The routine that marks many professional challenges makes most days undifferentiated. Extraordinary and impactful moments are rare, as is the recognition of their transformative power. However, certain experiences, or stories of the experiences of someone close to us, shape everyone’s perspective in different ways, depending on the emotions they cause and the learning they motivate.
Whether individual or collective, terrifying or exciting, experiences give people a unique property and are also what people seek as an escape from normality and stagnation. As human beings, our brains are prepared to recognize and value what makes us feel most alive.
Imagine that for the last ten years you had lived in New York and led a lively and dynamic life as a nightclub promoter. Put simply, he made money organizing parties. He had moved to New York to get away from his conservative Christian family and be independent, which made him selfish and arrogant. But at the age of 28, he had a crisis of conscience when he realized that he was almost ruined spiritually, morally and emotionally. So he decided to turn his life around and moved to Africa to do a year’s volunteering. There, he was exposed to extreme poverty for the first time. One year turned into two and, while there, he repeatedly saw people drinking water from wells, rivers or swamps. Observing this made it clear that it was his duty to do something…
This moment, this decision that marks a transformation, causes a cascading effect with various learnings and changes in perspective, which are transversal to the lives of those around us.
This wealth of impact draws the attention of the corporate world, which is increasingly interested in investing in its human capital in order to provide continuous learning and gradual growth, so that the skills developed are transferred to work.
This work, immersed in a context of current uncertainty, implies ever greater preparation to deal with constant change in an agile, effective and efficient way. Not being superhuman, this preparation requires an upgrade in everyone, a process of unlearning in order to learn again.
Along with learning by doing, by being with, by being coached, by being mentored, companies have to ensure that they impact the learning system with moments so strong that they guarantee the retention of knowledge and its transfer to the employee’s day-to-day life, resulting in an increasingly evident focus on activating teams in shorter periods, with a high impact, but above all with a strong pedagogical purpose.
It’s not surprising, therefore, that participation in truly immersive and transformational experiences is currently in high demand, experiences that integrate both sides of the experiential aspect:
. Epistemically transformative experiences: those in which what is taught cannot be learned without active participation in the experience. The experience itself teaches us what that type of experience is and gives us the ability to imagine, recognize and cognitively encode what it means to experience it.
Personally transformative experiences: those that mark and modify in a profound and fundamentally personal way. This can happen through a change in primary personal preferences, a change in perceptions, desires, motivations and preferences, or a change in the definition of intrinsic perspectives.
The search for transformative experiences, events or activities that are so remarkable that what is learned could not be learned or cognitively represented without living it, guarantees the modification of our perspective on something internal in people. Providing them ensures that participants achieve the desired results so that they can then reflect on and use that experience as a mirror for their day-to-day work, applying the same strategies.
So let’s go back a bit, to Scott Harrison’s story, but it could be yours. After realizing that so many people had limited and unhygienic access to water, Scott researched the subject and discovered that, in reality, 800 million people live without access to drinking water around the world. That said, Scott decided to return to New York and set up a project that would change the tragic situation he had observed. Scott decided to develop a charity, “Charity: Water”. He put together a small team and together they set about fulfilling a great mission: to bring drinking water to all those who had no access to it. In addition, “Charity: Water” advocated an innovative vision to reinvent the traditional model of non-governmental organizations, applying a model of 100% reversal and absolute transparency. Twelve years on, and with the help of a million collaborators, Charity: Water has raised 360 million dollars and financed more than 35,000 projects to increase access to drinking water in 27 countries which, once completed, will provide drinking water to more than nine million people.
The story of Scott Harrison and “Charity: Water” illustrates the mark that certain experiences leave and their ability to profoundly change the personal and professional course of each person. Experiences change people, who then change companies and transform the global ecosystem. The question therefore arises: what are you doing to help accelerate this virtuous cycle?”
Partner at Immersis