Real Leaders Transform

Leadership Development that Lasts

by Kari Bergman | Dec 1, 2021

Transformation. It is one of our core values and it is at the center of our leadership development work. Essentially it is about growth, change, and possibility. We are about creating better humans for a better world. We get at this by designing transformative experiences that accelerate growth and change for leaders, opening all sorts of possibilities. Our work is infused with moments when you look back and say “yep, that was the point where everything changed.” This is the stuff you can’t come back from – and don’t want to.

Disclaimer: If you are settled in comfort and happy with status quo, this work is not for you.

Still with us? Sweet.

3 Constants of Leadership Development

As you will notice in the stories and examples from our team, transformation can look vastly different for each of us. Three things are the same:

  1. You will be different on the other side of it. 
  2. You can’t undo it. The caterpillar doesn’t get to unbecome a butterfly.
  3. It will likely change everything. 

Field Notes on Transformation

Transformation (often) happens in the mess of life.

Transformation (often) happens in the mess of life, when everything has (seemingly) gone to shit. It’s what Joseph Cambell so eloquently calls in his construct of the Hero’s Journey the “call to adventure.” He makes it sound like a lot of fun but it often looks and feels more like a divorce or a death or the unraveling of your spiritual foundation. For me it came (one of the times) in getting laid off (read fired). This was the inciting event to the transformation rather than the transformation itself. That “NO” yielded a new series of yeses and why nots and let’s go for its that I would have likely not stepped into without the push. In that I can now see that transformation isn’t something I can see as it happens, but only something I can look back on and see has happened. The courage I get from that reflection is to hold with possibility that when things have gone to shit (and they do) that I am in the midst of something I will later see has evolved me into a more authentic version of me.   – Greg Mutch

Transformation is both freedom and fire.

Over a decade ago, I met a critical point with a critical choice. I could – continue moving through my life not changing a thing…and die. Or, I could step into what scared me the most…and live. The choice I made is obvious, as I am here now, writing these words. The decision to live opened a season of beautiful and terrible transformation. I now hold the invitation to transformation with great reverence and never take lightly the honor to lead this work for others. 

For me, it is both fire and freedom – hell and hope. Transformation – in the moment – is the gift I would gladly give away. But it is also the richest thing I own.    – Abbey Johnston

Transformation is easy.

I’ve been playing with the concept of transformation being pleasurable and dare I say… easy. A conversation with a friend this spring gave me access to ease and expansion along with the work of adrienne maree brown in her book, Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good. A momentary response to this invitation which seems to be coming at me from every direction is this: leaning back in my chair to let the sun splash onto my face through my guest-bedroom-converted home-office window. Letting breath find new places to expand in my chest and belly and a smile to unfurl on my cheeks. 

Transformation is the seed planted in the earth in the fall as we descend into the dark half of the year. It rests and is tended, nourished, protected by the womb of the universe. And then, as sunlight warms the ground, it stretches upward, finding its new fullness, ready to catch the air in a dance and drink the rain. Rest, nourishment, sunlight, dancing. Yes. to. this.   – Kari Bergman

Transformation is a grueling hike with beautiful views and ass-kicking elevation.

My thoughts and feelings often come as visuals, images, colorful creations in my mind. Transformation is a grueling hike with beautiful views and ass-kicking elevation.  Transformation is an empty canvas that slowly and intentionally gets filled with color. Transformation is a year of saying “no,” or maybe a lifetime.   – Abigail Verkaik

Transformation “brings all things together.”

I have a tattoo on my arm, a Greek word that in the latin alphabet is anakephalaiosasthai, roughly meaning, “to bring all things together.” I stare at this word a lot, and it has slowly been shifting my concept of transformation. My motivation for growth is often a reaction to not feeling enough as I am. I hustle to fix, eradicate, and prove I can be worthy of a life I want. This approach is exhausting, and it never quite delivers.  Anakepahlaiosasthai, on the other hand, allows me to slow down and show up fully. Instead of running from parts of myself, I can with open arms invite an inclusion of all things – the light and the dark – for something truer and deeper than the binary.  It involves a lot more trust than feels comfortable for me – trust that all the pieces of my lives and experiences have value and offer rich soil for new and beautiful things – but when I allow myself to rest here, I experience all the unfulfilled promises of the hustle: hope, peace, love, connection, energy, life.   – Kat Schulte

Inside Leadership begins January 2022!

Are you ready for the sometimes uncomfortable, potentially pleasurable, always life-changing work of transformation?

Our cornerstone 6 month Leadership Development program begins soon.


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