New York State of Mind

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Xperiential MBA New York was a hit!

70 plus people from across the country descended upon New York this past week. We engaged in an incredible curriculum that transformed all of us who were in the room.

We learned the difference between fulfillment & achievement, wealth building & tax optimization, decision-making & psychology, communication & life-hacking.

More importantly, we connected. We ate lunch together, had side conversations, laughed together, learned from each other, made new friends and developed deeper relationships.

That is the secret sauce. Beyond the great curated content and in the midst of incredible experiences are the organic connections that happen.

Many people I spoke with said that the side conversations and the quality of the leaders in the room made the event standout. As someone who spent numerous hours around the training topics, workbooks, presentation practices, it’s humbling to hear that the time we didn’t script was chiefly impactful. Makes a guy feel really good about himself… ha!

And, connecting is the point, isn’t it? Yes, the classroom topics were thought provoking and perspective shifting. The experiences on the dinner cruise and the Goldman Sachs office tour were awe inspiring. However, nothing tops the in-person exchanges of energy, hugs, handshakes, fist bumps.

Especially for those of us who work largely remotely, our lives are increasingly isolated. Even though we interact with people via zoom, text, social – being physically with people building connections fuels our soul.

However, connections, even at in-person events, require intentionality. The state of mind necessary for making the most of our access to high level thinkers & doers can extend into everyday life.

Know who you want to connect with

We were spoiled at Xperiential MBA this week. The answer to who do you want to connect with is simple. It’s everyone. (In fact, all our events are small & curated for that very reason.)

Experiencing that dynamic makes me realize that the people in our room represent the type of people that you can connect with.

Some people are expert doers. They just get stuff done and have a vast capacity. Some people have tremendous experience & perspective. While others are simply fun to have conversations with and learn more about who they are. Most have a combination of it all!

Know what you you want to learn

When you step into a conversation, be intentional around what you want to learn. Some people I went tactical with, others I wanted to learn about how they think, other conversations I wanted to simply learn about what’s important to them.

Intentionality in a conversation can produce even great unlocks because we know what we want and can use that to find greater insight.

Be ready to listen

Regardless of who you connect with and your personal agenda, listening is paramount.

Active listening is a skill. At its core, it’s listening to understand, not listening to volleying back.

I can get caught up in the verbal ping-pong match. The person I’m conversing with says something and while they are talking, I’m considering how I want to return their comment. And back & forth we go.

Yet, when I’m intentional, I’m truly listening to what they are saying, what they are communicating in their body language and allowing their conversation to land deep inside me.

The byproduct is that we develop a deeper connection.

Ask powerful questions

One of the sessions Chris Suarez taught included a study on the relational impact of asking powerful questions.

In the study, researchers pair strangers together in groups of two to take turns asking each other questions. They were given powerful questions to ask that required openness & thought to answer. After an hour the session concluded and participants went about their separate ways.


The incredible finding of this project was discovered in the follow up nearly two months after. Over half of the participants either met up, had plans to meet up or had reached out to their partner in the experiment. Participants took it upon themselves to look-up and reach out to their partner.

Why? In just one hour, due to asking and answering powerful questions, these strangers who met in a room for an experiment felt such a strong connection they chose to continue a relationship.

That’s the power of powerful questions.

The state of mind that I cultivate in New York is a lesson that I’ll take back to life outside of the Xperiential MBA event.

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