On Friday, September 29th at the Old Town Hilton Alexandria Hotel, there were a group of excited people attending the National Capital Leadership Summit learning about Creating Sustainable Change. The keynote speakers were Denise Minor, Dan Millman, and Ann Betz.
The day was one of learning, laughter, experiential activities, meeting and connecting with old friends and making new friends and connections.
In Denise Minor’s keynote, The 7 Levels of Becoming your Best Professional and Personal Self, she introduced us to the Seven Levels of Personal, Group, and Organizational Effectiveness, the 7 Levels Roadmap. She started with an experiential activity that was a great opening because we had a chance to network and meet new people. Denise asked for audience comments about what it felt like talking about a negative word and then a positive word.
She spoke about the saying, "Change your thinking, change your life," and the question is what thinking do we change and how do we change it? Denise referenced there are over 350,000 books about change management and that she believes in the last 30 years, she probably read 50,000 of those books. Organizational changes are unsuccessful because they do not consider the individuals who will be part of the change.
7 Levels Roadmap
Using the 7 Levels Roadmap will help us see where we are in our thinking and show us where to go. The roadmap has been in existence for fifteen years, and Ann Betz and Ursula Pottinga created it based on research on consciousness of Dr. David Hawkins, Ken Wilbur, Dr. Margaret Wheatley, Dr. Clare Graves, and others.
There are three levels “below the line” and four levels “above the line,” which represent energy. The 7 Levels Roadmap is dynamic, and we can be at different levels depending on what is happening in our life.
The three levels “below the line” are Hopelessness, Fear, Frustration, and the four levels “above the line” are Courage, Engagement, Innovation, and Synchronicity.The names of the levels reflect the impact on the individual, group, or organization. Denise discussed the language, brain and body responses at each level. The lower the energy, the less effective one is in life, and the higher the energy, the more effective one is in life, and the change we want to make is sustainable. When we are operating “above the line,” we are using the pre-frontal cortex or executive part of the brain. When are operating “below the line,” we are reacting from the limbic part of the brain, the amygdala.
When we recognize we are “below the line,” we can consciously decide where we want to be “above the line” and go to that place. Denise gave personal examples of how she uses the 7 Levels Roadmap tool.
Many people were please when, during Denise's keynote, she taught participants how to use the 7 Levels Roadmap and gave everyone a copy of it. The experiential activity was key to helping everyone in the room see and feel the difference between being “above the line” and being “below the line.” Participants were encouraged to practice using the tool on a regular basis.
The next speaker at the Summit was the amazing Dan Millman. Before he came on the stage, we saw a video clip of the 2006 movie starring Nick Nolte, based on Dan’s book, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior. It was exciting to see him come on the stage with such energy and life. Dan Millman’s keynote Peaceful Heart, Warrior Spirit - A Reality-Based Approach to Living talked about creating sustainable change by focusing on the mantra “just do it” for getting things done. He made the point to think big and start small. He used the example of someone who is thinking big of establishing a daily physical fitness routine with a goal of losing weight and getting in better physical condition. He gave an example of starting small by getting up the first morning and doing one jumping jack, and every morning this person gradually increased the number of jumping jacks, and he could legitimately say he was exercising every morning. In time, he was increasing his physical fitness routine and achieving his big goal of getting in better physical condition. Dan reminded us to handle the things right before us focusing on the here and now before worrying about the future.
Dan said 12 things and asked how many in the audience could repeat the items in order. No one in the audience felt they could do so. Dan’s point was that self-doubt could keep us from trying things. The things we doubt we can achieve quite easily with the right approach and belief. He showed us how to eliminate self-doubt through a highly effective memorization exercise that included the entire audience, and we remembered and recited all 12 things in order. In fact, by the end of the day, when quizzed about the 12 things, most in the audience remembered them in the right order.
He also talked about leading by example, and how highly functional people who get things done and live a happier life. Handle the things in front of you first, the here and now. Dan ended his keynote with having the audience participate in a shadow boxing routine that got everybody moving and having fun. Above all, breathe and relax in life. After Dan spoke, he spent time talking with attendees and signing his books.
Ann Betz was the last speaker of the day, and as Denise had mentioned in her keynote, spoke about the specifics of the brain in her keynote, The Neuroscience of Sustainable Change and Lasting Effectiveness. Ann covered neuroplasticity, the impact of stress, and integration in the brain for creating sustainable change. Her keynote was also experiential, and she opened with an activity that had everyone sharing with each other various quotes about the brain. Throughout her keynote, we were asked to name a quote that applied to what she was saying. When a person named a quote, they received a hand full of chocolates!
We learned that neuroplasticity is key for change, and the more we do something, the stronger our neural pathways become. Ann demonstrated that some individuals might be more wired for change than others by asking the audience various questions about how many times they moved in their lives or how long they lived in the same house growing up. For people who moved around more, change may be easier for them because their neural pathways are used to change.
Ann examined the prefrontal cortex and the Goldilocks of the Brain. Too much or too little change can adversely affect us. The brain functions best when there is just the right amount of stress. Ann made the science of the brain understandable. It was great and very helpful how she used a visual of the brain and walked along it when she was describing what happens when our brains at different points. Her activity demonstrating the impact of the chemical norepinephrine on the brain using the fuzzy balls was memorable. A person from the audience volunteered for this activity.
Ann discussed the six ways to helping others, and ourselves navigate through the stress of change. During her keynote, she gave many examples demonstrating the points she made. Lastly, Ann talked about the science integrating the three key areas of the brain for increased effectiveness. She showed us how to integrate the prefrontal cortex-limbic system with the right and left hemispheres and the task positive and default mode networks of the brain. After Ann spoke, she spent time talking with attendees and signing his book.
The day of learning ended with Ann and Denise co-leading a panel discussion where they summed up all three of the keynotes for audience takeaways for creating sustainable change in one’s personal and professional life. The audience asked questions that covered various parts of all three keynotes.
Juliana V. said the most beneficial aspect of the Summit that “totally resonated with her was Denise’s presentation of the Seven Levels of Effectiveness and going deeper with Ann Betz.”
Mary G. said the most beneficial aspect of the Summit was “hearing a different perspective on leadership and the mindset for effective leadership.”
Anna A. said that the most beneficial aspect of the Summit was “Learning so much about leadership and how very personal it is, and how important it is to grow as well.”
Kathy H. said the most beneficial aspect of the Summit was that she is “in a phase of my life where I am trying to decide what I would like to do next. All the speakers helped me with sharing their knowledge to further refine my goals.”
Faith H. said the most beneficial aspect of the Summit was, “It was such a dream come true to meet Dan Millman in person . . . I feel overwhelming gratitude for Denise Minor and her presentation, as well. . . Thank you! Thank you for providing such a wonderful local and affordable conference and thank you for hosting three amazing presenters.”
Ursula M. said the most beneficial aspect of the Summit was, “The seven levels discussion and the discussion about the importance of integration as related to the neuroplasticity and change topic.”
Sophia P. said the most beneficial aspect of the Summit was “The intimate setting and 'safe space' to network and meet people along with the incredible speakers. I learned so much from this event and met incredible people in the process!”