Three things we know to be true: (THREE THINGS!)

  1. Change is hard.
  2. Change is necessary.
  3. Change is the goal.

Let us explain that last one.

In previous posts, we’ve explored the science of innovation and creative thinking, because frankly, it’s riveting. There has been a lot of research done focusing on the neuroscience of creativity and creative thinking and there is much that is still left to be understood, including the activation of learning in adults. What makes us open to taking in information and making it part of ourselves?

Author Malcom Gladwell explores that process in detail in his book, The Tipping Point. We will explore the idea of these pivotal or “crucible moments in a future blog. A nugget that we can tackle now is how to create an environment where these mindset shifts can occur. (That, of course, is our specialty!)

What is liminality?

A concept closely studied by psychologists, liminality refers to a time of mental or psychological transition. 

Liminality can be better understood if we think about some of the major transformational moments we have in life such as school graduation, weddings, retirements, and even funerals. The celebrations or rituals we have around these life moments create the space for us each to mentally prepare for what is next to come in a significant way.

These examples give a sense of the drama to the concept, but it may be helpful to think about it in smaller and more ordinary moments: Think about the time spent on an airplane heading to a vacation destination or walking into the lobby of a luxury hotel. Architects and designers create liminal spaces in buildings for the occupants to understand the purpose of rooms and flow.

Media creators use the concept to bring their audiences on the journey. A favorite example is in the movie The Wizard of Oz in which the beginning of the movie depicting normal life is reflected in black and white but the scene goes to full and vibrant color when Dorothy enters Oz. 

Liminality and Meetings

When you have a meeting, you have a literal agenda, planned and bulleted. But the underlying goal with any agenda is change. Change may go without saying, but it’s importance is worth specificity:

Agenda Objective The change desired
“Team Building” Deeper understanding of one another and your relationships.
“Department Huddle” Reconnection and realignment with your peers.
“Strategic Planning” Seeing the path forward with new, collaboratively achieved clarity.


You know the work has mattered if you leave different from when you arrived. It’s the time between arriving and leaving when you encounter liminality.

We think environment is crucial to important work. The intention of Catalyst Ranch is to transport you to a wholly new environment. We’ve created a liminal space, where the familiar and unfamiliar mingle, the status quo is abandoned, and anything is possible.

Change is difficult, and change is necessary. Don’t be afraid of the uncertainty that exists in liminality. Embrace it. (In fact, here the environment is tangible, with playful objects and moldable pipe cleaners. You can literally hold it!)

Step confidently into the liminal space. Dwell in it and acknowledge it with your peers, knowing you will emerge from that space changed.

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