I had the good pleasure of being invited to the 19th Annual Consumer Health Summit (CHS), run and organized by Michael Fishman, who has been a leading advisor on marketing, positioning and growth to several businesses including Rodale, Bulletproof, Vital Choice, and many others.
The fascinating part about CHS is that it is invite only. Moreover, there is a very tight-knit community that has been developed. There are several doctors, psychologists, researchers, entrepreneurs, influencers, and business icons at this event.
I've been to many events myself. I've also spoken at many high level events. However, my experience at CHS was very different, unique, and transformational.
Given that I study organizational psychology and human transformation, I thought I'd share a few of the beautiful elements of this event.
Firstly, it's important to know how a person is positioning their products and services. In the powerful book, The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage, B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore found that there has been a shift in what consumers are interested in buying. Additionally, there is a difference in how elite companies position themselves and what they sell from how average companies position themselves and what they sell.
If your company is average, you'll position yourself based on price or quantity. A little bit higher up and you'll be positioning yourself based on some distinguishing factor you have in the market. However, if you're really tuned in to what people are wanting, especially in today's environment, you'll be positioning yourself based on the unique experience your product and/or service provides. Connected with creating and selling "experiences" is the idea of transformation.
If you can position who you are and what you do as a transformative experience, even if what you're selling is a pair of socks, then you will appeal to a very powerful audience.
Experiences are important because they are highly connected to identity, emotions, and memory. When you can create an experience for someone, wherein they develop an emotional connection to your brand and what you do, then they connect your brand with their identity.
I specifically have been interested in studying transformational learning experiences over the past few years. What has intrigued me is that, for the most part, as people age, they are less and less open to new experiences. They are less open to meeting new types of people. They are less open to expanding themselves, taking risks, and taking on new roles that redefine themselves.
This doesn't have to be the case. But it is the societal norm of what most people do as they age.
In order for transformational experiences to happen, the environment must be set up for them to happen. In the case of CHS, I've never seen an environment more articulately designed and the people more meticulously curated.
Michael Fishman is a genius when it comes to detail. And when you're creating and selling transformational experiences, the details are what matter. Consider for example, fine dining. The transformation that is possible is all about the immersive-ness of the experience. Immersion of experience comes from little nuances that put something great into the realm of amazing or awe-inspiring.
For example, CHS was held the Sanctuary Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. It's fancy and beautiful. However, Fishman wanted to create a very specific dining experience and bought specific tables and chairs to the resort. Fishman was thinking about what the tables and chairs looked like. He was worried about how many flowers there were, and how the lighting was in each of the different environments the event took place.
Everything was beyond high-class. It was like being at a secret dining event with the smartest and most innovative people in the world, where the food was all extremely healthy and delicious, and where everyone felt safe to be vulnerable and share their deepest held beliefs, dreams, and struggles.
Naomi Whittel, the author and powerful entrepreneur spoke during the first day of the event. During her speech, I had one of those brain expanding moments that opened me up to completely new levels of thought and awareness. I realized that I, even I, could do something very very big. Naomi Whittel, Dave Asprey, and many of the other people in that room have companies making hundreds of millions of dollars and impacting millions and millions of lives. Beyond that, what I noticed about the people at CHS is that they all were driven by a powerful social-cause and mission. They were clear on what they were doing and why they were doing it. These people cared about people and society at large, and they were playing a big game to do something about it.
There's a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., "A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions." That's what happens when you have a transformational experience. You see things differently. Your mind is stretched. And you begin to believe in what you once thought was impossible. Thus, the power of possibilities opens up for you.
That's what business can be about. It can be about transforming people. It can be about changing people's environments and paradigms.
That's what happened to me when I went to CHS. I was lucky enough to be in a beautiful environment filled with empathetic, caring, and powerful people. I was able to learn from others who are doing huge things. And importantly, I was open to the experience.
Questions To Consider
How can you make your work more transformative for your clients?
How can you be more open to transformational experiences yourself?
If you as an entrepreneur are not regularly having transformative experiences yourself, how do you expect to create those types of experiences for others?