Yesterday, I spent the day at The Power Within Event in Montreal, which was headlined by the 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton. It was quite an interesting day to say the least, and here is my review of this event:
The event started at approximately 8:30am and it was packed from the get-go. The host of the event was comedian James Cunningham. He is a very effective comedian and was very funny throughout the day. His jokes were mostly Montreal-based, so I figure that his material is adjusted according to whatever city the event is in. He was a very good host overall.
First up was Mike Lipkin. I hadn’t heard of him before, but he definitely left his mark appropriately! He had a ton of energy, was really funny, and explained useful concepts to help people in various areas of their lives. I especially liked his 6 P’s (perspective, pre-eminence, prize, promise, process, partners). I also liked how he emphasized that people should do what they do best. Other concepts such as the quality of stories you tell yourself daily dictate the quality of your life, and that you simply have to “be you” instead of trying to be someone else since all those other people are already taken, was very effective in my opinion. Overall, I wonderful opening speaker, and probably the best one of the day.
Next up was Loretta Laroche. She was really funny. I’m not sure if she is a comedian, but she certainly could be a great one. She had people in tears out of laughing so hard. She was very effective in singling out daily life occurences and pointing out their silliness. She also discussed how stress is becoming an epidemic, and how adults are really not laughing enough. This lead of quite a funny scene as she made the entire audience force themselves to laugh out loud for 30 seconds. It was sort of awkward but very funny! Bottom line, her message is that people that enjoy themselves more have a higher productivity rate. Especially in this time of economic crisis, it is still important to take things lightly and have some laughs. I couldn’t agree more. She was definitely one of the favorites of the whole event, especially after making everyone hold hands and sing “that’s amore”!
Next up was Phil Town. He was to discuss investments, and how you can still make money even in a poor market situation. He was a very fast talker, and as one of my friends pointed out, he probably lost 90% of the audience with his statistics and rapid fast talking style. I thought he was interesting in how he was explaining how to select stocks and figuring out how to buy and sell them so that you always get a return. He talked about Warren Buffet’s rule #1 of “don’t lose money”, and to follow what the big investors do. Then, out of the blue, he said that to get all this information and learn how to take $1000 and make over $90,000 in less than two years, we would have to sign up to another workshop with a value tag of over $6,000! However, since it was such a “special” event, he would make it available for the mere “low” price of $495. It was like a “sleazy salesman” type move, and I don’t think it should have taken place at this event. I wasn’t alone in thinking this, however, many people were sold and ran to the back to sign up. I really thought he was a good speaker until the “sales pitch”
Next up was Dr. Antonia Novello. She talked a little about health, and service; mentioning that “service is the rent you pay for living”. She discussed women’s progress through history, gaining the right to vote, and pointing out female presidents around the world. It was a nice speech for what it was. She was not a high energy speaker but she is a well respected and highly accomplished woman that showed that anything is possible if you truly believe in it with all your heart.
After an hour lunch break, we were treated by a singing performance by the group The Canadian Tenors. They were really good, sang about 3 songs and talked a little bit about themselves. However, the music was not the high energy that is needed in a motivational seminar. This could make people sleepy! But they were very good tenors and sang wonderfully.
Next up was Richard Dolan, to talk about happiness economics. He discussed creating a portfolio of purpose, and had a neat little exercise where we had a piece of paper with a list of items and we had to choose which ones are the most important to ourselves. Items such as money, family, faith, etc. Then we had to choose which ones we actually invest our time and energy into. I thought it was a very good exercise, as it can really show that what you are paying attention to is not what makes you happy, and thus the reason why you may feel imbalanced in your life. Overall, I thought he was a decent, humble guy, and I definitely liked his speaking style and what he talked about.
Next was actor Martin Sheen. He seems like a genuine decent guy, that was happy to be there. He recounted a story where he forgot who Paula Adbul was (she was his daughter-in-law!) as proof of his bad memory. He talked about how he got started in acting. He was a very funny storyteller, such as when he talked about his wife putting the groceries list in the box at Lourdes, instead of the wish list she had concocted. He brought up some quotes by FDR, Gandhi, and Desmond Tutu. Overall, he was a pleasure to listen to. I am not aware of most of his work as an actor, but I will certainly pay more attention whenever I come across his work in the future. I admire decent, charismatic individuals such as himself.
Before the keynote, there was a nice video package on Lance Armstrong where he recounted how he fought his way back to the top of the cycling world after wanting to quite forever. His saying that in a way, his cancer was the best thing that happened to him was very powerful. A prime example of taking an absolute negative and turning into an amazing positive. Excellent video.
So finally, it was time for the main attraction. President Clinton came out to a standing ovation. Canada definitely loves Clinton! He talked about fear and how it affects the world. He mentioned the financial crisis and how a GM collapse could mean serious trouble for Canada as well. He said that this crisis won’t be over a year from now, and it would probably be 3 years. He talked about how it all started in the housing market where there was too little oversight, and how expensive a foreclosure is (it’s much cheaper to simply renegociate the loan). Clinton also talked about how the fundamentals of the economy are imbalanced, and how the US and Canada are interdependent. We are after all, their biggest trade partner. He also gave multiple solutions to this crisis. Then, he went on to talk about how the richer countries still need to help the poorer countries even in such a situation, thus creating strong alliances all over the world. He talked about AIDS and how his foundation has helped get medicine to millions of people worldwide. He said that it’s not enough to just be a citizen, and that we all need to find ways to contribute. It was a pretty good speech. Clinton seemed a little tired, but it was understandable, since he was in Moncton that same morning for another speech. I thought it was great to hear one of his speeches live and in person. He’s a highly gifted orator, probably only surpassed by Obama. After his speech, he sat down for a Q&A where he talked about how Canada influenced his choosing of his daughter’s name, and did as good a job as a politician can do to avoid answering the question of if his wife would accept the Secretary of State job!
In conclusion, I thought it was a pretty good day. The Power Within is a very organized company. The event went smoothly, it was very professional, classy, and everything was under control. I was impressed and I would definitely attend another event from this company. So if you have ever thought about going to one of their events, do yourself a favor and go ahead! It will make you laugh, make you think, and make you change something about yourself for the better 😉