@Jonny Miller Here are some general questions for ya. Feel free to voice record your answer :)
- What are the surprising things you heard from students’ feedback before?
Here’s some of the feedback I received ~ although the curriculum is very different now…
🧠 Ocean's Brain Sparks
- send a personal check-in after the first week to see how they're getting on
- to think about: co-reg crews, either standard check-in after x amount of time as above, or something else to make sure they are connecting/want to connect.
- start small on Discord/community and keep it to core communications at first i.e. announcements and intros, then after 1 week start introducing more domain specific content? although I feel slightly conflicted on this as I feel people have had super interesting and enriching conversations think about this
- create an interactive interface for the content e.g. printable PDF with tickboxes, duplicatable Notion or something they can tick off as they go.
🙏 Feedback from Ocean
🥳 What went well?
There’s SO much that went well, but to summarise:
+ The content was incredibly rich and there seemed to be many profound and prominent shifts for many of the students. You’re doing a great thing for humanity here :)
+ There were several key voices in the Discord who facilitated and encouraged discussion really nicely. I think we should and could definitely utilise them really nicely in future cohorts!
+ I thought the Typeform’s were curated really thoughtfully and fostered great learning through reflection.
+ The Nervous System OS was genius and I think will be hugely helpful to people as they progress.
🚀 What could we learn from/build on next time?
+ In the Course Overview page: https://www.notion.so/curioushumans/Nervous-System-Mastery-b71af02ff0f443feb70ecb09bfad44ea that you sent as part of the sales promo, you outline the course curriculum. This would also be nice to feature on the Student Dashboard too to help people get a feel for what to expect—now that they’re committed and ready to start the course, rather than just learning about it as per the promo page. This would again help them get prepared for it and give a nice overview of what’s coming up.
+ Week 1 feels like it's asking a lot from people. I think the welcome email should be sent at least 2 weeks before the course officially starts. This would allow people enough time to get themselves mentally, emotionally and practically prepared to start (and prepare their nervous systems!). Then once the course starts, they can focus solely on the content, rather than getting their head around the different elements, information, platforms etc.
+ As above, the opening session feels very pertinent to framing the course and getting people psychologically ready to embark on the journey. In the absence of this, I wonder if there was more difficulty staying motivated/committed? One thing I’m wondering is whether we could automate an email to those who didn’t attend the opening session saying “sorry you couldn’t make it, the content covered is crucial in starting your course off, if you could spare 20-30 minutes please go through the content” and then share the content from here with them: https://www.notion.so/curioushumans/NSM-Curriculum-3b06ca3a8ca3468e873169d41372b199#3ca9c9b2c7464a0eb4ef1fa2eb8fcdc2
+ In terms of the overall content structure, the general feeling I had myself and from other students was that there was a LOT of content to get through and not enough time to integrate it all. From around week 4, it felt as though people were falling behind and struggling to keep up and felt more good to stick with the week 3 protocols for a little while longer. Also, there were varying levels of experience in the group, so for some it would have all been brand new information, whereas others some of it was fairly familiar. There’s so much beautiful wisdom and knowledge in your body and brain, and I think you could spread the content out over several courses, each building on the last and that this course should be super foundational. Like really strip it back and lay the bare foundations. It seemed to me that people peaked at week 3 and then fizzled from there, so I wonder if the interception and down-regulation is the sweet spot to start with? This would also lend itself to selling more courses in the future.
Or an alternative viewpoint, if not reducing the amount of content, I wonder if the course could be spread out over more weeks with ‘integration weeks’ e.g. weeks 1-3: content, week 4: integrate weeks 5-6: content week 7: NS OS?
Or a final thought, during the pre-screening/onboarding Typeform, ask questions around their current experience and depending on this, have level options to subscribe them to e.g. complete beginner with no experience, beginner with a little experience, beginner with good experience etc. (this feels like a much later iteration though!)
+ In a similar vain to the above point and to a few threads around habit forming, I wonder if it’s more sticky to introduce 1 protocol each week. The less new habits we are trying to ask people to implement, the more likely they are to stick to them (and find time to implement them). Especially the complete beginners in the room, I’d imagine asking just 10 mins of a practice every day would be a big shift. And then for the more advanced/curious, we could offer ‘bonus protocols’.
+ Something that came up and I think would be super helpful is to have separate audio and/or video demos of the protocols in its own Notion page in Appendix ‘Protocols’ for easy access (I personally downloaded the audios from Transistor and saved these to my desktop — but I could only do that because I had access to your Transistor, plus we want to keep everyone in the Notion ecosystem).
+ It might be worth hiring an illustrator to create lovely graphics. Visual aids seemed to be in high demand, and I think this would really help people to absorb + consolidate the info more easily (plus great for sharing on socials!).
+ One prominent question in my mind now and throughout was “what’s the most important element here: are we trying to create a community—via Discord and learning pods— or is this is a self-study course with the option to take part in a conversation via Discord” — I think we could definitely give some more thought to how the Discord or otherwise could be best used and managed (perhaps a brainstorm call at some point would be goood)
+ You’ve already noted that you want to ask about learning styles prior, and I think the co-reg crews should come into this too. I’m not sure how much these were utilised, but I’m not sure the ROI on these was worth the time + effort from us and from the student. I wonder if instead of learning pods of 2-3, we run regular drop-in 'learning pods’ — where we could setup a space that people can drop into and use prompt questions to discuss. And they don’t necessarily need to be facilitated by you every time, but could be facilitated by the group themselves or a VIP student from cohort 1 — or I’d even be happy to.
+ Which leads me onto another point, can we get video testimonials from any students to share with as part of onboarding? Asking them to record the obvious questions like “what did you get from the course etc” as well as “what do you wish you’d made more time for” or “what advice would you give to a future NSM student”.
+ After each week’s Typeform, it should be good SOP to go through the responses and pick out questions to address and consolidate these. If there is a general theme across the cohort, these can be addressed via an announcement or otherwise.
+ I wonder if—as well as the follow-up call—a follow-up email is sent too, summarising the key learnings and reminding students about their OS. This would help keep momentum going and give them a chance to pick back up where habits may have dropped.
+ Nitty gritty: There are a few very specific things that I would make suggestions on that I picked up as I was going through. However, at this stage I’d imagine these won’t be useful to share, as they might become redundant as the structure changes. I’ll keep them noted for future ref.
🙏 Feedback from Philip
- Discovering the missing piece of the puzzle (breathwork) which really "this is ridiculously effective"
- Consider taking two tracks—many just want to basics
- Flexibility over how people learn... e.g. optional learning pods
- Needs a general framework... not quite totally tied together.
- Snapshot felt like a lot to take in.
- Really enjoyed the reflection questions for course motivations—could be improved upon, dig into the five why's...
- How can you mitigate the failure points...
- Felt like he was falling behind pretty early on—send the material out much earlier—and have the reflections.
- Makes sense to have work specific track...
🙏 Feedback from Haider
- Make practicing the protocols the core of the course
- The theory podcasts should come after the protocol, not before, to reinforce this principle
- Encourage setting reminders to perform the protocols, as well as a reflection on how the day went with the protocols, even if the reflection is: “I didn’t get to do them to day”. Encourage setting an intention to do something the following day that will help commit to the protocols
- Evening Reflection
- How did you do today?
- How do you feel about it?
- What can you do differently to get a better result?
- What will you commit or would like to try out tomorrow?
- Maybe recommend sharing it with the community, to make Discord check-ins a habit, as well
- The more timeboxed the commitments are for NSM, the better. Give a time estimate/suggestions for all commitments (protocols, community check-ins, etc)
- How long will each commitment take?
- How long will all commitments ideally take?
- What can you commit to given your available time in relation to your other commitments?
- What do the commitments look like during your day? (When/where will they happen?)
- What can you drop when you don’t have the time/space?
- What commitments can you reduce to the tiniest option possible? A single mindful breath is better than no practice at all. Commit to what feels so easy that you can’t say no to it (5 minutes might be a short period of time, but it can also feel overwhelming)
- Instead of “frontloading” the course, make the first week the easiest week, to avoid intimidation and dropping off
- Have a menu of protocols from the get-go, where course participants get to choose what they’ll be practicing based on what they need
- Again, separate the practice from the theory. Participants will need to be able to select a protocol to practice immediately rather than having to go through any theory before starting a protocol
- Give suggestions for what can be practiced in private and what can be practiced in public without making people raise an eye-brow or two. (This was a big one for me since I was working from a cafe during the course)
- I believe Ocean checked in with us once at the start of the course on how the co-regulation group was going. Things were going amazingly well in the first week, but we got dysregulated soon after that. So maybe weekly check-ins with the groups to see how well they’re going and what can be done to help ensure consistent support within the group? One issue we faced was daylight savings time kicking in, which disrupted our schedule (Matt and Andreas were in Greece where daylight savings applied, but we don’t have that in Kuwait)
🙏 Feedback from Dimitris
- Consider focusing on high-performance + habits
- Perhaps have 2-3 tiers
- Self-paced (you go on your own)
- Plus you get a partner
- Plus you get 1-1 time with Jonny
The value isn't so much with the information itself but what you do with it.
The group calls + break-out rooms are a great format for the course to build connections.
STATE CHANGING: If I feel this in my body >> this is how I interpret it >> and these are things I can do to shift the state.
The first chapter of widen the window really mapped out the territory and the WHY.
Perhaps // ask mentors to facilitate the groups...
🙏 Feedback from Matt Sandy
Firstly, based on your question on Twitter today, the course now is strong enough as it is to provide lots of value to people, so I'd urge you to keep iterating and improving through cohorts rather than retreating to create the "perfect" course, not least as I'd imagine the continuing feedback will throw up paths you wouldn't find on your own.
NSM was fundamentally very useful to me, though my application has been patchy, I'm still breathing every morning and am more likely to attribute moods to bodily states. I'm sure I'll get better but I doubt there's be backsliding from this awareness.
As for ambition/scope, I'd observe that rationally the course shouldn't be overwhelming, but it was. No one in my co-regulation group really completed it properly, and that includes one person who actually teaches courses on this sort of thing. I don't know the solution, but I think even more focus on fewer topics might be a good start, and maybe putting some of the extra "and this, and this" items in an "extra resources" page.The main thing that could be improved for me personally would be the cadence.
Ideally I'd have liked to do the heavy lifting of listening and taking notes on the weekend, but the Monday-Friday nature of it left this difficult. I always felt I was a week behind and that I "should've" properly digested all the material before doing the breathing exercises for that week.
So more flexibility there would be appreciated.I note you've quite a loyalty to explaining the material in the academic terms you yourself have consumed it in.
I wonder if this is best. Obviously it works for someone who's going to want to delve into the research themselves, but for a wider audience you might be better off having fun, and literally creating a universe of vivid terms and analogies that really stick in our minds. Obviously you do that a little with the car, but I wonder what'd happen if you let your imagination run wild.
Finally, I'd just say congratulations on the putting together a great course and something of real personal value to your audience and financial potential for you. As someone who's done my fair share of walking in the wilderness, I can imagine how validating the whole experience was for you :)
🙏 Feedback from Ben Kellie
“Nervous System Mastery is the most powerful thing I've ever done for personal growth. I had previously explored breathwork, meditation, therapy, and all sorts of other tactics and approaches, but always felt like something was missing. Nervous System Mastery connected the dots in a transformative way. It gave me the context I lacked to understand how these practices align with my experience of daily life. More importantly, it helped me build awareness for how to fully experience and transform the physiology of my body and emotional experiences. Can't thank Jonny enough for putting this out into the world in such an accessible manner.”
– Sam Sager
“The understandings of how breath changes the biochemical balance in our bodies was pretty massive, for me it elevated the idea of breathwork beyond being a sort of hippy chill-out thing and turned it into solid good sense :-) Also the moment when my habitual road rage / busyness stress started to flare up one day and I realised I could reground myself using alternate nostril breathing and it worked like magic.”
— Lizzy Smith
“I have much better access to calmness and have less road rage! I'm less frequently getting overwhelmed by stress and anger and more able to maintain perspective on a situation. My attitude towards emotions is shifting, maybe not fully transformed yet but the idea of making space and letting them work through my system is gradually growing on me.”
— Lizzy Smith
“I'm going to cause less trouble for myself with stress-related behaviours! When I start running workshops next year I'm going to be able to keep myself calm and grounded despite nervousness, which will help my confidence and prevent me getting overwhelmed by anxiety when things don't run perfectly smoothly.”
— Lizzy Smith
Yes! The NSM course came at a perfect time for me as I was working through a lot of somatic stuff already, but the practices of ANB, Voo-hum, cadence breathing, NSDR really helped me with the bottom-up impact that I didn’t even know I needed. It felt like the NSM course has been a key piece in my progress to being a more resilient, well-adjusted person.
– Nicki Lock
“An event that would normally trigger an upset & angry & overwhelmed & depressed pattern in me happened and I very clearly felt myself wanting to be upset about it since that's what I usually would do in a situation like this, but my body just wasn't playing along. My default state wasn't moving from it's even-keeled place. It wasn't really all that difficult not to get elevated about it. It felt like my mind really wasn't in charge, it was just following along with my body's favourable, chilled out state. This was a really big moment for me!”
– Nicki Lock
“I feel like I’m more emotionally flexible, more resilient, more able to weather my emotions and outside circumstances. The program reprogrammed me in a fantastic way!”
– Nicki Lock
“my hope is that the reinforcing work we did increases personal awareness/interoception, creating a "break" between my experiences and my reactions (which i can begin to crack open and tune).”
– Robert Wuebeker (don’t share publicly)
“My goal in 2022 is to become world-class at napping.”
– Robert Wuebeker (don’t share publicly)
“Bite-size and actionable techniques for regulating my nervous system which I have consistently put into practice at least 1x 10 min a day since day one of the course - Tools and resources to further my knowledge.”
– Caryn Tan
“I feel more connected and empathic towards others. I feel more grounded, I feel more in control of using the breath to calm myself down and to counteract my learnt habit of over 2 decades of shallow upper chest breathing. It’s like seeing the world in HD.”
– Caryn Tan
“Much more self-awareness, heightened self-care and love. Throughout the 5 weeks, I have cancelled so many outings with friends, I have taken time to do things and I have started allowing myself a lot more allowance between activities and for activities so I don't have to rush the way I used to.”
– Caryn Tan
“I learnt how to use my breath as a medium to calm myself and control my high functioning anxiety, it has led to amazing trickle on effects in my sleep, how I feel in myself, how I learn to regulate myself, the choices I make and the space I give myself. A big part of this comes from the heightened awareness I have around how I feel, the emotions rising up from my body and not always dismissing that by letting my head trump in decision making. It has essentially become the underpinning foundation for how I am redesigning my life around what I need as shown by how I feel. Powerful stuff, I would recommend it to everyone who is ambitious, who is leading teams, who wants to function well and who is interested in breathwork and the self.”
– Caryn Tan
“Yes- I realized that I have been "afraid" of/put a negative connotation on all nervous system excitement. Understanding that an excited system can be one that helps with alertness and focus has helped turn my story around and also having better tools to down-regulate makes me feel like I can have better influence on creating balance when I need it.”
– Laura Karpinski
“Most of my shifts have been in awareness. I am much more aware of my internal states as well as the influence of others and my environment on my NS. I now see that I have multiple angles from which to solve NS issues from and it is not just one thing. The concept of NS regulation feels much more so approachable now!” – Laura Karpinski
“My life is different now that I feel that I am willing to let my NS move through its full range without fear, knowing that I have tools to bring it into balance. I used to try to control everything so tightly and the result was a consistent, hyper-vigilant, sympathetic NS response. Life in general feels freer and easier to navigate with the NSM knowledge, protocols and better interoception.”
– Laura Karpinski
“This course should be a requirement if you are a human with a NS. It will peak their curiosity, give them lots to play with and transform their experience with their body in the world. Unexpected benefits might include shifts in perspective, improved emotional intelligence, a wider window of tolerance to stress and the ability to use their body's NS intelligence to their advantage and also participate in steering the ship in a particular direction when needed.”
– Laura Karpinski
“I'm calmer now, I can make decisions with less confusion, whenever I feel overwhelmed I just think of NSM and the practices, a sort of calm energy/chill thingy comes up and I'm already out of overthinking haha. So much change!!!”
– Akhil Draksharapu
“I feel more relaxed, more aware of my bodies states, less concerned with how I appear to others or being ok with expressing how I feel, and more about being myself.”
– Ronan McDonnell
the brain body connection is two way and I think that I only focused on the brain to body connection - now I realize I missed the other part and am enjoying exploring it.
– Ronan McDonnell
“NSM was supportive, grounding, expansive, interesting, delivered with integrity and true passion. Science and practical evidence.”
– Nazoorah Nusrat
“One aha moment for me was the differentiation between top-down and bottom-up processing. I was engaging with top-down only before. Never could I have thought that you can control your body/chemistry and therefore your thoughts.”
– Dimitris Kosmidis
“I have learned to pay attention to my body much more than before, as well as automated 80% of my daily breathing to a healthy mode (slow, deep, and through the nose). I have learned to break the cycle of stress activation where it arises, either in the thinking brain, or in the survival brain (neuroception). I have lost the fear of stress activation, since I can now interpret it and also regulate it. I have improved my sleep and decreased my symptoms of a dysregulated nervous system by a lot.”
– Dimitris Kosmidis
What are the emotional experiences you want to evoke in students:
- before they join the course
- during the course
- after the course
What do identity shifts in students look like for you? (Or, Imagine your students finish the course and tell people in tears how much it transforms them. What do you think they will say?)
This post from Sam Sager was pretty much EXACTLY what I’m aiming for:
Reconnecting to the body
It's 9pm on a Tuesday back in October of 2021. I'm sitting in bed with my thumbs plugged in my ears and my pointer fingers holding my nose, singing Voooooo-huuuum while slowly breathing out . My wife's face is screaming "what the heck are you doing".
I’d also love for more awareness & appreciation around interoception + emotional fluidity.
In terms of building this course, what are your priorities? What are the non-negotiables?
- #1 that I’m set up to learn + improve, tightening the theory and making the curriculum as experiential as possible
- Looking to distill content + really highlight the most important + transformative aspects.