I’m going to guess that more than a few of you have attended a workshop or motivational session that was a peak experience. Often the event starts with loud music and stirring visuals projected on multiple screens. It’s all very theatrical and fun to put on and to attend. Some brave or foolish people will offer themselves up as a sacrifice, to come to the microphone and spill their dreams - and usually a few excuses as to why they can’t achieve them.
Presenters do this because it works. It establishes their credibility and creates a “we’re in this together” feeling. Done well, it also provides solid value for the person at the microphone and for those not quite brave enough to step up. All of this helps sell the presenter’s follow-on programs to the right customers, to those who will get benefit from the experience.
It’s also a way to weed out people who shouldn’t be there. Nothing frustrates a change-maker more than people who say they want to change and believe this program will help them do it. Then, the client doesn’t do any of the work!
Many events also include a lead up to a singular peak experience. Chopping a board with your hand or walking on coals come to mind as extreme examples. Contrary to what you might be told, peak experiences rarely translate well outside the contrived world of the event. People who jump out of airplanes don’t magically become better spouses. People who walk on hot coals don’t instantly become successful business people. It just doesn’t work that way.
Ultimately, the event organizers are watching for those who give it their all, and they will put special attention on selling those go-getters the upgrade. It’s partly profit motive, for sure. But it’s also to identify “people like us.” Because “people like us” are more likely to stick to the program, complete all the homework, show up in the webinars, and do the hard work of changing habits and building something new.
So, the next time you attend a program like this (like one of mine), concern yourself less with what the organizers say you will get. Instead, focus on whether you are “people like them.” A person who will complete the homework, show up in the webinars, and the do the hard work of changing your habits. Enjoy the hot coals if you must, but realize that your success will still be up to you.