When I was asked to write a blog about my experience at and with Awesomenessfest, I knew that I wanted to step outside the box. At first, I thought, “okay, I’ll post a recap of the event, about my involvement, and what is has brought into my life. Oh, and include some photos and what not.” But no… this is not what my heart wanted to share. THIS is what I really want to share. I want to fully introduce you to Afest as BEST as I can so here we go!
What is our greatest asset… not money, not oil, not big houses…
I think you guessed it already.
Our greatest asset is PEOPLE… YOU. (phew… and well, duh!)
So, really then if we’re talking about us… people… it’s… WHO are our greatest assets?
I recently read an article in Forbes where Contributor Tim Maurer talks about “allocating your most valuable asset.”
The most valuable asset being YOU or in investment terms: “labor capital.”
Tim says, “First, we’d invest purposefully in our labor capital. Yes, this means pursuing education, but it also means cultivating our earning potential through mentoring and coaching.
It also means pursuing a job that we enjoy so we don’t feel boxed in if it’s necessary or desired to extend the longevity of our career—and our labor capital.”
I feel it’s safe to say then that our greatest assets in this world right now are those who know themselves to be their greatest assets and who are appreciating themselves.
People who are continually learning, growing, receiving education, mentoring, and coaching.
People who take a stand for pursuing work that they enjoy so they are never locked into what they don’t want to do, and really,
there’s no end in sight with having a “lifetime career” of ‘doing what they love.’ And not just for the point of ‘doing what they love’… but to do it meaningfully. To have purpose. To give back. To make a difference.
Also, people who understand that by cultivating their earning potential through receiving the proper mentoring to grow their “Great Work” means they can give back more and fund that which will bring about more change.
I’m sure you are noticing and feeling, THANKFULLY, there are many people like this and the number is only growing. (YAY!).
Surely, everyday, I feel in my bones the growing number of people around the world who are raising their value and contributions in the world for the betterment of others.
If you’ve chosen to read this article, then I’m sure you’re one of these people. And even if you don’t feel that you are, deep down… you are (and who knows, maybe it’s this article that will light your flame!).
I’d love to introduce you to one group of extraordinary people who represents being our world’s greatest assets.
Meet an awesome group of assets… Afesters.
Yes, you heard it right.
I was first introduced to Afesters by one of the coolest guys I know, namely, Caleb Jennings, the co-Founder of one of the largest healthy eating & healthy living communities on the web, Young&Raw. We were roommates at the time (back in 2010) and him and his Love & my gal pal, Sheleana, had just began their raw food journey. It has been awe-inspiring to watch them flourish!
Now, talk about people who put their growth, learning, education as top priority and who were two of the first people I met who opened me up to what was totally new to me at the time (and a lifestyle they were rock’in!): working with whom you want, when you want and making good money doing the work you love to do… all while making big, positive impacts in the lives of others and on the world at large.
What is an Afester?
Like Caleb & Sheleana… Afesters are walking, talking examples of people who put themselves, and their growth and learning first in order to make epic, positive waves in the world.
As soon as Caleb shared about this Tribe and movement with me, I had CHILLS. I knew from that moment… “yes! I’m an Afester, too!!” … And more on how this unfolded this in a bit.
Now, you’re probably wondering where does an Afester come from?
Afesters make up the Tribe of Awesomenessfest!
What is Awesomenessfest?
Well, in the words of founder, Vishen Lakhiani, “it’s where a Tribe of people doing epic sh*t come together.” And this is NOT just for entrepreneurs. Whether you’re a passionate employee, a CEO, a doctor, a non-profit worker, or anywhere in between. Afest is for PEOPLE doing epic sh*t.
Afest originated as a yearly event and then quickly moved into being two times per year: an Afest West, and an Afest East. Locations including Costa Rica, Maui, Dominican Republic and Mexico on the West, and Bali and Thailand on the East. And for 2015, there will be an Afest Europe… Croatia, baby!
It’s also a non-profit event of MindValley. If you don’t know MindValley, you want to know MindValley. Founded by Vishen Lakhiani, Mindvalley is a global brand and company that invests in, creates and builds businesses that align with its goal to push humanity forward. Incredible people, incredible programs… helping millions of people ‘be extraordinary.’ Amazing.
And woo hoo! Yes! Non-profit! Each year, profits go to the following absolutely remarkable organizations:
- The Pachamama Alliance who empowers indigenous people of the Amazon rainforest to preserve their lands and culture, while inspiring individual everywhere to connect, learn, grow, and thrive, founded by Lynne Twist and her husband Bill.
- Give Love, who assist displaced children and families after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, co-founded by Patricia Arquette and Rosetta Getty.
- The X Prize Foundation leads highly leveraged, incentivized prize competitions that push the limits of what’s possible to change the world for the better, founded by Peter Diamandis.
- Shine on Sierre Leone who shines the light on Sierra Leone’s needs and create sustainable programs to promote thriving self-sufficient communities, founded by Tiffany Persons.
Many Afesters have volunteered with these organizations and so there is a ton of love and connection here.
In a most delicious pistachio nut shell, the Awesomenessfest the Tribe comes together to:
- connect authentically with fellow Tribe members;
- overcome those sticky mental blockages we feel are holding us back, knowingly and unknowingly;
- learn productivity and life hacks to accelerate us forward;
- find out how to build a meaningful movement and connected culture;
- discover new ways to look at ourselves and the world;
- uncover that which we have been hiding;
- truly, fully be ourselves in a loving and supportive environment;
- socialize and create beautiful friendships with like-minded individuals;
- meet our next partners, mentors, coaches, advisors;
- fall in love with ourselves, the world around us… and to even find our future life partner, wife or husband.
- … and, finally, to have a whole heck of a ton of FUN, together!
Put simply, it’s 4-days of Awesomeness in an gorgeous, hot location with incredible people! From day to night, we go from groundbreaking TED-like talks and workshops to unbelievable parties and celebrations, where we dance the night away!
Your Awesome Awesomenessfest Itinerary:
Wake up and choose how you want to start your day… head to yoga, a fitness class, meditation, or catch some Zzzzzz’s (especially if you were out late shak’in your booty!). Some of the most loving people I know have led these optional morning activities, including Dr Fabrizio Mancini, Adriene Mischler, Renee Airya, and Tom Cronin (If you don’t know these amazing folks, highly recommend looking them up!).
The experience of teaching yoga at Awesomenessfest in the Dominican Republic will always be in my heart. Love to contribute to my Tribe.
Then, we continue the day-time sessions being lit up by some of the most remarkable speakers out there today while breaking out into dance parties, and who knows what else. It’s a spontaneous bunch.
This year, I was particularly ignited by speakers Emily Fletcher, Sonia Choquette, Carl Harvey, and Kyle Cease.
Vishen Lakhiani, the Founder and Visionary of MindValley and its event Awesomenessfest, always make me sing “BRAVO!” as he communicates the Vision of the movement, and helps the Tribe ground into why we’re all together, day to day. Crucial to our ability to thrive during the Fest. So appreciative of Vishen’s Visions! … (Love saying that!).
Lisa Nichols also contributes an immense amount of passion towards us revealing our truth, as well, and even does a complimentary pre-Afest workshop that stokes our fire and begins our transformation before Afest even officially gets started.
The line up of speakers every year is just brilliant, brilliant, brilliant… from Gabrielle Bernstein to Chip Conley. You can check out the bios and achievements of these great people here and here as I could write a blog alone on each person.
Kelsey Grant of Radical Self Love, Me, Lisa Nichols, and Jaci Clark
Here Comes The Night…
It’s time for the ever-highly anticipated evening events of Awesomenessfest. The parties get better every year. Tanya Lopez leads the development here and she blew me away this year! I mean this past Afest in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, there was a dancing horse at the authentic Hacienda Ranch-style costume theme Party! Upon seeing this dancing horse, my partner, Kevin jokingly said, “Okay. My life is now complete.”
I just gotta show you this…
The catamaran cruise is always a highlight! To be on a boat connecting with 100 of your truest friends, to dance and feel the wind blow in your hair, as you gaze out towards the ocean’s horizon… Breathtaking and SO FUN.
I love that each year, we make a point to celebrate in ways that are reflective of the local culture. For example, in Puerto Vallarta, we had a “Day of the Dead” or “Día de Los Muertos” celebration on the opening night as this traditional opportunity to commemorate those gone before us had just passed.
The whole event is designed to help you create an intimate relationship with… the magic of life.
Lara + Afest = Meaningful Growth & Happiness:
Now, I’d love to share with you about my involvement with Awesomenessfest. I’ve had the true and unbelievable pleasure of being 1 of 4 Awesomenessfest Interviewers. One of my good friends, William Oliver, became the Marketing Manager for Awesomenessfest in 2010 and brought me and one of my besties, Kelsey Grant, on board to facilitate the interviews as we had done similar work together just previously conducting interviews with small business owners and matching them to suitable training programs… we rocked this initiative and we were ready to step it UP with MindValley!
… Plus, I think it was all just written in the stars…
Unlike most other events, there is an application process to attend, and I’m the one of the lucky ones that gets to interview you, and learn all about the epic waves you’re making in the world.
It’s really about hearing from you about what you stand for and what you’re creating that’s making a difference in the lives of others and the world. It’s important for us to fully see and feel that you are taking a stand for putting yourself, your learning, and your growth,first, so you can continue to grow that which you are building.
We want to know that you are a walking, talking example of someone who puts to work the fact that you are your greatest asset.
Because as you grow, I grow. As I grow, you grow. The whole world is better of because of the changes we make.
I have had the utmost pleasure and joy conducting approximately 700 interviews over the past 4 years with some of the most inspirational people in the world!! The fact that I’m facilitating the energy that’s created at Awesomenessfest through this… well, I hold this responsibility seriously and lovingly… from wherever I am. I love conducting interviews from the beach or a beautiful location bringing in that essence of Afest.
Incredible, AMAZING things have been catalyzed in my life through the vehicle of Awesomenessfest.
From cultivating a network of dear friends around the world (I always knows I have someone to stay with wherever I am, or at least to go for dinner with), to linking up with the people who helped me (and continue to support me) to fully create the Digital Nomadic lifestyle I dreamed of (working with whom I want, when I want, doing meaningful work I love and that’s making a difference, like collaborating with Eyes Wide Open Life), to allowing myself more deeply, year to year, to become how I truly want to be in the world.
Eyes Wide Open Life + Afest = Great Things!:
In fact, I met our very own, Alexis Neely, through Awesomenessfest… and upon looking more deeply into her work, we started working, playing, and creating together within Eyes Wide Open Life. Many other key moments that have contributed to Eyes Wide Open Life’s growth were mobilized by Afest as well. We put a blog together about this here. So as you can see when we bring together people who are doing epic things in the world… more epic things happen!
Ali, Kiva, and Jena la Flamme having a laughable moment at Afest Dominican Republic, 2013
My Biggest Takeaway Every Year:
Every year, I step into more of my true Self, more powerfully and more confidently than ever before. Whatever I walked in with that was holding me back… is released! I face my fears. Unblock. And I leave with a clear sense of direction, a ton of energy, and passion to create what my heart is most yearning to express.
Any opportunity you get to be around high energy, highly inspired and inspirational people… do it! It’s amazing what just being around and apart of this energy will do.
Okay, time for GRATITUDE:
I have eternal gratitude for Vishen Lakhiani, the original Founder of Awesomenessfest, and all my Afest teammates, such as Event Organizers, Tanya Lopez, Laura Viilep, Rebecca Ambler, Jaclyn Lee, and Olla Lobbas; my fellow Interviewers, Kelsey Grant, Paul Helman, Kamal Seth; and the lovely, rockstar support team I get to play with each year, Cristina Urioste, Rebekah Uccellini, Jason Campbell… the list goes on. I also have such a joy meeting new Rockstar Crew Members each year such as Natasha Zolotareva, and this year’s Hostess and MC, Mia Koning. Such great people, and honoured to be on this team.
As others decide to jump on their path of discovery, growth, and healthy change… we all grow, and change for the better of ALL. It’s as simple as that.
As you continually decide to become a positively influential person in the world through continually growing, learning, and upleveling, you do epic sh*t in the world and make everything better, for everyone.
It’s people who know they are their greatest asset who will change the world for the better. When we without-a-doubt understand this fact… you and me are this big, beautiful earth’s greatest assets. And what do greatest assets do? Appreciate and contribute in great value!
Isn’t this awesomeness?!
Whether you’re currently a fellow Afester or not, I would love to hear from you below about what has been inspired within you through this Awesomenessfest share! If you are an Afester and reading this, what has come true for you through being apart of the Tribe? Would love hear your story!
Now, I’ve explained as best I can… Awesomenessfest, with that said, you HAVE TO COME to see, feel, experience for your amazing Self! To get notified of upcoming Awesomenessfests in 2015 , head on over to the website to be one of the first to be notified and to apply for your invitation (we’re even expanding next year to have a 3rd event in Europe!): www.awesomenessfest.com
Love to you,
~Creative Director at Eyes Wide Open Life
Eyes Wide Open Afest Fun Facts