My students often ask: How do you create powerful containers in which transformation happens with such miraculous ease?
Creating and holding a container for transformation begins with the soul work of building a life and business whose hallmarks are coherency, alignment and integration.
When your workshop or program emerges from your lived experience, as well as from your own knowledge, wisdom, wholeness and integrity, it has the power to draw forth the latent genius in all who participate.
A transformational program is an ecology that includes many elements. Two major ones are content and form. Or essence and structure, if you prefer.
When every element in your program is designed to align with and to support your most cherished values; when the program itself is created in intimate partnership with its Deva, it has the power to change the world.
Here’s a (necessarily) partial list of the elements that make for a successful transformational program.
Use it as a guide for preparing your next transformational program, and read on to discover how you can receive personalized expertise and support to develop your program more fully.
Begin by reflecting on the following questions. Write your responses in a notebook dedicated to your emerging program.
- Why do you want to create this program? What impels you to bring it to life?
- Whom does your program serve? What are their deepest desires, and how will your program help them fulfill their desires?
- What are your intentions for…
- :: Your program’s participants? What skills, insight, knowledge or experiences do you want them to receive and embody? What will change, in their lives or businesses, as a result of taking your program? How will your program serve and benefit them?
- :: Your business? What role does this program play in the ecology of your business? How will it serve your business?
- :: Yourself? What do you intend to receive and give, through the program? What inner or outer changes do you intend to bring about, by creating and teaching your program? Remember, every creation grows you.
Next, talk with the Deva or soul of your program.
- What is your program Deva’s vision and purpose for this program? How does its vision harmonize with your intentions, capacity and resources? If you and your program Deva have different ideas about what you want this program to be, negotiate a path that both of you can walk hand-in-hand.
- How long does your program need to be, in order to fulfill your intentions? Check with your program’s Deva, as well as with your own discernment to arrive at right timing and timelines for your program.
- How many people can your program effectively serve (in this, its first iteration), while remaining true to its Deva’s purposes and yours? Is the material, and your community, best served by an intimate, highly curated boutique program, or by a large scale, low-cost program, or something in-between?
- How much hands-on access will you offer? Do you want to include a second-tier premium enrolment that includes one-on-one time with you or with other members of your team?
- What price point feels resonant to you? Think of pricing in terms of the value your program offers its participants; the depth and breadth of skills and experience that you bring to the table; the particular role that this program plays in the world of your business; and the income your business needs to receive from this program in order to flourish. Factor in the financial situation of the folks you feel called to serve.
The Goldilocks principle applies here: Price your offer too low, and you’ll feel constricted and resentful. You may also attract people to your program who aren’t ready for the depth of transformation it offers. Price it higher than you are able to receive (this is an inner limit), and you’ll energetically shut down or sabotage enrolment. Right pricing is an essential element in discerning who belongs in your program. It is also a skill that improves with practice.
Your program already exists, as a seed or potential, in the subtle energy realms. Your program’s Deva holds the pattern for the perfect unfolding of its life, at every stage of its development. Your program’s Deva can offer clarity and guidance on many aspects of its creation.
Create the program’s structure.
Once you’ve clarified how long the program will be, how many folks it will serve, and what price-point you’ll offer it at, you can begin to create the structure for the program.
- List all the known elements of your program’s structure: e.g. Will you offer your program in-person or online? Will the course content be pre-recorded? If so, what content delivery systems will you use? Will the program include an online group forum where members can gather and connect? What platform will you use for this? Are live coaching or mentoring calls included? If this is primarily a virtual program, is there an in-person component to, like an in-person retreat or gathering?
- Once you’ve listed the known elements, note the as-yet-unknowns – the gaps in the structure. Are there variables that remain murky or unclear? Are there elements that require decision-making on your part? Write these down as well. For example: How will you curate entry into the program? Will it be open to everyone? Enrolment by application only? Or will you require an application, followed by an interview, before extending invitations to the folks whom you want in your program?
- Outline your curriculum. Begin by listing the weeks (or months, or hours) that your program will run. Add a draft table of contents for each hour, week or month, depending on how often you’ll deliver content, meet with your program participants, etc.
- When developing your program outline, keep the principles of good instructional design in mind:
- :: Avoid didacticism. Craft practices, processes and exercises that invite your students to an exploration of your subject matter that is both open-hearted and grounded in sensory experience. The most effective learning happens when people are free to experiment, to follow their curiosity and desire, and apply what they are learning to their everyday lives. The more fully your students can experience the beneficial effects of the practices and principles they are learning, the more likely they are to continue to use them.
- :: Less is more. Meet your students where they are; create a program structure that helps them walk step by step towards the transformation they seek. When developing your curriculum, apply the elegance principle: Teach that which is both necessary and sufficient to reach the goals you’ve articulated for the program.
- :: Build in methodologies that take into account differing learning styles. Some folks learn kinesthetically, others are visual or auditory learners.
- :: Use teaching platforms that are both organic to your material and that support different ways of learning. So, for example, if you’re teaching a meditation program where students will have their eyes closed for much of the instructional period, use audio rather than video to deliver your teaching materials. If, on the other hand, you’re teaching movement or bodywork, you’ll want to supply visual references.
- :: Use rhythm, repetition, and layering to reinforce what’s being taught. Let each class build on the material from the previous one, so learning happens in an organic sequence. Anchor abstract concepts with concrete applications.
- :: Build in time and space for integration. Encourage your students to trust their own timing, to work at their own pace, and to take responsibility for their own learning and growth.
- :: If your program includes a large number of people, consider breaking them out into smaller groups for the duration of the program. People learn more effectively when they feel connected to two or three others with whom they can practice and share ideas and support on a regular basis.
5. Fill in your program outline. Create your curriculum; write or record it; set up your delivery systems.
Finally, create your project plan.
Make sure everyone on your team knows what parts of it they are responsible for, and when each element in the plan is due for completion. Do the same for your marketing and promotional plans.
Get the word out, in creative ways. Tell everyone you know, about your program, whom it serves, how it will benefit them, when it begins. Ask for the support that you need. Remember, this is not about you — it’s about reaching the folks who will be best served by your work.
I wish you the soft delights of springtime, with its burgeoning creativity, extravagant beauty, and abundant joy. May the work of your heart and hands serve and bless you and your world.