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Lessons Learned at the Modern Elder Academy

personal development Feb 15, 2020

My wife, Lisa, and I had the privilege of recently attending a session of The Making of a Modern Elder program at Chip Conley's Modern Elder Academy.

Lisa and I arrived full of curiosity and eager to level up in our quest to gain clarity and skill in creating and contributing as modern elders.

Toward this end, the session was expertly led by Jeff Hamaoui and Janis Nakano Spivack and augmented by the contributions of mindfulness and yoga facilitator Teddi Dean Bennett, resident shaman, Saul Kup, and the culinary wizardry of chef Tony Peralta.

But the real magic came from the being a part of our student cohort, AKA the Dancing Howlers. Wisdom, it turns out, is easier to come by and apply when it is pursued with and for fellow travelers.

Here are the top five lessons I learned during our week at the Modern Elder Academy.


Taking stock of your current situation is a necessary and sometimes challenging requirement for stepping into possibility. Our week together began with some exploration of the stories we tell ourselves that are not serving us. 


Accepting "what's now" helped set the stage for framing "what's next." Recognizing that we are complicit in conspiring against our best interests was a revelation and a compelling call to become the hero of our own journey.


Aiming the arrow of your aspiration for a better future with intention and integrity doesn't guarantee that you'll hit the bullseye. But it increases the odds that you'll land somewhere great.


Any journey is more fun and fulfilling when joined by fellow travelers. The journey of a modern elder is a one taken with and for others.


Epictetus' maxim, "learning that does not lead to action is useless," is advice worth heeding. The work done with compadres at the Modern Elder Academy provides a compass for continuing to navigate the journey of a modern elder beyond Baja.

A Few Details

The campus and accommodations are spectacular as are the meals. The staff is exceptional.

The morning circle and coursework are intense and inviting. Shift definitely happens during this program!

Extra-curricular activities like bread baking and surfing are highlights of the week. There is also a nice balance with activities off campus.

If you're ready to lean in, level up, and continue to contribute in the second half of life, the Modern Elder Academy is a great place to get going!

Scott - Difference Maker at Creative on Purpose

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