Last week I shared Liz Murray’s TEDx talk about falling in love with possibility and never giving up on what matters to you. This week I write about a second message in her talk that is equally important.

At the beginning of the talk, Liz tells a story to illustrate that, while we marvel at other people’s amazing accomplishments and celebrate our own successes, the success is actually not the most important thing. What will actually make a difference for us going forward is acknowledging and learning from the choices we made while on our way to that success – choices about who we would be and how we would engage with life. The accomplishment itself was the result of where we put our focus.

One characteristic of Transformational Presence is embodying and creating the optimal conditions needed to allow transformation to occur. We cannot make transformation happen any more than we can force a seed to grow. Yet with a seed, we can plant it in the richest soil, make sure that it gets the right amounts of water and sunlight, pull the weeds from around it so that it has room to breathe and grow, and feed it with healthy nutrients. In other words, we can create the optimal conditions for the seed to grow.

It’s the same with transformation. While we can’t make transformation happen, we can tap into the potential wanting to unfold, pay attention to what it needs, and create the best possible conditions to support that potential becoming reality.

When amazing things happen or you experience something extraordinary, pause to acknowledge the accomplishment or experience. Celebrate! And then, before moving on, take time to explore how it happened. Take note of what conditions led to your extraordinary experience by considering these questions:

  • What attitudes or beliefs were the foundation for your choices and actions?
  • How would you describe your “presence” leading up to this accomplishment?
  • How did your presence support you (and others) to take the steps that helped you reach this outcome?
  • What are you learning about how to continue having these kinds of experiences?

When we consciously recognize and acknowledge how we got to where we are – the actions we took as well as our attitudes, beliefs, ways of thinking, commitments, and personal presence – we have a much better chance of creating optimal conditions for more extraordinary experiences. The gold lies in what is behind the success or accomplishment.

Liz Murray’s early life circumstances were horrific. Yet she chose to change her circumstances by making clear choices about who she was going to be and what she was going to do in order to live the dream that was calling her.

She recognized that the garden in which her seed was planted was not going to support her in reaching her greatest potential. So step by step, she started creating a new garden – new conditions. She never accepted that her dream was not possible. She refused to be silent about the things that mattered to her. She focused on who she needed to be and the steps she needed to take, and trusted that the rest would somehow take care of itself. She created conditions that could lead to her success.

What are the optimal conditions your vision needs to become reality?


P.S. If you want to learn more about creating optimal conditions for transformation to occur, Chapter 2 of my latest book, Create A World That Works is a great place to start. The book is available through our website store, as well as in bookstores everywhere, on, and as a digital book for Kindle, iBooks, or other e-readers.


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