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The Experience Formula

Learning to Learn: From Correctional Officer to Master Coach

I jumped on the phone with Nicole Holland last Monday to tell her a little more about our upcoming Experience Product Masterclass launch.

Suddenly in the middle of the conversation, something changed…  she started to tear up.

When I asked her why, she went on to share an amazing story I just wasn’t expecting.

After that conversation, we sent out a short 10-second survey to our tribe to discover how they learn and the results confirmed Nicole’s story and the experiences I’ve had.

Link to survey:

• When asked, “How do you learn best?” 72% of my tribe (out of 735 respondents) said “Fun, engaging experiences” while 28% said “Through consuming information”. That’s interesting, since most online products, programs and courses are based on sharing information rather than creating experiences.

Now the next two questions get really interesting.

• When asked, “Have you ever bought a book or information-based product that you didn’t complete?” 95% of participants said yes and just 5% of people completed all the books and information-based products they purchased. That closely mirrors the industry average of as much as 97% of people failing to complete and get results from the information products they invest in.

• And in response to the third question — “Have you ever struggled to implement information that you read, watched or consumed?” –- a whopping 92% of my tribe said yes.

And when you read Nicole’s story below you’ll realize why…

nicole-holland-freedom-journalOn New Year’s Eve 2013 I was still a Correctional Officer and assigned to work the night shift, 1900-0700, in Upper Segregation. It was the most traumatic shift of my career.

Around 3:00 in the morning on January 1, 2014, not able to wrap my head around what was actually happening at that time, things I still can’t speak about to this day, I made myself a promise that I would not spend another New Year’s Day on the job.

But days turn to nights and nights to days and not seeing an obvious out I fell back into the routine of my life.

Miserable, yes, but unaware of just how miserable and surrounded by others who were more miserable than me, I moved through… sort of.

I was sick. Inside I’d completely lost myself. I had no family, no friends. My body was falling apart and the doctors had no idea why. Every day was a battle. For the first time in my life I truly wanted to die. I don’t know if I would have done anything about that if not for knowing there’d be nobody to take care of my cat. Crazy, but true.

I really didn’t see a way out of where I was but every so often I’d remind myself that I used to be “someone” and that I did have talents and skills and confidence and value before I became a CO and that I didn’t HAVE to live like this and that clearly I was allowing and attracting everything I had going on.

But I didn’t know how to find another way. I kept reminding myself that law of attraction always delivers (I used to be a Life Coach prior to working in Law Enforcement) and set my intention on finding that way.

In an “up” moment in the autumn of 2014 I started Googling about “Group Coaching” — thinking that even though it’d been more than a decade since I’d done it I was good at it and loved it and that perhaps I could build a new practice that way and get out of my job.

That’s how I found out about Michelle Schubnel and got on my very first list.

When Michelle mailed out about your summit a couple weeks later I was soooo excited!

I’d never heard of such a thing before and really felt like my prayers had been answered. Here was this sampling of experts talking specifically to coaches about HOW to be successful with it!

Seriously, that was a pivotal moment for me. And it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

I had no idea what I needed to learn and there it was, everything delivered on a silver platter.

I figured I would study and implement and with that learning be able to transition out of my job. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I once again had hope.

Then one day soon after the summit wrapped up and I was on a learning high, I went into work saw the holiday schedule posted.

HOLLAND — December 31st, 1900-0700.

All of a sudden I remembered that promise I’d made to myself.

I’d wasted almost an entire year in a state of allowance and here I was, at a crossroad.

Do I follow through on my commitment to myself without any savings, family, partner, network, or any foreseeable way to pay the bills? Or do I suck it up and do the “smart” thing?

I didn’t know how I’d survive or get through it but in that moment, standing in the dark in front of Charlie-Dorm in the Medium Security wing of the shit-hole I was working in, I recalled that just a few weeks before I had asked for support and got it in the form of you and your summit.

With that, I knew that I had everything I needed to start over.

I walked over to the duty station desk, wrote out my letter of resignation, and emailed it to my Superintendant right there.

December 28, 2014 was my official last day as a Correctional Officer.

That was a pivotal point in my life and although there aren’t any specific numbers or metrics I can attribute to the impact you made on me, I can say that you were the answer to my prayers. And if not for the space you created — and the EXPERIENCE — I have no idea where I’d be today but I’m 100% sure that I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now.

YOU and your modeling of HOW to lead, how to be authentic, vulnerable, creative, and to put 100% heart into your business and do it on YOUR terms, THAT’s the impact you made on me and the traits I aspire to embody.

And I wanted to learn directly from you but there were many insurmountable obstacles to that from my vantage point so I observed you from afar while trying to find my way — looking for the “right” way and the directions to do what I kept hearing was so simple.

I bought so many “blueprints” and busted my ass following all the directions but I kept missing the mark and didn’t understand why.

It took a few months for me to realize what I was trying to do was impossible, in large part because the programs weren’t programs at all as I expected them to be but rather just a lot of information.

I struggled with semantics, confused about the “coaching programs” and “Masterminds” being sold.

I knew I needed some hand holding and wanted to work with someone who actually knew me and my vision, my strengths and my weaknesses, and who would help me move forward quickly. I needed a coach.

I think at the time you charged something like $10K when I checked, as did the other people I learned about through you and I really wasn’t in a space to be able to swing it. I had been a Transformational Life Coach prior to working in Law Enforcement and knew the value of coaching but I didn’t know who or where or how to really find one online so I made a desperate plea in a big Facebook group for a business coach. Doh!

I’ll just stop there and not go on about the very expensive “lessons” I’ve had since quitting my job, and suffice it to say, it’s been quite a ride over the past 19-months, trying to run before I could crawl. But I feel great about where I am today and don’t regret a single thing.

Nonetheless, I have been super disappointed with the delivery of most of the “programs” I’ve purchased and have felt so much missing but haven’t necessarily been able to articulate what.

That’s why I got so excited to hear about your new program!

nicole-hollandWhat I’ve learned since your summit from many messages but not any one specific person is that in order to sell a program it needs to be structured in one of a few specific ways and what I know to be true about learning styles, and adult learning in particular, is that those formats are not effective!

And that’s had me very conflicted in creating and marketing programs and may be part of why I don’t push the programs I’ve created. Because the content is good and I’m able to transfer knowledge well but if my students don’t complete them, I know there’s a problem. And it seems people aren’t committed to completing. Which really hurts my heart.

Now I also realize that I’m NOT responsible for anyone else’s choices or level of commitment but I KNOW that there’s got to be a better way than what’s status quo.

And for me as a student, I get so bummed out when I commit to something and buy it and it’s just too much information and not enough implementation or specific steps. If it’s left me confused I just try to focus on a thing or two I can take away and frankly, that sucks.

Of course the marketer (and that’s probably part of the problem — most marketers aren’t teachers) is more than happy to offer their next level product to solve that problem but I’m sorry, if I don’t feel able to achieve the promised outcome from your first program I won’t be giving you MORE money for another promise.

Give me the experience of knowing success in your area of expertise and you’ll have a direct line to my wallet plus I’ll spread the word.I mean, that’s just quality customer service delivery, right?

I’m so excited to support you in changing the way this industry delivers courses. I know that experiential learning is the most effective way to learn and I also know that if anyone can get that across and make a big dent in status quo, you can.

As for my pilot program, attempting to structure and do it the way I’ve learned through various digital programs I’ve realized that MY people — because I’ve dialed in my who and naturally my ICA has a similar learning style to me — will not be successful and that realization has allowed me to throw my plans for it out the window and revisit the delivery to be more gradual, experiential, and less informational and rushed.

Knowing that you, someone I respect and look up to immensely, is actually going to be teaching people how to do that… I have no words to express my excitement and enthusiasm. 🙂

You can read more about Nicole and what she’s up to here:


I’d love to hear the experiences you’ve had investing in online programs, products and courses.

Please leave a comment below…

And don’t worry! I’m planning to do something about this! 🙂

Love it? Hate it? Let me know...

  1. Miche Meizner Avatar
    Miche Meizner

    I loved reading Nicole’s inspiring story and her take aways from what you model. I’ve been following Marisa and Murray since their first Superhero Summit and loving it. And now I can say that not only did their message inspire me but through her leadership she has helped bring forth more inspirational teachers and truth-tellers.
    I just had the opportunity to have a behind the scenes look at Nicole Holland’s pilot program and I can tell you it is packed with actionable steps, super clear step by step blueprints. She brings her expertise and hard-won wisdom of do’s and don’ts to the program while encouraging individual expression and exploration. Nicole brings a rare blend of big heart, flexibility no nonsense get sh*t done attitude and organizational tools. Rocking that combination is a definite superpower!

    1. Marisa Murgatroyd Avatar
      Marisa Murgatroyd

      Hi Miche! So glad you’re working with Nicole. She is a definitely superhero… Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to her. 🙂

    2. Nicole Holland Avatar
      Nicole Holland

      Thank you so much for sharing that Miche. I appreciate you. xoxo

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