I’m so excited I can barely stand it. We have perhaps the most exciting speaker lineup for the For Action Conference, the best of my 12 years of running events. This is my newest event January 2-4 at Focus on the Family. I have been working on this hard for at least a year (the idea has been several years old) building the best speaking/coaching team I could come up with, and I don’t think I could have asked for a better team.
The For Action Conference is a new Training Minds event that attempts to “train minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13). It is very different from my debate camps. Rather than training young people to succeed in speech and debate competition with a set curriculum and practice rounds, the For Action Conference brings the “action” to the next level. Intended for 16-24 year olds, the For Action Conference teaches fundamental strategies for building businesses, starting ministries, and doing college right. It consists of three days of workshops taught by modern-day successes of business, ministry and higher education, all meant to launch the attendees into a most successful future.
Sound exciting? Check out the speaker lineup here. When building the speakers list — which takes phone calls, emails, long conversations, etc. — I found five very similar responses in all of the speakers.
I didn’t expect these responses to be so similar, but when I think about it, their responses make a lot of sense. You see, these speakers are successes in very different genres. Here’s a list of backgrounds:
- A curriculum publisher and noted public speaker
- A YouTube sensation with millions of views
- A “new journalist” with an impressive record of stories to show for it
- An online coach with a novel internet-based communication system
- A successful small business leader in a niche market
- A CEO of a college-related business that trains college-bound students
Let me go through the similarities with you. If you consider yourself someone who is heading into “action” in your life, I bet these responses will resonate with you.
1. Each Speaker Has Built Something Worth Admiring
Actually, they each make a decent living off their particular niche. They’ve come up with their own ideas and made them happen. One in particular seemed to have come up with his audience by accident. What started as him and a few others writing scripts and developing simple video clips online for fun has turned into a significant revenue stream and a notable brand.
Perhaps you have ideas worth admiring, but haven’t found the tools to make them a reality. You may find you need the know-how and expertise to push you in the right direction. That’s one of the key aspects of the For Action Conference. The speakers are there to teach and to guide the attendees through three days of modeling how it’s done.
2. Each Speaker Does What He/She Loves
Funny, they each had something admirable, but each shared with me something like this, “Well, I just do what I love.” One of the speakers expressed herself this way, “I’m just having fun.”
Just doing that which you love and just having fun — do they realize how rare that is? It’s almost as if we live in a society that must wait till retirement to do that which you love, or has to sacrifice success to have fun. All the For Action speakers are having a ball! Their energy and enthusiasm for that which they do is contagious.
Are you headed in that direction? That is, a direction of your calling, that which you can’t help yourself but get excited about? Or perhaps you have settled for what was expected of you for whatever reason (it made money, it’s what someone else thought I should do, it’s what I was pretty good at, etc.). You need to do what you love — we all should be living this way — and these speakers are all modeling that.
3. Each Speaker Feels a Little Lucky
I spoke with each speaker on a personal level, some very deep conversations about life, their success, what I want them to teach For Action attendees. If they didn’t earn their own way and build something admirable, I suppose I wouldn’t have asked them to speak. But all the speakers gave me somewhat of a confession: they felt they came across their posterity with a little bit of luck.
I’m ad-libbing here, recalling several conversations over the past year. Here’s some of what they said…
- “I honestly felt I would never develop a huge audience. Perhaps I’m just lucky there are people who want to hear what I have to say.”
- “I was just a dad trying to help kids similar to my kids. Luckily, there were other parents like me.”
- “When I started, nothing seemed to be going my way, but then luckily the solution sprung up as plain as day.”
- “Everyday I get up and can’t wait to help those that pay me well. I’m lucky there’s a market for that which I love.”
See the thread? I actually don’t believe it’s “luck” — and to tell you the truth, they don’t either, but it’s something that just rolls off the tongue in conversation. I’ve been known to say things like, “I’m lucky to be making a living at what I love to do.” Isn’t it interesting that those who are most successful in what they do all feel a little bit lucky?
Perhaps you feel the opposite. You could use a little “luck” in your life. Perhaps you feel you’ve been a bit unlucky, things aren’t going as planned, you’ve found yourself at a crossroads. The For Action Conference is meant to serve as a guide for you to seek out your calling. It is incredibly validating to witness and learn from folks who have made it happen. Yeah, they may casually chalk it up to luck, but it is much more than that. The same can be for you.
4. Each Speaker Understands the Mystery
Training Minds is a ministry, more specifically a Great Commission ministry. This means it trains people to go out into the world and “make disciples of nations.” My personal platform is in building people up to take on the calling for which God has for them. I like to say that Training Minds is a unique ministry in this respect: we train people how to think, not necessarily what to think. The opportunities that await you are wide open. For Action Conference attendees will see firsthand how it’s done.
There is a deep mystery to life here, one that is sometimes misunderstood. Each of the speakers are gifted and talented, and they each have taken significant risks in the development of their platforms. The more popular they have become, the more criticism they receive: they are proud, agenda-driven, just in it for themselves, radical, etc.
I think they’re awesome. You will too. In fact, the For Action Conference builds the case that this generation has much more opportunity than previous generations. We live in a world where personal platforms — not employers, gatekeepers, publishers, elites — set the course in an individual’s life. Each of our speakers are models of success in this area, and each have a solid faith in God where they know this to be true. They’re doing what God wants them to do, so the criticism they receive just rolls off their backs. You’re going to love this about them.
Are you hesitant to press on in what you believe God is calling you to be? Perhaps you’re having trouble sorting out what God’s calling actually is. The For Action Conference is intended for you. There will be dozens of people like you finding their way in the time spent with these speakers.
5. Each Speaker Is a Rising Star
Each speaker has something to show for himself or herself. They’re great examples of how to do what they do right. But they all display a characteristic that will encourage you: they are just getting started.
In each one of my conversations, I focused on their successes (what I could see from outside), but they didn’t like to settle there. What lit them up was when we talked about the possibilities (what they could see) from where they are now. To some extent, the For Action speakers are visionary enough to know that they’ve got potential, they’ve got another mountain to climb, they’ve got work to do on the next opportunity. They’re rising stars, and I’m “lucky” enough to have them part of the program.
How about you? Do you have that calling that burns inside you but not quite sure where to go with it? Do you need the encouragement to press forward into where God is calling you to go? To tell you the truth, we call can use encouragement and direction, and that’s the conference that is coming your way: the For Action Conference.
January 2-4, 2014
Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs