We have all been there…
We have all been to courses, presentations, seminars, workshops and possibly also retreats; We have also read books and course material, or watched DVD or online video or YouTube presentations and ended up at generally at the same place… some initial optimism served with a side of dissatisfaction.
In my case it can be a tangible frustration.. I can come across a cool concept that I can believe and attach to, but it's delivered within a rushed 10 minute part of a 8 hour day and there is simply no time to discuss, process and practice that nugget of learning I had got so excited about… so, while I may have been taught it, I for sure did not learn and adopt it… Yup, frustration indeed.
Now, obviously not all courses and environments are the same, some are clearly better than others, some are more expensive than others, some give more individual focus than others etc, but I am sure that your learning experience, like mine, has varied significantly… but why?..
The way I see it, when you are on the path of self improvement it is difficult enough to assess, sight unseen, the quality of the raw material and presenter of some program of interest without someone throwing a monkey wrench into your thought process, but I am going to do that anyway and suggest that you deeply consider the potential of the overall learning experience your program of interest will provide. That is, after all, the entire purpose of your journey ..to learn.. Not to attend, or view, or read or participate..but to learn and make a series of positive transformative changes to your life.
I know, it already was easy enough to get discouraged when viewing all the options available to you without me “helping” but if i could reduce this blog post to one simple suggestion it would be this..
When considering any program, make an assessment of your ability to actually have a productive learning experience.
Yes its that simple!.. Now, for sure this may seem a bit more difficult, particularly when looking at a program that may be the next best thing.. So, let's talk about the next best thing shall we? :)
How did we get here?..
When Torin and I first started discussing programs a couple of years ago, there were a large number of items on the table to refine.. Oh.. the usual things such as topic, structure, scope, style, balance, breadth, depth, attendance etc… During these early discussions, with our more than 45 combined years of attending perhaps a couple of hundred or more different programs of some sort or another, the one aspect we totally agreed had the most priority for improvement was the learning environment.
The learning environment...
We spent a significant amount of time on analysis and reflection on this one topic, in particular what goes well, and more importantly, what doesn’t. Now, it's pretty clear that our ability to learn is not driven solely by the material, the author and its delivery, but is in fact, significantly affected by a large number of other factors, both internal and external to the program. Right, OK, fine, I accept that's not really rocket science once you actually ask the question, but asking the question was :) ... Then, for us, the true aha moment was that this statement led to the natural conclusion that in order to achieve the best possible environment for a learning experience, we must take a holistic approach.
The holistic learning environment…
No, i don’t mean herbal medicine, lol, but the consideration of the learning process as a whole, and the factors that affect the outcome. Still need convincing?.. Ok.. here is a simple question - Which course below do you believe gives you the best chance to truly absorb the material?...
Be one of 80 people stacked 10 deep in a hotel basement rushing through the material in a day, with a flight to catch at 7pm, or
With the same material and facilitator, be one of only 10 people, covering the same material over 2-3 days in a private space with small group breakout practice sessions and individual time with the presenter/facilitator.
So.. pretty obvious huh?.. Now, for sure there are many programs that try to address some aspects of the learning environment, (some types of retreats and individual coaching come immediately to mind), however we found none that considered the entire learning process and its environment...Well, until now.
The Y.E.S. Way...
By taking a holistic view of the overall learning process we view the program, the people and the learning environment as a whole, and in doing so, they each look very different than when being considered in isolation. This different perspective makes it pretty clear that in order to maximize the overall learning experience, the three elements of program, people and the environment need to be balanced and in harmony with each other for a successful learning experience. This is a totally unique approach, we are pretty proud of it, and we call it The Y.E.S. Way (Your Empowered Self).
What’s in this for you?..
So, now the rubber hits the road. What exactly is in this for you?.. Well, I hope that you have followed our discussion here, as the good news is that clearly, being in a comfortable and relaxed environment with a small circle of like minded individuals most definitely will put you in the right space to enhance your learning.
Its also good news for you that our programs are not completely cerebral. In addition to the course topics, they encompass a body, mind & spirit balance with a relaxed pace so as not to overtake the ability of your circle to learn, practice and adopt tools and techniques, not to mention the yoga, massage and meditation.
It”s pretty good news that since we know vegetables can’t learn :) our daily program activities are around 5 hours or so. This gives time for individual sessions, time for you to pause, relax and reflect, not to mention time for the taxing efforts of fun, relaxation and sightseeing.
It's also good news for you that we have hand selected high quality private villas in beautiful, relaxed surroundings so that your down time can be just as down as you like, and your program time be peaceful and uninterrupted.
The great news though, is that you will have the best possible chance of a positive transformative learning experience...all while on a luxury tropical vacation..
I hope that you enjoyed my first, albeit a bit lengthy, blog post and found something here to stimulate your thoughts. Now, while I hope that we have a program of interest for you in the spring, no matter where your self improvement path leads you this year..remember to assess the overall potential for a positive learning experience of any program of interest...