Long before I began my life as a gypsy teacher, I was a gypsy student. I attended seminars on personal growth, on marketing, on building a business as often as I could. Since the teachers I wanted to study with weren’t showing up in my small town, I spent a great deal of time and money traveling to learn.
What I learned (among many other priceless things) is that seminar rooms are my natural habitat. I love to learn and I really love being in places where new ideas and insights also show up.
I began meeting people with the same determination to grow and prosper. Horizons expanded. I acquired a passport and began going places I had only dreamed about.
Putting myself in a roomful of others who had similar dreams and aspirations was powerful. Not only did I began to gather useful tools that I could put to work building the life of my dreams, simply being surrounded by others convinced me that I wasn’t crazy for wanting to live an adventurous life.
I’m beginning to realize what an uncommon experience that is.
Most of us have grown up in a culture that seems to say that education is something we finish in our late teens or early twenties. We drift away from the places and learning experiences that were part of our youth.
Too many of us have been taught—in all sorts of subtle ways—that adulthood is about making our choices and repeating an agenda day after day, year after year.
Fortunately, more and more perfectly respectable adults are sneaking back into classrooms, trying new things, exploring new interests. Best of all, they’re discovering that regular participation in seminars and classes is an extraordinarily good investment of their time and money.
It also has an impact on success. A big impact.
According to the National Business Incubation Association, 80-90% of businesses are still operating after five years where the founder has received entrepreneurial training and continues with a network group, as compared to a 10% success rate for those who do not.
And our explorations don’t always have to be about new subjects. Repetition is the way we learn a new language and it also is the way we grow our entrepreneurial selves.
Every so often, I have a participant in my Making a Living Without a Job seminar who tells me they’re back for another go around. After attending a few years earlier, they’ve got their business up and running, but they’re ready to go farther.
Coming back to a seminar they took as a want-to-be-entrepreneur is not the same experience as it was the first time around. Different parts of the seminar are useful to them now that they barely noticed on an earlier visit.
It reminds me of Clifton Fadiman’s observation that when we reread a book and find more in it it’s not because there’s more in the book; it’s because there’s more in us.
Even after all these years, I find that anytime I wake up in the morning and realize it’s a seminar day my next thought is, “Somebody’s life is going to change today!”
That somebody may have a new vision that wasn’t there before. Or they might be getting a missing piece of their puzzle. Or it may just be the pleasure that comes from connecting with others who are open and eager to exploration.
As Caroline Myss reminds us, “We evolve at the rate of the tribe we’re plugged into.” Putting yourself in a room with the tribe you want to be part of can be the start of a wonderful new adventure.
Of course, you’ve got to show up if you’re going to plug in.