Some time ago, long enough that I can’t remember exactly, but close to a year, a good friend of mine invited me out to a seminar on a Tuesday evening. He didn’t tell me what it was, only that he thought I would really enjoy it, and that he would be really happy if I came.
So I took him up on his offer and joined him at the Marriot hotel here in Vancouver on a Tuesday night for what I would discover was the final evening of the Landmark Forum.
I had never heard of the Landmark Forum before, and had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was ushered into a huge ballroom that was lined with chairs along with perhaps five hundred other people, some of whom had just completed the forum, and others who, like me, were guests for this final evening.
The evening commenced with various participants coming up to the front of the room and sharing their experiences in the forum, and all of them were invariably overwhelmed with joy at the life changing experience they had just gone through, my friend being no exception.
This was intermixed with introductory concepts by the forum director, who sat on a high chair in the center of the room (looked kind of like a lifeguard chair), and also a very convincing sales pitch. I was quite put off by this high pressure style, and I think I made up my mind already at that point that I was not interested.
After this portion of the evening, everyone was broken up into small groups and led into smaller rooms and the process was essentially repeated.
Following that, various volunteers spoke with me casually about the life changing nature of the Landmark Forum, including one who felt the need to point out that he thought I was very said. I think he may have been right on that particular evening, but nonetheless I left the building quite put off my the experience, and viewing it as vaguely cultish.
Landmark rears its head again
I didn’t think about Landmark Forum at all after that for a long time. But then about six months ago I was getting my hair cut, and the guy that cuts my hair mentioned very casually that after he’s was finished work he’d be off to a seminar at Landmark.
I asked him, “Landmark Forum?”
He confirmed that it was one of the same and asked me how I knew about Landmark. I related my story to him, and he told me that he could understand my feelings and that they have really toned down the sales pitch since then. I acknowledged what he had to say, and over the next couple of months worth of haircuts he would occasionally mention Landmark in passing, but I still was not interested in Landmark Forum.
The third time charms me
But a few weeks ago something funny happened. I attended a routine sales meeting for one of the companies I work with, and there was a surprise guest speaker from, you guessed it, Landmark Education.
I should mention that she did not work for Landmark. She in fact owned her own clothing design and manufacturing company that supplies, among others, Lulu lemon, and also a corporate training company. Basically, she was a very accomplished lady, who credited the Landmark Forum with her success.
What’s that? Landmark was responsible for her success in business? Well that was her belief, and I could tell without a doubt she was being honest. She believed so much in the education that Landmark offers that she worked on a volunteer basis to promote their programs.
Her presentation, in contrast to what I experience all those months ago, was intimate, and did not come across in any way as a sales pitch. She shared a few basic introductory concepts that resonated so strongly with me, I was conscious that I was sitting there with a big grin on my face the entire time. It wasn’t even half way through the presentation that I had made up my mind that I wanted to take the Landmark Forum. I just felt such a strong internal pull. It felt right.
But here’s what really clinched it. My sales manager, at the end of the presentation stood up and told the room that he believed so strongly that they Landmark Forum would make us more successful, and in turn he more successful, that he would pay a portion of everyone’s tuition (nearly half, and out of his money, not company money) if they signed up for the program. If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.
So I will be taking the Landmark Forum next weekend. You can be certain I will be reporting back and letting you all know how it went.