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The Key to Transformation

When I, Susan, get into planning a new workshop, program, or retreat, I find myself packing the allotted time with, tools, models, experiences, and resources that I think will provide value to our participants.

I usually pack way too much into the days.

However, the last 25 years of planning program experiences have taught me that my method just isn’t what makes for transformation.

Often, the most profound moments come – not from the material, tools, or big cathartic events – but from the opportunities for deeper contact with another and windows for quiet or playful integration.

This past Find Your Mojo in Montana brought that lesson home to me once again.

We added an extra day to our signature program here in Whitefish, Montana, without adding extra content. Instead of packing in more material, we created space for integration.

We invited the participants to our home. We had an evening of fun, connection, and sharing. No deep work was intended, yet I believe the community and sharing that took place was rich and powerful.

Also, because we had extra time, we were able to provide space for each person to have one-on-one personal time with a horse. For some, that looked like time out in the “playpen” with one of horses – sharing their learning while brushing their horse. For others, it looked like play – moving, running, and dancing with their horse!

Let’s be clear, old habits die hard. I love concepts, theories and ideas. So, of course, I’m happy to share. I tend to think more concepts are better and what adds the most value. I had to stop myself a few times from getting caught up in what else should be introduced or covered.

Conceptual learning isn’t transformational without including the body, the heart, our emotions, and our spirit.

At the end of a program, be it: Find Your Mojo in Montana, Couples Alive, at The Haven, a boardroom with a corporate team, or a virtual Get Unstuck, when people tell me what mattered the most to them, it isn’t usually the concepts or tools. It’s the connections they experienced, the emotions they tapped into, the confidence they felt, or the A’ha! they had about themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, people do walk away with new tools and resources. It’s just that those tools and resources are really only sustainable if the connections were made beyond just the brain. Sustained learning must also include the body, the heart, and the soul.

Maybe it’s my age that is finally allowing me to get this!

I know people want answers. Sometimes they search for programs, solutions, and experts that promise just that – the magic answer.

Thus, the reasoning that more knowledge that’s packed into a program is better, right? There has to be an answer in all that expertise. However, the hundreds of workshops I’ve planned and lead in the last 25 years keep presenting something very different.

It’s not finding the answer outside of oneself that transforms one’s life.

No, it’s discovering something percolating from within. It’s living fully in the learning and allowing those lessons, in whatever form they come, to marinate, digest, and integrate through internal and external connections, as well as rest and play.

It’s that internal spaciousness, patience, and surrender that leads to transformation.

Recently, you’ve heard from both CrisMarie in her Broken Open blog, and me in my Finding My Faith in the Pit blog, talk about our need to rest and digest. We speak to our personal experiences of being reminded that life isn’t sustainable running from one event or experience to another.

So How About You?

Are you continuing the search to pack in more knowledge or find another expert, training, or model that’ll give you the answer to whatever challenge or problem you face? It’s so seductive isn’t it?

The answers aren’t out there. Yes, the experiences are great, but only if you allow yourself to fully digest them. This allows you to make more of it, rather than add yet another training on top of the last one.

Where might you be missing an opportunity to slow down, connect, surrender, and feel what you might already have learned but just haven’t digested yet?

Take care,


P.S. Do you want support in making more of your experiences? I’d be happy to provide you the connection, space, and container to help you find the answers within you by making more of what you already know.

P.P.S. We love hearing what you’ve learned from these blogs and what you want more of or, heck, just how you’re doing. Please feel free to reach out to us and let us know about you!

CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

Check out their website: www.thriveinc.com. Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.

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