TN, my wife and I stayed with our longtime friends, the McKeehan’s. Toby is now better known by his stage name TobyMac, but over 20 years ago he was a struggling artist working to get his first band, DC Talk, booked onto shows. Chatting with Toby one night I listed the speakers at Platform Conference. Ken Davis was the name that suddenly jumped out for him, almost his ‘wow’ moment. Toby recounted that one of DC Talk’s early gigs was performing at an event organized by Ken Davis, a booking that Toby remembered he gained through sheer persistence and hard dogged tenacity. Well, DC Talk, and later TobyMac, have gone on to wow many since those early days. Through it all the principles of wow still hold. Talent will get you so far. Contacts may get you a little further. However, it is tenacity, authenticity, openness and a passion for what you do that will see you to the goal. Please read on for my recap of Session #2 by Ken Davis.
Ken started by noting examples of where leaders who really ought to have had more of an imagination ended up making fairly poor predictions. These included: