While it was an absolute joy to meet literally every person who attended, both Ben and I were struck by the presence and work of Joe Hudson.
Tiago and Lauren had spoken very highly of Joe’s coaching work in their own lives, both in and outside of the context of “work.” And at the retreat, we continued to keep hearing about the impact of Joe’s work, and how amazing his podcast was, etc.
Many of the participants of the retreat had worked with Joe in some way or another, and absolutely raved about the impact of his work. I thought, what a shame I’m only now learning about Joe!
It was clear that those who had worked with Joe had absolute reverence for him and his work, and I quickly understood why.
Joe had an incredible impact on the retreat experience with his kindness, wisdom, and general good vibes.
He offered a suggestion that during the hot seat sessions: we don’t “give advice,” but focus on asking questions. This one suggestion I believe was pivotal in opening up truly genuine conversations and possibilities that would have gotten lost had the group devolved into tactical advice that might not have aligned with the owner’s true intentions.
Joe, and everyone who had worked with him, had a different way of showing up. It was more grounded, vulnerable, kind, and loving.
You know that quality some people have where they are so anchored in their truth and at ease with themselves?
How they can communicate with vulnerability, impartiality, empathy, and wonder, without getting defensive or triggered by others?
How they seem to move through the world with a sparkle in their eye and an ability to rise to any challenge?
Those are the just some of the qualities that get cultivated in the Connection Course. It’s a thoughtfully crafted course experience with life-changing impact.
Lucky for us, the Connection Course was opening up for enrolment the next month, and we wanted to experience Joe’s work for ourselves.
Joining the Connection Course
Ben and I signed up for the course as a couple, and had a choice to do the breakout sessions together as a couple, or with others from the cohort. We decided we wanted to participate together as a couple.
I’ll share that I already felt Ben and I had an incredibly strong connection and relationship, but we’re always excited for the opportunity to improve the way we do things. We’re both big fans of therapy and personal development, and this was an exciting opportunity to go even deeper.
While we waited for the course to begin, we both began listening to the Art of Accomplishment podcast (with Joe Hudson and co-host Brett Kistler), frequently bingeing episodes and then discussing the topics together in the evening.
When the course began, we had some helpful context for some of the topics within the course, as well as interesting stories that Joe and Brett share on the podcast.
Let’s first talk about the format of the course:
The course takes place online via Zoom over the course of five weeks. Here’s what it looks like:
- Podcast. You listen to a special episode each week that introduces the key topics.
- Live Sessions.
- Group Meeting: There are five live-cohort sessions that have a large group meeting at the beginning and end of each partner session to share and integrate.
- Partner Work: Five 90-minute guided video sessions in rotating pairs to learn by doing. (Or if you’re a couple, you can do the work together)
- Rapid-Fire Coaching with Joe. 90 minutes of live, rapid-fire coaching with Joe where you can bring a question yourself or witness others’ powerful experiences.
- Online Community. The community is a place to ask questions, connect, share your experience, and hear others’ experiences.
Now, one concern I had initially was: Ok, so I’ve met Joe, and he’s awesome, and I want to experience more of his work. But, he’s not really present in this course, is he? Only one rapid-fire session with Joe?
I wondered, would the course be as good without Joe?
It turns out that my initial concerns were entirely unfounded. The facilitators are clearly highly skilled and did a wonderful job facilitating discussions at the end of the personal exercises and within the forums. Joe has done an exceptional job hiring, training, and supporting a team of skilled coaches that effectively embody the ethos of the work.
As a course creator myself, I understand first-hand the challenge of building something that has a consciousness that can scale beyond you. The Art of Accomplishment has designed a transformational experience that doesn’t depend on a “guru.” Joe is the face and voice behind the video and audio that guide you through the exercises, but the true work is really about you.
As someone who takes a lot of online courses, I was very impressed at how they were able to scale this type of transformation. With both self-guided and cohort-based courses, it can be easy to have students drop off, or lose motivation after a course begins.
This course was built with commitment in mind, and I know the course has a very high retention rate for a reason. The onboarding materials have you re-iterate your commitment, and you are asked to put all the dates into your calendar, and to notify course admin in advance if you can’t make a session, so an alternate session can be arranged.
Also, since the work is done with partners, there’s a built in accountability mechanism right from the start. I am sure the administrative overhead is bigger for the team, but I believe the payoff in student transformation is worth it.
Truthfully, a lot of interesting learning came from simply witnessing the group discussions at the end of the paired sessions. Hearing other people articulate their experience was fascinating and informative.
Guided video sessions
The guided video sessions are really where the magic of the course happens.
After the initial group session, you’re moved into your breakout group where you and your partner participate in a 90-minute exercise. These get progressively more challenging; each one is unique and serves a different aspect of emotional fluidity.
The timing and pacing is already pre-determined through the videos, and they do a good job of addressing fear or concerns that might be swirling around in your brain when you’re mid exercise:
“Don’t worry about getting it right…”
“How could you be even more curious?”
“Don’t forget to breathe”
The beauty of the exercises is that they are essentially an emotional playground through which to practice being vulnerable. You practice having an agenda within a conversation, and then practicing dropping your agenda. You practice noticing and receiving being noticed. You practice being in wonder, and asking lots of how/what questions. You practice allowing your partner to share things that are likely to make you uncomfortable. There’s so much practice to give you a chance to understand what it feels like to allow yourself to experience emotional discomfort, and know that you’re ok. Not only that, but you and the people around you will be better for it.
There are so few areas of our lives where we actually get to practice these emotional skills in a safe and non-threatening environment. (The last memorable opportunity I had to do so was during my experience doing Meisner technique acting classes, and that was one of the most challenging life experiences I’d ever put myself through!)
In the second week of the course, our furry friend of 14 years—Mochi—passed away. It was the first time that Ben and I had collectively shared such an extremely profound experience of grief together.
The Connection course helped us both stay with our feelings and remain in wonder during the grieving process. Ben admitted that he felt his heart break open like he’d never experienced before, and he realized that he had been cutting off a part of his emotional range that he didn’t even know was possible or even existed previously.
We both found a new emotional depth together. There was more love, more honesty, more pain, and more joy. Everything was suddenly richer, because we could embrace the intensity or challenges or our lives and relationships with more VIEW (vulnerability, impartiality, empathy, and wonder) and less anxiety. More love, less agenda.
We were able to share with more vulnerability than ever before, and see how our individual triggers keep us from showing up fully.
We had conversations we didn’t know we needed to have. The course gave a safe container to explore trickier conversations and accelerate even deeper connection and intimacy.
Live Q+A with Joe
While a lot of the coursework takes place during the guided 90-min partner sessions, it finishes with a superb Q+A with Joe.
Joe is a truly a masterful coach, and watching him coach students in real time was truly something to behold. You can watch the gears turn as the person on the hot seat realized how often they were tormenting themselves needlessly. Joe teaches you the power of asking better questions, and this Q+A highlighted again and again how powerful asking questions is over advice-giving.
Joe has said many times on the podcast and within his work that he doesn’t know what’s best for a person, but THEY do. He’s simply helping people arrive at the solution that makes the most sense for them and their circumstances.
This course was an incredible container for getting to practice asking better questions, while also seeing the transformative power of good questions in real time.
A new mindset
The beauty of the course— which they talk about in the FAQs but i cannot emphasize enough— s that the course helps imbue a mindset shift more so than offering techniques.
Once you’ve agreed to show up and do the work, it’s impossible not to be forever changed by it.
My relationship with my husband is deeper, richer, and more interesting than ever before.
We’ve done therapy, both together and separately, and I can safely say that the work in this course is transformative at a far greater scale than therapy.
And hey, I’m not knocking therapy, I think it’s great (Ben even noted that he felt his therapy sessions felt more enriched after taking the course; that he was showing up differently, and getting more out of them), but if you’re serious about taking your relationships to the next level, I urge you to take this course.
I’m not just talking about your partner, but friendships, family, colleagues… any and all relationships that you have will be improved by taking this course.
If you’re curious to learn more about Joe’s work, start by checking out the VIEW episodes of the Art of Accomplishment Podcast, and see where the rabbit-hole takes you… It’s truly beautiful.