In Praise of Thoughtful Minds

The wearying mental and physical toll that it takes to get to and from conferences has rubbed a bit of the luster off the excitement I once felt when I’d see another faraway learning opportunity pop up.

These days, going to a conference means less to me about the content — and far more about the possible connections I can develop with particular people.

Two summers ago, I attended an event called Good Life Project camp, conceived and organized by Stephanie and Jonathan Fields to bring abundant-minded makers and creators together for three days of learning, playing, connecting, and deep soul searching. What I discovered was a soon-to-be tribe of self-identified misfits, individuals who often thought of themselves as not fitting in with the people they were surrounded by in their day-to-day lives.

I had the opportunity to meet with a part of that pack recently in NYC for a one-day event, and although the content of the day was good, it was the time catching up with friends I’d already made as well as new ones I’ve met since through the camp’s FB group that made the travails of travel worthwhile.

Unfortunately, not even the deepest of souls I know are willing to bare themselves in public in the way they will when sitting face-to-face. So I packed every minute I could fill in my short, three-day visit with face-to-face time with these extraordinary friends, learning about the impact they’re having on their worlds.

Some of the folks I managed to get some deep, break-away time with while there included Nico Johnson, Laura Peña, Rachel Gogos, K.C. Carter, Liz Scully, Patricia Sarnataro, Joshua Harbert, Amanda Kaiser, Lisa Vogt, Bernadette Noll, and Marcie Dresbaugh.

While many of those conversations were about wins already in the books and successes that are still in process, we also laid out struggles too painful for public release and dreams still too fragile to be shared.

Also during the same trip, I was able to meet for coffee with Willie Jackson, a recent guest on my podcast, The Creator’s Journey. As we were wrapping up our conversation, he invited me to a friend’s apartment to meet a larger group of friends that have a regular Sunday brunch around deep conversation. Hearing stories of impact and engagement that have come out of those friendships gave me great hope for people being willing to set aside technology and entertainment long enough to invest in significant connections.

In the days since I’ve been back from my excursion, I’ve been doubling down on my efforts to schedule time to plumb conversational depths with people who I sense are quietly and intentionally working out of a well of deep wisdom and purpose. In the midst of all the noise on social media, there are hints of a clear signal in some people’s lives that becomes even clearer and more resonant when talking face-to-face or even by phone.

If this is something you need or want more of, I encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with that person you’ve been intending to contact. I also invite you to give me a shout and connect if you’re feeling inclined. With all the noise in the world around us, I don’t believe we can ever get enough deep, thoughtful conversation. What do you think?

~ Charles